Jun 23, 2017

Happy Friday

Do not hold back. A gusto for life yields an abundance of happiness.

I am always blessed with an abundance of happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Mickey

In the film industry, a ‘mickey’ is a gentle camera move forwards. It is named for Mickey Rooney (a ‘little creep’).

Alcohol Proof

The regulation to proof alcohol was simply to test and verify that the contents of a barrel of liquid was what it was claimed to be began in England during the 16th century to ensure that the King collected the proper amount of taxes on the sale of the product.

The first method involved soaking a gun pellet in the liquid, and then trying to light it on fire; if it burned, it was classified as a proof spirit. However, as alcohol’s flammability is temperature dependent, the higher the temperature, the more vapors the alcohol infused solution will emit and therefore more flammable. Sometimes actual alcohol was passed off as something less and taxed at a lower rate.

Frequently the product would catch fire, and the authorities would know that the spirit was at least 57.15% alcohol by volume (ABV), which at that time was classified as being 100 proof.

As scientific skills improved during the early 19th century, a far more accurate test was developed which measured the liquid’s specific gravity (the ratio of the density of a substance to a reference, in this case distilled water). Distilled water is actually denser than alcohol. In 1816 a test was developed using the fact that at 11°C  (51°F), a 100 degree proof spirit (~57.15% ABV) would weigh 12/13 that of distilled water.

AnIPA with an ABV of 6.9% in the UK would be 12.075 degrees of proof, while a 100% ABV pure alcohol would have a proof of 175 degrees.

In the US, proof is calculated by doubling the ABV. So alcohol with an ABV of 40%, is 80 proof. Nevada, US prohibits the sale of alcohol in excess of 80% ABV (160 proof), and California, US prohibits the sale of anything over 60% ABV (120 proof).

The US has singled out one alcohol in particular for regulation – absinthe ABV (45-75%). It is infused with green anise, fennel, other herbs, and grand wormwood. During the early 1900s, a number of countries banned absinthe, due to a smear campaign conducted by the wine industry and the presumed presence of thujone, a chemical compound that is said to be poisonous in large amounts. It is now known that most absinthe has very little thujone and easily meets all regulatory requirements. Beginning in 2007, absinthe returned to the US as imports from Europe and with domestic producers.

Finger Fact

The ratio between the lengths of one’s index and ring fingers is usually quite different in men and women. Men tend to have shorter index fingers than ring fingers; women tend to have their index fingers either the same length or longer than their ring fingers. I saw you checking.

Catfishing, Ghosting, Phishing, and Spoofing

New  threatening online practices are showing up almost monthly. As old threats are stopped, the bad guys dream up new ones. Below are a few current schemes by bad actors to gain personal information to steal from your bank account, abruptly end a relationship, or damage your reputation.

Catfishing is being used more and more often and refers to the act of luring someone into a perceived or real relationship via an online persona that does not actually exist. It occurs in many forms, such as individuals may steal others’ photos and use them as their own, claim to have a job they do not actually have, or build an entire fictional personality from scratch in order to appear attractive to the person they are interested in.

Ghosting is a new term for breaking up with someone by completely cutting off contact with them, ignoring their attempts to get in touch, and not providing an explanation for why they ended the relationship. It is often used by people who meet online or by using social media apps. Ghosting is also used as a way to not take responsibility for a relationship and is confusing and hurtful to the person being ghosted.

Phishing is committing fraud by posing as a legitimate and often widely-known company or brand. People who are doing this, buying up domains that are closely related in spelling to a real domain, duplicating the actual brand’s website, and capturing information for the purpose of identity or other theft. Some will take payments for products and services that don’t exist, and others will infect computers with bots, spyware, and malware. Many internet service providers recommend antivirus programs that contain real-time phishing filters. These filters can block internet pages and websites that are characteristic of phishing.

Spoofing is the act of forging an email so that it appears the email came from someone other than the actual sender. This is common among crooks, who want to install programs that record and transmit keystrokes on victims’ computers in hopes of obtaining bank account information and passwords. Most email service providers have become adept at flagging these attempts. Running and maintaining antivirus and anti-malware protection is crucial to staying safe while using the internet.

Wordology, Achaplinarse

This is a Chilean word  meaning to run about in the style of Charlie Chaplin. In Spanish it means to hesitate, turn back, or change direction in a chaplinesque manner.

Incidentally, In 1915, Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest in San Francisco. He did not win and he failed to make the finals.

Three Strange Job Illnesses

Chimney Sweep's Cancer, also called soot wart, and chimney sweep's scrotum is a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin of the scrotum.  Warts caused by the irritation from soot particles, if not excised, developed into a scrotal cancer, then enlarged the testicle and proceeded up the spermatic cord into the abdomen where it proved fatal. It is the first reported form of occupational cancer, and was first identified during 1775. It was initially noticed as being prevalent among chimney sweeps.

Bagpiper's Fungus - Bagpipes are made of sheepskin traditionally coated in treacle or honey on the lining to keep it airtight. The inside is sticky, dark and damp, making it a breeding ground for spores and fungus. Pipers breath in those bacteria and develop pneumonia, respiratory infections, and more.

Wool Sorter's Disease - this condition usually afflicts those working with wool, like sheep shearers. What the name doesn't suggest is just how bad this disease actually is. The more common name is anthrax. A person can contract meningitis, high fever, and severe abdominal pain before finally suffering a fatal respiratory collapse - all from breathing in the bacteria hidden in sheep's wool.

Jun 16, 2017

Happy Friday

“Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity.” ~ Omar Ibn Al-Halif

I come back every week to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Father's Day

This year Father's Day is June 18. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in the world. This holiday traces its roots to 1910. However, it took until 1966 for US President Lyndon Johnson to issue a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers. Then, US President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that Father's Day be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June. It has been an official, permanent national holiday ever since.

A bit of history - Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd thought it might be nice to honor fathers and proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA that they celebrate a 'father’s day'. She chose the 5th of June because it was her father’s birthday. The idea received strong support, but the ministers asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the subject of fathers. The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington, and soon other towns had their own celebrations.
Father's Day is celebrated around the world, but many countries celebrate on different days.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around, but when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~Mark Twain

Tilapia vs. Bacon

Nutritionists have referenced a study that implies eating tilapia is worse than eating bacon. Dr. Floyd Chilton, professor of physiology and pharmacology who directed the Wake Forest study, says the comparison of tilapia to bacon was taken out of context.

A 4-ounce serving of tilapia has about 29 grams of protein and about 200 mg of omega-3. By comparison, a 4-ounce serving of bacon has 40 grams of protein and 228 mg of omega-3.

The report said the, “inflammatory potential of hamburger and bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia (100 g).” The fish currently tests in the “red zone” for the presence of banned or illegal chemicals such as antibiotics, malachite green, and methyl testosterone hormones used in Chinese tilapia production.

Incidentally, the USDA does not currently have guidelines for classifying seafood as organic.

Wordology, Muselet

It comes from the French: myz.le. It derives its name from the French museler, to muzzle and is a wire cage that fits over the cork of a bottle just below the annulus, of champagne, sparkling wine, or beer to prevent the cork from emerging under the pressure of the carbonated contents. The muselet often has a metal cap (plaque) incorporated in the design which may show the drink maker's emblem.

                 muselet and plaque

Muselets are also known as wirehoods or Champagne wires. Another term sometimes used is agrafe. In Champagne, this was a large metal clip used to secure the cork before capsules were invented, typically during the second fermentation and aging in bottle. A bottle secured with this clip is said to be agrafé. Some French refer to muselet as an agrafe (French for staple), a cork, and a disk. Corks have been used as stoppers since about 1718.


When opening a bottle of champagne you need to remove the muselet that sits on top of the cork. It is loosened by removing the foil and turning the wire counter-clockwise. It takes exactly six turns, or three 360 degree turns to remove the muselet.

It is unclear on who invented the muselet, but is is clear that Dom Perignon and Adolphe Jacqueson made important contributions. Dom Perignon is believed to have made important improvements to the production process of champagne. Including a wire caging on the cork. At that time many bottles were lost during production because the cork or the bottle was unable to withstand the pressure of the Champagne. Dom Perignon’s invention made it better. During 1844 Adolphe Jacqueson made the muselet in the shape and form we know today.

Incidentally, collecting the caps of Champagne and other sparkling wine is called Placomusophilia. The small, dome-shaped, often colorfully decorated metal cap that protects the outer end of the cork are called 'plaque' or 'plaque de muselet'.

Europe in Africa

Ceuta and Melilla are fragments of Europe on north Africa's Mediterranean coast. They came under Spanish control about 500 years ago. Madrid says they are integral parts of Spain. On three sides they are surrounded by Morocco. For both, the currency used is the Euro.
Ceuta is an 18.5-square-kilometre (7.1 sq mi) Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, separated by 14 kilometers from Cadiz province on the Spanish mainland by the Strait of Gibraltar and sharing a 6.4 kilometer land border in the Kingdom of Morocco. It lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of nine populated Spanish territories in Africa and, along with Melilla, one of two populated territories on mainland Africa. It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.
Melilla is a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco with an area of 12.3 square kilometres (4.7 sq mi). Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa. It was part of Málaga province until 14 March 1995 when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.

Melilla, like Ceuta, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. As of 2011, it had a population of 78,476 made up of ethnic Spaniards, ethnic Riffian Berbers, and a small number of Sephardic Jews and Sindhi Hindus. Both Spanish and Riffian-Berber are the two most widely spoken languages, with Spanish as the only official language.

This year, migrants were attempting to reach Ceuta to get to the rest of Europe. Only two were successful, but both were injured scaling the six-metre (20 ft) surrounding fence and needed hospital treatment. The attempt comes after more than 400 migrants succeeded in breaching Ceuta's fence in December. Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants living illegally in Morocco try to enter Ceuta and Melilla each year in hope of getting to Europe.

Gift Card Tips

If you have a gift card with a balance of less than ten dollars, most states have laws that stores and restaurants are legally required to give you the balance in cash if you ask for it. Some states have a $5 or other lower limit.

Most gift cards cannot contain an expiration date or a service fee. Tip - fold your receipt around the card to remember the balance.

Political Correctness

I have always lacked my fair share of political correctness, mainly because it defies logic and common sense. Here are a few passages I have come across that describe it rather well.
The 2007 winning entry from an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term 'Political Correctness'. The winner wrote: "Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

“No one should ever underestimate the stupidity induced in bureaucrats by the procedures they are enjoined to follow.”

"The perverse incentives that bureaucrats are often given nowadays are also worth a mention. On the false grounds that it is better to measure something than to measure nothing, the work of a bureaucracy (and therefore bureaucrats) is judged by some target or other plucked from the ether of political vacuity by their bosses."

Medical Paperwork

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study for the American Hospital Association chronicled more than 40 layers of paperwork associated with caring for a typical Medicare patient who arrives at an emergency room with a broken hip and receives treatment until recuperation. Some of the findings:

  • Roughly 60 minutes of paperwork were performed for every hour of emergency department care, 36 minutes of paperwork for every hour of surgery and acute inpatient care, 30 minutes of paperwork for every hour of skilled nursing care, and 48 minutes of paperwork for every hour of home healthcare.
  • “Each time a physician orders a test or a procedure, the physician documents the order in the patient’s record, and the government requires additional documentation to prove the necessity for the test or procedure.”
  • “Many forms … must be completed daily by clinical staff to submit to the government to justify the care provided to skilled nursing facility patients.”
  • Medicare and Medicaid “rules and instructions” are more than 130,000 pages (three times larger than the IRS code and its associated regulations), and “medical records must be reviewed by at least four people to ensure compliance” with Medicare program requirements.
  • “A Medicare patient arriving at the emergency department is required to review and sign eight different forms, just for Medicare.”
  • “Each time a patient is discharged, even if only from the acute unit of the hospital to an on-site skilled nursing unit, multiple care providers must write a discharge plan for the patient. This documentation, as long as 30 pages, applies to all patients, regardless of the complexity of care received within the hospital or required post-hospital setting.”
  • In addition to regulation by state agencies, local agencies, private accrediting organizations, and insurers, hospitals are regulated by more 30 federal agencies.

First Martini

Like many drink recipes, Martini origins are fuzzy. The precise origins of the martini remain obscure, with a number of people and locations vying for the honor of being home to the cocktail. The town of Martinez, California put up a plaque to proclaim itself the birthplace of the Martini. According to the plaque, situated at 911 Alhambra Avenue, the very first Martini was mixed on that spot.

The plaque records the story: “On this site in 1874, Julio Richelieu, bartender, served up the first Martini when a miner came into his saloon with a fistful of nuggets and asked for something special. He was served a 'Martinez Special'. After three or four drinks, however, the ‘Z’ would get in the way. The drink consisted of 2/3 gin, 1/3 vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, poured over crushed ice and served with an olive.”

Another theory suggests it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served sometime in the early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, which people frequented before taking an evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez.

Others assert that the drink was named after “Martini & Rossi” vermouth, which was first created in the mid-1800s. Apparently in the interest of brevity, the drink became known as the 'Martini'.


Another of my quotes someone made into a poster.

Jun 9, 2017

Happy Friday

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”  ~Isaac Asimov

There is wisdom in celebrating every Happy Friday!


Wordology, Cornicione

The outer edge of pizza is called the cornicione, pronounced - "cor-nee-cho-nay", which means cornice or molding. The crust is the name for the base that the toppings are added to.

Care by the Numbers

Medicaid and Medicare are similar programs that are publicly run. They cover 62 million and 43 million Americans, respectively. They each use their large membership to negotiate lower prices with hospitals and doctors. Medicaid tends to have the lowest payment rates. On average, Medicaid pays 66 percent of what Medicare pays doctors.

Incidentally, US Census Bureau as of 2015 shows population of about 318 million Americans, including 23 million non-citizens.

Origins of Golf Terms

The website ScottishGolfHistory.org cites a golf glossary published in 1857 that included the word fore. Historians at the British Golf Museum have surmised that the term 'fore', as a warning in golf, evolved from forecaddie. A forecaddie is a person who accompanies a grouping of golfers around the golf course, going forward on each hole to be in a position to pinpoint the locations of the group members' shots.

Mary Queen of Scots was likely the first woman to play golf. It was during her reign that the famous golf course at St. Andrews was built, in 1552. Mary coined the term caddie by calling her assistants cadets. Of course, le cadet is French for youngster of the family. Some argue French military 'cadets' carried clubs for golfing royalty and this practice came to Scotland when Queen Mary Stuart returned in 1561.

One of the most common misconceptions is that the word GOLF is an acronym for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. The first documented mention of the word 'golf' is in Edinburgh on 6th March 1457, when King James II banned 'ye golf', in an attempt to encourage archery practice, which was being neglected. During 1460, Sir Gilbert Hay translated an old French poem into the Scottish language. It uses the word 'golf' twice. "Therefore I am sending you a ball to play with and a 'golf staff' to hit it with, as children do round the streets."

Also, according to Grammarist the most correct spelling is caddie (an attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player), not caddy (a can for storing tea). Although the word caddy is currently loosely accepted for caddie

Joys of Golf

Here is a fun quickie of someone who adds insult to injury while taking a shot and losing a wedge. LINK

Pounds and Ounces

These words must seem weird to those who follow the metric system, so a bit of history might help explain. The Latin word Libra is abbreviated to 'lb'. Libra is widely known as the astrological sign for balance, but it was also part of the Roman unit of weight, libra pond, which translates to “pound weight." Britain derived pound from that expression as its unit of measurement and also as a term for its currency because centuries ago, a pound in money was considered equal to the value of a pound of silver.

Ounces - The Spanish ounce (Onza) was 1⁄16 of a pound. It is a unit of mass used in most British systems of measurement. It is most pervasive in the retail sale of groceries in the United States, but is also used in many other matters of domestic and international trade between imperial or customary measurement driven countries.

Organic Food

Multi-ingredient agricultural products in the US “Made with organic” category must contain at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients (not including salt or water). These products may contain up to 30 percent of allowed non-organic ingredients. All ingredients – including the 30 percent non-organic ingredients – must be produced without GMOs.

Ten Interesting Tidbits of Knowledge

  • The word ‘ushers’ contains five pronouns: us, she, he, her and hers.
  • By the time a glass of champagne goes flat, two million bubbles will have popped.
  • People suffering from superior canal dehiscence syndrome can hear their own eyeballs moving.
  • A Gongoozler is a person who stares for a long time at things happening on a canal.
  • Britons eat 97% of the world’s baked beans.
  • By the time they leave high school American children will have eaten 1,500 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
  • American bullfrogs’ eyes have special retinas. The top half sees in daylight, the bottom sees into the water in infrared.
  • The act of snapping one's fingers is called a fillip.
  • Tyler, Texas, USA contains the world's largest rose garden: 22 acres with over 38,000 rose bushes and more than 500 varieties of rose.

  • The 2004 tsunami shifted the location of the geographic South Pole by a few centimeters.
  • Jun 2, 2017

    Happy Friday

    "Happiness is a state of mind, and depends very little on outward circumstances." ~ Helen Keller

    I always have a Happy state of mind, especially on a Happy Friday!

    National Donut Day

    It is celebrated on the first Friday in June. That sweet, doughy goodness that has a day set aside holey in its honor. Go out for some freebies from your favorite donut shop today.

    Incidentally, the name was originally hyphenated, as in "balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough-nuts, or oly koeks(oily cakes): a delicious kind of cake made by Dutch families.” When  phonetic-based spelling reform came along, it was changed to donut, which was popularized by Dunkin' Donuts and has become the more popular spelling.

    Gandhi Tale

    This interesting bit of fiction takes place when Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, a white professor Peters disliked him. The two had many arguments and confrontations.
    Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said, "Mr. Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat." Gandhi looked at him and calmly replied, "You do not worry professor. I'll fly away," and went to sat at another table.
    Mr. Peters decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions. Mr. Peters asked him the following question. "Mr. Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?" Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, "The one with the money, of course."
    Mr. Peters said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don't you think?"
    Gandhi shrugged and responded, "Each one takes what he does not have."
    Mr. Peters wrote on Gandhi's exam sheet the word "idiot" and gave it to Gandhi. Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.

    A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified, but sarcastically polite tone, "Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade."


    According to Ethnologue, there are over 7,000 distinct languages in the world and about 40,000 dialects. Some languages, like Russian and Hindi, are written from left-to-right, while others, like Hebrew and Persian, are written right-to-left.
    The nation of Papua New Guinea has the highest language diversity in the world. There are 820 languages spoken in an area the size of Spain.

    There are logographic languages, like Japanese and Korean, where symbols represent words, and there are Dongba and Nsibidi which are pictographic languages where symbols represent ideas.

    Incidentally, there are over 1.5 billion speakers of English globally. In 2015, out of the total 195 countries in the world, 67 nations have English as the primary language of 'official status'. Plus there are 27 countries where English is spoken as a secondary 'official' language.