Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gearing up for a book launch, a huge launch in fact

Children's author Paul Aertker speaks to students at Peabody Montessori Elementary School before reading a portion from his new book, “Brainwashed,” on Thursday.  (Photo: Tia Owens-Powers/ ) 

This is the screenshot of my newly new website. We're gearing up for a book launch, a huge launch in fact, for book 2 in the Crime Travelers series. 

While still promoting the book, I am trying to emphasize my mission of teaching kids about the rest of the world. Please let me know what you think. Thanks. Paul 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015



By:  Richard Lederer 

this is a re-posting of an email I received. 

About a month ago in this space, I illuminated old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included don’t touch that dial, carbon copy, you sound like a broken record and hung out to dry. A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We’d cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers’ lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.

Like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” or “This is a fine kettle of fish!” we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind. We blink, and they’re gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinder’s monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving kids in China. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It’s your nickel. Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go!

Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills.

This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart’s deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forevermaking a different river.

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daylight Saving Time is a Waste of Time

Benjamin Franklin came up with the concept for daylight saving time. In the 18th century.

The idea was that a later sunset would cause us to use less fuel in oil lamps. It was a great initiative then, but methinks we are using an outdated idea. Like oil lamps.

More than two centuries later, this biannual perfunctory act still makes us feel groggy for a week, disrupts already tenuous sleep patterns and in some cases, increases traffic accidents.

"Spring forward" is meant to give us an extra hour at the end of the day. Daylight saving changes the clock and not the sun.

The time change does not "add" an extra hour of daylight or sunlight to the day. See below what the American Indians have to say the extra hour.

The "fall back" clock movement is equally unrewarding. People are not gaining an extra hour. In fact, Americans spend an inordinate amount of time changing their clocks.

Daylight Wasting Time

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 311 million Americans. The average household has a minimum of four timepieces that require manual resetting.

The Census Bureau shows 111 million households, meaning there are approximately 445 million clocks that have to be manually changed. If it takes 10 seconds to change the time on each clock, then Americans spend, collectively, each spring and fall 1.2 million hours changing clocks.

At a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, that's $18 million.

Russians ahead of Americans?

Recently, Russia canceled daylight saving time for all nine of its time zones because the President decided the potential "stress and illnesses" on biological clocks was too great. Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Saskatchewan and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not waste time changing clocks either.

A bill to keep Colorado on permanent daylight saving unanimously passed the agriculture committee last year, but according to the ski industry, which "mounted a full-court press to kill the measure, saying it would affect them in the mornings during their peak winter season."

Equally, it would have affected the afternoons during the peak winter season by "adding" an hour of skiing.

The Navaho adage sums it up best, "Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket."