Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Smokey Bear has ZIP code

Drawing courtesy of CoPilot

Smokey Bear, the enduring symbol of wildfire prevention, has garnered so much goodwill over his 77-year existence that the U.S. Postal Service established a unique ZIP code for his mail in 1964. This is quite remarkable for a mascot that originated as a fictional character. In 1944, commissioned by the War Advertising Council and the U.S. Forest Service, artist Albert Staehle and writer Harold Rosenberg created the safety-conscious black bear. Smokey Bear, the face of the nation's longest-running public service campaign, is renowned for his slogan, "Only you can prevent wildfires."

In 1950, a black bear cub rescued from a New Mexico wildfire by Taos Pueblo firefighters was named "Smokey Bear" as a living tribute to the beloved figure. This bear, along with his successor Smokey II, spent their lives at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The bears, along with their alter ego, received thousands of letters, drawings, Christmas cards, and honey shipments weekly. To manage this influx of mail, the bears were assigned their own Washington, D.C. ZIP code: 20252. The bear-themed postage stamps, featuring the likenesses of the first two bears, were released on the character's 40th anniversary. Although the ZIP code was decommissioned from around 2007 to 2014, it was reinstated for Smokey Bear's 70th anniversary. The original bear also maintains an active presence on Instagram and Twitter, where he shares fire prevention tips under the hashtag #OnlyYou — a message now more crucial than ever.

Source: Interesting Facts

Monday, February 12, 2024

Understand yourself

The Johari Window is a valuable model for enhancing self-awareness and communication within interpersonal relationships. Developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 1950s and 60s, it helps individuals better understand their own behavior and how others perceive them (Gardiner, 2023; Boogaard, 2023). 

 Here’s what can be learned from the Johari Window: 

1.Understanding Self and Others: The Johari Window encourages self-reflection and awareness. It helps individuals recognize their visible traits (known to themselves and others) as well as their blind spots (known to others but not to themselves). 

2.Building Trust and Communication: By expanding the “Arena” (what is known to both self and others), individuals can foster trust and open communication. Sharing more about oneself and being receptive to feedback leads to stronger relationships. 

3.Addressing Blind Spots: Identifying blind spots (qualities or behaviors unknown to oneself) allows individuals to work on self-improvement. When others provide feedback, it helps uncover aspects we might not be aware of. 

4.Accepting Feedback: The Johari Window encourages individuals to accept feedback—even if it’s challenging. Constructive feedback helps us grow and adapt. 

In summary, the Johari Window serves as a mirror, reflecting both our known and hidden behaviors. By expanding the “Arena” and addressing blind spots, we can enhance self-awareness and improve our interactions with others (Gardiner, 2023; Boogaard, 2023; UpSkillCoach, 2024). 


Gardiner, K. (2023, December 14). How to Use the Johari Window to Improve Leadership. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/johari-window/ 

UpSkillCoach. (2024, January 26). Johari Window Model: Understanding the Four Quadrants. UpSkillCoach. https://upskillcoach.com/blog/what-is-the-johari-window/

Hamburger and green bean casserole

Hamburger and green bean casserole

 Here's a simple recipe for a hamburger and green bean casserole that is free from sugar and flour:


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup (look for a low-carb, sugar-free version)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Cook Ground Beef: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Sauté Onion and Garlic: Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet with the ground beef. Sauté until the onion is translucent.
  4. Prepare Green Beans: Steam or boil the green beans until they are just tender. You can also blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. Combine Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  6. Assemble Casserole: In a baking dish, layer half of the cooked ground beef and onion mixture. Add a layer of half the green beans. Pour half of the soup mixture over this layer. Repeat with the remaining beef, green beans, and soup mixture.
  7. Top with Cheese: Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  8. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly, and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  9. Serve: Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your delicious hamburger and green bean casserole!

Feel free to customize this recipe based on your preferences. You can add spices, herbs, or other low-carb vegetables to enhance the flavor.