Aug 30, 2011

Books With Sound

A new start-up called Booktracks has developed something unique. It pairs sound with reading, just like what happened to the motion picture industry when they added sound to silent movies. It provides some excitement that may forever change how we read.

One sample tested has music in the background, but when a passage, such as a door closing is read, the sound of a door closing is heard. It seems to stay in sync, whether you read fast or slow.

Some Booktracks are already available in the Apple App Store. In the works are editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan, The Three Musketeers, Pride and Prejudice and more. This will be a great development to watch and see if it will be revolutionary or fizzle.

Package Delivery

In 1907 in Seattle a teenager named Jim Casey borrowed $100 from his friend, Claude Ryan, and started a local delivery service named American Messenger Company. They provided round-the-clock customer service with courtesy, reliability and low rates.

In 1913 they merged with Mac McCabe and formed Merchants Parcel Delivery. It was the first company to consolidate packages with similar street destinations on one delivery truck. The trucks were painted dark brown color to portray a professional appearance.

They expanded to Oakland and Los Angeles, California. and changed the name to United Parcel Service.  UPS now operates a small package and document network in more than 200 countries and can reach over four billion people.”


One of the nice features is that you have circles of people, so you can set up family, friends, business, etc. When you make a comment, you decide which circle it is intended for and it is only viewable by that group. You can set up a category of people that you follow, and comments can be sent to them independently or you can send to all groups. Below each comment box are icons to add pictures, links, video, location, and this makes it extremely easy to attach. Another feature is that you can add people to your circles so that they receive emails only and do not have to join Google+.

Aug 26, 2011

Happy Friday

If you want to succeed, put your heart, mind, and soul into your smallest acts.

I always put my heart, mind, and soul into having a Happy Friday!


This is a bit scary. Want to know if a particular Bar or Restaurant is crowded before you go there? You can request a photo or video on Crowdmug and find out in minutes. You decide how much you are willing to pay and send in a request on your iPhone. If someone is at the place and accepts, they will take a picture for you. You can also take pictures and/or movies of your favorite place and upload them for free.

Crowdmug bills itself as the site to help you find out about a place before going there. It hopes to build a large library of photos for your viewing pleasure. The samples are quite well done and each place includes a map along with the photo. I imagine some bars and restaurants might upload photos, just to be included in the database.

Muscles and Fat

Muscles and fats are made up of very different types of cells that have completely different functions.  Skeletal muscles get larger when a person exercises. The muscles get larger, with more filaments being developed within the cells to accommodate the more challenging demand on them.

After a person quits exercising, the muscle cells do not magically turn into fat cells. They just shrink.  This allows the body to conserve energy when a person’s daily activities don’t require as much muscle mass.

The myth that muscles turn to fat when a person stops exercising probably stems from the fact that people who body build or otherwise exercise regularly and quit, tend to put on weight.

It all comes down to caloric intake. People who exercise regularly tend eat more food and when they stop exercising their body loses the need for the calories. These people may not reduce their food intake quickly enough to compensate for their reduced caloric needs.

Google Maps Amazon Style

Most of us are comfortable with using Google maps and clicking on the little man to get a street view. Google has been expanding that for the whole world and last year even began an adventure to map the oceans.

Lately, it sent tricycles, like the one to the right to the Amazon to begin street maps there. Tricycles are used for stability and because there are no streets for automobiles. It also began hooking the same 360 degree cameras unto a boat to give us a water view of the Negro River. So, the next time you plan to vacation in the Amazon, you will be able to get a street view before you leave.

Pencils and Erasers

In 1858, there were lead pencils and there were erasers. That year, Hymen Lipman received his patent for putting the two together. A few years later, in 1862 Lipman sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000. that was quite a fortune at the time.

Reckendorfer sued the pencil company Faber for infringement. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Reckendorfer declaring the patent invalid, because his invention was actually a combination of two already known things with no new use. Faber is still in business making pencils and crayons.

The word "pencil" derives from the Latin word "pencillus", meaning tail or little brush. A typical pencil can draw a line 35 miles long, or write about 45,000 words. You cannot get lead poising from pencils, because they do not contain lead. More than half of all pencils are made in China. The typical six sided pencil uses less wood to make than round, is easier to sharpen, and has better grip to not roll off of a surface. There is no reason for the yellow color and many countries do not paint their pencils yellow.

What's in a Name, SPAM

The name SPAM is an acronym of "Shoulder of Pork And Ham." It is unique, both in its computer form and in its canned pink form. The two words have more in common than you might think. The computer spam actually derives its name from a Monty Python sketch set in a café with an entirely Spam-centric menu. In typical Monty Python fashion, the characters (including a chorus of Vikings) break out into a song consisting almost entirely of the word “spam,” thus “spamming” the dialogue.

The sketch was a commentary on the influx of commercially available canned meats during a period of desperate agricultural rebound, the word made its way into the computer world as the annoying and excessive influx of unwanted mail or advertisements.

During the 1980s, online advertising companies attempted to acronym the word as “Sales Promotion And Marketing,” but online spam is worse than any meat or meat byproduct.

Aug 23, 2011

Virtual Boarding Agents

Orly airport in Paris, France is experimenting with "virtual" boarding agents who always smile, don't need breaks, and never go on strike. "Bonjour! I invite you to go to your boarding gate. Paris Airports wishes you a bon voyage," the image appears to say, while the name of the destination flashes in front of it.

The pilot project in July and has so far been met with a mix of amusement and surprise by travelers, who frequently try to touch and speak with the life-like video images that greet them and direct them to their gate. The images materialize seemingly out of thin air when a live boarding agent presses a button to signal the start of boarding.

Images are rear-projected onto a human shaped silhouette made of plexiglass. Three actual airport boarding agents were filmed in a studio to create the illusion, which the airport hopes will be more eye-catching and easier for passengers to understand than current electronic display.

Airport authority AdP came up with the idea when it was brainstorming ways to modernize one of the dozens of boarding gates at Orly. Similar virtual agents have been in airports in London and Manchester since earlier this year.

The gate serves about 30 or 40 flights a day and about 1 million passengers a year pass through it, mainly on their way to destinations in the south of France and Corsica.

The experiment will be evaluated by the end of the year, after which it could be expanded to other gates and other airports.

Corn Starch Remedies

Just came across an article extolling the virtues of corn starch for many things. Pat a thick layer of it on grease stains or spills in leather or fabric furniture, or even on grease stains from things like pizza on wooden tables. On the furniture, let it sit for a few hours or overnight and sweep or vacuum it off. Cheap alternative to those other stain removers. One of the more common uses is to sprinkle on the carpet and vacuum it up. Corn starch takes out dirt and many smells from the carpet. Not many iron at home like they used to, but if you need a touch up, put a tablespoon of cornstarch in a pint of water and use is as a spray starch.

Labrador Retriever

These dogs originated in the region of Canada that’s now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Local fishermen perfected a breed they called the St. John’s water dog, which were prodigious swimmers who would jump in the water and haul fishing nets back to shore.

In the early 19th century the Earl of Malmesbury began bringing the dogs to his English estate and trained them to retrieve the ducks he hunted. The Earl referred to his pack of pooches as his “Labrador dogs” in reference to their home region, and the name stuck as their popularity grew.

Aug 19, 2011

Happy Friday

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.

It would be a tragedy not to be able to dream about a Happy Friday!

What is the Dow Jones

Charles Dow was a legendary newspaper mogul and co-founder of The Wall Street Journal.  The average is named after Dow and one of his business associates, statistician Edward Jones. In 1896, Dow created the first version of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The idea was to monitor the health of the business sector by tracking the performance of the country’s 12 largest firms. The Dow was originally measured in dollars, and accountants averaged the 12 stock prices. The first Industrial Average on record was $40.94. When the firms were doing well, that average went up; when they performed poorly, the Dow went down.

The measuring system has become more sophisticated over the years. The modern index includes 30 companies, and the Dow has to account for things like stock splits and spin-offs.  The value of the Dow is not the actual average of the prices of its component stocks, but rather the sum of the component prices divided by a divisor, which changes whenever one of the component stocks has a stock split or stock dividend, so as to generate a consistent value for the index. Because of these adjustments, the Dow is now measured in points rather than dollars. A single dollar increase in any of its current members’ share prices causes the Dow to rise by about seven points.

A three-person committee, including the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, handpicks the companies, looking for stocks with strong reputations, solid growth, and interest from a broad pool of investors. Of the original 12 companies selected, only General Electric is still in the pool. The 'industrial' in the average’s name is a throwback to the original companies. The Dow remains one of the best indicators of the overall health of the U.S. economy. Lately, the Dow is slipping, but hopefully will never get back down to 40.94.

Why do we say Hello

Thomas Edison wrote a letter to the president of the Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh, PA. In it, he suggested that the word, 'hello' would be a more appropriate greeting than 'ahoy', as was suggested by Alexander Graham Bell for answering the telephone. That is why we pick up the phone anywhere in the world and say: 'Hello, Allo. Alo. Bueno. Pronto. . . wazzup!

Computer Cookies

Cookies are used to save a user’s information and relay this information between your computer and a website. This is used to authenticate a user, provide easier access to password controlled sites, or save various preferences of the user. Cookies are also used to track the sites you visit as well as what you buy online, and then can be read by companies to send direct ads to you, based on your visits. There are many other uses for cookies, but they are all for the web site owners and not users.

The reason the word cookie is used seems to come from a comparison to fortune cookies – the dessert common from fast-food Chinese inside which there is a slip of paper with a fortune. Early internet programmers likely noticed the similarities of a program that saves information within its code and the fortune cookie slips of paper. Cookies are placed on your computer and you are not told. I have an aversion to anyone saving anything on my computer so I regularly delete all cookies. All browsers have a delete cookies feature.


Computer Cookies comes close to some familiar nonsense words that have become part of the language called reduplication, such as, heebie jeebies, okey dokey, zig zag, fuddy duddy, hocus pocus, itsy bitsy, mumbo jumbo, and more. These repeat some sound from one word and make another. Most take on their meaning from usage. I have my bling bling, but I am not trying to be hoity toity.

What's in a Name, TelePromTer

Hubert J. Schlafly Jr. was the onetime “director of television research” at 20th Century Fox. One day, in the late 1940s, he received a request from the vice president for radio and television at Fox, Irving Kahn. Kahn had been talking to a Broadway actor named Fred Barton, who told him that he had an idea for a mechanical device that could help him remember his lines. Kahn asked Schlafly if he could build the contraption.

He attached a motorized scroll inside a suitcase shell, printed half-inch letters on the scroll, and set the device next to the television camera and the teleprompter was born.

Schlafly, Kahn, and Barton all quit their jobs and founded the TelePrompTer Corp., which revolutionized not only television production, where it was first used on a soap opera. President Herbert Hoover was the first prominent politician to use a teleprompter in a speech at the 1952 Republican national convention. Later Lyndon Johnson was the first president to use one during public appearances.


As you may or may not know, a wiki on the internet is a group of interconnected sites that is built from user interaction. Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica and Metapedia are all examples of this “wiki” model. WikiLeaks has recently been in the headlines for its collection of unclassified, classified information. Wikipedia is a brilliant collection of facts that are donated, then editable by anyone. The idea is that the masses will keep the information honest and correct.

In Hawaiian, “wiki wiki” means “quick.” Creator Ward Cunningham decided that a “wiki” online would be a quick way to access and manipulate vast amounts of information.

Pants, Britches, and Trousers

A friend of mine, Bill Biermann asked me why pants and shorts are always plural while a shirt is singular. It sent me to the web, my favorite personal library. It seems that in the beginning, pants, shorts, trousers, knickers, and the like were made of two pieces of material and fastened at the waist, like modern chaps. The plural just stuck. Shirts were always made of one piece of material. So, we have one shirt and one (pair of) pants.

Incidentally, pants is short for pantaloons, which in the beginning were closer in shape to stage tights. The name comes from a Venetian character in Italian comedy, who was the butt of the clown’s jokes and who always appeared as a foolish old man wearing pantaloons. Later the word was applied to fashionable pants.

Trousers came into the language in the seventeenth century from the Gaelic trowse, a singular word for a slightly different garment and a later version of it was trews, taken to be a plural because of the final s. Breeches, or commonly britches, has always been plural and were originally warn as undergarments, then the name was given to shorter pants that ended about the knee and were fastened at the bottom with a broach or string,  Breeches is really singular word that uses a plural form.

Some tailors, such as in London’s Savile Row, often refer to a trouser and the singular pant. A few fashionable tailors in the US also use the singular. I am sure they do it, just so people keep asking the question.

John D. Rockefeller

Two months before his high school graduation, history's first recorded billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., dropped out to take business courses at Folsom Mercantile College. He founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870, made his billions before the company was broken up by the government for being a monopoly, and spent his last 40 years giving away his riches, primarily to causes related to health and education. This high school dropout helped millions get a good education.


The government has a mobile app for your iPhone that shows details of how the stimulus money is and is not being spent. It also has many other details on the web site for your reading pleasure. Did you know that over a hundred billion dollars from the Stimulus has still not been spent?

Aug 13, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Do you remember in the early days of TV that many studies predicted that children would ruin their eyesight by sitting too close to the TV. Those studies have long since been debunked as they proved to be false.

Now, a new study shows that habitual smartphone usage dulls vision as users generally hold their devices too close to their eyes. The study says people hold papers and magazines 16 inches away from their eyes, but smartphones at 14 inches. One ophthalmologist suggested that people get reading glasses. Hmmm. . .

What's in a Name, Luke Short

This guy from the old west had a stature that matched his last name. Luke started out hunting and trapping in Nebraska, but discovered his skill at gambling when he would regularly clean out his acquaintances on the trail.

Gambling led to gunfights and he was a gambler/gunfighter for the rest of his life. He went to Colorado mining camps, visited the Earp Brothers’ Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, AZ and ended up in Dodge City, KS in the 1880′s. Luke bought an interest in the Long Branch Saloon and during an ongoing feud with a rival saloon owner, Luke’s friends Bat  Masterson and Wyatt Earp came to town to help him end it.

Short eventually moved on to Fort Worth, TX and bought the White Elephant gambling hall. He famously gunned fellow gunfighter Long-Haired Jim Courtright when Jim tried to extort protection money from him.

In 1893 Luke sold the White Elephant and moved to Kansas City, MO, where he died in bed the same year at age 39 from an unknown ailment.

Back in the old days, 'seeing the elephant' meant having a great adventure. Also, a 'white elephant' was a worthless investment. In the wild west, white had a racist subtext, because frontier saloons tended to be very segregated. Back then, Fort Worth also had another bar called the Black Elephant.

Finally, the White Elephant bar insides were regularly seen in the Chuck Norris, Texas Rangers series.
Elephants are more afraid of Chuck Norris than mice.

IBM PC Anniversary

Today in 1981, IBM introduced the Model 5150 PC (personal computer). The IBM PC ran on the Intel 8088 microprocessor at 4.77 mHz with one or two 160K floppy disk drives. It had 16 kilobytes of memory, no built-in clock, no built-in serial or parallel ports, and no built-in video capability -- it was available with an optional color monitor. Prices started at $1,565. Thirty years ago it forever changed the face of computing and the changes keep coming.

Show Me The Money

Every time we fill up our tanks, we wrestle with one of life’s thorniest mysteries: Why do gas prices end in 0.9 cents? Unfortunately, the origins of the increment are murky. Some sources attribute the practice to the 1920s and 1930s, when the gasoline tax was nine-tenths of a cent.

Stations would simply slap the extra 0.9 onto the advertised price of a gallon to give Uncle Sam his cut. Others theorize that slashing 0.1 cent off the price undercut competitors back in the days when gas was just a few cents per gallon.

Although most drivers simply ignore the extra 0.9 cents, oil companies certainly don’t. In 2009, Americans consumed 378 million gallons of gas per day, and that extra 0.9 cents per gallon was collectively worth nearly $3.5 million a day. On the flip side, you could also argue that customers collectively saved around $340,000 per day, thanks to stations’ reluctance to round up to the next penny.

Vanilla Extract

Here is a trick that some realtors use to get rid of unpleasant odors and make a house smell better. Put two caps full of vanilla extract in a coffee cup, then place it in the microwave or the oven at 300 degrees for about one hour. Within twenty minutes the whole house smells pleasant. If it gets too strong, turn it off sooner. I found that cooking bacon has the same pleasant effect for many people.


The Dumpster was invented in Knoxville Tennesee by the Dempster brothers. The original name was the Dempster Dumpster. The Dempster-Dumpster system is a way of mechanically loading the contents of standardized containers onto garbage trucks.  The Dempster Dumpmaster, was the first successful front-loading garbage truck, which really brought the word into everyday language.

A dumpster is a large steel waste receptacle designed to be emptied into garbage trucks. The word is a trademark of Dumpster, an American brand name for a type of mobile garbage bin.

Dumpster diving involves people voluntarily climbing into a dumpster to find valuables, or useful items, including food and used clothing.

Aug 12, 2011

Happy Friday

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

I am healthy and content with my faithful devotion to having a Happy Friday!

Aug 9, 2011


People and households earning $1 million or more annually made up 0.1 percent, or about 235,000, of the 140 million tax returns filed in 2009. Tax returns filed by people making $10 million or more amounted to 8,274. About 97% of all filers earned less than $200,000.

National Speed Limits

Sometimes the citizens win, but it takes a while. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, the U.S. government was desperate to convince Americans to burn less gasoline. Realizing that cars are more fuel-efficient when driven at lower speeds, Congress decided to force people to drive slower. In 1974, it enacted a law that set the national speed limit at 55 mph, along with a threat: Any state that didn’t comply with the rule would lose its federal highway funding.

Congress may have set the speed limit, but it was up to individual states to enforce it and many states didn’t appreciate being bossed around. In fact, some states made a mockery of the law. Nevada, for example, refused to write tickets to speeders unless they were caught traveling more than 70 mph; instead, offenders received $5 “energy wasting” fines.

So, did the lowered speed limit actually accomplish its goal? While the law did slash petroleum consumption by 167,000 barrels per day, the savings represented a drop in demand of only about one. Highway fatalities also dropped with the lower speed limit, though some analysts have theorized that this reduction was the result of a general decrease in recreational driving rather than slower speeds.

Nonetheless, both state governments and average citizens whined about the law so much that Congress bumped up the speed limit to 65 mph in 1987, then did away with the law completely in 1995, putting speed limits back in the hands of the states, where it belongs.


This week in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. was established by the United States Congress as an institute of learning. An Englishman, James Smithson, made it possible to create the eponymous institute with his gift of $500,000. It was an enormous amount of money back then.

The Smithsonian Institution supports a wide variety of research projects and publications. It also houses the national museums of natural history, technology, art and history. One of the most popular is the National Air Museum which contains the Wright Brothers original biplane.

It is the world's largest museum and research complex and includes 19 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park. Most Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are free and open every day of the year except December 25.

The Smithsonian has something for everyone from every era. You can find Archie Bunker’s chair and Fonzie's leather jack among other treasures. It provides a much better experience than Disney World or any other amusement park, especially for school age children, from first grade through college.

If you are in the area, plan to spend a few days. If you are not in the area, there is much you can still learn from the comfort of your armchair and the Internet. You will be surprised at what you can learn. One of the few places around DC that is refreshingly free of politics.

Aug 5, 2011

Happy Friday

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.

I am content that I possess good health and have the confidence that I will have a Happy Friday!

NASA Satellite Data

Remote Sensing Journal reports that NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist models have predicted. Dr Roy Spencer, who works on the space agency’s temperature-monitoring satellites, claimed they showed ‘a huge discrepancy’ between the real levels of heating and forecasts by the United Nations and other groups. He used data from the satellite to dispute the notion of global warming. He says his data indicated that far less future global warming will occur than United Nations models predicted.

Related news - A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Floppy Disk Storage

The first floppy disks were invented by IBM to store data and programs. Floppy disks came in 8 inch, 5 1/4 inch and 3 1/2 inch forms and were used for data storage from the mid-1970's to the late 1990's. The floppies held anywhere from 1.44 MB to 6MB worth of data. Now, a micro SD or flash drive or thumb drive can hold many gigabytes of data can fit. These can be used to take your email or other programs with you and run them on any compatible computer, along with your own data. A recent TV ad showed a 4 gig drive for $5.99

Fatty Foods and Emotions

A new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation tells why people tend to turn to fatty foods in order to boost their emotional state and reduce feelings of sadness.

Researchers say fatty foods, like chocolate, fries, etc., create a biological change in your body to reduce feelings of sadness.

They recruited 12 healthy and non-obese participants who were shown images of people with sad expressions while listening to one minute clips of sad classical music selections, while hooked up to fMRI scans to monitor brain activity. The participants were also hooked up to a feeding tube, with half fed the fatty acid found in Twinkies, and the other half fed a saline liquid.

During the test, participants were asked at four different times to rate their levels of hunger, fullness and mood. The results showed those who received the saline were twice as sad than the fatty acid group, but there was no difference in hunger of fullness.

The fMRI scans also confirmed the findings that participants who received the fatty acid solution showed dampened activity in the areas of the brain that are connected to emotions and feelings of sadness. I like this kind of study, eat fat, be happy! Maybe that is why bacon lovers are happier.

Bandstand Day

On this day in 1957, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was put on the ABC-TV afternoon schedule. However, the one thing they couldn’t do was disrupt an airing of the hugely popular Halfway through the American Bandstand show, Clark would tell listeners to come back for more of the show, but “right now ... here comes the Mouse!” The network would cut away from Philadelphia and show Walt Disney’s Mouseketeers. Following the show, American Bandstand would return for another 30 minutes. The show ran for thirty years.

Aug 2, 2011

Print Your Screen

How to print what you see on your screen.
First, find the Print Screen key on your keyboard, which might be labeled PrtScn.

To capture the entire screen (everything you see on the screen, including all open windows), press the PrtScn button. This screenshot will be placed in your clipboard.
Alternatively, to capture just the active or foremost window, press Alt+PrtScn. Now you can paste the image into an email or document, or open an image editing program like Microsoft Paint and either go to the Edit menu then select Paste,  or press Ctrl+V to paste the image into the program. Now you can manipulate the image.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 come with another screen capturing tool, the Snipping Tool. With the Snipping Tool, you can define areas of the screen to capture (an irregular shape, rectangle that you draw, selected window, or the entire screen), annotate the screen capture. Since you can save the image directly from the program, the Snipping Tool also saves you the step of having to open Paint or a different program and pasting the image from the clipboard.

To use the Snipping Tool: Full size - Click Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, and then Snipping Tool. Click the down arrow next to the New button to select your snipping type. Then use your mouse to select the area of your screen or window you want to capture. Click and go.

What's in a Name, Entertainers

Here are some interesting real names of entertainers. Some are real tongue twisters.
Woody Allen - Allen Konigsberg
Jennifer Aniston - Jennifer Anastassakis
Cher - Cherilyn Sarkisian
Vin Diesel = Mark Vincent
Tom Cruise - Thomas Mapother IV
Hulk Hogan - Terry Jene Bollea
Jean-Claude Van Damme - Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg
Gene Autry - Orvon Grover Autry
Ben Kingsley - Krishna Banji
Wynonna Judd = Christina Ciminella
Elle MacPherson - Eleanor Gow
Walter Matthau - Walter Matuschanskayasky
Demi Moore - Demetria Gene Guynes
Bono (U2) = Paul Hewson
Joan Rivers - Joan Sandra Molinsky
Meg Ryan -  Margaret Mary Alice Emily Hyra
Christian Slater - Christian Michael Leonard Hawkins

Cinnamon and Potatoes

Potatoes were once reviled for their high carbohydrate content, but are now being appreciated for their many health benefits, including their ability to lower blood pressure. A 2010 report by the American Dietetic Association found that potatoes' high potassium levels can lower blood pressure by prompting the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Other potassium-rich foods include white beans, orange juice and plain yogurt.

High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Cinnamon is sweet spice, used most often with pancakes, toast, oatmeal, or buns and has a long history that includes being used in the ancient Egyptians' embalming process.

Now we find that it may also do more than make our food taste better. A study posted in the journal Diabetes Care of five dozen people with Type 2 diabetes showed that the daily addition of cinnamon to their diet lowered blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels after 40 days. Good news for us as the State Fair approaches with plenty of each to enjoy.