Ridin’ the Vortex ‘Til the Wheels Fall Off

Does it qualify as “living” when all you do is run to your car, into the front doors of your destination, back to your car and, finally, into your house, no pauses or sidetracks?

Cold enough for ya?

Yeah, it’s been cold up this way the last coupla days.

So cold that 0° sounds – and feels – downright balmy.

I mean, it’s so cold you can throw a cup of water into the air and it’ll turn into a cloud of crystals immediately. As one media type pointed out a couple of days ago, nearly every TV news outlet in the state will demonstrate that little maneuver while we’re in the midst of this freakin’ cold vortex thingy. Too ugly out to go out and find real news.

Let’s just say it’s “triple-dog dare ya” cold. Think Flick in “A Christmas Story.” Come to think of it, we might have just stumbled upon a new phrase for expressing how cold the weather is – “We’re Flicked!”

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Six Every-Day Resolutions for Every Day

New Year’s resolutions. Some will be kept throughout the year, many for a few weeks, most for just a day or two. Maybe we should go with every-day resolutions, instead. Every day.

It’s the Little Things that Make the Big Differences

There will be a woman sweating profusely, lifting dumbbells to shoulder height for a few more reps. A man ordering salads rather than French Fries at lunch. And a business owner following up with clients more often. They’ll all be chasing their New Year’s resolutions.

They’re the big things we promise to do for ourselves and others at the beginning of each trip around the sun.

  • Lose 50 pounds.
  • Go to the gym. Every. Single. Day.
  • Volunteer for 100 hours.

Some people will keep their resolutions throughout the year, many for a few weeks, most for just a day or two. That’s all OK.

But sometimes it’s the every-day resolutions that make the greatest, longest-lasting differences.

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Phases of Learning

One evening last week my 6-year-old daughter and I ran out to Dairy Queen to get treats and bring them home for everyone. It was around 6:30, and as we drove east on 17th Avenue it was still fairly light outside but the moon was already visible. It was nearly full; it was full a night or so later.

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Positively Brilliant

I’d never heard a more miserable, pitiful statement in my life, and I haven’t heard a more miserable, pitiful one since.

It came in an upper-level English literature course of some sort, when the group was chewing through a work by Dickens or some other dead Englishman. This woman raised her hand, then said, “When I wake up every morning, I tell myself, ‘This is going to be the worst day of my life.’ That way, I’m never disappointed.”

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Robots Rock. And Score Goals. And Write.

With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans. They also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

140727_Robots-Rock-WriteThey’ve been rolling into our lives for years, performing tasks from the relatively mundane, like vacuuming floors, to the Jetsonish, like working as teachers’ aides in classrooms. With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans.

Robots also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

According to the experts, if robotics continues to advance at the current pace, it might not be long before bots will be able to score goals as effectively as Lionel Messi, and other machines will report the wins and losses.

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Thanks for Being Here

Father’s Day, 2004

“Thanks for being here.”

My father, Martin C. Fredricks III, said this to me many times, usually at family gatherings. Just as often, though, he said it to people he’d just met, at one of my brother’s NDSU football games, for example, even if they had their own child playing. It always seemed an odd thing to say to people with their own reasons for being somewhere.

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