Current Event Friday #52

Make sure you fly a reputable and known airline.

Wow! Several travelers are stranded, and their flights are cancelled. It’s not because of weather or mechanical failures, it’s because the airline went under. The abrupt closure of the airline and the travel complications are today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

The budget airline company Wow Air out of Iceland announced yesterday they were shuttering operations leaving travelers scrambling to find new flights. Many smaller airlines like Wow Air have advertised that they offer less expensive fares than major airlines like Delta & American Airlines. Budget-savvy travelers hopped at the chance to travel on the cheap.

Airlines going under is nothing new but leaving the travelers in their airports and not honoring their flights before ceasing operations leaves and even more sour taste in everyone’s mouth. A handful of the hard-luck travelers took to social media blasting the now defunct airline and their lack of sensitivity towards their needs.

I understand the desire to find an affordable fare when flying but realize this could be a concern. Flying established airlines guarantees quality and safety when traveling. The advice I have found when looking for air travel deals is using travel aggregations sites like Orbitz and Travelocity to spot deals. Using incognito mode or private mode on your internet browser also helps to prevent cookies from being stored. Airline companies track how often you visit their site and using the private browsing prevent this. Disguising the number of visits allows the fare to remain fixed.

Luckily, several airlines will offer rescue fares and allow travelers to make their flights to their destinations. These competitors will often deeply discount their fares and nearly match the fares of the airline now out of business.

I have had luck traveling with Allegiant Air that offers affordable travel by air to sunnier destinations. As they seek to corner more of the market, they offer flights for less than $100/person and add more departing cities. Hopefully these expansion efforts will not lead to bankruptcy but better quality from the company.

Would you ever fly on a cheap airline or do you fly the major airlines?

Poetry Wednesday #46

Today is “Cosmos” for the latest Poetry Wednesday entry.


Star light, star bright, last one I’ll see tonight

I have wished, wished hard with all of my might

Spangled is the canopy of heaven

Some might say, you get what you’ve been given


Fiery and shooting stars sometimes fall

I’ll say it best and say nothing at all.

Come sail away with me on my star ship

Like Columbus new things we’ll find this trip


Don’t know everything bout astronomy

Don’t know everything bout astrology

But I know I hoped that you’d love me too

Get closer, cause I’m too far from you

Looking out the rocket’s open window

Open my window, see the stars aglow


© Ryan Stroud 2019

Scar Tissue

I’m going under the knife again and so I decided to write some thoughts about it.

♫Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic mister know-it-all♪
Yes, these lyrics describe me very well. Scars cover most of my upper torso and below the skin there is much more scar tissue. As you are reading this, I am in the operating room at the local children’s hospital undergoing even more surgery. So, that means even more scar tissue. I have calculated that this will be my 12th surgery and the 6th of this kind since age 3. Most every friend who seeks to get to know me will inevitably ask how many surgeries I’ve had and this leads to me doing the calculation.
One more and I’ll be like Chris Farley’s Superfan character. “That’s a baker’s dozen, Bob.” Thankfully, mine are preventative surgeries and not heart episodes like the Superfan character.
I make jokes and some might think that is odd, but it’s a coping mechanism. I admit that I always have a moment of trepidation immediately before I’m wheeled into the OR. To be sure, my parents and family have been more fearful and concerned than I have as they have all the time during surgery to worry and overthink. During the surgeries, I get more sleep than I do most nights and of course my overthinking is silenced for once during the day.
This surgery is at least the more minor surgery that I have undergone. One surgery replaces the pacemaker itself and is classified as an outpatient procedure. The operating time is roughly the same as a tonsillectomy. Recovery time is a little longer than a tonsillectomy but it doesn’t strain the chest structure. I always hope if surgery is necessary it’s the pacemaker replacement and not the wiring that runs between the heart and the pacemaker. If it’s the wires being replaced, that usually means open heart surgery and requires longer hospitalization. So, you can see why I choose the pacemaker replacement alone.
As always, I am always grateful for the surgical team that carry out the operation. I have been lucky that the same surgeon has done all but two of the surgeries. That helps put me at ease since he knows what to expect when he takes scalpel in hand and I’m on the operating table. It also helps me in establishing trust with the surgical team because I have built a rapport with the lead of the surgical team. I am well aware that eventually the surgeon will be retiring and I’ll have to establish a relationship with a new surgeon. I have confidence in who that may be, and I’ll cross that bridge when it comes time.
I’ll close with asking that if you’re the praying type, say a prayer that pain is minimal and the recovery is expedient.

History Monday #47

Who could’ve predicted it, it being a tornado.

“It’s a twister! It’s a twister! ”

“It really was no miracle what happened was just this: The wind began to switch, the house to pitch, and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch”

These quotes uttered by characters in The Wizard of Oz are a reminder of weather patterns this time of year and the topic of today’s #HistoryMonday

On this day in 1948, Major Ernest J. Fawbush and Captain Robert C. Miller—meteorologists at Tinker Air Force Base, outside Oklahoma City observed weather charts for the day eerily similar to charts from less than a week earlier. Fawbush and Miller had been tasked to study a March 20 tornado and used their results to create a tornado prediction system.

Forecasts issued by the Weather Bureau indicated nearly the same conditions for the evening of March 25 as those from March 20 but the Weather Bureau avoided issuing tornado warnings, for fear of public panic and complacency if forecasts turned out to be false alarms.

In preparation for the weather that day, the base meteorologists warned of “heavy thunderstorms” so base personnel could plan for tornado precautions developed after the March 20th tornado.

As the day wore on, weather radar images showed a severe squall line in the West, and nearby stations reported cumulonimbus clouds and thunderstorms. As the conditions worsened and looked to produce tornadic activity, base meteorologists issued the first official tornado forecast. Equipment which could be was moved to bomb-proof shelters, and base personnel were moved to safer areas.

The storms seemingly harmless as they got closer to the base became stronger when a supercell formed just west of the base, and at around 6 pm a tornado touched down on the base. This tornado caused $6 million in damage, or $63M today. Thanks to precautions enacted because of the tornado forecast, no injuries were reported, and the damage was limited.

fast forward

Due to lives and costs saved, Fawbush & Miller continued their tornado forecasts, which verified at quite a high rate over the next three years. During the tornado season of 1949, they issued 18 forecasts for tornadoes within a 100-square-mile area, and all 18 proved successful.

The synoptic pattern which occurred on March 25 later became known as the “Miller type-B” pattern and is recognized as one of the most potent severe weather setups.

We see the effects of Fawbush and Miller today as the National Weather Service locations around the country use all technology possible to declare warnings and watches for thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Local television meteorologists take in the information from radar imagery and the National Weather Service reports to broadcast these warnings and watches to the viewing public. Some fear the warnings and watches desensitize the public, but most meteorologists prefer to encourage viewers to be adequately informed.

In addition to local news reports during thunderstorms in the coming months, many states conduct readiness drills statewide by testing emergency alert notification systems and tornado sirens. Last week was Severe Weather Awareness Week in Indiana and a Statewide Tornado Drill was conducted on the 19th. Included for most weather-inclined folk locally also saw Kentucky’s Severe Weather Awareness Week the first week of this month and included their Tornado Drill on March 6. You can find the date of your state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week and Storm Drill day at

What tornadoes or severe storms have happened in your neck of the woods?


Current Event Friday #51

A toast to beer company lawsuits

It’s the weekend and maybe this evening for many it’s Miller time. I’ll never be Tom T. Hall or Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and say, “I like beer.” but I do on occasion have a beer. I mention all this because the two largest beer corporations are fighting each other in the courtroom and is our #CurrentEventFriday topic.
Normally, the MillerCoors Company and Anheuser-Busch would be duking it out in competition in the bar room or liquor store rather than the courtroom, but a Super Bowl ad changed all that. In the Super Bowl ad, Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand challenged MillerCoors products and their use of corn syrup in production. Piling on to this ad, Bud Light soon after erected billboards along a busy highway running from where Coors brews in Golden, Colorado leading into Denver.
The suit alleges that Anheuser-Busch is misleading and false advertising because there is no corn syrup in the final product. The brewers use corn syrup as a fermentation aid in their Miller Lite and Coors Light products. MillerCoors adds that many Anheuser-Busch products use corn syrup as a fermentation aid as well.
All this to say, these campaigns by both companies have proven a lose-lose situation. Anheuser-Busch lost support by many blue-collar drinkers in the Midwest who depend on corn syrup production that provides their funding for growing corn. MillerCoors did lose some drinkers that didn’t want corn syrup in their beer. Many soda companies have rolled out ad campaigns that tout they are using real sugar in place of the industrialized corn syrup.
The winners of this ad war and now lawsuit seem to be local breweries. As the 90’s saw the rise of microbreweries independent of the top 3 breweries, local breweries are experiencing a boon. Most of those microbreweries of two decades ago are now part of MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch. So true local breweries have filled in for them.
I haven’t had any local brewed beers but I see recommendations by friends on social media and it piques my interest, but that’s all the further it goes. For what it’s worth, as most beer drinkers have their favorite of the top 3 my family is no different—I prefer Bud Light, my father prefers Miller Lite, and my brother prefers Coors Light. In essence, our family is divided. Although, as mentioned I might have one beer once a month, and my family drinks as often or less than me.
Do you care whether corn syrup is in your beer?

Poetry Wednesday #45

Today is the first day of Spring, and so “Equinox” is today’s Poetry Wednesday


Brace yourselves, winter is leaving; ere today the equinox

Crocuses and lilies will awaken

In my garden they will not be alone—shooting up all around the clematis and phlox


The sun now at its meridian height is at the middle latitude

Gee, what a happy note I shall sing the Sol returns from down deep on the sphere

An egg today stands on its end, a natural aptitude


Equal hours of day and equal hours of night

Half the globe—the upper welcomes more sunshine each day

Now added for a season more light added to the prodigal light


E’en while it was still dark, we hoped and waited for the sun’s resurrection

Would that we could see it again, we believe

Towards the tropics our eyes looked that direction


Glinted with dew, and scented so sweet, honeysuckle signals the springtime

Its nectar sweet as your lips, Honey;  You, the lips, the nectar hearken to warm sunshine


© Ryan Stroud 2019

A Time to Laugh

There’s something funny about today.

Let’s laugh since it’s the best medicine. I’m guessing that since everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is dealing with seasonal allergies, any extra medicine can’t hurt. Also, today is Let’s Laugh Day. Most of all, as I’ve mentioned before I should seek more positivity. So in the spirit of laughter, here are some jokes that make me chuckle.

What’s brown and sticky?

Photo by Pixabay on

A stick




Two guys walk into a bar. One man orders H2O. The second man says, “I will have H2O too.”


Image result for two guys in a bar

The first guy takes a drink and is fine. The second guy takes a drink and dies


The secret service isn’t allowed to yell “Get down!” anymore when the president is about to be attacked.

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Now they have to yell “Donald, duck!”


How can you tell if an elephant has been in your fridge?

sand dust wildlife elephant
Photo by Pixabay on

The footprints in the butter.


How did the hipster burn his tongue?

man wearing black and red checkered long sleeve shirt wearing black wayfarer sunglasses sitting on white wooden chair
Photo by iiii iiii on

He drank his coffee before it was cool.


Hope these gave you a chuckle too. If they didn’t then congratulations, if we played the ‘Smile Game’ you would likely be the winner. For reference here are the rules for the game. It’s relatively easy to play, and was a favorite for warmups during elementary drama club productions:





History Monday #46

Today in history, an example of the dangers with the Church and State working in concert

I wanted to fire up the wayback machine to look at an event in the midst of medieval history today. I’ll confess, much of my historical knowledge pertains to events post 16th Century. So, I will admit I had to study up on this event for #HistoryMonday.
Jacques de Molay (1243-1314)
Just over 7 centuries ago on 18 March 1314, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney had their criminal sentence carried out. These two men along with other leaders of the Order of Knights Templar were judged guilty for heresy by leaders of the Catholic Church and King Philip IV of France. Both men were Masters with the Order, shortened oftentimes to Templars. Jacques de Molay was not only a Master for a specific region but Grand Master of the Order. Geoffri de Charney was the regional Master of the Order in Normandy.
King Philip had de Molay, et al. arrested in France seven years prior on Friday 13 October 1307. This date is said to be one of the origins of Friday the 13th. Among the charges of arrest were idolatry and renunciation of Christ. Additional charges included improper consecration of the Eucharist and promotion of fornication by de Molay and other Templars. Philip had an ally in Pope Clement V who questioned de Molay and his men for the charges leveled against them. 
Philip had kidnapped Pope Boniface VIII some years earlier and charged Boniface with similar charges of heresy. The kidnapping of Boniface caused his death soon after. Boniface was replaced by Benedict XI who died very early into his papal reign. After Benedict’s death, cardinals elected Clement to pope and convinced by Philip to move the papal residences and of course power to Avignon, France.
Clement was an early supporter and a puppet as Pope for Philip (Yes, I know that’s a lengthy alliteration). Despite his loyalty to Philip, Clement tried to remain unbiased and wanted to give de Molay and the Templars a fair trial, but still disbanded the Order thanks to pressure from Philip. Given the severity of charges and related to heresy, de Molay and other Templars received sentences of death by burning at the stake. Two other Templars, Hugues de Peraud and Godefroi de Gonneville accepted life imprisonment.
The Templar leaders had been pressure to confess to the alleged crimes by French cardinals acting on behalf of King Philip. Pope Clement had no choice but abiding by the sentence against de Molay and the others. Eventually, de Molay and the other Templars recanted of their confessions, admitting they had confessed under duress. Pope Clement had absolved the Templars in 1308 of their alleged crimes and restored sacramental privilege to them in a document known as the Chinon Parchment. However, this parchment was ignored and hidden until 2001 and the sentence carried out according to King Philip’s wishes.
The tragedy of King Philip’s desire to arrest and punish the Templars including de Molay stems from an inability to pay his debt to the Templars for their military assistance in his war with the English. Philip hoped to disband the Order and absorb their funds into the nation’s treasury.
fast forward
There don’t seem to be immediate effects of the dissolution of the Order of the Knights Templar and de Molay’s execution. Several effects for the major actors in this event would lead to a long-lasting papal dynasty in France and Anglo-Franco wars for the next several decades.
Common Symbol of the Knights Templar
Most of the effects were realized within Freemasonry. By some accounts as early as 1780, a new Knights Templar Order convened in Ireland and began a fraternal relationship with Freemasons in the United Grand Lodge of England. As Freemasonry grew, the Knights Templar became an appendant body within the Order and promotes Christian virtue as Freemasons continue instruction in the Order.
In more recent times, in 1929 a similar pathway was created within Freemasonry to commemorate de Molay’s legacy. DeMolay International is an appendant body for boys aged 12 to 21 interested in joining a regular Masonic Lodge but are not old enough in some jurisdictions for initiation. Similar efforts exist with Freemasons for young girls known as Job’s Daughters. Freemasons also encourage adult female membership in the Order of the Eastern Star. These auxiliaries of Masonic Lodges are a means to include whole families within Freemasonry.

Current Event Friday #50

Parents gave money to get their kids in college but didn’t go through the proper channels.

Yesterday we talked about best practices in education by choosing which subjects teachers should focus on. Today we continue in that vein, in particular a scandal involving college admissions fraud as part of #CurrentEventFriday.
Designer Mossimo Giannulli and wife Lori Loughlin in April 2015.
Lori Louglin with husband Mossimo Giannulli 
Authorities arrested celebrities including Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman as part of a scandal that involved paying a tutor to falsify college admission test results. Nearly fifty people were part of this scandal but high-profile names like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman will get the headlines.
More galling is that Lori Loughlin’s daughter was on a yacht with a University of Southern California (USC) officials when the news broke. Shortly after the arrest, her daughter Olivia Jade revealed on her YouTube channel that she wasn’t enthused about school.
I don’t disagree with Olivia Jade’s comments about being unsure whether she wants to be in college but it makes her mother’s decision even worse. Many parents want their children to go to college but as I mentioned yesterday, and that’s laudable. Some kids excel with technical and vocational education and don’t need college.
Also surprising is that universities required admission standards that parents believed it necessary to hire a tutor to falsify test scores and pay for that service. Many student athletes at Division I level schools are paid by schools with scholarships and illegally by boosters. Several of these athletes aren’t exactly acing the ACT and SAT anyways but gain admission for their athletic ability. This isn’t to excuse what Loughlin, Huffman, and others did but their plans would’ve been unnecessary had their children been top athletes.
In an ironic twist, a “Full House” episode featured Loughlin’s character dealing with John Stamos’s character scheming to get their characters’ twin boys into a prestigious preschool. In the episode, Loughlin’s character chastises Stamos’s character for his shenanigans.
Besides being arrested and posting bond for the crimes, the Hallmark Channel fired Loughlin. The network removed her from their show “When Calls the Heart” which she was currently starring in. Now that she will no longer be filming the show in Canada, Loughlin will need to surrender her passport and her travel will be restricted. She was originally permitted to travel within the contiguous United States and to Vancouver for the Hallmark show. This is now a moot point.
Should Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman have bribed their children’s admission into university?

STEM Is the Tide

What is the best way to learn?

If you read my post on this day a year ago about Pi Day, you noticed I mentioned that it’s also Dress for STEM Day, because Pi is an important value in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
STEM is the new buzzword in education circles. Secondary and Post-Secondary schools brag about how they are offering STEM education to their students and how this will be helpful for those students in the real world.
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This is nothing new, in the early 20th Century and the late 19th Century, schools were deemed capable and on the cutting edge if they taught ‘The 3 R’s’ which was always a misnomer because only one of the 3 actually started with R—Reading. The other two relied on ignoring the first letters and creating the words ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.
When I was in elementary and secondary education, ‘The 3 R’s’ were changed to Language Arts and Mathematics Education. Language Arts combined Reading & ‘Riting into one field while renaming ‘Rithmetic into Mathematics. Somehow, education experts realized this neglected science and then connected it to Mathematics and relabeled it as Applied Science. Secondary education would then mirror the two schools of post-secondary education—Arts & Sciences.
Image result for steam education
Even now, I’ve noticed one of the local schools that had prided itself on its STEM education was neglecting the less ‘practical’ education and added Art to their curriculum. By adding Art, they changed STEM education to STEAM education.
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A 12th Century Depiction of the Seven Liberal Arts
All this is fine, classical education in the Greco-Roman Tradition and Medieval tradition prized education in the Seven Liberal Arts defined as: grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Liberal Arts were for civic-minded individuals who were expected to contribute to society. Educators divided these seven subjects into two subsections for instruction- the first three labeled the trivium and were deemed essential before studying the other four labeled the quadrivium.
I will admit that I used to think that I enjoyed many of the subjects in STEM, but as mathematics and formulas became more complicated, I realized I enjoyed subjects found in the liberal arts curriculum. That isn’t to say that I enjoy all the classic liberal arts, I do enjoy logic, music, and astronomy. I find more value in the modernized liberal arts which reduce and merge the seven historic arts. The modern liberal arts are: literature, philosophy, mathematics, social sciences, and physical sciences. When pursuing a liberal arts degree program, these same arts are included but with a few additions, these are: creative arts, philosophy, religion, social science, mathematics, and natural sciences. Obviously in this realm, I find enjoyment from philosophy, religion, and social sciences.
woman writing in white board
Photo by on
If you haven’t fallen asleep in reading this by now, I know and affirm that categorizing education and gearing it to a broad audience is always going to happen. Yet, targeting education is a much better idea. For those who succeed in STEM subjects, encourage and teach them STEM topics in a way that challenges and instructs them, whether that’s professional, vocational, or technical education. STEM education can produce mechanics, electricians, and carpenters at a vocational level, and doctors, meteorologists, and architects on the professional level. These are important and well-regarded occupations in society, but attorneys, clergy, history teachers, and musicians are also regarded just as well as the other occupations from the STEM field. Most of you reading this, know that I regard myself as a social studies teacher on this blog and a clergy in my usual vocation through the week. Focusing on STEM education for me wouldn’t make sense for my personality if I was still in school and that’s perfectly okay. There are those who enjoy STEM education that might not find appeal with philosophy and that’s okay. Teach the subjects to the students that enjoy those subjects and cultivate their passions.
Do you enjoy STEM education or Liberal Arts education?