In 1184 on the day of this entry’s initiation, June 29 (sometimes blogitation [thinking about blog writing] takes way way longer than it should), Sverre Sigurdsson was crowned King of Norway. Sverre, according to Britannica, is “one of the best-known figures in medieval Norwegian history.” The reason: “By expanding the power of the monarchy and limiting the privileges of the church, he provoked civil uprisings that were not quelled until 1217.”

Sverre’s story is a cautionary one. Early on, he was ordained as a priest. Then, at some uncertain date and for reasons unknown, his mother purportedly told him that…


In 2019, much to the delight of late-night talk show hosts everywhere, then-president Donald Trump (perhaps he was president–after all, he did keep telling us that the 2016 election would be rigged, so is that how he won? Did he win?) … anyway, DT and our Congress in their eminent wisdom and with a laser focus on doing productive, useful things for the country, created the US Space Force by means of the National Defense Authorization Act.

So…the Space Force?

The USSF (pronounced “ooosuph” I believe) is led by a four-star general dubbed Chief of Space Operations. Its mission? “The USSF is a…


Remember those days when you were an English major taking a Romantic literature class and you had to painstakingly dissect every line of a poem to suss out the subtextual themes, obtuse symbolism, and poteninfinite [potentially infinite] meanings of words and phrases? Lord Byron, anyone? Andrew Marvell? Rod McKuen? What? You don’t remember? Oh. You weren’t foolish enough to think majoring in English was a solid career path? You could have warned me.

Fortunately, reading poetry today seems much less like walking into a tarpit (where no amount of thrashing about will save you, in fact just the opposite) and…


If you asked someone at random, “Where’s the best place in the world to get happy?” they would be unlikely to answer “Harvard University.” (Okay, that’s an assumption on my part; maybe someone would say that. Or maybe they would say, “What part of social distancing do you not understand?” or “I’m glad you stopped me. Would you like to take a personality assessment? It’s free!”)

Anyway, the question remains: How could that meatgrinder of brilliant minds and purveyor of men in silly costumes mercilessly roasting celebrities make anyone happy?” I have two answers for you. One, “The Path to…


We have a favorite coffee shop/restaurant here in Key West called La Grignote (French for “nibble”). They bill themselves as an “Artisan French Bakery — Cafe — Bistro,” and they are all of that and more. One of the things that make us happy, be it ever so fleeting, is to sit on the La Grignote porch, sip lattes, nibble on croissants or muffins, and watch the “tourons” go by on Duval Street.

We recently discovered, however, that there is a different type of nibble that also imparts bliss if, again, ever so fleeting. This is, as the title reveals…


It’s a burning question for many: What do my cats get up to when I’m not watching them? If you’re a sensible person, you will likely be thinking “who cares?” If you are an obsessive one, you’ve already installed video cameras to cover every conceivable angle inside your abode (even, yes, inside the litter box) along with the requisite video recorders to capture every feliexistiment [moment of feline existence]. If you are someone with a high tolerance for low-brow entertainment, you could just watch The Secret Life of Pets 1 and 2. I must warn you, though. We already lose…


You were probably expecting the title to continue here as “15 percent” because, like me, you’ve had the Geico slogan burned into your retinas and brain for the last who knows how many years of exposure to a mild-mannered, Brit-accented yet insidious gecko. I wouldn’t be surprised if, the next time I saw a Geico commercial, the suave little lizard looked directly into my eyes and said, “Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?” and then I wake up three days later with no memory of my whereabouts or actions.*

But your expectation will not be…


…hibernate in a cave? Yes and no. On the yes side, many bears do fatten themselves up as the winter months approach. Take black bears. Most of their tribe hibernate from November through March in the cold climes. They hole up in empty tree trunks, the traditional cave, and even just under a handy log. These animals (and grizzly bears) can go as long as seven and a half months without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating.

Given their hiburability [ability to winter sleep for long durations], bears have been described as efficient hibernators. Inefficient hibernators are usually smaller animals that…


Ripped from the headlines. Literally. I ran across this dire warning while checking terms for an editing project. So, what gives, you may ask? Pause. Pause. Pause. Okay, if you won’t ask, I will. What gives? As you may or may not know, we are constantly being bombarded by electromagnetic radiation (EMR) thanks to the sun, the stars, that powerline right outside your front door, and even the laptop, tablet, TV, or phone you may be staring at right this moment.

So, what is EMR? I’m going to try to give a dumb answer here, mainly because it’s the only…


I have just started editing articles, officially called “Letters,” for a physics journal called Physical Review Letters. The assignments come to me not from the journal directly but from a firm that provides publishing services. In editing these Letters, I immediately became aware of how woefully descient [deficient in science education; no, heck, lacking totally in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) knowledge of any kind] I am.

Here’s the title of the Letter I am editing now: “Lifetime of Almost Strong Edge-Mode Operators in One-Dimensional, Interacting Symmetry Protected Topological Phases.” And here’s the first sentence from the abstract:

Almost…

Kim Pederson

Kim (or Viking Lord) is a freelance writer/editor, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and RatBlurt blogger.

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