Category Archives: Personal

Age of Presidents at Inauguration

I was crawling around the Wikipedia looking for presidential information, and I found a list of the ages of the US presidents ordered from oldest to youngest. I threw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump into the list (Table 1) to see where they would place – they are old by historic standards. In fact, Donald Trump would be the oldest ever. Continue reading

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Educating Children Is Expensive, But Ignorance Costs More

Paying school bills is certainly not the only expensive item for parents. I often tell people that the most expensive movie I ever took my sons to was The Mighty Ducks – it cost me about $5k per year for a number of years. This was roughly the cost back in the 1990s of having two kids in traveling hockey. After my sons saw that movie, they were determined to become hockey players. Continue reading

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Working While Standing

For the last two years, I have been working from the standing position. While I would like to say I work standing because it is supposed to be healthier, I actually work while standing because I was having some issues with numbness in one of my feet, and working from a standing position eliminated this problem. While it took a bit of time to get used to, I now prefer working from the standing position. In fact, I am now setting up my garage-based shop area for standing work. Continue reading

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All In A Day's Work on Puget Sound

Quote of the Day Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln. This quote reminds me how important preparation is to the success of any endeavor. … Continue reading

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Ice is Almost Out at My Cabin

I love this time of year in Minnesota. I have setup cameras around my cabin in northern Minnesota so that I can see what is going on up there. I have been watching my lake go through the entire thaw process – it is almost clear of ice (Figure 1). I plan on being up there quite a bit this summer. Continue reading

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How to Read a Book

Last week, I was having a conversation with my youngest son about how I read the books that I own – he sees that I vigorously engage with these books, and he was wondering why I read this way. I shared the following story with him, and it may be of interest to some of you. Continue reading

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45-Star US Flag Heirloom

A friend showed me a family photo of a 45-star US flag that was purchased in 1898, which was the year their grandfather was born. Figure 1 shows an example of the flag in their photo. The flag, which is quite large, is often used as a backdrop for a family photos. The flag is carefully stored and only taken out for special events, like reunions. I think this is a great use for an old flag. Continue reading

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Moving Lake Ice in Northern Minnesota

I just came back from a weekend visiting friends in Northern Minnesota. The snow is beginning to melt, and this makes everyone excited about the arrival of spring. During my weekend, I spent some time walking the streets around Gull Lake, which is near the city of Nisswa. I often see things that strike my fancy while walking. For example, I am always looking for good ideas to apply to my cabin, which is in the Grand Rapids area. Figure 1 shows a unique street light consisting of a wooden carving of a bear holding an old-style hurricane lamp. Bears and moose are common themes in northern Minnesota lore. Continue reading

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Remakes Improving The "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" Theme

I just watched the movie The Martian with my oldest son, and I really enjoyed it (Figure 1). As I thought about the movie, it certainly was the best of the "man versus Mars" movies I have seen – and it was the first with a real sense of humor. Every so often, Hollywood rediscovers the escape from Mars theme and The Martian was the best of this genre yet. Continue reading

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My Minnesota Accent

I am from a small town in Minnesota called Osseo. I had never traveled far from home until I finished my undergraduate work and moved to Ft. Collins, Colorado. When I arrived in Colorado, everyone that I met immediately knew I was from Minnesota – I had no idea that my accent was so strong. After living five years in Colorado, I also developed an ear for accents, and I also could pick out where people were from because everyone in Colorado was from somewhere else. Continue reading

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