Posts Tagged ‘ABC Wednesday’

There are certain things, such as fireworks and kaleidoscopes, that are never as impressive in graphic representation than they are in real life.

If you read the definition, you get no idea just how wonderful kaleidoscopes can be: “An optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces inclined to each other in an angle, so that one or more (parts of) objects on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, due to repeated reflection.

“The reflectors (or mirrors) are usually enclosed in a tube, often containing on one end a cell with loose, colored pieces of glass or other transparent (and/or opaque) materials to be reflected into the viewed pattern. Rotation of the cell causes motion of the materials, resulting in an ever changing viewed pattern.”

I was reminded of this when I was helping The Daughter clean out her room recently. I came across one of my old kaleidoscopes which I either lent her or she “borrowed.” It was so much fun looking through it that I borrowed it back.

NASA has provided instructions on making a kaleidoscope, appropriate, since its Hubble looked into a cosmic kaleidoscope last year.

I’ve just discovered that the Guinness-certified World’s Largest Kaleidoscope is not all that far from where I live, on Route 28 in Mount Tremper, Ulster County, New York. It stands 56 feet tall and is 38 feet in diameter. The family NEEDS to go this year!

Of course, my first thought involving the word is to the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by some Liverpudlian band on their Sgt. Pepper album, featuring the line “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” Apparently the reference is to one Yoko Ono.

Listen to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:
The Beatles, from the movie Yellow Submarine
Elton John, #1 in the US for 2 weeks in 1975, with the Reggae guitars of Dr. Winston O’Boogie.

I was thrilled by a pair of events addressing the historic Japan-United States enmity of the 1940s.

In May 2016, then-President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, the first American commander-in-chief to do so since the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city over 70 years earlier.

While criticized by those on the left and the right, I thought it was an important gesture. “As he promised, the president did not apologize for the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, which killed an estimated 215,000 people. He laid a wreath at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima and embraced a 91-year-old survivor of the nuclear attack.”

During his 20-minute remarks, “Obama said, ‘Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder the terrible forces unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead … their souls speak to us and ask us to look inward. To take stock of who we are and what we might become.’

“In the Hiroshima museum’s guest book before his speech, the President wrote that he hoped the world will ‘find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons.’‎” Most of the elderly survivors, I imagine, did not foresee an American President in their midst, in that place.

Then, in December 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered his condolences for his country’s attack on Pearl Harbor. “‘We must never repeat the horrors of war again, this is the solemn vow the people of Japan have taken,” he said. The Prime Minister was accompanied by President Obama, making the visit the first by the leaders of both countries.

“Mr. Abe paid tribute to the [2,400] men who lost their lives in 1941 at the naval base, many of whom remain entombed in the wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk by the Japanese that day, and vowed reconciliation and peace.

How did this come about?

“Just as was the case when Obama visited Hiroshima earlier in the year—as the first sitting U.S. President to go to the site of the atomic bombing—the visit by Abe comes after many years of debate in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere about how the two nations should come to terms with the legacy of World War II.”

Mr. Abe never actually apologized, but as one elderly Pearl Harbor survivor noted, the Prime Minister’s presence was even more important.

Henry Heimlich, the doctor who invented a lifesaving anti-choking procedure, died at the age of 96 in December 2016. He had some controversial medical theories, especially during his later years. But the Heimlich maneuver saved countless lives.

Performing abdominal thrusts involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using his or her hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm. This compresses the lungs and exerts pressure on any object lodged in the trachea, hopefully expelling it.”

The trick about the Heimlich maneuver Read the rest of this entry »

I recently noticed that actor/comedian Jackie Gleason would have turned 100 on February 26, 2016, and will have been dead 30 years come June 24, 2017.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I used to watch his Saturday night variety show on CBS fairly regularly. Gleason played a variety of characters, including the snobbish millionaire Reginald Van Gleason III, the put-upon character known as the Poor Soul, and Joe the Bartender, who always greeted the bug-eyed “Crazy” Guggenheim Read the rest of this entry »

Better Than English: Untranslatable Words defines the Yiddish word farpotshket as “Something that is all fouled up, especially as the result of attempts to fix it–repeatedly making something worse while trying to fix it.” It is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable.

This term rather well described me when I took wood shop in 7th and 8th grade. Read the rest of this entry »

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