Phoenix Residence: My sister is now on the Board of Directors!

My younger sister lives in a group home operated by Phoenix Residences. The staff do an awesome job in a challenging financial situation. My older sister** was recently elected to the Phoenix Board of Directors. I think her analytic and communication skills, along with her compassion, will be a great addition. Congrats Sis!

** Special Note: she is indeed my older sister as she is the older of my two sisters. She is, however, definitely younger than me. And hates this joke.

Phoenix Residence, Inc. is committed to developing person-centered, quality living experiences for individuals with disabilities.

https://www.phoenixresidence.org/

The dark side of electronic waste recycling – The Verge

Electronics can be hazardous when disposed of improperly, and the Basel Action Network, or BAN, investigates the underground world of the e-waste trade. The nonprofit group secretly embeds trackers in discarded devices, then hands them to recyclers to see where they end up, exposing bad practices in the process. After dropping bugged LCD monitors in Oregon, they followed along as the trackers traced a circuitous route through the summer of 2015 and into the fall.

The dark side of electronic waste recycling – The Verge

The Christmas Model Train

The Christmas tree train went up today. Like every year.

I remember having a model train when I was a kid. The old 3-rail O scale. It had a diesel engine and some really cool cars. Ok, John, stop with the description and search the internet for it…bingo — found it on my first search FTW. Here it is. You can see each of the cars in the first 30 seconds. Note the starting image of the video isn’t the train I had.

I played with that train for hours. The submarine was driven by a submarine and could actually go in the bath tub. The helicopter could not fly. Firing the missiles was fun, but not reliable. And nothing, you know, exploded when the missiles hit so that was anticlimactic.

As I got older, I picked up some HO scale track and trains. The track was touchier as we didn’t build a permanent setup. I enjoyed changing things each time I put it up. The HO train never felt like a Christmas train — that needed to be something bigger.

The Christmas train started with my first father-in-law. He had been a model train guy since he was a child and always had a train under the tree. On their first birthday, each of my kids got a O scale Lionel set from Grandma and Grandpa. The sets are still on the garage, eventually to make it to their houses when the time is right.

Each Christmas, we would rotate through the kid’s train sets, trying to give them equal time. A few years ago, my son worked at the seasonal Lionel Train store at a local mall. He gifted us a new train set and that is what you see in the first photo.

A model train is a long way from the spiritual meaning of Christmas. Nevertheless, it is a part of my Christmas tree decorating.

Overlooked No More: Rose Mackenberg, Houdini’s Secret ‘Ghost-Buster’ – The New York Times

To expose fake psychics, Houdini employed a small army of undercover agents, calling them “my own secret service.” Rose Mackenberg, a private eye, was his foremost operative.

Overlooked No More: Rose Mackenberg, Houdini’s Secret ‘Ghost-Buster’ – The New York Times

You may need to register (free) to read this. A cool story about one of the people that help Harry Houdini uncovered frauds and fake psychics. She often went in disguise.

Music Is Magic: Stairway To Heaven performed by Heart & Others @ Kennedy Center

I grew up listening to rock music. Specifically, classic rock back before it had earned the ‘classic’ moniker by refusing to die. Stairway to Heaven was a favorite of mine and many others. It didn’t get a lot of airplay on the main radio stations as it was over 8 minutes long — much longer than the typical 4 minute top o’ the charts song.

I could usually hear it on the radio once a week during the Top 5 Songs. The local radio station based it off of caller requests and, for a very long time, Stairway to Heaven was #1, so they played it last thing around 10pm. All eight glorious minutes.

But as the play count in my head got into the hundreds, maybe thousands, the thrill faded. I didn’t seek it out and it isn’t in my music library in any format.

But then I saw this version. Lead by the band Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson), this version was performed at the Kennedy Center to honor Led Zeppelin in 2012.

A couple of things to note for this performance. First, Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin’s deceased drummer John Bonham, is playing drums. That had to be an intense moment for him. Watch him at the very end salute his dad’s bandmates.

Then there is the guy who has to play the Stairway To Heaven guitar solo in front of Jimmy Page. That had to be stressful.

The part that always gets me is how the song builds. Not the melody or vocals themselves, but how the people on stage build. I’m not going to describe it as you have to see it. Those being honored are amazed and touched by the performance.

What does it feel like to write a song that touched so many people?

The entire Music Is Magic playlist can be found here.

Where is the Tesla that SpaceX sent into space?

SpaceX launched a car into space on February 6, 2018. Some dismissed as a stupid rich guy thing. I enjoyed it immensely. SpaceX is doing remarkable work, with NASA’s help, in getting the space effort going again. Putting the Tesla Roadster, and a space dummy, on a trajectory towards Mars caught the public’s attention. If it helps build awareness and support for more space travel, that is a worthy effort. 

So I was thinking about that launch today and was wondering what ever happened to that car. Of course, the internet came to the rescue. 

The site is https://www.whereisroadster.com/ and it is constantly updated with the latest information. This site was put up by some guy, not related at all to Tesla and SpaceX. 

It is currently going over 11,000 miles per hour. 

I think that is awesome.

Thankfulness

Today is Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful. 

I am very thankful for my health. Knock on wood, I have dodged severe health issues. 

I am very thankful for my family. The household I grew up in had love and books, both of which, through zero effort on my part, set me on a good path in life. My kids and stepkids are awesome adults. My grandgoobers make me smile. 

I am very thankful for my job. My particular career interests have aligned with what society is willing to pay for. My coworkers care about their jobs, work hard, and have fun.

I am very thankful for my wife. We found each other when we were both lost and struggling. She is my anchor and support which allows me to take chances in the world and always have a safe place to come home to.  

I am extremely fortunate to be where I am in life. Much of it is not of my doing. Every day is a day to be thankful — that is something I’ll have to work on.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Rainier: Remembering a great dog

In 1999, our family moved back from Seattle, WA to St. Paul, MN. Shortly after arriving, we got a dog. A black lab/springer spaniel mix that we named Rainier. In 2012, Rainier passed away. He was a great dog. I wrote a short piece when he died.

https://johnbredesen.com/2014/10/07/rainier-the-perfect-gentleman/

A quick note about the photo. The original photo had lots of people standing around Rainier. I wanted a good photo to remember him but I have zero Photoshop skills. Fortunately, my nephew, Spencer, does. I sent him the file with no guidance. He came up with the sky background idea and did the work. It turned out awesome and has been my avatar ever since.

Scoregami: an amusing sport stat

Came across ‘Scorigami’ the other day. It is a ‘Scorigami!’ when a US Football game ends in a score that has never happened before. The web site https://nflscorigami.com/ gives the current state of them. It is fun to wander around a bit. There is also a baseball one at https://scorigami.danaben.net/t.

There have been at least two Scorigamis this season. The Browns beat the Ravens 40-25 and Tampa Bay beat the Rams 55-40.