Mar 17, 2017

Happy Friday

Laughter is the best medicine, this is the day to take your medicine.

I always take my medicine, especially while celebrating a Happy Friday!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is celebrated March 17. Have fun, drink beer, kiss an Irish person, and generally enhance an already Happy Friday!

Happiness Day

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on March 20. It was founded by United Nations during 2012, when all 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution.

The General Assembly,[…] Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. . . Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner.

What's in a Name, Piccadilly Circus

The London landmark gets its name from the alternate meaning of ‘circus’ referring to a round junction where several streets meet.

(This also explains Oxford Circus, the Tube station just a half mile northwest). The other half of its name, meanwhile, is a centuries-old bit of snark.
A ‘piccadill’ is a large, ruffled collar that was the height of fashion in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries – think portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. Creating piccadills was how one London tailor, Robert Baker, made his fortune… and funded the construction of his grand house here in 1611. Apparently it was seen as a little too grand for a ‘lowly’ tailor, since it came to be known as Pickadilly Hall. The witty put-down stuck: when the junction was built there in 1819, it was called Piccadilly Circus. So, of course, was the Underground station when it opened in 1906.

Wordology, Resilience

A new non-dictionary political term for Climate Change. To be resilient now means to encompass all previous climate change strategies: to resist, to mitigate, and to adapt. Its use in climate research and US academic papers has multiplied over time.

The 2015 US PREPARE Act, a bill to help the federal government recover from extreme weather events, does not mention climate change or global warming, but it uses the term 'resilience' 40 times. The word has also begun to show up in individual state plans to 'mitigate flooding' rather than to 'deal with sea level rise affects of climate change'. A rose by any other name. . .


Different strains of cannabis have different and higher CBD or higher THC levels.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, the cannabinoid second only to THC when it comes to average volume. Recently, research has shown CBD to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects, such as getting high. Its use looks promising to combat  Crohn’s disease, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, and Dravet’s Syndrome.

THC is one of over 480 different compounds present in the cannabis plant. So far about 85 have been identified as cannabinoids The most well known of these compounds is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Bottom line, THC is the stuff in cannabis that makes us high, while CBD is the stuff in cannabis that is used for medicinal purposes and does not make us high. Neither has a lethal dose.

Incidentally, marijuana is the most-consumed illegal drug in Germany, but as of this month, March, cannabis has expanded medical and legal allowances. Now doctors can simply write their patients a prescription if, for example, they suffer from chronic pain or a serious loss of appetite due to an illness. German health insurance providers also now must cover the costs of cannabis treatments.

Facebook and Artificial Intelligence

Facebook is trying to use artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide. It recently introduced AI to be used a suicide-prevention feature to identify posts indicating suicidal or harmful thoughts. The AI scans posts and their associated comments, compares them to others that merited intervention, and, in some cases, passes them along to its community team for review."


It is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as nutritious food. The word comes from the Cree root word pimî, "fat or grease". It was invented by the natives of North America. It is often called the ultimate survival food and is still used today.

Specific ingredients used for pemmican were usually whatever was available. The meat was often buffalo, deer, elk, or moose. Fruits such as cranberries, choke cherries, blueberries, and saskatoon berries were sometimes added. Now, honey, maple syrup or peanut butter are also added.

The meat, with fat removed was cut in thin slices and dried, either over a slow fire or in the hot sun, until it was hard and brittle. About 5 pounds (2,300 g) of meat are required to make 1 pound (450 g) of dried meat suitable for pemmican. Then the meat and berries were pounded into almost powder-like in consistency, using stones. The pounded meat was mixed with melted fat in an approximate 1:1 ratio. Now it is made using food processors or blenders.

Pemmican was widely adopted as a high-energy food by Europeans involved in the fur trade and later by Arctic and Antarctic explorers. The resulting mixture was usually packed into rawhide bags for storage. It can be safely stored for many decades. It is usually served raw, boiled in a stew, or fried. Pemmican beef jerky and pemmican energy bars are still sold in the US and Canada.

Incidentally, During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), British troops were given an iron ration made of four ounces of pemmican and four ounces of chocolate and sugar.

Michelin Stars

The first The Michelin Guide for French drivers in 1900 included maps, listings of hotels, gas stations and mechanics, and helpful information for repairing tires. At the time there were only 3,000 automobiles in all of France. The forward-thinking Michelin brothers thought providing information for car travelers, would increase interest in French automobile tourism, which would in turn increase demand for cars and tires. The first US guide came during 2005.

During 1920, the guide started sending anonymous reviewers out to rate restaurants. A few years later, Michelin began ranking restaurants using a rating system of one to three stars. Michelin stars are used to judge the quality of the food at a restaurant only, independent of any other aspects of the dining experience.
• One star = A very good restaurant in its category
• Two stars = Excellent cooking, worth a detour
• Three stars = Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

An additional designation of a small knife and fork, known as “couvert,” describes other aspects of the restaurant’s experience like comfort, venue décor, tabletop décor, and level of formality. A black fork and knife icon denotes a more basic experience, while a red icon indicates superior couvert.
Michelin inspectors, who have extensive training and experience in the field are required to hide their jobs from friends and even family members. They recruit dates to accompany them to romantic restaurants, so they do not stand out as solo diners. Some  visit a restaurant multiple times to most accurately judge the quality and consistency of the experience.

Incidentally, Bib is the Michelin Man’s nickname. He is also referred to as Bibendum or Bibelobis.

Mar 10, 2017

Happy Friday

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."~ Winston Churchill

I never fail to have the courage to successfully enjoy a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

Tomorrow night March 11, 2am is the time to change your clocks and the batteries in smoke and fire detectors. This time of year we again tear the bottom off the blanket and sew it on the top as we heed the political call to control time and change our clocks to Spring Forward. Lots of fun as we continue the semi-annual game to convince ourselves that we are indeed the masters of time. Meanwhile the birds and bees happily continue to forage, blissfully ignorant of our plight.

Happy National Pi and Potato Chip Day

Not sure how it happened these two are celebrated on the same day, March 14. Especially because Pi is infinite without repetition and eating potato chips is infinite with repetition. Regardless, I bet you cannot eat just 3.14 potato chips, especially if they are Better Made brand.

Artisanal, Bespoke, and Handcrafted

These words have increasing play on social media and are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences.

Artisanal is an adjective, pertaining to a person skilled in an applied art. Men were taught artisanal skills such as clothes-making and carpentry, etc. Also, pertaining to a high-quality or distinctive product made in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.

Bespoke is another adjective relating to goods, especially clothing made to order, such as a bespoke suit.

Handcrafted is a past participle verb meaning to make skillfully by hand, such as a handcrafted rocking chair.

Name Changes

When the Anglo-Saxons conquered Britain in the 5th Century, they transformed not only its society, but its language, which we now know as Old English. Remnants of their rule remain inscribed in maps of not only London, but Britain; the Anglo-Saxon suffix ‘-ham’ (as in Birmingham) meant homestead, for example, while ‘-ton’ (like Brighton) referred to a farm. The ending ‘-ing’, meant belonging to or associated with someone, or their followers. So Paddington was the farmstead belonging to Padda or his clan, Kennington was that of Cēna’s people.

When the Normans invaded in 1066, though, they seized Saxon properties to hand out among their loyalists and tacked on new names accordingly. One winner in the land-grab was the abbey of Bec-Hellouin, in Normandy, which was granted the land that once belonged to a Saxon chief named Tota. All of which turned into the name today, Tooting.

Around 190, London was Londinium.

Forth Bridge

During March 1890, the Forth railway bridge, connecting Edinburgh to Fife over the Firth of Forth, opened, becoming an internationally recognized Scottish landmark. So, the tongue twisting Forth bridge over the Firth of Forth connects to Fife.

Newts and Salamanders

Newt and salamander are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle distinctions between the two. Newts are a type of salamander, belonging to a subfamily called Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae. Both are able to regenerate nearly all parts of the body, such as limbs, tail, eyes, intestines, heart, and spinal cord.

Newts have three metamorphoses throughout their life, an aquatic larva, a terrestrial juvenile stage called an eft, and an adult stage. As adults, newts live a semi-aquatic to aquatic life. Most newts have webbed feet and a paddle-like tail, which make it easier to live in the water. Newts usually have rougher skin than salamanders. During the breeding season, they develop a flat tail.

Adult salamanders live a mostly terrestrial life except when breeding and laying eggs. A salamander is pregnant for only a few days. Salamanders typically have longer and more rounded tails with well-developed toes for digging in soil. Salamanders have smooth, wet skin like a frog. There are over 600 different species of salamanders.

All newts are salamanders, but not all salamanders are newts, just like a toad is a frog, but all frogs are not toads.

Picture-in-Picture Redo

Microsoft Windows 10 is coming out with a new update soon. It has a feature called Compact Overlay window. You can keep watching a movie or video chat on one corner of your screen, even when switching apps to check email or browse the web.

The compact overlay mode will be shown above other windows so it will not get blocked. Another way to be unproductive by watching and listening to YouTube videos or Skypeing while trying to get something accomplished.

Mar 3, 2017

Happy Friday

A smile is the seed of blooming happiness.

It is always blooming happiness for me, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy National I Want You to be Happy Day

Today, March 3.  This day was created as a day encouraging us to do something to make others happy. Putting a smile on someone’s face tends to put one on yours, too. How appropriate that it falls on a Happy Friday this year.

IHOP National Pancake Day

Unlike the worldwide pancake day we celebrated this week, IHOP has its own. It began as a charitable event during 2006. Head over to IHOP on Tuesday March 7 for a free short stack of pancakes. IHOP encourages a donation for its charities supporting children battling critical illnesses.

Statue of Liberty Fact

Statue of liberty seven spikes represent the seven oceans and seven continents.

Grass Art

Some things are as boring as watching grass grow. These artists take that idea to a whole new level. Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey make photographs using grass. They call it Chlorophyll Apparitions.

When grass is grown from seed on a vertical surface, it can record complex images much as photographic film does: Each germinating blade produces chlorophyll in proportion to the light that reaches it. Stronger light produces greener grass, and blades deprived of light grow, but produce no chlorophyll, leaving them yellow. “In a sense we have adapted the photographic art of producing pictures on a sensitive film to the light sensitivity of emergent blades of young grass.”

They shine negatives of a picture through a projector to produce a light onto a canvas that has been coated with a growing medium and real grass seeds. If you are interested in more of the process, here is a LINK

Seven More Peanut Butter Facts

Peanut butter more or less as we know it today was popularized at the 1893 World Fair. In the early 1900s, peanut butter made frequent appearances in tea rooms across the nation where it was billed as a dish for rich people. Back then, it was paired with items, such as cucumbers, cheese, celery, and crackers. At that point, peanut butter was still considered a “high end” food and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were not a commonly eaten food item.

Peanut butter spread to the masses during the 1920s and 1930s, shortly after pre-sliced bread came into existence. At that time commercial brands Skippy and Peter Pan began.

With the Great Depression, peanut butter on bread became a staple in many American households, because it provided a hearty, filling meal with a cheaper-than-meat substitute for protein.

During WWII the peanut butter and jelly sandwich became a popular meal among United States soldiers. When soldiers arrived home from the war, peanut butter and jelly sales skyrocketed.

The PB&J is a bigger hit in the United States than in most other countries.

The average American will eat around 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they turn 18.

Incidentally, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes (a type of plant with seeds that grow inside pods like peas or beans). Nuts are grown on trees, peanuts grow underground. March is National Peanut Month.


Many people use Nutella as an alternative to peanut butter. Its main ingredient is sugar, followed by palm oil, then hazelnuts. The label says that jars contain "over 50 hazelnuts per 13 oz. jar."

It is manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero that was first introduced in 1964, although its first iteration dates to 1946. It was originally sold as a solid block, but Ferrero started to sell a creamy version during 1951. Its composition was again  modified and it was renamed Nutella in 1964.

Ads highlight the fact that Nutella has no artificial colors or preservatives and it contains, sugar, modified palm oil, and hazelnut, followed by cocoa solids, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lecithin, and vanillin flavor. In the US, it also contains soy products.

According to its nutritional label, Nutella contains 58% of processed sugar by weight and 10.4 percent of saturated fat. A two-tablespoon (37 gram) serving of Nutella contains 200 calories including 99 calories from 11 grams of fat (3.5g of which are saturated) and 80 calories from 21 grams of sugar. The spread also contains 15 mg of sodium and 2g of protein per serving.

Incidentally, Nutella is marketed as "hazelnut cream" in many countries.         

Ms. Pearl the Squirrel

Speaking of nuts, outside of Austin, Texas, off of an uneventful stretch of Highway 71, sits a U-turn worthy site for the squirrel worshiper in us all.

Standing at 14 feet tall, Ms. Pearl beckons passersby from the highway to have their picture taken with her. If you are wondering why she is clutching a pecan, it probably has something to do with the nearby Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company, a family-owned business that includes a gift shop, a pecan orchard, and an adorable squirrel statue.

It was constructed in 2011 by Berdoll, Ms. Pearl received her name from a customer as part of a contest. In 2015, the statue received a facelift. She is available 24 hours a day and while the nearby gift shop has regular business hours, there is a vending machine outside the shop with fresh, full-sized pecan pies replenished daily for late night snacking.