Jul 29, 2011

Happy Friday

Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.

I am happy to have the expectation and talent to have a Happy Friday!


Interesting that the United States Space Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was authorized by Congress this day in 1958 and we now witness the end of the NASA Space Program. NASA is cutting its workforce for the program from 6,700 to 1,000, who will prep the shuttles for shipment to museums. Many inventions and discoveries that touch us everyday came as byproducts from that program. NASA holds 6,300 patents.

A few of the things from NASA that you may know, such as invisible braces, scratch-resistant lenses. memory foam (like tempurpedic beds), infrared ear thermometer, athletic shoe cool insoles, long distance communications via satellite, adjustable smoke detector, lightweight cordless tools (with Black & Decker), water filters, thermal gloves and boots, LED lights, heart pump, artificial limbs, aircraft anti-icing system, enriched baby food (in over 90%), freeze drying. There are hundreds more.

Gaudy or Gaudi

Some people might think Antoni Gaudi's name spawned the word Gaudy (or gawdy) because of his outlandish architecture. The word Gaudy means ostentatious or tastelessly ornamental.

Gaudi's architechture is the epitome of Gaudy. It is coincidence that his name is so close to the adjective as gaudy had been in use for a few hundred years before he was born. His Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church that began construction in 1882 and is scheduled for completion in 2026 (not a typo).

Some of Gaudi's creations, including the church can be found here LINK.

Testicle Festival

Speaking of gaudy, this festival runs from August 3 - 7 at the Rock Creek Lodge, Montana. Obviously for adults only, it is also known as the “Testy Festy” or the “Breasticle Festival,” this four-day drunken jamboree is filled with wet t-shirt contests, pig wrestling, stripping, mooning, bull riding, and fried bull testicle consumption.

Rocky Mountain Oysters, or bull testicles are considered delicious by a select group of fine diners. In a showcase of masculine virility, There is even a bull testicle eating contest. Matt Powers took the title after consuming over 40 bull testicles in four minutes. Mentioned in Playboy as one of the top things to do in the summer, they advertise "come out and have a ball!”

Meat Labeling

Food manufacturers are now pushing the federal government for more truthful labeling that would allow them to tell consumers clearly that some products contain nitrate and nitrite, from natural rather than synthetic sources. The current rules require products that derive the preservatives from natural sources to prominently place the words “Uncured” and “No nitrates or nitrites added” on the label even though they are cured and do contain the chemicals.

A study published earlier this year in The Journal of Food Protection found that natural hot dogs had anywhere from one-half to ten times the amount of nitrite that conventional hot dogs contained. Natural bacon had from about a third as much nitrite as a conventional brand to more than twice as much.

The current U.S.D.A. labeling rules require natural products to indicate there may be naturally occurring nitrate or nitrite, but it often appears in small print. When combined with the more prominently displayed “No nitrates or nitrites added” banner, many consumers are left scratching their heads.

The U.S.D.A. responded by limiting the amount of nitrate and nitrite that goes into processed meats, and today they contain far less than they did 40 years ago.

However, scientists have gained more understanding of the role of nitrate and nitrite in human health and have discovered the preservatives also have benefits, for example, in the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Some in the meat industry have seized on these discoveries to dismiss as outdated, the link between nitrite in processed meat and cancer. They insist processed meats are safe. Sounds good to me, bacon and hot dogs need more nitrates and nitrites, like the good ol' days.

Arnold Palmer

During 1968, Arnold Palmer became the first golfer to make a million dollars in career earnings after he tied for second place at the PGA Championship.

It took Palmer 13 years and 2 months as a professional golfer to reach that goal. He won 52 golf tournaments during that time.

Tiger Wood's Woods

Speaking of golf, during July 2000, Tiger Woods won the British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland to become the youngest player, at  24, to win the career Grand Slam of golf (The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open) and the first to win all four majors since Jack Nicklaus’ victory in the 1966.

Jul 26, 2011

What's in a Name, Automobiles

Buick racing driver Louis Chevrolet started the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. When William C. Durant became the president of General Motors in 1916, he shortly bought Chevrolet and folded it in the the General Motors lineup. So Chevrolet was conceived by a Buick Motor Company (Originally the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company) racing driver, who just happened to be named Chevrolet. Buick is the oldest active American make of car and was named after its founder, David Dunbar Buick.

Eleven Bacon Facts

Americans consume an average of 18 pounds of bacon per year.
BLT became popular after WWII when lettuce and tomatoes became available in stores all year.
Oscar Mayer patented packages sliced bacon in 1924.
Over $2 billion of packaged,sliced bacon is consumed each year. 
Guanciale is an Italian specialty bacon made from pigs cheeks.
A single serving of bacon is considered three medium slices and it has only 100 calories.
90.4% of the Brits have bacon in their homes.
In USA bacon is eaten 70% breakfast, 11% lunch, 17% dinner, and 2% snack.
A side of unsliced bacon was once known as a flitch, but now is known as a slab.
An individual slice of bacon is a slice or strip.
The term rasher of bacon is occasionally found on restaurant menus and means a serving, typically several slices.

Wrist Watches

Blaise Pascal was born June 19, 1623, in Clermont-Ferrand, France.  He was a mathematical prodigy, and at age 16, he wrote a treatise on geometry that was so original it aroused the interest of the philosopher and mathematical genius, Rene Descartes.  At age 18, he invented a numerical calculating machine, which became part of the the foundation for modern computer technology. He was also the first person to wear a watch on his wrist and did so by fastening his pocket watch to his wrist with a cord. He died at age 39.

Time keeping of the day being divided into two twelve hour periods dates back to about 2,000AD and the Egyptians. Geared clocks came about in the 11th century. The modern wristwatch was invented by Patek Philippe, in 1868, but only as a lady’s bracelet watch. Louis Cartier created the Santos wristwatch in 1904, the first man's wristwatch and the first designed for practical use. Wow, three hundred years from idea to practical use. Computers even took longer, but they have evolved much faster. The internet evolved faster than all of them and that is where I found this info to share.

TV Horror Hosts

Most of us probably remember the great Saturday night hosts of those awful mostly black and white horror films. This site lists what it considers the top ten from around the country. LINK One of my favorites was not listed. He was the ghoul from Ohio. One of his bits was to eat cheeze whiz with his fingers, directly from the bottle. One of his sayings I remember is, 'Scratch glass and turn blue'. Have no idea what that means. Anyway, go see the link, and yes it does have Vampira and Elvira.

Jul 22, 2011

Happy Friday

A man cannot succeed in life who does not satisfy one friend.

join me my friend, while we celebrate a successful Happy Friday!

Bologna Festival

This year it will be held next week, July 29-31 in Yale, Michigan and twenty thousand people are expected to join the fun. Yale bologna is said to be some of the best in the world. It is bit more course and strongly seasoned than Oscar Mayer slices. This bologna has been rumored to help people live to be 120 years old and I will let you know when I reach it. Every year, well over a thousand pounds of bologna are served either fried in sandwiches, stuck between a bun as a hot dog or placed on a stick for quick consumption. Bologna is  also great barbecued.

The Bologna Queen crown is quite prestigious in Yale. Contestants must declare their intention to run up to six weeks in advance and be willing to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity. The lucky lady who captures this title receives a crown of ring bologna and a King for her arm. Of course, there is also the outhouse race where people build interesting 'houses' on wheels to push around town as fast as they can. They must include a Sears catalog and somebody riding inside. Mmmm, wish I was there, ring bologna is one of my favorites. Yes, bologna is the proper spelling even though most pronounce it baloney.

Wonders of Living Trees

This site LINK contains a fantastic collection of tree photographs and what people with a great deal of patience make from living trees. Fascinating views of living architecture. It also has links to many other sites of nature's grandeur. Be careful or you can lose hours viewing the natural beauty.

Cell Phones and Driving Bans

It's legal in 41 states for drivers to use hand-held cell phones, and a leading highway safety organization recommends keeping it that way for now. Nine states have bans in place.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, or GHSA, urges states to hold off on banning the practice until more research is done to gauge the effectiveness of such laws. "The problem is the research is conflicting on the issue," says Barbara Harsha, executive director of the group, which advises states on traffic safety. "We don't know if hand-held bans are effective, and we don't know if they actually make the problem worse."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said last year it found no reduction in crashes after hand-held cellphones were banned in California, Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C.

At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that tracks road deaths, "we feel strongly there is robust evidence on the dangers of distracted driving," says Lynda Tran, NHTSA's director of communications. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has made curbing distracted driving a signature issue.

Texting while driving is illegal in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Twelve states banned it in 2009, another 11 did so last year, and two have this year.

No states ban all cellphone use by all drivers.

What's in a Name, Hollywood

The name Hollywood, California is derived from the small, bright red, holly-like pomes of California holly, a common native shrub in the hills where the city was established. California holly is not related to true holly, a member of the holly family.

The fruits of California holly are about the size of a pencil erasure. They resemble miniature apples. Like true apples, the freshly-cut fruit readily becomes oxidized and turns yellowish-brown in the air. Yes, they are edible.

I Like You

Fifteen things to ponder.
1. At least 5 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
5. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. If not for you, someone may not be living.
8. You are special and unique.
9. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.
10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.
13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.
15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Jul 19, 2011

Bacon Guitar

Here is something you don't see every day. Sounds OK, but would smell better if it was cooked.
For those who might be interested, here is a LINK that shows how you can make your own, along with a song from the author, "Bacon Loves Blues." Am sure you can play some crispy sounds on this instrument.

Google What Do You Love

Here is another Google feature that is fun. It is called What Do You Love, or WDYL. Looks like a Google search page, but shows results in categories. It has latest news, books, start a discussion group, pictures, dates for events, blogs, 3D, translation, maps, patents, and more. You can enter a name, word, topic, such as bacon, or anything you can search for in Google. Just another fun way to find out about those things you love.  LINK

Six Mosquito Bite Fixes

Here are a few things that will take the sting out of mosquito bites. Just rub on and the sting will go away. White vinegar, toothpaste, lemon juice, ice, Garlic, aloe. All work about the same, but some smell better than others.


Here is a fun site that teaches science by way of magic tricks. LINK  The site is a brainchild of Peter McOwan and Matt Parker from Queen Mary, University of London. It just hit the web this month and the purpose is to help teachers and students to better understand science by making fun tricks using scientific principles. It also shows some common magic tricks and explains how they work. The site has downloadable explanations, videos, and more, including Penn and Teller's world's most expensive card trick. Great for children, grandchildren, teachers, and the curious child in all of us.

Jul 15, 2011

Happy Friday

Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you die, live.

I think I have earned the right to live for a Happy Friday!

St. Swithin's Day

Happy St. Swithin's (or Swithun's) Day, July 15. Legend says that if it rains today, it will rain for the next forty days. If it is dry, it will be dry for the next forty days.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, quinces, raspberries, and strawberries, wild or cultivated, are all relatives of roses.

Typically, they have showy flowers with five equal petals arranged around a central cup bearing one or more fruit-forming pistils and a large number of pollen-bearing stamens. Their leaves are placed alternately on the twigs or stalks. Some of them simple leaves and some of them compound leaves divided into three, five or more leaflets like the rose itself. Some are trees, some are shrubs, and some are vining herbs.
All are roses and all taste good and are good for us.

Older is Better

A new poll looking at American attitudes, health, and behavior concludes that people over age 65 consistently have a higher degree of well being than any other age group.

The findings are based on more than 1 million surveys done since 2008. Healthways works with health care professionals to help people thrive and to allow officials to track health and wellness by congressional districts.

Multiple behaviors, from smiling and laughing to having access to learn new things, eating well, and getting plenty of exercise  Even when aches and pains set in and health begins to decline, the older group also is less sad and depressed than any other group, according to the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing index.

If younger people don't adopt healthier ways, they are not likely to do as well as these seniors. Those at the bottom end of the well being scale are those aged 45 to 64.

What is a Donkra

It is the offspring of a female zebra and a male donkey. The one shown was recently born in China and is doing well.

It's in the Bag

Margaret Knight fought a sexist employee to claim her rightful title as the inventor of the flat-bottomed paper bag in 1858. She was working in paper bag factory when she noticed how difficult it was to pack things into the flimsy, shapeless sacks. So, she decided to invent a machine that folded and glued paper to make a flat-bottomed bag.

Knight spent many late nights drawing up plans before creating a wooden prototype. She couldn't, however, obtain a patent until she made one out of iron.

While it was being produced at machine shop, an employee named Charles Annan copied her idea and got a patent for it. Knight sued Annan for copyright infringement. Annan argued that, because she was a woman, she couldn't have been the true inventor.  However, Knight's sketches and detailed plans helped her win the case. She ended up establishing her own paper bag company and received large royalties for her invention.

Yakety Yak

During this week in 1958 Yakety Yak, by the Coasters hit number one and was the first stereo song son to do so. Don't talk back.

Jul 13, 2011

Ponzi Scheme

Most of us heard of Ponzi schemes and there is an interesting story of how the name began.

Charles Ponzi was an Italian immigrant to the US in 1903. He was a con man and was in trouble with the law many times for his cons. His greatest scam, and the one that begat the name 'Ponzi scheme' is the scam he created with international reply coupons. At the time, it was common for letters abroad to include an international reply coupon (a voucher that could be exchanged for minimum postage back to the country from which the letter was sent). If you sent a letter to a friend in Italy, you could include a coupon so he could respond. This is the equivalent of a self addressed stamped envelope.

As exchange and postal rates fluctuated, there was an opportunity to make a profit. You could purchase postal reply coupons cheaply in some foreign country, send them back to the U.S. to swap them out for American stamps of a higher value, then sell the stamps, and it was legal. Ponzi started buying and selling postal reply coupons using agents from his native Italy, and he began making a comfortable living doing it. Then he became greedy.

He started to recruit investors into his system with the promise of 50% returns in just a few days. Investors would pay their cash in and Ponzi would get them the promised return. Everyone was happy with the results, and word started to spread about this Italian financial wizard. Within two years, he had employees all over the country recruiting new takers for his 'investment strategy'.

Ponzi was pocketing millions. At his peak, was taking in $250,000 a day. Many investors wanted to reinvest, so he didn't even have to continue to pay them the profits.

Eventually, in 1920, the Wall Street Journal ran an article debunking the scam. This was followed by a book written by a PR man Ponzi hired, but who also discovered the scam. Eventually the government came down on him for using the mail system to perpetuate his con. He pleaded guilty, spent a few years in jail, followed by another few years from another scam, and was eventually deported back to Italy. He died in 1949 in Rio de Janeiro, where he is buried in a pauper’s grave.

What's in a Name, Ballpeen

Did you ever wonder how a ballpeen hammer got its name? A peen is the opposite side of a hammer's striking side. So a ballpeen is the ball on the peen side.

Laughing Cures

Laughing helps get blood flowing round the body.

A good old belly laugh can help heal leg ulcers, according to experts. The Leeds University team said good nursing and the occasional laugh was a better way to get the body healing than using the latest technology.

Hospitals and health clinics are increasingly using low-dose ultrasound for leg ulcers, but the five-year study of 337 patients found it did nothing to speed up recovery, the British Medical Journal reported.

Instead, lead researcher Professor Andrea Nelson said, "They key to care with this group of patients is to stimulate blood flow back up the legs to the heart. The best way to do that is with compression bandages and support stocking coupled with advice on diet and exercise. Believe it or not, having a really hearty chuckle can help too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body."

During the study, the team concentrated on patients with hard-to-heal ulcers that had not cleared up after six months or longer. They found that adding ultrasound to the standard approach to care - dressings and compression therapy - made no difference to the speed of healing or the chance of ulcers coming back. And that's no laughing matter.

Death Valley

In July 1913, the highest temperature ever recorded in the continental United States was 134 degrees which melted thermometers that day in Death Valley, California. I thought it was cooler before global warming started.

Jul 8, 2011

Happy Friday

Your attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards you.

My attitude makes me determined to have a Happy Friday!

Spit Your Age

Dr. Eric Vilain, a professor of human genetics, pediatrics and urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "With just a saliva sample, we can accurately predict a person's age without knowing anything else about them." Vilain and his colleagues looked at a process called methylation – a chemical modification of one of the four building blocks that make up our DNA.

"While genes partly shape how our body ages, environmental influences also can change our DNA as we age," explained Vilain. "Methylation patterns shift as we grow older and contribute to aging-related disease."

Using saliva samples contributed by 34 pairs of identical male twins ages 21 to 55, UCLA researchers scoured the genomes and identified 88 sites on the DNA that strongly correlated methylation to age. They replicated their findings in a general population of 31 men and 29 women aged 18 to 70.

Next, the scientists built a predictive model using two of the three genes with the strongest age-related linkage to methylation. When they plugged in the data from the twins' and the other group's saliva samples, they were able to correctly predict a person's age within five years – an unprecedented level of accuracy. "Methylation's relationship with age is so strong that we can identify how old someone is by examining just two of the 3 billion building blocks that make up our genome," said first author Sven Bocklandt.

Richard Branson

Britain's Sir Richard Branson is a self-made billionaire businessman. He founded Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, and most recently, a space tourism company to provide suborbital trips into space for anyone who can afford them. Branson has dyslexia and was a poor student, so he quit school at age 16 and moved to London, where he began his first successful entrepreneurial activity, publishing Student magazine. Not bad for a high school dropout.


 The primary flavoring ingredients in a cola drink are sugar, citrus oils (from oranges, limes, or lemon fruit peel), tamarind, cinnamon, vanilla and an acidic flavorant. Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace ingredients to create distinctively different tastes for each brand. Trace flavorings may include nutmeg and a wide variety of ingredients, including vanilla and cinnamon. Acidity is often provided by phosphoric acid, citric acid or other isolated acids. Coke also uses a cocaine-free coca leaf extract

Coca-Cola's original two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola (the "K" in Kola was replaced with a "C" for marketing purposes.

Kola nuts come from Kola trees grown in Africa.

Actress Shoe Sizes

Here is some completely useless, but maybe interesting information about what size shoes some actresses wear.
Tila Tequila- Singer- size 5 1/2
Jennifer Aniston- Actress- size 6
Kathie Lee Gifford- Talk Show Host- size 6
Britney Spears- Singer- size 6 1/2
Shania Twain- Singer- size 6 1/2
Heather Locklear- Actress- size 7
Paula Abdul- American Idol Judge- size 7 1/2
Pamela Anderson- Actress- size 8
Jennifer Lopez- Singer, Actress- size 8 1/2
Julia Roberts- Actress- size 9
Sandra Bullock- Actress- size 9
Cindy Crawford- Model- size 9
Barbra Walters- Talk Show Host- size 9
Jennifer Garner- Actress- size 9 1/2
Anna Kournikova- Tennis Player- size 9 1/2
Tyra Banks- Model, Talk Show Host- size 10
Mariah Carey- Singer- size 10
Angelina Jolie- Actress- size 10
Whoopi Goldberg- Talk Show Host- size 11
Paris Hilton- Heiress- size 11
That's about the size of it. Interesting that Paris Hilton and Whoopi Goldberg wear the same size.

What's in a Name Swastika

The swastika symbol has been around for thousands of years. early meaning from the word is translated as 'good to be' or 'well being'. It has long been popular in Eastern cultures and was a common decoration that often adorned postcards, coins, and buildings. During World War I, the swastika was found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division. American and Canadian Indians also used the symbol with various positive meanings.

Germany began using it during the 1800s because it had ancient Aryan/Indian origins, to represent a long Germanic/Aryan history (before Hitler). It is now outlawed in Germany.

In 1920, Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. The new flag had to be "a symbol of our own struggle" as well as "highly effective as a poster," from Mein Kampf. The symbol was turned on a 45 degree angle and took on a new meaning equated with hate, death, and murder. It became popularly used in his 1935 flag.

Budhists and Hindus continue to use it as a religious symbol. Since the Nazi use of the swastika, many are trying to differentiate the two meanings of the swastika by varying its direction, with the clockwise Nazi version to mean hate and death, and the counter-clockwise version to keep the ancient meaning of life and good-luck. Either way it will continue to evoke strong emotions.


On this day in 1881, it was born in Edward Berner’s drug store. The owner put ice cream in a dish and poured the syrup on top (chocolate syrup was only used for making flavored and ice-cream sodas, which could not be purchased on Sunday at the time). Because it was Sunday, he called it an ice cream Sunday. The spelling was later changed to sundae.

Jul 5, 2011

How to Change Time

The government is about to begin year-long experiments that may literally change time, at least the time on your microwave or coffee pot. It may begin as early as this month.

The time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government, and the group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment which would allow more frequency variation in electricity than it does now. The purpose is to find ways to make the grid more cost effective.

Some clocks keep time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. If the current varies, clocks run fast or slow. Power companies monitor and correct the frequency to keep it constant.

Obviously, computers, TVs with cable, and other devices that are not plugged or get the time signal from another source in will not be affected.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. which runs the nation's interlocking web of transmission lines and power plants says East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, with other parts of the country having less of an effect. It is also possible that the effects will be negligible. The good news is that it is set to happen before the election, so if your fuses start popping, you can correct it in the voting booth. As Kermit says, "Time's fun when you are having flies."

Beverly Hills Bacon

In an exclusive upscale Beverly Hills hotel bar called simply
£10. Here is the table setting. Notice the center of the table with the bacon in the glass along with the other bar munchies. A bit of class in the glass.

Burning Calories

On average, 42% of an adult man’s body mass is made up of skeletal muscle.  For women, that number drops to 36% on average. Contrary to popular myth, skeletal muscles consume about 6 calories per pound per day, not 50.  So, if you weigh approximately 180 pounds and are a man, your skeletal muscles will burn around 454 calories per day when you just sit around all day.

Fat cells will burn about 2 calories per pound per day.  How much of your body mass is made up of fat cells varies greatly from person to person, but you can use a body fat test to get that number and then calculate how many calories your fat cells burn per day. Average male is 18% - 25%, female is 25% - 31%. Wow, another 64 burned calories for sitting around.

Bone cells burn about 1 calorie per pound.  If you are a man, on average about 15% of your body mass is made up of bone (another 27 calories for just sitting around).  For women, that number is around 12%. Sit back, relax, burn some calories.

Jul 1, 2011

Happy Friday

Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.

No doubts, wisdom says I am going to have a Happy Friday!


It happened on this day in 1862. It started with the the high cost of the the US at war with itself. To help pay for the Civil War, Congress established the Bureau of Internal Revenue. President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law, for the  feds to collect a three percent tax on incomes ranging from $600 to $10,000, and five percent on incomes over $10,000. It was passed as a temporary law.

The Bureau became the Internal Revenue Service in 1913 when the 16th amendment was added to the Constitution permitting the Government to collect a tax on income. How ironic that a few days before we celebrate our independence, they took away our independence from taxes.

Three Flag Facts for the Fourth of July

The historic photo and film footage of the American flag being raised at Iwo Jima actually shows the second flag erected on the Japanese island. The U.S. had suffered more than 4,500 casualties during its 1,000 yard advance to capture Mt. Suribachi. Lt. Col. Chandler Johnson ordered a patrol up the mountain and handed Lt. George Schrier a 54” x 26” flag, saying “If you get to the top, put it up.” Schrier’s 40-man patrol snaked its way up to the mountain’s summit and propped up Old Glory with an abandoned piece of drain pipe and some rocks.

Sensing a historic moment, the colonel sent an assistant to fetch a larger (96″ x 54″) flag that had flown on one of the ships bombed at Pearl Harbor. Johnson handed it to Pfc. Rene Gagnon and ordered him to replace the original, smaller flag, “So every son of a bitch on this whole cruddy island can see it.” Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the second flag being raised.

2 - The flag patch on the right sleeves of some U.S. military uniforms may appear to be backwards, as do the decals on the right side of U.S. aircraft and other vehicles. There’s a perfectly legitimate reason for this, of course: flag protocol dictates that the Stars and Stripes should always be displayed as if the flag was flying in a breeze. This practice dates back to the earliest days of the U.S. Army, when one soldier was designated as the “standard bearer.” As the standard bearer marched forward into battle, the flag would naturally unfurl behind him, away from the staff. The canton, or the area with the stars, should always be depicted facing forward.

3 - The Parade of Nations, now a traditional part of the Olympic opening ceremonies, was first added to the program at the 1908 Games in London. As the teams passed the Royal Box, each nation’s flag-bearer was expected to dip his nation’s banner to King Edward VII. Ralph Rose, who was carrying the U.S. flag, refused to do so. As a proud Irish-American, Rose had no particular affection for the British anyway, but when questioned about keeping his nation’s flag vertical, his reply was simple: ”This flag dips for no earthly king.” The U.S. flag bearers at the 1912, 1924 and 1932 Games weren’t so staunch in their patriotism, and lowered Old Glory when passing the head of state, even though the “no dip” rule was part of the official Flag Code adopted in 1923. The United States was the only nation to not dip its flag while passing Adolf Hitler in the stands during the Parade of Nations at the 1936 Games in Berlin, and the tradition has remained steadfast since then.

Six Grades of Beef

This might be handy for holiday grillers. Let's start with the Angus beef. Angus is not a quality grade. In fact Angus cattle are the most commonly used cattle in the US. Contrary to the advertising hype, buying Angus means that you are buying the most common type of beef available. It is like advertising, 'Made from real cows'. "Certified Angus Beef' is another designation that comes from the American Angus Association and is not a USDA designation.

It must be proven to have 51% Angus origin in order for a cow or bull to be called Angus. So the bottom line is that meat coming from an animal that is at least 51% the most common in the US can be called Angus. Wow, that is worth the price increase. Caveat Emptor and happy grilling.

Quality Grades:
  • Prime grade - is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking (i.e., roasting, broiling, and grilling).
  • Choice grade - is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and like Prime, suited to dry-heat cooking. . . .
  • Select grade - is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.
  • Commercial, Utility, and Cutter - These are store grade, with cutter used for hot dogs, filler, etc.

Bacon Potato Pie

Now McDonald's Japan is serving bacon potato pie, made with mashed potatoes mixed with bacon and deep fried. Why not serve that here?