Friday Four

Friday, January 01, 2016

On Friday, I usually post a list of four interesting or positive things. It seems appropriate to start the new year this way. Happy New Year!

1. Yesterday, we took Little Man and Pumpkin to an indoor playground made up of an assortment of inflatable attractions, like slides, bounce houses, and jump courses. That day, the playground was holding a New Year's party with a balloon drop, which Little Man loved. Towards the end, Little Man had done everything and had no use for dancing to blaring noise, so he went off to a small bounce house that was filled with balloons. He found an air leak and enjoyed conducting little physics experiments with the leak and the balloons.

And, while I'm talking about Little Man, who is inching closer to potty training, I can't resist noting that he has become more creative -- and yet, strangely less effective -- about avoiding diaper changes lately.

For the past few weeks, I know he's due for a diaper change when ... I hear him asking for help shortly after the door to the play room slams shut. He's made that room into the office where he does his business, but hasn't figured out doorknobs, yet.

In other toddler news, Pumpkin got her first bike, with training wheels, this Christmas and actually got to enjoy it since it was about seventy out.

2. Via HBL, I learned of an upbeat end-of-year review by one of my favorite columnists, John Stossel. Among other things, he notes:

Sure, income inequality has grown -- but so what? The rich don’t get richer at the expense of the poor. Poor people’s income grew 48 percent over the past 35 years. Bernie Sanders says that “the middle class is disappearing!” But that’s mainly because many middle-class people moved into the upper class. Middle class incomes grew 40 percent over the past 30 years.[italics in original, bold added]
Also worth noting is that today, even the poor have access to goods and technology that even the wealthiest and most powerful in the past could only dream of.

3. The front yard of our new house has what I now regard my favorite -- read: maintenance-free -- natural ground cover: moss. The back yard and the woods behind us have ample shares of it, as well. And so it is that an illustrated article on moss viewing first caught my eye:
Even in Japanese cities, seemingly far away from the natural abundance of Yakushima or Yatsugatake, you’ll often see moss growing on the asphalt along urban backstreets. And if you look at it closely, you’ll see that even this curbside moss comes in more than one variety. In a spot that, at a glance, may seem extremely inhospitable to any kind of plant life, close examination reveals more species of moss than you can count, growing greenly over small cracks by the sidewalk.
The pictures are beautiful, and I can't wait to get a magnifying glass out and start looking around for myself.

Both kids have been entertaining themselves with magnifying glasses lately, too, so maybe they'll enjoy this a little bit, too.

Do visit the article and enjoy the images.

4. Scott Berkun has come out with a list of his best posts of the year, one of which I think writers would do well to review. Here's a point from his "28 (Better) Things No One Tells You About Publishing":
Your reasons for writing must transcend fame and wealth as neither are likely from writing alone. Most books you read are written by writers who pay their rent through other means. If you want fame and wealth from writing be committed to the long term. This takes the pressure off each book, and you’ll be open to learning instead of foolishly trying to hit a grand slam on your first try. [bold in original]
He also notes in a couple of places that it can be quite easy to start selling a book.

-- CAV

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