Palindrome Week

Thanks to Phlash Phelps on Sixties at Six for the idea.

What is a palindrome? According to The Oxford English Dictionary the word is based on Greek root words meaning “back” and “running.”

A palindrome is something that read the same either forwards or  backwards.  Palinderomes can be numbers or  letters.

This week the date is the same either forward of backwards (as long as you do not include punctuation.

  • 91519
  • 91619
  • 91619
  • 91619
  • 91819
  • 91919

One of the more famous word palindromes is

Madam, I’m Adam.

Kayak is a palindrome but canoe is not.

Bob is a palindrome but Bill is not.

Pup is a palindrome but kit is not.

Glenelg, MD is a town with a palindrome name.

Grammarly has a list of 16 funny palindromes.

A great bargain:

A nut for a jar of tuna.

A permissive friend:

Al lets Della call Ed “Stella.”

An Italian palindrome:

Amore, Roma.

Woud a pushmepullyou a graphical palinedrome?


pushmi-pullyu (plural pushmi-pullyus) A fictional animal with two heads at opposing ends of its body, in Hugh Lofting’s The Story of Doctor Dolittle. A person who behaves in a conflicting or contradictory manner.

What are some of your favorite palindromes?


Defense Primers for Congress

How to be as smart as Congress.  See the following list of Primers developed by CRS for Members of Congress.


The Congressional Research Service developed “a series of short primers to provide Members of Congress an overview of key aspects of the Department of Defense and how Congress exercises authority over it.” The defense primer series, several of which have been recently updated, can be found here.

Some other noteworthy recent CRS publications include the following.

Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Background and Status, updated September 6, 2019

Congress and the War in Yemen: Oversight and Legislation 2015-2019, updated September 6, 2019

Afghanistan: Issues for Congress and Legislation 2017-2019, updated September 3, 2019

DHS Border Barrier Funding, updated September 6, 2019

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, updated September 6, 2019

Reblog: When Pianos Went to War

Music was a morale booster when America went to war so the United States made a piano exception for the ban on musical instruments.

During the war, the U.S. government essentially shut down the production of musical instruments in order to divert vital resources such as iron, copper, brass, and other materials to the war effort. Yet the government also determined that the war effort ought to include entertainment that could lift soldiers’ spirits. But just any old piano wouldn’t do. They needed ones hardy enough to withstand the trying conditions out in the field—including being packed into a crate and dropped out of a plane.

The caveat was that the piano had to be “sturdy enough to withstand being packed into a crate and dropped out of a plane.”

During the war, the U.S. government essentially shut down the production of musical instruments in order to divert vital resources such as iron, copper, brass, and other materials to the war effort. Yet the government also determined that the war effort ought to include entertainment that could lift soldiers’ spirits. But just any old piano wouldn’t do. They needed ones hardy enough to withstand the trying conditions out in the field—including being packed into a crate and dropped out of a plane.

Enter Steinway and Son’s Victory Verticals.  They looked like the standard uprights but  were much sturdier.

Steinway provides more information about their amazing Victory Verticals.

Intended to lift troop morale, the 40-inch-tall Victory Verticals were identified by their military colors (olive drab, blue and gray), absence of front legs (deemed too delicate for the battlefield), and durable shipping crates. About 2,500 of the verticals were transported to every theater of war, including Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and the South Pacific. They were played by a dance band in the Philippines, a special service unit in Alaska, and by performers from Bob Hope to violinist Isaac Stern as they toured on behalf of the United Service Organizations (USO).

Happy Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Happy Fear of Friday the 13th.  Just to make the day extra scary, it’s also the day of the Harvest Moon.  Bwahaha.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is an extension of Triskaidekaphobia. It originates from Paraskevi, (Greek for Friday). Other names for this phobia include Friggatriskaidekaphobia which originates from Norse mythology where Frigg is the Norse Goddess for Friday.

According to Fearof. Net., “Shockingly, nearly 8% of people in the United Sates are Paraskevidekatriaphobes.”

Are you part of that group?

Why are people afraid of Friday the 13th?  According to the website:

The main reason behind the fear of Friday the 13th is due to the negative associations with Friday and the number 13 in many religions and cultures.

  • Friday the 13th is associated with the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. Hence, many devout Christians believe that this date is unlucky. The Great Flood also occurred on a Friday.  The Bible also mentions that the Last Supper had 13 members (where the 13th member was the same one who ultimately betrayed Jesus).
  • In Israel, the number 12 is considered lucky owing to 12 tribes of Israel. Conversely, 13 is considered very ‘unlucky’.
  • In Roman culture, witches are believed to have gathered in groups of 12 where the 13th witch is the ‘Devil’ itself.
  • Superstition and fear associated with Friday the 13th specifically grew during the middle ages. This was the time when the Knights Templars were tortured by King Philip IV of France. (The day of torture happened to be Friday the 13th).
  • In British culture; Friday and 13 are associated with capital punishment. Friday was “the day of the hangman or the noose” as many public hangings took place on this day. (Also there were exactly 13 steps to the gallows.)
  • Many movies, especially in the horror genre, have depicted the day as the ‘day of evil’.

Hero Dogs of 9-11

They love us to death and some die for us too.  Read about these heroic dogs from 9-11, whether trained canine officers or emotional support animals.

Today we remember and honor the Hero Dogs of 9/11 along with the countless people who had their lives irrevocably changed by man’s best friend. From search and rescue dogs to comfort dogs to bomb detection dogs, these canines’ stories of courage, healing and long-lasting legacy must never be forgotten.

I learned about this article from DC Gilbert’s Forever in Our Hearts.

September 11, 2001 Documents from the Library of Congress

Where were you on 9/11? What do you remember most about that day?

I was at work at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC.  I remember how lovely that Tuesday way,  low humidity, bright sunshine and a feeling that the day could not get any better.

After 7 am, we heard people saying “Turn on the television. A plane has gone into one of the two towers of the World Trade Center.”

We gathered around a television set up in one of the library training rooms. Some of the university administration rushed in and out of the room as they compared what was on television with what they could get officially back on their computers and blackberries.

When another plane hit the second tower, we were confused as to whether this was a second attack or a re-run of the first attack.
After we heard that a plane had hit the Pentagon, they decided to send us all home. Some of us decided to  leave later because of the infamous DC rush hour traffic so we had an impromptu picnic outside.

On my way home, I drove past the Navy Annex while going south on I-395. Seeing the that American flag still waving up the hill while I could see the Pentagon burning in my rear view mirror was one of the most uplifting things I could have seen that dreadful day.

We came to work the next day and waited in long lines outside the gate as four soldiers checked each car inside and out, plus ran a long mirror on a pole to check the undercarriage of each car. (We probably been told not to come into work but nobody thought that far ahead.)

The Library of Congress has  put together an online account of September 11th, memorabilia and documents.

Based on a similar project created after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project documents eyewitness accounts, expressions of grief and other commentary on the events of September 11, 2001. Included in this presentation are photographs, drawings, audio and video interviews and written narratives. Of special interest are interviews with people who were in Naples, Italy at the time of the attacks

When We Say “We Can’t” as We Age, Is it Common Sense or Psychological?


Senior Citizens Unload Here
Senior Citizens:  Unload Here


I have a friend in her 70s who is a very reluctant driver, and she has been like that since at  least  her 50s.  For over twenty years, her longtime boyfriend drove her almost everywhere.  Since he’s moved out, she mostly drives to work, the doctor, and to neighborhood businesses.  She does not like to travel alone and has curtailed many things that she has enjoyed doing for years like taking the train to New York to attend the opera. (She does not like to drive from the close in Virginia suburbs to Union Station in DC for starters.)


I have another frend, also in her 70s, who has bought a new car with all of the safety features like accident avoidance cameras.  She’s a widow and is used to travelling by herself or with family or friends.  She wans to keep driving but wants to do it safely since an accident involving older driver is often perceived to be that driver’s fault.

I have another friend, in her late 70s, who will drive her minivan almost anywhere (with or without her husband.)  She is very active with many friends, hobbies, and interests.

So is an unwillingness to drive as we age, psychological or common sense? (Each of these ladies is in good health and to the best of my knowledge has no reason why she should not drive.)

I used to love to climb on rocks and explore tidepools.  I am now afraid to do that.  I can’t decide if that is commonsense or a self-imposed pyschological barrier.  Yet I see dozens of volunteers in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who climb up and down from the tidepools with no outward signs of trepidation.

There are many things that we can no longer safely do as we age.  So not doing some of those things make sense, especially if we have a medical condition that precludes doing them safely.  For other things, why do we allow ourselves to do things we could easily accomplish if we gave ourselves permission?

What have you given up as you age and why have you given it up?  Is it fear or reason that keeps you from continuing a previously beloved activity?