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
South Korea
United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
Hong Kong
Trinidad and Tobago
New Zealand
Sri Lanka
Czech Republic
South Africa
Puerto Rico

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.


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 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.