Dec 31, 2010

Happy Friday

Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, pursue persistently.

I am planning and preparing to proceed toward pursuing a Happy Friday!

Irish Rovers

Used to watch this group piped in from Canadian TV. Here is a leftover from Christmas - Christmas in Kilarney.  Also, one for tonight 'Wasn't That a Party'. Enjoy!


Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. It is normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year's Day, or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday. Literally translated it means "gift."

There are many customs associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread is the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor and often involved the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt, coal, shortbread, whiskey, and fruit cake, intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day. The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year.


There are many stores about Mistletoe and the origins of use, dating back to Pliny the Elder, but this is the one I like. According to Norse/Germanic legend (Tom Knudson also likes this one), Frigga got all the plants and animals of the Earth to promise not to harm her son - except mistletoe. Loki, the god of mischief, took that opportunity to kill Baldur with a spear made of mistletoe. Frigga's tears then turned into mistletoe berries, which brought Baldur back to life, prompting Frigga to declare mistletoe a symbol of love. It's appropriate that we speak of Frigga on Friday as some references show this as the early etymology of the word Friday. Last chance to use the mistletoe to kiss your favorite this season.

What the Heck is an Auld Lang Syne

Tonight at least a few of us will be singing about Robert Burns 1788 poem put to music. The song is also sung at funerals, graduations, and other occasions of farewell. Literally translated, it means "old long since" , but usually interpreted as "days gone by." So now we sing it loosely meaning "for the sake of old times."

He begins asking if it is right that old times be forgotten, and asks to remember long time relationships.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne? (and days gone by)

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, (You'll buy your pint cup)
And surely I'll be mine! (and I'll buy mine)
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Bee Gees

The Gibb brothers were born on the Isle of Mann (by Ireland and Scotland) and moved to Australia in 1958, when Barry was 12. They were introduced to radio DJ Bill Gates by racetrack promoter Bill Goode, who saw them perform at Brisbane's Speedway Circuit. Gates renamed them the "Bee Gees" in 1959, after his and Goode's initials, so the name is not a reference to 'Brothers Gibb', despite popular belief. Andy was born in Manchester, England, shortly before the family moved. Their sister, Lesley appeared with them for a short period in the 60s.

Speaking of Music

If you want to listen to the Bee Gees, or other music in the background while checking email, check out grooveshark. You can search for music by type, artist, or let it pick for you with an online radio, based on the genre you choose. You can choose a bunch of songs and have them play in order, or have them loop back to the first and start over. Simple to use and I ain't jive talkin'.

Dec 29, 2010

Bacon Toothpicks

These should come in handy for the parties. Stretch that bacon flavor all day.



No, this has nothing to do with Wrestling. It is a new document type from Apple that is identical to PDF documents, except you cannot print them. Sounds like the greenies have captured Steve Jobs. It may be an interesting idea to save paper, but I guess they forgot that it is just as easy to do a print of the screen. I know that is impractical for long documents, but come on - you can look, but you can't print. Reminds me of the old days when printers were only in the monster computer room and not on every desk.

Shopping by Phone

Best Buy now targets personalized advertisements to shoppers when a program detects that they are in other stores, such as Wal-Mart.

If shoppers use TheFind's free app to compare prices on TVs at Wal-Mart, for example, the phone gets data from recent searches and shows them ads of similar electronics for sale at Best Buy. The items may not be identical or cheaper, but Best Buy gets in the competition. Best Buy, famous for their restocking fees and high pressure 'extended warranties',  recently settled a lawsuit from the Connecticut attorney general alleging that it showed web prices on in-store kiosks that were higher than customers saw on their home computers. It also recently dumped its restocking fees for many items.

The offers are only sent to customers who opt to allow the program to use their phone's global positioning system to track their location.

The ads are similar to the special offers based on what we are searching for while on home computers. There are many apps to help compare prices, including one from Amazon. Obviously, apps that use your location against you are never a good idea, and maybe Best Buy isn't.


The sign on the highway that tells you to yield to oncoming traffic is not as old as you might think. Oklahoma police officer Clinton Riggs came up with the “yield” sign in 1950, which spread from its birthplace in Tulsa to all corners of the US.

He spent more than a decade experimenting with the sign, according to the Tulsa Police Department’s history book. His goal was a sign that would not only control traffic at an intersection but would also attach liability in a collision if one driver failed to yield.

Do It Yourself tech Support

Here is a site that is good for this year and next year. It provides quick, less than a minute, videos for how to perform various functions on your computer. Worth a look for the less-than-computer experts. LINK

Dec 24, 2010

Happy Friday

He who loses money loses much.
He who loses a friend loses much more.
He who loses faith loses all.

I have a dollar, and a friend, and faith that this will be a Happy Friday!

The Santas are Coming

Christmas Carols

"Carol" is a derivative of the French word caroller, the interpretation of which means dancing around in a circle. Carol and carols, eventually came to mean not only to dance, but included music and lyrics - hence Christmas Caroling.

Christmas carols are based on Christian lyrics and relate mostly to the Nativity. Christmas carols were introduced in to church services by St Francis of Assisi in the 12th century.

The joyous themes for many traditional Christmas carols were banned in England by the staunch Protestant Oliver Cromwell and many of the very old Christmas carols and songs were subsequently lost for all time. They were only fully popularized again during the Victorian era when they again expressed joyful and merry themes in their carol lyrics as opposed to the normal somber, Christian lyrics found in hymns. As religious observances in the United States and England were closely linked, the popularity of Christmas carols grew in both countries during the 19th century. Many Christmas songs are relatively recent, and bear no relation to Christmas carols, such as the famous 'Grandma got run over by a reindeer'.

This Week in 1864

After his Civil War march across Georgia, Union General William T. Sherman sent U.S. President Abraham Lincoln this message: "I beg to present you as a Christmas present the city of Savannah."

Shirley Temple Quote

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”


The CIA task force assessing damage from leaked U.S. diplomatic documents named the 'WikiLeaks Task Force', has the same abbreviation as a popular online saying, WTF. How appropriate.

Health Savings Account

If you have one, you might want to stock up before the end of the year. New regulations kick in that restrict purchases using flexible spending, health savings, and health reimbursement accounts. The law takes effect January 1 and will require a prescription for many common drugs normally bought over-the-counter (if you want to use tax-exempt money), but not for insulin, medical devices, diabetes testing kits and some other non medication items, such as eyeglasses. Another 'benefit' of the new health care law.

Gas Prices

When the price of crude oil goes up a dollar, the price we pay per gallon goes up about 2.5 cents a gallon. When you read about oil going up to a hundred dollars a barrel in the next few weeks, you can expect to pay about 25 cents more at the pump.

Fred Foy

Sorry to add this one, but Fred Foy, the announcer for the Lone Ranger and Green Hornet shows passed away December 22. He started doing those series on radio in Detroit, where they both originated. I grew up there and enjoyed both of them on radio and TV. Did you know the theme song was Rossini's 'William Tell Overture'.   LINK    Here is a guitar version LiNK   Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. . .

Dec 22, 2010

Dodge Royal Lancer

Dodge introduced a new $143 option package in 1955 to have the Custom Royal Lancer feminized, with rose paint, gold script, and a pink interior complete with rosebuds. “The first car ever exclusively designed for the woman motorist” came with a rain cape, rain hat, and matching umbrella, plus a pink purse with a compact, lipstick, comb, and cigarette lighter. The marketing brochure read, “By Special Appointment to Her Majesty … the American Woman.” Fewer than 1,500 La Femmes were sold, and the model disappeared in 1957.

Tiffany and Company

A well known name, especially this time of year. The jewelry and silverware store was originally a stationer called Tiffany, Young, and Ellis, when it started in 1837. In 1853 Tiffany switched its core business and began focusing on jewelry.

Christmas Tree Lights

Edward H. Johnson, who worked for Thomas Edison’s Illumination Company, used 80 small red, white, and blue electric bulbs, strung together along a single power cord, to light the Christmas tree in his New York home in 1882. Some sources credit Edison with being the first to use electric lights as Christmas decorations, when he strung them around his laboratory in 1880. It was three years after Edison had demonstrated that light bulbs were practical.

Ten Things Not to Get Her for Christmas

Electronics, any jewelry on sale, picture of yourself, cleaning stuff, kitchen stuff, lingerie, exercise equipment, beauty supplies, anything from Target, and last, a stripper pole.

Dec 17, 2010

Happy Friday

It occurred to me that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest that I will ever be.

I am young enough to enjoy, and old enough to appreciate a Happy Friday!

Four Christmas Song Authors

Interesting that four popular Christmas songs were actually written by Jewish authors. "White Christmas" was written by Irving Berlin in 1940. "Silver Bells" was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1951. "Let it Snow. Let it Snow. Let it Snow" was written by Jule Styne with lyrics by Sammy Cahn in 1945. "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by Johnny Marks in 1949.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The most famous reindeer of them all. The song is one of the best selling of all time as sung by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. It is also on albums by the Supremes and the Jackson 5.

Rudolph was created ten years before the song in 1939, by Johnny Marks' brother-in-law Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward. The store wanted something to bring in holiday shoppers and the story/poem was given out to children as an advertising gimmick.

Modern reaction to this song about a reindeer, written by a Jewish author - "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" caused a stir at a New Hanover County school at Christmas time in 2008.  A parent complained about the song's religious reference and got it pulled from her child's kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School. The song was pulled “because it had the word Christmas in it,” said Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent. A Jewish mother, who didn't want her name published, objected to what she called "religious overtones" in the song. So the principal agreed to pull it from the program. Luckily the board and attorneys reviewed it and decided the song was not religious and had it reinstated into the kindergarten program.

New Traffic Light Idea

Here is an ingenious idea that I saw on the web. Traffic lights that work like hour glasses. Eliminates the guess work of wondering when the light is going to change.

Ranch Dressing

It really did get its name from a ranch. Steve and Gayle Henson opened a dude ranch in California in 1954, and they served a delicious dressing that Steve made up while the couple was living in Alaska.

They did a nice business at their Hidden Valley Ranch, but guests were always complimenting them for the tasty dressing. The Hensons started bottling the stuff, and the popularity grew so quickly that they had to hire a crew to help mix up each batch. Steve’s creative dressing turned out to be quite lucrative and in 1972 Clorox paid $8 million for the recipe.

McGill University Study

Results from Canadian McGill University study, found that images of meat actually calmed men down and made them less aggressive.

The actual result of less aggression might reflect a genetic disposition to feel comfort at the sight of meat, with it being associated with gatherings of family and friends, the study's authors said.

Speaking of how ancient ancestors might have adapted their responses to the sight of meat ready for consumption, Kachanoff said "It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share . . . your DNA."

The research was conducted with 82 male subjects who were asked to inflict varying degrees of punishment on actors if they made errors while reading scripts. It was presented as a multi-tasking study to the subjects, who were sorting various pictures while the actors read.

The punishment was made by subjecting the script reader to various volumes of sound, with the highest levels believed by the subjects to be painful for the reader. The subjects were less likely to attempt to inflict pain on the reader if it was an image of meat they were looking at while the mistake was made.

Bruce Friedrich, vice-president of policy for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), called the study's results "interesting." "Clearly, eating meat does support horrible violence, but apparently somebody seeing meat that is not directly relatable to the animal does not cause people to become more aggressive," Friedrich said.

Kachanoff said his group had some vegetarians in the test group, and no major differences were found in their responses. Studies like this prove that academics will go to great lengths to get their school to ante up for a barbecue.

Global Health Video

This guy is fantastic. He has a unique way of showing data with living charts. Here he shows global health for the world during the past two hundred years. Four minutes of fascination. LINK

Dec 14, 2010

Call for Free

The free Vonage Mobile application for Facebook lets you call your Facebook friends anywhere in the world if they have the same app downloaded in their iPhone or Android.

It is available for Android phones in 48 countries and in 87 countries for iPhone or iPod Touch and is available from Vonage Facebook fan page. You can also invite your friends to download the mobile application.

After downloading this app, you enter your Facebook ID and password for the first time.
The software then automatically loads your Facebook contacts and separates them into two groups. One with friends who downloaded Vonage mobile app and you can call them for free. Other group shows Facebook friends who are available for instant messaging.
Just, touch the friend’s name from the Call Free list and your free call is connected.

Another Google Search Tip

Use a minus sign right before a word to eliminate it from your search results. For example, if you are looking for cowboys, but not the team, you would type "cowboys -dallas -football" without the quotes. This trick goes a long way toward eliminating information that you are not interested in reading.

Saint Nikolas and Santa Claus

Though they have similar outfits, Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus, who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas. They are two different people. In fact, many religious families try to focus more on Nikolaus earlier in December to insure that Christmas is actually about Jesus’ birth, and not presents from an Americanized and commercialized Santa.

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nikolas of Myra (now part of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nikolas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children.

The custom of leaving shoes out began because the historical St. Nicholas had a reputation for leaving secret gifts, such as coins, in people’s shoes overnight. Kids traditionally put out their boots, though shoes or stockings will suffice for those without boots. Dirty boots are unacceptable. Children polish their boots to show they’ve been good. They usually place just one boot outside their door so they don’t appear too greedy.

This Week in 2008

President-elect Barack Obama said job creation and a stronger economy are the yardsticks against which his economic recovery plan should be measured.

Dec 10, 2010

Happy Friday!

Man is in possession of his own life when he can control his thoughts, rule his passions, and govern his habits.

I think I can hardly control my passion for the habit of making a Happy Friday!

Deep Fried Onion Rings

According to most sources, the onion ring was invented when a careless cook at a Pig Stand in Dallas accidentally dropped an onion slice in some batter then pulled it out and tossed it in the deep fryer. The Pig Stand also claims to opening America’s first drive-in, inventing Texas toast, and being one of the first restaurants to advertise using neon signs. After consuming a batch, you might consider the following post.


Listerine was the first over-the-counter mouthwash sold in the United States in 1914 and by 1921 it was already falsely marketing its product. Declaring itself a cure-all for common cold ailments like sore throats and coughs, a dandruff preventative, an anti-shave tonic, and a safe way to protect yourself from cuts, bruises, wounds, and stings, Listerine was slapped with numerous false advertisement lawsuits.

In 1975, the Federal Trade Commission ordered the company to spend $10 million in corrective advertising, as their product was no more effective in treating colds than gargling warm water. In 2005, the company was slapped with another lawsuit. This time because Listerine claimed it was as “effective as floss” after rigging clinical trials.

Bacon Cheddar Fries

Had to add this one sent by a friend, Jim Sheppard. The site taster says they are not all that good, but I must admit I liked the name. Of course, they are from Tom's.

Street Signs

Am sure at least one of you remembers my November 12 thoughts about street signs in New York being replaced. Here is a follow-up.

The Federal Highway Administration is ordering all local governments, from the tiniest towns to the largest cities, to go out and buy new street signs that federal bureaucrats say are easier to read. The rules are part of a tangle of regulations included in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The 800-plus page book tells local governments they:

-- Should increase the size of the letters on street signs from the current 4 inches to 6 inches on all roads with speed limits over 25 miles per hour. The target date for this to be completed is January 2012.

-- Install signs with new reflective letters more visible at night by January 2018.

-- Whenever street name signs are changed for any reason, they can no longer be in ALL CAPS.

In Milwaukee this will cost the city nearly $2 million, or double the city's entire annual for traffic control.

"If you can't read it, you can't see it, or you can't comprehend it, it could be a distraction to you,"  said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "You could be in an accident, negative consequences could occur." Hmmm, now about those illegal aliens that can't read English. . .

Popup Meat Timer

 Here is a silly thing that might be practical. A meat timer with legs. The legs pop up when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Now you don't have to open the oven door to check, just wait for the legs to pop up.

Dec 7, 2010

Awesome Stuff

People can accomplish some very awesome stunts. Here is a collection of them on YouTube. LINK


The first air-breathing fish and amphibians extracted oxygen using gills when in the water and primitive lungs when on land. To do so, they had to be able to close the glottis, or entryway to the lungs, when underwater. The entryway, or glottis, to the lungs could be closed. When underwater, the animals pushed water past their gills while simultaneously pushing the glottis down. We descendants of these animals were left with vestiges of their history, including the hiccup. In hiccuping, we use ancient muscles to quickly close the glottis while sucking in air. Hiccups no longer serve a function. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop hiccuping is that the entire process is controlled by a part of our brain that evolved long before consciousness.

Decembers Past

In 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered liquidation of the Works Progress Administration, created during the Great Depression to provide work for the unemployed. Seems to me that worked better than unemployment checks.

In 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

In 1768, Encyclopedia Britannica was first published.

In 1954, the first Burger King fast-food restaurant opened in Miami.

In 1975, the US Senate authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.

In 2009, the US unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in November, down from its peak of 10.2 percent in October. Analysts called the jobs report the strongest since the recession began two years earlier.

In 2010, the US unemployment rate went up to 9.8% in November, from 9.6% in October.

In 1929, the Ford Motor Co. raised the pay of its employees from $5 to $7 a day despite the collapse of the US stock market.

In 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant at Cape Town, South Africa.

Michael Jackson Earnings

He made $275 million last year, beating all living and dead entertainers as top earner. Too bad he couldn't keep that up while he was alive. Incidentally, Einstein's estate took in $10 million.

Executive Pay Check

Washington Mutual CEO Alan Fishman did well. When WaMu failed and was seized by government regulators, Fishman had been on the job for just 17 days. However, he was contractually guaranteed $11.6 million in cash severance on top of the $7.5 million signing bonus he got for taking the job. He netted just under $20 million for 17 days of work. Not bad for the head of a collapsing corporation.

Dec 3, 2010

Happy Friday

Health is the greatest gift,
contentment the greatest wealth,
faithfulness the best relationship.

I am content with my health because I am faithful to having a Happy Friday!

Download YouTube Videos

Did you know there are a number of web sites that allow you to download YouTube Videos? Here is one that I have used. LINK  You just paste in the web address and download. It also allows you to convert to other formats as you download. You can convert to mp3, mp4, avi, and a number of other formats. You can even convert to use on your phone. It converts and sends you an email of the file.

Happy People

Sorry, I could not resist this one from the happiest people ever website. It just made me laugh and I had to share.

7 Up

Like most soft drinks, 7 Up started with other ingredients than we have now. It originally contained lithium, which was widely marketed as one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Charles Leiper Grigg invented a formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product was originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", and was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

It contained the mood stabilizer lithium citrate and was marketed as a hangover cure. Its name was soon changed to 7 Up. The name is derived from the atomic mass of lithium (approximately seven daltons). Lithium citrate was removed from 7 Up's formula in 1950. It was also used in early formulations of Coke.

Lithium citrate is a chemical compound of lithium and citrate that is used as a mood stabilizer in psychiatric treatment of manic states and bipolar disorder. Now lithium citrate is sold as Litarex and Demalit.

Fizzy Bacon

Effervescent bacon tablets in water explode in a shower of fizz and delicious bacon flavor. It is like bacon Alka-Seltzer. It's a tiny, bubbly miracle. Oooh, drop some in vodka. How about dropping some in hot chocolate for the ultimate chocolate bacon.

Expensive Effective Placebos

The more expensive your pain medications are, the better the relief you get from taking them, even if they are fake. That's according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which suggests that sugar pills labeled as expensive drugs relieve pain better than sugar pills labeled as discounted drugs.

According to the authors, marketing actions, such as pricing, can alter the actual efficacy of products to which they are applied. In three experiments, the authors show that consumers who pay a discounted price for a product may derive less actual benefit from consuming this product than consumers who purchase and consume the exact same product, but pay its regular price.

Nov 30, 2010

Medical Myth

Contrary to the myth, fingernails and hair do not continue to grow after death. What does happen is that the cuticles and skin shrink after death, making it appear as if the nails and hair were lengthening.

Rickets Returns

More than 20% of children tested for bone problems by an orthopedic surgeon in Southampton, England showed signs of rickets. This is a disease which causes bowed legs as well stunted growth and comes from too little vitamin D, basically too little sunlight. The reason this is happening is because dermatologists have made us so afraid of the sun and because children are just sitting inside all day playing on the internet. The doctor in the piece said that his results were "very reminiscent of 17th Century England".

Free Books, Pictures, and Videos

There are many free text books at Wikibooks and pictures and videos on the Wikimedia Commons.

Detroit Lions Started Thanksgiving Football

In 1934, radio executive G.A. Richards bought the Portsmouth, Ohio Spartans NFL team, moved them to Detroit, and renamed them the Lions.  Unfortunately for him, nobody in Detroit cared much for watching the Lions.  Despite winning all their games but one before Thanksgiving, having several stars of the day, and one super star in Earl “Dutch” Clark, the average turn out for each game was only around 12,000 people.

At the time, it was fairly traditional for various football programs in high schools and colleges to hold particularly significant games on Thanksgiving.  So Richards decided to try to bring this same tradition to the NFL, convincing the NFL to allow the Lions and the defending World Champion Chicago Bears to play for the Western Division championship on Thanksgiving.

Richards then used his considerable influence in radio to convince NBC that they should broadcast this game on the radio all across the United States, something that had never been done before for an NFL game.  The game ended up being a huge success, being played at the University of Detroit Stadium in front of a sold out crowd of 26,000 fans and broadcast across the nation on over 94 different radio stations.  In the end, the Bears won 19-16, but the game was such a success, as far as ratings and fan turn-out went, that Richards fought to be allowed to continue having the Lions play on Thanksgiving going forward and to continue to have that games broadcast out on the radio nationwide.

    * The Dallas Cowboys have played their traditional Thanksgiving Day game since 1966, missing games in 1975 and 1977.
    * The first televised Thanksgiving Day game was in 1956 the Green Bay Packers with the Lions losing 24-20.
    * In order to appease fans of other teams who also wanted their favorite team to take part in Thanksgiving NFL games, in 2006, the NFL instituted a third game, on top of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboy traditional games.  This third game has no fixed teams, as in the previous two.

Nov 27, 2010

Happy Friday

If you want to touch the past touch a rock.
If you want to touch the present touch a rose.
If you want to touch the future touch a life.

I am holding a rock in one hand, a rose in the other, and plan to touch another Happy Friday!


It is hard to find the actual 'first thanksgiving' in the US. Of course Texas, never one to miss an opportunity, claims to be first with the story of the first Thanksgiving feast celebrated in 1598 in El Paso, Texas by Don Juan de Oñate – 22 years before the English colonial Thanksgiving.

By early March 1598, Oñate's expedition of 500 people, including soldiers, colonists, wives and children and 7,000 head of livestock, was ready to cross the treacherous Chihuahuan Desert. Almost from the beginning of the 50-day march, nature challenged the Spaniards. First, seven consecutive days of rain made travel miserable. Then the hardship was reversed, and the travelers suffered greatly from the dry weather. On one occasion, a chance rain shower saved the parched colonists.

Finally, for the last five days of the march before reaching the Rio Grande, the expedition ran out of both food and water, forcing the men, women and children to seek roots and other scarce desert vegetation to eat. Both animals and humans almost went mad with thirst before the party reached water. Two horses drank until their stomachs burst, and two others drowned in the river in their haste to consume as much water as possible.

The Rio Grande was the salvation of the expedition, however. After recuperating for 10 days, Oñate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition. Included in the event was a feast, supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition. And finally, Oñate read La Toma -- the taking -- declaring the land drained by the Great River to be the possession of King Philip II of Spain.

Some historians call this one of the truly important dates in the history of the continent, marking the beginning of Spanish colonization in the American Southwest.

There's no doubt that today's Thanksgiving tradition is New England born and bred. It's not a single tradition, however, but a combination of traditions, according to a researcher for Plimoth Plantation Inc., which operates a model 17th century village at Plymouth, Mass., who says today's celebration is a cross between a British harvest festival and a special day of religious thanksgiving, both originally observed by pilgrims in New England.

In 1621, just months after their arrival from England, residents of Plymouth celebrated a harvest festival, which was indistinguishable from those observed throughout Britain at the time. It was a secular event with feasting and games. The only religious observance was the saying of grace before the meal.

Two years later, the governor of Plymouth colony called for a special day of religious thanksgiving for the end of a drought that plagued the colony. This was an extra day of prayer and religious observance. Special days of religious thanksgiving were called throughout the colonial period.

Connecticut is given credit for initially adopting an annual day of general thanksgiving. The first for which a proclamation exists was called for Sept. 18, 1639, although some may have been held earlier. Another on record was held in 1644, and from 1649 onward, these special days of general thanksgiving were held annually.

Massachusetts Bay Colony began annual observances in 1660.

Several other states also claim the first thanksgiving. Puritans who arrived to establish Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 observed a special day of prayer that is often called the 'first Thanksgiving'. Even earlier in Florida, a small colony of French Huguenots living near present-day Jacksonville noted a special thanksgiving prayer. The colony soon was wiped out by the Spanish.

Maine stakes its claim to the first Thanksgiving on the basis of a service held by colonists on August 9, 1607, to give thanks for a safe voyage.

Virginians are convinced their ancestors celebrated the first Thanksgiving when Jamestown settlers in 1610 held a service of thanksgiving for their survival of a harsh winter.

Free Reverse Phone Number Lookup

Doing a reverse number lookup on Google is free and easy. You use Google's main search box and add the phrase "phonebook:" in front of the number. Sometimes it shows the address of the owner as well. Works for cell and home phones, as long as they are not  unlisted.

Your search should look like this (no spaces) phonebook:xxx-xxx-xxxx

If you would like to remove yourself from Google's phonebook, do a reverse number lookup on yourself, and you'll see a link to remove your entry.

Berkshire Hathaway

The sprawling holding company run by Warren Buffett was originally a textile manufacturer that took off in 1839. Buffett took control in 1962, though, and by 1967 he started to move outside of textiles into insurance and other sectors.

Nacho Facts

The invention of nachos is credited to Ignacio 'Nacho' Anaya in 1943. Then maître d’ at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras (across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas), Anaya improvised a dish of tortilla chips, melted cheese, and jalapeños for traveling U.S. Army wives who were hungry. Nachos were first introduced in Los Angeles in 1959.

A modified version of the dish, with permanently soft cheese and pre-made tortilla chips was marketed beginning in 1977, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This version of nachos became known as "Ball Park Nachos" and during a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks and introduced it to a whole new audience.

Nacho World Record

Volunteers from the Northstar Church, Frisco, TX in July, 2010, made 3,556 pounds of nachos in a 48-by-4-foot trough. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Nov 23, 2010


Tires and sneakers are both made of rubber and fabric, so it was only a matter of time before tire companies got into the shoe business. In 1892, Goodyear manufactured a rubber-and-canvas sneaker. The company decided on the name Peds, but someone else already held the trademark. So, Goodyear used the name Keds. The rest of the world started calling them “sneakers,” after an ad man remarked the shoes’ soles were quiet on most surfaces. In England, they call them trainers.

Book of Bacon

Just came across these five Baconic Laws from the Holy Book of Bacon. These were part of the salty scrolls translated by a scholarly team of the Bacon Baron and Lord Bacon of Sizzlingham, their work was studiously overseen by his holiness the Bacon Bishop of Porkland.

1 Thou shalt not consider Bacon on the same level as any other food, as it is above all.
2 Thou shalt not consume imitation Bacon.
3 Thou shalt not stop pursuing Baconlightenment until it is reached.
4 Thou shalt not forget to consume Bacon for ten days.
5 Thou shalt spread the word of Bacon to all.

Sounds like they need to be taken seriously.

Holiday Bacon Pumpkin Pie

The recipe calls for adding seven pieces of bacon into the pumpkin mixture before baking, then crumbling a few pieces on the top after it comes out of the oven. An alternative filling is Rhubarb, one of my favorites. Mmmm!

White Chocolate is Not Chocolate

This tidbit came up in a recent conversation and Jeff Flanagan suggested it might be a good topic for Friday Thoughts. In order to be labeled chocolate (as defined in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration) a product must also contain cocoa solids from chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is not real alcohol, but is the thick liquid produced when fermented, dried, and roasted cocoa beans are shelled, then ground. The chocolate liquor is the key ingredient in all of the chocolates on the market, except for white chocolate.

When the chocolate liquor is pressed, the fat can be removed from it. This fat is called cocoa butter, and it is the primary ingredient in white chocolate. In plain chocolate, the cocoa butter is re-blended with the cocoa solids from the separation process in order to make unsweetened chocolate. It may also be sweetened and blended with additional ingredients such as milk to make the chocolate confection we commonly eat.

However, with white chocolate the cocoa butter is not reunited with the cocoa powder. Instead, sugar and milk are added to create the final treat. Also, since the caffeine in chocolate is in the cocoa solids and not the cocoa butter, white chocolate does not contain any caffeine.

Since white chocolate labels are not standardized, some manufacturers market products that do not even contain cocoa butter as white chocolate. Usually, these contain vegetable oil and taste different.

The cocoa butter used to make white chocolate is a very stable fat and has a long lifespan without spoiling. It contains several natural antioxidants and it has a shelf life of several years. It is also used in other products, such as soaps, moisturizers, and other skin care products.

Companies Against Christmas

True - According to the American Family Association, the following companies "may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it". As of 11-17-10

Barnes & Noble
CVS Pharmacy
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret

Nov 19, 2010

Windows 1

November 20, 2010, represents a significant milestone. Those of us in the PC industry who placed an early bet on a then-nascent PC graphical UI will toast that day as being the 25th anniversary of the launch of Windows 1.0. Wow, what a long way we have come in such a short time.

Big Spenders

Did you ever wonder who the big political spenders are? Here is a list of the largest spenders to influence votes. Notice that half are labor unions.
Total '89-'09
Rep %
AT&T Inc
Amer. Fedn of State, Cnty & Municipal Employees
National Assn of Realtors
Goldman Sachs
American Assn for Justice
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
National Education Assn
Laborers Union
Service Employees International Union
Teamsters Union
Carpenters & Joiners Union
American Federation of Teachers
Communications Workers of America
Citigroup Inc
American Medical Assn
United Auto Workers
Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union
National Auto Dealers Assn
United Parcel Service

Wow, over 331 million bucks of union dues that did not go for the members welfare.

Speaking of Big Spenders

Three bottles of Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild 1869 were just sold at a Hong Kong auction by Sotheby’s. The hammer price of $232,692 a bottle set a record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction. That's about two grand a sip.

More Spending

The average American family has 13 credit cards. Household debt rose from $680 billion in 1974 to $14 trillion in 2008. Looks like I am not average.

Turkey Facts

Here are some interesting Turkey tidbits as we approach Thanksgiving.

Turkeys can fly for short bursts at up to 55 mph. However, domestic turkeys are usually too fat to fly.

Turkey eggs are not usually sold for eating because farmers have learned that they make more raising turkeys for meat rather than eggs.

It's not the turkey that makes you sleepy. Although turkey contains a natural chemical called tryptophan, and  tryptophan is related to the production of serotonin, which helps us sleep. All meat has about the same amount of tryptophan. What really makes you sleepier after a Thanksgiving meal compared to other meals is eating too many carbohydrates, from potatoes to pies. Alcohol can contribute, too.

The wishbone, called a furcula, is the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. It's where a turkey’s flying muscles hook up and is very elastic and great for flapping.

Another Google Tip

When you look at Google results, check the left side of the page and click on "show search tools" button. A list of options about time will appear. These are very handy if you are just looking for some news or other items that are current or maybe even older. Since web pages seem to live on forever, it is a quick way to get information that is timely for the subject.

Display a Collection

Do you collect stuff? Is it difficult to show your collection, or is it in a cupboard, or closet/ here is an interesting idea. Take pictures of individual items in your collection and put them together in a digital photograph, then put it in a frame and show it off for the world to see. Take a picture of each with a different background color that matches your decor to add some visual interest.

Think about all those cool mugs you have, or dolls, or other collections that are just too large to display. How about pictures of each of the houses you have lived in or all the cars you owned. Don't forget to think of that sentimental clutter you have in your closet. Take it out, take a picture, then dispose of the items and frame the montage, so you can enjoy the memories every day.

One Dollar Bill Facts

Did you know one dollar bills are made in twelve different cities? They are made in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Each has a letter associated with the city. They are, in order, A Boston, B New York, C Philadelphia, etc. Those letters are all associated with the numbers printed four times on the bill. The black letter in the seal on the left side of the bill tells us which city it is printed in.

The four black numbers toward each corner correspond to the letter. So, a bill printed in Philadelphia has a C in the seal and would have the number three printed, because C is the third letter of the alphabet. Incidentally, they print 16,600,000 bills a day. I just checked my pocket and had bills printed in four different cities.

Twitter and the Stock Market

The mood on Twitter predicts what's going to happen in the stock market with 87 percent accuracy. Researchers from Indiana University analyzed the tweets of 2.7 million Twitter users in 2008, dividing them into six categories of emotions. They were surprised to find that the higher percentage of "calm" tweets on a given day, the higher the Dow Jones Industrial Average was in the following two to six days. This method yielded a 87.6 percent rate of accuracy.

Whats in a Name

According to Chicago, it doesn't matter, as long as you pay. Next spring, 2011, the commuters of Chicago may no longer be taking the Red Line to Addison if they want to catch a Cubs game. If the Chicago Transit Authority has its way, they could be riding on the Budweiser Express and getting off at Pizzeria Uno Station. The CTA announced last week that it intends on selling off the naming rights to just about everything it possibly can, including rail lines and stations, bus routes, retail concessions, and special events. Even the venerable CTA logo will be on the auction block. "We want to find new ways to generate revenue," said the CTA president. Maybe during election years, politicians can get their name plastered on every bus and train in town. Take the Obama express downtown.

Black Friday Under Ten Dollar Deals

Here are some cheap appliance deals:
• Chefmate 2-slice toaster, $3.00 (Target)

• Sunbeam 4-slice toaster, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Black & Decker 5-quart coffeemaker, $9.88 (Target)

• Cooks 12-cup coffeemaker, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Hamilton Beach 12-cup programmable coffeemaker, $9.97 (Walmart)

• Chefmate 5-speed electric hand mixer, $3.00 (Target)

• Rival hand mixer, $2.97 (Walmart)

• Cooks 1.5-quart slow cooker, $7.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Cooks 6-quart slow cooker, $9.88 (J.C. Penney)

• Hamilton Beach 3-quart slow cooker, $8.99 (Target)

• Hamilton Beach 5-quart oval slow cooker, $9.97 (Walmart)

• Dirt Devil Versa Power Stick Vac, $9.00 (Target)

• Bissell 3-In-1 Stick Vac, $8.62 (Walmart)