Sep 29, 2010

Pineberries

This fruit was bred from a wild strain of strawberry in South America that was saved by a group of Dutch farmers. Its genetic makeup is said to be identical to that of a strawberry, however it is a small white berry with red seeds and kind of tastes like pineapple.

Because they are a brand new variety of fruit released this past spring, they are still rare, but are currently being sold in Europe and Belize. Hope they get here soon.

Zippers

Have you ever noticed that almost every zipper has the letters YKK on it? The YKK stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha.  In 1934 Tadao Yoshida founded YKK, which is now the worlds largest zipper manufacturer, making about 90% of all zippers in over 206 facilities in 52 countries.  YKK not only makes zippers and fasteners for clothes, cars, bags, and just about anything that needs to be closed, it also make the machines that make the zippers.

Aunt Jemima Pancakes

Doesn't get better than this. Aunt Jemima with bacon pancakes.

Weimaraner

The beautiful gray dogs with the expressive eyes has probably only been around since the 19th century. According to tradition, that’s when Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar began to selectively breed hunting dogs that were fast, had strong noses, wouldn’t back down from large game like wolves or wildcats, and were smart.

Karl August’s breed allegedly became fashionable among his fellow Weimar noblemen, and the breed gained popularity as a bird-hunting dog as well.

Of Toilets and Paper

 Interesting toilet tidbits:
   * King Minos of Crete had the first flushing water closet recorded in history and that was over 2800 years ago.

    * A toilet was discovered in the tomb of a Chinese king of the Western Han Dynasty that dates back to 206 BC to 24 AD.

    * The ancient Romans had a system of sewers. They built simple outhouses or latrines directly over the running waters of the sewers that poured into the Tiber River

    * Chamber pots were used during the middle ages. A chamber pot is a special metal or ceramic bowl that you used and then tossed the contents out (often out the window).

    * In 1596, a flush toilet was invented and built for Queen Elizabeth I by her Godson, Sir John Harrington.

    * The first patent for the flushing toilet was issued to Alexander Cummings in 1775.

    * In 1829, the Tremont Hotel of Boston became the first hotel to have indoor plumbing, and had eight water closets built by Isaiah Rogers. Until 1840, indoor plumbing could be found only in the homes of the rich and the better hotels.

    * Beginning in 1910, toilet designs started changing away from the elevated water tank into the modern toilet with a close tank and bowl.


Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet. Although he did have patent improvements for it. The crapper company went out of business in 1966.

World War I soldiers passing through England brought together Crapper's name and the toilet. They saw the words T. Crapper-Chelsea printed on the tanks and coined the slang "crapper" meaning toilet.
The word 'crap' was around before Thomas Crapper.

Hugh Heffner Income and Outgo

The bunny maker does very well for himself.
Monthly income:
– Salary from Playboy: $116,667
– Social Security: $1,896
– Dividends and interest: $121,099
– Rental property: $17,058
– Income from HMH Productions: $15,808
– Pensions and retirement: $413
– Other miscellaneous income: $17,639

–Total monthly income: $290,580

Monthly Outgo
– Rent (including household supplies, utilities, cell phone, etc.): $53,593
– Food: $18,000
– Entertainment: $25,000
– College expenses for kids: $10,130
– Health care: $3,215

- Total monthly outgo $109,938

Sep 24, 2010

Days

Arrgh! Hope you enjoyed International Talk Like a Pirate Day Sep 19.
And today (September 24) is National Punctuation Day (sic)






Also, in case you forgot, World Alzheimer's Day was September 21.

Crazy Crook

In 1995 two bank robberies were performed by an individual wearing no disguise. The surveillance tapes insured that he was arrested the same day. When he was shown the videos he was amazed that they could see his face. He said, “but I wore the juice”. He had been told that putting lemon juice on your face would keep it from showing up on security cameras.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell was a real guy. John Russell was born in Dartmouth, England in 1795, and over the years he became quite a hunting enthusiast. While he was studying to become a clergyman at Oxford, he met a milkman who had a white terrier bitch named Trump who seemed to be the perfect dog for fox hunting. After convincing the milkman to sell him the dog, Russell began breeding Trump to develop a line of terriers with the stamina to hunt foxes all day and the courage to go after game that had slipped into holes.

International Parking Day

Couldn't resist adding a few pics from International Parking Day, held last week around the globe. It started about five years ago when a company paid the meter for a parking spot for 24 hours. Each year it gets bigger as people grab a spot and decorate it for a day. Here is the site http://parkingday.org



New Guinness World Records

Susan Boyle is in the book for the fastest selling debut album. Her debut album sold 411,820 copies in its first week in the UK. She is also listed as the oldest person to reach number one with a debut album. Other singers to make the new edition include Sir Tom Jones, the oldest artist to have a number one single, and Lady Gaga, who was crowned the most searched-for woman on the internet.

Bringing Home The Bacon

It has become more expensive than in the past, because of shortage of supply and increased demand. On the store shelves, average retail prices have risen more than $1 per pound since last year, to more than $4, the US Department of Agriculture reports. This is happening in the middle of other price reductions and discounts, due to the poor economy.

Bacon was once thought of only a breakfast food, but now is a round-the-clock food showing up as a garnish on all manner of dishes, including concoctions from a variety of chocolate makers. Almost two billion pounds of bacon are consumed in the United States each year, according to the National Pork Board.

One analyst suggests that demand is up because restaurants, seeking to regain business lost to the tight economy last year, have been adding more bacon to sandwiches and salads to spice up flavors.

Sep 22, 2010

Top Ten Dead Celebrities Incomes

Income for 2009.

10. Michael Crichton - $9 million (Author)

9. Albert Einstein - $10 million (Mainly gained from licensing his likeness)

8. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) - $15 million (Children's books)

7. John Lennon - $15 million

6. Charles Schulz - $35 million (Creator of Peanuts cartoons)

5. J.R.R. Tolkien - $50 million (Lord of the Rings)

4. Elvis Presley - $55 million

3. Michael Jackson - $90 million

2. Rodgers & Hammerstein - $235 million (Composers, South Pacific, Oklahoma, etc.)

1. Yves Saint Laurent - $350 million (Clothing designer - derived mostly from the auctions of his estate)

Zettabyte

Humankind will generate over one sextillion bytes of digital information this year, surging into a zettabyte. In 2010, 1.2 zettabytes of digital information will be created, according to a new Digital Universe study from IDC, sponsored by IT firm EMC Corporation.

A zettabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes (that's 21 zeroes for those counting). Think of a zettabyte like watching an hour long tv show continuously for 125 years.

Hospital Facts

There are 5,815 registered hospitals in America with a total of 951,045 staffed beds. These serve 310,265,000 US citizens as of September 17, 2010, about 1 bed for every 325 people.  US contains 4.52% of the world's population.

Climate Change

It sure shows that scientists are flexible. First it was Global Cooling, then Global Warming, now the buzzword is just Climate Change. Personally, I prefer Change Happens.

Bacon Skates

This photo was taken in November 1931 in Chehalis, Washington at the town’s Egg Festival. The occasion was a try to break the world record for largest omelette. Two women tied bacon to their feet and skated around the warming skillet to grease it. Then a team of chefs cracked and beat 7,200 eggs and made a breakfast delight.


Sep 17, 2010

Happy Constitution Day

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. Australia also observes a Citizenship Day on this date.

Dancing With The Stars

The amount each star makes for agreeing to be on the show and dancing in the first two episodes is $125,000.00. Stars then earn $10,000 each for weeks three and four and $50,000 each for the final two episodes. Not bad for a little pitter patter.

Lights Out

 The last major GE factory making incandescent light bulbs in the United States is turning out the lights, literally. It is closing this month, marking an exit for a product that began in the 1870s.

It is the result of a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescent bulbs beginning in 2012. Other countries are doing the same. Some stores have announced phasing out incandescents as early as the end of 2010.

Much controversy remains as to whether the high cost of replacement bulbs is really offset by the savings in electricity. Of course, the US does not produce the replacement bulbs, they all come from overseas, so US jobs are leaving with the bulbs. My bet is that LEDs will emerge as the winner over all the others. If you love your ordinary bulbs, stock up, because they will cost more as they become less available.

Unions

Seems unions are suffering based on labor figures by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall unionization rate in the US was 12.1 percent, down from 12.4 percent the previous year.

The private sector, for the first time ever, employed fewer union members than the public sector. The number of union workers employed in the private sector fell from approximately 7.91 million in 2008 to 7.19 million in 2009, while the number of public-sector union workers dropped from 7.86 million to 7.76 million.

In California, the highest unionized state, unionization rates were down across a range of groupings, with the most significant losses in:

    * Transportation and utilities fell from 41.7 percent to 36.4 percent
    * Public administration fell from 58.1 percent to 52.1 percent

Hogan's Heros

September 17, 1965 - CBS television premieres Hogan's Heroes, the first and perhaps only sitcom based in a German prisoner-of-war camp. It ran until 1971, but reruns are still seen on many TV channels.

Septembers Past

September 4, 1888 -
George Eastman patented his first rollfilm camera and registers "Kodak" in September 1888. Also in September, Ford introduce the Edsel in 1957.

Sep 14, 2010

2001 A Space Odyssey

 Love this picture from 1968, where the guys had iPad devices on the breakfast table, long before PCs were invented. Nice that reality has caught up to the past.

Still waiting for the space elevator to be completed. . .

Dallas Cowboys


The Cowboys, who began play in the NFL in 1960, were originally nicknamed the Steers. The team’s general manager, Texas E. Schramm, decided that having a castrated ox as a mascot might subject the team to ridicule, so he changed the name to Rangers. Then he feared that people would confuse the football team with the local minor league baseball team nicknamed the Rangers and finally changed the nickname to Cowboys shortly before the season began.

Greenland Ice Loss - Not So Bad

Estimates of the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica, should be halved, according to Dutch and US scientists.

Several teams have estimated Greenland and West Antarctica are shedding billions of tons of ice per year. However, according to the new study, published in the September issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, those ice estimates fail to correct for a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment.

"We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted. If the figures for overall sea level rise are accurate, icesheet loss would be contribute about 30 percent, rather than roughly half." The rest would come mainly from thermal expansion, meaning that as the sea warms it rises. Darn, now we have to wait another few hundred years to swim in the Los Angeles Basin.

Book Sizes

I know everyone sits up at night wondering why books are the size they are. Well, I went looking to find out. Books are as big as they are because medieval sheep were as big as they were.

Medieval books were constructed of parchment, mainly sheep skin. If you take an average sheep and skin it and trim off the odd parts, like legs, etc., you get one gigantic sheet of parchment. When it is folded in half, it makes two pages of an old book. Fold it in half again and you get the size of an encyclopedia. In half again and you get the current hardback book size.

Next time you're squinting at your copy one of my books (you do have one, don't you), wishing the pages were just a bit bigger, blame the medievals for not having bigger sheep. Kind of reminds me about the width of railroad tracks and horses behinds, but that is for another day.

Sep 10, 2010

Cyberchondriacs

They have increased from 50 million in 1998 to 175 million today, according to market research firm Harris Interactive. And they are also getting more active. 32% of all adults who look for health information 'often', is up from 22% last year.

A cyberchondriac is a person who looks for healthcare information online. The net is replete with medical information (and anything else you can possibly imagine). Just as with wikipedia, it is all not good information, but the masses of contributors level it out, so the good overcomes the bad.

People in record numbers use the web to look up information about a condition, treatment, a physician's credentials, or alternative forms of treatment, along with successes and failures of each.

PS - Some doctors do not like being questioned, so tread lightly with your new found information and questions. It is never a good idea to upset a waiter or a doctor.

Windows Top Tip

This works with almost any program you are working in. When you think you have made a mistake, or deleted a file, or forget what you last did, or screwed something up, just hold down the 'Ctrl' (control) key and hit the letter Z. The ctrl keys are on the bottom left and bottom right of most keyboards. It will undo the last action you took. It is the universal undo command for Windows computers.

Personal Kleenex

 Here is an interesting gift for the hypochondriac in the family. My Kleenex  provides users with the opportunity to get their favorite unlicensed photo or drawing printed on their Kleenex box. Customers can create their own designs and styles, can choose from dozens of backgrounds, add their own personal digital photo, and then generate a 3D preview to see what the box will look like.

The boxes are $4.99 each.  Think of the many occasions you could use this. 'I heard you been cryin, because I been lyin, Cheer up. . .' 'Heard you are getting married, divorced, having a baby, etc.' 'The next time you sneeze, think of meez.'  I'm sorry, I'll quit now.

Electronic Medical Records

Only a small number of hospitals in the United States have comprehensive electronic health record systems currently in place. The biggest obstacle to adopting such systems are costs, which can run as high as $20 million to $100 million, plus the reluctance of doctors to change their ways. The report is published in the March online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers questioned 3,049 US hospitals about their electronic health record systems. They found that only 1.5 percent had comprehensive systems. A comprehensive system was defined as hospital-wide clinical documentation of cases, test results, prescription and test ordering, plus support for decision-making that included treatment guidelines.

Eight percent of hospitals have electronic records that include physician and nursing notes, but these systems do not have decision support.

The new healthcare bill aims to change all that within the next five years, by offering incentives for implementing electronic medical records systems. Some see difficulties remaining, with the incentives falling way short of costs. In addition, it can take multiple years to implement a comprehensive system.

Bureau of Communication

This site has a collection of fill-in-the-blank forms, from an apology, to events, like birthdays, etc., and even a last will. The forms have spaces to type in information, then can be emailed to anyone. Fun diversion.    http://bureauofcommunication.com/

Origin of Frisbee

Walter Fred Morrison, like most other college kids in the 1930s, spent a great deal of time throwing around pie pans from the Frisbie Baking Company. But it wasn't until he joined the Air Force that he learned about aerodynamics and he realized he was doing science during those pan-flinging sessions.

So, Fred took what he learned about basic aerodynamics from the Air Force and made a prototype of a better flying disc, that didn't have bits of pie crust stuck to it. And instead of tin, he went with plastic. He dubbed his creation the "Pluto Platter," which was ultimately renamed the "Frisbee" and went on to provide hardcore leaping motivation for extreme college kids everywhere.

September 10

The only thing more painful than learning from experience, is not learning from experience.

I have learned from experience to always have a Happy Friday!

Sep 9, 2010

Timex Nail Watch

 This cool watch for your nails was actually announced in 2008, but is lately getting some new press. It snugly fits on your nail and lights up in the dark. Press the end of your thumbnail, and the watch will light up for you.

The watch is the runner up result of the recently organized Timex Watches competition with the code name Timex 2154. It is an extremely thin digital watch made up of translucent material and comes in different color lighting which rhyme in mood with the ambient lighting. No specific release date or cost has been announced.

Google Realtime Search

For those news junkies, or tweet followers, or just those who want an up to the minute (or look back in time) look at breaking stories or topics, Google has a new tool.

You can access Google Realtime Search at its own address, www.google.com/realtime There is a link just under the search box "Learn more about realtime search" that has a video and some tips for using the new feature.

On the new homepage you’ll find some great tools to help you refine and understand your results. First, you can use geographic refinements to find updates and news near you, or in a region you specify. So if you’re traveling to Las Vegas this summer, you can check out tweets from Vegasonians to get ideas for activities happening right where you are. You can check out other things, like earthquakes, etc. and follow the stories from real people in real time.

In addition, there is a conversations view, making it easy to follow a discussion on the real-time web. With the new “full conversation” feature, you can browse the entire conversation in a single glance. Tweets, or other conversations, are organized from oldest to newest and indented so you quickly see how the conversation developed.

There is also an update to Google Alerts, making it easy to stay informed about a topic of your choosing. You can create an alert specifically for “updates” to get an email the moment your topic appears, or you can set alerts to email you once per day or week. The web may have much useless and useful information, but it also provides honesty and truth that is not available from politicians or the media. In the future, it will be difficult to rewrite history when it is available from the web, as it actually happened.

Gusto

Whatever happened to the word gusto? It has been around for over 400 years, but we do not hear it much anymore. The definition says, "vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment'." Maybe we do not have enough vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment about much these days. If we each go out and do something with gusto today we can bring in that delectable word - and have some fun doing it.

YouTube

It has launched a fresh Movies category on its website, gathering about 400 full-length films for your on-demand viewing pleasure, all free of charge.

Sep 3, 2010

What's in a Name

Alfredo di Lelio, an Italian chef, was concerned about his wife who was feeling weak after recently giving birth. He prepared a sauce made from cream, butter and Parmesan cheese to help her regain strength. He then added fettuccine and a wonderful new Italian dish was born, Fettuccine Alfredo. It jumped in popularity in the United States when Hollywood couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford tried the recipe at Alfredo’s restaurant on their honeymoon in Rome.

Helen Porter Mitchell began her opera career and became a famous singer with the stage name Nellie Melba. While staying at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1897, Auguste Escoffier invented Melba Toast in her honor (very thinly sliced and toasted bread usually served with soups). Around the same time, Escoffier and C├ęsar Ritz met and team up to create the first Ritz Hotel.

Exercise Underwear

True - The Japanese have come up with T-shirts and boxers that are supposed to help you lose weight. Uniqlo is marketing a new line of products that claim to help wearers burn more calories from just suiting up. 

Called the ‘Easy Exe’ series, after a phonetic shortening of the word “exercise” in Japanese. The design of plastic dots and lines that traces the gluteus maximus and lower back is said to encourage better posture, which will lead to a more efficient way of walking, according to Uniqlo. Both the boxers and T-shirts cost 1,500 yen ($17). The products are currently available online and in select outlets around Japan. If you buy these, I have this bridge. . .

Mums the Word

This means to keep quiet and comes from Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 2, Act 1, Scene 2:  “Seal up your lips and give no words but mum." It was actually pronounced with a mmmmm, as in a hum.

Bacon Butty

You probably have not heard it by that name. 'Butty' is a term the English use for sandwich. Seems the new prime minister, David Cameron is a fan of bacon butties. Daniel Craig, (James Bond), demands them on the set when he is filming and has them flown in from England.

According to a scientific study (True), an integral part of a successful bacon butty is the aural factor - how loud the crunch is when you bite into it. A classic bacon butty is soft white bread, butter, bacon fat, crispy streaky bacon. Other names are bacon bap, bacon sanger, and bacon sarnies. Ah, by any other name - Yumm!

Old Spice Gets Bacony

Here is a LINK to a quick YouTube about Old Spice, a zeppelin, a heart attack, and bacon - all in 38 seconds.

Reduce Garlic Breath

Scientists reviewing garlic odor recently came to the conclusion that water and fat can reduce garlic breath. They determined that milk, yogurt, a non-skim latte, or even ice cream, are all good breath fixers as they help move garlic quickly through your system.

Tax Cuts

In the unkindest cut of all, New York state is now imposing a tax on cuts. A recent audit by the state Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) slammed 33 Bruegger's Bagels franchises for failing to charge sales tax on sliced bagels. Unsliced bagels are exempt.

The audit also found that Bruegger’s failed to charge tax on meals consumed on the premises.
The state slapped the owner with a hefty bill for back taxes and demanded that he begin collecting. That is not a tax cut, it is a tax on cuts. Maybe Bruegger's should pass out knives for patrons to cut their own taxes by cutting their own bagels.