Lose that Bath Mat!

For years, my folks and I used bath mats for the bath tub. At first, the mats would feel great and grip well, but always, the mats would become grimy and/or mildewed, and some would lose a little bit of their grip as well.

No matter how diligently my folks or I cleaned the mat, the result was always the same. Some mats did last longer than others, but in the end, they always had to be replaced.

A number of years ago, when I visited my folks, they’d gotten rid of the mat in favor of a pair of “shower” shoes. These were some plastic slip on type of sandals or flip-flops. And they worked well. Their grip on the tub’s floor was excellent! Well, I still liked my mats so I continued with them for a while, but finally, with the last one, which just wouldn’t get truly clean, I’d had it and bought myself a similar pair of shower shoes. And they’re great!

They cost less than just about any mat, about $6 at Wal-Mart. They are easy to clean. I wash them as I take my shower and wash my feet, so they always are clean when I’m done, and this just takes about a minute, if that!

Then, they are easy to store and dry quickly. And they grip the tub’s bottom better than any mat I’ve ever tried, so I feel even safer using them.

Finally, the tub doesn’t pick up the griminess of the mat!

So, instead of a bath mat, try using shower shoes! Lose that mat and you may just be amazed!

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A Historic Day Today

It was July 20th, 1969 and I was eager to arrive home. I was just a kid and me, my parents, and a visiting cousin, were on our way home from my grandparents’ house. I always had a great time at my grandparents’ house, about 400 miles away and always hated leaving and would often arrive home feeling the letdown, but this time, the letdown was pushed well back due to my anticipation.

You see, I’d always, even as a kid, been interested in astronomy and space exploration. And that day, July 20th, 1969, human beings were landing on the Moon!

We got home in time to watch the landing on live TV and I can still feel the emotions I felt that afternoon, 45 years later.

Since then, while there’s been some activity, it seems to have come in spurts, with long hiatus’ in between. And not just us, either. We’ve done, collectively among the few, but recently growing, space-faring nations of the world, manned activity in low and middle Earth orbit, but little else in terms of space exploration, with the exception of interplanetary probes.

I believe we could have done more by this time, especially in regards to returning to the moon. It’s not that we didn’t, or don’t have, the technology, but that we’ve let red tape and politics trip us up. Politics, in the form of governments, until recently, not allowing private companies to venture out into space, often cutting space exploration budgets in favor of other “true” pork-barrel projects, and a “not invented here” policy regarding listening to those who would know better how to keep us in space at a lower cost and who have the vision to see that, in the long, long-term, space exploration can benefit in more ways than we think. And of course, the red tape, where everything has to be filled out 10 times over, even though we live in the computer age where everything can just be copied and transferred, and mindless regulations, as well as good regulations that are enforced in a mindless manner.

So what are the benefits of exploring that great “empty” vacuum? Well, there are planets and asteroids, and gasses and other things out there that can do much for us.

In terms of science, the universe is a living chemists lab. Astronomers and other scientists are seeing things with ever advanced instruments that give us new answers as to how various elements work and also provide proof, or discredit, of the theories we have today. Being there in person, we could learn much more much faster. I read an article recently where a scientist said that a team of astronauts could do in a week on Mars, what all of the robots we’ve sent, such as Soujourner, Opportunity, and Pathfinder, have done in all the years they’ve been there!

In terms of resources, the solar system alone may be a vast storehouse of all kinds of mineral resources, just waiting for us to go out and get them. Instead of getting coal and iron, and rare metals from here on Earth, with all of the environmental and cultural issues involved, imagine if we could get it from some lifeless asteroid or moon instead!

And of course, there’s the question of life outside of Earth. It may be life as we don’t know it, but I think we would recognize it if we discovered it. And while it wouldn’t initially affect the individual on Earth, it would answer some big questions about how rare or common life is and would let us all know that Earth is not as unique in being a life-bearing planet as we at first thought.

But at least one question has been answered. We can reach other worlds.

Recently, private companies, such as SpaceX, have been coming into play, with a good measure of success. Also, more nations have sent people into space on their own and are talking about going to the moon in some cases. I wish them well and hope that the advent of private space-faring companies and more space-faring nations, along with the discovery of a growing number of planets outside our solar system, will renew greatly the interest in space exploration.

There’s much to be learned and had from that great “empty” vacuum we call space.

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Let’s Hear it For Teachers!

I remember one of my high school teachers saying that most people think that teachers simply open up kids’ heads, pour in the knowledge, and they’re done for the day. I’ve heard people not involved in teaching say that teachers have it easy, what with having the whole summer off, as well as two weeks at Christmas and a week at Easter, days that end at 3pm instead of 5pm, etc.

So, how true is this? Well the fact of the matter is that people have a real misconception about teachers, and, while it is true that there are, and have been, some really bad ones out there, the vast majority are good and are often unfairly tarred by the impressions that the bad apples, and administrators, leave on the public.

Let’s examine some of the myths regarding teachers:

Teachers get the holiday season and the whole summer off! 

Yes, they do, and it is a nice perk, but, unlike members of Congress, they don’t get paid for more than two or three weeks of it, about what an average worker would get for their 2-3 week vacation! Teachers have to manage their salaries so that they can cover the 2-2 1/2 months per summer where they aren’t paid.

Teachers just mostly talk all day at the kids, how simple is that! They have such an easy job!

If you’re more than 5 years old, you must have seen some kid somewhere act up. If you’re a parent, or old enough to be one, you know you have! Just imagine 25, 30, or often more kids and several are acting up, not listening, or just not getting it. And you realizing that they are not your kids, so you must show more restraint in how you handle them! Add in all the special things that a teacher needs to do besides talk. Such as explaining things, grading papers, talking to parents, dealing with the different personalities of each kid, pulling “playground duty” at recess and lunch, keeping the classroom in order, coming up with lesson plans, and of course, dealing with administrators, some of whom have never taught a class of any kind in their lives yet think they know everything. Which leads to the next myth,

Teachers’ days end at 3 pm while everyone else works til 5pm!

Class time may end at 3pm, but not the teacher’s day. They have papers to grade, lesson plans to be drawn up, oftentimes extra curricular activities to supervise, meetings, often mindless ones, that administrators make them attend, parental meetings, and special events to attend.

Teachers don’t teach and just want to be pals to the kids!

Certainly some are like this. But most are not. However, they are often prevented from enforcing much discipline and are restricted from teaching, or not teaching, certain subjects or in certain ways, by our PC mentality, overbearing and cowardly administrators, and sue happy parents of all stripes.

If you really think about it, and use the “Mental Hand” that I wrote about in my earlier post, The Mental Hand, you’ll see that teachers, especially good ones, have a really tough job.

I’m not saying that every time there’s a teachers’ strike or the threat of one, that the teachers are always right, but I do believe that they do deserve a respect, from the general public, that they don’t get today.

If you can read this post, especially if you can read it easily and understand it, thank a teacher!

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