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This graphic from the Calgary Fire Department shows falling snow and three holiday ornaments. It says, "Happy New Year! Be safe! Plan ahead and ensure you have a safe way home."

Ready for the parties

The New Year’s countdown has started. 2019 is almost in the history books. A new year is a good time for hopes, dreams, and plans. But meanwhile, are you ready for the parties?

Your local first responders are. 

Looks like 4th of July, but these are New Year's fireworks, as seen from the side of a Branson, MO Fire Rescue truck. And while 4th of July is the busiest holiday for first responders, New Year's is right up there. (LION Gear/Branson MO Fire Rescue)
Looks like 4th of July, but these are New Year’s fireworks, as seen from the side of a Branson, MO Fire Rescue truck. And while 4th of July is the busiest holiday for first responders, New Year’s is right up there. (LION Gear/Branson MO Fire Rescue)

Perhaps surprisingly, New Year’s Eve is not the busiest day for them. Those honors go to the 4th of July in much of the USA. Thanksgiving is another notably busy time, especially for fires and medical emergenciesfollowed by Christmas for most of the same reasons.

But even if they’re not securing Times Square from terrorists, first responders everywhere are getting ready for the parties. Because where there are parties, there’s drinking

Dread running into a sobriety checkpoint on New Year's Eve? The police don't exactly love doing them, either. But cops would rather stop drunk drivers this way than scrape them off the pavement later. In the story from Tulsa, OK that this photo originally illustrated, one police chief advertised his willingness to give free rides home to anyone who'd had too much to drink. In fact, Chief Tracy Roles is doing it again this year. (Photo from KJRH/Scripps News Service)
Dread running into a sobriety checkpoint on New Year’s Eve? The police don’t exactly love doing them, either. But cops would rather stop drunk drivers this way than scrape them off the pavement later. In the story from Tulsa, OK that this photo originally illustrated, one police chief advertised his willingness to give free rides home to anyone who’d had too much to drink. In fact, Chief Tracy Roles is doing it again this year. (Photo from KJRH/Scripps News Service)

Dangers on the road

We all know the drill. We’ve heard the lectures. We all know it’s not safe to drink and drive. Or do we? From the declining numbers of alcohol-related accidents over recent decades, the message appears to be widely understood, but still today not everyone pays attention or thinks this applies to them. So, one more timeAlcohol can quickly impair your ability to drive safely

Your size, weight, gender, what you have or haven’t had to eat, and the amount of alcohol you drank all influence the amount of impairment your central nervous system suffers. That’s why some people can drink and still think they’re functioning just fine. 

But the plain facts are that alcohol consumption slows your reaction time, impairs your coordination, reduces your concentration, decreases your ability to see, and impairs your judgment. That makes it a recipe for trouble if you drink too much, then get behind the wheel.

There are similar problems if you’re high on any other drug, if you’re texting while the car’s in motion, you’re overly tired, or you’re distracted by raucous passengers. New Year’s Eve is prime time for all of those things!

And please, be nice to first responders you do encounter. They’re working on a holiday, to help keep you safe, and they’ll do it whether you appreciate it or not. But I really hope you’ll appreciate it, and tell them so.

And thank you for doing it between calls, Officer! A significant percentage of police officer deaths and injuries in traffic are the result of officers being distracted by all the tech and other things they're supposed to monitor. (Stopping the Stigma of PTSD in First Responders and High Stress Workers/Facebook)
And thank you for doing it between calls, Officer! A significant percentage of police officer deaths and injuries in traffic are the result of officers being distracted by all the tech and other things they’re supposed to monitor. (Stopping the Stigma of PTSD in First Responders and High Stress Workers/Facebook)

Pre-party preparation

When you’re getting ready for the parties, it pays to make plans. The Los Angeles Police Department has some tips to offer, and I’ve added a few of my own.

Party Hosts:

Be wary of anyone you don’t know. Did they come as the guest of an invited guest, or are they crashing the party to case your house? 

Make sure party decorations are secured so they can’t be pulled over by accident, especially by petschildren, or unstable drinkers. Keep all flames (such as candles or fires in a fireplace or fire pit) far away from flammable clothing, decorations, or furnishings.

Keep potentially hazardous treats out of pets’ reach, and keep an eye out for guests accidentally letting a pet outside into danger.

Even if you offer alcoholic drinks, also have non-alcoholic drinks available for party guests. Consider offering food that can help buffer the effects of alcohol consumption. Have a plan for helping intoxicated guests get home via alternative transportation, a quiet place where guests can rest and “sleep it off,” or perhaps a designated driver for the party who doesn’t drink any alcohol.

If you’re ready for the parties, your parties will be lots more fun.


If you’re traveling anywhere, especially at night, don’t travel alone if you can help it. And while you’re forming a group, why not pick a designated driver? 

Remember to lock doors and windows while you’re gone, so the burglars can’t get in! And surely it goes without saying that small children should always be left under competent, caring supervision–but I’ll say it anyway.

If you know you’ll be drinking, consider eating first. That’ll make the evening last longer. You’ll have more fun if you’re not passed out in the corner somewhere.

Be sure you’re ready for the parties, so you and your friends can stay safe while you’re having fun. And HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

This graphic from the Calgary Fire Department shows falling snow and three holiday ornaments. It says, "Happy New Year! Be safe! Plan ahead and ensure you have a safe way home."
I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks, Calgary Fire Department!


Many thanks to LION Gear and Branson Fire Rescue for the fireworks photo. I deeply appreciate the sobriety checkpoint photo from Tulsa’s KJLA/Scripps News Service–and even more the willingness of Bartlesville, OK Police Chief Tracy Roles to go the literal extra miles to prevent drunk-driving accidents! 

Many thanks to Stopping the Stigma of PTSD in First Responders and High Stress Workers on Facebook, for the “Text ‘Happy New Year!'” image–and also for your worthy mission! PTSD is near-endemic in these highly necessary, but high-stress jobs. Our first responders shouldn’t have to suffer the results with no support!

Last but not least, thank you Calgary Fire Department and Jackie Long, via Jackie Long’s Twitter feed, for the closing image with New Year’s wishes.

Santa's traded his red suit for police blue for this Merry Christmas message.

Merry Christmas, and be careful out there

Not everyone gets to celebrate at home with their families today. With that in mind, today’s post is a tribute to the first responders who have to work. Because heart attacks don’t take a holidayNeither do fires. Nor mental health emergencies. Nor crime. “Let’s be careful out there” was an iconic line from the 1980s show Hill Street Blues, but it applies in all decades. 

In the past I’ve written about ways to thank first responders, and I hope I’ve expressed my thanks and respect through other blog posts as well. But it’s time to do it again. So to all first responders I’d just like to say, Merry Christmas, and be careful out there!

911 Dispatchers

The Dispatch Center at the Ada County Sheriff's Department in Ada County, Idaho is a busy place during the holidays, just like practically every other 911 Dispatch center.
The Dispatch Center at the Ada County Sheriff’s Department in Ada County, Idaho is a busy place during the holidays, just like practically every other 911 Dispatch center.

It’s a too-frequently-forgotten crucible of chaos that’s often a center of frantic activity on holidays: the place where the calls come in. 9-1-1 dispatchers have a high-stress front row seat on the worst day in the life of practically everyone in town.

That goes double for busy winter holidays. Roads are often wet or icy. People are distracted, inebriated, or both. Stuff happens. And 9-1-1 dispatchers are expected to remain rock-steady through it all. No, they’re not out in the weather, but never imagine they’re not in the fight. And never imagine their job is easy. 

hope they’ll accept my heartfelt thanks, for what they’re worth!

Emergency Medical Service and Firefighters

EMS doesn't always get shoveled sidewalks or plowed streets when it snows, but it's nice when that happens. (Photo by Gold Cross Ambulance/Post Bulletin)
EMS doesn’t always get shoveled sidewalks or plowed streets when it snows, but it’s nice when that happens. (Photo by Gold Cross Ambulance/Post Bulletin)

EMS is part of the local Fire Department in much of the United States, but not always or everywhere. However they’re organized, when Dispatch calls they go. No matter what’s on the ground. Shouldn’t matter which neighborhood (although, sadly, sometimes it may). And it doesn’t matter how gory or horrible the things they see when they arrive might be. 

Winter is a difficult time to fight fires. Added to the usual dangers, cold weather can cause falls from slips on ice, frostbite, and related hazards. Add all of this to the strain of being away from one’s family, and you can see that holiday duty comes with added stress

Many thanks to all of you! Merry Christmas, and be careful out there!

A fire truck stands inside a fire station. A Christmas wreath adorns its grille.
Christmas cheer is where you make it at the fire station, when you have to work that day or night. (Photo: WJHG Channel 7, Panama City Beach, FL)
Someone has completely covered this fire truck with more Christmas lights than you could easily imagine. It is blinged out past the max.
Sometimes it’s a modest wreath . . . sometimes it’s a bit more elaborate. (Photo: Ephraim325 on Reddit)

Police Officers

Many of the people who come into contact with police officers during the holidays are not happy to see them. Drunk drivers, domestic disturbances in stressed-out households, thieves from porch pirates to armed robbers, and many other criminals take no holidays. In fact, Christmas is “the most dangerous time of the year.

This makes police officers’ Thanksgivings thankless, their Christmases critical, and their New Years nasty. Whatever holidays they celebrate, they know they’ll receive more curses than holiday greetings on those days.

I know one blog post can’t make up for all the abuse, but this blogger thanks you! Merry Christmas, and be careful out there!

I found a couple of cartoons by this unidentified artist, featuring an "Officer Santa" character. Here's one that says, "Thank you to all our first responders working over the holidays to keep us safe."
I found a couple of cartoons by this unidentified artist, featuring an “Officer Santa” character. (If you know who the artist is, I’d love to know and give credit!) (Sidney Ohio City Government on Facebook)
Here's the second picture. Clearly the same artist, same "Officer Santa" character, same rousing thank-you message: "Thank you for working the holidays so others can enjoy theirs."
Clearly the same artist, same character, same rousing thank-you message. (Police Benevolent Foundation)

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to the Ada County (ID) Sheriff’s Glassdoor listing, for this uncredited photo of their dispatch center. I’m grateful to The Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin and Gold Cross Ambulance (now called Mayo Clinic Ambulance). I also thank WJHG Channel 7, of Panama City Beach (FL), for their photo and story about first responders working on the holidays. I’m very grateful to Ephraim 325 on Reddit, via Pinterest. I’m grateful to the Sidney, Ohio City Government’s Facebook Page for the first “Officer Santa” picture, and to the Police Benevolent Foundation, via the “Sh*t My Callers Say” Tumbler, written by an emergency response dispatcher. The Featured Image is thanks to Mike Morr on Twitter, via Pinterest.

A German Shepherd sits alertly in front of a glowing Christmas Tree.

Seasonal K9 moments

The Artdog Images of Interest

It’s the end of the week, and for many of us it’s the start of a holiday break. I thought you might enjoy some seasonal K9 moments on a Friday-before-the-big-events! 

Home for the holidays

One inevitable problem every year is the struggle to travel. We Americans live in a far-flung nation, so we’re always going to grapple with travel woes. But it’s far from only an American problem. 

Crowding, bad weather, and security bottlenecks create chaos wherever we are (or are trying to go). How to cope? Working K9s will have many “seasonal moments.” They’ll be busy patrolling, screening packages at airports, and doing all they can to keep us safe.

This meme shows an alert German Shepherd sitting on an airline passenger's lap, surveying the other passengers as if they're suspects. The meme says, "Here's an idea: put a drug sniffing, bomb detecting, terrorist eating, bad ass German Shepherd on every plane. Problem solved."

But “home for the holidays” doesn’t only apply to humans. Learn more about American Humane’s Service Dogs for Veterans initiative. If you’re looking for a place to make a holiday or end-of-year donation and you believe every retired service dog deserves a good home, consider this program.

Encounters with Santa

Would the holidays have as much sparkle without the chance to give and receive? Certainly not. And there’s all sorts of potential for seasonal K9 moments with Santa, in the run-up to Christmas.

This meme shows an alert German shepherd in front of a glowing Christmas tree. The wording says, "When this 'Santa Claus' comes, I'll be waiting."
In this photo a person in a Santa Claus outfit leans away from a barking German Shepherd. The meme says, "You are not leaving until I get my Tennis Ball."

Holiday gift-giving

Silly memes aside, I’d also like to highlight some more serious thoughts about seasonal K9 moments. Specifically, some very special, life-saving holiday presents for working police K9s

Vested for Christmas - San Antonio K9 Rick, shown with human partner Acosta, received a protective vest from Vested Interest in K9s Inc.
Vested in time for Christmas” – San Antonio K9 Rick (shown here with his human partner, Officer Robert Acosta of the VIA Transit Metro Police Department) received a bulletproof, stab-proof vest in mid-December 2018, from Vested Interest in K9s Inc. These vests are expensive, but through donations the organization provides them to working police dogs at no charge to the department.
Clinton Iowa K9 Roman (handler unidentified) also received a protective vest from Vested Interest in K9s Inc.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. was at it again this year, with (among other gifts) a bulletproof, stab-proof vest for K9 Roman (with unidentified sidekick) of the Clinton, Iowa Police Department, paid for entirely through donations.

hope your holiday traditions include charitable giving. If they do, consider a gift (perhaps on Boxing Day, especially if you missed Giving Tuesday) to one of the K9 good causes I featured in this post:


The “Here’s an Idea” image is courtesy of Imagur’s Service Dog Memes. Many thanks to the German Shepherd Dog Community (the GSDC) on Facebook via Sheryl Pessell’s Pinterest Board, for the “I’ll be Waiting” meme (she has other good ones on there, too!). And double thanks to CHEEZburger, via I Can Has CHEEZburger’s “17 of the Best Animal Christmas Memes” page, for both the “You Are Not Leaving” (via I Love my German Shepherd Dog and Add Text) and the “Bark at Santa” (via Bella German Shepherds) images.

Finally, thanks to My San Antonio, for the “Vested in Time for Christmas” photo of K9 Rick and Officer Acosta (with accompanying story). Thanks also to KWQC of Clinton IA for the photo and story about K9 Roman (unfortunately, his uniformed sidekick wasn’t identified). And thanks very much to Vested Interest in K9s Inc. for their work!

Happy Thanksgiving

Blessings to count

Happy Thanksgiving!

this design says "Give Thanks."

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA this Thursday. Many nations, cultures, and religions through the ages and throughout the world have designated official days to give thanks. But seriously. No matter what day it is, there are always blessings to count.

If you don’t think that ‘s true–or at least not for youyou’re overlooking some important aspects of your life. Including that you have one

The image quote says, "Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them."

What blessings?

It’s a near-certainty that there are people who love you. Please note: companion animals count as “people” for the purpose of establishing this fact (it’s never wise to discount companion animals, in any case). They are among the many blessings it’s especially important to count.

But also please note that there really are people who care about your welfare . . . even if they don’t personally know you. This means that you’re actually not ideally suited to count all the people who care about you. This is because you can’t read minds, and you don’t know everyone. 

This goes double if you’re depressed. You may not believe it, but you DO have blessings to count.

The image quote says, "the things you take for granted someone else is praying for."

There are politicians who will brag that the economy is booming, and that’s true for a lot of people (particularly those in whose favor the system is biased). If you’re not one of those people, however, that doesn’t mean your life is all blight, unless you refuse to see it any other way. Even the least advantaged among us has blessings to count.

Beyond being blessed

The quote from Camille Pissarro says, "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."

The best way to count one’s blessings, in my experience, is to pass blessings on to others. Best of all is to do it with all the generosity we can manage. If you have blessings to count (and I believe all of us do), then you have the means to not only enjoy blessings, but to be one to others.

Believe it or not, the act of giving–of being a blessing–multiplies our own feelings of joy and well-being. We humans are social creatures by nature. We are innately programmed to connect with others. Thus, it stands to reason that we feel most fulfilled, most right with the world, when we can do good things for others

Evolution has dictated that people need to work together, especially in the face of challenges. It’s the most effective survival tool we have. The “loneliness epidemic” of today is a direct result of people losing their connections to others, and thus their sense of purpose, their sense of worth. 

Reaching out to others with a helping hand or even simply an encouraging word is essential to rebuilding a sense of connection. In general, the more connections you make the more blessings you’ll be able to count.

This image quote says, "Don't just count your blessings. Be the blessing other people count on."

The blessing of “thank you”

Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. It’s the most under-used and extraordinary gift you can give, sometimes. It costs no money at all, “only” a moment of thought and noticing

Over the years, I’ve written several posts about saying “thank you.” One of my very most popular posts is the one on ways to thank first responders. I recently reiterated thoughts on gratitude to veterans, and another one of my all-time most popular posts is the one on ways to thank veterans.

Honoring those who give of themselves to serve our community is always appropriate. But sometimes I like to challenge myself to find others who deserve thanks and rarely get it. If you’re traveling this holiday, you’ll have lots of opportunities. Consider a thank-you or a kind word to an airline or highway employee who’s trying to make things work, in a challenging situation

The image quote from Henry Ward Beecher says, "The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings."

Do you thank wait staffhotel employees, or sales clerks who smooth the way for you? Do you appreciate those skill or knowledge helps you? You might rationalize that they’re only doing their job, but if you use that as an excuse to treat them like machines or tools, take warning: you’re developing a crabbed and callous soul, and it sucks to be you.

Connect with people. Sow peace, not division. Be a blessing to others, and it’s well-nigh guaranteed you’ll have a generous bounty of your own blessings to count.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Vikayatskina via 123RF, for the “Give Thanks!” wreath design. I’m also grateful to Fight for Life via Mimipopa, for the “thousands of tiny miracles” quote, to Picture Quotes for the “take for granted” quote-image and  the “be the blessing other people count on” quote-image, and to Everyday Power, for the quotes from Camille Pissarro and Henry Ward Beecher. Finally, many thanks to Residential Home Solutions (via Hallmark?) for the header image. I appreciate all of you!

This image of a flag with the words "remembering 9/11" calls us to get some perspective on 9/11.

Perspective on 9/11

Where were you on 9/11? Nearly everyone who lived through it remembers that day. It marked us as a country, and it has affected those too young to personally remember (some of whom are now serving in Afghanistan). It changed life in American in several important ways. But, eighteen years out, it’s possible to get a new perspective on 9/11.

The 9/11 memorial includes twin spotlights where the twin towers once stood. Here's a view across the harbor at the spotlights on a cloudy night. It offers a particular perspective on 9/11.

Comparisons with Pearl Harbor

In some ways, as others have pointed out, it was another generation’s Pearl Harbor. The Dec. 7, 1941 attack by the Japanese on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii cost 2,403 innocent lives. Each led the United States from peacetime into a costly war. 

Both also led the nation into a periods of greater racism and xenophobia. 

Consider the widespread anti-Japanese racism (as well as Italian and German slurs and suspicion), and the Japanese internment camps of World War II

Consider the development of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the repudiation of Muslim refugees, and President Trump’s efforts to initiate a “Muslim ban” and ramp up deportations while denying asylum seekers entry.

This is a classic photo of the USS Arizona being sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941. The photographer is unknown.
The aircraft carrier Arizona was sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was never raised. (National Archives)

The 9/11 attacks, almost exactly 60 years later in 2001 at the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field near Shanksville, PA, killed a total of 2,996 people (plus more later, as first responders and others who had labored in the aftermath developed cancer and other health issues that slowly killed them).

Comparisons with Oklahoma City

However, to offer another perspective on 9/11, I invite you to consider a different terrorist attack, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, which killed 168 people and wounded more than 680. Until 9/11, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on record in the United States, and remains the most deadly domestic terror attack.

Start your new perspective on 9/11 by considering the domestic terrorism of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Here's an image of the memorial at night.
Here’s a view of the Oklahoma City National Memorial at night. Each chair represents a person who died. (CNHI News Service/Kyle Phillips/Norman Transcript)

NOTE: This analysis appears not to include attacks on civilian non-combatants between Native Americans and European-descended US citizens from the beginning of the Republic (and before), such as the Ft. Mims Massacre in Alabama in 1813 (400-500 settlers killed), the Battle of Tallushatchee, also in 1813 in Tennessee (approx. 300 Creeks killed), and a depressingly long list of others. One of the last, the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, with 130-250 Sioux men, women, and children killed, also exceeded the Oklahoma City death toll if you accept the higher end of the estimates.

My point in this post, however, is that 9/11 changed many things about how we live our lives, what freedoms and privacy we are required to give up, and increased suspicion of “outsider/others” in our country, as the Oklahoma City bombing did not. Yet we could argue there have been relatively free of foreign or foreign-inspired terrorism since 9/11.

Domestic terror is on the rise, however. The threat we must face now comes from within. Will we gain perspective on 9/11? Will we see this new landscape? Or will we continue to imagine we see Al Qaeda in the shadows, and ignore the terrorists among us?

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to The Pipeline, for the header image with the flag; to IBIE for posting the Adobe Stock image of the 9/11 Memorial spotlights at night; to Wikimedia Commons and the National Archive for providing a good file of the public domain U.S.S. Arizona photo from the Pearl Harbor attack; and to the Enid News & Eagle for the photo from CNHI News Service/Kyle Phillips/Norman Transcript, for the photo of the Oklahoma City National Memorial at night.

This photo shows fireworks over the pier at Imperial Beach, CA, just after sunset.

Happy 4th of July!

It’s my country’s birthday! A great reason to share a collection of images, and to wish you a happy 4th of July!

Let’s start with a thought I’d like to see catch on more, in my country:

This is a flag-themed 4th of July greeting with a picture of the Statue of Liberty, and the words: "May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right."

Here’s a follow-up, to honor those who’ve dedicated their lives to preserving the freedom we cherish.

On the background of a blurred flag image, with a sparker burning at left, the words on this image read: "As we celebrate our nation's freedom, we honor the courageous men and women dedicated to preserving it. Happy Independence Day."

Of course, you know who’ll be working on the 4th of July–just as they do every holiday. Many thanks and best wishes for a safe and happy Independence Day to all the first responders out there! I’d like to thank them and their families, who share them with the rest of us on days like this.

Part of the US flag forms the background for emblems representing three kinds of first responders: Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics.

Here’s a fun video 4th of July greeting, created by Pooja Luthra, that might get you into a holiday mood (warning, it cuts off rather abruptly).

And what happy 4th of July celebration would be complete without fireworks?

This photo is a beautiful photo of fireworks over the pier at Imperial Beach, California, just after sunset when the sky is still red and purple. but dark enough for the skyrockets to look cool.

IMAGE/VIDEO CREDITS: Many thanks to Blogging Bishop, for the call to take our freedom as an opportunity to do what’s right. Also to FleetFeetMurfreesboro for the call to remember who’s potentially paying the most for our freedom. 

I’m grateful to Jerry’s Ford of Leesburg, for the image of the first responders’ emblems with the flag background.

Thanks also to Pooja Luthra, for the video geeting. I’m also grateful to the Imperial Beach, CA Chamber of Commerce, for the stunning photo of fireworks over their local pier.

Thanks and best of everything to you all, for helping me share my wishes for a happy 4th of July.

Any firearms, sir?

The Artdog Image of Interest

As part of my research on what it’s like to live and work as a police officer (since most of my fictional characters work in law enforcement, I wanted them to be as believable as possible), I’ve been following several (dozen) social media accounts produced by, for, and about cops. One of them is the YouTube channel Mike the Cop.

This is the header for Mike the Cop's YouTube Channel. It is black with white letters, and on the left end is Mike's mascot animal, a pig.

He and “The Man Spot” worked together on a video that’s less than five minutes long, and it had me literally rolling with laughter before the end. This is so . . . American. I hope you enjoy it:

If you’d like to see other posts I’ve written about first responders, check out “Three great ways to thank first responders,” Peace and justice and black and blue,” and “Character Sketches.”

VIDEO CREDIT: All honor and gratitude to Mike the Cop and his collaborator The Man Spot, for this totally American video (also for the screenshot from that video)! Thanks, guys! And to Mike’s YouTube Channel homepage for his banner.

1957’s Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland

The Artdog Image of Interest

Today’s opening video offers a short (approximately 1-minute) glimpse of what was once a famous part of Disney’s “Tomorrowland” at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, CA.

The video clip offers a sampling from a much longer videofor viewers in a hurry. Below I’ve embedded what seems like a much more complete version, which is not quite 13 minutes long, for those who have time to view it.

Created by Monsantolargely as a way of showcasing innovations made possible by synthetic materials used in home construction, the longer video goes into considerable detail about using man-made materials all over the house.

Although the “House of the Future” has since been demolished and the original Tomorrowland looks like a campy, mid-century “retro” future today, many of its predictions have indeed become true. We do cook with microwaves now, and our homes are filled with synthetics. Of course, in 1957 no one was thinking or talking about potential risks, especially to firefighters.

My Images of Interest in October have all been videos drawn from a panel discussion, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” moderated by Kathryn Sullivan, in which I participated at FenCon XV. I shared these videos with the audience, and they generated enough interest that I thought my blog-readers might like them too!

VIDEOS: many thanks to YouTube and The Associated Press for the shorter video, as well as YouTube again and David Oneal‘s Extinct Attractions for the longer one.

Values statement

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

I long for an America where all of us agree these values are actually valuesmuch less of primary importance. It’s a far cry from what we currently seem to have, but there’s a way to make it happen.

One person alone can’t make the world work hard or look out for one another, but that one person can make sure that s/he works hard and looks out for others–and speaks up with approval and support when s/he sees others who do the same.

One person alone can’t make everyone believe that we’re all in this together or it’s better to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers than only to look out for ourselves. But that one person can try his/her best to embody those ideals–and also can seek out and link up with others who hold the same values, so they can be more effective together.

If I strive to do that, and you strive to do that, and our friends strive to do that, and their friends strive to do that, then pretty soon our community is actively supporting those values.

If our community comes to support those values actively, and other communities see us thrive because of our values, perhaps we can spread them farther and farther into the world.

It’s true one person can’t change the world . . . at least, not without lots of help.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Ozzy Amos’s Formidable Republican Opposition Facebook page, which produced this image, to Picture Quotes, where I first found it, and to former President Barack Obama, for saying it.

Fire vortex

The Artdog Image of Interest

The Carr Fire along Highway 299 in Shasta, CA, on July 26, 2018. (Photo by Noah Berger/AP, via The Mercury News)

One of the worst fires of 2018 so far (fire season is NOT over, as I write this at the end of July/start of August, 2018) has been the Carr Fire in northern California. One of the most horrifying aspects of this enormous fire was the conditions that led to so-called “fire tornadoes” or fire vortexes. The mechanism that creates them is a combination of updrafts and extreme heat.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the firefighters who battle these monsters. Four already have died in action in California as I write this.

They carry heavy gear and toolsrun up and down steep, rugged terrain, at altitude, in blistering heat, for 16-hour shifts. As a lowlander prone to heat exhaustion and altitude sickness (not to mention being a sedentary senior), I am simply in awe of what they do, and their steadfast courage in doing it.

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Mercury News and AP photographer Noah Berger, for this photograph.

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