Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Here's the introduction to landmarks they selected for each of the 50 states. For Illinois they selected The Bean in downtown Chicago. Missouri? I bet you could guess: the Arch. How many have you seen?
On November 8th a giant sinkhole the length of a city block opened up in a large Japanese city. The hole measured 98 feet wide by 50 feet deep and believe it or not, it was totally repaired and back in use in 3 days. The hole itself was filled in one day. After that it only took another 48 hours to reinstall all utilities -- electricity, water, sewage, gas and telecommunication lines -- and to resurface the road.
Unbelievable job made more stunning when you consider how this would have been handled in any large US city. The work would go on for weeks, if not months.
I found my current most favorite tool yesterday. We had a new roof put on last week and although the workers cleaned up really well, I noticed a nail here and there around the outside of the house and realized having to stare at the ground and bend and stoop to get them picked up was more than I wanted to do. So I found a Telescopic Magnetic Pick Up Tool at Home Depot for ten bucks. And this thing works like a charm, it's so amazingly strong for such an inexpensive thing. And light. And, no stooping.
I ended up with two pockets filled with nails, a few screws and a roll of staples.
If you need to renew your passport or get one for the first time there are new rules set to go in place. The standout rule is: You cannot wear glasses when having your picture taken.
Passports will now include added technology to ensure security and decrease fraud. Catching up with many other countries, U.S. passport changes mean that new passports will include a data chip that can provide all your personal info upon scanning it onto a computer.
This has been a year of unforeseen things, some call 2016 crazy, some just want this year to finally end. But one of those oddities about this year has been an almost monthly appearance of Super Moons. A Super Moon is one which approaches closest to the earth during its orbit. This results in us seeing a huge moon, compared to normal orbits.
We've had a bunch of these lately but on November 14th, we're in for a super Super Moon. The last time the moon got as close to earth as it will be in ten days was in 1948 and it won't happen again til 2034. News reports tell us this moon may be record breaking in its size and brightness.
If the sky is clear, it should show up everywhere in the world.
An astronomy site, Slooh.com calls this moon the "mega beaver moon". According to the Old Farmers Almanac, the November moon was named the beaver moon partly because, “for both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.”
This picture is hilarious, it may as well be a raccoon rather than a beaver.
Sky watchers are gearing up for next August's total eclipse of the sun, something which has not happened since 1918. Most of us will see a partial eclipse on August 21, 2017 but those who live along the line the sun will travel will get to see or experience all of it. There are places in this country which are planning to make their area a tourist destination for those who want to be part of the darkness. Hotels have already been booked most likely by people who do not live in the eclipse part of the country.
Luckily for us in St. Louis, we are along the sun's path and will see the total eclipse. Here is one rather over the top description of this coming experience. "Millions of Americans will be in easy driving distance of a spectacle that has been called indescribable, unforgettable, even life-altering."
I mean, seriously? it should be fascinating, but life-altering?
The sun will disappear for about 2½ minutes, beginning in Oregon about 10:15 a.m. local time; the phenomenon will move eastward, ending an hour and a half later in South Carolina. In between, the eclipse will be visible from Grand Teton and the Great Smoky Mountains national parks, from St. Louis and Kansas City and Charleston, S.C., and all points in between.
Everywhere you look, every news story you hear, buffets your mind from one thing to another so quickly. Look over there! Did you hear that? Where we going now? It a fast paced week. Around here there are helicopters and news people and events happening all around us ahead of the Presidential debate on Sunday at Wash U. There is some seriously busy stuff happening.
Then the hurricane news out of Florida which has riveted the major news outlets and focused us on this since almost everyone knows someone down in Florida.
Then the awful killing of a St Louis County police officer yesterday.
And the baseball playoffs biggest question: "Will the Cubs be able to win it all?"
Here on campus we have the regents in for their quarterly meeting followed by Octoberfest tonight.
One thing I wish more of the big grocery and box stores would have is the smaller shopping carts. Schnucks and Dierberg's have them but I haven't seen them at Target or Shop N Save or Walmart and they make things so much easier when you don't need enough items for the large carts and have too much for the baskets. Even Petsmart and Petco have the smaller carts. I did once see what looked like a small cart in the Collinsville Walmart parking lot but they must only have the one because they are never lined up with the carts by the entrance. Shop N Save's carts are so big and bulky they're like pushing around a small car.
I guess these stores are more into getting you to buy more with a big cart but customer service might be nice too.
It seems like every other month there are rare full moons in the sky this year. Blood moon, Strawberry moon, etc and Friday the Black Moon.
A black moon is sometimes considered the opposite of a blue moon. A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in one month. There are several definitions of a black moon, but the lunar event Friday will happen because there is a second new moon in one month. Black moons occur about once every 32 months.
The only problem is, as the story explains, you won't be able to see it. So don't plan on setting your alarm to get up to take a look.
Union employees of Schnucks voted to reject their contract offer last night and it made me wonder just what would happen in the stores if a strike occurred. Who'd keep the shelves stocked? Who'd do check out? Would they have to just close up? Would many shoppers honor the strike and stay away?