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Friday, June 30, 2023

"Who Has Seen The Wind" - by W.O. Mitchell

One of The Wizard's favourite books

Who has seen the wind

"Who Has Seen the Wind" by W.O. Mitchell is a poignant coming-of-age novel that explores the themes of innocence, loss, and the search for meaning in a small prairie town in Western Canada.

The novel is set in the 1930s and follows the life of Brian O'Connal, a young boy growing up in the fictional town of Arcanum on the Saskatchewan prairie. The story is told through Brian's eyes as he navigates the challenges and complexities of growing up in a world that is both beautiful and cruel.

Mitchell's writing is poetic and evocative, painting a vivid picture of the prairie landscape and the people who inhabit it. His descriptions of the natural world are particularly striking, capturing the beauty and wonder of the prairie while also conveying its harshness and unpredictability. Mitchell's prose is spare and powerful, reflecting the spare beauty of the prairie itself.

At it's core, "Who Has Seen the Wind" is a meditation on the nature of existence and the fleeting nature of life. Mitchell explores the themes of loss and mortality with a deep sensitivity and compassion, showing how even the most seemingly insignificant moments can have profound implications for our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Brian's journey is at the heart of the novel, and Mitchell does an incredible job of capturing the innocence, curiosity, and vulnerability of childhood. Through Brian's eyes, we see the world anew, experiencing its beauty and cruelty in equal measure. As Brian grows older, he becomes increasingly aware of the complexities of life and the uncertainties that lie ahead.

The novel's other characters are also beautifully drawn, from Brian's family and friends to the various eccentric personalities he encounters in Arcanum. Mitchell imbues each character with their own unique voice and perspective, creating a rich and diverse cast of characters. The novel's characters are beautifully drawn, from Brian's family and friends to the various eccentric personalities he encounters in Arcanum. Mitchell imbues each character with their own unique voice and perspective, creating a rich and diverse cast of characters.

Mitchell's writing is lyrical and vivid, painting a rich and evocative picture of the prairie landscape and the people who inhabit it. He captures the harshness of life on the prairie, from the brutal winters to the unforgiving nature of the land, while also conveying the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

"Who Has Seen the Wind" is a powerful and moving novel that has stood the test of time. Mitchell's masterful storytelling and lyrical prose make this a must-read for anyone interested in Canadian literature or coming-of-age stories.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

R.I.P. Alan Arkin (1934 - 2023)

Alan Arkin

Alan Arkin died on Thursday at age 89. His manager, Estelle Lasher, confirmed the news to NPR in an email. Publicist Melody Korenbrot said he died in California but did not offer more details.  

Alan Arkin was an American actor, director, and musician, known for his versatile and highly regarded career spanning over six decades. Born on March 26, 1934, in New York City, Arkin has made significant contributions to both stage and screen, establishing himself as a highly respected and accomplished artist.

Arkin began his acting career in the late 1950s, performing in off-Broadway productions and studying at various prestigious acting schools. He gained recognition for his work in the improvisational comedy group called The Second City, where he honed his skills as a comedic actor. His talent and unique approach to comedy soon led him to make his mark on the national stage.

In 1963, Arkin made his film debut in the comedy film "That's Me," and the following year, he received critical acclaim for his role in the dark comedy "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He further showcased his acting prowess in the film "Wait Until Dark" (1967), in which he portrayed a menacing criminal opposite Audrey Hepburn.

Throughout his career, Arkin has demonstrated his ability to effortlessly transition between comedy and drama, earning recognition for his diverse range of roles. In the 1970s, he starred in notable films such as "Catch-22" (1970), a dark satire set during World War II, and "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (1968), for which he received his second Academy Award nomination.

Arkin's talent continued to shine in the 1980s and 1990s with memorable performances in films such as "The In-Laws" (1979), "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), and "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992). He received critical acclaim for his role as an unconventional therapist in the comedy-drama film "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Apart from his acting career, Arkin has also directed several films, including "Little Murders" (1971) and "The Return of Captain Invincible" (1983). In addition, he is an accomplished musician and has released several albums showcasing his skills as a folk singer and songwriter.

Alan Arkin's talent has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations throughout his career. In addition to his Academy Award nominations, he has received accolades from the Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, and Tony Awards, among others. His contributions to the entertainment industry have left a lasting impact and have cemented his status as one of the most respected actors of his generation.

Outside of his professional life, Arkin is known for his introspective and private nature. He has been married three times and has three sons, including actor Adam Arkin. Arkin has also been involved in various social and political causes, including activism against the Vietnam War and support for environmental issues.

Even in his late 80s, Alan Arkin continued to act and entertain audiences with his remarkable talent. His commitment to his craft and his ability to bring depth and authenticity to his characters have solidified his legacy as a true icon of the performing arts.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

How ChatGPT learns to give better answers

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. It is designed to have natural language processing capabilities and can understand and generate human-like responses to various types of queries.

It is built on a deep neural network that has been trained on a massive dataset of text. This allows it to generate responses that are contextually relevant and can emulate human conversation to a certain extent.

ChatGPT has been used in a variety of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text generation. It has shown impressive results in various benchmarks and has been used by businesses and researchers to improve customer support, automate tasks, and develop new language-based applications.

It's ability to understand and generate human-like responses has significant implications for the field of natural language processing and has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology in the future.

Interestingly, ChatGPT learns to give better answers through a process called training. During training, the model is fed with large amounts of data and adjusts its parameters to predict the most probable next word or sentence based on the context.

The data used to train ChatGPT can come from a variety of sources, including books, articles, and online conversations. The more diverse and extensive the training data, the better ChatGPT can understand and respond to different types of queries.

As ChatGPT interacts with users and receives feedback, it can also fine-tune its responses to provide more accurate and relevant answers. This process is known as reinforcement learning, where the model learns from its mistakes and tries to improve its performance.

In addition, the developers of ChatGPT can also improve the model by updating its architecture or fine-tuning its parameters based on the latest research and advancements in the field of natural language processing. All these efforts contribute to improving ChatGPT's ability to give better answers over time.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The End of June

See You Later June

As June comes to a close,
And the days stretch out so long,
We bid farewell to the rose,
And welcome summer's song.

The sun beats down so hot,
As we seek shade from its glare,
The air is thick and fraught,
With the scent of summer's air.

The ocean's waves crash in,
As we frolic in the sand,
With the sun on our skin,
We feel life is so grand.

The skies are blue and clear,
As we take to the open road,
With the summer's warmth so near,
We shed off our heavy load.

The flowers are in bloom,
In every shade and hue,
With the bees and butterflies,
Dancing their summer's cue.

The ice cream truck comes by,
And we eagerly line up in the sun,
To cool off with a sweet, icy sigh,
And enjoy summer's fun.

The nights are filled with stars,
As we gather 'round the fire,
With marshmallows on skewers,
And stories that never tire.

So let us embrace this time,
As we bid June farewell,
And celebrate the summer's prime,
With all its joys to tell.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

R.I.P. Sue Johanson (1930 - 2023)

Sue Johanson
Sue Johanson, the beloved Canadian broadcaster who in her golden years enraptured a generation with straightforward sex advice, has died today at age 93, which a representative confirmed to CBC News on Thursday.

Johanson died in a long-term care home in Thornhill, Ont., just north of Toronto, surrounded by her family, the representative said.

The broadcaster was best known for hosting the Canadian call-in radio and then television program Sunday Night Sex Show, which led to a successful U.S. spinoff called Talk Sex With Sue Johanson.

Born in Toronto, Johanson began her career as a nurse, receiving her training in Winnipeg. During the 1970s, she opened a birth control clinic at a Toronto high school and ran it for almost two decades.

Sue Johanson was a well-known Canadian sex educator and media personality. She gained popularity through her television show called "Talk Sex with Sue Johanson," which aired from 1996 to 2007. Sue Johanson has dedicated her career to providing sex education and promoting sexual health.

On her show, Sue Johanson would answer questions from viewers about various aspects of sexuality, including topics like contraception, sexually transmitted infections, sexual pleasure, and relationships. She approached these subjects with frankness, humor, and a non-judgmental attitude, making her show both informative and entertaining.

Sue Johanson's expertise and knowledge in the field of sex education have made her a respected figure in the industry. She has written books on sexual health, conducted lectures and workshops, and continues to advocate for comprehensive sex education.

It's worth noting that my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021, so there may have been more recent developments or projects involving Sue Johanson since then.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Senior's Day Discounts

Senior Discount

Senior's discount days are typically offered by businesses as a way to attract and retain senior customers who may have fixed incomes or limited financial resources. Many seniors are retired and have more flexible schedules, so offering discounts on certain days of the week can encourage them to visit stores during off-peak hours when they may be less busy. Note: check with store as some start offering senior discounts at 60.

Non-seniors, on the other hand, are not usually targeted with special discounts on specific days of the week because they are typically seen as having more disposable income and fewer financial constraints than seniors. Additionally, non-seniors are often still working full-time and may not have the flexibility to shop during off-peak hours.

However, it's worth noting that many businesses do offer discounts and promotions that are available to all customers, regardless of age. These may include seasonal sales, promotional codes, or loyalty programs. So while senior's discount days may be targeted specifically towards seniors, there are still plenty of opportunities for non-seniors to save money while shopping.

Senior's discount days can also be a way for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. If a particular store or chain offers discounts that are not available elsewhere, seniors may be more likely to choose that business over others when making purchasing decisions.

It's worth noting that senior's discount days are not limited to retail stores. Many restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses also offer discounts to seniors on certain days of the week or times of day. These discounts can be a way for businesses to attract older customers during slower periods and increase overall foot traffic.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The 411 - Dial Telephones

Dial Telephone

411Dial telephones were the standard for many decades before being replaced by push-button phones in the 1960s and 1970s. Here's how they worked:

  1. The user picked up the phone's handset and listened for a dial tone, which indicated that the line was clear and ready to use.

  2. To place a call, the user rotated a dial on the front of the phone, which was marked with the numbers 0 through 9. The dial was attached to a mechanism inside the phone that generated electrical pulses corresponding to each number as it was dialed.

  3. As the user rotated the dial, a mechanical interrupter (a set of contacts that opened and closed rapidly) in the phone interrupted the flow of current in the telephone line, sending a series of electrical pulses that corresponded to the numbers being dialed.

  4. These electrical pulses were transmitted over the phone network to the recipient's phone, where they were decoded and used to ring the recipient's phone.

  5. When the recipient answered the phone, the two phones were connected, and the users could speak to each other.

Dial phones relied on mechanical components, including gears and switches, to generate the electrical pulses needed to transmit phone numbers over the network. While they were relatively simple and reliable, they were also prone to wear and tear and could be slow to dial compared to push-button phones.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Why some people don't like it when you vape indoors...

Vaping Indoors

There are several reasons why people may not like when someone vapes indoors, even though vaping is not the same as smoking cigarettes. Here are some possible reasons:

  1. Secondhand vapor: Although vaping does not produce the same harmful chemicals as cigarette smoke, the vapor that is exhaled by a vaper can still contain potentially harmful substances such as nicotine and flavorings. This secondhand vapor can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat of non-vapers nearby and may cause respiratory problems in some individuals.

  2. Smell: Some people find the smell of e-cigarette vapor to be unpleasant or overpowering, especially if the vaper is using a strongly scented e-liquid.

  3. Etiquette: Vaping is still a relatively new practice, and some people may be uncomfortable with it because they are not used to it. Additionally, some people may see vaping as impolite or inconsiderate if they feel that the vaper is imposing their behaviour on others.

  4. Regulations and policies: Many public places, including offices, restaurants, and public transportation, have policies that prohibit vaping indoors. Violating these policies can result in fines or other penalties, so some people may object to vaping indoors simply because it is against the rules.

It's important to be respectful of others' preferences and follow any regulations or policies regarding vaping in public spaces. If you're unsure whether vaping is allowed in a particular location, it's always best to ask first or step outside to vape.

It's important to note, not all vaping devices produce a thick cloud of vapour, some barely can be seen and are really less obtrusive. I would never think of smoking indoors, vaping is a different thing. But as a practice, I vape outside anyway.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Caring for cut flowers

Fresh cut flowers

Here are some tips for caring for cut flowers and increasing their lifespan:

  1. Cut the stems: Start by cutting the stems of the flowers at a 45-degree angle with a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. This helps the flowers absorb water and nutrients more easily.

  2. Remove leaves: Remove any leaves or foliage that will be below the water line in the vase. This helps prevent bacteria growth in the water, which can shorten the life of the flowers.

  3. Use clean water: Fill a clean vase with fresh, cool water. Change the water every two to three days or as soon as it starts to look cloudy.

  4. Add flower food: Many florists provide packets of flower food with their arrangements. These contain nutrients that can help extend the life of the flowers. If you don't have any flower food, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of bleach to the water.

  5. Keep the water level consistent: Make sure the water level in the vase is high enough to cover the stems of the flowers at all times. Check the water level daily and add more as needed.

  6. Avoid direct sunlight: Keep the flowers in a cool, shaded area away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. This helps prevent wilting and keeps the flowers looking fresh.

  7. Trim the stems regularly: Every few days, trim the stems of the flowers again, cutting at a 45-degree angle. This helps keep the stems open and allows them to absorb more water and nutrients.

By following these tips, you can help extend the lifespan of your cut flowers and keep them looking fresh and beautiful for as long as possible.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The 411 - Munchausen by proxy


Munshausen by proxy

411Munchausen by proxy, also known as factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA), is a mental health disorder in which a caregiver or parent fakes or induces illness or symptoms in another person, typically a child, in order to gain attention, sympathy, or other benefits for themselves. This is a form of child abuse that can result in serious harm or even death of the victim. It is a rare disorder and can be difficult to diagnose because the perpetrator often appears to be a loving and concerned caregiver. Treatment for Munchausen by proxy typically involves therapy to address the underlying psychological issues and to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim.

Munchausen by proxy (MBP) is a rare form of child abuse that can have serious consequences for the victim. It is considered a form of mental illness that involves the caregiver, usually the mother, intentionally causing harm to the child in order to receive attention or sympathy from others. The harm can be physical or psychological, and can include inducing illness, tampering with medical tests or equipment, or even causing injury or poisoning.

MBP is often difficult to diagnose because the caregiver appears to be concerned and attentive to the child's needs. The perpetrator may manipulate medical professionals, exaggerating or fabricating symptoms to convince them of the child's illness. In some cases, the caregiver may move from one medical provider to another to avoid suspicion.

MBP can have serious consequences for the child, including repeated hospitalizations, unnecessary medical procedures, and long-term physical and psychological harm. It is essential to identify and stop the abuse as soon as possible to protect the child's health and safety.

Treatment for MBP typically involves therapy to address the underlying psychological issues that are driving the caregiver's behavior. The focus is on helping the caregiver develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn to meet their needs in a healthy way, without resorting to harming their child. In severe cases, legal intervention may be necessary to protect the child from further harm.

For reference, "Munchausen" typically refers to a condition called Munchausen syndrome, which is a rare mental disorder characterized by a person intentionally feigning or producing physical or psychological symptoms in order to gain attention and sympathy from others. This is different than Munchausen by proxy. 

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The 411 - Windows, macOS and Linux


macOS, Linux and Windows

411Windows, macOS, and Linux are three different operating systems used by computer users all over the world. Here are some key differences between them:

  1. User interface: Each of these operating systems has a different user interface. Windows has a taskbar and start menu, while macOS has a dock and menu bar, and Linux can have different types of desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, and XFCE.

  2. Compatibility: Windows is the most widely used operating system, and as such, most software and hardware is designed to work with it. macOS is also widely supported, but some software and hardware may not be compatible with it. Linux, on the other hand, is less widely used and may not be supported by all software and hardware.

  3. Customizability: Linux is known for being highly customizable, with users able to choose different desktop environments and customize them extensively. macOS also allows some customization, but not to the same degree as Linux. Windows offers some customization options, but not as much as Linux or macOS.

  4. Security: While all operating systems can be vulnerable to security threats, Linux is generally considered to be the most secure due to its open-source nature and the ability for users to customize and control their security settings. macOS is also considered relatively secure, but Windows is often seen as more vulnerable to attacks.

  5. Price: Windows and macOS are both commercial operating systems that require a license fee to use, while Linux is free and open-source. However, some Linux distributions may charge for support or additional features.

These are just some of the differences between Windows, macOS, and Linux. Ultimately, the best operating system for an individual depends on their specific needs and preferences.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Tuesday, June 27, 2023


1. AT-AT

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The AT-AT is an All Terrain Armoured Transport, more commonly known as an Imperial Walker in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). In the film they make a significant impact during the Battle of Hoth and they represented one of the iconic symbols of the Empire's military might. For that special young Jedi at Christmas time Hasbro has a range of toys that feature the Walker and are in the $(US)40-50 mark. Sadly there are no "big boys" toys available at present though robotics experts at the HRL Laboratories in California have indicated that constructing an AT-AT as a transport vehicle is possible. There are still a number of technological hurdles that need to be cleared, particularly in respect to the stability of the legs and the movements in their joints. The cost however, is likely to be prohibitive at this point and then there is the small matter of the intellectual property rights owned by LucasFilm.

2. The Hat-Copter

Inspector Gadget

The feasibility of a hat-copter, akin to that used by Inspector Gadget, does not exist however, Trek Aerospace have used the device as inspiration behind the design and creation of their Solo Trek XFV (Exo-skeletal Flying Vehicle) Helicopter. Essentially it is a strap on single person helicopter that is powered by a two stroke engine, comes complete with two large turbines, can travel at speeds of 80 miles per hour (100kms/hr) and remain airborne for almost two hours. Initial tests showed that the vehicle "appeared" to work perfectly but issues did arise. The company was not able to maintain the testing schedule and funding has since been removed. There was a model of this unit featured in the Frankie Muniz film "Agent Cody Banks" (2003) but it required special effects to show it in flight. My suggestion, get your partner a hang glider instead.

3. Light Cycle

Tron: Legacy

Parker Brothers Concepts, based in Florida, USA, is an operation run by Marc and Shannon Parker that specializes in building that "dream" vehicle for their clients. In striving to create these vehicles with the "wow" factor they soon attracted a number of high profile clients, which brought with it powerful media exposure. Their version of the Tron Light Cycle is a steel framed unit powered by a Suzuki TL1000 V-Twin engine and it comes complete with an iPad dock. The bad news is that (a) it doesn't fire a laser beam and (b) Parker Brothers only created ten of these cycles and they're priced at approximately $US55,000.

4. Batman Motorcycle Suit

The Dark Knight Rises

If you're buying your partner the Tron Light Cycle then protect them and make them look extra special by fitting them out with the Batman motorcycle suit. In the lead up to "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) UD Replicas produced a moulded leather and Kevlar body suit (as it appears in the movie) with adjustable leather gauntlets and removable body armour. The suit is an officially licensed replica and the pre-sale price list for 2017 will see you dishing out $US1,753 for a jacket, pair of pants, gloves, boots and, to cap it all off, a utility pouch

5. Barney Stinson Suit Pyjamas

How I Met Your Mother

Barney Stinson, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, is one of the five central characters in this television programme. He is (initially) a serial womanizer and the character, that most critics agree, that is the glue that keeps the show together. In the 2009 episode "The Front Porch" (season 4, episode 17) Barney shows up at a pyjama party wearing his silk suit and claiming it is his bedroom attire. He argues with Marshall that his suit is superior to Marshall's night shirt because it has the greater potential to attract women. The Legendary Suitjama Store (LSS) has cashed in on this and offers a wide range of this "legend-wait-for-it-dairy" nightwear for sale. For the record, that's not my cheap shot, that is how LSS have promoted it on their site.

6. Wand remote

The "Harry Potter" series

Authorised by Warner Brothers and put together by The Noble Collection this is an ideal gift for the serial couch potato. It has the power to turn the television set on and off, change channels and adjust the volume, all with the flick of the wrist. However, you can shout "accio popcorn" as much as you like, it will let you down in this regard every time.

7. Tricorder

Star Trek

MacGyver may have had his Swiss Army Knife but for me as a kid Dr McCoy's Tricorder, which could detect a myriad of diseases, was far cooler. In 2012 the US company, Qualcomm, also thought that a real life working Tricorder would be a cool thing and to this end they started up the X-Prize Foundation and have offered $10 million dollars to the first team that can produce one. There are conditions to this which include the unit being able to detect fifteen different diseases from a sore throat to colon cancer. Whilst we are not there yet there are units on the market such as Scanadu's device that can check vital signs such as heart and pulse rates, temperature and blood oxygenation. We're getting close folks.

8. Sex Panther Cologne

The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Brian Fantana, played by Paul Rudd, is a co-worker to Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in the above 2004 film. He is an overconfident and sleazy character who believes that all women will fall for his wiles. To this end he has a range of (for want of a better word) extraordinary colognes, one of which is the now infamous Sex Panther.

Brian Fantana: "No, she gets a special cologne... It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's illegal in nine countries... Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good."

Sadly for Brian others don't find it appalling rather than appealing. Despite this, Romane Fragrances LLC have released their own version of the officially licensed Sex Panther cologne. It comes complete with its own non-growl box, is priced around $US40 but unfortunately it cannot, currently, be shipped outside of the USA. Like the movie version, it too comes with the claim that "60% of the time, it works every time".

9. Talking Car

Knight Rider

During the 1980s every kid dreamed of owning a car like Michael Knight's (David Hasselhoff) KITT. Not only could it talk, it was virtually indestructible, had more gadgets than a "James Bond" movie and it even had its own cash dispenser.
The good news is, that in regard to the talking car aspect, the dream is getting closer to reality. At present we have GPS navigational devices that will tell us how we get to places, some even using your the voices of your favourite characters by which to navigate. I particularly liked the thought of deliberately taking the wrong turn so that Homer Simpson could yell out "DOH!" Nowadays, firms such as Denso Dynamics are taking the talking car technology to the next level. With their V2X system cars can talk to other similarly equipped vehicles and even roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights that will provide your car with valuable safety information, such as, the car in front is stopping suddenly. At present this data is voiceless but the dream is getting closer.

10. Power Laces

Back to the Future: Part II

In 2011 Nike released their "Air Mags" range of shoes that looked just like the ones worn by Marty McFly in the 1989 film. Sadly they were not the real deal as they lacked the eye popping key ingredient, the power laces. That was until 2015 when Nike found a way to install a weight sensor into the heel of the shoes so that the moment the wearer's feet settled on them the laces tightened automatically. Now for the not so good news - only limited quantities of the shoes are produced each year and these are auctioned off to the highest bidders with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The 411 - Coulrophobia



411The fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, is a type of specific phobia characterized by an irrational and persistent fear of clowns. People with coulrophobia may experience anxiety, panic attacks, and avoidance behavior when exposed to clowns, even in non-threatening situations.

There are many possible reasons why someone might develop a fear of clowns. Some people may have had a traumatic experience involving a clown, such as being scared by a clown at a birthday party as a child. Others may have seen scary depictions of clowns in movies or on television, which can create a lasting impression.

Coulrophobia is a treatable condition, and there are various therapies and techniques available to help people overcome their fear. These may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and relaxation techniques. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms of anxiety.

Coulrophobia is not uncommon and affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It is estimated that up to 12% of American adults have a fear of clowns to some degree. Some individuals may develop a phobia after a single negative experience, while others may have a predisposition to anxiety and be more prone to developing specific phobias like coulrophobia.

In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals change their negative thought patterns and behaviors related to clowns, exposure therapy is also commonly used. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the person to clowns in a safe and controlled environment until they feel comfortable and desensitized to them.

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can also be helpful in managing the anxiety and panic symptoms associated with coulrophobia. Additionally, support groups or online forums can provide a sense of community and help individuals feel less alone in their fears.

It is important to note that not all clowns are meant to be scary, and that many people find them entertaining and even uplifting. However, for those with coulrophobia, the fear can be very real and debilitating. Seeking professional help is a positive step towards overcoming this phobia and improving overall mental health and wellbeing.

If you or someone you know has a fear of clowns that is interfering with their daily life, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support in overcoming this phobia and improving overall quality of life.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Life requires change


Life requires change

Monday, June 26, 2023

June Delight

Feet weave

Through fields of green and sky of blue,
A world of wonder and beauty anew,
A place where dreams can take flight,
And the stars come out to shine so bright.

With every step, a path unfolds,
A journey that's meant to be bold,
A life of joy, love, and light,
With every day so wondrously bright.

Through mountains high and oceans deep,
The world is vast and full of things to keep,
A treasure trove of memories to hold,
And adventures to be shared and told.

In every heart, a spark of hope,
A light that guides us on this road,
A flame that burns so bright and true,
A force that helps us see it through.

With every breath, we take in life,
The good, the bad, the joy, the strife,
A tapestry of moments woven tight,
A story of us that shines so bright.

In every soul, a fire burns,
A passion that forever yearns,
To seek the truth, to find the way,
To live life fully, come what may.

Through sun and rain, through night and day,
We journey on, come what may,
With love and hope to guide us through,
And dreams to make our hearts anew.

So let us walk this path together,
With hearts so full of love and wonder,
And may our journey be ever bright,
Filled with moments of pure delight.






L I F E - It goes on

Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Breville Convection Smart Oven

Breville Smart Oven

A convection toaster oven is a small kitchen appliance that combines the functionality of a toaster with the convenience of a small oven. It uses a fan to circulate hot air around the food, which helps to cook it more evenly and quickly than a traditional oven.

The Breville Smart Oven is a popular convection toaster oven that offers a range of features and functions. Here are some of its key features:

  1. Convection Cooking: The Breville Smart Oven uses convection cooking to circulate hot air around the food, resulting in faster and more even cooking.

  2. Multiple Cooking Functions: The Breville Smart Oven has multiple cooking functions, including bake, broil, roast, pizza, and reheat. It also has a dedicated "toast" function with variable browning control.

  3. Size and Capacity: The Breville Smart Oven is a compact appliance that can fit on your countertop. It has a 0.8 cubic-foot interior that can accommodate six slices of toast, a 12-inch pizza, or a four-pound chicken.

  4. Easy-to-Use Controls: The Breville Smart Oven has easy-to-use controls, including a digital LCD display with a temperature range of 120-450°F and a timer up to 60 minutes.

  5. Accessories: The Breville Smart Oven comes with a range of accessories, including a baking pan, broil rack, and crumb tray.

Since The Wizard got this oven I have not used my regular oven once in the last 3 years. This saves power and more. The Breville Smart Oven is a versatile and efficient convection toaster oven that can handle a variety of cooking tasks. Its compact size, multiple functions, and easy-to-use controls make it a popular choice among home cooks who want to save space without sacrificing cooking performance.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Back the truck up!



Backing up your data on your PC is an essential task that can help you protect your important files and documents in case of a hardware failure, theft, or other unexpected events. Here are some steps you can follow to back up your data:

Step 1: Decide on a backup method There are several backup methods you can use, including external hard drives, cloud storage services, or backup software. Consider your needs and choose a method that works best for you.

Step 2: Determine what data to back up Decide what files and data you want to back up. This may include documents, photos, videos, music, and other important files.

Step 3: Choose a backup location If you're using an external hard drive, connect it to your computer and choose a backup location. If you're using cloud storage, sign up for a service and choose a location to store your backup files.

Step 4: Start the backup process Depending on your backup method, you can manually copy and paste files to your backup location, use backup software to automate the process, or upload files to your cloud storage service.

Step 5: Monitor and update your backup regularly It's important to monitor your backup process and update it regularly. This ensures that your backup files are up-to-date and that you're prepared for any potential data loss.

Step 6: Test your backups with regularity to determine if it can actually be restored.

Backing up your data is a relatively easy process that can save you from the stress of losing important files. By following these steps, you can ensure that your data is safe and secure.

Some of the best backup software is actually free. Windows backup comes with Windows and provides a decent backup solution, Deja Dup is a great tool for Linux and Time Machine available on macOS.  

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The 411 - Flowers and reproduction

Flower and a bee


Flowers are the reproductive structures of angiosperms, which are the most diverse group of plants on Earth. Angiosperms use flowers to produce seeds, which allow them to reproduce and spread their genes to the next generation.

The process of flower reproduction involves several steps, including pollination, fertilization, and seed formation. Let's take a closer look at each of these steps.

  1. Pollination: Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of a flower (the anther) to the female part (the stigma) of the same or another flower. Pollination can occur in several ways, including wind, water, and animals. Animal pollination is the most common method, and it is carried out by insects, birds, bats, and other animals that are attracted to the flowers by their colors, scents, and nectar.

  2. Fertilization: Once the pollen grains reach the stigma, they germinate and form a pollen tube that grows down through the style and into the ovary, where the ovules are located. The sperm cells then travel down the pollen tube and fertilize the egg cells inside the ovules. This process is called double fertilization, and it results in the formation of a zygote (which develops into the embryo) and an endosperm (which provides nutrients to the developing embryo).

  3. Seed formation: After fertilization, the ovules develop into seeds, which contain the embryo, endosperm, and a protective seed coat. The seeds are then dispersed by various means, such as wind, water, or animals, to new locations where they can germinate and grow into new plants.

It's worth noting that not all flowers are the same in terms of their reproductive structures. Some flowers have both male and female parts (hermaphroditic), while others have only one or the other (unisexual). Some flowers are also self-pollinating, meaning they can fertilize themselves without the need for external pollinators.

So, flower reproduction is a complex and fascinating process that involves pollination, fertilization, and seed formation. This process ensures the survival and spread of angiosperms, which play a critical role in the ecosystems and economies of our planet.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Saturday, June 24, 2023

"It's a trap!"


"It's a trap!"

"It's a trap!" is a phrase that has become popularized in popular culture, particularly in the context of movies and TV shows. The phrase is often used to warn someone that they are being lured into a dangerous or deceptive situation.

The origins of the phrase can be traced back to the Star Wars franchise, specifically the character Admiral Ackbar in the 1983 film "Return of the Jedi." In the movie, Ackbar utters the phrase when he realizes that the Rebel Alliance is being led into a trap by the Galactic Empire.

Since then, the phrase has become a popular meme and catchphrase, used in a variety of contexts to warn of danger or deception. It has been parodied in numerous TV shows, movies, and video games, and has even been used in political discourse to describe perceived attempts to deceive or mislead.

  1. The phrase has been used in a variety of contexts, from science fiction to politics. In science fiction, it has been used in shows like "Star Trek" and "Stargate," while in politics, it has been used to describe everything from campaign tactics to diplomatic negotiations.

  2. The phrase has also spawned a number of memes and parodies, with variations like "It's a map!" and "It's a snap!" being used for humorous effect.

  3. The phrase has become so popular that it has even been added to some dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "It's a trap!" as "a phrase used to convey a sense of foreboding or warn of a dangerous or deceptive situation."

  4. The phrase has also been used in advertising and marketing, with companies like Taco Bell and Pepsi using variations of the phrase in their advertising campaigns.

  5. In addition to being a catchphrase, "It's a trap!" has become a cultural touchstone, with references to the phrase appearing in everything from video games to music.

The phrase "It's a trap!" has become a widely recognized catchphrase that conveys a sense of danger or foreboding. Its origins in the Star Wars franchise, combined with its flexibility and versatility, have helped make it a pop culture phenomenon that continues to be used and referenced in a variety of contexts.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The 411 - Cleaning your glasses

Cleaning your glasses

411Keeping your eyeglasses clean is important to ensure that you can see clearly and to prevent damage to the lenses. Here are the steps to clean your eyeglasses:

  1. Wash your hands: Before touching your eyeglasses, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt or oils from your skin.

  2. Rinse with water: Hold your eyeglasses under a gentle stream of lukewarm water to remove any surface debris, such as dust or dirt.

  3. Apply cleaning solution: Apply a small amount of lens cleaner to both sides of the lenses. Avoid using household cleaners, as they may damage the lens coatings.

  4. Wipe with a microfiber cloth: Gently wipe the lenses with a microfiber cleaning cloth, starting at the center and moving outward in a circular motion. Use a separate cloth for your frames to avoid scratching the lenses.

  5. Dry and inspect: Use a dry part of the microfiber cloth to dry the lenses and inspect them for any smudges or streaks. If necessary, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the lenses are clean.

  6. Store properly: When you're not wearing your glasses, store them in a case to protect them from scratches and other damage.

It's a good idea to clean your eyeglasses daily to prevent buildup of dirt and oils, which can cause smudging and reduce clarity of vision. If you're out and about and don't have access to lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth, you can use a soft, clean tissue or a piece of your clothing to gently wipe your lenses. However, be careful not to use any rough or abrasive materials, as they can scratch the lenses.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Happiness is a warm puppy

Puppy in a hand

When choosing a new puppy, there are several things you can look for to help ensure you get a healthy and happy pet. Here are some tips on what to look for in a new puppy and how to take care of it:

  1. Temperament: Look for a puppy with a friendly and outgoing temperament. You want a puppy that is social and enjoys interacting with people and other animals.

  2. Health: Choose a puppy that looks healthy with bright, clear eyes and a shiny coat. Make sure the puppy has been vaccinated and dewormed.

  3. Breed: Choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and needs. Some breeds are more active than others and may require more exercise, while others may have a higher tendency to shed or have certain health issues.

  4. Size: Consider the size of the puppy when it's fully grown. If you live in a small apartment, you may want to choose a smaller breed that will be more comfortable in a small space.

  5. Energy level: Consider the puppy's energy level and activity needs. If you're looking for a running partner, choose a breed that is known for its high energy level.

Once you've chosen your puppy, it's important to take good care of it. Here are some tips on how to care for your new puppy:

  1. Nutrition: Feed your puppy a high-quality, age-appropriate dog food. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, so choose a food that is formulated for puppies.

  2. Exercise: Puppies need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Make sure your puppy gets plenty of opportunities to play and run around.

  3. Training: Start training your puppy early. Teach basic obedience commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward good behaviour.

  4. Socialization: Socialize your puppy with other people and animals early on. Take your puppy to puppy classes and let it interact with other puppies and dogs.

  5. Health care: Schedule regular visits to the vet for checkups and vaccinations. Make sure your puppy is up to date on all necessary vaccinations and flea and tick prevention.

By choosing a healthy and well-bred puppy, and providing it with proper care and training, you can enjoy many happy years with your new furry friend.

 Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Friday, June 23, 2023

Is Windows use declining?

Windows desktop cracked screen

According to various market share reports, Microsoft Windows desktop usage has seen a slight decline in recent years, but it still remains the dominant desktop operating system.

For example, according to StatCounter, as of March 2023, Windows has a global desktop market share of approximately 74%, followed by macOS with 16%, and Linux with 2%. However, if we look at historical data, we can see that Windows' market share has declined slightly over the years. For instance, in March 2021, Windows had a market share of approximately 80%, while macOS and Linux had a combined share of around 14%.

The decline in Windows' market share may be due to a variety of factors, including the growing popularity of mobile devices, the rise of alternative desktop operating systems, such as macOS and Linux, and the increasing use of cloud-based applications and services that don't require a specific operating system.

However, it's worth noting that Windows is still the most widely used desktop operating system by a significant margin, and Microsoft continues to release regular updates and new versions of Windows to maintain its dominance in the desktop market.

Windows is also the dominant operating system for laptops, but its market share has seen a slight decline in recent years as well. According to StatCounter, as of March 2023, Windows has a global laptop market share of approximately 70%, followed by macOS with 16%, and Linux with 1%.

Another factor that has impacted the laptop market in recent years is the increasing popularity of Chromebooks, which are laptops running Google's Chrome OS. Chromebooks are often more affordable than traditional laptops and offer seamless integration with Google's suite of cloud-based productivity tools, making them an attractive option for students, educators, and budget-conscious consumers.

Windows remains the dominant operating system for laptops and continues to be the preferred choice for many businesses and consumers due to its versatility, compatibility with a wide range of software and hardware, and robust security features. Microsoft also continues to release new versions of Windows and updates to ensure that the operating system remains relevant and competitive in the computer market.

 Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The Asterisk Phone

The Asterix telephone system

Asterisk is not a telephone itself, but rather an open-source software platform for building communication applications, such as IP PBX systems (private branch exchange), VoIP gateways, conference servers, and more.

The Asterisk software allows users to make phone calls using the internet, rather than traditional phone lines, providing significant cost savings and flexibility in terms of call routing and management. It can also integrate with a wide range of hardware and software, including VoIP phones, traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone lines, and various third-party applications.

Some of the key features and benefits of Asterisk include:

  1. Flexible Call Routing: Asterisk can route calls based on a wide range of criteria, such as caller ID, time of day, and the dialed number.

  2. Voicemail and IVR: Asterisk includes built-in voicemail and interactive voice response (IVR) systems, allowing users to customize their call handling and routing.

  3. Call Recording: Asterisk can record calls for quality assurance, training, and legal purposes.

  4. Multi-tenancy Support: Asterisk supports multiple tenants or organizations on a single installation, making it ideal for businesses that need to provide phone services to multiple locations or departments.

  5. Scalability: Asterisk can handle thousands of concurrent calls and can be easily scaled up or down as needed.

Asterisk is available as a free download from the Asterisk website and can be installed on a variety of hardware, including dedicated servers, virtual machines, and cloud-based platforms. However, setting up and configuring Asterisk can be complex, so it's typically best suited for users with some technical expertise. Alternatively, there are also many commercial solutions that utilize the Asterisk platform, such as FreePBX and Elastix, which may be more user-friendly for non-technical users.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Speaking about "Hogan's Heroes", here is some information about Bob Crane


Bob Crane

Bob Crane (July 13, 1928 – June 29, 1978) was an American actor and disc jockey, best known for his role as Colonel Robert E. Hogan in the TV series "Hogan's Heroes" (1965-1971).

Crane was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After his service, he started working as a radio disc jockey, which led to his first TV role on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in 1962. His breakthrough role came in 1965 when he was cast as Colonel Hogan on "Hogan's Heroes." The show was a huge success, and Crane quickly became a popular TV star.

Bob Crane as Colonel Hogan

In addition to his acting career, Crane was an accomplished drummer and used his musical talents to perform with various jazz and swing bands. He also had a successful career as a disc jockey and often recorded his radio shows to send to fans and friends.

Unfortunately, Crane's life came to a tragic end when he was found bludgeoned to death in his apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1978. The murder case remains unsolved, although a suspect, Crane's friend John Carpenter, was acquitted in a 1994 trial.

Despite the tragic end to his life, Bob Crane left behind a legacy as a talented actor, musician, and entertainer. He was a beloved figure in the entertainment industry and continues to be remembered by fans of "Hogan's Heroes" and his other work.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Thursday, June 22, 2023

"We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation"

"We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation"

"We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation" is a book by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, published in 2019.

The book is a comprehensive and visually stunning account of the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States from the early 20th century to the present day. The authors use photographs, newspaper clippings, and other historical documents to provide a vivid and engaging narrative of the struggles, triumphs, and setbacks of the LGBTQ+ community in their fight for equality and acceptance.

The book covers a wide range of topics, including the Stonewall Riots, the AIDS crisis, the fight for marriage equality, and the current challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community. The authors also highlight the contributions of lesser-known activists and organizations, as well as the intersectionality of queer liberation with other social justice movements.

"We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation" is a 400-page book that provides an extensive and comprehensive account of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. The book is written by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown and was published in 2019.

The book is divided into 21 chapters, each of which covers a different period in the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, from the early 20th century to the present day. The authors use a wide range of sources, including photographs, archival materials, and first-hand accounts, to provide a detailed and nuanced view of the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community.

The book covers a wide range of topics, including the early LGBTQ+ rights movement, the Stonewall Riots, the AIDS crisis, the fight for marriage equality, and the current challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community. The authors also highlight the contributions of lesser-known activists and organizations, as well as the intersectionality of queer liberation with other social justice movements.

What sets "We Are Everywhere" apart from other books on LGBTQ+ history is its visual component. The authors use over 300 photographs to provide a vivid and engaging narrative of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The photographs are carefully curated and provide a visual record of the events, people, and places that shaped the LGBTQ+ movement.

"We Are Everywhere" is a well-researched and engaging book that provides a valuable insight into the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. It is a must-read for anyone interested in queer history and social justice issues.

Purchase at Amazon

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

Why Hogan's Heroes" was so popular


Shultz, Hogan and Klink from Hogan's Heroes

"Hogan's Heroes" is a classic American television sitcom that originally aired on CBS from 1965 to 1971. The show was set in a German prisoner-of-war (POW) camp during World War II and followed the escapades of a group of Allied prisoners led by the cunning and resourceful Colonel Hogan.

The show's popularity can be attributed to several factors. First, the show's lighthearted, comedic approach to the often-serious subject of war and imprisonment made it a hit with audiences who were looking for an escape from the realities of the Vietnam War, which was happening at the time. Second, the show featured a talented and likable cast, including Bob Crane as Colonel Hogan, Richard Dawson as the charming British POW Corporal Newkirk, and John Banner as the bumbling but lovable German Sergeant Schultz.

The stars of "Hogan's Heroes" were:

  1. Bob Crane as Colonel Robert E. Hogan - the cunning and resourceful leader of the Allied prisoners in Stalag 13.
  2. Werner Klemperer as Colonel Wilhelm Klink - the bumbling and inept commandant of Stalag 13.
  3. John Banner as Sergeant Hans Schultz - the kind-hearted but easily manipulated German guard who often turned a blind eye to the prisoners' activities.
  4. Richard Dawson as Corporal Peter Newkirk - the charming and smooth-talking British POW who was an expert at forgery and espionage.
  5. Ivan Dixon as Sergeant James Kinchloe - the African American radio operator who was instrumental in helping Hogan communicate with the outside world.
  6. Larry Hovis as Sergeant Andrew Carter - the brilliant but scatterbrained explosives expert.
  7. Kenneth Washington as Private Richard Baker - the African American medic who provided medical care to the prisoners.
  8. Bob Clary as Corporal Louis LeBeau - the French chef who was also skilled at sabotage and espionage.

These actors, along with the show's talented writers and production team, helped make "Hogan's Heroes" a classic and beloved television sitcom.

Finally, the show's premise of Allied POWs constantly outwitting their German captors struck a chord with audiences who were proud of their country's involvement in World War II and appreciated seeing their heroes triumph over their enemies in a lighthearted way.

Despite its popularity, "Hogan's Heroes" has also been criticized for its portrayal of the German characters as bumbling and incompetent, which some argue perpetuated negative stereotypes about Germans and trivialized the horrors of the Holocaust. Nonetheless, the show remains a beloved classic of American television and is still widely watched in reruns today.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model

The Whopper - The Wizard's Favourite Burger!

The Burger King Whopper

The Whopper is a hamburger sandwich sold by the fast-food chain Burger King. It typically consists of a flame-grilled beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, and a sesame seed bun. Customers can also customize their Whopper with additional toppings like cheese, bacon, or jalapenos, depending on the location. The Wizard orders his with heavy ketchup, heavy onions and heavy tomato.

The beef patty used in the Whopper is made from 100% beef and is flame-grilled to give it a distinctive smoky flavor. The lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles are all fresh and sliced daily in the restaurant. The mayonnaise and ketchup are proprietary Burger King sauces that are applied to the bun. The sesame seed bun is lightly toasted to give it a crunchy texture.

To prepare a Whopper, the beef patty is grilled on a flame grill and then placed on the bottom half of the bun. The lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles are added on top of the patty, and then the mayonnaise and ketchup are applied to the top half of the bun. The two halves of the bun are then brought together to form the sandwich.

The Whopper was first introduced by Burger King in 1957, shortly after the fast-food chain was founded. At the time, it was marketed as a larger and more filling burger than its competitors, such as McDonald's. The name "Whopper" was chosen to convey the idea that the burger was a substantial and satisfying meal.

Over the years, Burger King has made several changes and updates to the Whopper to keep it fresh and relevant. For example, in the 1980s, the chain introduced the "Extra Whopper" with a larger patty and more toppings. In the 1990s, Burger King began offering a vegetarian version of the Whopper called the "Veggie Whopper," made with a veggie patty.

In 2020, Burger King announced that it was testing a plant-based version of the Whopper made with a patty from the startup Impossible Foods. This move reflected a growing trend towards plant-based diets and a desire for more sustainable food options.

Despite these changes, the Whopper has remained a popular item on Burger King's menu for over 60 years. It has become an iconic part of American and Canadian fast food culture and has even been featured in films and television shows.

Source: Some or all of the content was generated using an AI language model