February 25, 2006
1,000 Marbles — by Jeffrey Davis
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings.
Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work.
Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement ham radio shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other.
What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.
Let me tell you about it.
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio to listen to a Saturday morning swap net.
Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice.
You know the kind: he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business.
He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles."
I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued.
"Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."
And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."
"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.
"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays.
"I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.
"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.
"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.
"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band.
"This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off.
I guess he gave us all a lot to think about.
I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.
Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.
"C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."
"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.
"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out?"
I need to buy some marbles....
My best friend in the entire world, whom I've known since we were teenagers growing up in Milwaukee, this morning sent me the above, which he'd come across in his online wanderings.
Belt Buckle Bottle Opener
BehindTheMedspeak: What is the 'white stuff' in oranges?
That was one of the questions of the day in Tuesday's "Health Mailbox" Wall Street Journal feature, admirably maintained by health columnist Tara Parker–Pope while she focuses on her upcoming book.
The reader, whose initials are E.W., added, "Is there any nutritional reason to consume or avoid it?
Ms. Parker–Pope responded:
- The white stringy stuff that most of us pick off our oranges is actually good for you.
The fuzzy white layer of an orange is called the albeto layer and it contains pectin and other fibers that add to the nutritional benefits of oranges.
The pectin and fiber in oranges can help curb your appetite and suppress hunger.
One study showed that small amounts of pectin can curb appetite for up to four hours.
Oranges have the highest fiber content among popular fruits and vegetables.
One medium–sized orange offers seven grams of fiber.
In addition, oranges are a good source of Vitamin C, folate, potassium and disease–fighting antioxidents.
File this under "things they could've taught me — but didn't — in medical school that I'd have found interesting."
But I digress.
We are going to get along so well: I'll gladly give you all my albeto and you give me your picked–clean oranges.
From the website:
- Rainbow Wood Scoops
Every one unique
These colorful wooden scoops are perfect for coffee, tea, sugar, flour, raisins, nuts or candy.
Keep them in the pantry or take them to the table.
They'll look great no matter where they are.
The short–handled version (above) is 4.5" long, holds 3 Tbsp. and costs $5.95.
The long–handled version (below),
more suited for spontaneous outbreaks of kitchen space spoon fighting, is 8.75" long, holds 2 Tbsp. and costs $5.95.
10 Quotes That Make My Life Better Whenever I Apply Them
If it can happen, it will happen.
Work smart, not hard. [Ray Kurzweil]
Grace is everywhere. [George Bernanos]
I can't go on; I'll go on. [Samuel Beckett]
Never complain, never explain. [Jack Kent Cooke]
Avoiding trouble is far easier than getting out of it.
It is much easier to apologize than to ask permission.
The bullet that kills you comes from a direction you never anticipated.
The hard way is the best way, not because it is the best way, but because it is the hard way.
I was never ruined but twice in my life: once, when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one. [Voltaire]
Impromptu Bowl Cover
No Saran Wrap?
- Impromptu Bowl Cover
Plastic wrap is the usual choice for covering leftovers for storage, but Kim Waters of Gainesville, Ga., discovered another option.
A clean, unused shower cap (often found in complimentary toiletry packs in hotel rooms) makes a perfect bowl cover.
It is big enough to fit most large mixing bowls and creates a more reliable seal than most plastic wraps.
Jog-A-Dog — 'Because your dog wants to join the treadmill lifestyle'
The "treadmill lifestyle?"
Hey, you're already on that, you say: no need to subject poor Fido to her or his own canine version of a dog's life, going–nowhere iteration.
Well this isn't about that.
In fact, in keeping with the general spirit and ethos of bookofjoe it's really not about much of anything — but it's different that what appeared here yesterday, or the day before.
I was wondering how I was gonna get that in.
But I digress.
Jog-A-Dog is "a revolutionary exercise system for dogs."
- From the website:
Each Jog-A-Dog canine treadmill is engineered to exacting standards derived from thirty years of research and innovation.
Designed with the input of veterinarians, physical therapists and engineers, Jog-A-Dog is truly the best exercise system available for the most discriminating consumer.
• End unruly behavior
• Reduce risk of serious injury
• Provide versatility in exercise
• Develop muscle strength & stamina
• Control your dog's exercise regimen
• Provide exercise in adverse weather
• Prevent obesity & associated problems
• Improve health, well-being & longevity
• Correct faults in movement on-the-fly
• Exercise many dogs quickly & effortlessly
• Condition muscles to show ring speed
• Maintain a vibrant coat year-round
The dog treadmill comes in three sizes so that no matter how big or small your pooch it can be assured of a workout perfectly attuned to its needs.
The Jog-A-Dog website offers over 50 entertaining video clips of dogs on treadmills.
Jog-A-Dog was featured last week on Tom Niccum's walkingwhileworking, the equivalent of Oprah for things treadmill–related.
Don't tell anyone but we're quietly manuevering to get Tom on Oprah to demonstrate with her, on side–by–side treadmills, the treadmill lifestyle.
[via Shawn Lea and everythingandnothing]
Yogi Berra M–7 Secret Agent Spy Ear
Yogi once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."
Well, guess what?
You can hear a lot just by listening.
From the website:
- M–7 Secret Agent Spy Ear
Secretly hear a whisper from across the room without anyone knowing you're even listening.
Imagine having a bionic ear that would allow you to secretly hear from great distances.
Well, now you can with our M–7 Secret Agent Spy Ear.
Its mini size, light weight and skin–tone color allows the wearer to hear from great distances without anyone even knowing you're wearing it.
Its ultra–sensitive microphone allows for crisp, clear audio all in a discreet, tiny earpiece.
The Secret Agent Spy Ear comes complete with its own volume control to allow the listener to gradually increase the distance he wants to hear from.
Simply put, this tiny, cutting–edge device will turn any average Joe into a secret agent.
Note: Not intended as a medical device.
• Uses 4 cell batteries (included)
• 3 different–sized ear tips
• Mini size + light weight allows it to fit comfortably into your ear
• Adjustable volume control built into the unit.
• Over 20 hours of use before replacing batteries.
• Weight: 3.2 g. (including batteries)