George Ruckert's Magnificant Newsletter for January 23, 2018

Tuesday 2018 January 23InboxxGeorgeRuckerx

George7:51 AM (8 hours ago)to gigicavallo, Jason.cox, judith_plummer, cwik111, lfazio214, melabelle, fern1211, rlcarl42, sarahgriffith2., sawpine, Ralphdog, me, doommaster1994, wind21, rmaher6235, bkwmn, pkippenberger, ajz2c, debbistustin, busara41Bonjour,                                                                23 January 2018

A large diamond, the fifth largest to be found, was found in the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho in South Africa.  This 910-carat stone is about the size of two golf balls.  Reported on January 15th by the Bloomberg Pursuits.

The Letseng mine is famous for the size and quality of the diamonds it produces and has the highest average selling price in the world. Gem sold a 357-carat stone for $19.3 million in 2015 and in 2006 found the 603-carat Lesotho Promise.

Its value will be determined by the size and quality of the polished stones that can be cut from it. Lucara Diamond Corp. sold a 1,109-carat diamond for $53 million last year, but got a record $63 million for a smaller 813-carat stone it found at the same time in 2015.

The biggest diamond discovered is the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria, in South Africa, in 1905. It was cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa, which are set in the Crown Jewels of Britain.


6:30 is the best time on a clock… hands down.


A patient bursts into a doctor’s office, "Doctor, I believe I'm a deck of cards!"

The doctor calmly replies, "Go sit in the waiting room, please, I'll be dealing with you later."


Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District, Inglewood, California

More than a $1-billion+ 70,000-seat football stadium for two NFL teams—both the L.A. Rams and Chargers—the ongoing work at the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park turns the former racetrack into an entertainment destination located four miles from LAX.

The stadium, expandable to 100,000 seats, will open in 2020 and host the 2028 Olympics, but will enjoy the support of a 6,000-seat performing art’s venue, office and retail space, a hotel, residences, and 25 acres of public parks, open space, and walkways.


Kentucky becomes first U.S. state to impose Medicaid work provisions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Kentucky on Friday became the first U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or get jobs training, after gaining federal approval for the fundamental change to the 50-year-old health insurance program for the poor.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued policy guidance on Thursday allowing states to design and propose test programs with such requirements.

Kentucky’s waiver, submitted for federal approval in 2016, requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate in at least 80 hours a month of “employment activities,” including jobs training, education and community service.

The Kentucky program also imposes a premium on most Medicaid recipients based on income. Some who miss a payment or fail to re-enroll will be locked out for six months. The new rules will take effect in July, Kentucky state officials said.


APPLE RIVER, Ill. _ In this very important month for the bald eagle, Terrence Ingram is trying to upend conventional wisdom about our majestic national symbol.

He lacks the academic bona fides of an ornithologist but has spent nearly 60 years researching and advocating for bald eagles; he is even credited with saving more than 6,000 acres of eagle habitat along the Mississippi River. In 1995, Ingram established the Eagle Nature Foundation as the successor to a similar organization he'd started nearly three decades earlier.

His point is simple: The bald eagle population is declining.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's best estimate places the bald eagle population at nearly 143,000, a significant jump from 30 years ago, when the service estimated that only 2,475 breeding pairs existed in the entire country.

Sightings of bald eagles and nests have occurred in unusual spots, too. Last summer, an eagle crashed into a Gold Coast hotel window. In the spring of 2016, several were seen soaring and landing in a wide-open park near a landfill on Chicago's South Side.

How can Ingram justify his conclusion?

He relies on 57 years of midwinter bald eagle counts his organization has conducted along and around the Mississippi River from Wisconsin to southern Illinois. Some years, his volunteer counters reach as far south as Louisiana.

Uneven as the counts are, they show a drop of nearly 400 bald eagles, or 25 percent, from 2010 until last year's survey through the region stretching from northern Wisconsin to southern Illinois. Ingram also is concerned about a drop in the counts of young eagles, known as "immatures."

Experts who know of Ingram's work treat it with respect but skepticism.

"I don't question Terry's numbers showing decline," said Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director James Herkert. "The question for Terry would be what effort has been made to tease out weather and effort? How deep did they go in their analysis?"

Counting birds, as one might imagine, can be extremely complicated. Duplication is a serious concern, particularly in sweeping endeavors like regional or national bald eagle counts in unpredictable winter conditions. So is the experience and commitment of the person counting the birds.


Q: What do Alexander the Great and Kermit the Frog have in common?

A: Their middle names.


They conqured the world

A retired corporate executive, now a widower, decided to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank. He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.

After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore. In disbelief, he asks, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?" She replies, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank." "Amazing," he notes. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you." "Oh, this thing?" explains the woman. "I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree." "But, where did you get the tools?" "Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware." The guy is stunned. "Let's row over to my place," she says. After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.  While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?" "No! No thank you," he blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice." "It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?" Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet." No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom.

There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism. "This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?" When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her. "Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for many months. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?" She stares into his eyes. He can't believe what he's hearing. "You mean . . he swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes." . . .

"Don't tell me you've built a Golf Course!"


Paramedics were called to the Washington home of Justice Sonia Sotomayor Friday morning, but a Supreme Court spokeswoman said the justice was not hospitalized and went to work Friday after being treated for low blood sugar.

"She experienced symptoms of low blood sugar at her home this morning. She was treated by emergency medical services and is doing fine," court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg told POLITICO. "She's at work and following her usual schedule and will be participating in all planned activities over the weekend."

The episode caused concern to some neighbors of the 63-year-old justice, who lives in an apartment near Washington's Shaw and Columbia Heights neighborhoods.

Sotomayor was diagnosed as a child with Type 1 diabetes, which she now controls through a combination of synthetic insulin injections, glucose tablets and regular checks of her blood sugar.


Various kinds of jokes have been identified in ancient pre-classical texts.  The oldest identified joke was found to be an ancient Sumerian proverb from 1900 BC containing toilet humour: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap." Its records were dated to the Old Babylonian period and the joke may go as far back as 2,300 BC.

The second oldest joke found, discovered on the Westcar Papyrus and believed to be about Sneferu, was from Ancient Egypt circa 1600 BC: "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish."

The tale of the three ox drivers from Adab completes the three known oldest jokes in the world. This is a comic triple dating back to 1200 BC Adab.  These "oldest" jokes have two things in common: firstly, they were all written down, and secondly, their structure is remarkably similar to modern day jokes.

Any joke documented from the past has been saved through happenstance rather than design. Jokes do not belong to refined culture, but rather to the entertainment and leisure of all classes. As such, any printed versions were considered ephemera, i.e., temporary documents created for a specific purpose and intended to be thrown away. Many of these early jokes deal with scatological and sexual topics, entertaining to all social classes but not to be valued and saved.

That was from Wikipedia in the “History of the printed joke”


That is all for this week.


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