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Posts from ‘December, 2009’

Y2K Bug in Retrospect

picture of y2k explosion

Do you remember all the hype about the y2k bug in the late 1990's? For those who only vaguely remember that situation, here's the problem in a nutshell. Computer programmers had the practice of abbreviating the year to only the last two digits. As the year 2000 approached it was feared that everything would stop working at the time of the rollover from 99 to 00. The predictions were that long-working computer systems would break down when the ascending numbering of years "...97, 98, 99..." suddenly became invalid when we hit the year "00."

Ten years ago this week people all over the globe were anticipating worldwide calamity. Some people were extremely concerned about y2k, but many others were totally nonchalant. My own take on it was "y2k? — y not 2k?!" But actually it's more than a little ironic that they called the problem "y2k" when it's abbreviations that got us in the problem in the first place!

Here's a cartoon that shows what many thought would happen:

picture of y2k cartoon

People were seriously stocking up on provisions — bottled water, canned meat, vegetables and fruit, TP, etc., in case stores could not open for months. There were all sorts of items available like the Survival Kit below:

picture of y2k survival kit

If you want to read more about the "y2k problem," there's a good article on Wikipedia.

Crisis mentality and hype are nothing new. But the y2k problem apparently wasn't either — those living in 999 A.D. and the year 1 B.C. faced similar situations. I have unearthed several documents that describe those situations, and I share them below. Also in 1999 there were some, in spite of all the reporting about it, who still did not understand the concept of y2k. I'll end the post with one blonde's (mis)understanding of the problem.
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Oh, deer!

picture of deer crossing sign

Some of you taking to the roads to see loved ones at Christmas may be facing some winter road hazards. At least if there's snow, you should be able to see more easily one of the other hazards — deer.

A reader sent me two pictures that I decided to post today, on Christmas Eve Day. I cannot find out for sure where these pictures were taken. I've seen them attributed to places in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Snowmobile Trail Closed Due to Traffic Jam

picture of deer on snowmobile trail

picture of deer on snowmobile trail

It makes me wonder whether someone put food on the trail to lure that many deer to one place.

I received the following from a female reader....

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa 's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl. We should've known — only women would be able to drag an overweight man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

I wish you much joy at Christmas! I hope to hear from many of you.


"God takes care of creatures we don't even think about or don't even know exist." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Could it be that so many deer get hit on the roads because they're simply obeying the posted deer crossing signs?

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4 Nights Before Christmas

picture of Clement Moore

In case you're living in a cave and don't know what's going on in the outside world, there are only four nights before Christmas. In honor of that I am posting four different versions of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (picture on the right). The parodies of this poem are seemingly endless. The ones I'm posting today all come with attribution to the original authors. This post is longer than usual, but I don't plan to post again until next week.

Twas The Night Before Christmas ... For Moms
by Ruth Carter-Bourdon

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo and Barbie flipped through their heads.

The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only Mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With the toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh, great," muttered Mom, "now I have to clean the rug."
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Let It Snow!

picture of a snowflake

The news here yesterday sent people in our area scurrying to the grocery stores to stock up on bread and milk. I guess French toast is the comfort food of choice in these parts when the "s-word" is in the forecast. Although we may get some snow from this, today it looks as if the bulk of the wintry mix might be passing slightly to our north, then moving on to bless you folks along the eastern coast. Since our semester ended yesterday, I hope most of our students are already at their destinations.

Our weather news reminded me of several things I've received from readers recently. I'll start off with a picture of thousands of protesters of global warming.

picture of global warming protesters

That group would indeed have something to worry about, if it weren't all "Hoax and Chains," as I've heard should be the new slogan of the current administration.

Snowmen are not always taken seriously, but there are some things we can learn from them.

What I learned about life from snowmen...

It's okay if you're a little bottom heavy.

It takes a few extra rolls to make a good midsection.
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Families and Gift-Giving Traditions

picture of wrapped Christmas gifts

Each family handles gift-giving differently, and traditions often have to change through the years as the family grows. For example in many families who used to all exchange gifts, the adults now draw names for the exchange. The story I'm posting today is a classic on a gift exchange that somewhere along the line went ballistic. It's one of my all-time favorites that I always enjoy rereading.

Several years ago when I e-mailed the story as an iv, I checked an urban legend website and learned that it really did happen as recounted. What I'm posting includes the conclusion of the matter.
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