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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GEORGE P. BURDELL
FROM THE DESK OF Bob
Penny assured me that maintaining a pool would not be difficult. So, when we purchased our house last year, we found one with a pool that needed refurbishing. I discussed that saga in earlier issues of this newsletter. Well . . . she’s right. Maintaining a pool is not difficult. But man is it time-consuming! I’ve spent more time maintaining the pool than I’ve spent swimming in it.
O ne of the M ost E laborate P ranks in H istory
Since our winters are mild, I’ve continued to run the pumps and keep the chemicals balanced all winter. The pool looks great!
Whether April Fools’ Day is a time-honored western tradition or a tired, unfunny festival of eyerolls depends on who you ask. Ask the mom who just got blasted with water via the old “rubber band on the sink sprayer” trick, and you’ll probably find the latter. But ask the kid who planted the trap, and you’ll get a hearty, cackling endorsement. Even if you’re sick of watching your back on April Fools’ Day and tired of the corporate cash grabs masquerading as (mostly) bad jokes that pop up like clockwork every year, you still have to give it up for the classics. Even the most bitter among us must admit that some pranks are so clever, elaborate, and inspired that they deserve their place in the annals of history. The name “George P. Burdell”will certainly reverberate through the hall of hoaxes for decades to come. Never make a clerical error with a young student who has too much time on his hands. In 1927, when William Edgar Smith was mistakenly sent a second enrollment form for the Georgia Institute of Technology, he had an idea. Combining the name of his then-principal, George P. Butler, with Burdell, the maiden name of his best friend’s mother, he enrolled the fictitious George P. Burdell in the prestigious university. Next, Smith signed Burdell up for all his same classes and, for the next four years, completed every bit of his schoolwork twice — once under his own name and once under Burdell’s, changing a few details here and there and varying his handwriting slightly so as not to raise suspicion. GEORGE COMES TO LIFE
The pine trees are my nemeses. But they’re not our trees; we only have a palm tree in the front yard. Our neighbors have many pine trees (and none have a pool).Pine needles are a constant
battle, but it got worse with pollen season and the arrival of pine stamen. We have to empty the skimmer every day. Otherwise, the raining stamen will clog up the whole system. Plus, there were so many stamen in our Polaris bag that it was floating!
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conflicts. He even flew 12 missions in a B-17 bomber over Europe in the 8th Air Force until a Georgia Tech graduate was promoted to operations officer and put the kibosh on his service. Burdell wed the fictional Agnes Scott student Ramona Cartwright in 1958, served on the board of directors for Mad magazine, and was nearly voted the 2001 Time Person of the Year before the magazine removed him from consideration. Barack Obama even did his part to further the myth. While giving a speech at the school in 2015, he began “Now, I understand George P. Burdell was supposed to introduce me today — but nobody could find him!” The only thing more impressive than Mr. Burdell’s abundant achievements is his fans’ dedication to keeping him alive. You may think your buddies’ inside jokes are long-running — this one practically willed a human into existence.
Somehow, despite the fact that Mr. Burdell never once attended a day of class, he managed to secure his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1930. Soon after, he continued on to his master’s degree. At some point, George P. Burdell morphed from an elaborate practical joke into a bona fide legend with countless copycat pranks to his name. One of the most famous came early on, when a truckload of furniture arrived “collect on delivery” to a Georgia Tech fraternity, addressed to one George P. Burdell. Apparently, a freshman had felt snubbed by the frat and decided to get even. Burdell was continually enrolled in the school by loyal fans for decades. In 1969, Georgia Tech computerized the registration process, but intrepid hackers found a way to enroll him in every single class offered at the school that quarter. The man was unstoppable. Members of the armed forces carried on the Burdell hoax, and Private Burdell began to appear all over the world in dozens of
or during football games. Even in his ripe old age, he still has time to be the production assistant on “South Park” and read thousands upon thousands of magazines during his spare moments. Wherever he is, we can only wish him well and hope that all the would-be pranksters out there take a note fromWilliam Edgar Smith’s playbook this April Fools’ Day. After all, if you’re truly dedicated to your craft, what’s 70-plus years?
Today, people always seem to be on the lookout for Burdell, paging him at the airport
The ManyWonders of Omega-3s One Little Pill That Can Do Your Body Good
WHICH OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Because fish oil is said to improve everything fromheart health to chronic dry eye, it may sound a bit like, well, snake oil. But this brilliant little supplement packs a big punch, especially for older adults.
If you eat fatty fish several times a week every week, you may already get enough omega-3s, but it can be difficult to get a therapeutic dose of fish oil from food alone on a regular basis. A fish oil supplement can provide additional fatty acids. Look for an ingredient list that specifically shows EPA and DHA; some brands use misleading labeling that only shows the total amount of fish oil rather than the actual omega-3s. Recommendations vary, but most sources indicate that a dosage of 1,000–2,000 milligrams (1–2 grams) of combined EPA and DHA provides benefits. If the smell or “fish burps” bother you, choose enteric-coated capsules, which dissolve in the small intestine rather than the stomach. Omega-3 caps also come in vegan options sourced from seaweed and algae.
HEART HEALTH BENEFITS The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been shown to support heart health in multiple ways. The Mayo Clinic cites research suggesting that higher levels of EPA are associated with a reduced risk of congestive heart failure in older adults. Studies also report that people with moderate to severe hypertension typically see a positive effect on their blood pressure if they regularly take omega-3s. JOINT AND EYE BENEFITS Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders by lubricating the joints and acting as an anti-inflammatory.
As we age, our ability to produce tears diminishes. Fish oil’s lubricating and anti- inflammatory properties also make it a great treatment for and defense against chronic dry eye. COGNITIVE FUNCTION BENEFITS Several studies have concluded that regularly consuming omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain cognitive function. While research shows no cognitive recovery in extremely elderly subjects who already suffer from dementia, evidence indicates that taking fish oil on a regular basis may prevent or postpone the onset of cognitive decline. Omega-3 consumption may also improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from depression or anxiety at any age.
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Considering the stress of combat, it’s no wonder military dogs tend to be tough breeds known for their size and strength. German shepherds, boxers, and various bully breeds are well-acquainted with the battlefield. But in WorldWar II, the most famous military dog weighed only 4 pounds and stood a mere 7 inches tall. Smoky the Yorkshire Terrier wasn’t exactly what most people associated with Shakespeare’s “let slip the dogs of war,” but her small size is part of what made her such a hero. In 1944, after being discovered beside a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea, Smoky met Corporal William A. Wynne, an American soldier from Cleveland, Ohio. The two quickly became inseparable, and she stayed by Wynne’s side the entire time he was stationed in the South Pacific. Smoky is credited with going on 12 combat missions, surviving 150 air raids, parachuting 30 feet, and earning eight battle stars. Smoky’s sensitive hearing allowed her to alert Wynne and other soldiers of incoming air raids. Smoky’s most famous act of heroism occurred when she went where no man could go at an air base at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. The engineers needed help, so Wynne tied a strand of telephone wire to her collar and Smoky ran through a 70-foot-long pipe in a matter of minutes. Without Smoky, it would have taken three days to lay the wire. Her work kept over 250 ground crewmen and 40 fighter and reconnaissance planes out of danger from enemy bombings. Yorkie Doodle Dandy Smoky theWorldWar II Canine Hero
In addition to saving lives on the battlefield, Smoky is also considered to be the first recorded therapy dog. She learned a number of tricks to cheer up troops and would visit injured soldiers at the hospital in New Guinea. After WorldWar II, Smoky andWynne visited veteran hospitals across the United States. “Corporal”Smoky lived for another 10 years after the war before dying on Feb. 21, 1957, at approximately 14 years old. Wynne would go on to write a memoir about his time with Smoky titled“Yorkie Doodle Dandy.”Almost 50 years after her death, a life-sized bronze statue of Smoky was erected at her final resting place in Lakewood, Ohio. Her statue is dedicated to the bravery of all war dogs, and it is a reminder that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Take a Break!
Inspired by Food Network
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
12 ounces pasta, ideally fusilli
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano- Reggiano Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste
1/2 pound broccoli florets
2 carrots, shredded
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1. In a large pot, liberally salt water and bring to a boil. Add fusilli and cook according to package directions. Add broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper during the last 2 minutes of cook time. 2. Drain the pasta and veggies, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta and veggies to pot. 3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic and cook until translucent and golden, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until tomatoes are wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta water.
RAINCOAT SPRING SUNSHINE TAURUS
FLOWERS GARDEN GROW RAIN STORM
APRIL FOOLS ARIES BLOSSOM BUTTERFLY
4. Add tomato mixture to pasta pot, stirring to coat evenly.
5. Divide into bowls, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Bob PAGE 1 The Ballad of George P. Burdell PAGE 1 The Many Wonders of Omega-3s PAGE 2 Never Judge a Dog by Her Size PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Pasta Primavera PAGE 3 3 Travel Myths Debunked PAGE 4
PARIS ON A BUDGET?
Three Travel Myths You Should Stop Believing
Traveling has many social and educational benefits, but some people have hesitations that prevent them from jetting off on new adventures. Below are three debunked travel myths to give you some ease as you plan your summer vacation! MYTH: VACATIONS ARE EXPENSIVE. Fact: You can travel anywhere on a budget. Tracking flights to score the best deal, setting spending limits, and packing meals are a few ways to save money. Hostels and Airbnbs are great alternatives to spendy hotel stays. Additionally, you don’t have to cross the country to have a great trip. Every state has museums, unique roadside attractions, historical sites, and a booming nightlife. When you know your price limits and what you want to do, traveling can be a fun and inexpensive venture. MYTH: TRAVELING IS DANGEROUS. Fact: If you’re smart about what you do and where you go, traveling can be safe. Go with your gut and only stay somewhere that is approved by travel guides. Visit places you feel comfortable in, and do your research by reading travel blogs, websites, and books to find places that have been vetted by others. Traveling in groups can also be a great way to lower your risk of danger. As long as you plan ahead, you will have a safe trip.
MYTH: JET LAG IS CAUSED BY A LACK OF SLEEP. Fact: While jet lag can make you sleepy, it’s actually caused by a disruption in your circadian rhythm. Our bodies are cyclical, and the circadian rhythm is set by both a natural need for your body to reset and outside forces, such as your job, time zone, and diet. Travel can disrupt this rhythm and routine, which leaves you lethargic during and after your vacation. Sticking to water before and during your flights and staying physically active during and after traveling are great ways to fight jet lag and get back into your normal rhythm. Don’t let these travel myths keep you from seeing the world. Set a budget, go with your gut, and prepare for a shifting rhythm to make your next adventure the best one yet.
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