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MAYPOLES, MAYFLIES, AND THE MAYFLOWER Celebrating May’s Impact on the English Language
FROM THE DESK OF Grady Flattmann
For production purposes, I typically write these articles a month before this newsletter hits your mailbox. We are now in late March and coping with the coronavirus, trying desperately to “flatten the curve.” Everyone has been affected, and it seems that life as we knew it is on hold. Ben Franklin is credited with saying, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” As with any tragedy, many of us will understandably struggle to find that opportunity. But we must keep moving forward. Don’t stop! The opportunity is there to renew our appreciation for things we took for granted just a few weeks ago. The ease of going to the grocery store for milk, eggs, bread, or even toilet paper! Going out for lunch at our favorite local restaurant. Shaking hands at church. For me personally, the most immediate opportunity I have is extra time to spend with family, catch up with friends over the phone, and take in nature. For my law firm, we have the opportunity to reflect upon our practices and procedures, and we are exploring new ways to double down on the experience we provide to our clients.
There are many reasons to celebrate in May. Among thanking Mom, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and embarking on postgraduation adventures, there’s no shortage of importance when it comes to May. And the English language makes this pretty clear. Check out these unique facts about English words or phrases that use the word “may.” AVOIDING MAYDAY ON MAY DAY About 100 years ago, the English and French faced quite a dilemma. As aircraft paths were more frequently crossing the English Channel, the countries needed to develop a distress signal that could be easily distinguished over the radio. While SOS was commonly used by armies across the globe as a sign of mayhem, “S” sounds were hard to hear over the radio. The French reverted to using m’aidez, which means “help me.” Soon, the English added their own spin, deciphering the phrase as “mayday.”The
new phrase went global thanks to bulletins posted in popular publications, and today, it’s known as a worldwide distress signal. Not to be confused with the international phrase for help, May Day is a cultural celebration dating back millennia. For some cultures, May Day, traditionally held on May 1, is an important day signifying the halfway point of the year. Other cultures celebrate and honor fertility on May Day with maypoles that represent male fertility and wreaths and ribbons that depict female fertility. Today, May Day celebrations continue in their traditional format, while some people celebrate the holiday by simply doing kind deeds for their neighbors. Thankfully, there’s little cause for mayday on May Day. MAY’S MOST FAMOUS SHIP The Mayflower, named after the English word for the small, white hawthorn flower, served
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as a merchant ship before making its biggest voyage in 1620 from England to the eastern coast of North America. But the Mayflower was one of many. There were actually dozens of English ships named Mayflower, and in 1620, today’s most famous ship in the bunch headed down the River Thames into the English Channel with another boat, the Speedwell. A group of Puritans and others fleeing religious persecution boarded the vessels, hoping for a new home in theWest.
But there’s a reason why we only recognize the Mayflower and why the Speedwell has been forgotten for most of history. Just as the two ships began their journey in August, the Speedwell sprang a leak. Waiting for repairs pushed the journey’s start date to September, and that attempt was just as unsuccessful. After this second leak on the Speedwell, weary travelers either gave up on the trek altogether or joined the hopeful Pilgrims on the Mayflower. In November 1620, after a treacherous, dangerous, and deadly journey, the Mayflower finally landed in present-day Cape Cod. The rest is history — literally. LIVING LIKE A MAYFLY Life is short, especially if you’re a mayfly. To no surprise, mayflies hatch in May, but they traditionally only live a few days. Most of that time is spent mating and reproducing, which mayflies are particularly skilled at. The average female mayfly can lay anywhere between
400–3,000 eggs. After being dropped in water, the eggs grow and mature before hatching every May. Many people who live near rivers have come to expect the mayflies’ uncanny ability to blanket entire towns in a mask of creepy-crawlies when they hatch each spring. Despite their short lifespans, mayflies are actually powerful little creatures. Fish feed on the insects and their carcasses, making them popular bait among fishermen. Scientists even use mayfly eggs as a marker for water pollution and clarity. The eggs are extremely sensitive to pollution of any kind, and only one-fourth survive mild pollution. Still, researchers believe mayflies are evolutionary wonders. They are believed to have been around before dinosaurs, and the famed Greek philosopher Aristotle even mentioned mayflies in his writing. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it should be that we could all live a little bit more like the mayfly and seize the day.
DO SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ENJOY A DIGITAL DETOX?
3 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets
Constant technology use can leave us feeling drained, so it’s good to do a digital detox by unplugging periodically. Digital detoxes have become very popular, but for most managers and business owners, cutting technology out of their lives isn’t just difficult — it can be irresponsible! You can’t throw your smartphone in the sea and expect to have a job next week. While completely quitting tech isn’t realistic, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a digital detox while sticking to your responsibilities. Here’s how a few successful entrepreneurs manage this balancing act. ARIANNA HUFFINGTON PUTS HER PHONE ‘TO BED.’ HuffPost founder and Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington says the first part of her nightly routine is “escorting my phone out of the bedroom.”Huffington doesn’t allow digital devices in her bedroom and relies on an analog alarm clock. “Charging your phone away from
your bed makes you more likely to wake up as fully charged as your phone,” she says.
ERICH JOINER HAS A HOBBY SEPARATE FROM HIS WORK. Running a content creation company that caters to big brands means Erich Joiner, founder and director at Tool of North America, is plugged in most of the time. To get away from the demands, he races cars on the weekend. During that time, Joiner puts his phone away in order to focus on the race. “While it takes a lot of focus, which can be strenuous, it also mentally cleanses, or ‘digitally detoxes,’me during the weekend,” Joiner says. “By Monday, I can go into work with a clear mindset, ready to take on my week.” CELIA FRANCIS TRACKS HER ONLINE ACTIVITY. Sometimes technology can help you cut down on technology. Celia Francis, CEO of online marketplace Rated People, downloaded the app Moment to monitor how much time she
spends on social media. This data helped her build healthier habits. “It helps you understand how you use your phone, establish usage goals, and disconnect at the right times,” Francis explains. “My phone is always off by 9 p.m. and isn’t switched back on until after the morning routine.” You don’t have to completely abandon technology to enjoy a successful digital detox. Instead, look for times when you can put your devices away and focus on something else. Even if it’s just for an hour before bed, you’ll reap the benefits.
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THE $60,000 HEIST YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF Crimeless Theft in Cyberspace
In 2017, sometime between Sept. 11 and 12, a total of $60,000 worth of digital assets were stolen from people around the world. The conspirators didn’t hide their identities, and they faced no criminal charges. As it turns out, there are no laws against stealing spaceships in a video game — even if they’re worth thousands of real-world dollars. EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that was launched in 2003, and it was on this game that the theft occurred. This science-fiction game is all about spacefaring, but one notable feature of the game is that it allows players to purchase in-game assets with real money. This attracts players
who can spend large sums on the game, with some of the game’s largest spaceships costing $9,000. But one thing to note in EVE Online is that no matter how much you pay, once you lose an asset, it’s gone forever. Because of the risk-reward nature of the game, many players unite in huge factions for safety and to pool their resources. One of these groups, Circle of Two or CO2, was the target of the 2017 attack. Within a matter of hours, CO2’s bank accounts were drained and the space stations holding their fleets of ships were sold to their enemies. It was clear from the beginning: This was an inside job. The thief was CO2’s own head diplomat, a player called “The Judge.” For years he’d worked his way through the alliance’s ranks, only to use the access he eventually gained to rob it blind. But greed may not have been his only motivation. He’d had public disagreements with CO2’s leader called Gigx, and a rival faction was able to capitalize on this internal conflict. During an in-person EVE Online summit held in Iceland, representatives from The GoonSwarm Federation convinced The Judge to leave CO2 and commit the single largest robbery in gaming history on his way out. In the real world, The Judge’s actions were completely legal — currently, international law doesn’t treat such virtual objects as personal property. But this perception may be changing. As in-game purchases become more widespread in video games, legal lines have blurred, causing an increasing number of lawmakers to rethink what constitutes “ownership” in the digital age. But, for now at least, it seems like a good time to be a space pirate.
Take a Break!
Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’
Inspired by Bon Appétit
Whether you’re celebrating your mom or those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, there’s no better recipe to grill up than these delectable country-style pork ribs.
2 heads garlic, cloves separated
In a blender, purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil until smooth.
3 thumbs ginger, chopped
1 cup hoisin sauce
Reserve and chill 1 1/2 cups for later use.
3/4 cup fish sauce
In a bag, add the remaining mixture and pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 8 hours. Using a convection plate on the grill, cook pork until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 140–145 F. In a large saucepan, simmer brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade for 6–8 minutes. Baste the pork with the brown sugar glaze for 2 minutes before serving.
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup rice wine
1/2 cup chili oil
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
BUTTERFLY FLOWERS JEDI LADYBUG
MAYFLY MEMORIAL MEXICO MOTHERS
OUTDOORS POLLEN SUNSHINE TAURUS
5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, flattened
3/4 cup brown sugar
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Grady PAGE 1 Facts About Words That Start With ‘May’ PAGE 1 How Entrepreneurs Digitally Detox PAGE 2 A $60,000 Robbery With No Jail Time PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’ PAGE 3 The Best Grandfather a Kitten Could Have PAGE 4
THE STORY OF GRANDPA MASON How a Feral Cat Came to Care for Orphaned Kittens
When cats are orphaned as kittens, they don’t get the chance to develop all the skills needed to become successful cats. Just like human children, kittens need older role models too. The most famous cat role model had a rough start in life but became an inspiration for kittens and humans alike. His name was Grandpa Mason, and during the last years of his life, he stepped up and gave love, care, and guidance to the orphaned kittens that lived with him. The Canadian animal rescue group TinyKittens rescued Grandpa Mason in 2016 from a property that was scheduled to be bulldozed. The poor feral tabby was suffering from many health problems, including severe dental issues, a badly injured paw, and advanced kidney disease. Since TinyKittens is a no-kill rescue organization, euthanization was out of the question.
Given his health conditions, veterinarians predicted the battle-scarred Grandpa Mason didn’t have long to live, so TinyKittens’ founder, Shelly Roche, took him in and provided him with a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food, and time to relax in the last months of his life. Grandpa Mason had a hard time adjusting to domestic life and would often shy away from being petted. In an interview with The Dodo, Roche described him as “an elderly gentleman [who] lived his whole life a certain way, and then, all of a sudden, [was] forced to live completely differently.” After Grandpa Mason grew accustomed to his home, Roche took in several foster kittens, and those new roommates completely altered Grandpa Mason’s behavior. Roche expected him to hiss, swat, or growl at the kittens when they invaded his space, but he didn’t. Instead, he allowed them to crawl all over him and
appeared to enjoy it when they licked his ear. Suddenly a playful, affectionate, and gentle personality came out of Grandpa Mason as he played with, bathed, taught, and cared for the orphaned kittens that Roche welcomed into her home. Potentially due to the kittens’ influence, Grandpa Mason surpassed his prognosis by more than two years. During the last few years of his life, Grandpa Mason passed on important lessons and good manners to the kittens he looked after and adored, as a true grandfather should. He passed last September, but he spent his last night in his ultimate happy place: snuggling in his bed surrounded by kittens.
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