Jul 30, 2010

In-N-Out Burger Dallas

Speaking of burgers, how did I miss that the West coast In-N-Out chain is coming to Dallas suburbs? News is that it is planning a second meat packing plant in the Dallas area and will be opening at least six locations to begin. Alas, it is not imminent and no specific dates set yet. Can't wait for the 8x8 (8 patties and 8 cheese slices) and those fresh chopped fries that are cut from real potatoes, just before plunging into the hot grease. Yumm!

Five More Great Google Tips

Look for keywords that could be similar to the one you are using. "vizio ~ tutorial". (The tilde ~ is usually the left top key, next to the numeral one.) Google will search for similar keywords like guides, how tos, manuals etc.

Have a math problem, type "sqrt(100)" for the square root of 100.

How to find a site that your company has blocked - "cache:shubnell.com". (of course none would block my site.)

Looking for a specific title - "intitle: papamurphys".

Looking for pictures, type in something like "shadows" then click on the 'images' word on the left of the results page. It will show all pictures, instead of web pages.

Family Values

Many of us could take a lesson.

Google Earth

Most of you have heard of the Google Earth project that takes satellite pictures of the globe, but have you seen the pictures? Google Earth has software that can be downloaded to your PC to navigate anywhere on the globe and do close up and far away looks at many things. Below is a picture of Ford building outside of Detroit.

Think of it as Google maps from space. Here are two links to some strange Google Earth pictures. LINK1   LINK2   Enjoy!

Lobster Thermidor

It was named after the month. Some say that it was first prepared for Napoleon during the month of Thermidor. Others say that it was created by Tony Girod at the Café de Paris to celebrate the opening of a play called Thermidor.

Thermidor is the eleventh month in the French Republic calendar and is about July 19 to August 18. The calendar was used in the late 1700s.

Thermidor comes from the Greek word thermos, which means heat. Hmmm, I thought a thermos could also keep things cold.

Four Interesting Phobias

Genuphobia is an irrational fear of knees. The genuphobics may fear their own knees and/or fear seeing other people's knees. Genu comes from Latin, meaning knee. Ah, to genuflect.

Maybe you just don't like the look of knees, because they are not perfectly matched. You might have asymmetriphobia if you are afraid of asymmetrical objects, mismatched socks, mismatched earrings, etc.

No, Gelotophobia is not the fear of too much Jello. Gelotophobes have a pathological fear of being laughed at or made fun of.

Ancraophobics have an abnormal fear of wind. I made this next one up, ancrapaphobia from watching too many politicians or maybe it is crapola phobia.

Vibrating Battery

No, not battery vibrator. Brother Industries Ltd developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace AA and AAA batteries.

Think of a flashlight that can be shaken to generate power to keep the light on. Reminds me of those wind up flashlights.

The new generator will semi-permanently eliminate the need to replace batteries and contribute to reducing the amount of wastes," Brother Industries said.
The generator can be used for a device that does not always consume electricity and has small power consumption, such as a TV remote, or LED flashlight.

Jul 27, 2010

Buggy Fruit

Dannon and Yoplait strawberry yogurt and Ocean Spray pink-grapefruit juice drink, and many other red foods are made with bugs. A common food coloring called cochineal extract (or sometimes carmine or carminic acid) is used in many red foods and drinks.

Cochineal gets its red color from an insect called Dactylopius coccus Costa, which feeds on red cactus berries.

To make cochineal, the insects are dried and then ground up into a powder. You'll find it in lots of processed pink, red or purple foods. Somehow knowing this does not bug me as much as I thought it would.

Low Flow Showerhead Savings

According to Intuit, the financial software company, Using a low flow shower head vs. a regular one saves $15 a year. Some sites claim it saves up to $25 a year, including either electric or gas costs to heat the water. Paying $250 for a new one takes quite a while to get your money back.

Don't Make Your Bed

I am sure many have been reading about the new fascination with and outbreaks of bed bugs (dust mites). Here is some good news for ridding your bed of these ugly little creatures, although I am not sure it really is good science.

Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe, because research suggests that while an unmade bed may look bad it is also unappealing to house dust mites.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the dry conditions found in an unmade bed. The minute bugs feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep. The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply. The scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds.

Mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry conditions. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.

The average life cycle for a male house dust mite is 10 to 19 days. A mated female house dust mite can live for 70 days, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last 5 weeks of her life.
A good idea is to always wash sheets and pillowcases in hot water, even though you wash your others things in cold water. Another way is to use high heat in your dryer.

PS - It is commonly believed that the accumulated detritus from dust mites can add significantly to the weight of mattresses and pillows, but there is no scientific evidence for these claims. Also, a 1996 study from the British Medical Journal has shown that polyester fiber pillows contained more than 8 times the total weight of fine dust than feather pillows. Sleep tight tonight, don't let the bedbugs bite.

Lost Time

Did you know that a single two-second distraction can cost you 15 minutes of lost time? When your concentration is interrupted, it takes up to 15 minutes to get your focus back. So, stop checking your email or looking at your phone every few minutes. It costs you way too much time that you could be doing other things.

True Bacon Burger

A friend of mine, Chris Joles sent this one to me. Geekdad, from the eponymous web site, made a burger of 100% ground up bacon and added an egg to help bind it. He cooked it under the broiler so the drippings didn't mess up his grill. 

His conclusions, try one, don't make it too big, use uncured bacon to reduce the salt content, have it with a strong beer, enjoy. It is not meant to be a weekly repast, but a nice change of pace from the ordinary meat burgers. Mmmm I may have to make one to see if I agree.

Jul 23, 2010

Salt Tips

If you are in a restaurant and spill something greasy on your lap, or tie, pour a generous amount of salt on the stain and rub gently. It will suck the grease out. This also works with red wine. It works with red wine on carpets at home also. White wine also helps to neutralize red wine on carpets.

Suture This

Sutures have a long and bizarre history, dating back to ancient Egypt, where everything from tree bark to hair was used to stitch human flesh back together again. Archaeological records from ancient Egypt show that Egyptians used linen and animal sinew to close wounds. In ancient India, physicians used the pincers of beetles or ants to staple wounds shut. They then cut the insects’ bodies off, leaving their jaws 'staples' in place.

Other natural materials used to close wounds include flax, grass, cotton, silk, pig bristles, and animal gut. The fundamental principles of wound closure have changed little during the past 4,000 years.

Late Night Snacks Myth

It does not matter what time of day you eat, as long as you eat no more calories than you burn, you will not gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

Eating three meals a day at the same time each day can have other benefits in life, but snacks at night are no worse than snacks in the morning or afternoon.

Also, It is mathematically easier to lose weight than to gain weight. If you eat 3,500 calories more than you burn, you will gain 0.3 pounds, but if you burn 3,500 calories more than you eat, you will lose 1 pound.

Bacon Balm

Just saw this for sale on the net. Lip balm that can be used all year. Thought I would share. Mmmm!

US Employment Data

From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (not seasonally adjusted):
Jan 2008 -   144,607,000
Jan 2009 -   140,436,000
June 2010 - 139,882,000

We have to go back to June, 2004 to find a like number to today, 139,861,000. These numbers do not reflect the number of people added to the potential work force during the past six years.

That Doesn't Sit Well With Me

Sir George Sitwell (father of the famous writer Dame Edith Sitwell) was a very bizarre man in many ways.

This is the notice that Sir George hung in the hallway of his manor, “I must ask anyone entering the house never to contradict me or differ from me in any way, as it interferes with the functioning of my gastric juices and prevents my sleeping at night.”

He was a good gardener (he actually studied garden design) and, annoyed by the wasps in his garden, he invented a pistol for shooting them. After he moved to Italy to avoid taxes in Britain, he refused to pay his new wife’s debts which resulted in her spending three months in prison.

He was such an avid writer, reader, and collector of books that he had seven libraries in his home. Other eccentricities included paying his son an allowance based on the amount paid by one of his forebears to his son during the Black Death, and trying to pay his son’s Eton school fees with produce from his garden. Perhaps most bizarrely, Sir George had the cows on his estate stenciled in a blue and white Chinese willow pattern in order to make them look better. How does that sit with you?

Five More Uses for Peanut Butter

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will never go out of style, but here are a few more things to do with peanut butter.

Replace butter in cooking recipes with peanut butter for a unique taste, especially brownies. Yum.

Dogs and cats love it. Next time wrap their pill in a spoonful, so you don't have to force it down.

It works almost as well as goo-gone to get labels off of packages.

After frying fish, drop a plop of it in the pan and let it melt. Takes away the fishy smell.

Remove gum from carpet or hair by rubbing it with peanut butter and wipe the whole thing off.

What's in a Name

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was nicknamed The Iron Lady and Imelda Marcos was known as The Steel Butterfly.

Jul 20, 2010

Doing Wrong

Fit as a Fiddle

This is another phrase where a single word has confused people – 'fit' in the context of this saying does not mean 'healthy', which is a 19th century definition. Its original meaning was 'suitable' – and it is still used in that context in the saying 'fit for a king'.

As fit as a fiddle means 'as appropriate as can be' – not “in excellent health”. The first use of the phrase was in the 16th century and it was originally 'as right as a fiddle'.


We all know that cheese is cheese and made from sour milk, but if you look at some packages, you find cheese products and cheese food. Here is the difference.

Cheese food is somewhere between 51 percent and 99 percent cheese. It is a food product made from regular cheese, and almost always with the addition of whey, emulsifiers, milk, salts, preservatives, and food coloring. Processed cheese is also known as “process cheese”, “prepared cheese”, and “cheese food”. American cheese and some 'squirt cheese' are cheese foods. James L. Kraft created the first commercially available sliced processed cheese.

Cheese product is composed of less than 51 percent cheese. More than half the product is made up of ingredients like emulsifiers, carrageenan (seaweed-extract stabilizer) and flavorings, like citric acid for that cheesy tanginess. Cheez Whiz and some varieties of Velveeta are cheese products.

Average Americans eat about 30 pounds of cheese a year.

A great cheese slicer when yours is in the dishwasher, use unwaxed dental floss.

Birthday Cake Tip

Just saw this interesting idea to keep candle wax off of your next birthday cake. Slip a lifesaver on the bottom and it will catch any melting wax. You can leave the lifesaver on the cake when you remove the candle so you don't get your fingers in the icing.

Jul 16, 2010

Food Excess

This is taking it too far, fake sandwich floppies.

Vitamin C

Linus Pauling, Nobel prize winner in chemistry touted that vitamin C was a cure-all for everything from preventing colds to curing cancer. He died of cancer in 1994. In spite of some other outrageous claims, vitamin C is still good for you, it just doesn't cure everything. Also, don't take the chewable kind, because it is ascorbic acid and will rot your teeth if you chew too much of it.

Common Cold

I 'caught a cold' a few weeks back, (actually it turned out to be pneumonia, contracted from a visit to the doctor and it is gone now). Anyway, it started me thinking about where the name 'common cold' came from.

The name "common cold" came into use in the 1500s, because its symptoms seemed to appear in cold weather. Of course, we now know that a common cold is not limited to cold weather. It seems more prevalent, because people spend more time indoors in close proximity to each other, sharing the virus.

It is difficult to catch a cold by eating something infected with cold virus. The secretions of the mouth tend to kill the virus and any that survive end up in the stomach where gastric juices quickly destroy them. Also, kissing a person with a cold will not cause you to catch it. The quantity of virus on the lips and mouth are miniscule.

There is no cure, due to the hundreds of varieties of viruses, but many medicines can mask the symptoms until it runs its course, usually a week or less. People are most infectious during the first 24 hours, even if the symptoms have not begun to show.

Zinc, echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, eucalyptus, honey, lemon, menthol, steam, hot toddies, alcohol, Zicam, chicken soup, and many other "cures" have been repeatedly tested and have been scientifically proven to not prevent or shorten the duration of a cold. At best they provide some physical relief. People believe these are effective because of the varied nature of colds. Some viruses only last a few days, while others last for weeks.

Flu shots are designed to prevent the most common type of virus and are effective for only that type. Antibiotics do not cure a cold as they work on bacteria and most colds are caused by virus. However, if it is bacterial, such as half of pneumonia strains, it does help. Bacterial pneumonia usually comes on suddenly and viral types take some time to develop.

Imagine a person with a four-day form of cold. If he does nothing he will be well in four days, but he immediately drinks a gallon of orange juice. A couple of days later he feels great and tells everyone that the vitamin C in the juice killed his cold. His story quickly spreads and everyone starts drinking orange juice. The vitamin C didn't cure it.

On the other hand, people who try a cure and find that it doesn't work aren't as likely to report it, because most folks do not brag about failures. Human nature and the variability of the cold virus create a situation where beliefs in cold cures persist in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

Kerfs and Aglets

A kerf is the groove made by a sawblade.

An aglet is the plastic cover at the end of shoelaces

Internet Privacy

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a draft last month to develop a voluntary identification system and set up a website to gather input from experts and Internet users about how it should be structured.

From the web site - The Nation faces sophisticated threats against the sensitive and confidential data of our citizens, industries and government. Securing identities in transactions and creating a trusted online environment has become a critical national priority, and  the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review called for development of a strategy to address this issue.

"The technology that has brought many benefits to our society and has empowered us to do so much has also empowered those who are driven to cause harm," said White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt in a blog posting that outlined the need for better security online.

The plan, he said, envisions a future in which people would be able to get a secure identifier - such as a smart identity card or a digital certificate - from a variety of service providers. Customers could then use the card or identifier to prove who they are as they make their online transactions.

The draft plan is part of an administration effort to promote cyber-security among society as a whole. Lawmakers have introduced a number of bills aimed at furthering those goals. Oh, and about those jobs, crisis over!

Scot Free

Many people think that getting off 'scot free' refers to Scottish people being tight with money, but word “scot” is an old Norse word which means payment, specifically a payment made to a landlord or sheriff. So this phrase means what most people think it means, but has no connection to the Scottish people. It just means to get off without having to pay.

Jul 13, 2010

Two More Google Search Tips

Type "google patents" in a search bar, and the first hit you get will take you to Google Patent Search. Google and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have struck an agreement, and you can now have access to more than 7 million patents, including drawings.

When searching for something and you only want current information, click on the 'search tools' on the left. It opens a list of other features, such as 'Past 24 hours', past week, etc. Try one, then click the search button again and it refines your search to whatever time you chose.

Four More Uses for Potatoes

We all know that potato chips and french fries are natures almost perfect food, (next to bacon, of course). There are also more uses for potatoes you may enjoy.

Potatoes hold heat well, so warm one up and wrap it in a dishcloth and you have a great hot compress. Put a potato in the freezer for a while and you have a cold compress.

Cut a potato and rub on your hands to remove those stains from fresh berries. It the stains are extra tough, add some lemon juice to the potato.

Press a piece of raw cut potato against a cooking burn and it will soothe and remove the sting.

Mix some room temperature plain mashed potatoes with lemon juice and some milk for a soothing facial. Leave on your face for about 20 minutes and then rinse off to reveal soft skin.

Cut a potato in half and press the cut surface of a potato into the sharp edges of a broken light bulb. Unscrew the broken bulb with the potato. Don't forget to throw away the used potato with the broken bulb.

Siamese Twins

Did you ever wonder where the name Siamese Twins came from? Chang and Eng Bunker were conjoined twins born in Siam and their condition and place of birth became the name for this phenomenon. They were joined at the sternum by a small piece of cartilage and their livers were fused.

The two became American citizens and owned a plantation and slaves. In 1843, they married two sisters: Chang to Adelaide Yates and Eng to Sarah Anne Yates. Chang and his wife had ten children; Eng and his wife had twelve.

They eventually set up two separate households in White Plains, North Carolina and would alternate spending three days at each home. The twins died on the same day in 1874.

Six Brands That You Thought Were All American

Some common names in the US have non-American owners.

Henkel KGaA, Germany, owns Dial Soap

Arcapita, Bahrain, owns Church's Fried Chicken - (that's why they took bacon off the menu)

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, UK, owns Holiday Inn

Abu Dhabi Investment Council, UAE, owns the Chrysler building in NY

Seven & I Holdings, Japan, owns Denny’s and 7Eleven

Willis Group Holdings, UK, owns the former Sears Tower in Chicago, now officially called Willis Tower

InBev, Belgium, owns Budweiser.

Bacon Found in Closet

Here is the headline, "Third-degree burns, stitches for South Bend brothers-in-law fighting over frying pan" Here is the LINK. I couldn't make this funny stuff up.

Jul 9, 2010

Going to Hell in a Handbasket

This phrase does not seem to be used anywhere but the US. It appears to come from the way criminals heads rolled into a basked when decapitated by a guillotine. The prisoner presumably was going directly to hell for his misdeeds.

Going Metric

Back when I was in grade school, they were going to change the country to the metric system and began to teach us meters, kilometers, etc., but somewhere along the way gave up. Actually, the metric system is easier to use, once you have learned it.

History shows that the US mint created the first decimal currency in the world in 1792. Congress first authorized the use of metrics in 1866 and in 1875 became one of the original seventeen signatory nations to the Treaty of the Meter. Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 "to coordinate and plan the increasing use of the metric system in the United States." It also established the US Metric Board, which was dissolved in 1982. The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 amended the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and designated the metric system as the "preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce."

It is back. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued two publications calling for the amendment of labeling laws to allow the voluntary use of only metric units on some consumer products. It says that adoption of metric labeling will simplify domestic and international commerce.

So, the current Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), which has both, is recommended to be the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR), which has only one - metric. This time they forgot the 'first teach 'em in school' part.

Only 91.44 meters for a touchdown, hmmm. Hey, don't judge me until you have walked almost two kilometers in my shoes. It's 28 today, damn it's hot!


    * 1 gram is about the weight of a paperclip.
    * 1 kilogram is a little more than 2 pounds.
    * 1 liter is a little more than a quart.
    * 1 kilometer is a little more than half a mile.
    * 1 meter is a little more than a yard.
    * 1 centimeter is a little less than half an inch.
    * 1 millimeter is about the width of a pencil point.

Since we have decided to go with one unit of measurement, maybe we should consider going back to one language (English) on our packages. . .

Food by Weight

TRUE - Buying a dozen eggs in the UK could be a thing of the past, as a new European Union labeling law may soon kick in. The new rule from Brussels, decrees that you can no longer sell food by numbers.

Even promotional offers, such as eight chocolate bars for the price of six, might be banned by the legislation, according to trade magazine The Grocer.

For the first time, eggs and other products, such as bread rolls will be sold by weight instead of by the number contained. The new rules will mean that instead of the package listing it contains twelve eggs, it will show the weight in grams of the eggs inside, for example 672g.

Buns will show 400g inside instead of eight. The rules do not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed. Since rolls, eggs, and other items do not weigh exactly the same, each package must be individually weighed and individually labeled.

Needless to say, the food manufacturers, distributors, and consumers are violently opposed to the change. The politicians say it allows the consumers to make more informed choices.  Ah, more political wisdom in action. . .

Speaking of Weight

Girls, don't despair. Here is an ad from the 50s that should make you feel better.

Pets and Chocolate

Most folks know that chocolate is bad for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. Theobromine does not affect the human nervous system as much as caffeine, nor is it as addictive as caffeine, but theobromine addictive and believed to cause chocolate addiction. It is also believed to be responsible for chocolate’s notoriety as an aphrodisiac. Although theobromine increases heart rate in humans, it also dilates blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. In fact, it is superior to codeine at suppressing cough and can be helpful in relaxing muscles to alleviate symptoms of asthma.

Dogs, cats, rats and other species cannot digest it efficiently. This leads to a buildup known as theobromine poisoning. Incidentally, this can also happen to elderly people who consume large quantities of chocolate.

For animals, milk chocolate is not as dangerous as semisweet, and that is not as dangerous as cocoa powder.

There are other human foods that are not recommended and poisonous to pets, such as Alcohol, Avocado, Coffee, Fatty Foods, Onions, Raisins and grapes, Salt, Yeast dough, Garlic, and Artificial sweetener.

Jul 6, 2010

Bacon Camp

During June, a number of people from around the country descended into Ann Arbor, Michigan for Camp Bacon.

It started early Saturday morning as they sat down to breakfast under a big white tent. Their plates were piled high with hickory-smoked bacon from Edwards of Surry, Va.; long pepper bacon from Arkansas' Ham I Am; and applewood-smoked bacon from Nueske's in Wisconsin; plus bacon scones and a slice of bacon-apple coffee cake for good measure.

This event was more than a destination for porky excess. Camp Bacon was a one-day resort of cured and smoked pork. Many luminaries of the bacon world were there plus new rising stars from California to New York.

"It's a thinking person's bacon camp," said Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Ann Arbor's gourmet mecca Zingerman's, which hosted the event. "I want to get people off the 'I love bacon' thing: 'Give me any and give me more.' I want them to know the differences between them and how to use them." Camp Bacon was Weinzweig's attempt to re-channel bacon enthusiasm. I didn't know it needed to be re-channeled.

Oil Wells in the Gulf of Mexico

API says, "There are 3,559 platforms in the Gulf that have been operating safely for 30 years. An excellent safety record. From 1947 until now, spills in the Gulf represented 1/1000th of 1% of all the oil produced. That's multiple times better than natural seepage. Much better than nature."

These are some of the US agencies that cover oil and gas drilling and production:
Bureau of Land Management,
Department of Energy,
Department of Interior,
Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety,
Energy Information Administration,
Environmental Protection Agency,
Environmental Protection Agency - Oil Program,
Environmental Protection Agency - Region 8 (Utah, etc.),
EPA Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Site,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
Fossil Energy.Gov (DOE),
Minerals Management Service,
National Energy Policy Development Group (The White House),
National Petroleum Technology Office (DOE),
National Response Center,
Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Five Facts about Toilets

Interesting things you may not know.

Hermann Goering refused to use regulation toilet paper and used soft white handkerchiefs. (King Richard II invented the handkerchief.)

Over $100,000 dollars was spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind. Three out of four people have the flap in the front.

The Roman army used a water soaked sponge on the end of a stick instead of paper.

The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year.

King George II of Great Britain died falling off a toilet on the 25th of October 1760.

Internet TV and Hulu

I have written about this before. Seems like internet TV is inevitable. Now it looks closer than ever.

Last month, the same week Hulu announced a paid plan, news surfaced that it is talking with CBS, Viacom, and Time Warner TV divisions to add their shows. Free Hulu already includes “Fox, NBC Universal, ABC, ABC Family, Biography, Lionsgate, Endemol, MGM, MTV Networks, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, PBS, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. etc.

If paid Hulu (suggested $10 per month) works, the networks will have proof that they can circumvent cable and satellite companies and have the profit go directly in their pockets.

Bad news for the greedy cable companies. However, this will not happen overnight and the cable box is still easier for the uninitiated. I love competition.

Hmmm, think I found a new use for my old PC. You don't need a PC with much memory or fast speed, it all comes directly from the net. Just add a short cable from the PC to TV and all is well. An extra bonus is that you can do email or Facebook if a commercial shows up. As a bonus,YouTube looks great on a big screen.

Blueberry Muffins

A medium-sized blueberry muffin has more calories than a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin of the same size. Almost half of those calories are from fat, about a third of the fat of your suggested daily average. Switching to a bran muffin is just under the calorie count of a Sausage McMuffin.  Bottom line, sausage McMuffins still taste better.

Jul 2, 2010

Dollar Tree Flags

Had to add this one. Seems like the Dollar Tree stores in Dallas are offering a bonus this year. They are selling flags with 61 Stars, and they are crooked. If you are going for cheap decorations for the 4th, count the stars. Guess where they were manufactured.

Benefits of Cinnamon

My mother used to mix up cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on buttered toast for a tasty morning snack. She also used cinnamon in many cookies recipes. It has been used as a medicine by other cultures since ancient times (not that I lived in ancient times). Cinnamon is a tree and the spice we use is really the bark that is either rolled into sticks, called quills or ground up into a powder.

Here is a cinnamon tip, put a out bowl of water sprinkled with some cinnamon on top to make your kitchen smell like you just baked a batch of cookies.

There are many benefits of cinnamon, such as:

It lowers LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol if you use a half teaspoon a day.

Cinnamon contains an anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Mix with honey and spread on the aching joint.

It reduces blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and blood glucose control.

Cinnamon strengthens the cardiovascular system reducing potential heart disorders.

A study released by researchers at the US Department of Agriculture showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

It is a natural preservative and prevents bacterial growth and food spoilage.

Cinnamon has long been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath.

It is also a great home remedy for common colds, sore throat, and congestion if you take a tablespoon of honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days. It also helps clear your sinuses.

Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain, reduces nervous tension and studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, and increases your alertness and concentration.

It has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic properties. Sprinkle some on you door jam and the ants will hate you.

Cinnamon has been found useful for providing relief from menstrual cramping and other feminine discomforts.

It is good for your digestion, is a natural diuretic, and reduces gas.

A paste of honey and cinnamon can be used to reduce the sting of insect bites.

Mix it with some sugar and sprinkle on your toast or cereal. Add it straight to your coffee or tea, or just boil some cinnamon in water, then save it to gargle with.

There too many other benefits to list here, but you get the idea. It is good for you, it smells good, and tastes good. Think I'll go make some spiced rum and cinnamon.

Prunes and Plums

Do you remember when dried plums were called prunes? All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. Prune plum varieties have very high sugar contents that enable them to be dried without fermenting, while still containing the pits.

Research conducted in the US showed that the target audience, women ages 25 to 54, responded more favorably to the name dried plums. It is also more descriptive for people who didn’t know that prunes are plums that have been dried.  Outside the US, it is still called a prune. Regular people know the value of prunes.

A Brief History of The Dollar

The term 'dollar' has been around for thousands of years. Common history says it comes from the the Czech name Joachimsthaler. Thaler is a shortened form of the term. It was pronounced like 'taller'. Talers were around as recently as the 1960s in Hungary, Bohemia, and other German States.

Dalers were used in the Scandinavian countries from the 1500s until the 1920s.

The English pronunciation 'dollar' was also used for Spanish Pesos and Portuguese pieces of eight and a few other European currencies.

The US minted its first dollar in 1792. Currently, an average paper US dollar lasts 21 months before it wears out.

Canada officially changed to the (Canadian) dollar in 1853, but they were minted in Britain until 1908. Australia and New Zealand changed to the (Australian and New Zealand) dollars, from the Pound, in the 1960s. Many other countries use a dollar as the official currency, but not all dollars are US dollars and not all are tied to the US dollar for their value.

In January 2010, Zimbabwe issued a $100 trillion note, making the note the highest denomination in the world.

Britain officially changed to the decimal system and divided the pound into 100 pennies in 1971.  Now you know why dollars make sense. . . or cents. Speaking of cents, the Lincoln penny has been around for 101 years.

Heinz 57

H. J. Heinz wanted to advertise the great number of choices of canned and bottled foods it offered for sale. Although the company had more than 60 products in 1892, the number 57 was chosen because the numbers "5" and "7" held special significance to Heinz. The number "5" was Henry John Heinz's lucky number and the number "7" was his wife's lucky number. The company now has more than 6,000 products. Prepared horseradish was their first product.

Twenty Years of Inventions

During the years of 1870 to 1890, we had the invention of electric light, alternating current, the telephone, automobile, steam turbine, gas turbine, water heater, transformer, arc welding, phonograph, seismograph, development of vaccination and surgical techniques; Boltzmann’s development of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; production of radio waves; the birth of the environmental conservation movement; and artworks by Rodin, Monet, Brahms, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Eliot, Chekhov and Twain. All of this came a hundred years after the beginning of the industrial revolution.