Sep 30, 2016

Happy Friday

Life's greatest achievements came from lack of experience.

Each week I experience a new and wonderful Happy Friday!

Ten Things You Never Knew the Name of

Agraffe: the wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne.
Barm: the foam on a beer.
Columella nasi: the space between your nostrils.
Griffonage: unreadable handwriting.
Ideolocator: a “you are here” sign.
Keeper: the loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle.
Obelus: the division sign (÷).
Phloem bundles: those long stringy things you see when peeling a banana.
Punt: the bottom of a wine bottle.
Rasceta: the lines on the inside of your wrist.

Social Media Facts

A surge of new technologies and social media innovations is altering the media landscape and changing the way people behave.

Over one million books are published worldwide every year. A Google Book Search scanner can digitize 1,000 pages every hour. Americans have access to: 1,000,000,000,000 web pages, 10,500 radio stations, 5,500 magazines, and well over 200 cable TV networks.

There are 240,000,000 TVs in the US. More than 2,000,000 of them are in bathrooms.
Newspaper circulation is down 7 million over the last twenty five years, but in the last five years, unique readers of online newspapers are up over 30 million.

Traditional advertising is in steep decline while digital advertising is growing rapidly. More video was uploaded to YouTube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC, CBS had been airing new content 24/7/365 since 1948 (when ABC started broadcasting).

The number of unique visitors Myspace, YouTube, and Facebook receive every month, collectively is over 250 million. None of these sites existed 6 years ago. Wikipedia launched in 2001 and now features over 13 million articles in more than 200 languages.

Broker vs. Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a real estate professional who has taken and passed all required real estate classes and passed the real estate licensing exam in the state in which he or she intends to work. It is the most encompassing of the titles, since it is the starting point for most real estate professionals. Agents are also referred to as real estate associates.

A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. To become a member, a real estate agent has to agree to abide by the association's standards and uphold the code of ethics.

A real estate broker has continued his or her education past the real estate agent level and passed the real estate broker license. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate agents or have other agents working for them.

The biggest distinction between the three is that a broker can work on his or her own, while an agent or associate has to work under a licensed broker. A hybrid position, referred to as a real estate associate broker, is an agent who is working toward achieving a broker's license. Associate brokers have to work under a licensed broker, but may share in the brokerage profits above and beyond the usual agent commission.

Madrid Crosswalks

Here is a great idea. The crosswalks are livened up to promote awareness for both drivers and pedestrians.

There are a variety of colors and designs on different roads.

Irene Triplett

When the US Civil War ended in 1865, the US government promised a monthly stipend to the wives and children of Yankee soldiers. Now, 151 years later, and Irene Triplett is still receiving her Civil War pension.

During the 1920s, Mose Triplett – a Confederate soldier who had defected to the Union in 1862, married Irene’s mother, Elida. Irene was born to Mose Triplett and his second wife, Elida, in 1930. Mose, whose first wife Mary died in the 1920s, fathered five children with Elida, who was 50 years younger than he was. Mose died in 1938.

During 2013, after breaking her hip, Irene, the last child moved into a Wilkesboro skilled-nursing facility. She still collects $73.13 each month from her father's military pension.

Incidentally, about 15 children of veterans from the Spanish-American War of 1898 also still receive benefits.

One Minute

Wordology, ASMR

This is becoming an advertisers dream way to soft sell. YouTube is littered with hundreds of thousands of ASMR videos. Bob Ross, the late painter is, to some, the epitome of ASMR as his soft spoken, almost whispering way of describing brush strokes and the feeling evoked by his art. It is both auditory and visually stimulating in an almost sensuous manner.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is described as a "euphoric experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation." It comes from hearing soft voices and sensual sounds, such as tapping objects with fingernails. Think of it as the opposite of scratching nails on a chalkboard.

Too much ASMR can have the opposite effect for me, but a bit is a welcome change from the in-your-face 'buy me in the next ten minutes or else'.

I do not usually like ads, but here is one with George Hamilton doing a soft spoken, almost whisper as Colonel Sanders for KFC. The ad is pure ASMR and uses pocket squares as the tag, with him eating chicken tossed in between. Two minutes and interesting to watch. LINK  You might also like to see the queen of ASMR and her GentleWhispering chanel. LINK

Robots are Coming

Many industries are feeling the influx of robots. Changes are coming faster than in the past. There were only 1,000 robot-assisted surgeries performed in 2000. By 2014, that number was 570,000.

Only 10% of worldwide manufacturing tasks are automated right now. That is expected to increase to 25% to 45% during the next 10 years as robots get much cheaper, smarter, faster, and easier to use.

Some companies, like China's Foxconn are investing in robots that can put together the tiny parts in Apple's iPhone.

Three Smartphone Photo Tips

Use a flashlight from a different phone to light your subject from an angle will result in a better image than relying on your smartphone camera’s flash. You will achieve a more crisp picture.

You can optimize your smartphone camera’s ability to focus and meter light by tapping on the screen before you shoot. Tap a dark spot in the shot to make the image brighter or tap a bright spot on the screen to darken it a bit.

Shoot in landscape mode and your photos will look better on the Web or your PC screen.

Sep 23, 2016

Happy Friday

I am floating in a ocean of my own happiness.

And enjoying a swimmingly grand Happy Friday!

Top Ten Musician Sales

Amazing to see how many sales some of the new musicians are making vs. legends in the business. Units equals: sales of albums, singles, and music videos.

Mariah Carey — 131.9 million units
Led Zeppelin — 139.3 million units
Garth Brooks — 145 million units
Taylor Swift — 146.8 million units
Elton John — 166.9 million units
Madonna — 170 million units
Michael Jackson — 181.1 million units
Rihanna — 197.7 million units
Elvis Presley — 210.8 million units
The Beatles — 269.5 million units

Others of note: Celine Dion 123.7 million, Bruce Springsteen 100.2 million, Rolling Stones 95.3 million, Justin Bieber 88.9 million, Aerosmith 84.1 million, Bee Gees 67.3 million, Prince 63.7 million.

World Population Fact

If you are over 45 years old, the world population has doubled within your lifetime.

Ultrasound vs. Sonogram

A sonogram is the image generated during ultrasonography, which is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses ultrasound to visualize anything inside the body.

Ultrasound is sound with a frequency above the range audible to humans, about 20 kHz. Both words are used to refer to the ultrasonography procedure.

When ultrasound waves are sent into the human body some of them bounce back when they hit tissues of differing density. The time it takes the reflected ultrasound waves to return to the machine is translated into an image of the internal organ, or of a fetus. This image is called a sonogram.

Ultrasound is used in industry to measure the purity or uniformity of liquid, to measure the depth of water, and to search for underwater objects such as submarines. Whales and dolphins use ultrasound to communicate.

California Cow Gas

It is true, California Air Resources Board (Senate Bill 1383) can now regulate cow flatulence. It looks for practical ways to reduce cows' belching and breaking wind.

"Although these gases do not linger in the atmosphere, they still make people sick and hasten global warming due to their heat-trapping ability", per Reuters. Governor Brown added, "We're protecting people's lungs and their health."

Perhaps the farmers will next be required to affix these to their livestock.

Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology has come up with an innovative solution, the cow-fart-backpack to be used to fight climate change. The backpack captures the gases emitted through the cow’s mouth or intestinal tract via a tube inserted through the cow’s skin (which the researchers claim is painless). The gas is then condensed and ready to use to provide power for the farm.

Email Hack

If you seem to be receiving more advertisements than you like, add an email filter. Use the filter to look for the word 'unsubscribe' then move that email to trash. Most ads have a spot on the bottom to unsubscribe, but it is a pain to keep going to the web pages to opt out. This little filter is easier.

Emma Morano

Emma Morano is 116 years old. The Italian Supercentenarian is the last person alive to have been born in the 19th century. She was born in northern Italy on November 29, 1899 and Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde were still alive. A world that had never known global war, and where the automobile was still a fancy toy for rich folk. No human had ever successfully flown a plane. At that moment, Emma was closer in time to the Battle of Waterloo than she was to her twilight years in 2016.

Sep 16, 2016

Happy Friday

Cultivate the habit of laughter. It is its own reward.

It is a joy to laugh, especially on a Happy Friday!

Internet Growth

The number of Google indexed pages has grown from 1 trillion to 30 trillion during the last 7 years.

The number of net additional pages indexed by Google each year is also increasing. There were 3 trillion additional pages added during 2010, 5 trillion during 2012, and 8 trillion during 2014.

Peanut Butter

According to the National Peanut Board, the average American eats about three pounds of peanut butter each year, totaling about 800 million pounds nation-wide. The good news is that peanut butter is more than just a tasty sidekick for jam and bread.

Nutritionally speaking, it is a great source of unsaturated fats and vegetarian protein. Over 80 percent of the fats found in peanut butter are unsaturated, 50 percent being monounsaturated fats that can help cut bad cholesterol (LDL). Also, peanuts contain important B vitamins, potassium and resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant known to have cancer fighting properties.

Origins of Things

The famous Hollywood sign was originally a real estate ad.

Gender color of pink for boys and blue for girls was an early 1900s department store way to advertise clothing colors. Customers did not like the choice, so the store changed to blue for boys and pink for girls.

Sweetest Day tradition was started by a panel of candy company owners in the early 1920s as a way to boost sales of candy. Contrary to the notion that many people still think it was started by greeting card companies.

Deodorants were not used until Edna Murphey came along. She had an antiperspirant/deodorant product that her father had used in surgery, to keep his hands from sweating. She got the help of an ad agency and started a marketing campaign to convince people that being sweaty and smelly was absolutely the height of social embarrassment. It worked.

Lobster was once considered a poor person’s food. There was an overabundance of it. Indentured servants complained about getting so much lobster that rules were established limiting it to only three meals per week.

As canneries on the coasts became bigger and figured out how to send lobster throughout the country. They began to market it as an exotic delicacy. Before long, demand skyrocketed and the price did also.

Recto and Obverse

The front side of a page in a book is the recto page and the front side of a coin is the obverse.

The back side of a page in a book is the verso page and the back side of a coin is the reverse.

Dictionary Update

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary has added some new words for us to remember. The dictionary is updated every three months, and September's update marks the centenary of the birth of children's book author Roald Dahl. It has added vocabulary described by another newly added word, 'Dahlesque'.

'Splendiferous', as we have read in Roald Dahl children's books means full of or abounding in splendor.

'Yogalates', a fitness routine combining yoga techniques with pilates exercises.

'Moobs', the scourge of older men, is finally defined as unusually prominent breasts on a man, or a contraction of man boobs

'Gender-fluid' may sound like leaking, due to too much drinking, however, it really means a person with a fluid or unfixed gender mental identity, which can change from day to day.

'YOLO' is an acronym for You Only Live Once. Sorry, Shirley MacLaine.

T-Bone, Club, and Porterhouse

T-Bone steaks, Club steaks, and Porterhouse steaks are the same. T-Bone Steak must be at least 0.25" thick. Any smaller, it would be called a Club Steak. The filet portion of a Porterhouse must be at least 1.25" thick at its widest point.

A center T-shaped bone divides two sides of the steak. On one side is a tenderloin Filet and the other is a top loin, better known as the New York Strip Steak. If you cut the bone out, you get a Filet and a New York Strip. If you leave one side on the bone, you get either a bone-in Filet or a bone-in New York Strip.

So, all T-bones contain a filet and a New York Strip and all Porterhouses are T-bones, but not all T-bones are Porterhouses.

Incidentally, Ribeye and Rib Steak are the same. The Ribeye is boneless and the Rib Steak includes the rib bone, and is often called a Bone-In Rib Eye Steak. In Australia, when the bone is removed, it is often called a "Scotch Filet". Other names include: Beauty Steak, Market Steak, Delmonico Steak, and Spencer Steak.

Glass Hack

Use glass paint or nail polish to paint a dot or something of a different color on wine or drink glasses so people at a party can remember which glass is theirs. Make sure what you use is dishwasher safe.

Strange Flag

Nepal’s flag is the only one in the world to not have four sides. It has a shape formed by two intersecting triangles. Its red color is Rhododendron, Nepal’s national flower. The blue border around it symbolizes peace. The unusual shape of the flag was designed to show the Himalayan Mountains; a very important aspect of Nepal.

The sun within the lower triangle represents determination and a fierce resolve. The moon in the upper part stands for peace, tranquility, and harmony. Both of these elements stand together representing the hope that Nepal will be as everlasting as these two heavenly bodies.

It is also the only country whose flag design and construction are written into the Constitution. The previous flag of Nepal, prior to 1962, was of similar shape and somewhat more intricate design, and was in use for more than 2,000 years.

Incidentally, The flag of Libya is the only flag containing one color and consists solely of a solid green background. Green is the national color of Libya as well as a symbol of devotion to Islam. Green also represents Libyan President Muammar al Qaddafi's 'Green Revolution' - an intention to turn Libya into a wealthy agricultural nation.

Sep 9, 2016

Happy Friday

Smiles are as contagious as yawns.

Smile and share while enjoying a Happy Friday!

Happy Conception Day

September 12 is Conception Day in Russia and couples get the day off specifically to have sex. Who says Russians have it so bad?

Apple iOS Failures Going Up

Apple lost its leading position in smartphone performance and reliability to Android in the second quarter of 2016.

iOS has been plagued by crashing apps, WiFi connectivity, and other performance issues. The iOS failure rate more than doubled to 58 percent, compared to a 25 percent failure rate in the previous quarter.

Phone Battery Grabbers

The component that uses the most energy on your smartphone is the screen. The more you use it, the faster your battery drains. Using the auto dimming feature helps use less battery. You can also shorten the delay time to turn screen off when you are finished using it for a while.

Watching a streaming video movie requires your phone’s screen to be on continuously, to maintain an active Internet connection, and the phone’s processor and graphics processor also use juice to decode the video and audio.

Streaming music also uses more battery than music stored on the phone, due to network activity of streaming.

Using maps for long trips and your phone’s screen is on, and the app forces the phone’s GPS circuitry to refresh at a more frequent rate than in normal usage. It is also making heavier use of cellular and WI-Fi connections in order to aid in pinpointing your location.

Pop up ads use much processor and waste battery use as much as twice as what it would if you used an ad blocker.

Push messages also use up the battery faster. Why not set the email to only check once every thirty minutes, or each hour, or never, and check mail when you want to, not when someone decides to interrupt you. Same with contacts updates and calendar changes. You can always switch back if you do not notice a noticeable increase in battery life.

Keep your phone relatively warm. Cold weather (below about 60) is a major battery drainer for any battery, not just phone batteries.

If you do not need it, turn GPS and WiFi off until you need them. The constant pinging wastes a battery charge. If you are in a store or another place you do not wish to be disturbed, skip the vibrate mode and just turn on Airplane Mode. All your messages, mail, etc., will arrive when you turn Airplane Mode off.

If you have a battery saving mode on your phone, use it. You will not lose features, it will just keep the automatic pinging and background apps to a minimum.

You can check your settings to see which apps are gobbling most of your resources and turn them off or delete them if you do not need them. You can also turn off GPS or WiFi access for those apps that really do not need these features.

Last, if you are in an area of bad reception, your phone works overtime to find a signal. Use Airplane Mode until you move closer to populated areas. Incidentally, if you notice your battery draining faster than normal and your usage or apps have not changed, might be time to buy a new battery.

Another Obscure Olympic Fact

During the 1900 Paris Olympics, golf first appeared at the Olympic Games, and one of the last for over a century. (The sport returned to the Olympics for the 2016 Rio Games.)

The first American woman, Margaret Abbott to win an Olympic gold medal was not aware of what she won. Records suggest she went her entire life oblivious to her historic achievement. Her mother, Mary Ives Abbott entered the competition as well. It was the first and only time in Olympic history that a mother and daughter competed in the same sport, in the same event, at the same time. Margaret Abbott passed away during 1955 unaware of the milestone she had set.

Airplane Window Shape

Most people have noticed that airplane windows corners are rounded. They were not always rounded. Airplanes used to have square windows, but many planes crashed because of them.

During the 1950s when planes became faster, some of them began to crash unexpectedly. Investigators found the squared-off corners of windows were susceptible to stress. Circular window corners are able to disperse that pressure more evenly.

Airplane windows now have three panes: one bears the burden of pressurization, another inner pane acts as a fail safe in case the outer pane fails, one pane faces the occupant.

Cotton Candy Master

Here is an art form taken to a whole new level. I love to watch an artist at his craft. Two minutes. LINK

ABBA Trivia

During the Nazi occupation of Norway, 1940 - 1945, it was “expressly desirable that the German soldiers conceive as many children as possible with Norwegian women, regardless of whether it is within or outside of the bonds of matrimony.”

In Norway, as many as 12,000 children born to these unions. The rest of the population did not look too kindly on these pairings, as women involved with German officers could get their heads shaved or be branded with swastikas.

Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad was born during November 1945 as a result of a liaison between her mother and a German sergeant. Her mother and grandmother were branded as traitors and ostracized in their village in northern Norway. They were forced to emigrate to Sweden, where Anni-Frid's mother died of kidney failure before her daughter was two. She was raised by her grandmother. Frida is the singer with auburn hair from the singing group ABBA. Incidentally, Frida co-designed many of the ABBA stage costumes.

Six Cheesy Names

Monterey Jack takes half of its name from a place where Franciscan friars around Monterey, CA, crafted a mild white cheese throughout the 19th century. The second part comes from Scottish immigrant David Jack, who started marketing his own version of the cheese.

When Jack first came to the US in 1841, he worked as an army contractor, and he eventually became so successful that he owned most of the real estate in Monterey County. The rapid expansion of his land holdings left him owning shares in a number of dairies and he began mass-marketing the friars’ cheese recipe, first under the name Jack’s cheese and later as Monterey Jack.

Colby cheese is another American invention. In 1885 Wisconsin cheese maker Joseph F. Steinwand started varying his production process for cheddar by washing the curds with cold water. The washing process cut down on the acidity of the cheese and gave it a milder flavor than regular cheddar. Steinwand named his creation after the nearby town of Colby, WI. Longhorn Colby refers to the size and cylindrical shape of the block the cheese comes in.

Pecorino comes from Pecora, the Italian word for sheep and this family of hard Italian sheep milk cheeses derives from it.

Hanne Nielson created Havarti cheese at her family’s farm in Øverød, just north of Copenhagen, during the mid-19th century. Nielson decided to create a Danish equivalent to Switzerland’s tasty cheeses and the buttery Havarti was the result of her experimentation. She named the cheese after the family’s farm, which was known as Havarthigaard.

Mozzarella takes its name from the diminutive of the word mozza, which in Neapolitan dialect means cut. Mozza in turn derives from the verb mozzare, which means to cut off. It refers to how the cheese is produced by cutting the curds and shaping them into the familiar ball shape.

American cheese gets its name from the British. When British colonists first came to North America, they brought their knowledge of cheddar production with them and began making cheese cheaply and in great volume. Colonists would ship the cheese back across the pond and sell it at discount prices. British shoppers did not love the quality of this 'Yankee cheddar' or 'American cheese', but since it was cheap, it sold well. By 1878, Americans were sending over 300 million pounds of cheese back to England every year.

Americans called it either yellow cheese or store cheese. During 1916 James L. Kraft patented a pasteurization process that stabilized cheese to allow for easy transport over long distances. The name American cheese stuck to to Kraft’s processed cheeses.


This new acronym (initialism) comes from the technology industry and we will be hearing it more often. The future is all about SMAC: social, mobile, analytics, and cloud.

Sep 2, 2016

Happy Friday

Sharing happiness with others is like a snowball running downhill, the more it is shared the faster and bigger it gets.

I always share my happiness on a Happy Friday!

International Bacon Day

Well, it is that time of year again when we get to celebrate something we all enjoy - BACON. Tomorrow, the Saturday before Labor Day we celebrate International Bacon Day.

Aussie Father's Day

In Australia and New Zealand, Father's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September.

Labor Day and Labour Day in Canada

This is observed on the first Monday in September.

What's in a Name, Stetson

John Batterson Stetson came from a long line of hatters, and when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he headed west during the 1860s. After setting up shop in Missouri, Stetson created the original cowboy hat - the Boss of the Plains hat.

It looks little like what we might imagine for the typical cowboy hat, with a round brim and uncreased crown. Originally made from beaver fur and designed to be lightweight and waterproof, it was not until the Boss of the Plains hat was already popular that it began to morph into something closer to the cowboy hats we think of today.

Wearers in different areas started customizing their hats, and the creases and folds of the hats developed into their own type of language. They defined status, occupation, and where a person was from, until Stetson adopted the five most popular creases into his official line.

Notable people who wore Stetson hats included Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers, and Annie Oakley.

Robotics is Growing

An analysis of 752 of The Robot Report's global database of robotics-related startup companies shows that 25% of the startups were focused on industrial robotics and 75% address new areas of robotics such as: unmanned aerial, land and underwater devices for filming, marketing, delivery, surveillance, security, surveying, and for the military, science and oil and gas industries (25%); robotics for the agriculture industry (6%); mobile robots as platforms for various uses (7%); personal service bots (3%); professional service bots (7%); medical, surgical and rehabilitation robots (7%); consumer products such as for home cleaning, security, remote presence and entertainment (9%); educational and the hobby market (5%); etc.

Support businesses such as AI and software, engineering and design, component manufacturing, 3D printing, vision systems and integrators make up the remainder. More than half of the startups are predominantly software based and indicative of the new metric that the hardware component represent less that 1/3 of the overall cost of the product.

The industrial robotics sector, whose revenues have represented 75% of the industry's overall sales for the past few years, is forecast by various sources to have double-digit compounded annual growth for the remainder of this decade. However, when one studies the figures for the biggest five user-countries, all except China are projecting CAGRs of 6% to 9% while China is expected to exceed 25%. Service robots are also expecting double-digit growth with over 80% of those new companies located in Europe and North America. This explosive growth shows that the next 5-10 years will all be double-digit years for the industry as a whole.

Incidentally, Oxford Martin School researchers estimate that robotics and artificial intelligence are on track to take over 40% of the US workforce within 15-20 years.

Caterpillar Club

Membership is involuntary in this club that has been around since 1922. It is so named as parachutes were made of silk at the time. The sole requirement for joining the Caterpillar Club is to make an emergency escape from a failing aircraft, then plummet to earth with the aid of a parachute. If you survive, you automatically become a member.

If you qualify, contact  Airborne Systems, which owns the parachute producers Irvin Aerospace, GQ Parachutes, Para-Flite and Aircraft Materials, Ltd. In accordance with the Irvin protocols established in the 1920s, the company still issues gold pins and membership cards to Caterpillar Club members.

Incidentally, Charles Lindbergh was a member of the Caterpillar Club.

Point Roberts Double Currency

Point Roberts is a little tract of land attached to a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is officially part of Washington State, US, but inhabitants must cross through Canada to reach the rest of Washington State. Point Roberts has a small airport and a large marina for air and water access. These two point facilities allow the fourteen mile direct access to the rest of Washington State without the need to enter Canada.

Point Bob, as it is called, has a post office, with the ZIP code of 98281 had a population of 1,314 on the 2010 census. The US portion of the peninsula is about 2 miles (3 km) from north to south and about 3 miles (5 km) from east to west. It has a total area of 4.884 square miles (12.65 km2). From fourth grade on, American children must take a 40-minute ride through British Columbia, crossing back into the United States at Blaine, Washington.

It assumed its present political status in 1846, when the Oregon Treaty extended the 49th parallel as the boundary between American and British territory from the Rocky Mountains to Georgia Strait.  Later, as the Boundary Commission was surveying the line, the British government realized that the peninsula of Point Roberts would be an isolated part of the United States.

Incidentally, The cash registers have two drawers in one. One side dispenses Canadian funds, the other side American. The registers are updated daily to properly calculate the current exchange rate.

Google Games

Did you know you can play some games with Google? If you want to play Solitaire, search for "solitaire" on Google. Or you can search for "tic-tac-toe".

To settle an argument, search for "flip a coin". To hear animal sounds, ask Google something like, "what sound does a cow make?" It will play the sound, and you can choose from a selection of other animals, including pig, horse, owl. zebra, dog, cat, and duck. Caveat Emptor, it can be addicting.

National Biscuit Month

September is National Biscuit Month. A biscuit is a kind of small, flat-baked bread product that is usually made with a chemical leavener such as baking powder. The exact meaning varies in different parts of the world. A biscuit can be a hard baked sweet or savory product like a small, flat cake, which in North America may be called a "cookie" or "cracker". The term biscuit also applies to sandwich-type biscuits, where a layer of cream or icing is sandwiched between two biscuits. Some of the original biscuits were British naval hard tack.

In American English, a biscuit is a small bread made with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent rather than yeast. This roughly corresponds to a scone in British English usage.

Biscuits have a firm browned crust and a soft interior, similar to bannock from the Shetland Isles. A sweet biscuit layered or topped with fruit, typically strawberries, juice-based syrup, and cream is called shortcake. In Canada, both sweet and savory are referred to as biscuits, baking powder biscuits, or tea biscuits, although scone is now also used.

Biscuits are a common feature of Southern US cuisine and are often made with buttermilk. They are traditionally served as a side dish with a meal. As a breakfast item they are often eaten with butter and a sweet condiment. With other meals they are usually eaten with butter or gravy. However, biscuits covered in country gravy are usually served for breakfast, sometimes as the main course.

Origin of Unlucky Thirteen

Fear of the number 13, known as "triskaidekaphobia," has its origins in Norse mythology. In a well-known tale, 12 gods were invited to dine at Valhalla, a magnificent banquet hall in Asgard, the city of the gods. Loki, the god of strife and evil, crashed the party, raising the number of attendees to 13. The other gods tried to kick Loki out, and in the struggle that ensued, Balder, the favorite among them, was killed.

Scandinavian avoidance of 13-member dinner parties, and dislike of the number 13 itself, spread south to the rest of Europe. It was reinforced in the Christian era by the story of the Last Supper, at which Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the thirteenth guest at the table. See also LINK