Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekly Features: Some Somber & Some Silly

Things around my home have been a bit goofy over the last few days.  It seems that nothing can go wrong by itself.  Rather, numerous home improvement projects collaborate with one another and conspire to make your life as difficult as possible for the span of a few days.

I'm picturing the furnace, water heater, creaky step and kitchen faucet all meeting in a darkened room accessible only from a rusted metal, back alley door, agreeing over what a jerk you are and deciding that their resources must be pooled in order to exact their revenge upon you.  At the very least, there has to be an impromptu huddle which results in them all shouting, "Break," and rushing off to purposely fail in their duties, thus causing you to have to expend both time and energy repairing them.

I mention all this because the frustration over homeownership plays a sizable role in this week's features.  But before any of those are addressed, I need to cover a very important top 5 list.

We are one week from the ten year anniversary of September 11th, 2001.  While I remember that day vividly and still get chills when I think of it, my sons were but a twinkle in the collective eye of myself and my wife.  They have no personal memory of the events of that day.  They know only what we tell them.

Ten years is a lot of time and though the terrible tragedy of the day will live on forever for those of us who experienced it, there are now millions of children in the world who cannot grasp the severity of it, having not been old enough to understand it or yet to be born.

Thus, this week's top five list suggests five methods by which to describe 9/11 to your young child.  I have compiled a few appropriate (and some elaborate) ways through which to educate your child on the true importance and solemnity of the meaning of September 11th:

5. Visit NYC - Times are hard and such a trip may prove quite difficult unless you are already relatively close by.  However, if you can afford it and want your kids to know what the day is all about, the new Ground Zero monument and museum to open in a few days would be perfect.

4. Raise the flag - Make a point of doing this every September 11th.  Do it with your kids.  This will instill the importance of patriotism in the face of such events in your kids.

3. Read Fireboat together - This beautifully drawn children's book tells the true tale of a group of friends who had restored an old fireboat in New York Harbor and did their best to pull together and help on that fateful day.

2. Send care packages to the troops overseas and/or cards to first responders - Regardless of where in the United States you live, our troops support your freedom and the police and fire personnel in your area continue to respond to dangerous calls in order to protect the lives and wellbeing of complete strangers.  A hand drawn thank you card from your child would be appreciated.  It also gives you a chance to explain the sacrifice that the brave men and women just like them in New York City made ten years ago.

1. Tell your story - Maybe you were a thousand miles away from any danger, but you no doubt have a recollection of how the events of the day unfolded.  Tell you kids about how you saw it through your eyes.  They look to you for guidance in most everything.  They long for the enlightenment of your perspective.  Lend it to them on this matter.  If they are told how you experienced 9/11 and what you thought and felt, the experience might hit closer to home for them.

This week's cool-ass thing you will never own is a Life Model Decoy (or LMD).  This cybernetic version of yourself, the kind regularly employed by Marvel's Nick Fury, allows you to see the things it sees without being placed into any danger.  Useful for spying, fighting, navigating behind enemy lines, attending family parties or infiltrating the opposite sex locker rooms of the world without fear of getting slapped.

This week's sign you are a nerd is that you will lock yourself in a room to adjust your fantasy football roster.  The little that the preseason has shown you about the teams and players and the injuries that have thus far been incurred will no doubt have you shuffling through stats and trying to make as many adjustments as possible.

This week's nemesis is humidity.  This isn't normally something that bothers me so much around this time of year, but when an unseasonably warm and humid spell hits, it raises my ire.  On top of that, when humidity is also the culprit that freezes over the coils of my air conditioner such that it no longer blows out any air through the vents that have become blocked with ice during the spell of unseasonably warm and humid weather, my calm becomes further damaged.

This week's lesson learned is to turn your humidifier off before turning on your air conditioner.  The above mentioned block of ice obstructing your vents can be avoided this way and cool indoor air can rule once again.

This week's equation explains how misted water can result in a giant block of ventilation obstructing ice by showing you how much larger the ice formation of any volume of water will be:

Finally, this week's Star Wars quote is, "Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me.  Now his failure is complete."

That's all for this week's rambling features.  Thanks for reading.

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