It’s Monday. The Patriots lost and the world goes on. I’m in the middle of listening to audiobooks and I’ve got things to do and promises to keep. Love you all, but I really have to sign off and take care of business. Alas, but it will not wait.

So here are a couple of more pictures of the Christmas cactus. Congratulations to Philly on a very well-fought win. We really should have let Jimmy Garoppolo play and not told him he had to wait for Brady to pack it in. That’s water under the bridge at this point.

Back in my own back yard, I need to put my head down and do some readin’, writin’, and no more foolin’ around!


How Big Is Infinity?

I’ve always loved this concept. May the bigger infinity win!


Infinity is a concept that refers to something that grows without bound. But, is there any definitive explanation of how big can it grow? In this TED-Ed video, Dennis Wildfogel explores the mind-bending concept of the “infinity of infinities” and explains how it led mathematicians to conclude that math itself contains unanswerable questions.


Video via – TED-Ed
Further Readings and References @ Infinity (Wikipedia), Skulls in the Stars, Stack Exchange

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From Nancy Merrill:

Yesterday and this morning, while other places in the country were able to get good shots of the super blue moon and lunar eclipse, here in the Salt Lake Valley, we had clouds. Beautiful clouds, but still clouds that made it hard to impossible to get good photos of the moon. (We’ll just have to wait until 2037.) But it’s okay. I love photographing clouds.

Usually, I look for stormy skies and dramatic clouds. But for this, I thought I’d try a change of pace — a bright blue sky and those lovely puffy white clouds that decorate our skies. The bright skies and clouds over the farm around the corner.

Across a plowed field …
Blue skies and puffy white clouds over the pasture gate
Clouds until the cows come home


People today talk nostalgically about a time when you always dealt with human beings on the phone and not computers. We believe that humans are responsive to our specific questions and take an interest in our unique situation. Therefore they can give you individualized help and service, which we assume is superior.

I’m not sure if that idealized past ever really existed or if we have collectively re-imagined this happy time in our history. I know that disembodied voices on the phone attached to living people have generously and graciously helped me negotiate bureaucratic nightmares in bygone days.Cartoon - Your call is important to us

Today, I don’t know whether to be happy or scared when I hear a human voice on the other end of the phone. At least with a recording, you can still hope that when you finally find a real person to talk to, they will straighten everything out. Here is the incident that triggered this rant.

My husband’s father died and my husband wanted to cancel his deceased father’s car insurance. He talked to a lady and told her that he wanted to cancel the policy because his father had passed away. The woman said she couldn’t do that. When my husband asked why, she said that you should never cancel a car policy because if his father ever drove his car again without the insurance, he would be fined. My husband patiently explained that there was no way his father would be driving again.

“How can you be sure?” the insurance lady inquired.

“Because he is dead.” My husband replied, trying not to yell. That should have ended the conversation with a win for my husband.

The phone lady’s response was Kafkaesque. “Oh!” she said. “Then I’ll have to talk to my supervisor.”

cartoon - please leave prayer at sound of beep

People on the other end of corporate or bureaucratic phone lines today do not seem to have the same great track record that we fondly remember. Maybe people don’t care as much about other people unless they are communicating with them via Twitter or Facebook. Maybe people don’t take pride in their jobs as much these days. Maybe people just aren’t as smart or knowledgeable as they used to be.

Whatever the reason, I used to automatically ask for a representative to help me when I had to call an institution of any kind. Now I give the computer lady a shot and if that fails, then I resort to a human. Artificial intelligence might not be that bad after all, if it is actually intelligent.

cartoon - to sink press ONE to swim press TWO

But one good thing did come out of the discussion with the car insurance lady. It gave Tom and I the idea for a piece for our audio theater group VoiceScapes Audio Theater. It’s about a guy calling the cable company to cancel his dead father’s cable account. It’s called “Till Death Do Us Not Part.” It’s very funny. And very true.


Flower of the Day

While we were away or a couple of days, the cactus decided to do what cacti do. It bloomed. Not fully.

There are a dozen more buds on both of the plants now. The second one hasn’t bloomed yet, but the buds are full and just about ready!

I took out my Macro Lens and got into my usual battle with it.

“Take that shot.”
“I command you to focus!”
NO, never!”

And suddenly, almost ready to throw the damned lens out the window — I have a perfect picture waiting for the shutter click.

CLICK! Can I please take one more?”

But I got some pretty ones anyhow and there are more I haven’t finished processing yet.