I have Never Laughed so Hard...

True story: Amish Puppy Mill Breeder walks into the dog pound with 2 pure breed Yorkies. One male. One female. He is getting out of the dog business. He can't make money at it any more. He was able to sell off most of his stock but no one wanted these two because they aren't producing any puppies. He hands the dogs over to the dog warden and leaves. A volunteer / shelter works handles the dogs and they are very nice, very social, very friendly. Not your typical Amish Mill dogs. They get out the camera to get pictures of the dogs to get them up on line so that hopefully they will get adopted quickly and out of the pound before it is too late. The pound is very small and the volunteers do a great job moving dogs out of the shelter but there are always more dogs coming in and some dogs that just sit in the shelter for weeks waiting for someone to take them out of there. As the volunteers were handling the dogs they realized something. The female had a spay scar! OMG are you kidding me... that is hilarious! The Amish Mill owner had no idea that he dog he purchased or got for free out of the news paper or wherever he got it from was sprayed. That is awesome! Just another reason you should always spay / neuter your pets. I know people don't believe me when I say be careful that your dog(s) don't end up in a mill producing puppies. See I am right! They do end up in Mills and look by having your dog spayed it saved her life!

A Bit of Dosh

That’s a word I learned from a brit who was my roommate in new orleans back in 1986 - we’d met at the youth hostel and, both fish out of water, decided to share the cost of rent in the french quarter in a little studio apartment upstairs of the parade bar. I think that he came from a comfortable background and was “roughing it” but could have wired home for “a bit of dosh” whenever he wanted, whereas there wasn’t truly that much money back home waiting for me to wire home for. I mean, mom and dad could have flown me home, perhaps... but they might not have been able to bail me out of jail. In any case, I’m reminded of this turn of phrase as a musician - all musicians are in one way or another hustling for a bit of dosh. Few of us are naive and / or stupid enough to be motivated by the idea of a lot of it, but we all need a bit of it, for rent, for food, for guitar strings or what have you. And it is because of this that we are concerned with copyright. Particularly when we get older money becomes more of an issue. 

When you’re 20 you can wing it, fly by the seat of your pants, do without, but when you’re twice that you start needing some comfort, and if you’ve got bairns they require a great deal of it. This is why you see some of the old acts hustling more now than they ever have before - they are realizing that if they don’t cash in now they’re going to have trouble picking up the tab later. And nothing says elder statesman like being able to pick up the tab. You feel as if you’re an adult if you can dial back and help out those 20-somethings who are what you were, more or less. Give them a bed and three squares, loan them a nice jacket. You can’t do this if you are scraping just like you did back then. And as far as stupid jobs are concerned, your tolerance for those decreases as the proximity of your death increases.

It is roundabout this train of thought that I recalled the fact that somebody owes me money, possibly a little, possibly a lot. Possibly a very great deal - hard to say, really. The trouble is, I do not want to talk to them about this matter or anything else. I’d kissed it all off, frankly, in exchange for that pleasurable luxury: not having to talk to them. But then again, isn’t that what nasty sharklike lawyers are for? What to do, what to do. I’m not really that sort, and water has flowed beneath this bridge all right, enough to cover the face of the earth. But as others are now dependent upon me to stock the table, I must revisit this idea of shaking the old tree for what is rightfully mine, that which I have abdicated lo these many years in order to enjoy that trade-off of not having to speak to or look in the faces of people who make me check my pockets whenever I stand within ten feet of them. What to do, what to do. what would you do? Of course if i were like most people i’d have the memory and the nose of an elephant when it comes to money. I suppose that’s a reason, if not the main reason, why I have so very little of it.

A Head's Up

Hello Everyone!  Hope you're all well. I am enjoying Disney World for the first time ever! Had a great time on the beach last Sunday for my 40th, thanks so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes (my feet, however, wish I had remembered to cover them as much as I did everything else as they are still a little sore ,oops apparently the mind is the first thing to go...) so, it turns out there were a few technical difficulties with the contest, so everyone who has commented will be entered and I'll announce the winner in a couple of days. Yay! I'm looking forward to it! Now, I must leave you all for the moment while I check the hours for Epcot tomorrow. Best to you all and I'll 'see' you soon!

Shift Happens

That's right, shift happens. And it's been happening all around us lately. And it's all good! I didn't want to come back on this blog and post the typical, "I'm so sorry I haven't blogged in six months" that most people blurp out. So I'll just be plain honest and authentic. The only way I know how to be. Life has been wonderful for all of us, really wonderful! We spent some time in Alabama after leaving Florida back in Jan/Feb. Alabama is beautiful and we plan on visiting again as we really enjoyed our time there. We left just in time, by chance, to miss the tornado's that ripped through Alabama and the surrounding areas. We actually arrived back in Ontario, Canada at the end of March. For any of you that know Ontario and the month of March are probably wondering WHY we would be back that early in the year. Burr! As soon as we hit Michigan there was SNOW. We knew we were in for a long wait for Spring/Summer to arrive. But we came back to help family and that's just what we have been doing. We were invited to stay at a family members property for a little while. This "little while" turned into four (long) months. Although the property we stayed on was beautiful - country setting and all - it became a little cramped and inconvenient for all of us. We had no hook ups (no water, no electricity) in the RV but were able to use the facilities in the house (that's vacant) on the property. That was kind of neat for a week or two. But then something happened to the well (the house is on well water and septic) and there went our water supply. Driving into town to families places to shower, brush our teeth and do dishes was far from enjoyable.

So we decided to go and grab a campsite at a local conservation area. We will be here until the end of September. We are familiar with this campground as we have stayed here before and it's a really convenient location for us at the moment. We have been here for about three weeks now and are thoroughly enjoying the modern conveniences of running water and 30 Amp electricity (yay for air conditioning!) all within the comfort of our home! Another thing we have been really enjoying while staying at this campground is the fact that our friends, Stephanie, Greg & Noƫlle are staying at the campsite right across from us! We have been in touch with them for over a year now online and they have just, within the last week or so, became full timers! Congratulations you three! We are still beyond excited for you to begin your full time journey! So enjoying a Canadian summer with family, friends, and tons of fun is what we have been up to. As many of you that follow us on Facebook (where I update regularly because it's fast, convenient and interactive) know, we do not have Internet in the RV. We have to drive to the library or some place with WiFi to grab a signal. For me, as a blogger, I love to blog in the moment and can't be bothered with pre-blogging and then posting and adding pictures later. So I blog when I can and when I have something to share. Thank you all for your kind and encouraging emails for me to continue posting here. I hope that you all have been enjoying your summer and creating beautiful memories along the way. It's time for me to get back to my family and enjoy a delicious summer barbecued meal!

How to Lose Weight the Easy Way

If you think you have to follow strict rules or suffer to lose weight, think again. The easy way to lose weight is to indulge your weaknesses. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But when I finally understood this concept, I understood why most diets fail us. That's right, the diets fail us because they force us to follow rules that go against human nature. It's really quite simple, the more you can't have something, the more you want it. Until you become absolutely obsessed. Think about it. Suppose you like to snack at night. If you follow a diet that eliminates snacks or eating after a certain time of day, you constantly have to fight the urge to snack at night. And that's like asking to fail. In fact, that's probably when you will fail. And if you decide you can't live with that restriction, you'll abandon the diet altogether. But if you schedule a satisfying snack for that time every night, it'll be easier to stick with your weight loss diet plan. So by indulging your weakness, eventually you overcome it.

Another common problem is having a sweet tooth.What if your diet doesn't let you indulge often enough? Or you're only allowed to take one or two small bites of a tasty snack and it doesn't satisfy you? That's almost like torture. This time, suppose chocolate is your weakness. If you can't have it, how are you most likely to fail on your diet? That's right, by eventually giving up and splurging on chocolate because you'll feel deprived and become absolutely obsessed with eating it. But if you put chocolate and other sweets in your weight loss program in amounts that are satisfying, you'll reduce or even eliminate the problem. And you're much more likely to stay on your eating plan and lose the weight. So again, by indulging your weakness, you overcome it. Now understand that when I say you overcome your weakness, I don't mean you won't crave chocolate. I just mean you're more likely to keep your cravings under control and stay on your diet. And you may find that the more chocolate you eat, the less chocolate you want. It's like working in a candy store. If your boss never allows you to eat candy, you'll want it more. Sure, you may try to follow the rules at first, but eventually, you'll start sneaking candy. You'll promise yourself you'll only do it once, but we both know you'll do it again, and again, and again until you're stuffing yourself with as much candy as you can get.

Now suppose your boss tells you that you can eat all the candy you want whenever you want. Your face will light up as you imagine yourself gorging on candy every day. But the reality is you'll probably indulge in your favorites at first, then level off. You may eat candy from time to time, but your obsession will evaporate. After all, if the candy's always available to you, what's the urgency in eating it? You'll still like candy as much as you always did, but you'll probably eat much less when you know you can have it anytime. It's just human nature. The more you can't have something, the more you want it, and the reverse is also true, the more you can have something, the less you want it. So you're less likely to binge and ruin your weight loss. Again, by indulging your weakness, you overcome it. Have you ever tried a low-carb diet? When you cheated, did you reach for another steak or did you grab some carbs? Exactly, we always cheat on a diet by breaking the rules. So stop torturing yourself with strict rules. Instead, indulge your weaknesses and lose weight the easy way.

What is Gravity?

One of the most familiar forces is also the most mysterious, and that is gravity. In general, gravity is the force that pulls together all matter (which is anything you can physically touch). The more matter, the more gravity, so things that have a lot of matter such as planets and moons and stars pull more strongly. The amount of matter in something is called its mass. The more massive something is, the more of a gravitational pull it exerts. As we walk on the surface of the Earth, it pulls on us, and we pull back. But since the Earth is so much more massive than we are, the pull from us is not strong enough to move the Earth, while the pull from the Earth can make us fall flat on our faces. In addition to depending on the amount of mass, gravity also depends on how far you are from something. This is why we are stuck to the surface of the Earth instead of being pulled off into the Sun, which has many more times the gravity of the Earth. Most of us know the effects of the mysterious force called gravity. However, the question "what is gravity" is not very easy to answer, because we don't really understand what this force actually is. What we do know about gravity is mostly due to the work of three men, Johannes Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Kepler worked out the details of how the orbits of the moon and planets can be described mathematically. This is also known as the Kepler laws of planetary motion, but it does not answer the question "what is gravity".

Newton, reportedly while observing an apple falling from a tree, got an inspiration that allowed him to work out how the force of gravity can be described mathematically. It later became apparent that there are some scenarios where Newton's mathematical description does not quite hold, but it still the simplest way of describing gravity. It does however also not answer the "what is" question. Newton was uncomfortable with his own theory of gravity. He said that his theory never "assigned the cause of this power". He was unable to experimentally identify what produces the force of gravity and he refused to even offer a hypothesis as to the cause of this force on grounds that to do so was not sound science. Einstein later worked out how the force of gravity is not quite a force, but rather an artifact of the natural movement of objects through curved four-dimensional space-time. Einstein reportedly got the inspiration for this imaginative leap in understanding of gravity by contemplating a man falling off a building. Such a falling man would not experience any force while he is falling, at least not before hitting the ground and suffering severe forces. In his monumental 1916 work "The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity", Albert Einstein unified his own Special Relativity, Newton's law of universal gravitation, and the crucial insight that the effects of gravity can be described by the curvature of space and time, usually called 'space-time' curvature. The radius of curvature is modified by relativistic factors, by a gravitational time dilation and by a velocity time dilation.

This causes the acceleration of a falling object, as experienced by the free falling object to be larger than what Newton predicted. So, what's gravity? The truth is that at the most fundamental level, no one really knows. This blog only summarizes the basics of Newton's and Einstein's gravity in terms of the gravitational acceleration caused by curved space-time and velocity. We may have to wait for a theory of quantum gravity to be completed for a better answer. Quantum gravity is the field of theoretical physics attempting to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity in a self-consistent manner, or more precisely, to formulate a self-consistent theory which reduces to ordinary quantum mechanics in the limit of weak gravity (potentials much less than the speed of light squared) and which limits Einstein's general relativity to large actions (action much larger than the Planck's constant). The theory must be able to predict the outcome of situations where both quantum effects and strong-field gravity are important (at the Planck scale, unless large extra dimension conjectures are correct). Although some quantum gravity theories such as string theory and other so-called theories of everything attempt to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces, others such as loop quantum gravity make no such attempt, they simply quantize the gravitational field while keeping it separate from the other forces. So far, cosmologists, physicists and mathematicians have not arrived at a consistent theory of gravity that melds quantum mechanics with the theory of relativity.

How the Digital Age Changed Everything

When I first started reading science fiction, around the age of twelve, the world was a different place. A telephone was a black instrument chained to the wall by a cord. Books had hard covers. Computers were a gleam in some scientist's eye. Even science fiction was packaged in 8 ½ by 11 magazines printed on blotting paper with garish covers on them. Getting to the moon was an impossible dream. The only people you considered your friends lived in your neighborhood, and you corresponding with people by writing a letter on paper and mailing it. Only a few people had TV sets and the shows were in black and white. Even the science-fiction writers I read could not guess the changes that would occur in the twenty-first century. Of all the changes that have occurred since then, none changed our way of life more profoundly than the home computer and the internet.

And the changes are accelerating. Who would've ever believed that one could carry around a powerful computer in your pocket? That people would read books on devices that would threaten the print book industry? Children would go online for cartoon coloring pages? And who would believe that you could get information on any subject simply by typing in the subject and clicking on an icon labeled Search? Or order any item at the lowest possible price simply by typing and clicking an the back of a gadget that looks like a bug or a mouse? That people would be in constant touch with people they hardly know all over the world and get all the details of their lives? Or that people would spend hours in virtual worlds? Or that secrecy would come to an end where even the most repressive government cannot control what information their people receive or what secrets are revealed? Or that people would get in traffic accidents because they are typing messages while they drive? That I could talk to my daughter face-to-face even though she lives three thousand miles away? 

That a gadget in my car would give directions on how to go anywhere as I drive, telling me exactly when I need to turn as I approach the intersection? And that is only the beginning of the changes that are occurring. Soon we'll have robot servants, driverless automobiles and the ability to speak to our computers instead of having to type or use a mouse. Just recently a video game allows a person to control the action by simply waving arms around. And what about the special effects in movies these days? And now 3d TV sets are available. The digital age has ushered a new language as well. Here are few of the new words: lol, faq, IM-ing, fb, e-mailing, e-books, download, upload, web site, internet, web page, tweeting, unfriending, writing on a wall, Twitter, Facebook, Google and googling, and on and on. It's hard to say what will be next. Today's world goes so far beyond the world of my youth that even the most imaginative SF writers of that time could not imagine it.