I was riveted by our president's speech on the State of the Union. I felt he addressed the issues and was very clear with Congress, the military and the Supreme Court. I have listened to no commentary, just turned it off when it ended and let it percolate. For me, by the end, there was a hush through that vast room that had me thinking maybe everyone there was remembering why they went into public service and service it is and was meant to be. They are beholden to someone, to us.
I am not for nuclear power, though I know Stewart Brand, who I admire, can make an argument for it. I am also opposed to off-shore oil drilling. Between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended a summer program at UCSB. The beaches were covered with tar. That is something I won't forget. That was 1966. I believe we can figure out how to use wind, water, and solar power to capacity, and I don't expect to have everything my way.
I am happy to hear there is a deadline to bring our troops home. I think he gave the lecture this country deserves and I am pleased.
And as he said, now there is work to do. Individuals have been tightening their belts. Now, the country will too.
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor has a wonderful comment on and explanation of serendipity today. May we each enjoy a day filled with serendipity.
It was on this day in 1754 that the word "serendipity" was first coined. It's defined by Merriam-Webster as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." It was recently listed by a U.K. translation company as one of the English language's 10 most difficult words to translate. Other words to make their list include plenipotentiary, gobbledegook, poppycock, whimsy, spam, and kitsch.
"Serendipity" was first used by parliament member and writer Horace Walpole in a letter that he wrote to an English friend who was spending time in Italy. In the letter to his friend written on this day in 1754, Walpole wrote that he came up with the word after a fairy tale he once read, called "The Three Princes of Serendip," explaining, "as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of." The three princes of Serendip hail from modern-day Sri Lanka. "Serendip" is the Persian word for the island nation off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka.
The invention of many wonderful things have been attributed to "serendipity," including Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Charles Goodyear's vulcanization of rubber, inkjet printers, Silly Putty, the Slinky, and chocolate chip cookies.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin after he left for vacation without disinfecting some of his petri dishes filled with bacteria cultures; when he got back to his lab, he found that the penicillium mold had killed the bacteria.
Viagra had been developed to treat hypertension and angina pectoris; it didn't do such a good job at these things, researchers found during the first phase of clinical trials, but it was good for something else.
The principles of radioactivity, X-rays, and infrared radiation were all found when researchers were looking for something else.
Julius Comroe said, "Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter."
Wiktionary lists serendipity's antonyms as "Murphy's law" and "perfect storm."