Steven Wright asked, “If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?”
Waddya mean “Who’s Steven Wright?” If you don’t know, send me your e-mail address and I’ll send you a list of his gems. In the meantime, could anything travel at the speed of light?
The science community has been studying sub-atomic particles called neutrinos for several years and is now very excited about some recent findings. The European Organization for Nuclear Research is re-examining results that tell us neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light and are so small that they can go through most matter. When they shot the tiny units from the laboratory in Switzerland to a destination in Italy 454 miles away, the neutrinos consistently arrived about 60 nanoseconds faster than a beam of light could have. A nanosecond, of course, is one billionth of a second. To put that into a form most of us can understand: it is the amount of time that lapses between the red light in front of you turning green and the kid in the red Camaro behind you honking his horn.
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Friday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, when America honors those who served in our armed forces. I’m proud to say that I am the type of person who stops to say “Thank you for your service” whenever I see a man or woman in uniform — no matter what day of the year it is. In my visits to nursing homes when my comment is acknowledged by a World War II veteran in a good mood, I add, “It’s because of you that I am speaking English, not German.”
That often opens the door to a conversation. Oh, how they love the attention they get from “youngsters” like me. Before you ask what I was doing at those nursing homes, let me say that I have played the accordion since I was a teenager, and have entertained as a volunteer for about as far back as I can remember. After playing and singing for an hour, I often stayed to write letters for some of the elderly who could no longer write.
I recall one conversation when a man in a wheelchair, wearing a medal, stopped me to talk about his father, a WWI veteran. The medal was his dad’s and he talked about Armistice Day, which was the name of Friday’s holiday before it was changed. One of the things he spoke about was that it was a custom of his family to eat ravioli on that particular holiday. I smiled and wished him well as I left.
Recently, the topic of eating ravioli on Veterans Day popped up again. That’s the second time in my life that someone told me about ravioli. God bless the person who invented the Internet, because I Googled “Ravioli on Veterans Day” and, sure enough, it was and still is a custom in many homes.
It’s a throwback to the first Armistice Day when President Wilson invited 2,000 veterans to join him in a celebration dinner. He and his kitchen served ravioli to our heros.
This Friday, several friends and I will be having dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Guess what I will be ordering. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net shouting to all who served, Thank you for your service! God bless you!
Stanley Gershbein's column appears every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.