Graduation 2020, Some Disappointed People

Graduation 2020

When we are a senior in high school, there is one special day we all look forward to (besides prom! – oh, and the last day of school), and that is graduation day. It has been four years of getting up early in the morning to attend our first class. We have made good friends with different people. We have even connected with some teachers who have become special to us. We pulled our pranks, ditched a class or two, and sent to the office for a reprimand. After years of studying things of interest and other things we could care less about, we earned enough credits to graduate. It is an exciting day to which we look forward.

Graduation 2020 And The Coronavirus

We have all had different experiences since the coronavirus first appeared. People are learning how to cope with many changes in their life. We hesitate before we decide to do something as simple as going to the grocery store. So, as many students looked forward to their graduation, they also realized changes were in the air. They realized they could not stand in the traditional rows, close together, wearing their robe as they marched into the auditorium where they would receive their diploma. Even if they put on a mask, they understood this was not going to be a traditional celebration of graduation 2020. This is not only a disappointment and a “let down” it is also a significant setback to the parents, grandparents, and other family members looking forward to seeing their graduate handed their diploma.

Ways People Are Celebrating Graduation 2020

Some graduates have virtual graduation parties. This can happen via a chat service such as Zoom. Someone must, of course, organize the event. Usually, the “sponsor” chooses the participants. It can be a small gathering of people or a larger group. These sessions are mostly being used for friends to get together while they discuss graduation. However, others have made it large enough where one family might host a small group of friends, ask one or more graduates to act as valedictorian, and invite a faculty member or two to hand out the diplomas. YouTube hosted a virtual graduation. It featured speeches from Barack and Michelle Obama. Following this, some musical artists performed a virtual grad night afterparty. Another popular graduation 2020 ceremony involved people decorating their cars with signs and balloons. The group formed a line of cars, drove through different neighborhoods, honked their horns, and waved to graduates looking out the window or standing in front of their houses. Another favorite activity was joining the family, friends, and fellow graduates to have an outdoor bbq. The group played songs from their high school years, danced, sang songs, and had a great time.

As a graduate, I remember how important this day was to me. I feel disappointed that so many young people will be missing their special graduation 2020.

Facts, How Many Do You Know?


Put on your “thinking cap” and let’s see how many of these facts you can answer. If you have heard of PETA, did you know they once asked the musical group, Pet Shop Boys to change their name? What name did they choose? They wanted their name to become Rescue Shelter Boys – it just doesn’t sound right! Do you remember the Nerf ball? If so, do you know the first sales pitch the company used for promotion? It was “Nerf: You can’t hurt babies or old people!” It is unbelievable, but some cats are allergic to humans – and that’s a fact!

More Facts To Ponder

If you are a Puritan woman, soon to be engaged, you might be given a thimble from your fiance. When your wedding day arrives, the bottom can be cut off, so it becomes your wedding ring. Do you know the national animal of Scotland? If you guessed “elephant,” you don’t know the fact!. If you said “unicorn,” you are correct. In 1998 a Georgia student was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt to school when it was “Coke in Education Day.” If you love drinking your Coke, before leaving for North Korea or Cuba, be aware you cannot buy Coke in those two countries. Do you know this fact?

Two people die every second while four babies are born on Earth every second? What is the world’s largest city? If you guessed Mexico City, that is not correct. If you guessed Tokyo, that is the right answer – 37 million people are living there. Households in New Zealand have more pets than in any other country.

You Are Doing Great With The Facts!

A surprising fact is this: all the ants on Earth weigh as much as all the humans! Sometimes people do not realize how many members are on Facebook. Suppose you combine the U.S., China, and Brazil population, that’s the approximate number of Facebook users. It’s also a fact that some people are making a lot of money from Facebook!

If you are male, you might be related to Genghis Khan – one in every 200 men are related. When you see a panda, wherever you might be in the world, just know it is “on loan” from China. If you ever decide you want to visit the youngest country in the world, you will be visiting South Sudan. The 1933 Double Eagle was a $20 U.S. coin. It sold at auction for more than $7 million. Do you know what two countries use purple in their national flags? You got it – Nicaragua and Dominica. What is the most famous name in the world? Some people say, John, others say, Mary, Jane, or James. However, the name is Muhammad. Approximately 150 million men and boys around the world share this name. If you are still alive today (check your pulse), you are one of the 7 percent of the total number of people who have ever lived. Can you guess how many bacteria are on Earth? If you know the answer, you are brilliant! There is approximately 4 quadrillion quadrillion. The final question is this: Where is the world’s quietest room located? If you say it is at the Microsoft headquarters in Washington State, you are 100 percent correct!

While it was a lot of fun writing these facts, I realized how much I DO NOT know!

COVID-19 Parties Spread the Virus

COVID-19 Parties in the U.S.

It is difficult to believe that people, in several states, are having “COVID-19 Parties.” This is a gathering where people, testing positive for the virus, are invited to a party, as are people who do not test positive. There are two primary reasons sponsors give for throwing these parties: 1. to test if the coronavirus is for real, 2. to collect money to enter the party; the first person to test positive for the virus, as determined by a doctor, wins the “pot” or the money collected. One unidentified attendee, a 30-year-old man, attended a COVID-19 party in San Antonio, Texas. The event was intended to test the validity of the virus. He later ended up in Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. It was reported that the patient told his nurse, “I think I made a mistake (by attending the party). I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.” The patient has since died. Not only did this man die, but chances are other party attendees were also infected.

COVID-19 Parties Very Challenging

During the last few weeks, it has been reported that these parties have been held in different cities in different states. College students have been organizing COVID-19 Parties in Alabama. One unidentified student said, “The aim behind such parties is quite simple: whoever gets infected first, wins the prize money.” The students intentionally invite infected patients so they can infect others. These parties are happening in Alabama, particularly around Tuscaloosa, where the state is reporting rising infections. Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told ABC News that students have been organizing these parties to infect each other intentionally. McKinstry said, “They put money in a pot, and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense. They’re intentionally doing it.” She said, “officials want to prevent such parties, although the task is very challenging. The students are blatantly disregarding guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you’re dealing with the mind frame of people who are intentionally doing stuff like that and they’re spreading it intentionally, how can you truly fight something that people are constantly trying to promote?”

COVID-19 Parties In Other States

Parties were reported in the County of Walla Walla in Washington. Officials say some of the nearly 100 cases in that region appear to have been intentionally spread or infected at the COVID-19 parties. The Washington Department of Health reported that they had been receiving reports of coronavirus parties where “uninfected people are mingling with #COVID19 positive individuals intentionally to try to contract the virus. Bad idea! This is dangerous and puts people at risk for hospitalization or even death.” Kentucky reported one case in the state that had been tied to such a party. Sandy Cox, the mayor of an Austin Suburb, said that “high schoolers had held a very large party just outside her city. Since then, a number of those who attended have tested positive for COVID-19.”

Denial Of COVID-19 Parties

There are “nay-sayers” that these parties have not happened. They are saying there is no hard evidence that even a single party has been given. They are blaming it on recurring, unsubstantiated media coverage. However, there is one reported death, the man saying he had attended such a party before he died, and doctors reporting they have diagnosed patients as COVID-19 positive and the patients saying they had attended such a party. It isn’t easy to understand what additional proof is needed. It is up to each individual to make their own decision about these COVID-19 parties.

One death has been reported, and doctors have indicated they are treating patients who acknowledged they attended COVID-19 parties. I am convinced parties are being held.

Summer Vacation is Looking Much Different This Year


Summer Vacation and Coronavirus

It is unfortunate that summer vacation is being altered, in many ways, due to the coronavirus. Families need to make a significant decision if they should travel during this pandemic or not. Unfortunately, the children were looking forward to going to Disneyland; dad was looking forward to seeing his family back in Nebraska; mom was excited about going to her 25th high school reunion. By now, we are all familiar with this word: Canceled. 

To Travel, Or Not To Travel – This Summer Vacation

Summer travel still is not recommended. While many states have relaxed their restrictions, they are once again experiencing a substantial increase in new COVID-19 cases. What a summer vacation and destination amount to is how much risk your family is willing to take. It would, of course, be best to limit your risk as much as possible. 

Planning Your Summer Vacation

If your family has decided to take a summer vacation, the one thing you want to remember is to minimize your risk. You are not doing so if you plan to spend your days at a beach packed with other people. You are not doing so if you are going on a cruise ship with thousands of other people aboard. You are not doing so if you plan to do anything where there are crowds of people. If you plan to fly to your destination, inquire to find out as much as you can to stay away from crowded flights. The same is true for a bus or train. Your safest mode of transportation is your car. Even then, it would help if you were careful with your stops along the way, wear your mask, and practice social distancing.

You might also consider travel in an RV. If you don’t own one, you can always rent. You have better control over your environment. You need to be aware of your environment, wear your mask, and social distance. Another possibility is to rent a home through an agency such as Airbnb. You can take safe day trips to places that interest you. Even so, it would be best if you sanitized the home once you enter. Clean all of the surfaces until you feel safe. An ideal rental would be a cabin in the forest. This allows you to hike around in the woods, fish, swim in the creek while staying away from people.

Sadly we are presently being controlled by the coronavirus. It is with us, and we must deal with it the best we can. We need to pay extra attention to our elderly friends and people who suffer from asthma, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Most likely, the safest summer vacation you can have is to stay at home, pamper yourself, enjoy things you wouldn’t normally do, and make the best of these coronavirus days.

It is very nervewracking to see once again the huge increases in new cases of the coronavirus. Everyone must do their part to keep themself safe as well as everyone around them. Wear your mask! Practice social-distancing! Wash your hands with soap and hot water!

Yellowjackets are Out and About for the Summer


Yellowjackets (also spelled yellow jacket) consist of any 35-40 species. They are social wasps found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Their name is about the coloration of the abdomen – with yellow and black markings. However, some yellowjackets are white and black, while others have red markings. They are different from other wasps as their wings fold longitudinally when at rest. 

The Queen Of The Yellowjackets

In the U.S., there are a variety of yellowjackets. They are like termites when it comes to socialization as they also form colonies. The queen is the only yellow jacket to survive through the winter. She then begins to create her colony each spring. She decides on the location for her next nest, and it might be aerial or underground. She often builds her nest from paper-like material. The queen generally “hides” through the winter. When spring arrives, the fertilized queen establishes her colony. It contains 30-50 brood cells, and she lays from 10-20 eggs there. She feeds the young larvae for about 18-20 days. The larvae then emerge as infertile female workers. By the end of June, the first adult workers emerge. They assume the tasks of making the nest larger, gathering food, caring for the queen and her larvae, and defending the colony. The queen remains inside the nest, laying eggs, causing the colony to expand rapidly. The size might reach a maximum of 4,000 to 5,000 workers and a nest of 10,000 to 15,000 cells in August and late September. The queen, also known as the foundress, dies in the autumn. There are areas in the world where the nest can survive the winter. If a nest does survive multiple seasons, it becomes massive. It often possesses multiple egg-laying queens.

Yellowjackets Love Sweets And Are Not Afraid To Attack

The yellow jackets feed on sweets. These include flower nectar, fruit, soda, and protein. Protein is essential during their larval stage as this is when they need the nutrients to grow their wings and develop. Contrary to what most people believe, the yellow jacket does not want to sting. They are territorial insects. So, if their nests are approached, they become incredibly aggressive. During this point, they may sting several times. Some people are very allergic to their venom. Their sting can cause severe reactions. Yellowjackets and other stinging insects result in sending more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

Killing A Yellowjacket

Yellowjackets leave their nest to fly outdoors when searching for food. When the summer ends, and food becomes scarce while temperatures cool, they sometimes find their way into the living areas of a home. Everyone should know that it is important not to kill the pest near its nest. Why? Because, when a yellowjacket is dying, it releases an alarm pheromone that smells. The odor sends an alert to the other wasps in the colony. Within 15 seconds, you might be surrounded by wasps coming to help their dying mate. 

When people see a yellowjacket, their first instinct is to kill it as quickly as possible. If you do so, you will most likely cause his buddies to leave their colony and come after you!

The Bully Can Create Havoc for a Child or an Adult


The Bully

It is difficult to believe that the word “bully” originally had the meaning of “sweetheart.” How times change! Today the word has evolved to mean someone who hurts those weaker than oneself. There is also the term “bully bully.” This refers to a person who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or more vulnerable to be tormented by the neighborhood or school bully.

The Bully During Childhood

Bullies strike for many reasons. Something as simple as an accent might cause a bully to attack. A very bright pupil might receive nasty words from a bully. A weak boy, wearing glasses, and baggie clothes might invite be an invitation for a bully to attack. It does not take much to cause a bully to react. At times they want to “show off” and let everyone see how “tough” they are. Society once thought bullying consisted just of physical bullying and name-calling. However, there are other types, such as gossiping about people. This might be used to make fun of another person’s race or religion. Today we have cyber bullying, physical bullying, relational aggression, sexual bullying, prejudicial bullying, and verbal bullying. So, when your child leaves for school, you never know what s/he may face. You must hope that s/he won’t meet up with a bully.

The Bully And Physical Bullying

This happens when one person uses physical actions over another person to gain power and control. The bully is usually larger, stronger, and more aggressive than their target. The target may face kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, shoving, and any other form of physical attack. The bully generally does not fit into any one type of category. They have different styles, personalities, goals, and behaviors. Their motivations are all different. And, it’s not just boys that bully, girls can be just as guilty. They are more active in the land of cyber, however. They can even do their bullying in an anonymous manner.

The Bully And The Victim

If there is such a thing as a “typical” bully, they generally have bigger than life egos. They are condescending and very confident. They usually have a group of followers, a little “gang” that feel like they rule the school. They generally have a sense of entitlement. This can stem from their popularity, size, upbringing, or socioeconomic status. They feel exhilarated over the physical power and control they have over their victims. Sometimes the school’s star athlete or school leader is a bully. They love the attention and power they receive from bullying. Peers usually tolerate the bully’s behavior because they would rather be accepted then become a victim.

The Bully And Your Child

You will not know your child is being bullied unless s/he tells you, or bruises or injuries. There are a few other signs such as him/her seeming anxious, not eating, not sleeping well, or not participating in things you know they enjoy. They may be moodier or more upset than usual. If you suspect your child is being bullied you need to discuss this even though s/he may be reluctant to do so. You also need to make an appointment with his/her teacher to try to have a clearer understanding. If necessary, also make an appointment with the school principal. This is a critical time in your child’s growth process, and you need to help him/her in any and every way possible.

We have all known bullies in our life. This is nothing new. However, as a parent, it is up to you to help prevent your child from being bullied.

Presidential Trivia – Things You May Not Know

The Presidents of the United States have created some interesting trivia. For example, July 4th is celebrated as the birth of American independence. However, on July 4th, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. James Monroe died on July 4th, 1831. Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution. James Madison stood 5’4″ and weighed 100 pounds. Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson both stood 6’4″ tall. 

Some Presidential Trivia

Some more presidential trivia – do you know which president was blind in his left eye? It was Teddy Roosevelt. Presidential trivia about John Tyler – he had 15 children. William Henry Harrison caught a cold while standing in the rain, giving his inauguration speech. He died 32 days after becoming president. Bill Clinton had the highest IQ of all presidents, at 182 while George W. Bush had the lowest at 91. James Buchanan was the only president who remained single throughout his life. Donald Trump is the wealthiest president and the first billionaire. President William Howard Taft, also known as “Big Bill,” became stuck in the White House bathtub. It took six men to remove the 350-pound leader. Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump were the only divorced president’s to hold the office. Woodrow Wilson had the most extensive academic career of any president. He received a Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. degree. The three highest-rated presidents, according to historians, include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The only president, who was previously an actor, was Ronald Reagan. President Thomas Jefferson had a black child with a slave he owned named Sally Hemings. However, he was a consistent opponent of slavery. He called it a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot.” At least 12 presidents owned slaves during their lifetimes. Eight held enslaved people while in office.

And More Presidential Trivia

William Howard Taft added what presidential trivia to the facts? He was the first to have an official car. It was a Model M steam-powered touring car. Theodore Roosevelt was the first to travel internationally while in office. He visited Panama. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly overseas. Only three presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump. Woodrow Wilson was the first leader to give a live nationwide radio address. Only two presidents have donated their salary to charities. The first was John F. Kennedy, and the second, Donald Trump. More presidential trivia – which president enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River? It was John Quincy Adams. Martin Van Buren was the first president who was a U.S. citizen. Before that, all presidents had been British subjects. Lyndon B. Johnson was the only president to be sworn while on an airplane. This followed the assassination of John F. Kennedy. President Dwight Eisenhower was the only president to have served in both World War l and World War ll. The only president unanimously elected was George Washington.

Presidents have a life just like the rest of us; however, whatever they do, just like a well-known celebrity, they make headlines, and they make history.

Dogs and Mourning is a Sad Situation

Dogs and Mourning

A pet dog can be the most loyal friend you might ever have. When it dies, we experience strong, sad emotions. However, when the master of the dog dies, the animal experiences grief – which leads to a dog in mourning.

If Your Pet Is Grieving 

If the dog’s master becomes sick or is near death, the dog may lovingly want to sit next to the person quietly. The dog may want to protect the master from any dangers, such as a fire in the house. Or, the dog may sit and whine, asking for someone to help the dog’s master. There are other signs your dog may exhibit. Aside from whining, your dog may howl. The pet may pace back and forth. His/her ears most likely will drop. Your pet is sad, and s/he lets you know it.

Dogs and Mourning After The Master Dies

The ASPCA says that two-thirds of dogs show symptoms of separation anxiety following the death of their owner. If your dog is grieving, you might see a difference in the way it is communicating. You need to pay close attention to your pet’s body language. Your pet will probably whine and show signs of depression. S/he may have a loss of appetite. Veterinarian Michael W. Fox said that dogs mourn. He explained that some dogs realize their owner is deceased before the hospital ever calls the family – however, there is little evidence to support this theory. Sarah Wilson, an animal behavior expert, explained that it’s not so much about dogs and mourning but not understanding why their master isn’t around any longer. She said that to the pet, you are their world. They cannot understand death, divorce, or the fact you are no longer around. 

Dogs Do Mourn

One dog in Siberia waited by the roadside for more than a year following his owner’s death. There is no doubt a dog has an unfaltering loyalty. One Japanese dog named Hachiko visited a train station every day for nine years, waiting for his master to arrive on the next train. Spot, another dog, stayed at his owner’s grave for months following the passing of Dave Brack, his owner. Dogs and mourning is a real thing.

Dogs And Mourning Other Dogs

If you had two dogs in your house, and one passed away, the other dog may show signs of depression. Steven Kotler, a writer for “Psychology Today,” told about his dog named Willi. His dog tried to cover up the body of his dog friend named Joey with a blanket. Journalist Andrea Bell shared a picture of her dog Boris, sitting on the graves of the other two dogs they owned who had recently passed away.

There is still a lot we do not know about dog psychology, but it is clear that dogs mourn and feel the loss of a close friend.

Two years ago, I had a friend pass away. His wife thought they would need to have their dog euthanized because he was so sad and depressed. Someone suggested taking the dog to the funeral home. The dog went to the casket, put his paws on the coffin, and looked at the body twice. The dog then lay down on the floor, was calm, and this seemingly satisfied everything in his world.

Juliane Koepcke Falls 9,200 Feet and Survives

Juliane Koepcke

Do you remember the crash of LANSA Flight 508? If not, you probably have not heard of Juliane Koepcke (now known as Juliane Diller). On December 24, 1971, the plan left Lima to Pucallpa, Peru. A significant thunderstorm caused the plane to crash. Ninety-one people were killed, including all six of the crew and 85 of 86 passengers. The crash resulted in it being the deadliest lightning strike disaster in history. The 86th passenger, Juliane Koepcke, 17, survived. While remaining strapped in her seatbelt, the young woman fell 9,200 feet, landing in the Amazon rainforest. Miraculously, she survived the fall. She then wandered through the jungle for 11 days until local lumbermen saved her. 

Christmas Eve Flight

The Lockheed L-188A Electra was about 21,000 feet above sea level. It flew into an area of thunderstorms and severe turbulence. Although no one will ever know for sure, evidence indicated the crew decided to continue the flight despite the harsh weather. It is believed they did so because of the pressure to meet the holiday schedule. The Peruvian investigators called the crash an “intentional flight into hazardous weather conditions.” It was a miracle that Juliane Koepcke survived.

Juliane Koepcke Suffered Injuries

The only survivor of the crash suffered a broken collar bone, a major gash to her right arm, an eye injury, and a concussion. Even so, Juliane managed to hike through the dense forest. She found shelter in a hut. After the lumbermen found her on Day 11, they took her back to civilization in a canoe. 

Made Into A Movie

The story was made into a movie, “Miracles Still Happen” (1974). Juliane’s story was also told during a 1998 documentary film, “Wings of Hope.” On March 10, 2011, her memoir was published, “When I Fell From the Sky.” 

Today And Yesterday

Koepcke was born in 1954 in Lima, Peru. She was the only child born to her German parents who both worked at the Museum of Natural History in Lima. Her father was a biologist, and her mother was an ornithologist. Three years before the accident, the family left Peru to establish Panguana, a research station in the Amazon rainforest. Fortunately for Juliane, she became a “jungle child” and learned survival skills to survive in the situation she faced on that day. Today she is married and works as a German Peruvian mammalogist.

How fortunate that Juliane learned survival skills as a child. She certainly was able to put them to good use – resulting in saving her own life.

Please Wear a Mask When Going Out in Public

A Mask Will Help!

If you are around a person who has COVID-19, and s/he coughs, the person will send tiny droplets of coronavirus into the air. If you are not wearing a mask, you might have been exposed to the virus. If you are wearing a mask, covering your mouth and nose, it can help to block the droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. However, a cloth mask won’t block the coronavirus 100 percent – it still offers you protection. You receive additional protection when you practice social distancing (staying six feet away from other people) and thoroughly washing your hands.

Masks That Can Protect You

N95 respirator masks and surgical masks are worn mostly by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. If you do not work in health care, then a cloth mask might be best for you to wear. It should have at least two layers of material. If you add a copper or wire ribbon on the nose, it will help your mask to fit tighter. Another source is to go to a hardware store and buy a dust mask. They look similar to an N95, but they do not filter out as many particles. If you can find a neoprene mask, they help to stop the droplets that carry the virus. 

Wearing A Face Mask

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly urges everyone to wear a mask when in public. The agency particularly stresses wearing a mask in places where it is difficult to stand six feet away from other people. An example would be a grocery store, a department store, or a pharmacy. There are some exceptions to wearing a mask. These include a child under two years of age, any person who has trouble breathing, anyone who is incapacitated or unable to remove the mask without assistance. 

Making A Mask

Many people are making their masks out of cotton, linen, t-shirts, bandanas, or other personal choices. When deciding on making a mask, you should choose a thicker, more densely woven cotton fabric, including quilting cotton or cotton sheets. A material such as a stretchy knit is not the best choice. The best idea is to find a balance to make a good mask. You want a fabric that does not allow droplets to pass through, but you also want to make sure you can breathe adequately when your mask is in place on your face. 

It does not matter if you make your own suitable mask or if you buy a mask – the important point is to make sure you wear your mask when in public.

For me, I find it very disturbing to be out in public and walk by someone who is not wearing a mask only to have them cough right when we meet up. This has happened to many more than once since the beginning of this pandemic. Also, it bothers me when young people have parties and offer a jackpot prize to the first person in the group to be diagnosed with COVID-19.