Time for another crotchety old man rant:

When I was younger, humans walking on the moon was considered awesome. The Grand Canyon was awesome. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was awesome. Nowadays, apparently it’s awesome when the food I order at restaurants is “good”…at least that’s what the wait staff who serve it respond when I tell them as much when they ask.

I hope that restaurants serving “good” food would be so routine as to be boring, not awesome. Oh well, time for this crotchety old man to take a nap.

Where Does The Time Go When You’re Having Fun?

It’s been a real honor to have been able to spend so much of my life volunteering for the American Red Cross, Not only has it enabled me to feel like I’m truly serving my community in a meaningful manner, but I have gained more from the organization than I can ever repay. When I first joined (many years ago), they sent me to Youth Leadership Training Camps/Centers and gave me increasing responsibilities over the years. They taught me teamwork and respect while giving me the chance to see for myself just how our work impacted others. I hope I can continue to be of service for at least a few more years to come.

What? Another Theme?

Yes!  No good reason…it just seemed like it was time for a new look. Even though this is a sparsely used blog. Maybe it’s time for me to try to get a little more active with it. Not sure if that’ll actually happen since I never thought of myself as having any real ability to write.  Oh well. Buckle up and let’s see if anything happens.

The Expanse

I normally don’t hype TV shows. In fact this is the first time I’ve ever done so. This is one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot). If you’re a fan of science fiction, you need to check it out immediately. If you’re not a fan of science fiction, you should still give it a try. By “a try,” I suggest committing to the first four episodes (only 45 minutes each). If you’re not hooked by then, feel free to ignore my recommendation. The first three seasons are available on Amazon Prime Video, and the fourth season has finished production and is scheduled for release later this year (2019).

When I first stumbled across the show, I was drawn in by it’s amazing special effects and devotion to scientific accuracy. I soon realized thete was a terrific story going on, and high quality writing, acting and, in fact, all aspects of the production are first-rate.

To maintain scientific accuracy, there are no warp drives, shields, or artificial gravity devices. The producers have admitted taking a few dramatic liberties around sounds in space (they say it didn’t feel right without the roar of large engines or gun fire). They’ve also introduced development of a rocket drive which enables travel around the solar system to a matter of days and weeks. The drive also helps provide thrust gravity while in flight. Beyond that, they stick to the laws of physics.

All in all, a great show with great acting, great writing, and great production values. Rated TV-MA, mostly for language and violence…but if you’re comfortable with Game of Thrones, you’ll probably find The Expanse a bit tame.

Grading On The Curve

Recently I overheard some college students discussing a class in which they were being graded on a curve. This reminded me of an elective course I took many years ago.

I should start by saying this was the worst teacher I ever encountered in any class at any level. And I say that after reflecting back on decades of educational experience. But, I digress.

To return to my main point – grading on a curve. The course was Introduction to Psychology (a.k.a. Psych 101), All the tests used by the professor were multiple choice; 120 questions, with 5 answers to select from. That means, even if I knew nothing at all and just took random guesses, I should expect to get 24 correct answers (and most of my answers ended up being guesses. The questions on the tests typically fell into one of two categories: 1 – they seemed like complete gibberish, by which I mean I had no idea what they were asking; 2 – they made some sense but of the five possible answers, two were always wrong, another two could be right under certain (and mutually exclusive circumstances), and the fifth was always, “none of the above.”

You can probably imagine just how devastated I was when the test came back with a score of 28 (remember, 24 should be the result for knowing absolutely nothing). I figured my college career was over. Then the professor revealed the grading curve. My 28 was an A!  One of two As in a class of about 30. This scenario repeated on every test during the semester. The good news: I got an A in the course. The bad news: I didn’t learn a damn thing.

Footnote: At the end of the semester when the course was over, I got a copy of the final exam and took it took a friend who had a Ph.D. in Psychology to review. He said, “I thought you said you were taking ‘Intro. to Psych.’ This is a test for ‘Experimental Psych.’

Fathers Day 2017

Seems like it was only yesterday when I last posted on WordPress, Wait a sec, it was only a day ago.

I awoke to check my email and saw that I received an eGift card from him (and my grandsons and daughter-in-law) for Fathers Day. The card was fro Dunkin Donuts, which means it will be used…and used, and used. I sent him a JibJab ecard. His birthday is Tuesday so the gift to him will be sent then.

In fact, I went to Dunkin Donuts this morning to pick up breakfast. Another slow line in the drive-thru. It seemed like the line would move along fine for a couple of cars, then there would be a hold-up, then move along okay for another couple of cars, then another hold-up…and so on.

Where Have I Been?

And so, another half-year has passed since my last blog post. And again, I’m not sure why it has been so long…except maybe that I don’t feel like I’ve anything to write about )or should that be “about which to write?”

Life here in Cleveland, TN jas been the same. I continue to volunteer for the Red Cross locally almost every morning. I also volunteer virtually for the Red Cross’ Connecticut and Rhode Island Region and am starting to help their Crossroads Divison (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia…so I’m keeping busy.

This coming Tuesday (June 20th) will me mu son, Tom’s, 51st birthday. There’s nothing like having grown kids (or in my case, the singular “kid”) to make you feel old. Of course, there are my two grandsons, Andrew and Will to help my that feeling.

Took the car (2015 Nissan Murano) in for routine service this week. Had the 25,000-mile service performed even though the car only has 23,553 miles on it. The service department also found the source of the rattle over the right side front door. They ordered a new rail and replaced it on Thursday. When they did, the discovered another rattle related to a drip strip, which they also replaced. That seems to have fixed it, but we’ll be keeping “an ear out for it” to make sure it’s gone before next month’s trip up north.

Mid-November Already !?

It’s true. The older you get, the faster time flies. I’m not even ready for summer yet, and it’s long over. Sue and I both have colds (or something) which we will recover from soon. Otherwise, it’s a fairly quiet time in out lives.

But of course, we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving. We plan to host Carlene’s family at our house. We have a turkey and ham which we will use, and Sue is planning to prepare her sausage dressing/stuffing. Carlene’s crew will provide the side dishes – although I’m hoping Sue will fix creamed onions for me.

There are a few wildfires in the area. None are close to us, but due to a weather “inversion”, there is plenty of smoke in the air. I haven’t had any noticeable trouble breathing yet, but won’t be surprised if something develops – particularly with my cold.

Ah Choooo….

For as long as I can remember, allergies have been a part of my life. I credit the DNA from my father’s side of the family for bestowing these on me, as the entire Ferguson clan was a collection of red, watery eyes and continuous sniffling. Regardless of the season, there always seemed to be some allergens in the environment that would taunt me. I spent the first quarter century of my life in southern New England (Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) accepting my condition without question.

In my later twenties, I moved to Cleveland, Ohio. When people noticed me sneezing, the locals would tell me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.” Personally, I couldn’t tell any difference in “sneezing habits.”

After eleven years in Ohio, I moved back to southern New England – specifically into the Hartford, CT area. Interestingly, when I exhibited allergy-related symptoms, people would tell me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.” Strangely, I had not heard this while growing up in the area. Had we been invaded by pollens during my decade away?

Upon retirement twenty-three years later, I relocated to southeast Tennessee, bringing my allergies with me. Sure enough, local folks started telling me, “This is the worst location in the country for allergies. Drug companies test allergy-related medicines here.”

So I see two possible explanations. (1) Everybody (with the possible exception of folks in Arizona) thinks they live in the worst spot in the country for allergies, or (2) I have had the uncanny luck of taking up residence in the three most allergy-laden spots in the country. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.