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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Time and Date

  timeanddate.com is an interesting site that is the world's number one site on, well...time and date. World clocks, time zone information, calendars, weather, the sun and moon, timers, calculators and more are available. They also have a section On This Date In History. For example, where I live it's 6:30am, foggy and 63 degrees. In Riyadh it's 1:30pm, hazy and 102 degrees. VISIT SITE

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption and Pedestrians Killed

     High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener which is processed from corn. Similar to regular table sugar (sucrose), it’s composed of both fructose and glucose. It became a popular sweetener in the late 1970s when the price of regular sugar was high, while corn prices were low due to government subsidies It’s used to sweeten processed foods and soft drinks — primarily in the United States. Naturally, there are those who hate the stuff because: 
1. It adds an unnatural amount of fructose to your diet which can cause health issues if eaten in excessive amounts. 
2. It increases your risk of fatty liver disease. One study in men and women with excess weight showed that drinking sucrose-sweetened soda for 6 months significantly increased liver fat, compared to drinking milk, diet soda, or water. 
3. It increases your risk of obesity and weight gain. One study had healthy adults drink beverages containing either glucose or fructose. When comparing the two groups, the fructose drink did not stimulate regions of the brain that control appetite to the same extent as the glucose drink. 
4. Excessive intake is linked to diabetes. In healthy people, insulin increases in response to the consumption of carbs, transporting them out of the bloodstream and into cells. However, regularly consuming excess fructose can make your body resistant to insulin’s effects. This decreases your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. 
5. It can increase the risk of other serious diseases. Many serious diseases have been linked to the over consumption of fructose: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, gout and cancer. 
6. It contains no essential nutrients. High fructose corn syrup is “empty” calories. Avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and added sugar in general may be one of the most effective ways to improve your health and lower your risk of disease. 
     Now there is another reason to avoid the consumption of high fructose corn syrup...there is a correlation between its consumption and pedestrians killed by getting hit by a car, pickup or van! 

     As can be seen from this chart based on data between 2000 and 2009, the correlation coefficient is 0.98. Correlation can be described as a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things. Note that the number of pedestrians killed per capita closely follows the consumption of corn syrup per capita.
    The correlation coefficient has no rule for determining what size of correlation is considered strong, moderate or weak and its interpretation depends, in part, on the topic of study. When we are studying things that are difficult to measure, such as the contents of someone's mental life. When we are studying things that are more easily countable, we expect higher correlations. For example, it's generally considered that correlations above 0.75 are relatively strong; correlations between 0.45 and 0.75 are moderate and those below 0.45 are considered weak. 
     As is very clear from the chart, the correlation coefficient of 0.98 means that there is a direct connection between the consumption of high fructose corn syrup and the number of pedestrians killed by getting run over by a vehicle. 
     Here's a little secret...this statistical information is phony because it's a spurious correlation! In statistics a spurious correlation is a relationship in which two or more events or variables are not causally related to each other, yet it may be wrongly inferred that they are, due to either coincidence or the presence of an unseen factor. Biases and conditions alone may create statistical errors, errors from interpretation, false reporting, wrong assumptions, improper samples, false relationships and even bad math. Bottom line: you can prove or disprove just about anything.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Just A Thought


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, a Lady With Insight

     Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (1905 – March 6, 1982) was a writer and philosopher. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926 where she became known for her fiction and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. She is better known by her pen name Ayn Rand. 
     She had a play that opened on Broadway in 1935. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. 
     Atlas Shrugged has been decribed as "an apocalyptic vision of the last stages of conflict between two classes of humanity—the looters and the non-looters. The looters are proponents of high taxation, big labor, government ownership, government spending, government planning, regulation, and redistribution."
     This quote from Atlas Shrugged is even more true today than it was when she wrote it in 1957:


Friday, June 4, 2021

Lake Erie Shipwrecks

     The Great Lakes have about 8,000 shipwrecks and about 2,000 are in Lake Erie placing it among the highest concentration of wrecks in the world. Only about 375 of Lake Erie’s wrecks (schooners, freighters, steamships, tugs and fishing boats) have been found and because of the cold, fresh water, many of them are perfectly preserved. 
     Lake Erie used to be a boat super highway for passengers and goods alike and there are about 12 wrecks within 2 miles of Cleveland. One of the oddest wrecks is an intact schooner off the shore of Euclid, Ohio which carried gravestones. 
     In the eastern section of Lake Erie you can sometimes see 100 feet down without a light. In the central and western basin you can see only 10 to 15 feet. Regardless, the water is cold, down to 40 degrees in the deepest waters, even in August. 
     Ships in shallow water generally were blown apart by dynamite, so they didn’t harm other ships. Some of these wrecks are now just a pile of boards while others are undisturbed. It’s illegal to remove anything from the wrecks. 

Underwater Archaeologists May Have Discovered the Oldest Shipwreck in Lake Erie...read more 
Lake Erie Shipwrecks Home

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mark Twain On Congress

     King Solomon said it in Ecclesiastes 1:9 which reads, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Some things never change...speaking of Congress in his day, Mark Twain wrote the following gems. 
* Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can. 
* (Congressmen are) the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes. 
* Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. 
* Congressman is the trivialist distinction for a full grown man. 
* All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity. 
* It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. 
* It is the foreign element that commits our crimes. There is no native criminal class except Congress. 
*...I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Pandemics and Setting Precedents

     In 1957 it appears that political correctness was not a "thing" because in February that year the world was hit with a new influenza that emerged in East Asia and triggered a pandemic called Asian Flu. 
     The estimated number of worldwide deaths was one to two million and it is generally considered to have been the least severe of the three influenza pandemics of the 20th century. 
     By mid-summer it had reached the United States where it initially infected relatively few people, but several months later numerous cases were reported, especially in young children, the elderly and pregnant women. This upsurge was the result of a second pandemic wave that struck the Northern Hemisphere in November 1957. This second wave was particularly devastating, but the rapid development of a vaccine and the availability of antibiotics to treat secondary infections limited the spread and mortality. 
    In the U.S. Dr. Maurice Hilleman, an American microbiologist then running influenza monitoring efforts at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, saw the problem coming and prepared the country ahead of time. “This is the pandemic,” he said, adding “It’s here.” 
     He arranged for the U.S. military to ship samples of the virus from Hong Kong to his lab in Washington, D.C. where for five days and nights his team tested it against blood from thousands of Americans. They found that this strain was unlike any flu that humans were known to have encountered, so when it reached the United States no one would be immune. 
     The estimated one to two million worldwide deaths in 1957-58 pale in comparison to estimated 171 million worldwide Covid-19 cases that resulted in an estimated 3.55 million deaths, but it's interesting to note that there was also a rapid development of a vaccine in 1957. Hilleman quickly alerted the government and sent samples of the virus to the six biggest pharmaceutical companies, directing them to produce a vaccine for this new flu...and they did. 
     Some 20 million Americans were infected and 116,000 died, but researchers estimated that a million more Americans would have died if not for the pharmaceutical companies that distributed Hilleman’s vaccine and inoculated about 30 million people. 
     Hilleman went on to join Merck where he developed vaccines for more than 40 diseases, including measles, mumps and meningitis. As these illnesses faded from public memory, so did Hilleman, who died in 2005 at age 85. 
     In spite of the evidence many are still claiming Covid-19 is a hoax and now some are claiming the vaccine is a sinister government plot and it's the vaccine that is the real threat. But, as just noted there is a precedent for the rapid development of flu vaccines! 
     Psychologists and experts on misinformation are trying to figure out why the pandemic spawned so many conspiracy theories which have led people to eschew masks, social distancing and the vaccine. 
     What they’re seeing is a link between beliefs in the falsehoods surrounding Covid-19 and those who rely on social media and alternative news sources to get their information.
     These conspiracy theories give some people a sense of empowerment and the belief that they possess secret information that others don't have. This gives them a feeling of control in a situation that seems random or frightening.
     According to a Pew Research Center survey about 1 in 4 Americans believe the pandemic was “definitely” or “probably” intentionally created. In Europe, dozens of cell towers were destroyed because of bizarre claims that 5G wireless signals were triggering Covid-19. There were also reports of many who died after consuming poisons like fish tank cleaners, that were touted as a cure. Read more

Monday, May 17, 2021

Digital Manure

     There is a Facebook meme that claims that back in 2019 Vice President Kamala Harris said Joe Biden was "trash to me." Is that true? 
     The international news organization Reuters employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide and is one of the largest news agencies in the world. They investigated the claim made in the meme and did not find any instances of Harris saying this about Biden online. 
     Facebook and other social media sites are notorious for spreading false and misleading claims that are intended to sow division. Why are so many vulnerable to misinformation? 
     With social media, there are no editors reviewing what's published and there is no confirmation. When something is published or re-published many people accept it as fact. especially if it is something that falls in line with their biases. 
     It can be hard to spot fake news on social media because nowadays a surprisingly large number of Americans get their news from social media. According to a Pew Research Center report 55 percent of US adults now get their news from social media either often or sometimes. Americans seem to be getting more gullible as it becomes harder to trust what is or is not true on Facebook and other social media platforms. 
     A study from McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin found that social media isn't viewed as more trustworthy, but it is different than TV news or news websites because users do not choose the source of all the articles they see on social media. The report noted that on social media articles come from a wide variety of sources and this can include sponsored articles, which are really paid advertisements. 
     Often this (mis)information is readily shared with friends which simply means that fake news spreads easily. The study found that almost a quarter of social media users shared what turned out to be fake news. What's worse, 60 percent of users said that fake news leaves them confused about what to believe! 
     A lot of fake news comes from advertisements and social media users who create news for financial gain. Look at Yahoo headlines. At least a lot of what appears to be headlines of a news story carries the caveat that it's an ad. 
     The sharing of stories can actually boost the credibility with readers because people may think differently when using social media from how they might think when watching the evening news simply because the story is coming from a friend or family member. 
     One problem is that social media users are looking for pleasure or entertainment and that can make it easier to believe fake news. Research shows the hedonic mindset that comes into play when using social media makes it more difficult for us to think critically and we are less likely to fact-check the information we see.
     Detecting fake news on social media may not be as easy as spotting an outlandish headlines in the tabloids in the grocery store checkout, but it shouldn't be difficult either. The best way to avoid fake news is to not use social media as your primary news source and anything on social media sites should be checked out. Also, did you know that research has found that the mere exposure to headlines makes you believe them more? 
     Even if the headline seems to confirm something you already believe (confirmation bias) it is still advisable to research it. The best thing to avoid being duped is a large dose of skepticism.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Patent Leather

     It used to be that in the Marine Corps the standard for shoes and boots was the spit shine. To achieve the spit shine you needed a can of Kiwi shoe polish, a brush, spit (or water), a cloth (or small bottle) and a ton of elbow grease. Today patent leather has taken the place of the spit shine...sad. But wait! Patent leather is not new...it's history spans thousands of years! 
     Patent leather has its roots in rubber which was first used thousands of years ago in Mexico. In 1736, Charles Marie de La Condamine brought samples to France’s Scientific Society and eventually the knowledge of rubber began to spread around Europe and England. In 1770, Joseph Priestley in England observed that the material worked very well for rubbing pencil marks off of paper, hence the nickname of rubber. 
     Patent leather is is water resistant and has a high shine and some consider it "classy." It originated in the late 1700s when layers of oils were applied to dyed leather and dried. The resulting surface was durable and water resistant. Oils have since been replaced with synthetic materials and patent leather is commonly used in shoes, wallets, bags and accessories. 
     One of the first inventors to produce a leather that was waterproof also obtained a patent covering the method of production. Thus, because it was made through a patented process, it was commonly referred to as patent leather. 
     Patent leather is characterized by having a very clear, shiny, polished surface that is generally water resistant which helps provide durability by protecting the leather underneath. On the down side, the glossy surface is prone to scratches and must be cared for well. 
     Originally, patent leather was made from natural leather, but over time it has become much more common for it to be made from faux leather with synthetic coatings. The lower (read cheap) production costs of synthetic materials allowed patent leather to surge in popularity in the 1960s. 
     After World War II many advancements had been made in materials technology, and there was increased demand for consumer goods. On result was that patent leather quickly became popular. This included fake leather with its synthetic clear coatings that looked like real patent leather. This faux leather looks similar and is much less expensive which makes it popular. 
     Over the years, some materials have been produced that are similar in appearance and properties to patent leather...faux faux leather so to speak! One of the most popular was Corfam. 
     In 1963 at the Chicago Shoe Show, DuPont introduced a type of leather substitute. It’s goal was, to by 1984, have Corfam comprise about a quarter of the United States shoe market. While Corfam was shiny and water repellent, it was not breathable or as flexible as real leather. Nevertheless, the low cost and durability of PVC (plastic) leather made it appealing. By 1971, DuPont stopped selling Corfam because their hopes and goals for the product didn't materialize. 
     Due to the outer coating being plastic, it will degrade over years and it, so while it may look great, it's not extremely durable. The coating is usually a polyurethane or acrylic coating (plastic). They can be clear, result in a high shine, and remain flexible once dried. Pigment can also be added to the resin coatings to add color. Additionally, additives can be put into the coatings to increase desirable performance factors such as scratch resistance, abrasion resistance, and UV resistance. 
     Patent leather cracks because it is made of a plastic and over time the plastic begins to weaken and degrade. Due to the flexing the plastic will begin to crack over time. Also, due to the high-gloss finish, patent leather is very prone to scuffing. Additionally, patent leather is covered with a clear plastic layer that over time, as the plastic begins to degrade, it takes on a yellow tint.

     Bottom line: a spit shine on real leather beats the shiny fake-looking patent leather hands down.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Why do we have an appendix?

     Knowledge of the appendix dates back to the 1500s when anatomists identified it, but could only guess at its purpose. However, they did know that it could become inflamed and cause serious disease. 
     In 1735, Dr. Claudius Amyand performed the world’s first successful appendectomy, at St. George’s Hospital in London. The patient was an 11-year old boy whose appendix had become perforated by a pin he had swallowed. General anesthesia was not available until 1846, so it required a lot of assistants to restrain patients during what must have been very painful. 
     Surgical treatment for appendicitis began in earnest during the 1880s. However, doctors were not sure who should be operated on because some patients recovered without surgery. Even today the causes of acute appendicitis have not been identified and nobody knows why the appendix will rupture in some patients and others recover. 
     In 2007 researchers offered a compelling case for the function of the appendix (sort of)...it appears to play a role in both the digestive and immune systems by acting as a storehouse for good bacteria. These bacteria come into play when the gastrointestinal tract loses its beneficial gut flora. 
     Recently researchers are revisiting the question of whether antibiotics are just as effective as surgery. In the 1940s and 1950s, doctors in England began treating patients with antibiotics with excellent results. In the Navy men on submarines received antibiotics and patients reportedly did well. 
     What does the appendix do? Is it really redundant and useless, a remnant from eons ago that human development? Now, scientists know that your appendix actually has a purpose. 
     Many bacterial microorganisms are found in the stomach and intestines. These are good bacteria that help to break down food and stave off the growth of bad bacteria and the good bacteria also play a critical role in producing vitamins and hormones needed by the body. 
     Before modern medicine and public health, people suffered from cholera or dysentery. One of the symptoms is severe diarrhea in which literally everything, including the good bacteria, gets empties out of the gut. 
     The new theory (theory, not fact) is that the appendix acts as a safe haven for good bacteria. After intense diarrhea, the appendix repopulates the intestine with the good bacteria before harmful bacteria finds a home there. 
     When it comes to the appendix, we are not alone; humans aren't the only ones with an appendix...about 533 mammal species have one. 
     The theory is that in this hygienic society we live in immune system isn't constantly being challenged by parasites or disease-causing organisms. With no need to function regularly, the appendix may become blocked or overreact when it is required to function which causes it to become inflamed. Removing the appendix has no known negative effects, but without an appendix people may take longer to recover from an intestinal infection, but we have antibiotics. 
     Circumstantial evidence makes a strong case for the role of the appendix, but the bottom line is nobody REALLY knows what the purpose of the appendix is. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

There Is A Chicken Shortage

     At first it sounded like an alarmist hoax, but upon further investigation, it is true. 
     Chicken is popular in the United States (though not with me) and the popularity of chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, chicken and waffles and chicken wings is fueling such demand that the country is starting to run short. Actually, it's not like we weren't warned...doomsayers predicted it months ago when they warned there was a massive chicken wing shortage on the horizon. 
     There are three reasons for the shortage: covid-19, a sandwich craze and huge appetite for wings. YUM Brands which owns Kentucky Fries Chicken has announced that the demand for their new chicken sandwich (described as a mouth-watering extra crispy filet with premium pickles, and mayo on a brioche-style bun) has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, it's hard for them to keep up with the demand. 
     Also, the price of wings is going up as some restaurant owners are having to shell out more than $3 per pound for wings, the consumption of which has been on the rise since 2020. For example, back in February of 2020, the huge demand for wings on Super Bowl Sunday coupled with devastation from the winter storms in Texas, caused a severe wing shortage. 
     Wing consumption causes something of a problem. Each chicken has only two of them and if people order a bucket with 20 wings, somebody has to eat the rest of those 10 chickens that supplied them. 
     Not everybody in the world goes for wings and breasts like we do in the US. Europeans pay a premium for the breasts, while the Chinese market has a greater demand for the feet. Russians prefer dark meat, and in India people particularly enjoy the leg. 
     The National Chicken Council says that the US consume 60 percent of the dark meat produced in the country and much of the rest gets shipped overseas. This exacerbates the problem by increasing the carbon footprint because shipping produces carbon and costs a lot of energy which impacts the environment. Shipping chicken requires it to be stored in temperature-controlled containers. While food is generally shipped by sea instead of by air, saving some emissions, maritime shipping accounts for nearly 3 percent of all carbon emissions, equal to the output of Germany. 
     According to the United Poultry Concerns the US production of the 8 billion chickens consumed each year produce nearly 86 million tons of manure which creates toxic environments for the chickens, but it also presents major disposal problems. Some chicken poop can be used for fertilizer, but much ends up in water runoff. Did you know that chickens contribute about 12 million pounds of nitrogen to the Chesapeake Bay each year? Probably not. As a result over 80 percent of the bay is at least partially damaged by toxic contaminants. Environmentalist, who oppose everything, warn that the chicken industry destroys wildlife and wildlife habitat. They complain, "It just ruins every place it opens for business."

Saturday, April 24, 2021


     Nebuchadnezzar II was the king of Babylon circa 605 BC – c. 562 BC and was the longest reigning and most powerful monarch of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. 
     His conquest of Judah is described in the Bible books of Kings, Chronicles and Jeremiah. He was the king responsible for destroying Solomon's Temple and initiating the Babylonian captivity. 
     One night he had a dream and Daniel interpreted it for him. For seven years Nebuchadnezzar would be driven away from people and would live with the wild animals. During that time he would eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. 
     He was told by Daniel when he (Nebuchadnezzar) acknowledged that Heaven rules, then his kingdom would be restored. Daniel's advice was to renounce his sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue. Nebuchadnezzar didn't listen and it happened just as Daniel had predicted. 
     Today Nebuchadnezzar's condition is recognized as a psychological disorder known as boanthropy in which a human believes they are a bovine.
     Nebuchadnezzar is not the only early mention of this disorder. According to Persian traditions, the Buyid prince Majd al-Dawla was suffering from an illusion that he is a cow, making the sound of a cow and asking that to be killed so that his flesh could be consumed. 
     It has been suggested that hypnotism, suggestion and auto-suggestion may contribute to such beliefs. Dreams may also play an important part. Jung for example records how a stubborn woman dreamed she was attending an important social occasion. She was greeted by the hostess who told her, "How nice that you could come. All your friends are here and they are waiting for you." The hostess then led her to the door and opened it and the lady stepped through the door into a cowshed. 
     Freud noted cases in which a mental disease has started with a dream and in which a delusion originating in the dream has persisted. 
     Boanthropy is a rare and serious psychological disorder in which a human being experiences mental metamorphosis from being a human to believing he is a cow. In this condition, patient appears to walk like a cow. They stop talking like normal human beings and begin mooing. They grab others’ attention by bellowing and bawling. All of a sudden they develop a taste and craving for grass so their diet also consists of grass, hay and silage. They graze like a cow and eat whatever plant they see because that is what cows eat. They can even join a herd of cattle to graze and browse. 
     From behavior and diet to sounds, patients with boanthropy depict the character of a cow in real life. The cause is unknown. Many link its cause to religious perceptions or witchcraft and black magic. Boanthropy can be an additional aspect of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. A person might be hallucinating a lot which leads to altering their belief that they are a human being. There is no specific treatment, but psychotherapy and medication are generally used to try and help an individual give up their delusion.

Friday, April 23, 2021

On this day in history...

     On April 23, 2020, right in the heart of the coronavirus pandemic President Donald Trump said, "Suppose if we hit the body with a tremendous light whether its ultraviolet or just a powerful light...[or] brought the light inside the body...the disinfectant [also] knocks it out, [so perhaps we could] inject it inside.” 
     Incredibly, not a few of his supporters took his advice and there was a spike in people ingesting disinfectant, but President Trump took no responsibility for that. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Legendary Jimmy Dudley

     The Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame is full of people whose departure from the team was not of their own volition. i.e. they got fired. 
     Lou Boudreau was fired as a manager and released as a player. Rocky Colavito was traded by a general manager who had a pathological need to make transactions. Manager Mike Hargrove was fired. Broadcaster Jimmy Dudley, another Indians Hall of Famer, holds a special place in the hearts of Indians fans of his era, was also unceremoniously fired. 
     James Dudley was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1909, and graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia, where he played football and basketball. Dudley went to work for DuPont, but in 1937, took a job at a radio station in Charlottesville, Virginia. He ended up announcing games for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs. At the time popular announcers were Southerners: Red Barber, Mel Allen and Ernie Harwell. 
     After serving as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, Dudley was heard by an official at Erin Brew (a beer company), then the sponsor of Cleveland Indians broadcasts. At the time announcers were often so associated with the beer companies that if the brewery that sponsored the games changed so did the announcers. 
     On radio Dudley was paired with Jack Graney, a member of the Indians’ championship 1920 team and believed to be the first player to go into the broadcast booth. After Graney retired in 1953, Dudley was paired with Ed Edwards for two years and Tom Manning for one. Dudley also called games for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts, as well as Ohio State football. Dudley called the 1954 World Series and All-Star Game for the Mutual network, and 1961's first All-Star Game for NBC Radio. 
     Dudley was known for his friendly, homespun style and his signature catchphrases: “Hello, baseball fans everywhere” was his opening line and he always signed off with, “So long and lotsa good luck, ya heah.” A full count on a batter was described with the phrase "The string is out" and home runs were described with a hearty. "That ball is going...going...gone!" When a batter struck out it was, "A swing and a miss! He struck him out." 
     Dudley did commercials for the Aluminum Siding Corporation, whose phone number of “Garfield 1, 2-3-2-3” is known to anyone who lived in Cleveland through the 1980s. 
     Beginning in 1957, after his broadcast partner retired, Dudley was paired with a rat named Bob Neal, who had called Browns games for radio and television since 1946. Dudley and Neal hated each other to the point that they wouldn’t even talk to each other on the air. 
     After the 1967 season, in a power play Neal forced Dudley out and Dudley was replaced in the radio booth by former Indians pitcher Herb Score, who had been calling games on television for the previous four years. Score would go on to be the radio voice of the Indians for 30 years. 
     Dudley was incensed by the move, which came shortly before spring training, not allowing him time to latch on with another team. “I consider it a kick in the teeth and a lousy thing to happen after all the years I have been with the Indians,” he was quoted as saying. He also stated, “When I left Cleveland last month I understood everything was OK. If they had let me know at the end of the season that I wasn’t wanted, then I would have had time to get another job in baseball broadcasting. Now, it’s too late.” 
     In 1969, Dudley landed a job the Seattle Pilots. After the Pilots moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers, Dudley called minor-league games in Arizona, where he made his home and games for the University of Arizona, but his major league career was over. Dudley received the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, two years before he died in Arizona at the age of 89. 
     Bob Feller. Indians Hall of Fame pitcher said, “There was not a better baseball announcer than Jimmy Dudley." 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Fellowes Brand Paper Shredder

     Our old home office paper shredder died the other day and we shopped around for a new one. A visit to Staples was fruitless as they only offered upper end machines for over $100. At Walmart we discovered the Fellowes Powershred 9C 9-sheet Cross-Cut Personal Paper Shredder for $49.88 and made the purchase. Details
     After getting it home and unpacking it the first thing that was noticeable was that it's smaller than the old shredder. That's because the paper basket (3.8 gallons) does not slide out as it did on the old one. Instead, the Fellowes model has the shredding mechanism on top of the basket which makes emptying it inconvenient, but we can live with that. 
     It cross-cuts up to nine sheets at a time and can handle staples, paperclips and credit cards, but personally I'd hesitate to put a paperclip through it! The front has a tinted see-through window so you can easily monitor the paper level. 
     The cross sections make it more secure than strip-cut shredders and this shredder cuts approximately 400 particles per sheet. It shreds for up to 5 minutes before a 30 minute cool down period is needed. 
     We had a 2-inch high pile of papers to shred and while the shredder was loud, it was fast and made quick work of the stack...less than 5 minutes so no cool down period was needed. Just don't believe the blurb on the box that says it's quiet. The main thing was that it's speed was impressive. For less than $50 it's a good buy for home use. 
NOTE: These shredders have a mechanical sensor bar that can get stuck causing the shredder to quit working. If it runs only in reverse the problem is likely paper jammed under the sensor bar which is located in the middle of the paper slot. If this is the case, use a long, thin, stiff wire to push the jammed paper through the grinding wheels being careful not to damage them!  In fact, a wooden chop stick is even better, or perhaps a plastic straw. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Horse Auctions

      Some comments on this auction were critical of the Mennonite and Amish practice of selling and selling horses at "kill pens." What are kill pens? 
     Some people looking for inexpensive riding horses and ponies purchase them at auction but many of the horses sold at auctions are purchased by "killer buyers" who represent or sell to horse slaughterhouses. 
     Some horses are purchased by middlemen who take them home, fatten them up and send them to slaughter weeks or months later. Some horses end up traveling from one auction to another, changing hands numerous times, before they end up at the slaughter plant. 
     Some horses are in excellent health while others have been trucked to auction by haulers from farms where they received little to no care. Often these horses suffer from extreme neglect. Starvation is the most common and obvious affliction; some horses have bones and ribs so visible that they look like skeletons. Also seen are horses with infections such as pneumonia and strangles, wounds and serious foot problems that make it exceedingly difficult and painful for them to walk. 
     Because killer buyers are paid by the pound for the horses they deliver, they look for healthy horses in good body condition, as well as horses in poor condition that can be fattened up. Currently, there are no horse slaughter plants in the US, but horses are still being shipped to Canadian and Mexican plants. 
Read all about kill pens HERE

Friday, April 2, 2021

Butt Acne

     Who knew there was such a thing as butt acne, but it really does exist. Apparently it's an uncomfortable thing that happens mostly to people who exercise regularly and sweat a lot. 
     There are special creams and lotions you can buy specifically to treat butt acne, but they aren't cheap. On 4 ounce bottle I saw advertised costs $32.99, but it must be good stuff. 739 reviewers gave it 4.9 out of 5 stars. 
     Butt acne sounds interesting enough to merit further research, so if you're interested, read on... 
     Most people assume that a breakout of pimples on the butt is acne, but it isn’t really acne. Acne is a skin condition involving clogged pores. When the pores get clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria trapped inside them then pimples erupt. Acne most often affects body sites that have a high concentration of oil glands (face, neck, chest, shoulders and upper back), but there apparently is no such thing as an excessively oily butt because the buttocks do not have a lot of oil glands. Hence, true acne on the buttocks is rare. 
     Butt pimples are most likely folliculitis or keratosis pilaris, a harmless skin condition that results from a buildup of keratin (a hard skin protein) that blocks the hair follicle, sweat glands and oil glands. This blockage causes small bumps that can look like acne. Other conditions that look like acne are folliculitis (an inflammation of hair follicles on the butt) and contact dermatitis. 
     Here's an interesting fact. Few people talk about it, but butt pimples are very common and tends to run in families. 
     Nobody really knows what causes it, but butt pimples are the result of damage to the hair follicle that then causes irritation or allows germs to infect it. According to one article the damage can come from friction on the skin, wearing tight clothing, or shaving (people shave their butt?). 
     If one has keratosis pilaris the "pimples" usually don’t hurt or itch whereas folliculitis can be uncomfortable or downright painful. Treatment depends on the cause of the pimples. If it’s keratosis pilaris there are probably also bumps on the back of the upper arms or thighs. Moisturizing the skin right after showering can help soften the skin. An exfoliant cream containing lactic acid or similar ingredients can encourage the skin to regenerate faster and prevent plugged follicles. 
     Treatment of folliculitis depends on whether or not it’s infectious. Folliculitis from irritation may improve if the source of the irritation is removed such as tight clothing of stopping the butt shaving routine. Warm compresses and hydrocortisone cream may also help . 
     Because there can be several causes of so-called butt acne, it's recommended that one see a dermatologist if the condition persists or is bothersome. Good luck trying to get an appointment with a dermatologist! They are usually very busy and booked months in advance. 
     Most butt breakouts affect the center of the butt cheeks. Common symptoms of keratosis pilaris include, rough, dry skin that can resemble sandpaper. Small, painless, bumps that can be pointy, have a white tip or center, or look reddish and smooth. It will get worse when the skin is dry or the humidity is low, such as in the winter 
     Folliculitis often affects the skin on the butt, groin, thigh, face, neck or underarm. Common symptoms include small red or white bumps around hair follicles, swollen or irritated follicles, tenderness, pain, itching or burning. In some cases it can cause pus filled blisters that open and crust. 
     Getting an accurate diagnosis is important so you know how to treat it. The risk factors for developing a breakout on the butt depend on the cause. Keratosis pilaris is genetic, so having a parent with it increases your risk. It can show up during childhood, but is most common during the teenage years. In fact, about half of teenagers have this common skin condition. Things that make keratosis pilaris worse include dry skin and dry weather. It often goes away with age, but it can persist throughout adulthood. 
     People at risk for getting folliculitis include those who gain weight which can cause friction from clothes, having acne, dermatitis or a medical condition that weakens your immune system Other causes are shaving, waxing, wearing tight clothing, or wearing clothes that trap heat, moisture or sweat, soaking in an improperly maintained hot tub and using certain medications, such as steroid creams.
     You may be able to lower your risk of developing the scourge of butt acne by changing out of wet or damp bathing suits and workout clothes right away. These items should also be washed after each use, but who does that? Make sure hot tubs are properly maintained before using. Wear loose clothing especially when it’s hot or humid. Finally, if you are one of those people who shaves their butt, be careful and use a good sharp razor. 
     When it comes to treatment, since butt acne isn’t truly acne, acne products aren’t likely to work. In fact, they may make it worse. If you aren’t sure of the cause, see your doctor for the right treatment! 
     For keratosis pilaris, moisturizing the skin while it’s still damp after a shower is a main treatment. Products containing lanolin, glycerin, or petroleum jelly are recommended. Keeping the skin soft can help prevent keratin buildup. Using an over-the-counter exfoliant cream can also help. Look for ingredients such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, urea, alpha hydroxy acid, or adapalene. In some cases, prescription-strength retinoid creams may be necessary. 
     Other home remedies include avoiding harsh soaps and vigorous scrubbing and patting the skin dry instead of rubbing. Take short showers because long showers or baths and hot water can dry out the skin, making keratosis pilaris worse. Use a humidifier during dry winter months. Wear loose clothing. 
     Folliculitis treatment depends on whether or not it's a infection and seeing a dermatologist is probably the best course of action. In the meantime, applying warm, moist compresses several times a day and use anti-itch lotions and antibacterial soap. Towels and washcloths should be washed in hot water after each use. 
     Remember that with folliculitis, physical complications can be serious because the infection can go deeper, forming boils or furuncles. The infection can also spread, causing clusters of boils called carbuncles. This can permanently damage hair follicles and the skin, resulting in scarring or dark spots.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Fankirk Wheel


     The Fankirk Wheel was completed in 2002 and is an exceptional feat of engineering. It is a rotating boat lift (the first one in the world) that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The Wheel connects the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal, replacing 11 locks across central Scotland, that were abandoned in the 1930’s. 
     It can carry eight or more boats at a time, scooping them out of the water and depositing them either up or down on the waterway between the two cities.

The Dead Sea

     The Dead Sea, also called Salt Sea, is a landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan. Its eastern shore belongs to Jordan, and the southern half of its western shore belongs to Israel. The northern half of the western shore lies within the Palestinian West Bank and has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. 
     The Jordan River, from which the Dead Sea receives nearly all its water, flows from the north into the lake. The lake has the lowest elevation on Earth. For several decades in the mid-20th century, the surface level was about 1,300 feet below sea level. Beginning in the 1960s, however, Israel and Jordan began diverting much of the Jordan River’s flow and increased the use of the lake’s water for commercial purposes. The result was a precipitous drop in the water level. By the mid-2010s, the lake level was about 1,410 feet below sea level and the lake continued to drop by about 3 feet annually. And, it’s only half the length it was a century ago. 
     There are beliefs that the Dead Sea has healing properties and as a result its salt and minerals are used in cosmetics and a large number of people visit the lake for therapy and relaxation. 
     The Dead Sea is almost 10 times saltier than ordinary seawater. This is because water flows into the Dead Sea from one main tributary, the Jordan River and it then has no way to get out of the lake and so it evaporates in the hot, dry conditions. This leads to the salt and other minerals becoming more and more concentrated. It’s estimated that in the whole of the Dead Sea there is about 37 billion tons of salt. 
     The high salt and mineral content of the Dead Sea means that it has supposedly has healing properties for such ailments as acne, psoriasis and as well as muscle aches and arthritis. 
     Its healing waters have been sought after since Biblical times. Herod the Great, who reigned between 37 to 4 BC, built one of the world’s first health spas along its shores. According to legend, Cleopatra also loved the Dead Sea and used its products as part of her beauty regime. 
     The lake's high salt levels mean that people can easily float on its surface. Sunbathing at the Dead Sea has less of a sunburn risk than other destinations. Due to its location below sea level the harmful UV rays are filtered through three natural layers: 1) an extra atmospheric layer 2) an evaporation layer above the Dead Sea and 3) a thick ozone layer. 
     The Dead Sea was home to one of the most important discoveries in modern archaeology. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 11 caves near the ruins of Qumran on its northwestern shore. These manuscripts date from around 250 BC to 68 AD. They contain Biblical prayers and texts that have been key to the understanding of the beginnings of Christianity. 
     An unusual feature of the Dead Sea is that it spits up small pebbles and pieces of asphalt. The ancient Egyptians used to import this to use in their mummification process.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Fox News Is Irresponsible

     Fox News issued a report criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris for not saluting the military honor guard at Air Force Two. This report was a deliberate attempt by Fox to stir up outrage and is a disgusting example of "reporting." 
     The Vice President is a civilian and is not in the military chain of command and she was not violating protocol and she was not being disrespectful to men and women in uniform. 
     While it is true that former Vice Presidents Mike Pence and Joe Biden (when he was VP) did render a salute, Dick Cheney, who was VP under President George W. Bush, did not. 
     Even the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief, is a civilian and is not required to salute. When he was President, Ronald Reagan began the practice as a matter of courtesy. 
     Tom Nichols of RadioFreeTom correctly reported that the Commander in Chief returns salutes as a matter of courtesy, but the VP is a civilian who is not in the chain of command. It would be incorrect for her to salute anyone and Fox News knows this. If other VPs did it, it was incorrect. 
     Mr. Nichols is mostly correct except for the statement if other Vice Presidents did it, it was incorrect. The dictionary defines a salute as a "gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing." Although it may be unusual for a civilian to salute someone as a gesture of respect it is perfectly acceptable.
     We salute Fox News for their reporting...the one finger kind.

Friday, March 19, 2021

NEVER Talk To The Police


    Regent Law Professor James Duane is a fast talker and it may take a minute to get used to his delivery, but he tells you why, even if you are innocent, you should always exercise your 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials. NEVER, EVER, TALK TO THEM.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

President Richard Nixon, Music Man

     President Richard Nixon is best remembered for Watergate and for being the only president that was forced to resign from office and have a number of his administration officials end up in prison. 
     His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud. Agnew took kickbacks from contractors during his time as Baltimore County Executive and Governor of Maryland. After months of maintaining his innocence, Agnew pleaded no contest to a single felony charge of tax evasion and resigned from office. Agnew spent the remainder of his life quietly, rarely making public appearances. He wrote a novel and a memoir; both defended his criminal actions. 
     There are a number of things about President Nixon that are largely unknown. A community theater brought Richard and Pat Nixon together in 1938 when both auditioned for the Whittier Community Players production of The Dark Tower. Nixon's wife was always called Pat, but her real name was Thelma Catherine Ryan. She was nicknamed Pat by her father because she was born on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. 
     Nixon was a Quaker and as a boy he went to Quaker meetings four times on Sundays and played the piano at church services. He enrolled at Whittier College, a Quaker institution, and attended mandatory chapel hours every day. 
     Nixon could play five musical instruments! His mother insisted he practice on the family’s upright piano every afternoon and in the seventh grade he was sent 200 miles away to take lessons with his aunt, who had studied at the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music. Although he never learned to read music, Nixon could also play the saxophone, clarinet, accordion and violin. 
     His musical talents turned out to be political assets: Nixon’s 1963 appearance on The Jack Paar Program (above) during which he played a tune he wrote, helped rehabilitate his image after losing the California gubernatorial election the prior year. As president, he occasionally tickled the ivories, playing Happy Birthday for Duke Ellington at the White House and My Wild Irish Rose in honor of his wife at the Grand Ole Opry. 
     One of Nixon’s favorite pastimes in the White House was bowling. He’d even bowl a few frames dressed in his suit. In addition to using the alley in the adjacent Old Executive Office Building, Nixon had another one lane alley built in the basement beneath the North Portico entrance to the White House. 
     Nixon was a huge football fan. It may seem hard to believe, but he played on the Whittier College football team and, while president, struck up a friendship with George Allen, coach of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins. Allen invited the president to address the team in 1971, and legend has it that Allen used a play that Nixon had suggested for a playoff game that year. The play was a disaster, a 13-yard loss that stymied a critical scoring drive and contributed to Washington’s loss. 
     In 1938, Nixon and several investors attempted to strike it rich making California orange juice, but he had no more luck than his father in the citrus business. Nixon was the president of the Citra-Frost Company, which attempted to produce and sell frozen orange juice, but he even performed the menial work of cutting and squeezing oranges. Citra-Frost’s misguided attempt to freeze the juice itself, rather than the concentrate, doomed it to bankruptcy after just 18 months.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Just Some Random Thoughts On Christianity

     I am surprised at how little some Christians know about the roots of their religion. 
     Early Christianity developed out of the ministry of Jesus and his earliest followers were initially known as The Way. According to Acts 11, the term Christian (meaning followers of Christ) was first used by the non-Jewish inhabitants of the city of Antioch in reference to Jesus's disciples. 
     According to the Apostle Paul in Ephesians, Gentiles were not recipients of the covenants of God though they were included. Beginning with Abraham, God made promises to bring a Deliverer through Abraham’s family. The family of Abraham are the Jewish people and it is this promise of a Deliverer that the Gentiles have been grafted into, not the Jewish religion with all of its customs and Laws. Paul's argument was that Gentile converts were grafted into the covenant God made with Abraham by faith in Jesus. 
     When it comes to baptism, many Christians seem to think that it is exclusively Christian because Matthew 3:6, speaking of John the Baptist who announced the beginning of Jesus's public ministry, says people were baptized by him in the Jordan River. The Greek work for baptism means immersed. So, John was immersing people in the Jordan River. 
     By the way, the New Testament was written in Greek and the names were Hellenized. John was not his Jewish name. John comes from transliterating the Hebrew name Yohanan. 
     In Matthew 3 it says many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. Nobody asked John what he was doing when he immersed people in the Jordan...they already knew what he was doing. It was why he was doing it (announcing the arrival of the Messiah) that caused people to confess their sins and be immersed. 
     Almost every Jewish community has at least one mikveh. Many ancient historical sites in Israel have a mikveh or the remains of one. Jewish law requires that one immerse in a mikveh as part of the process of conversion to Judaism. It also requires women to immerse before getting married and when observing the laws of niddah (menstrual purity). There are also various other reasons, both traditional and modern, why men and women immerse in the mikveh. 
     In the days of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the mikveh was used by all Jews who wanted to enter the Sanctuary. The law required every person inside the Temple grounds to be in a spiritually pure state appropriate to the pristine spirituality of the Sanctuary itself. 
     Not just any water can be used in the mikveh. It must meet certain conditions and when it does such water is known as living water. When Jesus was in the temple surrounded by worshipers and he cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water", he was speaking of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive. i.e. The water in the mikveh was sybolic. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the real living water. 
     Immersion in the mikveh was done naked. This explains why the Apostle Paul, in Acts 16, had Timothy circumcised when in Galatians he had refused to let Titus be circumcised. 
     Titus was a pure Greek while Timothy was born of a Greek father, but his mother was Jewish, thus making Timothy a Jew. Having a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother does not make one a Jew. Also, according to Second Timothy, from childhood Timothy had been taught the Old Testament scriptures...his Jewish mother brought him up as a Jew, but his Greek father had not allowed circumcision. 
     During Paul's second missionary journey Timothy was Paul's companion and so Timothy was circumcised because of the Jews they were to meet in their travels. These travels would have required immersion in the mikveh prior to entering a synagogue and because that was done naked, Timothy's not being circumcised would have been obvious. 
     For the Jew, Tevilah (full-body immersion) marks a change of status from being ritually unclean (impure or unfit for the presence of God) to ritually clean. This is necessary because anytime a person is to come into the presence of God, they must come pure. 
     According to the site My Jewish Learning, what physical act could a person perform in order to symbolize a radical change of heart and a total commitment? Is there a sign so dramatic, dynamic, and all-encompassing that it could represent the radical change undergone by the convert to Judaism? Jewish tradition instructs the conversion candidate to be immersed in the mikveh. 
     When Gentile converts go down into the waters of the mikvah, it is symbolic of dying to their old life and they come up out of the water as a newborn child with an entirely new identity. They are reborn into the family of God. 
     The Talmud (oral law) states, “When he comes up after his immersion, he is deemed an Israelite in all respects.” In the Talmud Rabbi Yose says, “One who has become a proselyte is like a child newly born.” Thus, we see that the popular Christian term "born again" originated in Judaism. 
Christians are not grafted into the Jewish religion, but God has provided a way for them to partake in the promises He made to Abraham. And, baptism (and its meaning) is not something new that was instituted by John the Baptist.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Beauties Of The Past Brought To Life


The Youtube site MysteryScoop has some really interesting videos similar to the above in which the author has brought to life photos of the past using today's technology. Be sure to pay the site a visit!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Wright Brothers And Bicycles

     Two-wheeled vehicles requiring balancing by the rider date back to the early 19th century. The first vehicle of this type that was the archetype of the bicycle was the German "draisine" dating back to 1817. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s. 
     Before they built airplanes, the Wright brothers built bicycles. Even has children, the Wrights were innovative "businessmen" and in the early 1890s they were cashing in on the bicycle craze that swept the country in the wake of the invention of the "safety bicycle." The safety bicycle had two equal-size wheels which made it much easier to mount and ride than the "ordinary bicycle" which is now known as the high-wheel bicycle. 

     Wilbur Wright bought a used high wheel bicycle for just $3 (about $87 today) while the Wright family lived in Richmond, Indiana between 1881 and 1884. In 1892, Orville bought a new Columbia safety bicycle for $160. That wasn't cheap! In those days a blacksmith made a bout $16 a week. a carpenter $19 and a laborer about $9. 
     Both brothers enjoyed cross-country cycling and Orville occasionally enter races and once won a rocking chair as a prize. The Wrights opened a bicycle sales and repair shop called the Wright Cycle Exchange at 1005 West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio in 1892. They carried a variety of brands with prices ranging from $40 to $100. The Wrights also rented bicycles and sold parts and accessories. 
     The League of American Wheelmen held their twelfth annual meet in Dayton on July 4 and 5, 1892. It was a huge event with thousands of cyclists visiting the city to compete in thirteen different races for prizes worth up to $500. The visiting cyclists were also invited to tour the city and visit the Central National Soldiers Home with its exquisitely landscaped grounds. The Wheelmen would have passed right by the Wright Cycle Exchange. 
     As their business grew, the Wright brothers moved their bicycle shop six times and changed the name once. From 1897 to 1908 the company was known as The Wright Cycle Company and was located at 1127 West Third. 
     In late 1895, the Wright brothers began to make preparations to manufacture their own bicycles and introduced the "Van Cleve" on April 24, 1896; it sold for $65. The Van Cleves were ancestors of the Wrights and had been among Dayton's first settlers, arriving in 1796. Dayton was about to celebrate its centennial in 1896 and historical awareness was high so it was a good choice for a brand name.
     Later in in 1895, they introduced a less expensive model called the "St. Clair" which was named after Arthur St. Clair, the first president of the Northwest Territory which later became Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. It sold for $42.50. 
     During their peak years of production, between 1896 and 1900, they manufactured about 300 bicycles. During the time the brothers were assembling bicycles, they constantly improved them to remain on the cutting edge bicycle technology. 
     The Van Cleve featured a wheel hub with three unique features. 1) bearings adjusted by screwing the inner bearing races or "cups" in or out of the hub. Most bearings were adjusted by tightening nuts on the axle. Their design allowed for the wheels to be removed without changing the adjustment of the bearings, 2) the bearings were sealed with felt washers. Dayton only had 12 miles of paved streets in those days and the dust played havoc with bearings and the washers kept the dust out and, at the same time, created a reservoir that bathed the bearings in oil. 3) each hub carried it's own spar parts consisting of two extra outer bearing races or "cones" on which the bearings rode. These were likely parts to wear out on early bicycles. 
     The "coaster brake," a friction brake inside the rear hub that was activated by back-pedaling, first appeared in 1898. That same year the Wrights designed their own version of the coaster brake that would work with their special wheel hubs. In 1901 they contracted with Charley Taylor, a local machinist, to make the brake parts. That turned out to be a fortuitous arrangement because two years later it was Taylor who helped them to build their first aircraft engine. 
     Another bicycle innovation came in 1900 when the Wrights announced a pedal that couldn't come unscrewed. Pedals were mounted to the crank by threaded spindles and on early bicycles, both crank arms had standard right-hand threads. As the cyclist pedaled, the action tended to tighten one pedal and loosen the other and so one pedal kept falling off. A British inventor named William Kemp Starley had solved a the problem years before when he simply reversed the thread direction on the right pedal. The Wrights were among the first to offer right-hand threads on one crank arm and left-hand threads on the other. 
     They did well in the business. In 1897 (their best year), they made $3,000 in a time when the average worker was doing well to make $500 a year. They also managed to save $5,000, which went a long way in financing their aviation experiments 
     Beginning in 1898, bicycle manufacturers began to go bust because the market had been saturated by thousands of small firms that had sprung up to satisfy the initial rush to buy bicycles. The big manufacturing firms with their mass production and were able to sell bicycles for $10. 
     To remain competitive, the Wrights had lower their prices and build customized bicycles. Customers could choose different cranksets, forks, handlebars, saddles, pedals and add fenders, chain guards and brakes.
     Nevertheless, their business was declining and in 1898 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt convinced the War Department to pay the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Samuel Langley $50,000 to develop his 1896 Aerodrome into a man-carrying flying machine. This was supposed to be a secret, but the money was the largest sum ever paid by the War Department to develop a weapon and the news leaked. In any case, the Wrights were already studying about aviation and had come to the conclusion that they problem with the current airplane design was that they lacked controls. 
     The Wright manufactured very few bicycles after 1902 and by 1904 were out of the business and were busy developing airplanes. When they finally started selling aircraft in 1909, the bicycle shop was converted to a machine shop that turned out parts for airplane engines and drive trains. 
     In 1909 or 1910, the Wrights sold all their remaining bicycle parts and the rights to W.F. Meyers, a bicycle salesman, repairman and machinist. Meyers had another company assemble the parts and slapped the name Van Cleve on them and sold them until 1939. 
     Of the several hundred bicycles the Wrights made between 1896 and 1904, only five still exist including the only known example of a women's bicycle built by the Wrights. They are all owned by museums.