Dec 29, 2012

Happy Friday

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts.

I have placed my heart, mind, and soul into having a Happy Friday!

Dead Sea Scrolls

As we look to the future, sometimes it is also good to look at the past. Here is a site that features the actual dead sea scrolls. Brilliant pictures and descriptions. It allows you to view, enlarge, scroll, etc.

Fragments of every book of the Hebrew Bible, except the Book of Esther were found in the Qumran caves, the most famous of the Dead Sea Scrolls sites. Some of these ancient copies are identical to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible that is used today. Other copies preserve differences in the text, which was in the process of standardization.

Fascinating to see the original manuscripts. LINK

Candy Cane Myths and Facts

The myth is the white base color of the candy cane symbolizes Jesus’ purity; the red stripes symbolize Jesus’ blood when he died on the cross; and the J shape was chosen to represent the J in Jesus. These and all other religious connotations have been debunked or not able to be proven as fact.

The facts - Candy canes started as white sugar sticks with no hook as early as the 1600s. There is no reference to calling them candy "canes" until the mid to late 1600s. No fact as to why the sticks were changed into canes, although many believe it was so the candy could be hung on a Christmas tree.

The red stripe was not added until the early 1900s. No one knows who invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes.

The bottom line is that we do not know who started making them, why, or who added the hook, but most people love candy canes and that is a fact.

Personal Genome Map for $99

What a great way to begin the New Year. Get your genome mapped. A few years ago it cost over ten thousand dollars. LINK

Strange Christmas Traditions

Had to finish the year with a few strange Christmas traditions from around the world.

On Christmas in Caracas they skate to mass on roller skates. Firecrackers pop to wake the citizens, who put on their skates for the pre-dawn trip to mass. Streets are closed in the mornings to allow the skating churchgoers to pass.

In Catalonia, the traditional nativity scene has an extra figure. El Caganer can be found somewhere on the periphery of the scene, crouched in the squatting position of a bowel movement. It is believed “The Defecator” in the nativity scene will fertilize the coming year with a good harvest of wealth and prosperity. The statue can be a monk, a shepherd, a popular sports star, or celebrity, but he is always wearing his signature red Catalan hat as he squats above a pile.

In Italy, the gift-bringer is a kind but hideous witch named La Befana. She missed seeing the Christ-child, because she was busy when the wise men told her to come. La Befana comes late, several days after Christmas Day, but leaves gifts at each house in case the holy infant is there.

In Ireland it is traditional to leave out mince pie and Guinness as snacks for Santa.

Norwegians legend says witches and evil spirits come out on Christmas Eve to steal brooms and ride around causing mischief.

In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are adorned with silver and gold spider webs. This tradition came from the story of a poor woman without means to decorate for the holiday. As she slept, spiders spun webs of pure gold and silver to beautify her tree and bring her wealth.

Dec 27, 2012

Wordology, Borborygmus

Seems this one is appropriate for the holiday season. It is the rumbling noises your stomach makes.

What I Did Not Get For Christmas

This one is sure to give you borborygmus. It is a name-brand scent in a little bottle that was introduced in December 2012.

Pizza Hut Inc. in Canada came out with a limited edition bottle of Pizza Hut perfume, probably to advertise the chain’s sense of humor.

The perfume is supposed to recreate the smell of a box of Pizza Hut being opened, with top notes of freshly baked dough, according to the company. Pizza hut is owned by Yum Brands, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell among others.

Google Fun

Type in the word askew and see the results. Type in the word sphere and see the results.

Type in "the loneliest number" then click on images and see the results.

Interesting Feet Facts

As we enjoy the holidays sitting in front of a warm fire with our feet up and pondering our toes, here are a few interesting feet facts.

Human feet can sweat up to a pint of fluid a day. Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, approximately 125,000 in each foot. The toughest skin on your body is on your feet. Toenails grow fastest during your teenage years, in hot weather, and when you are pregnant.

American actor Matthew McGrory, 7'6" had the record-breaking foot size until he passed away in 2005. He was in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest actor and having the largest toe. His shoe size was 29 1/2.

Dec 23, 2012

Blog Statistics

Was reviewing my blog site statistics and it showed 68 countries visited my blog during November, 2012. Here they are, in order of number of visitors. Over half came from outside the US.

Welcome and thank you to all my visitors and new best friends.

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Philippines
Australia
India
Brazil
Germany
Sweden
Mexico
France
Israel
Russia
South Korea
Norway
Malaysia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Singapore
Finland
Spain
Netherlands
Thailand
Saudi Arabia
Pakistan
Lithuania
Ireland
Hong Kong
Greece
Serbia
Portugal
Egypt
Bulgaria
Trinidad and Tobago
Switzerland
Romania
New Zealand
Italy
Denmark
Ukraine
Sri Lanka
Slovenia
Peru
Nepal
Mongolia
Mauritius
Japan
Iraq
Indonesia
Czech Republic
Croatia
Colombia
Belgium
Austria
Argentina
Taiwan
South Africa
Slovakia
Qatar
Puerto Rico
Poland
Nigeria
Luxembourg
Jamaica
Estonia
Cameroon
Botswana
Bahrain

Happy Friday

Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

My motivation allows my ability to aim my attitude toward having a Happy Friday!

Facts about Mistletoe

The name comes from the fact mistletoe starts from bird droppings made from the red or white berries. It is a parasitic plant and roots to the branches of trees. Thus “mistle” or “missel”, which meant “dung”, and “toe”, which came from the Anglo-Saxon “tan” meaning “twig.” There are over 900 species of mistletoe and it grows on a wide variety of trees.

Ancient Greeks considered the plant an aphrodisiac and believed it aided in fertility. Norseman believed mistletoe was a plant of peace and when enemies met under the mistletoe they were obliged to stop fighting for at least a day. Eventually, this spawned a tradition to hang mistletoe over the doorway for peace and good luck.

It became associated with Christmas from the tradition of hanging mistletoe in one’s home to bring good luck and peace to those within the house. It hung year round and was replaced each Christmas eve or at New Year.

During the 16th century in Britain, it became popular to create a ball of mistletoe hung as a Christmas decoration. Couples standing under the mistletoe were to kiss if the mistletoe ball still had berries. For each kiss, one berry would be taken from the ball. Once all the berries were gone, all the “luck” was drained out and it became bad luck to kiss beneath it.

Mistletoe leaves and young twigs are used by herbalists, and it is popular in Europe, especially in Germany, for treating circulatory and respiratory system problems.

Eight Other December 25 Events

December 25, 325 is the first date that Christmas was celebrated specifically on December 25.
December 25, 597 England adopted the Julian calendar, now used by most of the world.
December 25, 800 Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III.
December 25, 1066 William the Conqueror is crowned King of England.
December 25, 1717 the great Christmas Flood ravaged the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Scandinavia.
December 25, 1776 - 11pm, General George Washington, along with 5,400 men, crossed the Delaware River, in order to surprise Hessian troops celebrating the Christmas Holiday.
December 25, 1914 the Christmas Truce. During the height of World War I, the Germans began to sing Christmas Carols, crossed the lines, and met with Allies and both shook hands. (The next day they resumed fighting.)
December 25, 2002 University of New Mexico junior place-kicker Katie Hnida attempts to kick an extra point in a game against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. She is first woman to play in Division I football.
December 25, 2012 - Merry Christmas!

Wordology, Tragus

The little piece of cartilage that sticks out at the front external opening of your ear.

Ten Tiger Facts

Most tigers have more than 100 stripes, and no two tigers have the same stripes.

The roar of a tiger can be heard from over a mile away.

There are nine subspecies of tiger: the Bengal tiger, the Indochinese tiger, the Malayan tiger, the Sumatran tiger, the Siberian tiger, and the South China tiger.

The Siberian tiger is the biggest of the nine subspecies and can reach an average head and body length of 75-90 in. They can weigh up to 660 pounds.

A tiger marks its territory by spraying trees and bushes (contained inside the territory) with its urine, and also leaves deep scratches on tree trunks.

One averaged sized tiger can eat up to 60 pounds of meat at a single time.

A tiger’s canine teeth can grow up to three inches long, easily capable of crunching through the spine of any creature on Earth.

A tiger can go as long as a week without a meal.

A tiger’s saliva is antiseptic, and is handy when a tiger cleans its wounds.

If you were to shave all the fur off a tiger’s skin, the stripes would still remain.

Three Stooges Origin

Ted  Healy, another vaudvillian discovered the act in 1925 as they were performing on vaudeville. They were originally billed as "Ted Healy And His Stooges", but the trio broke away from Healy in 1934 due to his mismanagement of them and their finances. He passed away in 1937.

Here they are on stage with him.

Delays

Sorry for the delay in postings this week. Had a power outage and it dropped internet access for a few days.

Dec 19, 2012

Wordology, Pills

Properly speaking a pill traditionally has been round shaped (due to manufacturing limitations) and a tablet is a mixture of pharmacological substances pressed into a small cake or bar.

A pill can be a capsule, which usually contains liquid, or a pellet, which usually is dry pressed. Pills can also be lozenges, which were traditionally diamond shaped and are usually sucked, rather than swallowed.

Here is the order of pills that act the quickest: Liquids, Liqui-gel caps, Chew or rapid-release tablets, Capsules, Hard tablets.

So, all tablets are pills, but all pills are not tablets.

If you find this hard to swallow, take two aspirin and see me next week.

Bacon or Ham

The difference between bacon and salted pork or ham is primarily the composition of the brine that is used to cure it.  Brine for bacon often includes sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, and saltpeter (for curing the meat); sodium ascorbate (for setting the color, as well as speeding up the curing process); and brown or maple sugar (for flavor), among other ingredients.  Brine for ham tends to have a significantly higher concentration of sugar. Incidentally, the USDA defines “bacon” as “the cured belly of a swine carcass”

Bob's Big Boy

Big Boy Restaurants International LLC bought the franchise from Elias Brothers (Michigan). It is a restaurant chain keeping its headquarters in Warren, Michigan. Big Boy started in 1936 and is considered the first US franchise. It also pioneered the first double decker hamburger, named the Big Boy.

Detroit, Canada and other places have Elias Brother's Big Boy. Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee have Frisch's Big Boy, now a co-owner of the name. Shoney's Big Boy was up and down the East Coast and Southwest, but gave up the Big Boy name in 1984. California, where Big Boy originated has Bob's Big Boy. There are numerous others.

When Marriott bought the chain, it expanded and changed many of the franchise localities. It sold to Elias Brothers, one of the largest franchisees.

The oldest remaining Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in the United States, “Bob’s 49″ is in Burbank, CA. It was built in 1949.

I Forgot

Did you forget why you went into the kitchen? It may be more location than age related. Researchers in Notre Dame conducted several experiments on rooms and their effect on memory. Subjects in the study were divided into two groups and given a simple task while traveling the same distance. The only difference is one group went through a doorway and the other did not.

They found that people who traveled through the doorway were three times more likely to forget their task. Researchers concluded that our mind perceives doorways as “event boundaries” and that decisions you made in that room are “stored” there when you leave. That is also why it is easier to remember if you go back into that room. That presumes you remember which room you came from.

Dec 14, 2012

Happy Friday

"He does not preach what he practices until he has practiced what he preaches." Confucius
I always preach about the practice of having a Happy Friday!

Discreet vs. Discrete

Discreet describes showing “reserve, prudence, or cautiousness” in one’s behavior or speech. The noun form of discreet is discretion. Both discreet and discrete derive from the Latin “discretus”, meaning separate, situated, put apart, which derives from the Late Latin discernere (where the word “discern” came from).

Discrete means “distinct, separate, or unrelated.” The noun form of discrete is discreteness.

Here is how each might be used in a sentence.
These two items are discrete.
The politician was not discreet.

Discrete and discreet are homophones; words that sound alike, but differ in meaning or spelling or both.

Interesting Animal Numbers

A swan has over 25,000 feathers in its body. Snails have 14175 teeth laid along 135 rows on their tongue. The North Atlantic right whale's testes account for around 1% of its total body weight, and each of them can weigh over a thousand pounds. Africa's Nile crocodile can measure twenty feet long and weigh two thousand pounds. A horse has sixteen muscles in each ear, which allows it to rotate its ears a full 180 degrees.

Tongue Myth Debunked

The tongue does not have zones specializing in specific tastes. It turns out this myth started when Harvard Psychologist Edwin G. Boring mistranslated a German paper written in 1901 titled “Zur Psychophysik des Geschmackssinnes.” The tongue paper, written by German Scientist D.P. Hanig, outlined Hanig’s research on the four known basic tastes.  He put together a group of subjects and tested the main tastes on each of them on various parts of their tongues until he figured he had a good map put together on where they tasted various tastes the most.

This myth endured until the 1970′s when scientists tested tongue maps and debunked Hanig’s paper.

Wordology, Canuck

The term "Canuck" originated in 1869 from Johnny Canuck, a nationalistic symbol billed as a younger, simpler cousin to America's Uncle Sam or Britain's John Bull. During World War II, Johnny Canuck was used as a mascot in pro-Canadian propaganda as Canada's personal defender against the Axis Powers.

A Canuck is also a small or medium-sized hardy horse, common in Canada. In addition, it is the name of the NHL hockey team in Vancouver, Canada.

Ten Facts about the Human Body

Blood vessels in a human body can be as long as 60,000 miles.
Humans are born with over 300 bones, but this number reduces to 206 in adults because some naturally fuse together as we grow.
Of the 206 bones, 106 are located in the hands and feet.
The liver is the largest solid organ and it contains 10% of the blood in a human body.
The stirrup bone in the middle ear is the smallest bone in the human body and is about .11 inches long.
The average person has 100,000 hairs on his or her head. Hair grows about five inches per year.
The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue in proportion to its size. The hardest bone is the jawbone.
The tooth is the only part of the human body that can not repair itself.
It takes twice as long to lose new muscle if you stop working out than it did to gain it.
We use 200 muscles to take one step and we average 10,000 steps a day.

Ice Cream Trick

Ice cream is good for your tongue, but if you put it in the freezer it gets hard as a rock. Next time, put the carton in a plastic bag. It will be much softer when you take it out so you do not need to bend your spoon.

Apple Facts

Greek and Roman mythology refer to apples as symbols of love and beauty. This time of year we often think of warm apple cider on a cold night.

Apples contain Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, iron, potassium, and more. Apples have very high mineral contents, pectins, malic acid which are good in normalizing the intestines. Apples are good for treatment of anemia, dysentery, heart disease, headache, eye disorders, and kidney stones. Apple juice is an excellent means of providing essential fluids to the body.

A number of components in apples, have been found to lower blood cholesterol with a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, prostrate cancer, type II diabetes, asthma, and a new study findings published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease show there may be some help for those patients.Apples are also good for treatment of the Acid reflux condition also called gerd (gastro esophageal reflux disease).

Green Apples - Good for strong bones and teeth, aids in vision, anti cancer properties.
  
Yellow Apples - Good for heart and eyes, immune system, reduce risk of some cancers.
  
Red Apples - Good for heart, memory function, lower risk of some cancers and to maintain urinary tract health. Maybe there is some truth to the old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

The terms “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” are often used interchangeably. However, they are not equivalent. “Cardiac arrest” simply implies the heart has stopped pumping blood.  A heart attack is a lack of blood flow to a specific area of the heart caused by some blockage, spasm, or rupture.

People who have a heart attack are significantly more likely to survive than those who suffer cardiac arrest. While both are bad, cardiac arrest is worse.

Musical Trivia

Shirley Jones and stepson David Cassidy sang The Partridge Family single, “I Think I Love You” and it became a number 1 record.

Shirley's son, Shaun Cassidy’s record, “Da Doo Ron Ron” was also number 1.

Shirley Jones and Shaun Cassidy remain the only mother and son to each have a #1 record. Also, Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, and Shaun Cassidy remain the only mother/son/step-son trio to all have #1 records.

Dec 7, 2012

Happy Friday


Happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower.

Friday is a seed, but to make it flower I will share a Happy Friday!

Monkey Day


December 14 is officially Monkey Day. Decided to let you know this week so you have time to prepare for this officious occasion of all things monkey business.

This is a day devoted to bananas, ape culture, and general monkeying around. Founded by a cartoonist and student at Michigan State University, Casey Sorrow unpeeled Pandora’s Banana when he jotted “Monkey Day” on a friend’s calendar. It was subsequently promoted in Sorrow’s controversial school newspaper cartoon “Fetus-X”, and by other cartoonists, and now its a sort of phenomenon. Hallmark recognizes it and it is celebrated by monkey-centric costume parties, the consumption of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, and by just becoming concerned with what’s going on in the world of monkeys.

Animal Sounds

Here are some interesting animal tidbits. You can tell a turtle’s gender by the noise it makes. Males grunt and females hiss. Pigs exhibit more than 20 vocalizations for various circumstances. Houseflies always hum in the key of F. Male ostriches can roar like lions. Giraffes have no vocal cords and humpback whales create the loudest sound of any living creature.

Wordology; College - University

In the US a college and university are essentially the same thing. They are both institutions which give degrees. In commonwealth nations the terms are more distinct. A college can be a school affiliated with a university – the college prepares the student for the degree and the university with which it is affiliated gives the degree.

Another way to describe the difference in the US is a college offers a collection of degrees in one specific area while a university is a collection of colleges. When you go to a university you are going to be graduating from one of their colleges, such as the business college. A Community College is different from both in that it cannot grant a bachelor's degree.

Some “colleges” in the UK are really secondary schools. One famous example is Eton College, where students typically enter at age 13. In Australia and New Zealand, “college” means high school.

Save Bananas

I usually buy some fairly green and some not so green so they do not all ripen at the same time. Here is another method. Take a piece of cling wrap about the size of your fist and wrap it tightly around the crown.

Each time you remove a banana remove and replace the cling wrap. If done correctly this method should give you another few days before your bananas are too ripe to enjoy. Seems it reduces the ethylene which ripens the fruit faster. It it doesn't work, there is always banana bread.

Give the Cold Shoulder

This is a rude way of telling someone they are not welcome. In medieval England, it was regarded as a polite gesture. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork. Even though it now seems rude, the meaning lingers that it is time to go.

How Big is the Internet

Some experts say that the Internet is growing by an exabyte of data every day. To put that in perspective, an exabyte equals 250 million DVDs.

After an exabyte comes a zettabyte, which equals 1,000 exabytes. In 2011, no single data center could hold a zettabyte of information.

By 2016, Cisco predicts that data centers will be sending more 1.3 zettabytes across the Internet every year. That's the equivalent of sending all movies ever made across the Internet every 3 minutes.

The National Security Agency is building a $2 billion data center in Utah that will be the world's first to store a store a yottabyte of data. That's 1,000 zettabytes or 1 million exabytes (or 1 million billion gigabytes).

Over half of Americans have watched TV streamed from the Internet.

Dec 5, 2012

Dissolving Tooth Myth

Here is another common myth debunked. The most popular Coke myth is that if you were to leave a tooth in a cup of coke overnight by morning the tooth would be completely dissolved. Like most of the other legends involving the popular drink this is totally untrue.

Clean Houses Cause Allergies

Here is another one of those studies that makes me wonder. It contends that children who grow up in hygienic households develop more allergies, eczema, and other disorders that result from a depressed antibody response. Scientists have theorized that children from middle class and affluent families have weaker immune systems because they live in cleaner homes.

Besides increases in medicated and vaccinated children in the past 20 years, the number of children with allergies has also doubled, with the sharpest increase among the middle classes.

Their study examined 8,306 patients, 776 of which had some form of reaction to peanuts, and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Lead study author, allergist Dr Sandy Yip, said, ‘Overall household income is only associated with peanut sensitization in children aged one to nine years. This may indicate that development of peanut sensitization at a young age is related to affluence, but those developed later in life are not.’ Am not sure of the relationship between dust bunnies and peanuts, but why take chances. Was going to clean my house today, but think it might be healthier if I wait a few weeks.

Eating Corn

Here is a nonsense ten second way to eat corn. The video is 22 seconds long. A great way to start your day laughing. LINK

Secure Message Isn't

This week I received an email from mailsafe.keybank.com that was titled: "You have received a secure message." It had an attachment and the message said to download the attachment and read it. It also gave a 888 number to call if I had questions. I looked it up and found it was a cell phone number in India.

Many infections to computers come from this type of spam. If you see something that you suspect, the best thing to do is delete the message. Never open an attachment.

Nov 30, 2012

Happy Friday

Side-trips are occasionally great fun, often educational, and sometimes invaluable.

I am having a great fun trip enjoying another educational and invaluable Happy Friday!

New Monkey Species

This monkey was discovered in 2012 in the mountains of Myanmar (Burma) by a group of scientists who were originally participating in surveys on gibbons.

Its nose is upturned to such an extent that it actually sneezes when it rains. Local hunters say that ‘Rhinopithecus strykeri’ can be seen on rainy days with its head down between its knees to avoid inhaling water.

Caught Red Handed

This means to be caught doing something wrong. It originated because of a law. If someone butchered an animal that did not belong to him, he had to be caught with the animal’s blood on his hands to be convicted.

More Uses for Marshmallows

Stash a few marshmallows in a box of brown sugar or the sugar bowl to prevent the sugar from hardening or clumping.

Make ice cream cones less messy by sticking a few marshmallows in the bottom of the cone to prevent the ice cream from leaking out.

Eat three or four marshmallows to sooth a sore throat. Apparently, the gelatin is very helpful when it comes to relieving irritation and soothing pain in your throat.

Pig DNA

Scientists announced that they have mapped the entire genome of the domestic pig, revealing that besides providing tasty bacon and sausages, the animal may also be useful in fighting human diseases.

The study published in the journal Nature found that pigs and humans share more than 100 DNA mutations that have previously been linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, dyslexia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, according to US and European researchers.
"In total, we found 112 positions where the porcine protein has the same amino acid that is implicated in a disease in humans," researchers wrote.

Researchers said that because pigs share many of the same complex genetic diseases as humans, the animals would serve as excellent models for studying the underlying biology of human disease.

A domestic pig breed is already being used extensively in medical research because of its anatomical similarity to humans, and pig heart valves have been used by doctors to replace faulty human ones.

Scientists can use the new genome map to improve meat production by breeding a new generation of super-pigs that will grow faster, survive longer, produce more offspring and yield more meat for less feed.

"This new analysis helps us understand the genetic mechanisms that enable high-quality pork production, feed efficiency and resistance to disease," Sonny Ramaswany, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture said, according to Reuters.

Scientists in the sequencing project compared the domestic pig's genome to that of the wild boar, human, mouse, dog, horse, and cow.

A recent study also revealed that pigs had the most olfactory receptor genes, which highlights the importance of smell in the scavenger animal's lifestyle, and that pigs also had fewer bitter taste receptors meaning that "pigs can eat food that is unpalatable to humans," which is one of the reasons why pigs have become such a highly valued farm animal. I am still trying to figure out how they will know if a pig has Alzheimer's.

Presidential Trivia

One person has the distinction of being vice president without ever being elected and also president without ever being elected. Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.) was the 38th President of the United States and the 40th Vice President of the United States. He was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency by Richard Nixon after Spiro Agnew resigned. He became President after Richard Nixon resigned. It is difficult to think about Gerry Ford without thinking of Chevy Chase doing an impression of him.

Nov 28, 2012

Tequila

The clear white liquor with the unique taste that people either love or hate, tequila is thought to have been first produced around the second half of the 16th century in Mexico. It is made from the blue agave plant that grows so abundantly around the city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. Tequila is said to have been a result of the Spaniards running out of their own brandy. Upon hearing the Aztecs had once used the blue agave plant to produce an alcoholic drink (known as octli or pulque), the conquistadors set about distilling the plant to produce a drink they could use to replace their beloved brandy.

Mexican law dictates that tequila can only be produced in this and a few other very select areas if it is to carry the name of tequila. Over 300 million agave plants are harvested each year for the production of tequila.

It is distilled after fermentation and the end product is usually 38% to 40% alcohol. That brings it in at 76% to 80% proof.

Wordology, Hysteria

From the Greek "hystera" = uterus. For a few thousand years until the late nineteenth century, hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus.

Definitions include: uncontrollably emotional; irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock; very funny as from hysterical or uncontrollable fits of laughter.

In psychology they say it is a disorder in which a psychological conflict is converted into a bodily disturbance.

During the 1800s it was decided that men could also be hysterical. In time it could be applied to anyone as the definition expanded to be an emotional state, rather than a physical state.

Incidently, the Oxford English Dictionary says the colloquial term 'hissy fit' for someone would go into hysterics and throw a tantrum if they didn't get their way. comes from hysteria.

Statistics

6 Million were using Facebook in 2005, now it has over a 1 billion users
67.2 million watched the last presidential debate and 111.3 million watched the Super Bowl in 2012
There are 500 million Twitter users

Titanic Numbers

It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million dollars to make a film about it. The ship sank and the movie is still floating.

Ponzo Illusion

Have you ever wondered why the Moon looks bigger on the horizon? It is an illusion, known as the Ponzo Illusion. What is happening is actually something that your brain does all the time. The yellow lines are the same size, but the top one appears larger.

Think about what happens when you see one of your friends on the horizon. Although they appear to be very small, your brain doesn’t actually interpret them as being that tiny. This is what happens when we look at the moon. Your brain inflates the size of the Moon to make it appear larger than it really is. Next time you are looking at an over-sized moon, block everything else out with your hands and watch it appear to shrink.

Nov 23, 2012

Happy Friday

There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

My philosophy tells my brain and my heart to always have a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Racking

Rack likely comes from the Middle Dutch “rec”, meaning 'framework', and the Old English 'recken', meaning 'to stretch out'. Usage became the word used for a frame that you put things on to dry or to stretch something out on.

Later the word also came to mean a frame for putting people on for torture. This expanded the meaning to include causing mental or physical harm or suffering or to stretch or strain. So, when someone says they are racking their brain, it means they are straining their brain. I reckin this stuff is true.

John Josefa Moe

Born in India to Samoan father Pulu Moe and Filipino-Hawaiian mother Louisa Moe while his parents were touring in Hawaii. He performed with Hawai'i notables Don Ho, Kui Lee and Ed Kenney between the 1950s and 1970s, did a vaudeville act in England, carved tiki, created a then-innovative koa Hawaiian Kepi bracelet with names etched in old-English lettering, and designed restaurants and clubs on the East Coast of the US.

He had other skills including: one of the best fire knife dancers in the world; comedian; musician and singer; middleweight Golden Gloves boxing champion; did custom airbrush art on t-shirts; surf boarding instructor.

Moe was Samoan, but had a thick British accent because he attended an English boarding school while his parents toured. Another famous Samoan with an accent is Dwayne, the rock, Johnson, although his is American English. At one time, Josefa was roommates with Sir Roger Moore of James Bond fame and was once considered the most photographed Samoan in the world.

He passed away Nov 3, 2006 at 73 years of age in Summerlin, Nev. (near Vegas), his home. He had 12 children.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

It is not just for people. Some other famous characters with stars include Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Tinker Bell, and more, including most recently Shrek. Dubious achievement to be able to say, "Yes I am right up there with Mickey Mouse."

Dolphins and Porpoises

Many people confuse the two, so here is a summary of the differences of these mammals.

Top Porpoise, bottom Dolphin
Feature Dolphin Characteristic Difference in a Porpoise
The nose A dolphin usually has a pointed snout (beak)

A porpoise snout is short and blunt like a cartoon fish sketch
(never strongly pointed)
The fin
(Some species of both have no fin on their back)
The leading edge of the fin on a dolphin's back is shaped like a curling wave
(Called the dorsal fin)
The leading edge of a porpoise's back fin is straight.

The porpoise's fin is also triangular like a shark's


The teeth

Dolphins have pointed cone-shaped teeth


Porpoise teeth are flat, spade shaped, with upper edges that are long and sharp
Size Dolphins grow up to 12 feet long Porpoises are usually less than 7 feet long
Shape Dolphins are longer and sleeker in shape Porpoises are shorter and more compact
Sounds Dolphins produce sounds we can hear (and are talkative!) Porpoise sounds are inaudible to us
Behavior Dolphins have much less fear of humans - will ride the waves alongside boats Porpoises are shy - you are much less likely to see one - wild or captive.
Rarely seen at surface unless up to breathe.
Groups Dolphins live in large groups Porpoises live in pods of 2 - 4
Lifespan Dolphins can live for more than 50 years Porpoises do not live long past the age of 15


Dolphins are some of the only animals known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction.

Nov 21, 2012

Thinking

There is a common saying: "If you think that, you have another thing coming" However, the correct phrase is “If you think that, you have another think coming.” It describes “what you think is wrong so think again.” Lazy English has changed the phrase over time. I think there is another thing following this.

Drinking and Antibiotics Myth Debunked

This one should be a relief for some folks as we begin the holiday season. With the advent of antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted diseases came a word of advice: don’t drink while taking the pills. The reason given for this is that it will stop the medication working. This advice is untrue for most antibiotics.

Alcohol does not reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics. Antibiotics and alcohol can cause similar side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness and drowsiness, so combining them can increase these side effects. Less than five of the more than one hundred types of antibiotics do have adverse effects when taken with alcohol. Obviously, moderation in all things is the key.

Speaking of Drinking

This is just in time for the holidays. Now you can eat all the ham you want and save calories by drinking this new diet drink.

Nov 16, 2012

Happy Friday


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

I gain strength, courage, and confidence every time I have a Happy Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving

Next Thursday November 22 is Thanksgiving this year. Hope you have a great Holiday!

Another November Holiday


The day after Thanksgiving this year, November 23rd is National Day of Listening.

It is sponsored by oral history nonprofit StoryCorps. This year’s National Day of Listening honors teachers. The organization has asked everyone to participate by taking a few minutes to thank a teacher. Other ways to commemorate National Day of Listening is by recording interviews in veteran’s hospitals, senior centers, homeless shelters, and other community centers.

Wordology, Stock, Broth, Soup


These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Stock is water or other liquid in which vegetables, meat, bones or all of them are simmered over a long period to extract flavors, then the solids are removed. Stock normally contains no salt and is not soup. Stock is not meant to be eaten until it is combined with seasonings. Dried stock cubes are called bouillon cubes.

Broth differs in that it is a basic soup where the solid pieces of flavoring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches.

Soup is a liquid savory food which can be thin, as in broth, or thick with other ingredients added.

MSG Facts


It is a common misconception that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is bad and must be avoided. That is not exactly true, MSG is a naturally occurring substance found in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, and more. It was first isolated and presented in pure powder form in 1909 and is a flavor enhancer that excites the fifth taste sense umami, like sugar enhances sweet.

Most good chefs use natural MSG by using tomatoes or mushrooms, etc., but many will also use the powder directly. MSG does not make you ill. It is found in seasonings, chips, many fast-food and pre-packaged foods, and sauces.

Potato Facts


One of the ingredients of almost all Thanksgiving and other holiday meals is the potato. The starchy, edible tuber was introduced to the world around 400 years ago from regions around the Andes. Originally they were grown almost 10,000 years ago in Peru and Bolivia and are now found growing in most countries around the world, although the Andes continues have major production.

Currently potatoes are the fourth largest food crop in the world and there are more than a thousand different types. They are versatile and can be enjoyed baked, boiled, or fried. They can be mashed, sliced, chopped, diced or eaten whole. They can be eaten cold or hot, raw or cooked. I will need some chips to hold me over until next Thursday and mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon. Mmm!
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Smart Credit Cards

Here is something coming to your wallet, a new MasterCard that has LCD screen and keyboard. The credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard has been launched in Singapore by MasterCard  The card will be available from January before being rolled out globally.

The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a one-time password. Future versions of the card could display added information such as the remaining balance or display information such as loyalty or reward points or recent transaction history.

Last year, Visa announced a similar card with interactive functions. Smartphone manufacturers are hoping that enhanced credit cards will be quickly replaced by near-field communication feature that many smartphones already have.

Nov 13, 2012

Crowns While You Wait

Instead of making a mold and sending it to a lab for scanning, dentists are now using a small camera to scan misshapen teeth. The digitized scan is then sent to an on-site milling machine that carves a crown from a block of porcelain. After preparation the crown is ready to be implanted.

The whole process is not much different than currently done. The area is numbed, and the dentist drills the tooth to shape it for the crown. Then the dentist uses a tiny camera to create a three-dimensional image of the drilled tooth. A computer program uses that to construct an image of what the tooth will look like with the crown in place. The image is transmitted to a machine on site mills the crown which is then glued on in the same process currently used.

Currently, the process is in use by about 10% of dentists, but will be used by more as the price of equipment comes down.

What's in a Name, Gräfenberg

Gynecologist Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg came to the US from Nazi Germany in 1940. He ran a successful gynecology practice in New York until his death in 1957.

Gräfenberg researched the subject of stimulation and stated in a study, ”An erotic zone always could be demonstrated. . ." Although others had studied this before him, he is usually given credit for its 'discovery' and the name “G-spot” named for him came from a 1981 paper published in the Journal of Sex Research.

He also invented the first known Ring IUD birth control device, the Gräfenberg ring.

Facts About Plants and Oxygen

Plants do not turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. The way this happens is a complex process called photosynthesis. Plants convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrate precursors and water as fuel for the plant. This does not require any light.

Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis where the plant uses light and converts it to potential energy.

Nov 9, 2012

My Latest Book

If you like this blog, you will love my latest book, "Amazing Facts and Bite Sized Brain Food. It is my 49th book and is now available on Amazon.

Thousands of amazing facts about things you don’t know but want to know, and facts you think you know but don’t. Nestled in among the facts are bite sized pieces of brain food you can use to spice up any conversation.

Here is the LINK

Happy Friday

Every object is beautiful in motion as a ship under sail and a tree gently agitated with the wind.

It is time to get up, get the wind at your back, and set sail toward a Happy Friday!

Presidential Drinking

Our 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant had a reputation for drinking heavily while still a young man. When President Lincoln was warned about Grant’s drinking habits during the civil war he is supposed to have responded “If it makes fighting men like Grant, then find out what he drinks, and send my other commanders a case.”

Ten Four, Roger That

The ten-codes or ten-signals are code words used as stand-ins for common phrases in radio communication, such as ten-four, meaning message received. Charles Hopper, a communications director with the Illinois State Police, developed them in 1937 to combat the problem of the first syllables or words of a transmission being cut off or misunderstood. Preceding every code with “ten” gave the sometimes slow equipment time to warm up and improved the likelihood that a listener would understand the important part of a message. The codes also allowed for brevity and standardization in radio message traffic.

The codes were expanded by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) in 1974 and were used by both law enforcement agencies and civilian CB radio users. Over time, differing meanings for the codes came about in different agencies and jurisdictions, undoing the codes’ usefulness as a concise and standardized system. The problem came to a head in 2005 during rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina. After several instances of inter-agency communication problems, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discouraged the use of ten-codes and today the federal government recommends they be replaced with plain, everyday language.

In the days of the telegraph, the Morse code letter R (dot-dash-dot) was sometimes used to indicate “received” or “message received/understood.” When radio voice communication began to replace telegraphs, Roger, the code word assigned to the letter R in the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet (the radio alphabet used by all branches of the United States military from 1941 to 1956), took on the same role.

Roger means “last transmission received/understood.” Wilco (Will Comply) is the code used if the speaker intends to convey “message received and will comply.” The phrase Roger Wilco, often heard in the movies, is redundant and not really used since Wilco alone covers all the bases and acknowledges receipt of message and states intent to comply.

Interesting Country Facts


Most Lakes in the World – Canada: With over 3 million lakes 9% of Canadian territory is actually fresh water and over 60% of all the lakes in the world are found in Canada. It also has 50% of its population educated at the post secondary level, making it the most educated in the world.

Country Covered with the Highest Percentage of Desert – Libya: With 99% of the country covered in desert, Libya is one of the most arid places in the world and in some regions decades may go by without a drop of rain.
Russia: Siberia is home to approximately 25% of the world’s forests that span an area larger than the continental United States.

Least Densely Populated– Mongolia: With 4 people per square mile, Mongolia is the least densely populated country on Earth. Compare this to the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong that has the highest population density in the world with 340,000 people per square mile.

Suriname: It has 91% of its land covered in jungle.

Wordology, Skid Row

The term “Skid Road” or “Skid Row,” a slang term for a run-down or dilapidated urban area, was an actual road in Seattle, Washington during the late 1800′s. The real name of the road was Yesler Way (now better known as Pioneer Square),  and it was the main street along which logs were transported.  It soon became a rather sketchy street that loggers began to call “Skid Road.” It also became the dividing line between the affluent people of Seattle and the mill workers along with the more impoverished population of the city. It didn’t take long for the name to catch on and eventually stick.

Honest Criticism

Need to share this about the sincerity and wonder of children's criticism. Maurice Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who passed away in May, 2012 at 83. He was particularly known for 'Where the Wild Things Are', a 1963 children's picture book.

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters, sometimes very hastily, but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I have ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.” The wonder and beautiful sincerity of children never ceases to amaze and amuse me. Adults would do well to eat up and drink in the great things we see every day.

Nov 6, 2012

Drinking and Intelligence

The next time you're inclined to enjoy an extra glass of wine, consider that it may be a reflection of your intelligence. That is one of the findings from data from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from "very dull," "dull," "normal," "bright" and "very bright."

The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.

More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits' case, "very bright" children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their "very dull" cohorts.

Researchers controlled for demographic variables, such as marital status, parents' education, earnings, childhood social class and more, that may have also affected adult drinking. The findings held true that smarter kids were drinking more as adults.

Psychology Today takes an evolutionary approach. It argues that drinkable alcohol is a relatively novel invention of 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors had previously received their alcohol kick through eating rotten fruits, so more intelligent humans may be more likely to choose modern alcoholic beverages.

Although increased alcohol consumption could be a reflection of exceptional brainpower, drinking more will certainly not make you any more intelligent than you already are. I'll drink to that.

No Name, Colorado

This place can be found west of Denver along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The origin of the town lies in its location, the unincorporated area lies between No Name Canyon and No Name Creek.

The town received its name when the Colorado Department of Transportation was improving the signage along the interstate, when a CDOT employee noticed that there was no sign for Exit 119 he simply wrote "no name" on the map to indicate that there was no name for that exit.

Wordology, Melissophobia

This phobia is a fear of bees.

More November Holidays

Here are a few more November Holidays that you might want to celebrate.
November 13th brings us 'World Kindness Day' founded in 1998 by an organization called the World Kindness Movement, this international holiday encourages everyone to look deep into their hearts past religion, race, and other differences to do something nice for their neighbors and/or humankind.

This followed on November 15th with 'Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day'. It was probably started as a way to make room to stock up on Thanksgiving goodies. November 15th also shares the spotlight with 'I love to Write Day'. I will refrain from writing about the things I find growing in my refrigerator.

Nov 2, 2012

Prescient President

Our 13th president, Millard Fillmore refused an honorary degree from the University of Oxford on the basis that he was not classically educated and so could not read the diploma, written in Latin. He said, “No man should accept a degree he cannot read.”

He is contrasted with James Garfield, who could write Latin with his left hand while simultaneously writing Greek with his right.

Electrically Charged

Thomas Edison publicly electrocuted dogs and cats in order to demonstrate to people how AC electricity was more dangerous than DC. He even once electrocuted an elephant in order to kill it. The elephant had previously trampled and killed a few people and a method was needed to put her to death, so Edison agreed to do it using AC electricity as a publicity stunt.

Edison is also credited with inventing the electric chair to be used on those sentenced to death, although, it was invented by employees of Edison, Harold Brown and Arthur Kennelly.

Thomas Edison held 1093 patents in the United States. One of his sons, Theodore Edison, who died in 1992 held 80 patents in his lifetime.

Traffic Sign Tip

To check for left and right exits, check the exit number sign.

Hawaiaan Punch

Hawaiian Punch was originally supposed to be used as an ice cream topping. it was originally called 'Leo’s Hawaiian Punch'.

The recipe for the confectionery was created by Tom Yates, A.W. Leo, and Ralph Harrison in a garage in Fullerton, California in 1934. They started out by selling the tropical fruit flavored ice cream topping to local restaurants, stores, and ice cream makers.

Over the next decade as the syrup’s popularity spread, people started using it not just as an ice cream topping, but also mixing the syrup with water to make a tropical drink. By 1946, this was a common practice. In 1946 Reuben P. Hughes and other investors purchased the company and began offering it in the drink forms most commonly associated with it today. In 1955 it became a national selling brand.

The name Hawaiian Punch came from several of the original recipe ingredients, which included apple, apricot, guava, orange, papaya, passion fruit, and pineapple, being imported from Hawaii. Hawaiian Punch is currently owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.

Oct 30, 2012

Abigail Adams

She was the first Second Lady and the second First Lady. She was the wife of  John Adams, who was the first Vice President and second President of the US.

She said something to remember around election time, "Many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons."

Voting Tuesday

Between 1788 and 1845, states decided their own voting dates. In 1792, a law was passed mandating that state elections be held within a 34-day period before December, so most elections took place in November. By November the harvest was finished but winter had not begun, so it made for a good time to vote.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, communication was slow, so results took weeks to announce, but with the advent of the railroad and telegraph, Congress decided it was time to standardize a date.

Monday was out, because it would require people to travel to the polls by buggy on the Sunday Sabbath. Wednesday was not an option, because it was market day, and farmers would not be able to make it to the polls. So it was decided that Tuesday would be the day that Americans would vote in elections.

In 1845, Congress passed a law that presidential elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Baseball Record

Joel Youngblood was the only major league baseball player to get hits for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. On April 4, 1982, he hit a single that drove in two runs for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. He was traded to the Montreal Expos and flew to Philadelphia in time to get a hit in the 7th inning at Veterans Stadium.

Poll, Polled, Polling, Polls

The word comes from the German Poller, meaning head. Modern use seems to have evolved from 'counting heads'. Poll has many definitions:

Noun,

1. The casting and registering of votes in an election.
2. The number of votes cast or recorded.
3. The place where votes are cast and registered. Often used in the plural polls.
4. A survey of the public or of a sample of public opinion to acquire information.
5. The head, especially the top or back of the head where hair grows.
6. The blunt or broad end of a tool such as a hammer or ax.

polled, polling, polls Verb,
1. To receive a given number of votes.
2. To receive or record the votes of: polling a jury.
3. To cast a vote or ballot.
4. To question in a survey; canvass.
5. To trim or cut off the hair, wool, branches, or horns of: polled the sheep; polled the trees.
Sometimes, when the polls do not go their way, people feel like they have been clipped.

Oct 26, 2012

Happy Friday

You look at where you are going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back and a pattern emerges.

It makes much sense when you have a history of having Happy Fridays!

Jack O' Lantern

This was originally one of the numerous names given to ignis fatuus (Medieval Latin for “foolish fire”), another of which is “Will O’ the Wisps”, basically the odd light that can occasionally be seen over marshes, swamps, etc.

When you see someone carrying a lantern in a distance at night you see is a man, but you can’t make out who exactly it is, he is literally “man with a lantern”, a.k.a. “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack O’ Lantern.” This was also commonly used for a nickname for night watchmen.

“Jack O’ Lantern” first popped up in the mid-17th century in East Anglia, UK and spread from there through parts of England, Ireland, and Scotland. The name likely originally derived from the practice of calling men generically “Dick, Jack, Tom, etc.” In particular, men who were lower class, were often called generically “Jack” beginning around the 14th century in England.

How this name made the jump to referring to carved pumpkins with lights inside, it has its origins in the Celtic practice of hollowing out and carving faces into turnips and other vegetables during Samuin (a festival where many of the traditions of Halloween come from). After carving the vegetables, they placed candles inside and put them in windows or carried the make-shift lanterns with them as they walked to ward off evil spirits.

In Britain, pranksters would make these types of carved lanterns to scare people on the road or children would carry them around during Hallowmas while begging for soul cakes.

Milk Duds

They really are duds. The Milk Duds name came about because the original idea was to have a perfectly round piece. Since this was to be impossible to do at the time, the word 'dud' was used. Each piece was a dud, because it was not round.

In 1928, Milton J. Holloway took over F. Hoffman & Company of Chicago, the original manufacturer of Milk Duds chocolate covered caramels. The brand passed through many other hands in subsequent years and is now owned by Hershey.

Marx Brothers Name Origins

The five Marx brothers got their nicknames during a poker game. The Marx family comedy act was made up of Julius, Adolph, Leonard, Milton, and Herbert Marx. The five characters became better known as Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo, and Zeppo. Four of the five were given their new names in 1915.

The boys were involved in a poker game with monologist Art Fisher. It was a popular fad around this time to give everyone a nickname that ended in “o”. Common nicknames were “Jingo” or “Bongo” or “Ringo, etc.

In this poker game, Fisher was dealing out the cards to the four Marx brothers and he gave them each their nicknames as he dealt. “First, here’s a card for ‘Harpo’.” Adolph Marx played the harp.

“Here’s one for ‘Chicko’.” Leonard Marx was a notorious ladies’ man and, in those days, women and girls were often referred to as “chickens”. Later the slang term became “chicks.” Supposedly, a typesetter accidentally left the “k” in “Chico” out in one town the brothers were performing in, and his name became “Chico.”

Next was Julius, “And here’s a card for Groucho.” The name derived from Julius’ not-so-friendly demeanor. Julius denied this for most of his life.

The fourth was Milton, “And here’s a card for Gummo”, Fisher said. This one has two popular theories behind it. The one the family (except Harpo) is because Milton often wore gumshoes (rubber soled shoes), hence “Gummo.” The alternate from Harpo is that Gummo was sneaky and would creep up on people like a gumshoe detective. Gumshoe detectives received their name for the same reason, rubber sole shoes.

A few years later, the youngest of the five brothers entered the act, replacing older brother Gummo. Herbert Marx became “Zeppo.” Harpo said Zeppo was named in honor of a wild monkey who played on the bars and ran around named “Zippo”. Groucho said in 1972 that Zeppo was named after the Zeppelin airships.

What's in a Name, Grawlix

That is the name we give to a sequence of typographical symbols used to represent a non-specific, profane word or phrase. That is no #@$%*! It is true.
   
The term was coined in 1964 by American cartoonist Mort Walker, who is best known as the creator of the Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois cartoons.

He also created and named an international set of symbols used in comics around the world and called it Symbolia. A few examples:
 briffits: clouds of dust indicating that a character left in a rush
 plewds: drops of sweat indicating that a character is hot or stressed
 squeans: asterisks with an empty center indicating drunkenness or dizziness

Dog Years Myth

Most of us have heard one dog year is equal to seven human years. This bogus fact is usually worked out so that a dog life is equal to a human life in total years, but the numbers do not add up. The average human life expectancy is 78, while the average dog life expectancy in dog years would equal around 90 years.

Furthermore, different dog breeds have dramatically different life expectancies, ranging from a short 6 years to 13 or more years. In general, the smaller the dog, the longer its life expectancy. Well, I'll be doggoned.

Oct 25, 2012

Bonilla Bonus

In 1999 Bobby Bonilla returned to the Mets for a second time following his borderline disastrous free-agent signing in 1992. He again didn't so well, so the Mets waived him in 2000.

However, the team still owed him $5.9 million in guaranteed salary. His agents agreed to defer the salary if the team would pay him $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 (he was 48) to 2035. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Fortune Cookie Facts

The commonly held notion that they were invented in China typically comes from the fact that they are primarily served in American Chinese restaurants. However, you will not find fortune cookies in actual Chinese restaurants, nor will you find historical records of a similar food item in China.

The largest manufacturer of fortune cookies, Wonton Food, based in New York, even once tried to introduce fortune cookies to the Chinese in the late 1980s. After three years, they gave up, as they simply were not a popular food item in China.

The people often credited with inventing fortune cookies were Japanese immigrants to America. Fortune cookies were actually invented in Japan.

A researcher, Yasuko Nakamachi, encountered a fortune cookie-shaped cracker, called a Tsujiura Senbei, made by hand in a family bakery near a Shinto shrine outside of Kyoto, Japan. This cracker, not only looked like a fortune cookie, it also contained a fortune, called an “omikuji” (fortune slip), and was traditionally sold in shrines and temples.

Around 3 billion fortune cookies are consumed annually world-wide, with most consumed in the United States. Wonton Food produces around 4.5 million fortune cookies per day.

As an aside, Chop Suey, which translates to “break into many pieces,” is commonly believed to be a Chinese food invented in America. Not so. It was invented in Taishan, a district of Guangdong Province, China.

Halloween Facts

Here are some interesting tidbits about the holiday.

    In parts of Mexico, rather than saying the Spanish equivalent of “trick or treat”, “dulce o travesura” (literally “candy or mischief”), it is common to say ¿Me da mi calaverita? (“Can you give me my little skull?”)
    During Samuin, it was also traditional to leave a place and food at the table for deceased loved ones temporarily returned from the grave.
    The word Halloween originally came from the Middle English ‘Alholowmesse’, meaning “All Saints’ Day”.  The night before Alholowmesse was called “All Hallows Even (evening)” which was eventually shortened to “Hallowe’en” until it just became “Halloween” in the 20th century.
    In North America about $3 billion is spent on Halloween costumes.
    Haunted house attractions bring in about half a billion dollars annually.
    Halloween candy sales average around $2 billion per year in the United States.  Chocolate candy bars are consistently rated as the #1 treat to get, with the Snickers candy bar being most preferred.  In addition, Reese’s peanut butter cups and candy corn are among the most sold Halloween candy items.
    Over 35 million Halloween cards, worth $100 million are given every year.
    Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday world-wide after Christmas.
    Recently “Trunk or Treat,” where many people will gather in a parking lot with their trunks open and the children will walk from car to car to get their treats from the trunks.  This is purported to be a safer way to do trick or treating than having kids go door to door.

Oct 19, 2012

Happy Friday

The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart, head, and hands, and then work outward from there.

It is the same for having a Happy Friday!

High Tech Halloween Costumes

Check this site to see some awesome and battery wasting costumes. LINK

Velcro Myth

Some say that Velcro was invented by NASA for the space program. Not true, Velcro was already commercially available before being used by NASA. It did receive a huge boost in popularity after being used by NASA on parts of astronaut’s space suits as well as used to allow astronaut’s to store things along the walls of their space craft. Because of this, similar to Tang, it is a common misconception that Velcro was invented by or for NASA.

World Championship of Punkin' Chunkin

This year it runs from Nov. 2-4, 2012. The World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin in Bridgeville, Del., brings together some of the most determined, ingenious, and crazy hobbyists, who arrive with various contraptions engineered to launch pumpkins thousands of feet.

The competition started in 1986, and last year drew more than 200,000 people. The winning "chunk" in the Adult Air category flew 4,329 feet.

If you can't get there in person, they always have the finals on TV and it is fun and very entertaining.

Poinsettia Poison

Myths and rumors about the toxicity of the poinsettia plant are common late in the year, when the popular red-leaved plants take center stage in holiday decorations. While the genus (Euphorbia) to which the poinsettia plant belongs does contain some highly toxic plants, the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic. Some sources attribute the rumor about the dangers of poinsettia leaves to a case of poisoning in 1919 that led to the death of a two year-old child. At the time, the cause of the poisoning was incorrectly determined to be a poinsettia leaf.

Contact with the sap of a poinsettia plant may cause a mild, itchy rash. If this happens, wash the affected area with soap and water and apply a cool compress to ease itching. Eating the leaves or stems of a poinsettia plant may cause a mild stomachache, vomiting or diarrhea, but severe signs and symptoms are unlikely.

A 50 pound child would need to eat about 500-600 leaves or about 20 ounces of the bitter tasting leaves of a poinsettia plant before any medical action would be necessary.

Lighting Pumpkins Tip

This year for Halloween, get a few glow sticks to light your pumpkins. They are safer than candles and last most of the night. You can find them for a dollar at the Dollar store. They also come in fun colors.

Pleased as Punch

This phrase came from an English puppet show, Punch and Judy that goes all the way back to the 1600s. No two performances of the show were totally alike, but they all usually involved the same events:
1. Punch kills his infant child
2. Punch punches Judy until she dies
3. Punch goes to prison and escapes using a golden key
4. He then kills doctors, lawyers, and a hangman
5. He kills Death, as in the Grim Reaper
6. Then it all ends spectacularly as he kills the Devil.

Apple Tracking

No, not a way to look for apples. It is a way Apple is tracking your iPhone. The new operating system that came out a few weeks ago has a feature that is turned on by default. IFA or IDFA stands for "identifier for advertisers." It is a random, anonymous number that is assigned to you and your iPhone.

The good news is that you can turn it off so advertisers cannot track your every move.

First, what it does. When you look at an app, or browse the web, your presence generates a call for an ad. The site you are looking at passes the IFA to the ad server so an advertiser knows a specific iPhone user is looking at a specific publication and can direct a specific ad to you.

To disable this, go to "Settings," "General," then "About," and then "Advertising." The tracking control is titled "Limit Ad Tracking," and must be turned to On. On means 'limit tracking' so tracking is not working. Interesting, you have to turn it on to turn tracking off.

State Rocks

Many people do not know there are many states that have a state rock. Here are states that do.
Serpentine California
Geode Iowa
Bauxite Arkansas
Slate Vermont
Thunder egg Oregon
Red granite Wisconsin
Agate Kentucky, Nebraska
Limestone Tennessee
Petoskey stone Michigan
Cumberlandite Rhode Island
Barite rose Oklahoma
Mozarkite Missouri
Roxbury puddingstone, Massachusetts
Marble Alabama, Colorado, Vermont
Coal Utah, West Virginia
Sandstone Nevada
Granite New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont

Robot Pole Dancer

This struck me funny and had to share. It is a pole dancing robot shown at the Tobit Software booth prior to the opening of the CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany, on March 5, 2012. It should destroy the myth that nerds do not have a sense of humor.

You can find this and many more robots for work and play at LINK.