by Max Barry

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«12. . .795796797798799800801. . .806807»

For the third time in the last six months a distant outage affected local emergency services on a regional or nationwide scale.[1] Two of these events involved some vague computer or network failure, one centered around the Microsoft cloud computing platform. The most recent came from the Nashville bombing.

These engineering failures, and make no mistake, they are engineering failures, are an indicator of bigger and worse things on the horizon. Sending a 911 call placed in Cleveland, TN on a 200 mile round trip through Nashville and back is a clear violation of the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" (KISS) principle. Doing that trick through something as fragile as a computer network borders on criminal negligence.

All the fancy bells and whistles of computer aided dispatch are really helpful to the speed and accuracy of getting help to those who need it. But for the love of Murphy's Law, hook a good old fashioned 2500 series telephone to some plain old telephone service and leave it on the dispatcher's desk. Who knows, if nothing else it might ring and scare the living crap out of the dispatcher.

The phone company must have failover technology in the local switch (telephone exchange) that recognizes a comms failure with the distant switch and transfers 911 calls directly to the local dispatch center. (Why isn't this the normal method of handling 911 calls?)

It would not be all that hard to do. Yes, failover equipment costs a couple bucks. But isn't that why we are still paying that E911 charge (Or whatever they call it in your state) on or our phone bills?

Yeah, cell phones may have a problem reaching the right dispatch center. But that beats no one answering those calls at all. My guess is the local cell towers could probably be modified to handle a primary 911 comms failure as well, probably in software.

Seriously boys and girls, it is painfully obvious the system is way too fragile for life safety communications. The phone company has got to clean up their act before we all get bit in the ass here.


Howdy Fort Verden! We found it the other day, but can't find it now. We would like the card of our Lt. Gov. Studly penguins. We cannot believe we have never gotten it before. And thank you for the nice snowflake suggestion yesterday. We had so much fun at it, we had to post our scientific findings in a Factbook.

Nations of Texas, we challenge you to "find" a prettier snowflake in your nation! The Challenge is on, "find" a snowflake in your nation, post in a Factbook and we will have a Poll to see who has The Prettiest Snowflake in Texas!

NewTexas wrote:Howdy Fort Verden! We found it the other day, but can't find it now. We would like the card of our Lt. Gov. Studly penguins. We cannot believe we have never gotten it before. And thank you for the nice snowflake suggestion yesterday. We had so much fun at it, we had to post our scientific findings in a Factbook.

Nations of Texas, we challenge you to "find" a prettier snowflake in your nation! The Challenge is on, "find" a snowflake in your nation, post in a Factbook and we will have a Poll to see who has The Prettiest Snowflake in Texas!

Well I can find a bunch of snowflakes in IRL but they wont be pretty.

Fort Verden wrote:

Yip Man: Max, as soon as Big Tex has chosen his prize you should post your choice so I can award your prize to you.


I've started a Texas card collection. Can I please have a Trecdom2 Season 1 card from Elven King Thranduil. Thanks in advance.

Btw I'd like to share this really cool dispatch by Valentine Z I've just found:

Disclaimer / Warning: this dispatch has A LOT of photos - some mine, some are from others! Please ensure that you have enough data!

Brought to you by: The Wonderful World!

Hello to you, my friend! Valentine Z, at your service!

How have you been? Have you been well?

I know, I know... this virus is not going away just yet.

Not much in the way of good things happening? The dreadful feeling, perhaps.

Well, do not worry, for I am here once again! I am far from a professional, but here I am again!

If you are reading this, you have been one of the most wonderful persons I have the pleasure of meeting.

A great person like you deserves a break like many others! A festive time to rest in!

A time to recoup, and to share the joy of giving!

Whether or not you are celebrating this alone...

Or with your loved ones...

I wish you a Happy Holidays, and may you be blessed with wonderfulness!

You deserve a break, and Happiness as many others.

I hope you have a festive season ahead of you, whether or not you celebrate Christmas!

Happy Holidays to you, and may 2021 be very good for you!

The Future can be very uncertain...

One thing is for sure...

You are all the best community I have ever been a part of. Thank you.

The World is a wonderful place to be in, even if the news are a little... negative.

There is always solace in the littlest of things.

I am not a professional therapist, but if you ever need someone to talk to or are overwhelmed...

I will always be here for you. I never leave my friends out, and I will keep it private. You deserve to be loved and heard.

Happy Holidays, and All the Best! Your stranger/friend, Valentine Z.

Read dispatch


Gig em Aggies wrote:Well I can find a bunch of snowflakes in IRL but they wont be pretty.

Quote from the news director during my time on a satellite truck based in Austin: "Drive north until you find snow."

I thought about calling her from Vail, CO... But, decided against it.

Issues Test Bed wrote:Quote from the news director during my time on a satellite truck based in Austin: "Drive north until you find snow."

I thought about calling her from Vail, CO... But, decided against it.

no not actual snowflakes I meant "snowflakes" like the people type snowflakes

My "missing package " was located. There was a substitute mail carrier that day and the item was placed in someone else's mailbox

^ That sucks GREATLY Trec Buddy. I'm glad you found your missing package.


Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of Texas!

Today is:
National Resolution Planning Day
National Bacon Day

Quotes of the Day:
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” — Thomas Jefferson

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot

“May all your troubles last as long as your resolutions.” — Joey Adams

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” — Bill Vaughan

Music of the Day:

Covid Christmas - Festive Medley for 2020 parody of Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells, Frosty & more

On This Day In History:
1460 Wars of the Roses: Battle of Wakefield (Northern England), Duke of York killed and his forces soundly defeated by forces for King Henry VI
1922 Creation of the USSR formally proclaimed in Moscow from the Bolshoi Theatre, Soviet Union organized as a federation of RSFSR, Ukrainian SSR, Belorussian SSR and Transcaucasian SSR
1924 Astronomer Edwin Hubble formally announces existence of other galactic systems at meeting of the American Astronomical Society
1992 Washington defenseman Al Iafrate becomes first player in NHL history to have his shot officially break 100 miles per hour; records 101.4 mph during the Capitals Superskills competition
1993 Vatican recognizes Israel
2018 Patrick Mahomes becomes only the 2nd quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns during KC Chiefs' 35-3 win over Oakland Raiders; achieves both marks with 3rd quarter 89-yard TD pass to Demarcus Robinson

National Resolution Planning Day

National Resolution Planning Day is on December 30 and we are getting a headstart on setting goals for next year! Did you know that one in three people fail their New Year’s resolutions in the first month? And only 10% of people are successful at keeping their resolutions throughout the year? While there are many reasons for this, it is necessary that you set- and commit to your resolutions before the new year actually begins for a better chance at success. But how did the start of a new year become the de facto ‘fresh start’?

It is better to start thinking of your resolutions ahead of time rather than wait for January 1 to come around, as by then it is probably already too late to decide on them. If you plan your resolutions on December 30 then you’ll be good to go when the New Year arrives.

The ancient tradition of making resolutions for the new year started at the Babylonian festival of Akitu over 4,000 years ago. Spanning 12 days, the ‘rebirth of the natural world’ would be celebrated by the Babylonians. A new king would be crowned, crops would be planted, and promises would be made to the gods. They believed that if these promises or resolutions were kept and fulfilled, the gods would be happy instead of vengeful.

In 153 B.C., to honor the god Janus, January 1 was declared as the start of the new year by the Roman Senate. Janus was an entity with two faces who had the ability to look backward and forward in time — this symbolized the end of one year and the beginning of another. But it wasn’t until 100 years later, in 46 B.C., that the concept of the new year being on January 1 was made official and effective by Julius Caesar. Just like the Babylonians, the Romans would pledge promises to their god Janus about their behavior for the coming year.

During the Middle Ages, the ‘Peacock Vow’ would be renewed at the end of each year. Essentially, these were resolutions that knights committed to in order to uphold the code of knighthood. Knights would place their hands on a cooked peacock and renew their oaths to protecting honor and chivalry.

The phrase ‘new year resolution’ appeared for the first time in a Boston newspaper in 1813, and from there onwards, modern resolutions became a thing.

3000 B.C.
Wepet Renpet

Ancient Egyptians celebrate ‘Wepet Renpet’, which means ‘Opening of the Year’.

46 B.C.
Julian Calendar

Julius Caesar invents a new calendar and declares January 1 as the first day of the new year.

‘I Resolve Not To…’

Scottish writer Anne Halkett writes down pledges in her diary and titles them ‘Resolutions’.

First Time in Print

The first-ever recorded use of the term ‘new year resolution’ is published in a Boston newspaper.

What are the top five New Year's resolutions?

In a survey of 2,000 people, the top five resolutions each New Year are:

Save Money or Spend Less
Learn Something New
Quit Smoking
Read More
Change Jobs

How do you start the new year on a positive note?
Resolutions are the best way to start a new year positively, but you can even start small by just using a new planner or journal and decluttering your closet.

Where did New Year's come from?
New Year’s celebrations started sometime 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. Following the vernal equinox, the first sighting of the new moon would mark the beginning of a new year.

Reflect on the past year

Before you start making your resolutions for the New Year, it is essential that you reflect on the past year and take inventory of what you need to do more of to accomplish your goals in the next year and what you need to leave behind that won’t support this.

Decide your New Year’s resolutions
‘Save money.’ ‘Eat healthier.’ ‘Enjoy life to the fullest.’ Set whatever resolutions you like. They can be anything you want, these are YOUR goals. We recommend asking yourself what change you can make in your life next year that will bring you significant happiness.

Pick your resolution team
Some resolutions require you to have a support team that will have your back! National Today’s CEO Ben Kaplan suggests in his webinar that you find three people for your resolution team — an inspiration buddy, an accountability buddy, and a celebration buddy.

Not enough commitment

People fail at keeping a resolution that is not really a commitment but more of a contemplation.

Not enough time
Being unable to prioritize a resolution enough to make time for it is another prime reason for failing.

Experiencing a setback
A minor setback often completely derails a person from keeping their resolution.

Slower progress than expected
People get discouraged from pursuing or staying consistent with their resolutions when they don’t see instant results.

Not enough support
Because resolutions are so personal, people often fail because of the lack of a support system to keep them motivated to stay committed.

All we have is now

There’s no better time than now to make all those lifestyle changes that have been pending or that we’ve kept delaying! Let’s get to it!

It feels exhilarating
The end of the year brings with it anticipation and excitement for the year ahead. We feel all pumped up by this pre-new-year motivational wave and are ready to tackle some goals!

You’re already in reflection mode and can pick the right resolutions
We are also in reflection mode about the past year, so it is easier to filter what we want and don’t want, and can set better resolutions that are attainable.

Coronavirus updates: Stimulus money on the way; Colorado confirms first new virus strain in US; UK approves Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

What's in the stimulus package for small businesses, PPP loans and cultural grants

How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US


Welcome To Texas!:
The Erratic Department of Intel of Destructive Government Education System
Tnp founder


Beautiful Christmas commercial that will bring tears to your eyes

God tries to create 'Earth'. But he can't get a break from the kids. | Tales From the Multiverse

Half-Asleep Chris: I Took a Royal PAW-trait of my Cat


NewTexas wrote:Howdy Fort Verden! We found it the other day, but can't find it now. We would like the card of our Lt. Gov. Studly penguins. We cannot believe we have never gotten it before.

Studly penguins’ Season 1 Card gifted to The Big Tex Happy Taco Stands of NewTexas for 0.50. Enjoy your prize Buddy. :)

Yip Man wrote:Can I please have a Trecdom2 Season 1 card from Elven King Thranduil. Thanks in advance.

Trecdom2's Season 1 Card gifted to The Red Wing Chun Nation of Yip Man for 0.10. Enjoy your prize Buddy. :)

Ladies and Gentlemen of Texas,

I know we were supposed to start a new round this week, but I wish to start the new round in 2021. Therefore, we will take a break from our Regional BINGO Game until next Monday.


Have an absolutely fantastic, healthy and safe day everyone!

Your Buddy Verner

Wow! What an awesome day! Not only did Verner give us a new card, but the Rare Snowflakes From Foshan are amazing! And Trec got his gift!

Oh, Holy Guacamole! It is Texas Two-Fer Time! Our dear Buddy Verner has given us yet another new card - the Season 2 version of Studly penguins as well! Man, is it still TeXmas in Texas or what? Too kewl!

The gauntlet has been thrown Texans! One has risen to the challenge; who will be next? Nations of Texas, the challenge is for you to "find" a prettier snowflake in your nation! The Challenge is on, "find" a snowflake in your nation, post in a Factbook and we will have a Poll to see who has The Prettiest Snowflake in Texas!

Howdy Texans! We have been presented the honor of participating in the Harry Potter and the Festival of Friends by our friends in 10000 Islands!

Are you ready for some magic?

Harry Potter and the Festival of Friends is back to celebrate the end of the year with a Harry Potter themed festival for the entire NationStates community! Our friends in XKI, TRR, TSP, TEP, and Greater Dienstad have put their hearts and souls into this celebration to end the year with a bang!

What's planned?

Come join a house and compete in this year's House Cup with events such as trivia contests, art & writing competitions, a Yule Ball roleplay, IO games, meme contests, and more! Better yet, nerd out over memorabilia, watch movies, make new friends, and find out which House will claim triumph in the end–surely it will be yours?

Main Schedule:

Event Schedule

Times are listed using both EST and UTC for convenience. Use Linkthis site for easy time zone conversion.

Before you continue, it's recommended you read the event organizers' statement here.

Wednesday, December 30

Thursday, December 31

Friday, January 1

  • 9 AM EST (2 PM UTC): Harry Potter Trivia, Round 2

  • 9 PM EST (2 AM UTC): Movie Night - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Saturday, January 2

  • All day: 2nd day of IO Games contest -

  • 9 AM EST (2 PM UTC): Movie Night - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Sunday, January 3

Monday, January 4

  • All day: Closing of Zonko's Meme Contest

  • 9 AM EST (2 PM UTC): Movie Night - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • 9 PM EST (2 AM UTC): Harry Potter Trivia, Round 3

  • 12 AM EST (5 AM UTC): House Points close

Tuesday, January 5

  • All day: Contest winners announced & final House Points tallied!

  • All day: Closing of Yule Ball RP

  • 9 AM EST (2 PM UTC): Movie Night - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

  • 7:30 PM EST (2 AM UTC): Movie Night - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Wednesday, January 6

  • All day: Wrap-up and closing House Ceremony

Event Descriptions

House points explanation

  • Owlery Project of Appreciation: Everyone deserves to get owls at Hogwarts, so send some positivity and kindness to your fellow NSers via owl to remind them they're appreciated!

  • Magic Quill Writing Contest: A fun fantasy writing contest for any medium seeking the most creative stories to be judged.

  • Fantastic Art & Where to Find it: A contest for original graphics and artwork of any kind surrounding the wizarding world.

  • Yule Ball RP: An enchanting ball RP run via Google Doc for guests to immerse themselves in the wizarding world and enjoy festivities, plus with a few surprises along the way!

  • Character Contest: Open to all, but to help encourage our RPs, design a character and one will be selected to be drawn!

  • Zonkos Meme Contest: A contest seeking the finest original Harry Potter memes in the land, the more memes the merrier!

  • CYOA: A Harry Potter based Choose-Your-Own-Adventure run in the event discord.

  • IO Games: A few daily rounds of a variety of popular IO games where the highest score from that wins the points.

  • Trivia: Harry Potter based trivia rounds, both easy and hard, to test your wizarding knowledge.

Participating On Site

For those not able to join the discord, the following events will have onsite participation:

Read dispatch

Come on Texans, represent Texas! There is so much content and so much to do, we are sure everybody can find something that interests them. Lots of peeps have done lots of work on this. It is pretty impressive.

Trecdom2 wrote:My "missing package " was located. There was a substitute mail carrier that day and the item was placed in someone else's mailbox

You found Waldo.... YEAH

Gig em Aggies wrote:no not actual snowflakes I meant "snowflakes" like the people type snowflakes

Oh, them.

Happy New Year, people. Remember, if you drink don't park because accidents cause people.


Farewell and goodriddence 2020. Hello 2021

Happy New Year to Texas & The World! Sretna Nova Godina! Stastny Novy Rok! Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar! Bonan Novjaron! Onnellista Uutta Vuotta! Bonne Année! Ein Gutes Neues Jahr! Farsælt Komandi Ár! Felice Anno Nuovo! Godt Nyttår! Feliz Ano Novo! S Novym Godom! Feliz Año Nuevo! Gott Nýggjár! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! L'Shannah Tovah! San Nin Faailok! Kull 'aam Wa-Antum Bikhayr! Shinnen Omedeto Goziamasu! Kong He Xin Xi! Sal-e no Mubarak! Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa! Selamat Tahun Baru! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Nav Varsh Ki Subhkamna! Kia Hari Te Tau Hou! Sawatdii Pimaï! Iniya Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal! Naya Saal Mubarik! Kenourios Chronos! Unyaka Omusha Omuhle! Szczesliwego Nowego Roku! Chúc mừng năm mới! Puttāṇṭu vāḻttukkaḷ!

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of Texas!

Today is:
New Year's Day

Quotes of the Day:
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”
― G.K. Chesterton, A Chesterton calendar

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!”
― Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
― Ellen Goodman

Music of the Day:

Mariah Carey - Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem, Fireworks Version)

You're In My Chair - A feline response to Covid-19, set to ‘Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss

On This Day In History:
45 BC The Julian calendar takes effect for the first time
1758 The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature establish the "starting point" for standardized species names across the animal kingdom, based on the binomial nomenclature by Carolus Linnaeus 10th edition of Systema Naturae
1863 Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln to free slaves in US confederate states
1892 Ellis Island opens as a US immigration inspection station - it would go on to be the gateway to the US for more than 12 million people
1896 German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen announces his discovery of x-rays
2002 The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, initially signed in 1992, officially comes into force.
2002 Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union's member states.
2002 Taiwan officially joins the World Trade Organization, as Chinese Taipei.

New Year's Day

January 1, is New Year’s Day, it’s a time of optimism and planning—and resoluteness. There’s a feeling that maybe this year we’ll make the changes we’ve been meaning to: more rest, better eating habits, more exercise, or a new job. New Year’s Day is about taking a moment — perhaps with family or a football game on the screen — to get ready for everything that is about to unfold.

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… Happy New Year.

In the United States and many other countries around the world, January 1, the first day of the Gregorian calendar, ushers in a new year replete with New Year’s resolutions and promises to do better than in the year before. The day begins with hangover concoctions for some and for others, prayers of gratitude for surviving to see a new year filled with promise. But how did this holiday begin? It’s a very old story.

Most civilizations aligned their calendars with the moon. The ancient Mesopotamians and Babylonians observed the new year over 4000 years ago. For them, a new year followed the phases of the moon and the vernal equinox — when sunlight and darkness were equally balanced.

The Babylonians ritualized the vernal equinox with Akitu, a religious observance spanning 11 days. The Egyptians marked the new year with the flooded waters of the Nile and the star, Sirius. To this very day, the Chinese New Year arrives with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

The evolution from the lunar calendar to today’s Gregorian calendar commences with the early Roman calendar devised by Romulus, allegedly suckled by wolves who, along with his brother, Remus, founded Rome. The original Roman calendar was introduced in the 8th century at the start of the vernal equinox (when the light and the darkness is equal, remember?) with ten months and 304 days. Another Roman king, Numa Pompilius added Januarius and Februarius.

Most historians credit the Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, with developing the Julian calendar, designating January 1 as the start of a new year. The Gregorian calendar, which many nations around the world use today, arrived in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII aligned the calendar, not with the moon, but with the earth’s rotation around the sun — marking 365 days.

5000 BC
The First New Year

Along with signifying the vernal equinox as the start of a new year, the ancient Babylonian festival of Akitu honors the sky god Marduk’s victory over the sea goddess, Tiamat.

46 BC
The Establishment of Leap Years

Julius Caesar changes the calendar from pre-Julian to Julian by adding a day every four years as a way to balance out the lunar and solar calendars.

The Middle Ages
A New Christmas Day

The heads of the Church temporarily replace January 1 with Christmas Day or the Feast of the Annunciation — days with more religious significance.

A New Way to Calculate a Year

The Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII creates the self-named Gregorian calendar based on the earth’s rotation around the sun as 365 days or a full year.

Adding pork to the New Year’s Day menu

You might shake your head to this but many countries have New Year’s traditions that include pigs, which represent progress and abundance. Pork is on New Year’s Day menus in Portugal, Austria, Cuba and Hungary.

Thank the Babylonians for New Year’s Day resolutions

Not only were the Mesopotamians and Babylonians among the earliest cultures to mark New Year’s Day as the start of a new year; they came up with the concept of making resolutions. Making resolutions on the first day of the year gave one favor with the gods.

Eating Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day

Did you know that the tradition of cooking and eating black-eyed peas goes back over 1500 years as a Jewish New Year’s Day tradition? This Rosh Hashanah meal arrived in Georgia with Sephardic Jews around 1730. African-Americans also marked their freedom on January 1,1863 by cooking and eating black-eyed peas.

726 miles traveled

This holiday season, Americans will be covering more ground, traveling further than last year. AAA is forecasting that Americans will be traveling an average distance of 760 miles round-trip over last year’s 726 miles.

28% eat at restaurants

If you partied hard on New Year’s Eve, you might be suffering from a hangover. But no worries. Instead of cooking a big meal on New Year’s Day, 28% of Americans eat out at restaurants for hangover food.

8000 new babies

On New Year’s Day, it’s a big deal when you have a baby. In fact, there are almost 8000 new babies born with a January 1 birthday. Hospitals will usually bring in a special cake for the new mother and she may get her picture in the local newspaper!

Is it New Years or New Year?

“New Year’s Day” is the proper noun of the holiday we celebrate in the new year. When wishing someone a Happy New Year, you do not need to use the possessive apostrophe. When referring to it solely as the beginning of the year rather than the holiday, you use the lowercase “new year”.

Why do we celebrate the new year?
Just like our birthdays, the New Year tells us that we’ve survived yet another 365 days! Phew!

Why do people say Happy New Years with an S?
The ‘s’ tends to be carried over from the possessive proper noun: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. We tend to transfer the possessive into the greeting because, for some reason, it just sits better. However, the correct way to say the greeting is Happy New Year.

One word: brunch

Soak up the champagne with nice stack of pancakes and strong coffee. Or go wild with a crab cake benedict. Start how you mean to go on with the year, with a great meal!

Share resolutions, intentions or goals with loved ones
Making any change to your life or behavior—big or small—becomes easier when you have the support of friends and family. Share what you’d like to do differently out loud, and chances are you’re more likely to follow through.

Clean out your closet
Clear out the old clothes, the frumpy pants and the unwearable shoes. Play some great music. Invite friends over. Start the new year with some space in your closet and mind for wonderful new things to come in.

It feels like a blank page

New year, new…everything! The stress of the holiday season is behind you and you have a whole new year for travel, connection, learning and exploration. What can you do this year that makes you unrecognizable to yourself a year from now. Go on, think big this year!

Your healthy habits don’t seem so weird
Sure you like your glass of wine now and then, but every day? For those of you who have great habits like moderation, being vegetarian or low-carb, and going to the gym—today, everyone’s trying to be like you. How are you going to help your friends and family stay healthier?

The sense of accomplishment when you look back over the last year
You make wake up late today, but you accomplished a lot in the last year and probably needed the rest! New Year’s Day is a day to give yourself a pat on the back for all you’ve done and are about to do.

Senate's veto override vote, New Year's Day, minimum wage jumps: 5 things to know Friday

Coronavirus live updates: Quiet goodbye to 2020 in Times Square; pharmacist sabotages 500 vaccine doses; Sen. David Perdue in quarantine


Welcome Back To Texas!:
The Pirate League of Mocanaqua


Sci-Fi Short Film: "Avarya" | DUST

Funniest Signs Ever. You Will Die Of Laughter

Hilarious Signs People Share During Quarantine

Why don't people eat ostrich eggs?

Kitten Escapes Cage to Play With Puppy

This Cat's Obsessed With One Movie | The Dodo Cat Crazy


Have an absolutely fantastic, healthy and safe New Year’s Day everyone!

Your Buddy Verner

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of Texas!

Today is:
Happy Mew Year for Cats Day
National Science Fiction Day
Festival of Sleep Day

Quotes of the Day:
“You’ll never get bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do.” — Dr. Seuss

“To the old, long life and treasure; to the young, all health and pleasure.” — Ben Jonson

“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes next year and forever.” — Neil Gaiman

“A Leader must possess credibility, imagination, enthusiasm, vision, foresight, a sense of timing, a passion for excellence and be willing to share.” AND “No matter what you choose to do, how well you do depends on attitude. Attitude is everything. That’s what will determine the quality of your life.” AND “Find solutions under any circumstances. It’s possible to create something out of nothing.” - William Rosenberg

Music of the Day:

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron Music Video Parody - Ft. Peter Hollens

On This Day In History:
1942 World War II: the 28 nations at war with Axis powers pledge to make no separate peace deals
2004 Stardust successfully flies past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that it will return to Earth two years later
2017 US House Republicans vote to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, a public uproar forces them to back down the next day
2018 WHO reveals it will classify gaming addiction as mental health condition in its next Classification of Diseases
2019 Apple CEO Tim Cook blames below expectation Chinese iPhone sales for downturn in company's outlook, rocking international stock markets

Happy Mew Year for Cats Day

We all know our feline friends treat every day as if it were their special holiday. With all the praise and attention they receive, it’s hard to fathom how we could love them even more! However, there really is a day when cat lovers around the nation pay extra attention to their kitties. It’s Happy Mew Year for Cats Day on January 2nd. Not only does this day give us a reason to slip a little more catnip to our furry felines, it also gives cats in need the chance for a fresh start.

3100 BC
Cats as Pets

The earliest domestication of cats occurs in ancient Egypt — they are treated like royalty and prized by Pharaohs and elite families.

Broadway Stars

The wildly successful musical "Cats" opens on Broadway and increases pop culture's love for felines.

Birth of the 'Crazy Cat Lady'

The quirky and tenacious trope of the 'Crazy Cat Lady' begins in an article about women who display extreme affection for their kitties.

Happy Mew Year for Cats Day Created

Tom and Ruth Roy create a very special New Year's celebration specifically for cats.

Treat your cat to a spa day

Even the most fabulous cat deserves a little pampering! Treat your cat to a relaxing day at the "spa" by giving them a paw massage, brushing them a little longer, or even slipping them some extra catnip.

Host a cat "pawty"
Unite with your fellow cat lovers to throw a one-of-a-kind cat party! Create a maze of cardboard boxes and build tall towers. Maybe hang a couple of irresistible yarn strings. Even the most haughty of cats will have a ball.

Visit a shelter
While Happy Mew Year for Cats Day gives us a chance to pamper the cats we already call our own, there are still a lot of cats out there who have nobody to love. Take the time to visit a shelter and share your love with our feline friends in need. Maybe you'll find one to adopt!

Hello Kitty

The Hello Kitty franchise, valued at approximately $50 billion, has its own product line, anime series, and even a Hello Kitty Cafe!

Our favorite comic strip cat grew into a multi-million dollar character whose lazy antics and knack for trouble launched movies, books, and a TV series.

Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat, whose real name is actually Tardar Sauce, is an internet sensation who captured the hearts of everyone after going viral for her perpetually "grumpy" face.

Dr. Meredith Grey and Detective Olivia Benson
Their large, adorable eyes and smushed faces make them irresistible, so we can understand why owner Taylor Swift works so hard to support their lavish lifestyle!

It gives all cats a fresh start

Happy Mew Year for Cats Day gives all cats a chance to reflect on the past year and gear up for a "mew" year of opportunities. Whether it's finding a new sunny spot in the house for sunbathing, or even setting a new record for the most purrs per minute, the possibilities for "mew"ness are endless.

Our feline friends deserve a holiday all their own
If we're being honest with ourselves, do we really know where we would be without the love of our cats? There's a reason why cat lovers are so passionate about their feline friends; it's because they really are the best!

There are so many cats in need
Did you know there are way more stray cats admitted into shelters than dogs? Happy Mew Year for Cats Day also educates people on adoption!

National Science Fiction Day

When it comes to fiction writing, the stories are only limited by one’s imagination. And no matter what type of fiction stories you like, chances are a few of them involve some sort of science fiction topics. If so, National Science Fiction Day on January 2 is the perfect day to celebrate this type of story.

Science fiction touches so many different areas of literature that most people can find one area that they love. Science fiction can include stories based in space with aliens like E.T. or space battles like Star Wars. The genre also can include time travel, such as H. G. Wells famous book, The Time Machine, or the Doctor Who franchise. Even super hero movies can involve science fiction. After all, who would believe a talking raccoon as in Guardians of the Galaxy or the rock-like skin of the Thing in the Fantastic Four without the science fiction angle?

So if you’re fascinated by the unknown and by the possibilities of what science can bring in the future, you probably would be – or already are – a fan of science fiction. And that’s why National Science Fiction Day is the perfect day to celebrate all of these different books, movies, and television shows. You may not love sci-fi enough to consume its stories every day, but this special day is a great opportunity to spark your imagination!

The Age of Reason

Widespread interest in scientific discovery fuels science fiction, including Johannes Kepler's "Somnium" Voltaire's "Microsmegas," and Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"

Vernes and Wells

Jules Verne's books, including "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and H.G. Wells' stories, including "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds."

The First Sci-Fi Novel

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," considered by many to be the first sci-fi novel, is published

The First Sci-Fi Film

Georges Melies' "A Trip to the Moon," widely considered the first sci-fi film, is released

"Sci-Fi" is Coined

"Science fiction" was first shortened to "sci-fi" in 1954, at the same time the term hi-fi appeared

Raise a toast to one of the greatest science fiction writers, Isaac Asimov

The selection of January 2 as the annual date for National Science Fiction Day is no accident. That’s also the listed birthdate for famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. He wrote more than 400 science fiction works. (As a strange but true aside – and what other kind would there be for science fiction – Asimov’s actual birthdate is unknown, as his parents had to declare a birthdate for their son when they immigrated from Russia in 1923, and no one knows if the date they gave is accurate.)

Eat some Reese’s Pieces
In one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, E.T. was lured into following a trail of Reese’s Pieces to meet up with Elliott. And the move made the candy famous, accounting for a nearly tripling of sales in the early 1980s.

Visit a theme park with sci-fi rides and experiences
Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando offer some great science fiction adventures. So consider a trip to a theme park on National Science Fiction Day. At Disney World you can rice Mission: Space or interact with Star Wars characters. And Universal Studios has Men In Black, Transformer, E.T., and Marvel super hero rides. Disney World even has a drive-in theater style restaurant, complete with sci-fi movie scenes playing on the big screen.

What Happens Next?

The novel was initially published in serial form in "Pearson's Magazine" over the course of several months in 1897

Fiction Becomes Reality (Almost)
In October 1938, a radio broadcast of a dramatic adaptation of the novel aired; listeners mistook it for a real news broadcast and the panic that ensure became front-page news

Fat Check
Wells was paid 200 GBP for the initial manuscript

Silver Screen
There have been at least 6 feature films made of the story

To the Moon
Robert H. Goddard, who invented two rockets that resulted in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, says he was inspired by the story

It reminds us of the possibilities the imagination can spark

Without science fiction, the imagination of what’s possible in the future just wouldn’t be the same. Certainly, what’s predicted in sci-fi doesn’t always come true. After all, if The Jetsons had been accurate, we’d all have robot maids and flying cars by now. But even if they aren’t accurate, science fiction stories spark the imaginations of people, helping inspire them to create inventions in the future.

You can let your inner-nerd climb to the forefront
Everyone wants to be well-liked and seem cool to friends and family. But there are times where you have to let your inner-nerd take control, and National Science Fiction Day is the perfect time to allow yourself to be a nerd. Investigate UFO sightings. Get into an online debate about all the plot holes in Lost. Whatever you enjoy about the sci-fi genre that’s nerdy, National Science Fiction Day allows you to embrace it fully!

It’s a great excuse to stream your favorite science fiction movie or TV show
There are so many great sci-fi movies and TV shows available, and everyone has a favorite. So National Science Fiction Day is the perfect excuse to pick the movie that appeals to you the most, find it online, and stream it. And don’t feel guilty that you’ve watched it enough times to be able to recite every line in the movie along with the actors. It’s your favorite sci-fi movie for a reason, right?

Festival of Sleep Day

No need to stifle those yawns this Festival of Sleep Day on January 3! Created to help you catch up on your Zs after a busy festive season, this day of rest and relaxation means you can snuggle up and doze off. So cancel those plans and plump your best pillow, because we’ve got the dreamiest ideas for getting a bit of shut-eye, along with some fun facts to make sleep your new favorite hobby.

We’ve been enjoying forty winks ever since the human race came into existence, but we haven’t always understood it. Early speculation by the Ancient Greeks about the reason for sleep was that it is due to lack of circulation, causing the body to become unconscious for a period of time while it rebalanced. Theorists were divided at first on whether this was due to the brain or the heart, which were known to be the two most important organs.

Back then, sleep was separated into a first and second sleep of the day, instead of the single long stretch we enjoy today. In the interlude between sleep, people would socialize and relax. This routine stayed the same for centuries but was disrupted by the Industrial Revolution and the invention of artificial light, which allowed for a longer working day and therefore pushed together the periods of sleep. The socializing section of the day was moved to before bed instead.

The desire for success in the newly industrialized world would eat into the sleeping time of many workers and businesspeople, as it continues to do today. A new regulation was introduced by Ford in 1926, when it became the first American company to provide employees with a fixed schedule of an eight-hour working day and a 40-hour working week, allowing those on the payroll to get to bed on time.

Festival of Sleep Day is a modern-day celebration, supposedly invented to help us recharge our batteries from all the lost sleep around the festive season at the end of the year. It reminds us to practice self-care for the coming year and take advantage of the numerous benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Eighth century BC
The First Bed

The earliest account of a bed is from Homer’s “Odyssey”, which describes Odysseus’ bed as a charpoy of woven rope.

450 BC
Explaining Sleep

Greek physician, Alcmaeon, suggests that sleep is brought on by a lack of circulation to the brain.

Sitting to Sleep

During this period, many cushions and pillows are used to raise the body into a sitting position in bed while sleeping. As a result, the beds were much shorter than today.

Sleeping Beauty Awakens

The tale of “Sleeping Beauty” is published for the first time by Giambattista Basile in his collection of tales titled “The Pentamerone”, although the story is thought to have been first told 300 years earlier.

I can’t get to sleep. What should I do?

If counting sheep isn’t helping you nod off, focus on breathing deeply and releasing the tension in your body to ease yourself into a state of relaxation.

How do I stop sleepwalking?
Most sleepwalking occurs due to an erratic sleep schedule or noisy environment, so a regular bedtime and earplugs can help! If you continue to sleepwalk, see a doctor.

Can I sleep for the whole day?
Sleep as long as you like on Festival of Sleep Day! Clear your diary and catch some extra Zs.

Get some shut-eye

Celebrate sleep by catching up on some! Get up late, go to bed early, or even have a nap during the day.

Help others sleep
If you know someone who could do with a few extra winks, help them get the space they need by taking some things off their plate.

Get some exercise
The more tired you are from physical exercise, the better you’ll sleep. So tire out your body before you hit the hay tonight.

They occur in a special sleep phase

Dreams take place in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, which occurs in short bursts throughout the night and creates the perfect environment for our brains to travel elsewhere.

They can be black and white
While dreaming in color is the norm, approximately 12% of people dream in black and white, just like an old movie.

They’re worse if you eat late
When you eat, it kick-starts your metabolism, making your brain more active. If you sleep too soon after eating, your brain will still be whirring away, churning up (usually bad) dreams.

They’re scariest for children
Bad dreams happen decreasingly after the age of 10, with the greatest intensity occurring between the ages of three and six years old.

They happen to pets too
Cats and dogs experience dreams as well as humans. They often move their legs and faces when dreaming, just like us!

It’s all about self-care

Getting a restful night’s sleep does wonders for your physical- and mental well-being throughout the following day, ensuring you stay happy and healthy.

It’s relaxing
It’s so easy to get burnt-out with the stresses of daily life, but Festival of Sleep Day allows us to take a load off and recharge our batteries.

It improves memory
When we sleep, we consolidate our learning and memories from the day, meaning a good night’s sleep is more likely to improve our memory in the long-run.

Coronavirus updates: Senate adjourns without securing $2K checks; Army Corps to help LA hospitals; Navajo Nation lays off 1K casino workers

Boeing 737 Max returns to US skies with first commercial flight on American Airlines

New year, new laws: California student borrowers have protections; Virginia, Florida have significant minimum wage raises


Welcome To Texas!:
New irving


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What Dessert Looks Like In 33 Countries Around the World

The 8th Grade Drop Out Who Invented Dunkin' Donuts

How Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Are Made

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Would you stop if you saw this little girl on the street? | UNICEF
/ Little Girl Was Treated Differently Based On Looks

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Have an absolutely fantastic, healthy and safe day everyone!

Your Buddy Verner

I was hoping for a Clemson v Alabama re match but this sums up of what happened to Clemson last night

I just saw it on ESPN but Texas has fired Tom Herman as head coach

***** Texas Saturday Breakfast *****

New Year, New Taco Ahora Si! All fresh, all new! Saturday Breakfast In Place time! Bring out the Drones! The NewTexas Happy Taco Stands, in conjunction with the NewTexas Incendiary Corporation, has approximately 1 trillion of the fastest, lightest drones you have ever seen. This fleet is specially designed to deliver tacos to every man, woman, child, whatever, in Texas, all 2,449,614,000,000 of you.

For your dining pleasure, today's special breakfast will Saturday Gourmet Filet & Fried Egg Tacos [COVID-19 Week XLI Edition]! We are still off the traditional taco playbook here but wanted to start the year with a touch of class. The Head Griller of Taco Town, as well as the Big Tex Abuelas y Abuelitas, have both been called back into action today for this delightful taco. On the all-hardwood hickory grills, Genuine Texas Angus Beef half-pounder Filet Mignons are being perfectly-grilled to a rosy-pink, medium-rare by the hundred-thousand! And, the Abuelas are splitting the chores with some working on the burrito-sized 12-inch flour tortilla specially-made for the occasion. The others have the giant, black, cast-iron skillets out and loaded up with genuine Texas Grade AA Brown Eggs, cracked and glistening as they are hard-fried in pure NewTexan Manteca! The production line continues with the fried eggs being coarsely-chopped and mixed with expertly-chopped filet and loaded into your New Years' breakfast burrito.

Today's Special Salsa is not actually a salsa, but a Sauce - Bèarnaise Sauce - real simple, really yummy, a butter and eggs emulsion with a touch of lemon and a hint of tarragon. Oh yeah, just what this taco needs! We also have extra-special additions in styrofoam cups for gilding the lily. Included are not 2, not 3, but 5 cups containing Caviar, sautéed Mushrooms, French Fried Onions, Gulf Coast Crab Meat, and Chili con Queso for those needing a cheese fix. The tacos are hermetically-sealed in a Stay-Warm® pouch that is wrapped in the same ol' aluminum foil we are all so familiar with for our breakfast taco. The Juice Bar will not be possible this week. But, for your beverage needs, a packet of Sanka, Tang and a Lipton Tea bag will be included with every delivery as well as salt and pepper and a napkin. Yes, it is different, but it works and you do not even have to leave your residence. Woo! And, watch out for the drones! Start your day off the right way; munch out and go back to sleep. You know you want to!®

Stay Safe Texas. Stay Well.

***** Texas Chat Reminder *****

The Texas Weekly Chat is currently on hiatus. No chat today for New Years'. The Texas Weekly Chat will return next week, Saturday, January 9, 2021.

Vincent's Sunday Surprise Beverage Bonanza

Howdy Dudes and Dudettes of Texas!

Today's Sunday Surprise Beverage is Happy New Year 2021 - Make - Your - Own - Beverage Day! I've got lots of Large Boxes full of drink making ingredients stacked up right here and I'm going to beam them directly into the home of every Texan in Texas. Everyone will receive a Large Box and it'll materialize on the table closest to you. With all the drink ingredients in your box you can make Non-Alcoholic Apple Highballs, CosNOpolitans and Rosemerrymaking. There's enough ingredients to make 3 glasses of each drink. You can keep the Instructional Guide CD as my gift to you:

Make Your Own Beverage Drink Making Guide:

Apple Highball—no whiskey required.



When blending drinks in your blender always add your ice at the end so it doesn't jam up the blender. Also if you've got alcohol in your house and you desire an alcoholic drink just mix your own booze into the beverages.

And today I've included a large container full of Homemade Trail Mix with a variety of nuts, seeds and chocolate chips. The snack that’ll provide healthy fats to keep y’all full and a little hit of chocolate to prevent going for the less healthy chocolate bars!

Happy New Year Dudes and Dudettes of Texas and I hope y'all enjoy today's Sunday Surprise Snack and Beverages. Yeehaw! :)


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