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Never Take for Granted a Good Night's Sleep

It is 3 a.m. on the Monday after Thanksgiving as I begin drafting this essay. I just polished off the last small leftover serving of a pineapple casserole, affectionately known as “Aunt Elsie”, our daughter brought to dinner last Thursday. Family lore has it that many years ago, my wife’s Aunt Elsie paid $50 for the recipe and then shared it with the entire family—thus the “Aunt Elsie” moniker. But already I digress. The idea behind this essay flows from the toast I made to our family at Thanksgiving dinner. Basically, I asked everyone to think about the people and things that are important in their lives but that they take for granted. For example, we take for granted that we are a loving family and that as a group we have wholly positive relationships with one another. On holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, when stress levels tend to be higher than average, we still all get along without any negativity. Every grouping of family members within the extended family helps in th

If Dolphins Could Tell Time

If Dolphins Could Tell Time Here’s a brain-teaser you can take to your “End of Daylight Saving Time (DST)” party this weekend. DST ends Sunday, November 7, at 2 a.m., and we set our clocks back by one hour. “Spring forward, Fall back”, is all we need to remember twice a year. The brain-teasing question is as follows: In San Diego, will there be more, less, or the same amount of daylight (the time from sunrise to sunset) on Sunday versus the day immediately prior, Saturday, November 6? Think you have the answer? Let me add additional true facts and see if you change your thinking. In San Diego, sunrise will be at 6:11 a.m. Sunday and 7:10 a.m. on Saturday. Sunset will be at 4:52 p.m. Sunday afternoon and 5:53 p.m. on Saturday. To repeat the question: Will the amount of daylight on Sunday be more, less or the same amount as on Saturday? I only pre-tested the question on one person prior to publishing it. She guessed correctly on the third try. The answer is at the end of this essay.

We Never Guess, We Look It Up

We Never Guess, We Look It Up Born in 1942, I grew up in a much simpler world than the one I live in today, or so I believed during my formative years. From my perspective in 2021, however, the world probably was just as complex and complicated then as it is today. I just didn’t know it. Nor could I. Why not? Because for my generation, most everything we were taught in elementary school or learned on our own—our foundation of knowledge—was to be found on a printed page. If it wasn’t printed and on a shelf at home, in school, in a store or in a library, it did not exist—or so we thought. In contrast, today’s children and young- to middle-aged adults have grown up in an environment where information about the entire world is accessible easily and instantaneously through iPhones and other smart phones. Whereas those of us born during or shortly after World War II thumbed through tables of contents in books, especially encyclopedias, subsequent generations scrolled through Google searc

Inaugural Guest Essay: Reaction to Proposal for Accreditation of Candidates for Public Office

From time to time I will publish guest essays, both original pieces (such as a series on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, to be published probably starting in early 2022) and responses to essays I previously published. This is such a response. By publishing it my intent is to give exposure to a thought-provoking response disagreeing respectfully with an essay I had written earlier, a copy of which follows the guest essay. Publication of the guest essay does not mean I agree with the author, nor am I endorsing her point of view. Nonetheless, it is a thoughtful and substantive commentary and I want to give it exposure. The author, Christine (Chris) Brant has authorized me to identify her and provide her email address (christine.a.tales@gmail.com). Her essay follows and the essay to which she is responding is shown following hers. In regards to Mark Riedy's article on Elected Officials possible National Education and Training programs, let me be the first to respectfully present an

What Every Adult (Not Just Young Adults) Needs to Understand About Credit Scores

(The Calculation of Credit Scores may be Nuanced, Subtle, Counter-Intuitive) Dear Readers: Please treat this essay as a post-script to my recent essay targeting young adults and their need to understand credit scores. In part from your feedback to the original essay and in part from recent experience with a change in my own credit score, I firmly believe the topic needs to be understood better by all adults, not just young adults. Moreover, there are elements of the calculation that are subtle, nuanced and counter-intuitive, so much so that I strongly recommend parents and grandparents not only share the original essay with children and grandchildren but also review the material in that essay AND in this essay one-on-one with them. Expecting a child or grandchild to comprehend credit scores and how/why it will affect them without hand-holding is quite likely expecting too much. Without your direct help, children and grandchildren probably won’t “get it”. The day I sent readers the

Family Gatherings, Relationships with Friends and Birthday Palooza's (Will Continued Mutations of the COVID-19 Virus Put Them at Risk?)

With Delta and other variants lifting their ugly heads, a military disaster in Kabul, a huge hurricane in Louisiana and wildfires raging out of control in the Western United States, for my wife and me our greatest refuge and source of joy is our family, immediate and extended. We treasure every moment with them. Last Sunday was one of those family days filled with joy and laughter. Even as we partied, however, stirring in the back of my mind were fears we are nowhere near containing mutations of the COVID-19 virus in this country. I fear the great family times like I will describe briefly below may be at risk again in the future. Late Sunday morning, 13 (immediate and extended) family members gathered at our home to celebrate “birthday palooza”, co-celebrating four June - August birthdays simultaneously rather than stringing them out. A delicious brunch, followed by chocolate cake with individual candles on each slice (COVID precautions), and birthday gifts made for a happy day despi

Second Only to the Parent-Child Discussion of the Birds and the Bees (What Every Young Adult Needs to Understand About Credit Scores)

If I had used the title with Credit Scores first, I would have lost half of my readers before the end of this paragraph. And yet I firmly believe a parent-child discussion of credit scores, especially if the child is 18 +/- years of age, or irrespective of age is just beginning to use credit cards, is second in importance only to “the talk” about the birds and the bees. Also, it is less awkward. Moreover, the credit score discussion is especially crucial if the young adult is heading off to college or a junior college as an incoming first year student—away from parental oversight and where there are at least two great opportunities for them to screw up. First, flunk out of school. Second, fail to manage the payments on their two or more (probably recently new) credit cards properly and/or to make their apartment rent payments in full and on time, if they live off campus. Such a failure is the equivalent of flunking out of the financial system almost before you get into it. Many adult