Oct 29, 2010

Friday Thought

The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

I dream and hope and plan to experience the reality of a Happy Friday!

Life of Kitchen Appliances

The National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America, did research entitled the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components.
Here is a list of their findings.

    * Cabinets: 50 years
    * Compactor: 6 years
    * Countertop (natural stone): Lifetime
    * Countertop (marble): 20 years
    * Dishwasher:  9 years
    * Faucet:  15 years
    * Microwave Oven: 9 years
    * Range, Electric: 13 years
    * Range, Gas: 15 years
    * Refrigerator: 13 years
    * Sink (enamel steel): 5-10 years

What's in a Name - Mentor

A mentor is described as a teacher or trusted counselor. Mentoring is very common, both on an informally and as a part of formal education programs. In Homer’s Odyssey, the main character, Odysseus, asks Mentor to look after his son, Telemachus, when Odysseus departs for the Trojan War. The two develop a near-paternal relationship, as Mentor (and the Goddess Athena, in disguise as Mentor) helps Telemachus to overcome the difficulties he faces.

Ten Halloween Facts

It is actually supposed to be spelled Hallowe'en.

It has been celebrated for over 2000 years as pagan traditions.

Wearing masks comes from the Welsh and Celtic traditions that the dead visit the living on that day.

During the 1800s in America, the end of harvest was celebrated by wearing costumes, eating sweets, and playing tricks on each other.

Jack O' Lanterns started out in Ireland as hollowed out turnips with candles in them to ward off evil spirits.

Ninety nine percent of pumpkins are sold for Halloween for carving.

Orange and black are the traditional colors, because they represent the harvest and evil.

If you see a spider on Halloween, it is said to be the spirit of a loved one watching over you.

Eighty six percent of Americans decorate their house for Halloween, but the number is dwindling.

Halloween costume sales reached six billion dollars in 2009. Adults were 62% of that number.

About two billion dollars is spent on Halloween candy, annually.

Why Pumpkins are Better Than Men

Each year you get to choose from a brand new crop. No matter your mood, pumpkins greet you with a smile. They can make a pie. If you don't like their looks, just carve them another face. When they start smelling, you can toss them out. They're only turned on when you want them to be.

Catch 22

Did you know it was originally named “Catch-11.”? Author Joseph Heller tried out Catch-11, but because the original Ocean’s Eleven movie was newly in theaters, it was scrapped to avoid confusion. He also wanted Catch-18, but a recent publication made him switch titles to avoid confusion, Leon Uris’ 'Mila 18'. The number 22 was finally chosen because it was 11 doubled.

Windows 7 Tips

If you use Windows 7, you might like this one. To make any page you are looking at move to fill the screen (if it is not already full screen), just hit the 'Windows" key and the "up arrow" key. If you want the open window to fill half the screen and move to the left side, hit the "Windows" key and the "left arrow" key. To move right, Windows and right arrow. Hit the same combo to go back to where you were.

Land of the Free Land

Some communities need residents. Some need jobs. Some need development. In order to get those things, a few communities will give you free land.

For the most part, the places doing this are rural communities without much in the way of work opportunities, but doesn't the whole world work virtually now,

Several small cities in rural Kansas will give you a land lot if you agree to fashion housing of at least 1,000 square feet on it. If one lot isn’t large enough and you’d like to garden, the city of Marquette, Kansas  would be pleased give you a second lot adjacent to the first, also for free. These are developed lots with water, sewer, and electricity.

Muskegon, Michigan is giving away free land for companies that create new industrial jobs. You get five acres for 25 jobs; create 100 jobs and get 30 acres. The free sites have full utilities and easy access to highways, a deep-water port, railroads, and the Muskegon County Airport.

There are opportunities in Nebraska, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Oct 27, 2010

Hand Sanitizer

How effective is it? A new survey finds most people think hand sanitizer works for an hour or more. Actually, it only protects for two minutes. The best germicidal thing you can do is wash with soap and water.

Nike Beginning

In 1972, University of Oregon track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman began experimenting with ways to make a better running shoe. One night on a whim, he poured a urethane mixture into his wife’s waffle iron.

The result was a shoe sole with protruding square segments that offered greater impact absorption. Conveniently, Bowerman’s revelation came precisely when one of his former track stars was trying to launch a fledgling shoe company. His name was Phil Knight. With a simple handshake, the two men formed the most successful sneaker company in history.

Bacon Palooza

Sorry I missed that one. A few weeks ago in New York, an event was held. It was billed as a “Meaty” FUNDRAISER TO HELP KIDS WITH AUTISM!' and “The Power of Bacon has been harnessed for the Forces of Good!” Come on, admit it. We all share the goodness of bacon.

MMM - They even had a bacon eating contest.

Sony Walkman Farewell

Sony’s portable tape cassette player first released in 1979 has finally reached the end of its production life. The final batch was produced in Japan in April, 2010 and no more will be produced. Over 200 million cassette Walkman players have been sold.

The Walkman is widely credited with pioneering the concept of personal, portable audio beyond the radio. It helped spur on the cassette as a popular format and also maintained interest in albums. Interest began to fade in the 1990s when the Discman took over, and more decline followed with the iPod introduction. Wow, from revolutionary idea to demise in a few short years.

RapLeaf Opt Out

RapLeaf is an internet company that compiles your personal information, including name, email, etc and sells it to political parties, marketers, etc. It has been accused of sending names along with personal identification info, gender, income info, children ages, Facebook accounts, and more. It has already sold and sent this info to a number of marketers, although it says it was a mistake and has stopped selling personally identifiable info.
Here is a LINK to a Wall Street Journal article explaining more.

In any case, you can opt out here LINK and let them know you do not wish to play.

Oct 22, 2010

Happy Friday

Life is a comedy for those who think... and a tragedy for those who feel.

I think I feel like having a Happy Friday!

Black Friday 2010

That is the day after Thanksgiving and this year looks like a fun time for discounts. According to Accenture Consulting firm’s findings, 83% of shoppers plan to spend the same or less on holiday gifts compared to 2009. Only 13% of shoppers said they are willing to pay full price for specific gifts this year, while 40% said they will buy all or mostly discounted items. 87% said that they are only interested in purchasing items that are marked down at least 20%, and 25% said they will only purchase items with a discount of 50% or more.

Meanwhile, 41% of shoppers plan to buy at least half their holiday gifts online, and 43% said that they’re most motivated by free shipping offers. 25% believe that there are simply better discounts to be had online than in stores.


The quest for all things tasting like bacon continues with another new invention. 

This time it is envelope glue that tastes like bacon. Kind of takes the pain out of paying bills.

Political Ages

Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Theodore Roosevelt was 24 when he was elected to the New York State Legislature and became President at 42. John F. Kennedy was 43 when he was elected President. Ted Kennedy was 30 when he entered the Senate. Andrew Jackson joined the Senate at age 29, created the Democratic party and had a donkey as his personal totem. The party used the donkey symbol in honor of him. Joe Biden joined the Senate at age 29, thirty eight years ago.

Origin of Tabasco Sauce

Edmund McIlhenny was a self-made man, the kind of guy who picked himself up by the bootstraps, worked 12 hours a day and became a prominent New Orleans banker, just in time for the American Civil War to erupt and destroy everything he worked so hard to achieve.

Once Union soldiers invaded his town, McIlhenny fled with his family to his wife's home at a place called Avery Island, which wasn't actually an island. McIlhenny started a new life helping to run the family salt mines, which was actually pretty good business. The Avery Island salt mine provided the Confederacy with 22 million pounds of salt during the war, and before he knew it, McIlhenny was back on his feet!

That is, until Union forces mounted an attack on his salt mine and he had to flee once more. This time they went to Texas, where the McIlhennys wisely stayed put until the end of the war.

They returned and found that everything had been destroyed and the only crops that seemed to thrive in the ashy, salty soil were some pepper plants from the Mexican state of Tabasco.

Thanks to the war, in 1868 those peppers were pretty much the only thing McIlhenny had going for him. So, he mixed them up with some Avery Island salt, vinegar, other peppers and Tabasco sauce was born. He bottled his concoction in some old perfume bottles and started shipping to them grocers around the country. Two years later he got a patent, and the McIlhenny family has been running the Tabasco brand ever since.


In 2000, delegates of Canada’s United Alternative convention needed a name for their newly formed political party. They came up with Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, which in addition to taking roughly six minutes to pronounce was abbreviated CCRAP. Organizers quickly realized the blunder and changed the party’s name to the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance.

Oct 19, 2010


William Archibald Spooner has the dubious distinction of having the linguistic phenomenon known as a “spoonerism” named after him.

A spoonerism involves the accidental (or sometimes intentional) swapping of letters, words, or vowels in a sentence – for example: “Go and shake a tower” (meaning “go and take a shower”). Spooner was a professor at Oxford and he became so famous for his spoonerisms that people would attend his lectures just to hear him make a mistake. He was not pleased about the great publicity that surrounded him, but as he neared death his attitude softened and he gave interviews to the press. Spooner once wrote to a fellow professor to ask him to come immediately to help solve a problem. At the end of the letter he added a post-script that the matter had been resolved and he needn’t come.

Some spoonerisms attributed to Spooner are: “Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. Can I sew you to another sheet?” (Pardon me, madam, this pew is occupied. Can I show you to another seat?)
“Let us glaze our asses to the queer old Dean” (…raise our glasses to the dear old Queen)
“We’ll have the hags flung out” (…flags hung out).

Silver Spoons

Born with a silver spoon in your mouth is an old saying. The spoon is the apostle spoon, or christening spoon, which is given to babies at their baptism by their godparents (this tradition has been practiced in Europe since the early 17th century and in the US since the early 18th).

The spoons often functioned as a status symbol and sign of the family’s wealth, with rich godparents traditionally giving the infant 12 spoons, usually silver, one for each apostle. Godparents who were not as well off give four spoons, one for each of the four Gospel writers. Godparents who couldn’t afford multiple spoons or silver usually just give just one spoon made of a non-precious metal.

The tradition of the apostle spoons is still practiced in some Roman Catholic families both in Europe and the US, the figurative silver spoon has taken on the negative connotation that a person attained their wealth through inheritance, not hard work.

Solar Power and Heat

Solar power panels trap heat along with making electricity. Global warming activists are facing a conundrum trying to reconcile reducing global warming by eliminating other fuels and increasing global warming by their own solution.

Cheese and Cooking Spray

To prevent low-fat cheese from turning to rubber in the microwave, spray your nachos with a quick blast of cooking spray, like Pam, before putting them in the microwave. Also, spray the inside of a grilled-cheese sandwich before you toss it in the frying pan. This adds just enough fat to make the cheese stay gooey and creamy as it slowly melts.


The telecom giant got its start in Finland in 1865, when Fredrik Idestam opened a pulp mill and started making paper on the banks of Tammerkoski. His second paper mill was built in the town of Nokia, a few miles away. The name of the town, Nokia, originated from the river which flowed through the town. The river itself, Nokianvirta, was named after the archaic Finnish word originally meaning a small, dark-furred animal that lived on the banks of the Nokianvirta river.

The company later bounced around a number of industries, including electricity and rubber, before getting serious about phones in the 1960s. Makes me chuckle to think of the millions of people who don't realize they are putting a small, dark-furry animal up to their ears and speaking into it.


It looks like the popular internet acronym and now may even bear some resemblance. In a recent report, the WWF (previously known as World Wildlife Fund) says, "The over-use and pollution of Earth's natural resources have become so extreme that, at current rates, a second planet will be needed by 2030 to meet the world's needs." The report also added, "four and a half planets would be needed if everyone used as many resources as the average American." I wonder what bar that study was conducted in and how it even got published by USA TODAY.

Oct 15, 2010

Happy Friday

Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say.

I listen to my friends and even if they don't say it, I know it is time to have a Happy Friday!

Car Colors

Have we become automotively boring? Seems like the car color choices we make are as boring as the car design choices.

The superstar of car colors has been silver since 1990, and according to PPG's latest study, it continues. For the tenth year in a row, the silver, charcoal and gray category are number one colors for new car buyers. In 2008, it accounted for 20 percent of vehicles sold, 25 percent in 2009, and currently is 31 percent.

Behind silver are black and white, tied for second with 18 percent apiece. Red is 11 percent and blue is 10 percent. Last at 4 percent is green.

Last Week - Lost Week

If we lived in the 1500s, we would have skipped this past week. That is when the  calendars changed from Julian to Gregorian. The ten days between Oct. 4 and Oct. 15, 1582 had been declared out of existence by the pope.

By the mid-1570s, the Julian Calendar established in 45 B.C. was 10 days behind the real seasons of the year. The spring equinox was actually occurring about March 12 and Easter was falling too late in spring. All this happened because the Earth year is about 11 minutes short of the 365¼ days set by Julius Caesar. It’s really 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds. If the drift kept up, Easter would eventually have been observed in the summer, and Christmas in the spring.

Pope Gregory XIII appointed a commission to tweak the Julian Calendar. Under the leadership of physician Aloysius Lilius and Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius, the commission consulted with scientists and clergy. After wrestling with various ideas for half a decade, the commission proposed eliminating three leap years in every 400 (years ending in 00, unless they are divisible by 400).

That would prevent further creep of the calendar against the seasons (except for a minuscule under-correction). But resetting the calendar so the equinox would come in late March needed a more drastic solution: 10 days would have to be wiped out of existence.

The commission sent its report to the pope Sept. 14, 1580. He issued a papal bull (formal proclamation issued by the pope, usually written in antiquated characters and sealed with a leaden bulla (seal)) on Feb. 24, 1582, declaring that the new calendar would go into force in October (when there were few holy days), and that 10 days would be skipped. The day after Oct. 4 would be called Oct. 15.

Only Italy, Spain and Portugal were fully ready by October.

Everyone’s birthday moved to a calendar date 10 days later, too, so 365 days would pass between one birthday and the next. Rents, interest, and wages had to be recalculated for a month that had only 21 days.

Most of Catholic Europe adopted the new, Gregorian calendar by 1584, but the old Julian calendar held on until 1752 in Britain and its colonies, and through 1918 in Russia, which used to celebrate its own October Revolution, in November. My, how time flies.

Encyclopedia of Life

Waited a long time to post this one until the site became a bit more information rich. The site claims to develop information for "each species of organism on earth". A lofty goal and it is yet to be achieved. Anyway, this might provide some interesting reading. LINK


Top Coffee Tidbits

Here are some interesting tidbits about coffee that you probably never thought about.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world behind oil.

Coffee was reportedly discovered by a goat herder, named Kaldi, in the 9th-century. He noticed his goats acting strange when they ate the cherries from the coffee tree so he tried it for himself.

Light roasted coffee beans have more caffeine than dark, because the longer coffee is roasted the more caffeine is cooked out of the bean.

Espresso is not a type of coffee bean, it is a type of coffee brewing method. There is also the espresso grind, which is very fine, close to Turkish grind. That is what I use and It makes highly flavorful coffee.

Coffee comes from a tree or bush that bears cherry fruit. The coffee bean is the seed that resides within the cherry. Coffee cherry taste is like a tart fruit that some describe as light, honey, and sweet.

Coffee was declared illegal 3 times by 3 different cultures. The first was in Mecca during the 16th century and the prohibition was lifted after 30 years of debate among scholars and jurists. The second was Charles the II in Europe banning coffee houses trying to quell the ongoing rebellion, but it was never enforced. The third was Fredrick the Great who banned the beverage in Germany in 1677 because he was concerned with the economic implications of money leaving the country. Some religions still prohibit coffee consumption .

There are over 50 species of coffee world wide. Only two, arabica and robusta, are commonly used in commercial coffee production.

Over 500 billion cups of coffee are drunk each year and over half of those are drunk at breakfast.

Coffee can actually be used to fuel a car. The test car, built by BBC1 Science Program 'Bang Goes the Theory', is powered only by roasted coffee granules. The car gets about 1 mile per pound of coffee. At that rate, it will not overtake the the gasoline engine anytime soon.

Starbucks gives away used coffee grounds for use in your garden. Next time you are in your favorite, ask for a bag. It is good for your garden.

How American coffee came to be called joe and other names is not well documented, but probably stems from the common terminology that called the 'ordinary guy' 'an ordinary Joe'. The name joe appears to have been primarily used in the military, and particularly the navy, during the first half of the twentieth century. Mocha Java is regarded as the first coffee blend. Mocha gets its name from the port of Mocha and is grown in the mountains of Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula. Java is from the island of Java in Indonesia. Mud and murk are self explanatory. Having a hot cup in the morning is like starting your day with an old friend.


A term coined by Stanford University professor Robert N. Proctor to describe the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. Excuse me, but is it getting warm in here?

Bowlers Coming Back

The once iconic Bowler hat is set to make a fashion a comeback, according to tailors who say they are being inundated with requests for them.

Worn by Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and the headwear of choice for civil servants and bankers the bowler dropped out of fashion in the 1960s.

Tailors Austin Reed says it has so many customer inquiries about the headgear it will soon stock it for the first time in 12 years.

Some American celebrities have recently been pictured wearing one, which is thought to have sparked an interest in the hats which date back to 1849. Some of my favorites pictured, Laurel and Hardy, and John Steed wore them. Of course could not add Steed without adding Emma Peel.

Oct 12, 2010

What's in a Name - Derrick

A derrick is a lifting device designed for moving large objects. They are used widely in engineering, and to drill for oil and gas reserves. Thomas Derrick was a hangman in Elizabethan England, and was a convicted rapist who was facing the death penalty.

Derrick was offered a pardon by the Earl of Essex, if he worked for the state as an executioner. During his time as a hangman, he designed a new system with a topping lift and pulley, as opposed to the rope over a beam method. Derrick executed over 3,000 people. One of whom, rather ironically, was The Earl of Essex, the man who pardoned him.

Oct 11, 2010

Flowers, Foreplay, Facelifts, Flatulence

Here is a sample of my latest book 'Flowers, Foreplay, Facelifts, Flatulence' (number 42). A humorous romp through the four stages of relationships. Enjoy!

If you want a copy, you can get it on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore.

click on Fullscreen to enlarge.

Flowers Foreplay Facelifts Flatulence Scribd

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso was originally bred as a watchdog for Tibetan palaces and monasteries. It was difficult for an intruder to sneak in past the watchful, yipping pooches. The “Lhasa” in the name comes from the city of Lhasa, Tibet’s longtime capital. Apso is a Tibetan word meaning “bearded,” so the breed’s name signifies that it’s a longhaired dog that originated in Tibet.

Oct 7, 2010


Scientists have developed an iPhone app that can give cheap, accurate prescriptions for glasses. The Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment (NETRA) works in a radically different way than conventional eye tests to diagnose the exact prescription someone will need in a matter of minutes.

The patient uses the phone's buttons to adjust the position of sets of parallel green and red lines until they overlap. Instead of just estimating which of two views is less blurry the user adjusts their own display to make a scene come into focus.  The more the buttons are pressed, the worse the person’s eyesight. This test is performed eight times for each eye, then it analyzes the results and delivers a prescription within minutes. The system is even able to measure other abnormalities, such as astigmatism.

The app could drastically slash the cost of eye tests.

Patients tests their eyesight by staring into a small, cheap plastic lens which fits over the iPhone’s screen. The scientists say that even though the plastic attachment will cost around a dollar at first, it could be far cheaper if produced in bulk.

Chinese Inventions

Did you know the Chinese invented making silk from the cocoons of certain caterpillars. They also invented the compass, gunpowder, porcelain, wheelbarrow, paper, and early computer called an abacus. This was a simple calculator using beads which were moved along wires.

Others, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Japanese also used it to perform arithmetic problems. It can be used to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and to calculate square roots and cube root. The abacus is still in use today.

Food Fact

The Forbes 2020 team of experts and authors predicts that by the year 2018, 20% of all food consumed in U.S. cities will come from rooftop and parking lot farms.

Reusable Grocery Bag Bacteria

They may be good for the environment, but reusable grocery bags are also a breeding ground for bacteria. Many responsible shoppers choose their groceries and put them into the same bags during each trip to the store. Bits of food and debris drop to the bottom and form a perfect haven for bacteria. New food becomes contaminated and provides new droppings for the germs already in the bag.

If you plan to use reusable bags, the best idea is to find some that are washable and wash them in hot water to kill those little buggers living in the bottom.

New Intel Computer Chips

Intel's new computer chips are 32nanometers. Compared to Intel’s first microprocessor, introduced in 1971, a 32nm CPU runs over 4000 times as fast and each transistor uses about 4000 times less energy.
 The price per transistor has dropped by a factor of about 100,000.
  If you walked a billion steps, you would go around the earth 20 times.
 The original transistor built by Bell Labs in 1947 was so large it was put together by hand.
 More than 60 million 32nm transistors can fit on the head of a pin.
 More than 4 million 32nm transistors can fit in the period at the end of this sentence.
 A 32nm transistor contains gates that are so small, you can fit 3,000 of them across the width of a human hair.
 A 32nm transistor can switch on and off over 300 billion times in one second. It would take you 4000 years to flick a light switch on and off that many times.

Oct 1, 2010

Happy Friday Oct 1

Teens have time and energy, but no money.
Adults have money and energy, but no time.
Elders have time and money, but no energy.

I have the time, money, and energy to have a Happy Friday!

Smelly Room

Put out a plate of water, sprinkle some cinnamon in it, and let it sit overnight for a fresh smelling room.

What's in a Name - Aids

When Joan Woehrmann started her ambulance company in Whittier, CA, in 1955, she hit on a pretty brilliant acronym: AIDS. The letters stood for attitude, integrity, dependability, and service, which are all great qualities for an ambulance line. The name was also easy to remember in times of crisis.

By 1985, the LA Times reported that Woehrmann’s drivers were being taunted and that the public mistakenly started to think that the line only transported AIDS patients. Finally, she had enough and changed the line’s name to “AME,” even giving up the ambulances’ customized line of “AIDS 1” and “AIDS 2” license plates.


Gelotology is the study of humor and laughter, and its effects on the human body. It is also the psychological and physiological study of laughter. The word is from the Greek gelos, geloto meaning laugh, laughter.

A group of scientists at the University of California medical school say they have found the part of the brain that controls laughter. All of us are born with the physical and neurological apparatus for laughing, and we will do it without being taught how, starting at about 4 weeks of age.

Research has led to new and beneficial therapies practiced by doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals using humor and laughter to help patients cope or treat a variety of physical and psychological issues. There seems to be something to the old saying "laughter is the best medicine." As Voltaire said, "The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease."

-   Humor Therapy: It is also known as therapeutic humor. Using humorous materials such as books, shows, movies, or stories to encourage spontaneous discussion of the patients' own humorous experiences.

-    Laughter Therapy: Clients' laughter triggers are identified such as people in their lives, things from childhood, situations, movies, jokes, comedians, etc. that make them laugh.

-    Laughter Meditation: In laughter meditation there are some similarities to traditional meditation. However, it is the laughter that focuses the person to concentrate on the moment. Through a three stage process of stretching, laughing and/or crying, and a period of meditative silence.

-    Laughter Yoga and Laughter Clubs: Somewhat similar to traditional yoga, laughter yoga is an exercise which incorporates breathing, yoga, and stretching techniques, along with laughter. Maybe they should just read some of my books.

Feeling Nostalgic

Here are a few links to some old time radio commercials and old radio shows. COMMERCIALS  RADIOWORLD You can also hear the original "Who's on First" HERE