Oct 30, 2009

Talk to Your Coffeepot

Voice Interactive Coffee Maker.

This is the first voice-interactive coffee maker that asks, "Would you like to set the clock or set the coffee brewing time?" and operates in response to your verbal commands. Simply saying, "Set the coffee brewing time," or "Set the clock," will prompt the machine to reply, "Please say the time, including AM or PM."

It uses an advanced voice recognition system to identify any time of day you speak, eliminating the hassle of fussing with buttons. It brews up to 10 cups at once and allows you to remove the carafe during brewing to pour a cup. For the Luddites, it can also be operated manually. Of course, why would you buy it to operate it manually. Talk about a deal, it cost less than a hundred bucks.

Oct 29, 2009


Here is a great short video of a chameleon changing colors. A guy puts different colored sunglasses in front and each time the chameleon touches one, the color changes.

Oct 28, 2009

Stimulating Stimulus Study

As part of the stimulus this past Spring, Kaiser Permanente received 25 million dollars and is embarking on a two year genetic analysis of 100,000 older Californians. Genetic data from a diverse group of California patients will be gleaned from samples of saliva.

Doesn't look like any new jobs were created, but researchers will be able to study the data and seek insights into the interplay between genes, the environment, and disease, along with access to detailed electronic health records, patient surveys, and records of environmental conditions where the patients live and work.

The object is to produce a very large amount of genetic and phenotypic (what organisms look like) data that investigators and scientists can begin asking questions of. Researchers will look for genetic influences that determine why some people suffering from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes deteriorate more rapidly than others, and find which genetic factors reduce the effectiveness of various drugs or make them hazardous. How stimulating. I thought the stimulus money was to be spent to stimulate jobs?


The term, pork is sometimes used to describe legislative appropriations meant to favor specific projects, to gain favor, or repay political debts for legislators. Now we have something new - stimulated pork.

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service spent $24.3 million of stimulus funds for pork. It bought $16.9 million of canned pork, $2.6 million of ham, and $4.8 million of sliced ham. The Agriculture Department is sending the meat to food banks as part of a $150 million effort to feed hungry Americans.

Top 11 Bread Facts

Here are some scary facts about bread that you might not know and an interesting measuring cup.

  1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
  2. Half of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
  3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; diseases such as typhoid, and yellow fever ravaged whole nations.
  4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
  5. Bread is made from a substance called 'dough'. It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average person eats more bread than that in one month.
  6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
  7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
  8. Bread is often a 'gateway' food item, leading the user to 'harder' items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts or bacon.
  9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
  10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
  11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit. That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
Most bread eaters are unable to distinguish between real scientific facts and useless statistical babbling. Maybe I should have saved this for April 1.

Jokes Pay

I love reading studies about odd things. For instance, if you are a waitperson you probably are concerned about the tips that you receive from customers. One way to increase tips might be to leave a joke on a card with the bill.

Someone conducted a study about tipping at a bar. Each person in the study was randomly assigned to one of three conditions, no card with the bill, an advertising card with the bill, and a card with a joke on it with the bill.

They found that a higher percentage of customers gave a tip in the joke card condition than in the other two conditions. In contrast, the difference between the advertisement card and the no card, the percentage of people tipping was not statistically significant.

These findings indicate that humor may increase tips. One possible explanation of the effect of humor on tipping is that it reflects the reciprocity principle, which suggests that we should help someone who helps us. Providing a joke on a card can be viewed as helping the customer and it may make the person more happy and cheerful. The customer, in turn may wish to reciprocate by providing a tip. That reminds me of a joke about the waiter and a spoon. . .

New Halloween Costume

This is featured in Target, Toys ’R’ Us, Walgreens, Amazon, and several other retailers. It comes with a relatively large green card that read “Green Card”.

 The description on the costumes packaging reads “He didn’t just cross a border, he crossed a galaxy!” “He’s got his green card, but it’s from another planet! Sure to get some laughs”.

Now the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and several other pro-illegal immigration rights groups have stepped in and cried foul. They claim that it is inappropriate. Notice it doesn't say "legal aliens." If the shoe fits. . .

Sugar and Hyperactivity

Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. Double blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder or those considered "sensitive" to sugar. In fact, it was found that the difference in the children's behavior was all in the adults' minds. Isn't that sweet.

Smart Choices

Speaking of sugar, do you remember a few weeks ago I posted an article about the green checkmark 'Smart Choices' logo that was supposed to indicate that the food was healthy? In my post, I wrote, "Sounds like green checks are the new green stamps, but with no value." Seems the Food and Drug Administration agrees with me and said it "could be misleading to consumers."

The food industry group is voluntarily halting promotion of its nutrition labeling program due to the regulators comments. Of course, I am sure my blog didn't help the cause either. Ha.

They launched the "Smart Choices" program in August to identify foods that meet certain nutritional standards and then highlight them for consumers with a green label on package fronts.
Smart Choices, has been criticized for handing its green seal to processed foods that are high in sugar.

Pass The Buck

Some card games used a buckhorn knife marker called a buck. Players took turns acting as dealer with the buck marking the next dealer. When the buck was passed to the next player, the responsibility for dealing was also passed.

There is also widespread belief that as time went on, silver dollars were used, and the use of 'buck' as slang for a dollar originated. The phrase "The buck stops here" was popularized by President Harry Truman.

A buck-slip is also a small piece of paper that is sometimes preprinted, or hand-written, and included the names of the people who were to receive a memo or report. It is a routing list.

In the days before copy machines and computers people typed one memo, with a carbon copy, then passed the one copy of the memo around to the people listed on the buck slip. Each person initialed next to their name on the buck slip and passed the memo on to the next person on the buck slip.


Did you ever wonder where the word Friday came from? Friday is Freya's day.

Freya (Fria) is the Teutonic goddess of love, beauty, and fecundity (intellectual productivity and prolific procreation). She is identified with the Norse god Freya. She is leader of the Valkyries (maidens who chose heroes to be slain). She is confused in Germany with Frigg. Now we know where the recent 'Valkryie' movie with Tom Cruise got its title.

Frigg (Frigga) is the Teutonic goddess of clouds, the sky, and conjugal (married) love. She is identified with Frigg, the Norse goddess of love and the heavens and the wife of Odin. She is confused in Germany with Freya.

Old English is frigedæg "Freya's day" composed of Frige plus dæg "day"

Germanic is frije-dagaz "Freya's (or Frigg's) day"

Hmmm! One would think I could be more intellectually productive on Fridays, instead of putting out this Freyan and Friggin blather.

Oct 26, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

A wise Indian Chief described Daylight Savings Time as cutting one foot off the top of a blanket and sewing it back on the bottom.

Oct 25, 2009


I saw your new girlfriend last night. She dropped her glasses.


How would you pronounce this street name?

Healthcare Headlines

Couldn’t resist these two headlines back-to-back in an email.

1. Despite economy, overall healthcare employment picture strong
2. WellPoint hit by 61 percent loss in Q4 2008, plans job cuts

Washing Instructions

Forgive me, but you have to admit this is funny.

Oct 23, 2009


I love this song. The words are total gibberish and made to sound like English.
Check out the YouTube.

Soupy Sales Dies

Soupy Sales, born Milton Supman was one of the wackiest characters on television, especially during the 50s and 60s. He had a number of shows on TV. He did eleven hours a week while in Detroit, with his sidekicks Black Fang and White Tooth. He had a morning show, a lunch show, and later he had a weekend evening show for adults that was hilarious. Of course, all of the shows were live.

The character seen here with Soupy is Pookie, the Lion.

One of his enduring bits was to hear a knock on the door, open it, and be hit in the face with a pie. Some accounts say he was hit by as many as twenty thousand pies during his TV career.

After Detroit, he went on to have shows in LA and New York, but many Detroiters still claim him as their own, even though he was born in North Carolina.

You can go here to see some of his hilarious comedy bits. No kidding Soupy, We'll miss ya.

I started a wikizine about Soupy Sales on Zimbio. You can check it out here.

Government Attic

Here is an interesting site. It is a compilation of documents that have been released under the 'Freedom of Information Act'. The home page says that it contains historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities, fun stuff, and government bloopers. The site motto is Videre licet (to be able to see).

Glass of Bacon

Ummm! It is true that pork and bacon cannot cause swine flu.


Consider this scary thought - The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

James Dyson

You probably all know about the Dyson vacuum cleaner, invented by the British inventor, James Dyson. He is at it again and has come up with a bladeless fan.

It pulls air into the machine's cylindrical base with an impeller that draws from jet-engine technology. The air rushes up into a hollow ring and is then forced out of a slit that is less than 1/16th of an inch. The slit runs all around the ring.

As the air exits through the slit, it flows over the inner edge of the ring, which was modeled after an airplane wing. As the air exits the loop, the lower pressure pulls air from behind along with it, and air around the front of the fan also gets pulled into the stream.

The fan runs with a small motor, and airflow can be fully regulated with a dimmer switch. A 10-inch fan costs $299. Cool technology,  kid safe, and would look great under my Christmas tree.

Oct 22, 2009

Hunting Wolf Picture of the Year

This picture has won the prestigious Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 award. It was taken by Jose Luis Rodriguez and won out over 40,000 entries.

Horsing Around

We all know about Paul Revere's famous ride. Did you know his horse's name - Brown Betty. Now you do.

Did you know that the horse ridden by James Arness (Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke) was the same one ridden by Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright on Bonanza)? Its name was Buck on both series, but its real name was Dunny Waggoner and Greene bought the horse after his series ended.

Ulysses S. Grant's horse was named Cincinnati, and Custer's horse was Vic, who died with his master at Little Big Horn.  OK, I am finished horsing around.

Comments Welcome

Sure could use some comments, so I know folks are reading this stuff. In the words of Maxine -

Oct 21, 2009

Get Your Swine Flu Shot

Or you could end up looking like this.

Pigs Using Mirrors

More pig news from another stupid study. A study of domesticated pigs has found that with some experimenting they can find food based on a reflection in a mirror.

In the study, four pairs of domesticated pigs were allowed to familiarize themselves with a mirror for five hours. The study was conducted at Cambridge University in the U.K. and found that, given a chance to familiarize themselves with a mirror, many pigs can find food based only on its reflection in the mirror. The findings will be published in the journal 'Animal Behaviour'.

After familiarization, each pig was placed in a pen with an angled mirror and a partition, behind which were treats such as apple slices or M&Ms. Seven of the eight pigs immediately looked behind the partition and found the food. A control group of pigs that had never seen a mirror before searched behind the mirror for the food.

A researcher said the study shows pigs have a high degree of assessment awareness, or the ability to use memories and observations to quickly learn to assess a situation and act on it. It is hoped the conditions in which pigs are raised, including overcrowding, which do not meet the needs of the animal, may be improved as a result of the study. Yeh, and maybe pig farmers will also be adding brushes and lipstick in the pig sties. Do you think this proves eating bacon makes you smart?

PS - Did you know the mirrors on motorcycles are called pig spotters?

Heads Up

In the last few years, head-up displays (HUDs), which project information onto the driver's view of the road, have started appearing in a few high-end cars, but one small enough to fit inside a rearview or outside wing mirror, could make this kind of display available on more cars.

A head-up display overlays information on a normal view of the road so the driver does not have to look away from the road.

The new projection device, developed by Light Blue Optics, based in Cambridge, UK, uses a technique called holographic projection that allows it to be put into a rearview mirror, wing mirror, or even the windshield.

Details of the prototype were presented at the Society for Information Display's Vehicles and Photons 2009 symposium, in Dearborn, MI.

Holographic projection uses constructive and destructive interference of light to make up the picture. They use liquid crystal on silicon to modulate beams of red, green, and blue laser light to create a complete image. It does not actually create a hologram, but rather uses principles of holography to create a projected image through optical interference. It could be on new cars within a few years.


Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no-one else has thought.

Father of the Internet

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, born 1955, and inventor of the Web’s software standards in 1989, tends to be fast-paced and nonlinear. He is currently director of the World Wide Web Consortium and a professor at M.I.T.

When asked if he were do it over again today, would he do anything differently, he admitted he might make one change. He would get rid of the double slash “//” after the “http:” in Web addresses. He said the double slash, a programming convention at the time, turned out to not be really necessary. Amazing to think the web is only twenty years old and how much it has changed the world. In fact, the world wide web (WWW) was first mentioned in print in the New York Times in 1993.

Here's a tip, when typing in a site name, just type the name, such as 'shubsthoughts' then hold down the 'ctrl' key and hit 'enter'. Your web browser will fill in the rest for you and send you to the site.


Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true, and the tendency to miss lunch. Tim Berners-Lee

Free Faxes

Time to get rid of that old fax machine collecting dust in your home office. Now there is a way to go online and send and receive faxes for free.

Do you need to send faxes just once in a while? Ditch the fax machine and the trips to Kinko's, and use free-to-try online services such as Qipit and FaxZero.

Qipit lets you send up to five faxes each week for free. You can upload JPEG images or even send them directly from a camera phone. Free faxes include a header banner that mentions Qipit.

FaxZero limits you to two faxes of three pages each day, and its transmissions include a FaxZero-branded coversheet. Instead of sending images, FaxZero takes PDFs and Word documents.

You can even cancel your dedicated incoming fax line and have people send physical faxes to you online. eFax Free handles everything, digitizing faxes and routing them to your e-mail account. You get a free phone number that is connected to eFax and is always listening for incoming calls.

eFax Free has a few limitations, however. You don't get to pick an area code for the incoming number, and you can't receive more than 100 pages each month. Plus, you have to read faxes in an eFax application, in its proprietary .efx format.


The first written occurrence of the phrase "We have met the enemy and he is us" was on a 1970 Earth Day poster written and illustrated by Walt Kelly, featuring Pogo and Porkypine. Below is the 1971 version.

The history of the phrase goes back farther than that. In the forward to The Pogo Papers, 1952, Walt Kelly wrote - “In the time of Joseph McCarthyism, celebrated in the Pogo strip by a character named Simple J. Malarkey, I attempted to explain each individual is wholly involved in the democratic process, work at it or no. The results of the  process fall on the head of the public and he who is recalcitrant or procrastinates in raising his voice can blame no one but himself."

"There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand.  Resolve, then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us."

As years passed, the final paragraph was reduced to, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” How prescient he was, back in the old Okefenokee Swamp.

Dancing Smoke

Relax, calm down, and take a few minutes to reflect while you watch this very soothing video of smoke dancing to music. Watch it at least until the violins come in.

United Nations Day

October 24 - The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries (now 192) committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Do it Yourself Sprinkler

Sorry, I couldn't resist this one.

Did You Know

1.2 Billion cell phones were sold last year, 2008.

Oct 19, 2009

Bad Day

Do you ever feel like you are having one of those days?

Oct 16, 2009

Green Hotel

I couldn't resist posting this one for all the environmentalists in the crowd.

Edgar Allen Poe

Devotees celebrated Poe's 200 year funeral last Sunday, Oct 11 in honor of the originator of detective stories, and some say the creator of horror writing. He died in 1849. The Raven - "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" over many Blogging Thoughts. . .

Warmest Year Ever

What is globally the warmest year on record? 1998. It has been cooler every year since then and many scientists are predicting it to continue. Seems that 98% of the earth's warmth comes from the sun, not man. Hmmm!

Benefits of Humor

Here is one from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In my never ending Quixotic quest to finding what is funny, I stumbled on this tidbit that suggests that watching comedy can increase your creativity, but it still does not answer 'what is funny'.

Researchers found that watching a comedy film has several benefits. First, that it makes you feel better and we all know that. Second, that it makes you more creative. Third, that it aids in problem solving.

Are you bored and wondering what to do next (after finishing this).  Well, view a comedy film, or maybe this quickie of Mr. Bean making faces.

The movie makes you laugh and it makes you feel better. Now, don't you feel more creative?

Experiment results from, Isen, Daubman, and Nowicki found that people who watched a comedy film were more likely to solve a problem requiring a creative solution than people who watched a neutral film. 

Another experiment involved a comedy film and the Remote Associates Test. The mean number of items correct on this test was higher for people who watched a comedy film than for people who did not watch a comedy film. The hypothesis was that positive emotion would foster creativity.

The bottom line is that if you are working on a problem at home or work that requires a creative solution, it may be good to first view some comedy. I know that I always feel better after watching Laurel and Hardy, but am not sure if it makes me feel more creative.


Some of today’s humor is like some foods - you have to acquire a taste for it.

Special Gift

Here is a special gift to you. Free paper. Just print it out and use as you desire.

To Stop a Crying Baby

Here is one interesting video. It is a one minute Japanese video showing a simple way to stop a crying baby by making a sound. The voice over is not in English, but the sound is obvious. Great for babies and grand babies that will not stop crying. It does not say how long the effect lasts, but sometimes a brief respite is all that is needed. Getting down on all fours and imitating a rhinoceros also stops babies from crying.

Oct 15, 2009


Pessimist: Person who thinks all women are the same.
Optimist: Person who thinks all women are the same.

Oct 14, 2009


A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.  Carl Sandburg

Oct 13, 2009

What's in a Name, Sparky

The 1920s comic strip, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, strip gave us the nickname "Sparky," from the name of Barney's horse, Sparkplug.

Billy DeBeck wrote the strip about a community of backwoods hillbillies and moonshiners. In a 1923 strip Barney tells someone to, "Get that stupid look offa your pan. You gimme the heeby jeebys!" It meant, 'a feeling of discomfort'.

Other phrases coined by DeBeck: 'horsefeathers', 'hotsie-totsie', and 'googly-eyed' after Barney Google, who had huge, bulbous eyes.

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was nicknamed Sparky - and that ain't no horsefeathers.


People who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I've got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There's no future in it. Sparky Anderson, baseball player and coach.

Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits

Shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker, or coarser, or darker. This belief is due to the fact that hair that has never been cut has a tapered end, whereas, after cutting, there is no taper. Thus, it appears thicker, and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges.

Hair can also appear darker after it grows back because hair that has never been cut is often lighter due to sun exposure. I have noticed the hair on my head has begun to grow in, because it sure isn't growing out like it used to.

PS - Two bits is an old expression in the US for 25 cents. It dates from colonial days, when a common unit of currency was the Spanish dollar. As a way of making change, these dollars were often cut into eight pie-slice shaped pieces, called bits. Hence, two bits being a quarter dollar.

Uses for Lemons

The following are a few uses for lemons that you may not have thought of. 

Polish chrome -
Rub with a lemon rind, rinse, and dry with a paper towel.

Clean tarnished brass, bronze, copper, and stainless steel -
Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda and apply to the tarnished area. Let soak for 5 to 10 minutes and wash in soapy water.

Get rid of stain on marble -
For stubborn stain on marble, cut a lemon in half. Pour some salt on top of the stain and gently rub with the cut lemon and quickly rinse so the acid in the lemon does not cause other damage.

Get rid of moths and smells -
Hang some dry lemon rinds in the closet to get rid of moths and to get rid of mothball smells, and wash drawers and closet with lemon juice in water.

Air freshener -
Put a mixture of lemon juice and water into a spray bottle for a natural and inexpensive air freshener. You can also put slices of lemon in a dish or a dish of lemon juice and baking soda mixture to help absorb bad odor and freshen a room. (A dish of cinnamon in water also makes your kitchen smell great.)

Get rid of ants, roaches and fleas -
Squirt some lemon juice into holes and cracks where the ants are coming in. Place small pieces of lemon rinds or peels around the house and wash your floor with the juice from about four lemons and half gallon of water.

All purpose cleaning solution
Add lemon juice, vinegar, and water in a spray bottle for a natural, all-purpose cleaning solution. I know, way more information than you ever wanted to know.

Sandwich Costs

Do you know how much it costs to make a sandwich? Here is a site that is a sandwich cost calculator. It has no redeeming features, just calculates the cost to make a sandwich. The lead up to it goes into great detail about the ingredients, but it offers no option of adding an extra 10 slices of bacon, or three or four extra slices of cheese.


After all these years, it's still embarrassing for me to play on the American golf tour. Like the time I asked my caddy for a sand wedge and he came back ten minutes later with a ham on rye.  Chi Chi Rodriguez

How Lobbyists Got Their Name

A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest.

One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers frequenting the hotel's lobby in order to access him, because he was often found there, enjoying a cigar and brandy.

Here is the lobby data base to find out what is being spent by lobbyists on Washington politicians. You can check by various criteria or country. We do not condone bribes in the US, but lobbyists, well that's a different story.

Check here.


I don't take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am president, they won't find a job in my White House. Barack Obama

Google Faces

If you need to find some images for various occasions and find searching for images is too difficult. Google has a parameter in place for images, in situations where you might need an image which describes a face.

Suppose I search for the term “happy” then the Google results page displays smileys, but I would like to use images of happy people. Even if I choose the term as “happy face” the results don’t show images which contain people. For this there is a parameter “imgtype” which you can use with the URL. For this put in the URL as follows:



A smile is the greatest weapon a face can have.

Oct 9, 2009

Columbus Day

Don't forget Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) as they call it in many countries in Latin America, is observed on Oct 12.

OK - Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria - The Pinta and Nina were nicknames and their real names were Santa Barbara and Santa Clara. The other one was nicknamed La Gallega. If Chris really looked like that, can you imagine what Queen Isabella looked like?

Left is the emblem of the Knights of Columbus. You probably didn't know it, but this organization began a movement in 1953 to recommend the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. It changed in 1954.

Don't forget also that it is also Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday of October) is celebrated on the same day this year.

Wife Carrying

This is a sport in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The sport was first introduced at Sonkajärvi, Finland.

Several types of carry may be practiced: piggyback, fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist).

Major wife-carrying competitions are held in Sonkajärvi, Finland (where the prize depends on the wife's weight in beer); Monona and Minocqua, Wisconsin; and Marquette, Michigan.

The North American Wife Carrying Championships take place every year on Columbus Day Weekend at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. The 10th Annual event will take place this year. Many North American Champions go on to compete in the Finnish World Championship. I am sure they hold it on Columbus Day so it does not interfere with the Super Bowl.

Hunky Dory

The term meaning, everything is OK, was coined from a street named "Honki-Dori" in Yokohama, Japan. Since the inhabitants of this street catered to the pleasures of sailors, it is easy to understand why the street's name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable, or at least satisfactory.

Green Checkmark

You will soon see them on food and cereal boxes in your local supermarket and in future commercials touting that these green checkmarks are designed to "to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.”

It is part of a new 'Smart Choices campaign' and the types of foods that have been approved are Fruit Loops and Cocoa Krispies.

Ten companies have signed up for the Smart Choices program including Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods. Companies that participate pay up to $100,000 a year to the program, with the fee based on total sales of its products that bear the seal.

Members of these companies have people on the Smart Choices board. Hmmm! Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, was part of a panel that helped devise the Smart Choices nutritional criteria, until he quit last September. He said the panel was dominated by members of the food industry, which skewed its decisions.

So we have an industry creating a self-serving ranking system, with a Board of their own members to make decisions, for companies who all stand to gain a big profit from this. Sounds like green checks are the new green stamps, but with no value.

Oct 8, 2009

Honda or Segway

Here is the U-3X, Honda's personal mobility device. I think it is a little too odd for mass appeal, but like all things Honda, it is cute in a different sort of way.

Honda developed the new personal mobility technology, a compact experimental device to provide free movement in all directions just like human walking - forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. It acts like a sittable Segway, with no handle bars. The seat is in two pieces and folds down flat for carrying.

Honda took some of the technology from Asimo. It runs for about an hour per charge. Honda is planning to showcase the U3-X at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show, which will begin on 24th October 2009.

Bacon Air Freshener

It smells like, well, you know, cooking bacon. For those times when you don't have time to cook up a batch. It costs only $2.95 on the web.  

Aren't you glad I shared this one.

Captain Kangaroo

It was the longest-running children’s program in the history of commercial network television. It ran from 1955 to 1992, first on CBS, then PBS.

Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo, died at 76 in 2004. He started his career as Clarabelle the Clown on the Howdy Doody show. He then created the low-keyed children's host that shows television need not be a wasteland. It was entertaining and educational, and ran for over 30 years.

Keeshan taught his young viewers two "magic phrases": please and thank you. Captain Kangaroo provided a safe place for children to start their day in a warm television Treasure House where bears danced, clocks read poems, and rabbits apologized for stealing carrots.

From the day the Captain made his debut on CBS in 1955, Keeshan took a different approach. There was no audience of screaming kids clamoring for prizes, no attempt to produce a kiddie version of vaudeville. Instead, there was just Keeshan, made up to look like everyone's ideal grandfather, interacting with a few TV friends: Mr. Green Jeans (the late Hugh Brannum), Grandfather Clock, Bunny Rabbit, and Mr. Moose.

The format changed over the years, but simplicity was always the watchword. The Captain would introduce a Tom Terrific cartoon or read a story. Mr. Moose would tell a joke as Ping-Pong balls dropped from the ceiling. Mr. Green Jeans would bring in a baby animal.

Rather than feed off children's nervous energy, as shows do today, Keeshan calmed his audience. He asked kids to slow down, sit for a moment and listen to a story. The effort earned him many awards and many more fans, even though he made no attempt to appeal to adults or older children.

The Captain was even mentioned in a song by the Statler Brothers a few years ago, "Counting Flowers on the Wall."

CBS dumped Kangaroo in 1984 to make more room for a morning news show that could compete with NBC's Today. Captain Kangaroo moved to PBS for a while and then disappeared.

Don't forget to say please and thank you, because I share all this stuff with you.


Did you know that there are over 112 million weblogs (blogs), not including the 72.82 million Chinese blogs tracked by Technorati as of 2007. Chinese media Xinhua reported that its blog received more than 50 million page views, claiming it to be the most popular blog in the world.

The book based on Julie Powell's blog 'The Julie/Julia Project' was made into the film 'Julie & Julia'.

Politically Speaking

TRUE - Last month, Sept, 2009, Obama said, "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void, but not a lot of mutual understanding."

He said he would be happy to look a bills that could give newspapers tax-breaks if they were to restructure as 501 (c) (3) corporations (most hospitals are 501 c 3). One of the bills is that of Senator Ben Cardin, who has introduced the 'Newspaper Revitalization Act'.

Yeh, the newspapers put things in context and are not one sided. Right!


A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his coat pocket.

Speaking of Blogs

Now I have seen it all. There is a web site doyourf...ingdishes that shows nothing but pictures of filthy, messy sinks and counters overflowing with dirty dishes. I did not provide the link, because it is so useless. However, I felt the need to share, so you know how the net is still filling up with useless bloginalia. Not mine, of course.

Oct 5, 2009

The World

Here is an interesting twist to making maps. It has a series of maps of countries, showing elevations based on population, rather than land mass. Below is the US. For a larger view and more, click on this link. The two that stand out the most are the UAE and Russia.

Toilet Paper Facts

I am not so sure you have noticed, so I thought you should be informed that toilet paper is getting smaller. The standard size for years had been 4.5 by 4.5 inches, but now most manufacturers have gone to 4.5 by 4 or 4.5 by 4.3 inches.

The British pay twice as much as Germans or French, and nearly three times as much as the Americans for a standard four-pack roll.

Studies show that the average user of toilet paper uses about the same number of sheets whether it is three ply, two ply, or one ply. So, when using the loo, one ply will do - and it's cheaper.

Profound Thoughts Book Three

Here is chapter one from my book of wise sayings, quotes, aphorisms, and great thoughts from great minds about health, Wealth, Knowledge and Wisdom. Hope you enjoy.

Oct 2, 2009

The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude

I have not done any book reviews here before, but I just finished a delightful book.

Reading the book made me feel like I was sitting across the table from an old aunt, who had just returned from a life's journey and is sharing stories of her adventures and the people she met along the way. Of course, like Sister Mary Olga, she is already through two thirds of her Jack Daniels and well on her way through her second pack of Marlboro 'prayer sticks'.

This would make a wonderful play and has more mayhem than 'Nunsense'. A true bonus is the good moral lesson seasoned in with the wacky humor.

I almost forgot how wonderful it is to read a book, close the cover, and feel like I just attended an Oscar winning performance.

Here is the website

Arizona Sand

Beautiful natural sand formations in Arizona.


Art is Man's nature.  Nature is God's art.


TRUE - An Auckland accountant was fired for sending confrontational emails with words in red, in bold and in capital letters.

Vicki Walker, who was a financial controller with ProCare Health, has been awarded $17,000 NZ for unfair dismissal, and plans to lodge an appeal for further compensation. The Employment Relations Authority ruled that Walker was not fairly terminated from her position after sending the emails to co-workers.

ProCare told the authority, Walker, who was fired after two years of employment - had caused disharmony in the workplace by using block capitals, bold typeface and red text in her emails.

The email, which advises her team how to fill out staff claim forms, specifies a time and date highlighted in bold red, and a sentence written in capitals and highlighted in bold blue. It reads: "To ensure your staff claim is processed and paid, please do follow the below checklist."


You must set your sights upon the heights
Do not be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Congressional Approval Rating

The numbers below say it all.

Favorable Ratings for Professions
Small Business Owners
People Who Start Own Business
Pastors and Religious Leaders
Stockbrokers and Fin Analysts
Members of Congress


"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan, 40th US President (1911 - 2004)

Oct 1, 2009


Potato Chip History

In 1853, it has been claimed that the first potato chips were prepared by Chef George Crum, an American Indian, at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, NY. When railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was dining there, he sent his fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining they were "too thick."

The chef, George Crum retaliated by slicing paper thin strips of potatoes and frying them to a crisp. But Vanderbilt loved these "Saratoga Chips" and they became an instant success. I am trying to decide whether I love chips or bacon more. Ah, the dilemma.

Dinner Jacket

The tailless dinner jacket was invented in Tuxedo Park, New York. Thus it is called the "tuxedo dinner jacket" and is named after the town.

Winch Tourbillon Vertical

The WTV from Cabestan is built in a unique vertical manner in what is perhaps the most mechanical of mechanical wristwatches. The movement is wound with a large key that turns a set of visible cogs.

A set of wheels, pinions, and drums turn in synchronization to power the timepiece. There is no face to this watch either, but instead two rotating drums set atop a ball bearing. The vertical tourbillon, which is run by what looks like a small bicycle chain, is the first of its kind. The crystal consists of 6 hand blown pieces of Pyrex. OK, its a bit geeky, but interesting and Christmas is coming. hint hint


Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it you can never get it back.


A UK survey has revealed that myths about contraception may be widespread. The survey questioned 1,000 women aged 18 to 50 and was carried out by market research company Opinion Health, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma.

Twenty percent of women said they had heard of kitchen items, including bread, cling film, and even chicken skin, being used as alternative barrier methods. Others had heard food items such as kebabs, Coke, chocolate, or chips could be used as oral contraceptives.

Some even think that the pill offers protection from HIV. Ten percent of the women questioned believed that it always takes a number of years to regain fertility after discontinuation of the pill.

Contraceptive myths have been around for thousands of years and ancient methods have varied from crocodile dung and honey before sex, to sea sponges and beeswax after. There is the strange one that used alcohol made from stewed beaver's testicles.

It seems that a variety of unsafe and unproven methods might still exist in modern Britain and Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe. There were no figures about average education level of these women.


Empty vessels make the loudest sounds.

Noisy Ads on TV

Every year, television networks receive thousands of complaints from viewers bothered by commercials that seem to be getting louder and louder.

A technical organization that sets standards for digital TV broadcasters came out on Sept. 16 with new recommendations that may finally lower the volume.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee, which developed the standards for digital video formats now used by all broadcasters in North America will soon send new standards to broadcasters for approval and provide a way to measure the loudness of television content, based on current scientific understandings of how human hearing works. Shows and commercials would be tagged with information about their loudness that TVs and audio receivers could use to counteract the audio tricks that make commercials appear so loud.

Under current FCC rules, the peak of a commercial can be no higher than the programming it accompanies. The problem is that the peak level of the sound does not accurately reflect how loud something sounds to the listener. Audio engineers find ways to get around the FCC rules by making commercials seem louder without actually increasing the peak levels of the loudest parts.

The problem is made worse with digital television, which can produce a greater range of sound than analog. This exacerbates the difference between television programs, which use the full range of sound, and the commercials, which squeeze the sound and push it upwards.

The new ATSC recommendations are entirely voluntary, but ATSC President Richer is confident that broadcasters will adopt them. "Broadcasters want to do things in a uniform way," he said. "Because our membership is broad, all of the major networks, many of the other broadcast groups, and also the manufacturers, we get a lot of buy-in to what we do." I think they should pay us to watch commercials, rather than charging us to watch TV.


The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

Bokeh Shapes

These are shapes of light in the blurred background of photos. Interesting shapes can be achieved by using a bokeh filter over the camera lens. Bokeh is a photography term derived from the Japanese word for blurred.

The Bokeh Filter is a simple filter that clips onto the end of your lens. This filter blocks out pieces of light that cause the bokeh (blur) in your images to take the shape of the filter. Cool stuff and they cost only ten dollars.


Surgeons in Zurich have successfully demonstrated the safety and efficacy of a revolutionary brain surgical procedure. The method allows surgeons to carry out fully non-invasive brain interventions, even on an out-patient basis, using high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

HIFU  (pronounced high foo) has been used for the treatment of uterine fibroids and tumors of the prostate gland for several years. However, its application to the brain through the intact skull for non-invasive neurosurgery seemed impossible until now.

The researchers have successfully treated ten patients using transcranial HIFU since September 2008. The new technology opens up procedures for a variety of brain diseases, including brain tumors.

The HIFU beams pass straight through the patient's skull and are focused within the brain into a point 3-4 mm in diameter. This allows the surgeon to guide the ultrasound beam and to then ablate tumor or other diseased tissue at a very precise location in the brain. The ultrasound beam produced by 1024 transducers raises the temperature of the tissue through a sequence bursts lasting 10-20 seconds.

The results can be seen on a live map as the ablation takes place. The procedure can last several hours, but is performed without anesthesia. The patient is fully conscious through the procedure and so can respond to requests to move or speak and allow the surgeon to double-check that healthy brain tissue is not being damaged. It also avoids pre-operative medication risks associated with anesthetics, and reduces the time the patient must spend in hospital following surgery.

Researchers are also investigating the possibility of using HIFU to treat breast, liver, and bone cancers. Although many countries have been using HIFU for years, with thousands of successful procedures completed, the US only has a relatively small number of HIFU clinical studies in process, and it is not completely approved for all procedures, yet.


Constant attention by a good nurse is just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.

Interesting Bike

This is a very interesting looking bike that is sure to turn heads. It actually works and is turned by the second fork, which connects up to the handle bar.

The rider builds and sells them. He has a number of styles based on the same concept.


Here is something for those of you on Facebook.

I added a button below each entry on this blog, so if you would like to share any particular entry with your friends, just click on the Facebook icon and it takes you directly to Facebook (if you do not have Facebook open it gives you a signin screen). You click and the entry is automatically posted to your wall.

Kindle Books

This morning, Kindle finally posted two of my books Greatest Jokes of the Century Book 1 and Profound Thoughts Book 1. More are coming during the next few months. Kindle offers books at a steep discount to the paper price, so it might be worth looking into. Oh, they can also be read on your PC.

Greatest Jokes of the Century is the first book of 25, and the other 24, plus this one, are also available on Amazon.

Profound Thoughts is the first of 4 (so far) and it, along with the other three are also available on Amazon.

Stop by Amazon and take a look, they all have 'search inside' enabled, so you can see what is in them. Once you do, I know you will be delighted enough to buy one. As of this morning, my 'Medical Humor - Medical nonsense to tickle Your Funnybone book was 44 in the bestseller category for humor - doctors and medicine. Needless to say, it has been selling rather briskly.

The Amazon links above take you to my Author's page, so you can see all of my books. I have 36 of them listed on Amazon.

Thanks to all who have bought one or more of my books, and if you are in town and want it signed, let me know and I'll be glad to.