Some thoughts on Potholes. I hit four or five the other day and they were big.

Did you know there is a National Pothole Day. It’s the 20th of March according to an organization called “The Road Information Program” or “TRIP” out of Washington D.C..

TRIP says they view the millions of potholes across the country with seriousness and a symptom of the overall repair and rehabilitation needs of roads and bridges in the USA, but they also suggest motorists have fun with this thawing and freezing malady.

TRIP suggests potholes are the one truly democratic institution left in this country. They say potholes attack with no prejudice to race, creed or social position. They reach out and touch large cars as well as small cars, buses and bikes and swallow the wallets of all motorists.

There is also a Pothole fact sheet available from the Washington organization. For instance, the average size pothole is 16 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep. There are 50.6 million in the road across America usually popping out like pimples in the spring. The average amount of “patch filler” needed to fill a pothole is 110 pounds. It takes 8 to 12 minutes to fill one pothole. And for you trivia fans: How many potholes per miles in the United States. 38.3 according to the pothole fact sheet.

Finally the strangest catches in a pothole. TRIP says in Maine a pothole captured a snowplow. In Kentucky, a garbage truck. In Boston, a mounted policeman and his horse and in Philadelphia, $1.2 million in cash. Have a great Monday.

New Year Traditions

We did it! We said goodbye to the old year and welcomed in the new. We’ve been celebrating endings and beginnings since ancient times.

The tradition of New Years Eve celebrations also stem from old beliefs and superstitions. Noise making goes back to the ancient custom of using loud noises to drive evil spirits from a house during the times of festive celebration.

Many nationalities and cultures still use noise to celebrate. America has her ratchet rattles and noise makers and fireworks.

Denmark smashes in the New year. People go to friends’ houses and throw bits of broken pottery that they have collected throughout the year at the houses. They also bang on the doors to make noise.

The Dutch love to celebrate New Years. It was one of their favorite holidays when they settled New Amsterdam in the mid-17th century. When the English took over the city in 1674 and called it New York, the authorities were going to keep to the British custom at the time which called for celebrating the New Year on the Vernal Equinox, March 25th. The Dutch populace so loved the holiday on January 1st, they convinced the British to move their New Year celebration.

Traditions have to start somewhere. The ball dropping tradition at New York’s Times Square began in 1904 when the Times tower was constructed. At the time it was New York City’s 2nd tallest building, rising to a height of 375 feet.

Adolph Ochs, the then young publisher of the New York times, moved his paper into the new building on New Year’s weekend and decided to celebrate the event with a New Year’s eve rooftop fireworks display.

It was spectacular, but it was dangerous. The following year the fireworks were replaced by the descending brightly-lit ball.

A tradition begun.


And so it is a New Year day one. January 1, 2009.

The celebrations are done. Some folks are not feeling too well, but so be it. A new number now influences our lives and it is a nine.

Oh, how I love “nines!”

Nine has a wonderful magic to it and has always been a prominent number. 9 planets, 9 orders of angles and 9 daughters of Zeus, the Muses. There are the nine earth’s of Milton, nine crosses and nine days of wonder, nine crowns in heraldry and 9 judges on the Supreme Court.

Multiply any number by 9, and the sum of the digits will also come to 9 (7 x 9 = 63; 6 + 3 = 9). Reverse the digits, and the number you get (36) will also be a multiple of 9. Take any number you choose (4,321) and divide it by 9. The remainder you get (1) will be the same as the remainder you get when you add the digits (4 + 3 + 2 + 1) and divide by 9. That is why mathematicians check their calculations by “casting out nines.”

9 members on a baseball team that have nine at bats in 9 innings.

Golf has two nines to make an eighteen-hole game. And one and eight is nine.

9 is an endless aid to merchants, who will always charge $9.99 for something.

9 also has its down side. Christ died at the 9th hour. It is the number just before the boxer is counted out; the cat runs out of lives, the lover slams the door.

Macbeth’s witches chant, ”Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine/ And thrice again, to make up nine.” and then declare “the charm wound up.”

The Egyptians were devoted to the Enneads, groups of nine gods. The legends of northern Europe have 9 bards, 9 dragons, and 9 stones in a circle. We all know of Dante’s 9 circles of Hell, which were merely the inversion of the 9 circles he associated with Heaven.

In the Middle Ages, 9 was the angelic number. Milton divided his Nativity ode into 3 sections of 9 stanzas each.

In ancient China, there were nine buttons of rank and not too long ago the Emperor would ascend the Altar of Heaven—a perfect circle inside a perfect square and his 9 grades of Mandarins performed a 9-fold bowing before him.

The followers of Jai’Na, a sect of Hindus, believe all objects are classed under nine categories.

On a personal note: My television career began and ended on television stations with the number NINE.

In short, 9 is no 9-day wonder, dressed to the nines, it is, for many, the number of heaven itself, for according to the Pythagorean numbers, man is a full chord, or eight notes, and deity comes next.

And, of course we have Emerson’s inscription to nature, “The rounded world is fair to see, Nine times folded in mystery.”

In short, I think this will be a very special year.

My thanks to any number of books that provided the “nine” information. Hopefully there were nine of them.

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year!

In 2009 there is hope these hard times for so many will end, not only with a job and a decent wage for all who seek it, but with a sense of financial security free from the fear of loss.

The first decade of the 21st century is nearing its end and we are still searching for a global sanity. There are still 27 recognized conflicts or regional wars infecting the planet as we struggle with the belief that security is having more. There is still religious and political hatred obscuring our inner knowing that we are ONE.

There is always hope in the litany of Pandora troubles that are part of our daily struggle, but let us not forget that hope without action is arrogance. We each have to work at finding harmony in chaos.

It’s there, we can feel it when we give from empathy and not reward. When we resolve not to be discouraged, not to speak in anger, not to blame, and not to judge without the truth of looking within first.

Maybe this is the year that unconditional love and appreciation will guide the hearts and wills of humankind.


Happy New Year!