Actually, July is Ice Cream Month, but the third Sunday of July has been designated as Ice Cream Day. My guess: the third Sunday stands for three scoops (the maximum number without running the risk of getting sick) and the Sunday stands for the popular Ice Cream Sundae. The real question of the day is dish or cone? That’s all you need to know to celebrate. Ice Cream Day honors every flavor on the menu, so be creative and enjoy the celebration.
July 19Get Out of the Dog-house Day
This is a day for second chances. Being “in the doghouse,” means you have fallen out of favor with someone: your friend, your spouse or even your boss at work.
Getting out of the dog house involves reconciliation, seeking forgiveness, and making things right. Two tips for enjoying this day. One, if you find yourself in the dog house, take the initiative and reach out. Genuine humility and contrition are healing salves on relationship wounds. Two, if you have banned someone to the dog house, let them out and experience the blessings of pardon.
July 20Moon Day
On July 20, 1969, I was 19 years old and I was sitting in front of our family TV set mesmerized by the first lunar landing. Fifty-two years later, this landing still stands as an epic event in modern history. July National Days – National Day Calendar summaries the detals of his day quite well, “On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. Six hours after landing on the moon, American Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. He spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin soon followed, stepping onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two men collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would make the journey back to Earth to be analyzed.
In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.
Caught up in the thrill of the adventure, millions of Americans watched the mission from Earth. Televisions around the world tuned in to the live broadcasts. The astronauts had a worldwide audience. As a result, all witnessed as Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface and described the event as ‘one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind’.”
July 21Hot Dog Day
Hot Dog Day in July celebrates a standard summertime grill offering on a bun. If you are not a vegetarian (although I think they make a vegetarian hot dog), consider paying your respects to the frankfurter, the footlong, the wienie, the wiener, or the wienerwurst. Twenty-five million hot dogs are sold at baseball stadiums each year (give or take a few hundred). We prepare them a variety of ways: grilled, toasted, boiled, pan-fried, and rotisserie-cooked. We decorate them in countless ways: ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, mayonnaise, cheese, bacon, chili and some folks dare to add sauerkraut.
July 22 Rat Catcher’s Day
July 22nd commemorates the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. According to the folktale, residents of the German town of Hamelin hired a strangely dressed man to rid their village of rats. The Pied Piper of Hamelin did so by playing his flute. Upon finishing the task, the townsfolk refused to pay — so the Pied Piper returned. Once again, the Pied Piper played his flute while the children followed him. And with the Pied Piper, the children vanished, never to return. This is also a day to cherish your children – keep your them in sight and close at hand.
Due to differing dates in stories and poems, Hamelin, Germany, celebrates the day on June 26th. The confusion stems from the Brothers Grimm as they cite June 26, 1284, as the date the Pied Piper led the children out of the town. At the same time, the poem by Robert Browning uses the date July 22, 1376. I can understand the mix up of the actual month and day, but missing the event by 92 years is a little much- it could even be consider literarily grim (Grimm).
July 23 Your Special Day
Enjoy making your own memories today. Start a family tradition. Do something special today for your own growth. Contact an old friend and reconnect. Make a new friend. Take a long enjoyable walk or stretch out in a hammock and read a good book.
July 24 Amelia Earhart Day
Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. She was an American pioneer in the field of aviation. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also several wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
Amelia was born in Atchison, Kansas and developed a passion for adventure at a young age. In 1928, she became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane (accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz), for which she achieved celebrity status. Four years later, in 1932, Amelia made her nonstop solo transatlantic flight. During an attempt at becoming the first female to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2nd.
Thru-hikerMileage has gone silent again (last post was July 1 from Boiling Springs, PA – mile 1118), but Rock and Roots have provided several up-dated posts on their online journal. Unfortunately, Rock and Roots do not post photos so I have no visuals for us of their adventure, thus the only photo I have is repeated here.
Last time we heard form Rock and Roots was June 8 and they were 865 miles along the Appalachian Trail camping at Calf Mountain Shelter inside the Shenandoah National Park about seven miles north of Waynesboro, Virginia.
On June 9 the couple hiked 13 miles, stopping about 1:30 for a late lunch and arriving at their evening destination, Blackrock Hut (mile 878.5), at 5:00. They passed over the Skyline Drive eight times during the day’s hike including the Sawmill Run Overlook. Their plan was to reach the 900-mile marker on June 10.
It is not clear whether they reached their 900-mile goal on June 10, but they were able to grab a nice shower at a camp store (possibly the Loft Mountain Store – 885.8). The journal then has a few blank days, but we do know that Rock and Roots spent the night on Sunday, June 13 at the Skyland Resort at mile 928.2. They commented that it had rained several days in a row so the weather may have caused a slow down of the hiking agenda.
Monday June 14 was a long day hiking day resulting in 24 miles and ending up at Gravel Springs Hut. Roots (Annie) has blisters on her feet for the first time on the trail and Rock needs a new pair of shoes. Despite their feet issues, the couple enjoyed the day’s hike seeing a buck with velvety antlers and later in the day, a doe enjoying some dinner along the trail, as well as two colorful snakes (one with yellow stripes and the other with a yellow head and silver body). Gravel Springs Hut is still located in the Shenandoah Nation Park (SNP), but only about 10 miles from the northern boundary.
Tuesday, June 15 brought Rock and Roots out SNP. They walked 16 miles and completed their hiking day at Mosby Campsite, 969.2 miles along the Appalachian Trail and about 3.5 miles north of Front Royal, Virginia. The couple is planning on making it to Harper’s Ferry by Friday where they will spend some time with family. The skies were clear today so Rock and Roots got some last day photos of the SNP.
June 16 was a 20-mile day ending at Rod Hollow Shelter around 9:20 pm. They hiked through part of the Sky Meadows State Park. They camped just short of the Roller Coaster (13.5 miles of tightly packed assents and descents) leading to the border of Virginia and West Virginia. Just before arriving at the shelter, Rock experienced a rare sight – a bear climbing down a tree.
June 17 presented the roller coaster and some challenging terrain. They had lunch 5 miles into the coaster at a spot called Buzzard Hill (appropriate for eating lunch). Close to the end of the coaster the couple passed the 1,000 mile marker. They had hoped to end their day at the Blackburn AT Center (mile 1007.1), but choose an alternate stealth camping spot a few miles short of the center.
They arrived at Harper’s Ferry and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters, on Friday, June 18th. After checking in at the ATC, Rock’s sister and a niece picked them up. They had an enjoyable weekend in town with family. The ate some good food and took a relaxing tubing trip.
Rock and Roots left Harper’s Ferry on Sunday afternoon, June 20, and hiked 6 miles to the Ed Garvey Shelter. They experienced a crazy rain storm on Sunday evening that lasted through most of morning on Monday. Once the rain cleared on June 21 they hiked to the next campground (Crampton Gap Shelter). June 21 is the longest day of the year but the couple made one of their shortest walks (4.1 miles reaching an accumulated 1,030 miles on the AT). Rock placed a call to his Aunt Anne and Uncle Barry. They came and picked Rock and Roots up and took them to Boonsboro and a nice, warm, dry inn. It was a great morale boost for the two wet hikers.
The online journal then jumps to July 10 (18 days and 236 miles later). Rock and Roots are almost to the end of Pennsylvania. They are 13 miles north of Palmerton, PA, having climbed out of Lehigh Gap and the iconic rock scramble up the Superfund site. They appear to be staying with John and Linda Stempa at Smith Gap, who are providing a slack-packing opportunity for the couple. They have hiked about 1,266 miles of the Appalachian Trail and are approximately 25 miles from the New Jersey line. I am not sure the reason for the gap in the journal, but we will pick up their adventure from here.
I hope to have a good update next Thursday as we follow these thru-hikers all the way to Maine.
One of the most important aspects of leadership is often the most overlooked. It takes time, it takes self-control, it takes patience. It is the art of observation. Observant leadership can be effective if it is nurtured, practiced, and intentional.
One of the best ways to understand observational leadership is by using the five senses: hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. Each of the senses opens doors of observation that can increase the effectiveness of leadership and the awareness of the leader.
First is the sense of hearing. Observant leaders have active ears. Active listening is an art not seen very often behind the meeting table. Too many leaders like to, want to, demand to speak. There is a tendency among leaders to yield to the extroverted mistake of quickly entering the fray of ideas with their “correct” perspective and their “wise” counsel. An observant leader practice the intentional art of being quiet and keeping his/her mouth shut. By listening the leader has the opportunity to evaluate the skills and abilities of those around him/her. Who has good ideas? Who rambles without much content? Who expresses creativity? Who has difficulties with change?
Listen to employees, board members, middle managers, those above you, those who report to you. Listen in the hall ways, listen at the coffee pot, listen during casual conversations, listen in the break room. Listening does not mean believing, but listening does mean evaluating. An observant leader leads with his/her ears – what can you learn through listening?
Second is the sense of sight. Our eyes are the windows to reality. Just as listening is increased by being quiet, so seeing is enhanced as we minimize our tongues and give our full attention to what we see. An observant leader has active eyes, for there is a difference between seeing and observing. Observation involves analysis, synthesis, logic, induction and deduction. As Sherlock Holmes notes in A Scandal in Bohemia, “You see, but you do not observe.”
An observant leader watches the dynamics of relationships, the body language involved in dialogue, the actions and the reactions of others. Many watch the primary movements and behaviors of others, but the observant leader attempts to watch the secondary and even the tertiary perspectives and reactions to decisions, discussions, and suggestions. What was the athletic directors response to the principal’s announcement? What did the faces of the administrative assistances communicate around the lunch table? How attentive were the administration when the CFO gave his report?
Third is the sense of taste. As an observant leader has active tastebuds. As the leader walks the footprint of the organization, what flavors does he/she taste? Is the environment filled with the sweetness of unity, or the sourness of discontentment, or the spices of creativity? Just as the tastebuds in our mouth shout out with messages of saltiness or pleasure, so the inner sense of taste must communicate to the observant leader.
Every organization has a culture and a climate that can be recognized and felt. I remember going to my church for the first time. As I opened the front door, there were several people with smiles and words of welcome. I was greeted by many others and made to feel right at home from the very first service. My clothes did not matter, my age did not matter, my newness did not matter. The church tasted like grace and the good news. An observant leader must taste the culture of the organization, he/she must take note of the climate and taste the message it proclaims.
Fourth is smell. The observant leader has an active nose. If you work in a factory, there is most likely a distinctive smell about the organization. If you report to a school every day, there is a special smell about the classroom. If you work outside, there are certain smells associated with your environment. These are not the smells that I have in mind. The old expression, “Something smell a little fishy to me,” is more aligned to the leader’s nose. What does honesty smell like? What odor does discord and animosity emit? As you take a huge breathe in your organization does it smell healthy, and alive? As you take puffs of air do you find yourself coughing with smells of arrogance and power. An observant leader can smell a bully a mile away, and can enjoy the soft fragrance of rose on the manager’s desk.
Some smell are very dangerous – the smell of nature gas can explode if not addressed. Some scents can calm the heart – the aroma of lavender is a stress reliever. An observant leader must practice in order to discern odor from aroma. He/she must sensitize his/her nose to understand what is fishy and what is savory.
Fifth is touch. I am not talking about group hugs or high fives after a meeting (although these are not bad things). An observant leader is an active kinesthetic leader. Let me use three colloquial phrases to communicate the concept. One, A leader must be willing to” put his toe in the water.” An observant leader does not jump in without investigation, but he/she must be aware and anxious to test the temperature and nature of the water. Is this the time? Is the opportunity hot and the environment ready to jump in or is the timing cold and unproductive? Gut feelings can be right on, but a quick toe in the water can confirm the reality of choice. Two, a leader knows how to “touch the sore spots.” During a physical exam, the doctor is trained to poke and prod to check for sore spots, indicators of physical problems. An observant leader needs to know how to touch the sore spots to gage the health of the organization. Wounds that are left to fester can cause illness, amputation and even death. Three, an effective leader keeps “his finger on the pulse.” The touch of the leader must go to the heart of the organization. The leader must not be distracted by peripheral issues or programs outside the mission of the organization, lest he/she lose the pulse of the team’s purpose and the overall health of the company.
An effective leader is an observant leader. These skills of observation are not easy to obtain or maintain but they are critical to helping an organization grow and thrive. These skills can be crippled and easily forgotten if we talk too much and fail to listen, see, taste, smell, and touch.
Let me highlight two excellent books that were part of my week. The first is a young adult novel that takes the reader to Lithuania. The second is a medical-oriented novel exploring the recovery of an accident victim.
Words on Fire
The young protagonist, Audra, lives in a quiet farm in Lithuania. But the quiet farm is not a safe farm community. Under the control of the patrolling Cossack soldiers, Russia poses a dangerous threat. Audra turns out to be a strong, brave patriot determined to help save her country’s sense of identity and history. The Russian government has ordered that the Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language be eliminated from the country and all Lithuanians become Russians. Audra will be called upon to help resist such an assassination of her culture.
Her mother and father have sheltered their daughter from some of the realities of the cultural assassination, but the book quickly brings these conflicts to the surface. Audra is faced with many decisions that will determine her stand in the midst of conflict.
This young adult novel is worth a read. It is filled with adventure, quick thinking, loyalty, mixed with some tricks and a dose of problem solving.
Sarah Nickerson experiences a traumatic brain disorder called “left neglect.” One morning while racing to work, Sara is distracted by her cell phone, glances away for just a second or two, and finds herself in the hospital. She discovers that she is unaware of everything on her left side. And now must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole.
This novel is written by Lisa Genova, a graduate from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. With this remarkable background, the author has the ability to paint the picture with realism and a medical foundation that allows the portrait to come alive with stark believism. This book is such an excellent read. I was not aware that Left Neglect even existed. The brain is such an amazing entity. This novel reads like a memoir and has all the rings of truth. Genova writes with the lightness of humor and the stress of tragedy as she spans the gamut of emotions experienced in this accidental injury. I would highly recommend this book for its honest approach and hopeful outlook on overcoming adversity.
Week 27 of my personal walking challenge was rather “weak.” My goal of the year is to walk the year in miles (2,021 miles in 2021). I need to average 39 miles each week and this week (July 2-8) I barely hit the minimum with 40.1 miles. I had several unusual days that cut into my normal hiking time. I traveled back from West Virginia on July 2 after spending a few days celebrating my mother-in-law’s 95th birthday (I managed to walk 5.5 after getting back to Ohio). A special Springboro family get-together on the 3rd (only walked 3.4 miles) and a church-family, poolside, 4th of July party on Sunday (5.9 miles before the party started) filled my weekend. I had two strong days on Monday and Tuesday (totally 20 miles) and a below average day on Wednesday (5.1 miles), which was good because I caught a stomach bug on Thursday and had to take a zero-day. That was probably too much detail for this week, but I thought my low total might need some additional insight.
The highlight of the week for me was Wednesday, July 7. It was Father/Daughter Take Walk Day and my incredible daughter, Bethany, and I got together for a nice walk at a local park. The walk was nice, but the company was great. We had such a sweet conversation and special time together. I will have to circle July 7 on the calendar for the years to come.
It looks like a rather wet week coming up, but a little shower should not stop the dedicated (mail-carriers and hikers are not discouraged by rain, sleet, hail or snow??). Turn in next Monday for an update on Week 28.
I have been a happy participant in several freindly,summer, water balloon battles. I have four children who, when younger, were my cohorts in epic wars in the back yard. Part of the fun is filling the balloons with water and getting the ammunition ready for the wet battle ahead. My wife was the ammunition expert who supplied the majority of the water-filled hand grenades. We would head to the backyard with small buckets filled with these wiggly, balloons filled with water ready to explode on contact.
Now, I am not a biologist and I do not want to over simplify this metaphor, but imagine that same water balloon on a microscopically small scale, even down to the size of a single cell! Picture that balloon as the nucleus of the cell – the control center where many of the key processes to sustain and perpetuate life occur. The balloon is a picture of the nucleus and the water is the nucleoplasm.
It is not a coincidence that organism and organization come from the same root idea. A single-cell organism and an organization have much in common. As we relate the organization to a cell, the nucleus of the organization is the control center that contains many of the key processes that sustain and perpetuate the mission of the organization. This metaphor then paints the leader as the nucleoplasm. Let’s quickly examine four of the main functions of the nucleoplasm and hopefully the metaphor will make a little more sense.
#1. The nucleoplasm helps cushion the nucleus and therefore shields it from negative outside influences. This is a great picture of the role of leadership. The leader is often called upon to be the face of the organization and deal with complaints, negative conflicts, angry confrontations, and points of accountability. If and when attacks or misunderstandings occur, the leader is able to cushion the organization or the team or an individual by intervening with negotiation, counseling, and wisdom. The leader can quiet the situation, bring peace without involving the entire team. The leader is often a buffer to the disgruntled, a pillow that can catch the angry words of others, a voice of reason in emotional angst.
#2. The nucleoplasm preserves the common shape of the nucleus. This is another avenue of protection. The nucleoplasm enables the stability of the shape of the cell. In essence it assists in maintaining the integrity of the cell itself. Effective leaders have learned how not to get bent out of shape, but to be flexible enough to maintain the consistency and reliability of the organization. As the leader moves and shifts within the organization and provides attention where areas are being stretched and challenged, the leader is able to maintain the integrity of the organization.
#3. The nucleoplasm helps sustain the form and formation of the nucleus. The nucleoplasm contains many enzymes which are essential for the strength of the DNA. The leader is one of the keys to keeping the entire organization on mission. The leader must strive to sustain the basic purpose (the why do we exist question) of the organization. The identity of the team must never be in doubt as the leader continually communicates the reason for its existence, the imperative of its mission, the importance of its goals. So, the leader must live, breath, and bleed the DNA of the organization.
#4 Nucleoplasm plays a significant role in the transportation of materials that are essential to cell metabolism and function. An organization leader holds the critical responsibility to see that the organization has all the essentials needed to maintain and grow in the accomplishment of its mission and vision. Emotional (team moral), physical (team resources and materials), spiritual (team culture), and financial needs (team budget) must be evaluated and maintained if effectiveness is to be anticipated. The best leaders see the big picture in each one of the areas and “transports the materials” needed to the nucleus of the organization.
I know I could have just used the water balloon as the metaphor, but it didn’t sound as intellectual and it didn’t start with the letter “N.” On a more serious note: there are some interesting scientific elements of nucleoplasm that a water balloon just does not possess.
People across the United States and around the world are lonely. Let’s use this day to motivate ourselves to make a special effort to uplift someone who finds themselves lonely and alone. If you know someone who is lonely or going through a difficult time, be a bright spot in their life with a little extra thoughtfulness today. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” One of the mottos in the life of my family is, “Go into the day and be the light – don’t forget to shine.”
Loneliness can be a result of many factors: illness, or grief, or immobility due to COVID just to mention a few. Isolation can be a matter of choice or circumstances or consequences. This would be a good day to communicate, visit, encourage, and connect with those who might be alone. Consider those people in your life who might need a little extra love and attention. Plan some small acts of kindness and discover what a big difference they might make. One short conversation, a hand-delivered card, a cuppa of tea, or a long-distance phone call may brighten the world of an individual who is longing for a personal connection with you. One act of kindness can turn a Lonely day into Lovely day.
July 12 SIMPLICITY DAY
Simplicity Day honors transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) who proposed a simple lifestyle. His book, Walden, is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. I do not agree with the total philosophy of Thoreau but here are seven interesting quotes from him that warrant some reflection. Henry David Thoreau Quotes – BrainyQuote
#1 It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
#2 What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
#3 I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
#4 An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
#5 I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
#6 Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
#7 If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
As I began to think about Simplicity Day, I thought about removing myself from the man-made and focus on the gifts of God. I am going to try to stay away from technology and the need for screens. I am going to try to place a ban on video games, social media, TV, YouTube, smart phones, and tablets. Instead, I am hoping to read, study, pray, visit, verbally communicate. I also plan to stay away from driving my car (if possible) by walking and getting outside to enjoy the creation. His might not be possible for you, but consider ways that you might be able to simplify your day and enjoy a relaxing change of pace. You might enjoy it so much that you will desire a long-term change.
July 13 Three special days combine for an interesting meal.
COW APPRECIATION DAY. Visit Chick-fil-A today and get a free meal (chicken of course: eat more chicken!).
FRENCH FRY DAY. Today recognizes a staple food on menus across the country.
BEANS ‘N’ FRANKS DAY – This simple side would go well with your chicken sandwich and French fries. Just make sure the franks are made from pork or turkey – the cows would appreciate it.
July 14 TAPE MEASURE DAY
On July 14, 1868, Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut was granted a patent for the retractable tape measure. This ingenious invention transformed the lives of carpenters, electricians, seamstresses, students, tradesmen and craftsmen. In today’s world, we have tape measures in our junk drawers, garages, tool kits, backpacks, purses, glove compartments, and pencil boxes. They’re undeniably useful.
Celebrate the day by going crazy and measure all kinds of stuff. Give a tape measure to every member of the family and send them on a “treasure hunt” to measure stuff around the house. Just to get you started: the height of the refrigerator, the diameter of a dinner plate, length of a table fork, the width of their bed, the height of the front door, the biggest book they can find, and the length of their shoe. Check for accuracy and give prizes for the winners (measure the prizes!)
July 15 GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY
Most of us have the benefit of having more than we need to live. Give Something Away Day offers us an opportunity to share some of our bounty.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Consider paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line (especially if you happen to be right in front of me).
Clean out your closet or your dresser or your garage or your attic and give some stuff away.
Go through your bookshelves and find some good reads to share with others.
Set up a free garage sale with a free lemon-aid stand.
Donate to the local food pantry.
Give your time away – Volunteer your time or skills – mow the grass of a neighbor that might need it.
Create gift baskets for shelters or nursing homes, or shut-ins.
July 16 – Remembrance Day:
July 16 is Corn Fritters Day and Personal Chef’s Day. Neither of these caught my imagination so I took some time and reflected on fourteen major events that happened on July 16 in history:
July 16, 1439 – Kissing is banned in England (to stop the Black Death from spreading). I am not sure when the ban was lifted, but I am pretty sure they kiss in the UK today.
July 16, 1755 – John Adams (2nd President of the US) graduates from Harvard.
July 16, 1782 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” (The Abduction from the Seraglio) premieres in Vienna with Mozart conducting.
July 16, 1790 – Congress declares the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, the permanent capital of the United States.
July 16, 1867 – D.R. Averill of Newberg, Ohio, patents ready-mixed paint & Frenchman Joseph Monier patents reinforced concrete.
July 16, 1880 – Dr. Emily Stowe becomes the first woman licensed to practice medicine in Canada. (38 years before women were given the right to vote.)
July 16, 1926 – National Geographic takes 1st natural-color undersea photos.
July 16, 1935 – First automatic parking meter in the United States is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
July 16, 1941 – Joe DiMaggio goes 3 for 4, hitting in his 56th straight game (a record that stands to this day).
July 16, 1951 – Novel “Catcher in Rye” by J. D. Salinger is published by Little Brown and Company.
July 16, 1969 – Apollo 11 is launched, carrying the 1st men to land on Moon.
July 16, 2005 – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the 6th book in the series by J.K. Rowling, is published worldwide. 9 million copies sell in 24 hrs.
July 16, 2018 – Twelve new moons are discovered orbiting Jupiter bringing planet’s moon total to 79. Twenty-six of those moons are still awaiting official names.
July 16, 2021 – What can you do today to make this a special day in your history?
HISTORY OF YELLOW PIG DAY: In the 1960s, students Michael Spivak and David Kelly were studying math at Princeton. Together, they spent a lot of time considering the qualities of the number 17 and became obsessed with its incredible combination of simplicity and complexity. Their obsession grew into a desire to celebrate the number 17 with its own special day, and they created a mascot for their event in the form of a yellow pig. Their special yellow pig mascot has evolved into a creature with 17 teeth, 17 toes, 17 eyelashes. From its small beginnings, Yellow Pig Day has become a huge hit in the academic calendar, with students and teachers alike coming together to celebrate this special number, as well as math in general. Classes sing yellow pig songs, share yellow cake, and play games based around the number 17. Some people even create origami yellow pigs and yellow pig T-shirts which are worn with pride.
Truth be told the day really centers on the number 17, not the yellow pig. So what is so special about the number 17? Here are 17 reasons:
#1. The number 17 is a prime number that has significance in mathematics. It is the sum of the first four prime numbers – 2, 3, 5, and 7. A prime number is a number that can only be divided by 1 and by itself.
#2. The average school bus weighs 17 tons with passengers inside (this one is a little hard to verify but I love it).
#3. I know the meaning of each of the following 17 words that have 17 letters (altough I am not sure that I can spell them):
#4. The atomic number of chlorine is 17, but 17% of people admit to having peed in a swimming pool! (the other 83% won’t admit it)
#5. There are 17 syllables in a traditional haiku, a Japanese three-line poem.
#6. Want to reach the police in France? Dial “17.”
#7. Some cicadas have a 17-year life cycle (and this was the year!).
#8. The number 17 is the smallest whole number whose reciprocal contains all ten digits 1/17 = 0.58823529117647.
#9. Apollo 17 was the final mission of NASA’s Apollo program
#10. There are 17 steps leading up to Sherlock Holmes’ house at 221B Baker Street.
#11. A Sudoku needs at least 17 clues to have a unique solution.
#12. The Beatles hit song “I Saw Her Standing There” was originally going to be called “Seventeen”.
#13. The youngest person to have ever played in a Football (Soccer) World Cup final was the Brazilian superstar Edson Arantes do Nascimento, otherwise known as Pelé, who was 17 at the time.
#14. The youngest recipient of the Nobel prize was Malala Yousafzai, who was just 17 at the time. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her struggles in advocating the rights for young women and children to have fair access to education.
#15. The stegosaurus had 17 bony plates on its back.
#16. The middle verse in the New Testament is Acts 17:17. “So he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
#17 Noah’s flood started on the 17th day of the second month; and the ark ended up resting on Mount Ararat on the 17th day of the seventh month. (Gen 7:11; Gen 8:4)
For those readers who may not be familiar with this emphasis of my blog, I try to provide a weekly update on a number of thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail. They are each posting their progress on an online website (trailjournals.com). I originally selected five individuals (or teams) that had plans to begin their adventure between March 16 and March 23.
Pippi started on March 16. Her name is Debbie Dunkle. Pippi had successfully hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011. However, she reported two very sore knees before ending her journal on March 30.
David and Annie Rothman (Rock and Roots) hit the trail on March 17. I believe they are still making their way north to Maine although their last post was on June 10. At that time there were bout 900 miles into the trail looking forward to reaching Harpers Ferry, WV.
Scooby, aka Mike Carpenter, posted several pre-hike entries on his journal and was scheduled to take his step on March 19th , but he never posted from the trail. He might have abandoned to journal and is still out there hiking, or something came up in life that made him postpone or cancel his adventure.
The Hoots (Five women friends) decided to tackle the AT together. The coordinator of the hike was Terri (Five Pair), who is a thru-hiker alumna from 2012. The group consisted of Five Pair, Tina, Maggie (Soul Sista), Nancy (Mileage), and Karen (Jack Rabbit). Of the five only one remains: Tina left the trail first on March 26 (hospitalized family member); then Soul Sista on March 27 (this was a planned early exit); then Jack Rabbit on April 1 (missed her husband); then the previous thru-hiker, Five Pair, had to get off the trail with an injury (fractured tibia and two torn ligaments) on April 19. Mileage is the only Hoot left. (See her update below).
Dennis Pack, Bookworm, was scheduled to start om March 23. He fell just days before and broke his wrist. This delayed his hike. He was able to begin on April 19. He decided to hike a flip/flop, starting in West Virginia and hiking to Maine, climbing Mt Katahdin in Maine and returning to WV to complete the AT from WV to Georgia. Currently he is in New Hampshire about 100 miles from the border of Maine
The big news this week is that I have heard from Mileage. Her journal went silent after April 28. She was 368 miles into the hike and a few days north of Erwin, Tennessee. Just this week she posted a quick entry sharing that she hiked beyond the 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000 and 1100 mile markers. She is in Boiling Spring, PA (meaning she completed Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland). She promises to catch us up on her journey, but I will most likely just pick it back up in July and move forward instead of trying to fill in the details.
Mileage is experiencing “Rocksylvania,” but the real challenge of the rocks still awaits her after she crosses over the Susquehanna River. From Boiling Spring to Duncannon, PA is pretty smooth, but then the rocks begin to get sharp and they seem to multiply and grow over night.
The sad news about Terri (Five Pair)’s injury was confirmed by an MRI showing a fractured tibia and two torn ligaments. Healing is goning well and Five Pair is increasingly enthusiastic for a potential return to the trail. I will keep you posted.
So, I followed five groups of people stepping out on the Appalachian Trail in the middle of March. It involved 10 individual hikers. As of today, only 4 are still hiking. Statistics show that only 1 out of every 4 make a successful thru-hike, so they are still ahead of the success rate.
Northbound Leadership has a good ring to it. Northbound is a meaningful adjective to me and one that describes a powerful way of practicing leadership.
Northbound has its roots for me in the Appalachian Trail. I had the fantastic opportunity in 2014 to hike the entire trail (2,186.5 miles) – 14 states from Georgia to Maine. It took me 5 months (152 days from April 26 to September 24). One of the basic decisions that needs to made in taking a thru-hike is which direction to hike – the majority of hikers attempt the hike NOBO (NORTHBOUND) starting at Springer Mountain Georgia and hiking north to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Only about 10% of the hikers choose to hike the trail SOBO (SOUTHBOUND) because the weather dictates a late start (It is typically May before the snow permits a safe climb of Katahdin) and the terrain in Maine and New Hampshire is very difficult and most hikers want to gain experience before attempting the challenge. I selected a NOBO adventure and so for 5 months “northbound” became extremely meaning for me.
Of those individuals attempting a thru-hike (hiking the entire trail in one calendar year) only one out of every four (25%) will be successful. There are many reasons that hikers abandon their quest including injury, homesickness, lack of finances to continue, emergencies at home, loneliness, physical exhaustion, boredom, and a few just don’t like to hike and camp out. The first characteristic of northbound leadership is determination. Leading a team or an organization is not just a weekend campout or a 50-mile hike. To hike northbound for 5 months and to be a northbound leader takes diligence, tenacity, and perseverance.
The Appalachian Trail is a curvy path with lots of ups and downs. Thru-hikers talk about MUDS and PUDS (mindless ups and downs and pointless ups and down) as the trail goes up on over countless hills and mountains and balds. It is not a path that goes in a straight line from Georgia to Maine. In order to go north, sometimes the hikers needs to hike west and the east. To navigate the cliffs, the rivers, the natural obstacles, there are times when the hiker is actually walking south in order to reach a point where the path turns and heads back north. Second, the thru-hiker and the northbound leader cannot get discouraged if the path seems to lead away from the ultimate goal. Check the map, refer to the guidebooks, and see the big picture. A major factor in successful hiking and leading is a positive mental attitude. I loved the trail so much that I was so pumped up following the white blazes of the AT, confident that I would make it if I just followed the path.
Hiking 2,200 miles is not a sprint. A thru-hike is not a competition. Northbound hiking is a personal adventure. No one can walk it for you. There is another saying on the trail HYOH (Hike Your Own Hike). There are many who will be faster than you; some like to get up early and be on the trail at daybreak; some like to sleep in and hike longer in the day; some like to take a long break mid-day and even take a nap; some like to eat while they hiking and only stop for a tree-break (that’s trail for bathroom break). But the only right hike is a completed hike. Third, Northbound hiking and northbound leadership Is a personal thing. There are many ways, styles, decisions, approaches, and theories of leadership, but I do not think that one way fits all. In your leadership be consistent and persistent; know when to move forward and when to rest; discern when to stop and eat and when to make camp. One of my mottos was slow and steady leads to the sign (The Big Brown Sign that sits on top of Mount Katahdin). HYOH.
Speaking of Katahdin, the goal of every NOBO thru-hiker that stands at the summit of Springer Mountain, Georgia is a weather-beaten, (approximately 5 ft. by7 ft.) brown sign on top of Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin in Maine. I did not think about the sign every day or every step of the journey, but it was always in the back of my mind. More often then not, my mind was focused on the goal of the next trail town, or the next state border, or the next resupply, but all of these were the important short-term goals pointing to the big brown sign at the finish line. Fourth, Northbound hiking has a finish line focus; Northbound leadership has that destination focus as well- the mission and the vision of the organization. The focus of why we do the things we do – the finish line that motivates us when it rains or snows, when we are sore and tired, when we are hungry and thirsty.
The wisdom of the northbound thru-hiker and the northbound leader involves the understanding of the zero-day. I hiked the first 19 days without a true zero-day (a day in which you do not hike at all. You find a comfortable location [maybe even a hostel of hotel] and you just rest and eat). A zero-day is a time to rest those tired legs/feet, to resupply for the days ahead, and to put as many calories in your body as you can before you hit the trail again. I discovered during my thru-hike that the concept of the Sabbath was not just a spiritual one, it was a physical one. Your spirit needs to worship and your body needs to rest. After those first three weeks, I tried to schedule a zero-day every week. Fifth, Northbound leaders need to schedule zero-days. Too much work begins to dull the creativity. Too many hours in front of the computer diminishes one’s effectiveness. Too many days without a break can break the leader down. Relax, refresh, refuel, re-energize, rest – they are the 5-R’s of the zero day.
The northbound hiker has a strategy. How many miles to hike today? how far to go tomorrow? where is the best destination for camp? how many days before the next resupply? what is today’s plan B in case plan A does work (maybe even a plan C)? I would typically plan out my week on the trail during my zero day. Then each evening in my tent I would review and revise the plan for the next day. Sixth, both a northbound hiker and a northbound leader develop a plan, consult the maps, make the best possible strategy, and always think through a workable contingency plan if things need to shift.
Lastly (it is really not the last thing, but I need to stop and seven is the perfect number) a five month-hike involves some lonely times. Most days I was so excited about hiking the trail and the adventures that literally surrounded me at every summit. But in the midst of a cold rain, or another meal of cold oatmeal, or bugs flying around my ears for an hour, the thoughts of being alone would invade my trek. Those were the times that the northbound calling encouraged my soul and spirit. Those were the times when I would remember laying in my bed at night and having this overwhelming a sense of calling to the trail. This was not just a whim, or a passing idea, or a fleeting dream, this was something I just needed to do. I never heard God’s voice, but I sure sensed the pull of the Spirit to set out on the crazy adventure – a 64 year-old-man, trekking 2,200 miles, over 14 states. And at the end of the journey, my biggest conclusion was God is Faithful. Thus, focus on the goal. Seventh, the Northbound leader must sense the call of God on his/her life to lead. The call might seem crazy; it might not make sense to most people; it might be outside of every logical box, it might be a contrary to the advise freely given by the well intentioned, but if it God’s voice, God’s direction, God’s plan, then grab your pack and head north. REMEMBER His calling, remember HIS calling , remember His CALLING.