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Immaculate Conception at night by Vincent Embser

Wiser’s Wramblings-Brighter Days and Wrenched Back

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

As I start this on the day of the longest night of the year, I will likely finish and submit it, on the first day of the start of days getting longer. I have written previously about Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, which events signal the lengthening or shortening of the amount of daylight each day. I won’t repeat that topic, but my curiosity led me to try and find out how rapidly each day increases or decreases light versus dark hours as the change occurs.

As with most everything, the answers aren’t completely black or white. Interesting phraseology as I’m discussing darkness hours compared to daylight hours. Geographic location based on proximity to the North or South Poles and the equator dictate the daily seasonal hours changes. You’ve likely heard or read about the land of the midnight sun. In the summer months the sun never completely sets at the North pole. Norway is called “The Land of the Midnight Sun.”

 The progression of change for areas close to the North and South poles is considerably different than those at the equator. In our area, after the longest day December 21st, the “days start getting longer,” figuratively speaking. Initially following the winter solstice, the daylight length starts increasing by about 90 seconds per day. This gradually increases until March when the daily daylight increase amounts to about 3 minutes per day. After the Summer Solstice the trend reverses. I guess in a way the psychological feeling that it gets darker faster from summer to fall has some relevance as the time shift is initially going in larger increments.

My wife pays very little (none) attention to my Sun writings and in fact just rolls her eyes when I start talking about what I’m planning to write about or have written about. When I mentioned a couple of planned topics for this weeks edition she asked; “Aren’t you going to write anything about Christmas?” I guess I’d better. I will refer to this season as The Holiday Season, as it is more encompassing and can expand from Thanksgiving until New Years. Most people associate the song Jingle Bells as a Christmastime song when in fact it was originally known as The One Horse Open Sleigh, and was written for Thanksgiving. The Maple City Barbershop Chorus, which I sing with, and other singing groups have been entertaining “assisted living” facilities for several weeks. We initially had a nursing home sing out scheduled for a couple of weeks ago, but had to postpone until later in January due to recent adverse snow conditions. We will likely just weed out the purely Christmas music and perform pieces that are general holiday or seasonal in nature.

As I listened to a radio news program the other day, unless my ears failed me, I heard them say that the National average for a gallon of gasoline was $3.09. The New York State average two days ago when I was listening, is or was, $3.44. Allegany and Cattaraugus are still in the $3.60 range with some stations a little higher, some lower. The gas price on the Reservation in Cuba was $3.25 today on their 5¢ off sale price. The subject of gas prices on a reservation is a little bit of a controversial topic but I let my wallet control my conscience, at least in that regard. With due apologies to local business owners and by way of explanation to those who tell me my gas usage driving to Cuba offsets the savings, I am passing through on my way to Walmart in Olean anyway.

Weather Warning! The weather reports leading into and through Christmas Eve and Christmas don’t seem to include a massive amount of snow as you would expect a weather warning to be this time of year. That is good news and bad news as they say. While we will not be faced with several inches or feet of snow making driving and snow clean up tedious or perilous, rain, wind and ice will likely be the culprit. I had never heard or seen the term Flash Freeze before, but that and extremely high wind gusts may well be much worse than would the snow. With a rapid temperature change following or during the rain, icy roads and downed limbs could make driving absolutely dangerous. You may have left home when it was relatively warm out but to return home the weather conditions may have rapidly changed making your return the problem. How many times have we had dire weather warnings just to end up with nothing out of the ordinary happening and we think to ourselves that it was just “crying wolf?” Better to be safe at home thinking that than sitting in a damaged vehicle, in a ditch, or wrapped around a tree, and if you are lucky, to be thinking, “why didn’t I believe them?” Christmas is a special time of year, especially when family plans bring the large family together. BUT, so too, will be next year’s Christmas, and we want you around for that. BE SAFE! As I write, I received a message from a grandson that will not be home for Christmas as his job will take him out for “Storm Duty.” His closing words were: “I might be gone for up to 4 weeks of cleanup and may spend Christmas Day in a bucket truck or a Motel”

As long as I mentioned the receipt of a message, that is one of the very positive aspects of the mobility and usefulness of a cell phone. This is a segue into a topic on my writing bucket list. I am “old school” as you likely know, as I continue to get older. I would be 90% content with a landline phone, which we still have, and use for 95% of “calling.” My cell phone is only used for messaging and typically cannot receive calls or messages that I am aware of as it’s in the pocket of whatever I wore yesterday. Even if here in the house, out in the open, it is likely turned off. The scam calls that come in on it at the rate of 3 to 4 per day, are largely unnoticed. Sadly, those that come in on our landline cause me to run toward the phone at the other end of the house as it starts ringing, and don’t answer after only hearing the message “Scam Caller.” or we do not recognize the call having an area code from somewhere in outer Mongolia. Cell Phones can be many times worse as a communication device, than an “old fashioned” landline phone. It is an oft times mentioned, poor habit for many, not just the younger generation(s), to be on their cell phones, distracted, nearly “three quarters” of their waking hours, if not more.

Relying on a cell phone for all forms of communication is detrimental to the context of information being transferred. When I send out an email, from my laptop computer, or my one concession to small handheld devices, my Kindle Fire, I am amazed at the resulting reply, or not, from the recipient. It is obvious that the recipient had not read, “to understand,” or, the complete message when they mention or ask about, something that I had already addressed, and covered, in the message I had just sent them. When I send out a message using Facebook Messenger two things are likely to happen. After the message is sent a little notification icon appears showing me that the message had been received. Two days later when asking the recipient why they had not responded, or for the information I requested in the message, they reply “I didn’t get/see the message.” I know they saw it but a) did they read it, or b) did they read it slowly enough to understand or remember it. That last is an obvious failing to me however. This next comment only pertains, on my end, to when I am on a device with a screen large enough to see. When a person is responding to a message, three dots “” blink on the display, at the bottom, to the left of the message indicating that the person is typing something in reply. Even when I have sent a multiple paragraph message, with considerable detail in it, the three dots start blinking, not only to show me they are reading, but they continue blinking as they are replying to my message, mere seconds after I sent it. No way, did they have time to read and understand the full message.

There! Rant over.

Have you used a Crescent Wrench, or Allen Wrench lately? How about drinking a Coke? This is not a new phenomenon of talking about something and mentioning an object such as I did. Most likely the wide spread use or consumption of something picked up what it is called, as that was the name of the manufacturer when there wasn’t 40 companies making the same product. “Adjustable wrenches” are now made by, or branded by, dozens of companies, but initially they were produced by what was likely the inventor’s or most common manufacturer, or the person or company that registered the “Trademark

When I researched this, looking for other examples, the Trademark name most often was cited. Other such products, to list only a few, included: Band-Aid, Chapstick, Frisbee, Popsicle Xerox (probably most common along side Coke), Crockpot, Taser and Aspirin.

Two such names have interested me over the years. One of which I understand. LASER  is a name fairly well understood. LASER commonly noted as just “laser” is actually the acronym of “Light Amplification of Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” That is one of my favorites as I would spiel off that explanation within the lectures I gave at Alfred State discussing manufacturing processes. Aspirin has a story that I just discovered during this research. I live to learn.

Aspirin, the common name for “acetylsalicylic acid,” a well known pain reliever was developed by the Bayer company. The term “Aspirin” became the commonly used name, not only spoken, but also used by other manufacturers than the original manufacturer/seller Bayer. The name had been trademarked and Bayer tried to enforce their proprietary use through the courts, only losing to its trademarked exclusivity due to the common use and acceptance of the term. The term(s) for products becoming so common that their names are used to identify them, is/are genericide or genericiszation (noun or verb 😉). A side reference in my notes indicated that this whole process fighting the use of the term Aspirin, was settled somehow by the Treaty of Versailles when Germany was defeated in WWI. I did not dig further. “Have at it” if you so desire.

I will end this with a Christmas poem that had been written years ago and only re-discovered last year. My original intent, and hope, was that it be turned into a song. Unfortunately, that never came to pass. My hopes are once again renewed as I have recently become acquainted with a fellow musician, and I am being presumptuous putting myself in that category, who has some history with music composition. I now have the tune that I had planned for that song rattling around in my head along with the B-B’s that are up there.

Herein I wish you all a happy and joyous holiday season, and especially a blessed Christmas.

Please be careful if you travel and be safe. Please share your gift of love as It was shared to us.

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