Friday, April 29, 2022

Got Spring?

To say that the weather here in Nashua, NH, has been far less than spring-like would be a major understatement. Here's a look at temperatures for the upcoming week.
Thankfully, there's no forecast of wet weather until late next week. It's forecast as rain with temperatures on rise.

That's better than what happened 35 years ago when a late season winter storm on April 28-29, 1987 brought heavy snow to interior sections of southern New England. The storm moved in during the morning rush hour and sent road crews scrambling for snow-removal equipment.

According to an online article, the surprise snowstorm buried neighboring Massachusetts under almost 2 feet of snow and knocked out power to more than 180,000 New Englanders at the height of the storm which caused hundreds of traffic accidents. Meanwhile, a record heat wave baked the western two-thirds of the nation with readings in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Better news is that despite chilly outdoor temps this week, I enjoyed these indoor blooms.
Yesterday, the Nashua Department of Public Works set up the two fountains on the Nashua River below our 5th floor apartment. This is the one closest to our view.
Yes, it was quite windy, but the water spray was a colorful sight.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Hope you have Spring in your locale

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Two Henrys & One Inn

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & Henry Ford
It’s been months since I’ve posted about a New England place of interest. This post is about a MA historic site we visited and stayed at in late fall 2021 on a road trip under an hour from Nashua, NH. While the location itself was interesting, the backstory of individuals connected with it was even more so.

The post title is in reference to these well-known Americans — poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and industrialist Henry Ford. While, they never met, the two men are connected through a well-known New England building in Sudbury, MA, now called The Wayside Inn. 

Formerly known as Howe (or How's) Tavern, it's been in operation since 1716 and staked a claim as the oldest continually operating U.S. inn. In 1973, The Wayside Inn Historic District  was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Undated photo, The Wayside Inn
Longfellow’s connection dates to 1862, when he visited the inn and was inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding area which led him to write a famous book of poems. In 1923, over 60 years later, Ford Motor Company founder, Henry Ford purchased the inn planning to create a museum of colonial American history. 

To backtrack to the inn's start, in 1716, David Howe not only doubled the size of his two-room country home but was granted a license for a house of entertainment that he named (what else) Howe’s Tavern to host travelers along the Boston Post Road. (This was the first postal route between Boston and New York that evolved into one of the first major highways in the U.S.) For the next 145 years, four generations of the Howe family provided travel hospitality. In 1744, Ezekiel Howe took over his father's tavern and renamed it the Red Horse Tavern. 

Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1863
Longfellow visited the inn with his publisher in 1862 and toured the building with a Howe relative who told him the history of the building and her family. The poet, who lived in Cambridge, MA, was grieving from his wife’s 1861 death and his visit was in the middle of the American Civil War; his son had been injured in battle. Longfellow was said to be suffering from writer's block.

The book was presented as a series of stories told by guests at the inn and each is in the form of a poem. The storytellers are real people who were friends of Longfellow but were not named. The collection's best known inclusion is the previously published poem Paul Revere's Ride. Longfellow planned to call it, The Sudbury Tales, but a friend was concerned that the title was similar to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and persuaded him to rename it Tales of a Wayside Inn which was  published in November 1863. 

Two years before, The Red Horse Tavern had closed after the last Howe owner, Lyman Howe, died in 1861. It would not reopen as an inn until 1897 when wool merchant Edward Lemon purchased the inn from Howe’s descendants and after restoring it, he renamed it Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in tribute to the poet.

After Lemon's death in the early 1920s, his widow Cora found it hard to keep up the old buildings. A Boston stockbroker, Loring Brooks, who lived nearby, joined other businessmen to form a Wayside Inn Trust to preserve the inn and its antiques in their original condition and to maintain it as an inn. Like an early form of crowdfunding, an appeal was sent to philanthropists and others throughout the Northeast. Shares were priced at $100. The goal was to sell 2,000 shares using the raised $200,000 to purchase the property and place it in trust for future generations.
Undated photo of former Red Horse Tavern (Internet source)
As often happens, there was much enthusiasm, but little money came in despite support from Boston newspapers and prestigious historical organizations. Brooks boarded a train and visited Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI, to persuade him to purchase 10 shares, in hopes that doing so would attract other industry giants to do the same. When Brooks left, Ford was non-committal.
Henry Ford outside The Wayside Inn (Internet source)
Then, in July 1923, Ford asked to see all the property on which the trust held options, scribbling down acreages and prices. After an extensive tour, Brooks asked Ford if he wanted to invest in 10 shares. Ford said he would take it all buying the inn and 60 acres of land within days of the initial transaction. Ford's agents had options on 1,300 more acres and when the deal was done, he owned 2,000 acres and was one of the town’s leading taxpayers. Ford foresaw transforming the Colonial era inn into a living museum of American history. The first five years were spent in refurbishing the inn, its farms and outbuildings. Crews of laborers and stone masons dug a new millstream and erected the two-foot-thick stone walls for what would become the Wayside Inn Grist Mill. 
Henry Ford & Thomas Edison

By 1925, Ford’s agents had tracked down much of the original Howe family furnishings. Crews, under the supervision of American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison, were installing electric lights with bulbs shaped like candle flames. (Edison and Ford were good friends who had met for the first time in 1896 and again in 1907 before Ford released the Model T auto.)

Under Ford’s ownership, The Wayside Inn continued operating as a hotel and restaurant. His stature brought it a level of recognized significance and it attracted prominent men of the day like Calvin Coolidge, Charles Lindbergh, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, and naturalist John Burroughs.

In 1926, when engineers determined that heavy truck traffic on the Boston Post Road was damaging the inn’s foundations, Ford paid $300,000 to relocate 1-1/2 miles of Route 20, known as the Old Boston Post Road, further away from the inn. He sold the road to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1928 for $1 (but never cashed the check).
Redstone Schoolhouse at The Wayside Inn
In 1927, after finding a red schoolhouse in nearby Sterling, MA, being used as a church storage shed, Ford had it dismantled and rebuilt across the brook from the inn. Ford approached the Sudbury School Council with an offer to fund the teacher's salary, supplies, and transportation to operate the school. The one-room school for grades 1 through 4, was attended by children of workers on the Wayside Inn property and surrounding area and operated from 1927 to 1951. 
Interior of one room Redstone School
For years, it's been said that the schoolhouse is the one the poem, in Mary Had a Little Lamb. Two plaques installed near the building claim that it's the one from the poem, but there's scant historical evidence to back up the claim. Even the poem's author, Sarah Joesepha Hale, was said to have stated that the poem was not based on an actual event or place. By coincidence, there's a connection to Thomas Edison. In 1877, the first incident of recorded human speech was when Edison spoke the poem into his new invention, the phonograph.

Over the next six years, Ford spent over $2 million restoring the inn and several adjacent buildings. 
The Wayside Inn Grist Mill
Completed in 1929, the grist mill ground its first cornmeal on Thanksgiving Day that year and still processes grains sold in the inn's gift store and used in the restaurant. In 1952, Pepperidge Farm leased the mill which provided the company with whole wheat flour monthly until 1967. The mill even led to design of the company's logo.

A bit of trivia: Pepperidge Farm was founded in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, who named the brand after her family's 123-acre farm property in Fairfield, CT, which in turn was named for the pepperidge (black tupelo) tree. The Pepperidge Farm logo with its image of a red mill on snow wasn't based on a CT mill, but the Wayside Inn grist mill. 

From 1928 to 1947, the Wayside Inn School for Boys was a trade school that prepared indigent boys for potential employment in Ford’s factories. It began with 31 underprivileged boys between ages 16 to 18, all wards of the state. Ford’s goal was to give each boy a high school education, salary, and the chance to learn a trade while working half a day on the inn estate. Salaries were considered generous by depression standards, ranging from $435 to $504 annually, depending on age, class and ability. Each student was responsible for room and board, clothing, medical, entertainment, and laundry costs and was expected to start and maintain a savings account.
Martha-Mary Chapel at The Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA
In 1940, they helped build the Martha-Mary Chapel with trees damaged in a 1938 hurricane.Ford directed that the timber be cut and sawn and the lumber used to build a non-denominational chapel. It’s named after his and Clara Ford’s mothers, Martha Ford and Mary Bryant. A wrought iron weathervane was placed on the steeple on July 30, 1940, Ford’s 77th birthday.
Interior of Martha-Mary Chapel (seen through window)
In 1944, before Ford's 1947 death, Henry and Clara Ford placed the central 100+ acre parcel and nine buildings into a non-profit organization to preserve the inn’s historic legacy. It was later given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1960, Boston-based trustees assumed responsibility for the inn, with no further involvement or support from the Ford family, the Ford Foundation, or the National Trust. With no endowment for ongoing maintenance, The Wayside Inn Historic Site is now a self-sustaining campus of nine historic buildings on over 100 acres. 
The Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA, visited in late 2021
The nine historic structures on the property that are currently maintained by The Wayside Inn Foundation include: 
  • Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, original parts which date back to 1707 as the Howe family home
  • Grist Mill, built in 1929 by Henry Ford as an operating mill
  • Martha-Mary Chapel, built in 1940 by Ford, named after his mother and mother-in-law
  • Redstone Schoolhouse, built in 1798 and relocated from Sterling, MA
  • Old Barn, built in the early 1800s by the Howe family
  • Ice House, dating from the 1930s and built by Ford to store harvested ice
  • Cider Mill, built by Henry Ford in 1930 to hold a cider press for apple processing
  • Gate House (or Coach House) built in 1913 by Edward Lemon from reclaimed Colonial-era timbers for storing stagecoaches
  • Cold Storage (root) Cellar, an underground facility built by Ford for produce processing and storage
Several rooms within the inn are set up as displays that show accommodations and furnishings provided to travelers years earlier. 
Our road trip included a two-night stay in one of the inn's 10 guest room. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Tavern and dining rooms at The Wayside Inn
Our road trip and inn stay were both enjoyable experiences. One thing worth noting is that there was no Internet service in the rooms and also no TV. That said, we would not hesitate to revisit at a future time.

Henry Ford spent most of his life making headlines, good, bad, never indifferent. He introduced the assembly line invented to create the Model T automobile. His management style has been termed dictatorial as Ford was involved in most major decisions at the company and is rumored to have monitored employee activities outside of work. He is credited for having converted a former costly luxury item into an affordable form of transportation for many middle-class Americans. The term, Fordism, defined as the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers, has been widely associated with his name

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the most popular poet of his time. Many of his works helped shape the American character and its legacy, like the poems Paul Revere's Ride and The Song of Hiawatha. Many of his poems were mainstays of primary and secondary school curricula and long remembered by those who studied them. He was a member of the 19th-century American poets associated with New England known as the Fireside Poets (also called the schoolroom or household poets). Others in the group included William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, the first American poets whose popularity rivaled that of British poets at home and abroad.

Author's Note: Whenever popular/infamous individuals are featured in a post, it does not mean that their attitudes, actions, values are accepted/agreed on by myself (or others). It's because they are part of a history in a post. At times, this inclusion can trigger definite reactions, positive or negative, from readers which is accepted and understood by myself. This blog doesn't use comment moderation and all view are invited and read. Only those deemed abusive or offensive will be removed. Spam comments are deleted always. 

Thanks to all who commented on my recent Friday Funnies post to let me know WHY cherry pickers/lift trucks were usually left in the upright position—to prevent theft. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday Funnies

If you need a lift, here's some that might help.
I'm not sure where this lineup was taken as it was a roadside "grab shot" from a road trip.
Spring has arrived in our apt, thanks to the surprise gift of these colorful tulips yesterday. Thanks to my dear friend, Susan. These blooms were grown in our mutual home state of NJ.

Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the Earth, learn about the environment, and promote conservation. This year's theme, Invest in Our Planet, is a call to businesses to shift towards sustainable practices and hopefully one day will be a reality.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Temps might reach the mid 60s on Saturday

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Holidays Past & Future

This year's Easter lily overlooks the Nashua River
RI Grands, Bobby & Ellie, and mom Shannon
We (Grenville and myself) hope that all of you enjoyed any religious observance you may have recently celebrated or continue to observe this month. My previous post made mention of the three major ones this month, a rare occurrence.

The Easter holiday and observances surrounding it are over. We broke with tradition and didn't color eggs with the RI grands this year. Their mom is working on an MBA degree and has a research project deadline. We connected via phone and this photo they sent to us.

Passover will end this coming weekend on Saturday, April 23. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will end a week later on May 1. It may be many years until these major religious holidays coincide again as the last time was in 1991.

Since my mind always wanders and, for no reason, I thought about theremaining major 2022 holidays. There's no holiday shortage in the U.S. for the next 8 months. While this post most likely misses a few, especially state and regional ones, there's enough widely celebrated ones. Some months will have multiple celebratory days, like next month when there's two coming up. Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of the month, May 8. While it's celebrated on different days worldwide, the most common months are March and May and the holiday is a boon for florists as well. The month ends with the observance of Memorial Day on May 30. The date of this federal holiday changes annually, but it's always observed on the last Monday of May to honor men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military

In June, dads get their day on the 19th, the third Sunday of the month. Two days later, June 21, marks the official, astronomical beginning of summer. Many meteorologists consider the summer months to be June, July, and August and many would agree as well.

July 4 is considered the birth of American independence
 and it's the major summer holiday with festivities including fireworks, parades, concerts and barbecues. Since it's falls on a Monday in 2022, that means a 3-day holiday weekend for many. (The Congress had voted on independence on July 2, 1776, but it was not declared until July 4.) 

Labor Day is the holiday associated with the end of summer and it's on Monday, September 5. This federal holiday, celebrated on the first Monday in September, pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. Created by the labor movement in the late 19th century, it became a federal holiday in 1894.

Halloween, while not an official holiday, is observed on the last day of October and is known by various names, such as Halloween or Hallowe'en, less commonly as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve. The date is observed in many countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.

Veterans Day (not Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day) is on Friday,  November 11 and notes the end of WW I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The holiday honors and celebrates the service of U.S. military veterans.

Again it's a double celebration month as Thanksgiving is celebrated on November 24, the last Thursday of the month. It's followed barely a month later by Christmas on Sunday, Dec 25. The weekend occurrence means the public holiday is Dec 26, the Boxing Day holiday in Great Britain and several Commonwealth countries: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Years ago, servants or trades people had to wait on their masters on Christmas and could visit their families after the holiday. Employers would give them boxes with gifts or leftover food. Similar to what happens here, it's become one of busiest days to return holiday gifts to stores.

New Year’s Eve on Saturday, December 31 is the final day of 2022 when many reflect over the past year and/or look forward to the next one. 
So, mark your calendars for these remaining 2022 holidays and celebrations. It seems to me that this year is moving along faster every day. At times, it seems like January 1 was not so long ago and maybe it seems the same to you as well.
Our great niece, Autumn, not only went on an egg hunt in NJ, but also met the Easter Bunny who made a stop at the home of her grandparents (my brother and his wife).

Early today, and very surprisingly, these after Easter 
treats were left outside our apt door. We don't know who left them, but they were appreciated by the chocoholics who live here. The surprise treats were acknowledged with a thank you note left in their place. 

These will be enjoyed too—ears 🐰 first, of course. 

Did you get any treats?
We bought peanut butter eggs this year.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

April Celebrations

Today is Easter Sunday, a Christian holiday and this year by unusual coincidence, a major holiday of Judaism and Islam will be observed on or around the same time. The last time this happened was over 30 years ago (1991).
Our best wishes to those celebrating: Happy Easter, Happy Passover or Blessed Ramadan
The Holy Week began with Palm Sunday on April 10 through to Maundy Thursday on April 14 and Good Friday on April 15. The same day the Jewish observance of Passover (Pesach) started at sundown and will end a week later at sundown, April 23. Passover commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the end of their slavery.

While Passover and Easter usually occur close together in early spring, they're not always celebrated the same date. This year, both major religious celebrations occur during Islam's Holy Month of Ramadan. 

Muslims celebrate the month of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr) which begin the evening of April 1 and will end the evening of May 1. Ramadan is one of the five main pillars of the Islam faith which commemorates the first revelation of Islam's founder and main prophet, Muhammad. 

This year's overlap of all three religious holidays is unusual since each faith follows a different calendar. The Christian calendar is set by the course of the sun and widely used in the Western world. The Islamic calendar is aligned with the moon and the lunar year. Twelve months in a solar year is 365 days, but only 354 days in the lunar year.
Grenville and I will celebrate at home in NH without family visits or egg coloring this year. Instead, phone calls will be made to wish family & friends a happy celebration. We'll attend a service, watch the 1948 film Easter Parade, and enjoy a home-cooked meal just we two. 

Comments are off. We hope your day will be a good one, no matter how/where it's spent.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Taxman Cometh

April showers may bring spring flowers, but in the U.S. mid-April is also when federal income taxes must be filed. 

It's a double tax whammy as state income taxes are due in all but 9 of 50 states. Many states align their tax return deadline with the federal one; some have different deadlines.

FYI those 9 states with no state income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. (NH doesn't tax earned income, but does tax investment income and dividends; TN taxes investment income.)

And, April at this time the phrase—nothing is certain but death and taxescomes to mind.

Benjamin Franklin
It's long been attributed to jack-of-all-trades and master of many, Benjamin Franklin (American writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher).

In November 1789, Franklin wrote to French scientist and physicist Jean-Baptiste Leroy, also a pioneer in the study of electricity and a personal friend. Franklin, who was concerned about Leroy, updated him about the major event in the United States, the ratification of the Constitution in June 1888. Franklin wrote: Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. 

The federal tax filing deadline is traditionally, April 15, except when it's not. In 2021, the filing deadline for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15 to May 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This is the 2022 filing date for most folks
For 2022, the federal tax filing deadline for 2021 is not Friday, April 15—it's Monday, 
April 18. 

When a tax deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, it pushes forward to the next available business day. But April 15 is a Friday, so that weekend rule doesn't apply. 

This year, two major religious observances either occur or start on April 15. 

It's Good Friday, a Christian holy day that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ and the first night of Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Israelites exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Thus, you might conclude that's why the tax deadline has been changed, especially as the official U.S. motto is In God We Trust.

That's not it at all—dual religious observances had nothing to do with this year's date change.

It's because of a legal holiday only in Washington, DC, Emancipation Day. In 2005, it became a regional government holiday observed in DC to mark the April 16, 1862 date that President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act that freed over 3,000 slaves in the DC area. It's celebrated on the weekday nearest April 16. Yet, celebration festivities will take place Saturday, April 16, and streets near the White House and National Mall will be closed to traffic.
The holiday is notable beyond Washington as it affects the usual April 15 tax returns due date for all most Americans (exceptions in next paragraph)This holiday status means that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can't require returns to be filed on the 15th, a legal holiday. Since April 16 and 17 is a weekend, 2022 tax filing day falls on the next business day, Monday, April 18.

Except for residents of two New England states where the filing deadline is Tuesday, April 19 (New Hampshire is not one of these). Do you know which 2?

Patriots' Day is a holiday in ME and MA
Again, the delay is for a legal holiday—Patriots' Day, which commemorates Revolutionary War battles on the third Monday in April, which in 2022 is April 18, an official state holiday in Maine and Massachusetts. This means that taxpayers in those states get until April 19, the next business day to file.

Patriots' Day is also the annual running of the Boston Marathon. Managed by the Boston Athletic Association, it's been run every Patriots' Day since April 1897 even during WWI and II. Fifteen men ran the inaugural race. This year, 30,000 runners are expected to start the 126th race.

What's the connection between a marathon and Revolutionary War battles? 
It's about name association. The word marathon comes from the Battle of Marathon, a Greek battle in 490 B.C between outnumbered citizens of Athens and invading Persian forces. 
Pheidippides giving word of the Greek victory over Persia at the Battle of Marathon to people of Athens. Painting by Luc-Olivier Merson (1869)
As legend goesPheidippides, a Greek messenger, ran 25 miles from the Marathon battlefield to Athens to announce defeat of the Persians. But, after announcing the news and shouting Nike! Nike! Nenikekiam (Victory! Victory! Rejoice, we conquer) the exhausted runner collapsed and died. One of the men in the Greek military known as day-long runners, he remains the central figure in a story that inspired the current sporting event. A marathon is more than an endurance test. It symbolizes the struggle for liberty and freedom for the Greeks and later Americans.

U.S. taxpayers who don't live in Washington, DC, Maine, or Massachusetts and, thankfully, were not victims of any natural disaster (those affected receive extended filing time) must file by Monday, April 18. If a payment is owned, late filers will wait until midnight, some post offices stay open late. All that matters is that a return be postmarked by the due date to be on time.

As for Franklin's famous words about death and taxes, there's some question over whether his letter is the origin of the phrase. Similar wording appeared in the 1700s from two British authors.

In 1716, British actor and dramatist Christopher Bullock wrote in The Cobbler of Preston, a comedy play: Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.
Daniel Defoe

Ten years later in 1726, the author of Robinson Crusoe, English writer Daniel Defoe, wrote in The Political History of the DevilThings as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d. Defoe wrote many political tracts which led to him spending time in prison. 

There's another way to avoid taxes without dying and that's by relocating to another country Bermuda, Monaco, the Bahamas, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are four countries without personal income taxes. Moving might seem tempting, but unless you renounce U.S. citizenship, you'll deal with Uncle Sam annually.

The Beatles 1966 song written by lead guitarist George Harrison also protested against higher taxes. Harrison's inspiration for the lyrics came after he learned how much of the group's earnings went right to the British Treasury. This was the group's first topical song and the first political statement made in their music.

If you're in a taxing mood, give a listen.
A final note is that while the taxman cometh and often taketh, millions of 2020 on-time taxpayers (like ourselves) have found that the taxman giveth doesn't hold true as we're all still waiting for refunds from last year's filing. IRS officials blame the pandemic stating that many employees worked from home with offices shut down. We filed our 2021 return on time this year and a payment was due which, unfortunately, could not be deducted from the overdue 2020 refund.

If you're on the 2020 tax refund wait list, this January 2022 report by National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins, available on the IRS website here, provides very detailed information on processing and refund delays. The report notes that these delays led to many customer service problems and provides recommendations for better addressing these issues.

No Friday Funnies this week as April 15 marks two religious observances mentioned earlier. 
Happy Easter & Sameach Pesach to everyone who celebrates

Friday, April 8, 2022

Friday Funnies

This is very good great advice for any time of year.
As many regular readers of this blog well know, we always practice that motto whenever possible on our road travels and closer to home.
The Nashua, NH, weekend weather is forecast to be wet and rainy, so any enjoyment may be at home. We will be attending an indoor classical musical performance at a local church, a calm way to spend Palm Sunday afternoon.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.
Find some calm & enjoyment however possible 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

So Now I Know (Again)

There's way too many things I've read about/learned recently, some interesting and useful, others not so much. Whenever I go online looking for something, that path veers way off

Maybe, you know exactly how that goes. Especially the past couple of years (just saying)

As most of you know by now, I like to share finds, whether new to me or not. This post contains some of those.

Some fonts are ink guzzlers . . .
OK, so that's nothing new and everyone who has ever printed something and is reading this post, already knows that the bigger and bolder the font, the more ink it will use and will not be the cheapest print choice. And, like with most things, size matters as well. The larger the font size, the more ink it uses and the more to be bought.

Surprisingly, one of the most popularly used fonts, which isn't the biggest or boldest in the group, is one of the biggest ink hogs — Arial. This font reportedly uses as much as 30% more ink than similar ones. That means that if it's a favorite of yours, you could be restocking ink cartridges or refills more often.

But there's workarounds and selecting another font can help, another long-time favorite—Times Roman, is reportedly more economical with ink use thanks to its thinner letters. If you're not a fan of this font, there's other choices — Calibri or Century Gothic are possible substitutes. 

Another way to select ink-saving fonts is to use ones labeled — Thin, Condensed or Narrow. It's a tip-off that since strokes are thinner, the font will use less ink; Helvetica Condensed uses less ink than standard Helvetica.

Studies by printing professionals (yes, there are such groups) have shown that the fonts named above use up to  30% less ink than Arial. Not only that, but they have been labelled as among the most ink efficient fonts. This example ↓ shows all three fonts at the identical point size. (In typography, the point is the smallest unit of measure used for measuring font size, leading, and other items on a printed page.)
Times New Roman is a serif typeface commissioned in 1931 by the British newspaper The Times and conceived by typographer Stanley Morison. It's become one of the most popular typefaces ever created. It's a default font installed on nearly all desktop computers. The Times used it for 40 years until 2004 when new production techniques and a format change from broadsheet to tabloid caused it to switch typeface several times. But, all those changes have been variants of the original New Roman typeface.

Century Gothic is a sans serif font created in 1991 for monotype imaging. Century Gothic is neat and readable. It's widely used for print material and headlines as it can be read from a distance and has delivered a 31 percent savings in printing costs over Arial. 

Calibri is a digital sans-serif typeface family in the modern style designed by Dutch type designer Lucas de Groot, and released to the public with Microsoft Office 2007.

And now, the next topic is decluttering.
But not in the usual way of thinking about getting rid of stuff, like I've been doing in recent weeks. Those boxes of stuff in the photo → were taken to a local thrift center last week. What helped with this process was following the process that once something went into the box and the box was filled, nothing came out, and the box was taped — out of sight, mind, and apt.

And, the same way that decluttering works for ridding us of physical things, like household items, it can also work for our minds. Mental decluttering is what older adults, aged 60 to 85 years of age need to do often according to recent research studies read about online. Cluttered minds are found to be common among older adults with a lot of accumulated life experiences, but don't we all? 

Because, according to several studies, folks in this age group process and store too much information in their brains. This can lead to cluttering the memory with facts that are no longer needed, knowledge from years ago, creating distractions. The researchers found that overloaded memory can impair recall in older adults and account for age differences in memory tests.

By whatever name it's called, memory, mind or brain clutter. There are pros and cons.

What's a downside of remembering too much?
If what you want to remember is bound up with too much information this can slow down your memory processes. For example, if a place/person changes an address, older people can often recall older details. By comparison, younger folks suppress old information and replace it. Older brains can have a harder time doing so even when information is no longer useful. A lifetime of accumulated information and knowledge can lead to memory errors or reduced attention to detail. Aging also comes with reduced attention to detail as older adults can be distracted by competing thoughts when trying to remember something.

There's an upside to mind clutter.
Cluttered memory can be beneficial and knowledge retention helpful in what's called enriched memory. Decision making can also benefit from accumulated memory when older people are in positions where important decisions are needed. Accumulated memory and knowledge can help what seems like stored obsolete information is accessed to help with tasks that require creativity.

How to keep our brains healthy. 
It's as easy as staying physically active, still considered the best way to improve cognitive health as we age. Exercise is associated with brain health, including better blood flow to areas involved in cognitive tasks. 

Researchers who studied the effects of exercise on thinking ability in those over 50 including memory, alertness and ability to quickly process information found that physical activity improved all these skills — 40 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise as many days as possible. 

A 2020 study showed that a simple exercise, walking, could slow brain aging by up to 4 years. Previous studies showed it was an average of 10 years, but that required doing moderate to heavy exercise. 

Regular exercise I can manage by visits to the in-house gym here, heavier stuff not so much.

For those averse to or who can't exercise, the good news is that there's other options to keep the brain healthy and working well. It's sort of like flossing to maintain dental health, only it is brain flossing. Staying mentally active, trying new things, and being in mind-stimulating environments — as easy as taking a class, playing games, solving puzzles. That's why we're going to keep playing dominoes weekly.

That's enough this 'n that for now.  I'm going to watch some YouTube videos to learn a lot that's new to me — doesn't everyone do that?