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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2016

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
October-December, 2016

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from October-December, 2016.



Dec. 31, 2016 - Calvin and Hobbes' New Year Outlook

Calvin and Hobbes' New Year Outlook
Click HERE or image above to view full-size comic strip.
(Image credit:

Dec. 30, 2016 -  TOP 10 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS:

1. Keep skid chains on your tongue; always say less than you think. Cultivate a low, persuasive voice. How you say it counts more than what you say.
2. Make promises sparingly, and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs.
3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody. Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, criticize helpfully, never spitefully.
4. Be interested in others, their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Make merry with those who rejoice; with those who weep, mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as a person of importance.
5. Be cheerful. Don't burden or depress those around you by dwelling on your minor aches and pains and small disappointments. Remember, everyone is carrying some kind of a load.
6. Keep an open mind. Discuss but don't argue. It is a mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
7. Let your virtues, if you have any, speak for themselves. Refuse to talk of another's vices. Discourage gossip. It is a waste of valuable time and can be extremely destructive.
8. Be careful of another's feelings. Wit and humor at the other person's expense are rarely worth it and may hurt when least expected.
9. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Remember, the person who carried the message may not be the most accurate reporter in the world. Simply live so that nobody will believe them. Disordered nerves and bad digestion are a common cause of back-biting.
10. Don't be too anxious about the credit due you. Do your best, and be patient. Forget about yourself, and let others "remember." Success is much sweeter that way.

--Ann Landers, "The 10 Commandments of Getting Along with People"

Dec. 26, 2016 - 2016, The Year in Pictures

A 3-min. movie of 2016 highlights, created with the new "Memories" feature in the iOS 10 Photos app. Enjoy! smiley

Best wishes for a healthy & prosperous 2017, the Year of the Rooster!

(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Dec. 25, 2016 - Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

The 18th annual Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train has raised more than spirits across North America this holiday season, with donations of $1.2 million and 250,000 pounds of food counted to this point. ​As food banks continue to count the money raised and weigh the food donated at each train stop this year, the program is on track to have raised nearly $10 million and 4 million pounds of food since its inception in 1999.

In the words of CP's Chief Executive Officer, "Beyond food and monetary donations, the CP Holiday Train generates goodwill, raises spirits, and helps people start the holidays off on the right foot. We thank the communities across our network for supporting the program and giving back to their neighbours."

The video below was filmed last year by the Elk River Guiding Company as the CP holiday train passed thru Fernie, British Columbia. "The Little Drummer Boy" background music by Harry the Cap is a perfect match!

Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train 
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Dec. 24, 2016 - 2016 "NORAD Tracks Santa" in Japan

As of shortly after 11 pm Japan time on Xmas Eve 2016, Santa Claus just made the rounds in Sapporo, Fukushima, Utsunomiya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, & all points south, and then on to Korea. Almost 1 billion gifts delivered so far. Track Santa in real-time, 3D animation during the rest of his 24-hr. journey here:

Santa Claus visits Japan just after 11 pm on Xmas Eve 2016
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

[Don't miss the close-up of Rudolph's RED NOSE just after the 1:00 min. mark!] smiley

Dec. 22, 2016 - My all-time favorite Xmas music video - Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"

'Tis the Season! This is without question still one of my all-time favorite Xmas songs by 2 of my all-time favorite musicians. I'm feeling especially blessed these days and would just like to wish a very joyous Happy Holiday season to my many wonderful friends, for whom I am extremely grateful. And Happy New Year 2017, the Year of the Rooster...

Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

[Andrea holds that last note for the word "white" a remarkable 22 seconds! WOW!]

Dec. 18, 2016 - A 2009 Christmas Medley by Santa Mickey

Back by popular demand, the famous Santa Mickey thrills kids worldwide with Xmas carol karaoke practice. all means....DO try this at home!! smiley Happy holidays from Santa Mickey!!

All 5 videos are in a playlist and will play continuously, non-stop. Or click on the playlist symbol in the upper left corner above to select the other 4 videos. the entire playlist in a new window here.
[Lyrics may not appear on your mobile device, but should be visible on your PC.]

Dec. 16, 2016 - The new "Memories" feature in the iOS 10 Photos app

Often being the last to the party, I wasn't really that surprised that it wasn't until just this past weekend that I discovered by chance the really cool new "Memories" feature in the Photos app in iOS 10, which was released in September.

The iOS Photos app scans your library for meaningful people, places, holidays, and more, and presents them in curated collections called Memories. The app then automatically makes a movie for each Memory on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can also create your own Memory from any Moment, Collection, Year, or Album in your photo library, plus share it with friends and family.

Just open the Photos app on your device and select the Memories button at the bottom of the screen. After tapping on a Memories movie to play it, you can then edit the movie by selecting the mood of the music, length, and which pics in the collection to include. More info on how to use Memories is here.

I was so amazed by this new Memories feature, even though I had more urgent matters on my plate at the time, I immediately made 3 movies of groups of my friends I visited this past summer on my 28-day, 7700-mile road trip. Check 'em out if you get a chance!

(1) DubFest IV, Kerrville, Texas Hill Country, Sept. 9-11, 2016
(2) One Magical Day in New Mexico, Sept. 7, 2016
(3) 3 Magical Days in Colorado, Aug. 20-22, 2016
(all 3 videos are in a playlist and should play continuously, non-stop)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Note: I'm still learning, which helps explain why the world-famous Old Faithful geyser somehow wound up at the beginning of the New Mexico video. Last time I checked, it's still in Wyoming... smiley

Dec. 10, 2016 - A Big Mac delivered to your front door?!

McDelivery is a McDonald's service that delivers their menu items to the customer's door via motorcycle couriers. The service was first introduced on a trial basis in Virginia in the U.S. beginning in 1993 and is now available in 15 different countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

In America, the service expanded to Manhattan in 1994 and continues to be available at 10 Manhattan restaurants. In some cases, delivery is available 24/7 and in at least one location, the service is free with a minimum order.

Maybe they copied Domino's. smiley

Source: Wikipedia

McDelivery in Japan
McDelivery in Japan
(Photo credit:

Dec. 4, 2016 - Because we all need a bit of light at the end of the 2016 tunnel

The Caretta Shiodome Illumination event is now in its 14th season, and is by far my favorite place to view holiday illuminations in Tokyo. The 2016 Caretta Shiodome Illumination program, under the theme of “Forest of Spirits,” features approximately 250,000 LEDs & will be held daily from 5-11 pm, with the 8-minute shows starting every 20 minutes.

And believe it or not, this year's program, which started on Nov. 17th, goes until Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2017. It's an absolutely amazing display, so if you're anywhere near the Shimbashi Station area after dark, be sure to have a look!

When: November 17, 2016 – February 14, 2017, 5-11 pm
Where: Caretta Shiodome, 4-min. walk from Shimbashi Station
More information: (Japanese)
Access map:

Caretta Shiodome 2016 Illumination
Caretta Shiodome 2016 Illumination
(Photo credit:

Nov. 27, 2016 - George Strait's been "Kicked Outta Country"

Texan country singer George Strait, one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time, has hit back at modern radio stations which no longer play his songs, by recording on his new album with fellow singer-songwriter, Jamey Johnson, a new song called "Kicked Outta Country."

In the song's lyrics, shown beautifully in the video below, Strait mentions that other famous country singers before him were also kicked outta country.... George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and even Johnny Cash.

Strait holds the record for the most #1 albums and singles, gold albums, platinum albums, and multi-platinum in the history of country music, and is 11th in the most #1 albums in all other genres. Strait is 3rd only to Elvis Presley and The Beatles with the most gold and platinum albums in the history of music.

(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Nov. 22, 2016 - November 22, 1963.... a historic day in America AND Japan

Fifty-three years ago today was a tragic day in U.S. history, when America's 35th president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. As it turned out, that day became historic in Japan as well. The shocking news of President Kennedy's assassination (on November 23, Japan Time) reached the Japanese people via the first-ever, live U.S.-Japan satellite telecast, carried out by The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK, 日本放送協会) using the Relay 1 satellite.

JFK assassination
News of John F. Kennedy's assassination arrived in Japan via the first-ever trans-Pacific satellite TV relay.
(Image credit:

Nov. 15, 2016 - Tree huggers rule in Japan! smiley

As a former traffic safety engineer in the states, I almost had a heart attack when I saw this tree in the road on the campus of Tamagawa University in southwest Tokyo last June while attending a language teacher's conference.

Because of serious liability issues, this sort of thing would likely never occur in the states, but you gotta give credit to the environmentalists who somehow got away with THIS decision. Only in Japan! smiley

Tree in the road
Tree in the road, Tamagawa University, Tokyo, Japan

Nov. 12, 2016 - The FarmBot Genesis automated farming machine

FarmBot Genesis is the world's first 100% open-source farming machine designed for at-home automated food production that allows users to graphically design their own farm by dragging and dropping plants into locations of their choosing. Plants are then automatically spaced, and seed planting, watering, and weeding operations are handled automatically.

FarmBot Inc. is a San Luis Obispo-based California Benefit Corporation which openly shares its public domain crop and growing information, including all of the CAD and manufacturing files, hardware designs, software source code, step-by-step assembly instructions, and tech specs for every part. It is also the company's mission to contribute one percent (1%) of its annual net revenue back to help grow the open-source farming community.

Since their July launch, FarmBot has already received over $1,000,000 in pre-order sales and will start shipping in February 2017 in time for the Spring growing season.

(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Nov. 3, 2016 - Quizlet Live: The Classroom Game Now Taking the World by Storm

"Smartphones consume a large part of university students’ time, but are used primarily as tools for social networking and gaming. Therefore, smartphones can become a distraction, especially with the introduction of exciting new apps like Pokemon GO. However, students can be introduced to educational apps and shown how more productive use of their smartphones can help improve their academic studies (Cochrane, 2015).

By now, most teachers have already heard of or used Quizlet, the popular online education platform introduced in 2007. It was recognized by SimilarWeb (2016) as the fastest growing U.S. education site in 2015, with over 36 million average monthly visits..."

This academic article appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of The Language Teacher journal, published by the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).

Oct. 30, 2016 - Burger King Japan's Pumpkin Burger

A pumpkin burger?!! What will Burger King Japan think of next? And right in time for Halloween... smiley

Burger King Japan's Pumpkin Burger
Burger King Japan's Pumpkin Burger

Oct. 29, 2016 - Artwork by Yoshimizu Koike

Happy Halloween from Mr. Yoshimizu Koike, one of my favorite Japanese artists. Click the link above to see more of his paintings and sketches, including "Celebrate Christmas 2008," sketches of Kawagoe and Ochanomizu in Japan, as well as a number of Cairns, Australia.

Halloween 2010 by Yoshimizu Koike
"Happy Halloween 2010"

Oct. 23, 2016 - This Turbine Works 24/7 To Create Water Out Of Thin Air

Throughout the world today, 1 in 3 people do not have the daily minimum of 7.1 cups of water needed to survive. Worldwide, a child dies every 90 seconds for lack of clean drinking water, nearly 1000 a day. And almost 10,000 people die every day from dehydration and waterborne disease.

The original WaterSeer™ model was tested as a prototype at the UC Berkeley Gill Tract Farm in April 2016. Results were excellent and of the several variations tested, all exceeded water production goals. One model stood out above all others, generating up to 11 gallons (~41 liters) from a 9-square-feet (~1 sq. meter) condensation surface.

The current model was finalized in August 2016 and will be field tested in coordination with the National Peace Corps Association once the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is complete. Your contributions will help them test and finalize the design so they can move forward!

The WaterSeer Turbine Works 24/7 To Create Water Out Of Thin Air
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Oct. 17, 2016 - Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out

The world-renowned Scottish stunt cyclist explores the stunning beauty of the rural landscape around Edinburgh, Scotland in this film that sets out to capture the simple fun of a ride in the countryside with moments of incredible riding and a touch of humor. Danny pulls off never-seen-before tricks, most of which would normally be assumed impossible on a mountain bike, like leaping onto a single train track, turning a hay bale into a giant unicycle, riding over a cottage, and disappearing into a 6-ft. puddle. WOW!

(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Oct. 15, 2016 -  Tokyo KFC's Colonel Sanders in his Halloween costume

Colonel Sanders gets into the Halloween spirit in Shibuya, Tokyo... smiley

Colonel Sanders in his Halloween costume in Tokyo
Colonel Sanders in his Halloween costume in Shibuya, Tokyo

Oct. 9, 2016 - Merry Halloween!!

One cannot help but admire the brilliance of Japanese creativity.... in this case, celebrating the Halloween season with a sneak preview of Xmas. smiley

Merry Halloween
Merry Halloween!!

Oct. 6, 2016 - THEY WALK AMONG US!!

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, "The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." He responded, "Is that Eastern or Pacific time?"

I couldn’t find my luggage in the airport baggage area and went to the lost luggage office and reported the loss. The woman there smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and said I was in good hands. "Now," she asked me, "Has your plane arrived yet?"

A man was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera. He figured that his picture had been taken for exceeding the speed limit, even though he knew that he was not speeding. Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed. Now he began to think that this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed. He tried a 4th time with the same result. He did this a 5th time and was now laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this time at a snail's pace. Two weeks later, he got 5 tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt.

My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10%. Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases. The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was North because he didn’t want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, "Does the sun rise in the North?" My brother explained that the sun rises in the East and has for some time. She shook her head and said, "Oh, I don’t keep up with all that stuff."

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car which is designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the car trunk.

While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 or 6 pieces. He thought about it and said, "Just 4 pieces. I don’t think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces."

One day I was walking down the beach with some friends when someone shouted, "Look at that dead bird!" Someone else looked up at the sky and said, "Where?"

I walked into a Starbucks with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for a Grande Latte. I handed it to the girl and she looked over at a little chalkboard that said "buy one, get one free." She said, "They're already buy-one-get-one-free, so I guess they're both free." She handed me my free lattes and I walked out the door.

My colleague and I were eating lunch in our cafeteria when we overheard an admin girl talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the beach. She drove down in a convertible, but said she "didn’t think she’d get sunburned because the car was moving."

I stopped at McDonald’s and ordered some fries. The girl behind the counter asked, "Would you like some fries with that?"

Yes, they do INDEED.....walk among us. smiley

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Gary J. Wolff
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