Current Event Friday #60

Highways have potholes to be sure, but a sinkhole? It happens


I’ve got a sinking feeling. Well, maybe not me but several drivers this week had that feeling during their morning commute. The impact this event had on drivers is the focus of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Repairs for a sinkhole on Interstate 265

Early Wednesday morning, a sinkhole opened up on Interstate 265 near the Floyd & Clark County lines in Indiana. The I-265 highway connects I-64 & I-65 highways and is traveled heavily most days by commuters during rush hour times and for shoppers heading to the commercial centers at the several exits on the highway.

As the sinkhole opened further at the heart of rush hour, several cars were involved in what would prove to be a fatal accident. Law enforcement worked to clear the crash and divert traffic to surface streets and avoid the sinkhole. Unfortunately, these efforts failed to prevent the accident referenced above. At the point of repair to the sinkhole, the dimensions of it had reached 30’ wide by 24’ long and 15’ deep. Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials did make necessary repairs to the area around the sinkhole later that day.

Southern Indiana and surrounding areas in Kentucky are defined by limestone below the soil that can lead to these instances. A sinkhole shut down the Louisville Zoo in March. The limestone deposits create a karst topography as subterranean rock material becomes soluble in liquids seeping from above the surface. While the karst topography offers opportunities for professional and amateur spelunkers wanting to explore caves, sinkholes often form nearby. In fact, many entrances to the caves open for tourists were discovered by entering sinkholes.

Local humor about the sinkhole on I-265 also added to other jokes about Indiana road conditions. While nearby roads are undergoing maintenance or repairs, the surface of I-265 may have already needed repair from potholes. Now with the sinkhole, surveys by INDOT may be needed. The area has also been inundated with record rainfall which has caused groundwater problems that contribute to the karst topography that seeps through the limestone.

The presence of sinkholes in the Ohio River Valley also is of concern to homeowners that may have to worry about the karst topography with their foundations. Settling of foundations and basements will often happen to buildings and houses and repairs are needed as fractures and the settling gets worse.

So, with two sinkholes opening up in the area in less than 3 months’ time, geologists and emergency officials will no doubt be monitoring and surveying our area to hopefully predict and prevent further disasters. Seemingly, the region has been spared by tectonic problems with earthquakes.

Are sinkholes a problem in your area?

Poetry Wednesday 54

Finding “Success” with another original poem


S-U-C-C-E-S-S that’s the way you spell success

I’m doing well for myself I guess

Always been a pretty good man, and getting better

Striving and aiming higher, from my ankle drops the fetter


Dreaming of a day that seems so far and lasting so long

Now I’m getting smarter and ever so strong

Some day I’ll wake up where I want to be

Warmed by other’s good thoughts that shall shine on to me


My attempts and my work build me up to size

Learning and improving, becoming wise

Rising into something more certain

Gone are the clouds that hide me like a curtain


Life, nowhere near semi-charmed; it’s improving

Still smiling with everything I’ve ever gone through

Can’t hear the haters, I’m making progress while I keep on moving


© Ryan Stroud 2019

Take a Photo, It’ll Last Longer

Who’s behind the camera? Hopefully it’s me

♪ Look at this photograph ♫

While these lyrics and an accompanying screencap of the music video for this song have become a viral meme, photographs are prized for being visual memories of momentous events.

Leafing through photo albums my mother put together as I grew up, my likeness appears in many of the photos therein. As my brother came along, he is featured in many photos with me, but rarely any of his own. That’s the youngest child curse. Eventually, though I grew to dislike my photo since it looked like me. In early blog posts I’ve mentioned that most of my teenage years and adulthood that I don’t particularly care for my appearance. I’ve learned that if you are the photographer you can avoid being featured in photos. So, whenever possible, I try to be the photographer to remain out of the photos.

As I have volunteered to photograph loved ones, I have had to learn how to take better pictures and that I enjoy being a photographer. I’m nowhere near professional or even a well-trained amateur, but I have some aspirations.

Luckily, I have several friends on social media that are professional photographers or at least well-trained amateurs. I need to prevail upon them to help me learn how to take better photographs. Of course, I know that owning a Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera is an important first step. If I can save up the money to purchase one, that will help. Finding an affordable model that’s easy to learn would also be helpful.

If I can gain proficiency with this interest, I also know that featuring my works will gain notoriety and affirmation, so Instagram’s focus on visual works would be helpful in achieving that. So, be paying attention to my social media to see the portfolio I hope to create.

Do you like taking photos and/or appearing in them?


History Monday #55

Levi’s original jeans receive a patent to be made by the original people on this date

One of the most ubiquitous pieces of clothing got its start today thanks to two enterprising individuals in the Western United States. So be sure to thank the parties responsible as you read today’s #HistoryMonday offering.

two hanged blue stonewash and blue jeans
Photo by Mica Asato on

On this day in 1873, the U.S. Patent Office grants a patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” to two Jewish entrepreneurs— Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis. The duo had an agreement to develop work pants reinforced with metal rivets. These work pants would go on to become what we know as jeans.

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss had already found success In San Francisco after starting a dry goods company twenty years prior. Strauss had moved from New York to San Francisco shortly after the California Gold Rush and statehood era to provide for railroad workers and miners. As Strass became successful, he was able to contribute philanthropically to other Jewish emigrants in San Francisco and other nearby cities.

Jacob Davis

Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers.  Davis proposed a solution to Strauss in 1872 making durable work pants by installing metal rivets at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly. Davis lacked the capital to apply for the patent himself and suggested that he and Strauss should form a working partnership to apply for the patent.

Strauss and Davis experimented with several materials before settling on what Strauss termed ‘denim’ as a marketing strategy. Among the materials were cotton duck (think Carhartt material) and canvas. Some early critics believed the denim was actually canvas dyed blue. While true denim is imported from Nimes, Frances the denim Levi’s used was produced in America.

fast forward

While jean material had existed and been in use before Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis, the construction and mass-production efforts allowed Levi Strauss & Company to become a widely known brand today. Originally a material created in Genoa, Italy the material soon became popular in Western fashion houses. The durable construction of the work pants made possible by Davis was instrumental in earning favor with cowboys, miners, and other blue-collar workers.

As more Americans began wearing the ‘XX’ model pants as a fashion statement rather than useful attire they eventually became a bestseller. Eventually this model would re-christened Brand 501 and the company grew even more, offering other attire besides the trademark jeans. The boon in popularity spiked after World War II, and with the popularity of James Dean wearing Levi’s jeans in Rebel Without a Cause. Other film and television offerings celebrating beat and motorcyclists would also add to the popularity.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Current Event Friday #59

Can Democrats appeal to moderates? A few candidates may have made that harder this week.

While there’s twenty Democrats running for the Presidential election, you’d think they’d want to appear on as many news programs as possible to get attention. A few candidates thought are choosing not to appeal to more conservative outlets to prove they’re for more people. The decision not to appear is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

The refusal drawing the most attention is Elizabeth Warren tweeting that she refuses to appear on a Fox News town hall in a few weeks. She went on to post on her Instagram a video featuring prominent Fox News contributors with a‘STOP THE HATE-FOR-PROFIT FOX NEWS RACKET’ banner over the faces.

Elizabeth Warren’s response on Instagram refusing to participate on a Fox News town hall

Elizabeth Warren has likability problems anyways notwithstanding her now proven dubious claims of Native American heritage. When she launched her campaign on Instagram, she attempted to be ‘cool’ by drinking a beer. With refusing to appear on Fox News and claiming that she refuses to give money to hateful people on the network, she’s only digging herself a deeper hole. Many Trump voters resented the ‘Basket of Deplorable’s comments by Hillary Clinton in 2016, and it seems that Elizabeth Warren is willing to make similar missteps.

New media darling and up-and-comer Pete Buttigieg was approached by Dave Rubin, a classic liberal who has made inroads with conservatives after observing hatred from the Left for engaging in conversation with those on the Right. Buttigieg’s campaign manager offered contact information to Rubin to set up a time for a conversation with the candidate. This conversation would be remarkable for trying to win moderates. Both men are married to same-sex partners but find some conservative support. As Buttigieg’s campaign manager reached out to Rubin, Left-leaning tweeters warned like Admiral Ackbar this was a trap. One account even claimed that Rubin was a homophobic, anti-choice, racist, and anti-Semite. Most of these accusations are frequently leveled at Conservative pundits. But as mentioned earlier, Rubin is homosexual, in addition he is ethnically Jewish and is a frequent practitioner of Judaism. He’s also on record for being at least somewhat approve of abortion with only a few restrictions. Even more hard-leaning Conservatives have been on Rubin’s program and featured him on theirs. Usually they find ways to respectfully disagree and not be hateful towards each other.

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Dave Rubin, host of the Rubin Report

Many moderate voters and even some conservatives worried with Pres. Trump’s policies and rhetoric would be glad to see dialogue between different viewpoints and promote healthy conversations. Dialogue between people with divergent views usually helps society. Promoting hatred and division have landed us in the political world we find ourselves in. I believe our nation and the citizenry are actually closer in agreement, but media, pundits, and politicians stoke the fires of polarization.

I have a handful of friends on social media with whom I may disagree politically, but I don’t try to start arguments or accuse them in bad faith. They usually reciprocate. Sometimes I learn to just not poke the bear and that’s okay, and I think they would too. I do sometimes ask questions to understand exactly what they believe and what their argument is because I am genuinely curious. I’d like to see some politicians and pundits do the same.

Should Democrats appear on Conservative outlets to earn moderate support?


In a Pickle

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers and maybe today as a day to celebrate all things pickle

Today we are in a pickle, not in that we are in an untenable situation, but because today is International Pickle Day. I’m sure I will find a way to celebrate somehow.

Regarding their etymology, pickles derive from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. Pickles were made a popular food nearly 4,000 years ago, when cucumbers in parts of Asia. There is some dispute whether in China, India, or the Middle East. As cucumbers, and by consequence pickles made their way through the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean Cleopatra claimed her looks and youth to pickles in addition to other beauty regimens

I have always liked pickles even in childhood. Worth clarifying, I mean only the sour pickles such as kosher dill, polish, or dill pickles. I know other people like sweet pickles, bread-and-butter, and other offerings but I’m not a huge fan. I can remember when I was young eating the giant pickles at football games. I still find them at grocery stores, and I’ll eat them to this day. Many Strouds also will drink pickle juice. Others have started drinking pickle juice for supposed health effects, but my family drinks it for the taste alone.

Pickles are especially helpful additions to burgers and hot dogs. The sour taste can cut the fats when topping burgers and hot dogs. Chicago style hot dogs feature both sweet and sour pickles.

Pregnant women are often said to crave pickles and other strange combinations including ice cream or peanut butter being the most popular counterparts. I can’t say I understand the ice cream exactly. I have had a burger that replaced mayonnaise with peanut butter and the pickles and onion somehow paired well with the peanut butter.

Speaking of odd pickle combos, consider the Koolickle. Originally a specialty of the Mississippi Delta region, Koolickles are formed draining the brine from a jar of pickles and mixing it with Kool-Aid. The resulting liquid is poured back over the pickles and allowed to marinate in the sweet-sour solution. I’ve made my own and it’s definitely an acquired taste. For those that like sweet pickles Koolickles aren’t all that different.

So, eat one of the giant ballpark pickles, toast with a pickle juice shot, or if you’re with child eat some pickles and ice cream.


Do you like sour or sweet pickles or both?


Poetry Wednesday #53

It’s Dinosaur Day, and so “Dinosaurs” is a poem with two parts suitable for multiple audiences.


Where have all the dinosaurs gone?
Once mighty, now they are lost in time of yon
Terrible, strong, and thundering species classed as reptilian
Sit down, son I’ve got a little story for you
We have moved on, for they’ve been gone for years—more than sixty million
Only thing left to prove existence of these creatures is a fossil here and there a fossil
What caused their extinction we haven’t a clue
Magnificent creatures were each and every species—so colossal
From the Brachiosaur to the Tyrannosaurus Rex
That King of the dinosaurs, a predator, what scientists qualify as an Apex
Behold that lumbering and massive Brontosaur
Looking like a giraffe with twisting neck, but they’re in a different clade
His neck stretches and twists like a sycamore
We can’t find anymore extant species, only close relatives—all the dinos are now decayed

There’s in my pocket a dinosaur
He’s a colored blue classic
I’ll pull him out and attack my mama with a mighty roar
She parked me in front of the screen to watch something Jurassic
Time for my nap I don’t want to take, but when I wake up after
Come find my lil’ brother and wrestle with him like a raptor

© Ryan Stroud 2019