Mar 9, 2020

Happy Friday

A smile is happiness you will find right under your nose. ~Tom Wilson

Wow, happiness to wear, especially on a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

After the past few years of campaigns for the presidency, politicians take a brief respite to do their semi-annual battle with Mother Nature. This weekend is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time.
None of us has ever seen a clock that actually controls sunlight, but politicians believe there is one - somewhere - that can do it. Twice a year, they ask us to join them and drink the sunlight kool aid and magic will happen. Saturday night, just move your clock ahead one hour, go to bed, and when you wake up there will be more sun during the day.

Obviously there are a number of gullible believers, because they are the ones who keep re-electing these snake oil salesmen. Also obvious is that Mother Nature continues to defy them and cheerfully raises and lowers the sun on her same schedule as she has since before anyone of us was born.

I am surprised that the climate folks have not taken up the banner as that extra hour of daylight in every village, city, and town across the whole globe surely is enough to raise the temperature higher and contribute to even faster and more precipitous global warming.
The other bad news this year is that it provides an extra hour for the ( COVID-19) corona virus to spread.

The solution, wait until election day, vote for someone else, tell the politicians to go to bed, and tomorrow they will no longer need to worry about too much sunshine, warming, or virus.

Be Grateful

Psychologists have studied this phenomenon, and have found that people who regularly write down the things they are grateful for exhibit higher levels of optimism and satisfaction with their lives. I am very grateful that you are reading this.

Happy by Law

If you are feeling blue, then you better stay away from Milan. In the Italian city, it is a legal requirement for people to smile at all times. The only exception to this seemingly strict, happiness-enforcing rule is during funerals or hospital visits. Apparently, the rule came from 19th-century city regulations imposed by the Austrians who then ruled over the city, and it was never repealed since. Fortunately, frowning rebels can probably expect to get by without a fine.

Lava Lamp Ingredients

The watery-looking base liquid is mostly a mixture of water, colored dye, and chemicals that prevent the formation of fungus. The water-based liquid is mixed with a secret combination of chemicals that give it a similar density to the wax. The other ingredient, which forms the psychedelic, slowly-changing shapes that float around the lamp, is primarily made of wax. Like a paraffin wax, a petroleum-based wax that is commonly found in candles and cosmetic products.

Because the wax and water mixtures have different densities, they do not mix with each other. When the lamp is turned off, the wax is slightly more dense than the water, and will rest on the bottom of the lamp. When you turn the lamp on, the light bulb at its base will heat the wax, causing it to expand, lose density, and rise through the lamp. By the time it reaches the top, it has cooled, contracted, and begun to fall back down to the bottom, where it will keep repeating the process until you turn it off.

Chili Powder vs. Chile Powder

Chile powder has one ingredient, pure ground dried peppers, like cayenne or jalapeno.

Chili powder is a blend that includes other ingredients, like garlic, cumin, salt, and oregano.

What's in a Name, Ferris Wheel

The Ferris wheel is a beloved centerpiece for any good fair, carnival, or amusement park. The revolving ride was invented after a challenge was set forth to create a structure for the Columbia Exposition in 1893 that would rival Paris' Eiffel Tower (which was erected in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle).

Rising to the challenge was a man named George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. As Smithsonian magazine remarked, the new attraction provided people with access to "an aerial panorama few had ever beheld."

More Wordology

Words sometimes seem similar, but have different meanings.
Infamous and famous are not the same words. You really do not want to mix up these commonly confused words. While famous means "widely known" with no positive or negative connotation, the adjective infamous is defined by Merriam-Webster as "having a reputation of the worst kind." People who are infamous are usually also famous, but people who are famous are not necessarily infamous.

Adverse and Averse are not the same words. Adverse is an adjective synonymous with unfavorable and harmful. Averse is an adjective used when someone strongly dislikes something. You can have an adverse reaction to a medication and you are averse to taking it again.

Accept and Except are not the same and are not interchangeable. Accept is a verb meaning to believe or receive something, and except is a preposition used to refer to something being excluded.
Entitled and titled are not synonyms. Per Merriam-Webster, entitled is an adjective meaning "having a right to certain benefits or privileges" or "showing a feeling of entitlement." A piece of literature is titled, meaning that it has a title.
Bemused and amused are not synonyms. People who are amused are not usually also bemused. While amused is synonymous with entertained, bemused is synonymous with confused and befuddled.

Disinterested and uninterested are synonyms and similar adjectives, but are not exactly the same. To be disinterested is to be unbiased. To be uninterested is to simply not care.

Incidentally, according to Merriam-Webster, the meanings of these words used to be reversed. Disinterested used to mean "not interested," and uninterested used to mean "unbiased."

Another Redhead Myth Debunked

The redhead gene is not becoming extinct. In August 2007, many news organizations reported that redheads would become extinct, possibly as early as 2060, due to the gene for red hair being recessive. Although redheads may become more rare due to mixed marriages where one parent is from a group without the redhead gene and will result in no redheaded children, but some redheaded grandchildren. Redheads will not die out unless everyone who carries the gene dies or fails to reproduce. This misconception has been around since at least 1865, and often resurfaces in American newspapers.

Time Tales

Cleopatra was alive closer to the invention of cell phone than to construction of great pyramid, but the woolly mammoth was around during the pyramid building. Shakespeare and Pocahontas lived during the same time.

Mar 1, 2020

Happy Friday

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator,
but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." ~ W. H. Auden

Cannot be a better day to laugh than today, especially on a Happy Friday!

National Pig Day

March 1 is National Pig Day. Pigs are some of the cleanest animals around, refusing to excrete anywhere near their living or eating areas when given a choice. Pigs are smarter than any other domestic animal. Their ability to solve problems, like the pig I.Q. test on The Joy of Pigs, is well-documented, and they are considered by animal experts to be more trainable than dogs or cats. To scientists, pigs are unique as one of the only large mammals that exists, in one form or another, in every part of the world. Potbellied pigs were first imported into the United States from Vietnam during 1985. I presume this means eating bacon is like eating smart food!

Pilates Origin

Pilates initially was not intended for weight loss, but to stay alive in internment camps.

At the dawn of World War I, the British government was suspicious of young German residents. To control the immigrant population, the British arrested many of them and placed them in camps on the Isle of Man. One of these camps, Knockaloe, interned 23,000 prisoners. Conditions were grim. Many inmates reported “barbed-wire disease,” a mental weariness similar to depression.

Joseph Pilates thought he had the cure for his fellow inmates’ blues. He believed that exercise could strengthen the German’s resolve. He crafted a rudimentary workout machine by re-configuring bed-frames. The contraption stretched and built muscles even while lying in bed. After the war, the equipment became the Pilates Cadillac. His product worked and none of the prisoners who used Pilates’ equipment died during the influenza outbreak of 1918. After a successful tour in America, Pilates became a guru for health enthusiasts around the world.

Wordology, Shaka

If you have ever been to Hawaii or seen a movie about surfing, you probably saw a distinctive hand gesture. Curl the middle fingers, extend the thumb and pinky, wag them back and forth, and you have a shaka. It is basically a way to let the world know how laid-back you are, and it is also an endorsement of peace and goodwill.

According to Hawaiians, though, the symbol is far from peaceful. Originating in the early 20th century, the gesture was invented solely to mock a man who had suffered a horrifying industrial accident.

Hamana Kalili made his living working in the Kahuku Sugar Mill until his hand got caught in a sugarcane press. He lost the three middle fingers of his right hand and was no longer able to work, so he got a job guarding the train that delivered cane to the factory.

It was a lucky break, or at least it would have been if not for the local teens. They would often jump on the trains mid-trip to ride from town to town, and Kalili’s job was to stop these dangerous stunts. The resentful teens invented the shaka to mock their fingerless nemesis and silently signal each other when he was nearby. It is pronounced like Shocka.