Dec 30, 2011

Happy New Year

We made it through another one. This coming year should be fun for the politicians and election junkies. Don't forget to pick up 'Unelectum All' before voting. It has some great info to help you with your choice.

Happy Friday

Every man has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

I know you see that I think I have a need for a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Craneberry

That is the original name for the cranberry. It was first named by early European settlers in America who felt the expanding flower, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, especially for meat, wound medicine, and dye.

Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Most notably, cranberry products have been used in the hope of preventing or treating urinary tract infections. The berries are also used as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, capsules, and tablets. Raw cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber and the essential dietary mineral, manganese, as well as a balanced profile of other essential micronutrients.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and some European winter festivals.

In the 1820s cranberries were shipped to Europe and became popular for wild harvesting in the Nordic countries and Russia.

Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, with over half of US production. About 95% of cranberries are processed into products such as juice drinks, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining 5% are sold fresh to consumers.


This is the name for the lights you see when you close your eyes and press your hands to them. It is kind of like your own personal Christmas lights.


This is a word that has been around since the late 1800s, but is not used much these days, except for many small businesses which use it in their name. It means smart, elegant, or fashionable, such as posh clothes. It also means upper-class or genteel. It is also an herb.

A common reference is that back when ocean liners were the only way to cross the Atlantic, the preferred staterooms were those that faced “port out and starboard home.” As the ship crossed the North Atlantic, sunlight came into the room from the direction of the equator to the south. In a “posh” room you were on the port side (left) on the way south and east, and the starboard side (right) on the way home. Although this explanation is completely wrong, it makes for a good story.

Google+ is Growing

Google+ growth is accelerating. It has now gone past 62 million users and is adding about 625,000 new users per day. It is predicted to hit 400 million users by end of 2012.

Facebook needs to be concerned. Google+ is easier to use and groups can be separated so you do not need to have all posts seen by all friends. It is also easier to add links, pictures, etc. It also hosts live chats, so if you are planning an event, everyone can be online and conversing at the same time. Kind of like a free 'go-to-meeting'.

Dec 28, 2011

Cheeta the Chimp

Old timers who remember Tarzan from the movies will surely remember Cheeta the chimpanzee, who starred in the Tarzan films in the early 1930s. Cheeta died of kidney failure on Christmas Eve, according to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbour, Florida where he lived. At 80, he was the oldest non-human primate alive, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He outlived both Johnny Weissmuller, the actor who played Tarzan and owned him, and Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane.

Dec 27, 2011


It is probably prophetic that Nostradamus was born in December, because that is the month all the pundits come out withe their predictions for the coming year. Michel de Notredame was and is famous for his predictions, even though many change with the reader. He was born 1503 in St. Remy, France. He is the author of ten books of prophecies, titled Centuries that many still believe foretell the future. He was also a physician, astrologer and, clairvoyant.

His famous astrological predictions were written in rhyming quatrains (four-line poems) that many believe predicted the Great London Fire in 1666, Spain’s Civil War, a Hitler who would lead Germany into war, and predicted his own death on July 2, 1566.

He wrote in code, because in those days, if he was found out, he would have been considered a sorcerer and probably burned at the stake. He used symbolism, metaphors, and added and deleted letters to make his writings even more obscure. Most were written in French and some in Italian, Greek, and Latin. Since we do not know his exact code, or which calendar he was using, we are challenged with making events fit into the 942 quatrains, or vice versa.


I am surprised Nostradamus did not foresee the Louisiana Purchase. The United States took possession of the Louisiana Territories from France in December 1803, just before Christmas. The treaty that France drew up, sold the territory to the United States for $15 million.

The Louisiana Purchase effectively doubled the size of the existing U.S. It was 827,987 square miles, at about $18 per square mile.

The area was later made into 15 states, created or *partially created from the Louisiana Purchase: Arkansas, *Colorado, Iowa, *Kansas, Louisiana, *Minnesota, Missouri, *Montana, Nebraska, *New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, *Texas and *Wyoming.

How Much is a Trillion

The government throws around numbers that are difficult to comprehend. Here is a way to understand a trillion - If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion.

Scooter Bag

Had to throw this one in for travelers. It is a scooter built into a suitcase. Truly for the traveler on the go.

The case's back is made from durable ABS while the zippered front is made from sturdy nylon. Its generous interior provides 1' cu. of space; its 15" L x 11" padded laptop compartment has three storage slots for documents and zips to close off the spacious interior for storing work shoes, a lunch, or purse. Cool stuff.

Government Salarymen

For those who care, this is a list of the top 1,000 highest paid civil service government employees, by salary, with names. The most often seen title is medical officer. No, elected officials are not included.   LINK

Dec 23, 2011

Happy Friday

In order to make our dreams come true, we must wake up.

I woke up this morning to fulfill my dream of having a Happy Friday!

Old Saint Nicholas

On this day in 1823 in the Troy NY Sentinel published the poem we know as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore. It was published anonymously under the newspaper editor’s title, Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. Moore wrote it a year earlier and read it to his children, who saved it.

He was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature and never sought to do any more than read the story to his children that one time. Clement referred to the poem "a mere trifle." Some have questioned whether he was the author, but proof of another writer has been elusive.

It is known that Donner and Blitzen were originally from ''Dunder'' and ''Blixem'' Dutch for thunder and lightning. Rudolph didn't come along until 1939, but that's another story on my blog from December 17, 2010.

Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmas visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the world. He was the first to describe eight tiny reindeer. Oh, and it ended with 'Happy Christmas to all'.

Alfred Nobel

We all know about the various Nobel Prizes, but many do not know how they came about.  Each year on the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the prizes bearing his name are awarded “to those persons who shall have contributed most materially to the benefit of mankind during the year immediately preceding.”

Alfred Bernhard Nobel died in December 1896 and the first of the Nobel Prizes was presented in 1901 according to instructions in his will. Nobel chose this method to ease his conscience after inventing the deadly explosive, dynamite.

Predictions From the Past

This is the time of year when the predictors pontificate about the future. The Ladies Home Journal from December 1900 contained an article, “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.” Here are a few of the surprisingly accurate predictions from a hundred years ago:

There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. (309 million as of 2009) Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next.

The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present.

There Will Be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits. In most cities it will be confined to broad subways or tunnels, well lighted and well ventilated, or to high trestles with “moving-sidewalk” stairways leading to the top.

Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour. Cars will, like houses, be artificially cooled. Along the railroads there will be no smoke, no cinders, because coal will neither be carried nor burned. There will be no stops for water.

Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. 

There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic. They will be maintained as deadly war-vessels by all military nations. Some will transport men and goods. Others will be used by scientists making observations at great heights above the earth.

Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.

Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theater box.

Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished.

Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today.

Microscopes will lay bare the vital organs, through the living flesh, of men and animals. The living body will to all medical purposes be transparent. This work will be done with rays of invisible light.

Fast electric ships, crossing the ocean at more than a mile a minute, will go from New York to Liverpool in two days.

What's in a Name, Crepuscular Rays

These are the rays of sunlight coming from a certain point in the sky. Also known as “God's rays.” I just call them awesome.

Dec 20, 2011

Moving Water

Have you ever noticed the water in your toilet moves on windy days? In many homes in the US, part of the plumbing system is a pipe that runs up and out to the roof. This outlet, called a “vent stack,” allows sewage gases to vent outside instead of through the toilet, sink or tub, which would make the house reek. The stack also allows air to move through the pipes, which makes waste-water drain smoothly and keeps gurgling to a minimum.

When the wind blows over the vent stack outlet on the roof, the air pressure in the pipe is lowered. This is Bernoulli’s principle in action, in your bathroom. The lowered pressure in the pipes creates a slight suction effect throughout the plumbing system, pulling on water in the toilet below. As the wind kicks up and dies down, the suction gets stronger and weaker, and the water in the bowl sloshes around accordingly.

Bacon Candy Canes

Just in time to make your season jolly. Mmmm, tis the season.

Flying Building Robots

This is amazing. Flying robots build a 19.7 foot structure.

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. The exhibition has been developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea, to inspire new methods of thinking about architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation."

The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously at a rate of 370 frames per second with millimeter accuracy. This "Flying Machine Arena" was developed by D'Andrea, and features a state-of-the-art motion capture system.

Each quadrocopter is fitted with custom electronics and on-board sensors to allow for precision vehicle control, whilst also providing the opportunity for pre-programmed flight paths, which could include arcs and spirals. Furthermore, the fleet management technology helps avoid collisions by taking over when the flying robots get too close to each other. The same technology is also used for automating routine take-offs, landings and vehicle calibration and charging.

The Flight Assembled Architecture exhibition will be on display at the FRAC Centre from December 2 through to February 19, 2012.

More Uses for Peanut Butter

A label that can be removed easily without leaving any glue behind has yet to be invented. Fortunately, we have peanut butter. Rub some of the tasty spread on the label glue and rub with a cloth.

To help eradicate the smell of fried fish, take a tablespoon of peanut butter after you have finished frying and drop it in the frying pan and fry it off for a minute or two. The smell of peanut butter is the house is much more enjoyable than stale fish and oil.

Peanut butter is a perfect gum remover. It can remove gum from kids hair and it will remove gum from carpet and any other object that is tainted with the chewy stuff. Rub some peanut butter into the gum and you can wipe the whole mess off with a cloth.

Dec 16, 2011

Happy Friday

When our pleasures have exhausted us, we think we have exhausted pleasure.

I am never too exhausted to enjoy another Happy Friday!


Here is a web site that shows obituaries for the whole country. LINK  You can look up hundreds of newspapers from the US and abroad. You can look up by time period. You can even set up a reminder for the name you are searching, so that when a person dies, you can receive a notice. It has funeral home locators, and many more features. This sounds a bit morbid, but I know some folks are interested in relatives that live far away and may not have any other way of finding out.

One featured item was that Alan Sues, from the 1960s "Laugh In" show, passed away last week at age 85.

Before I write about stuff, I usually like to try it, so I did. Here is the answer that came back from my search, "We're sorry, there are no obituary search results for 'shubnell'." Don't know why they were sorry, I was delighted.

French Fries

They are the most eaten vegetable in the U.S.  The Potato Council in the U.K. has put forth a petition to Downing Street to re-classify it as a “supercarb,” a new food group that, according to the council’s website, would help highlight “how much goodness potatoes contain.” French fries cooked in bacon fat contain even more goodness.

What's in a Name, Togas and Tunics

Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer's social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.


There are only a few companies today that still make chewing gum from natural chicle and other natural gums. Today, most chewing gums are derived from man-made materials that provide highly consistent chewing quality. Chicle continues to be the common word for chewing gum in Spanish. And, of course Chiclets gum, which is named after chicle.

Chiclets is another old-time classic gum brand that has been available for generations and can still be enjoyed today in its original form and flavor. Frank H. Fleer based his product idea on a confection that was popular around the turn of the 20th Century, candy coated almonds.

Peppermint Chiclets were introduced in 1906 and are the original candy coated chewing gum.  Over the years, Chiclets have been made in many different flavors and colors. In 1929 when a box of ten Chiclets cost a nickel, a billboards and print advertising called the product "Peppermint gum iced with candy."

In 1899 the leading gum manufacturers organized themselves into a conglomerate called the American Chicle Company.  Gum makers in the organization included Adams, Beeman, Primley, Curtis, and S. T. Britten.  In 1914, Fleer merged his company with the American Chicle Company.

Chiclets Tiny Size® were introduced in 1962, the same year that American Chicle was purchased by the Warner-Lambert Company.  Warner-Lambert became part of Pfizer in 2000, and most recently was acquired by Cadbury. That is a lot of gummy maneuvering.

Dec 13, 2011

Nano Sim

Those little cards in cameras and phones are about to get much smaller. At .47 x .35 of an inch, it is 60% smaller than the regular SIM cards in a majority of the devices out on the market. It is also 15% thinner than previous SIM cards. They will be out early next year. A few reasons why this is important - they are cheaper, also they are smaller so there is more room in devices (or the devices can be smaller), and they are faster. The best reason is they have nano in their name and I love anything nano.

Bacon Squeezins

The Bacon Squeezins Water Bottle is a stainless steel water bottle with screenprinted graphic of Mr. Bacon enjoying a refreshing drink of delicious liquid fat. It holds 20 oz (600 ml)

Baby-cut Carrots

Farmers know that even if an ugly carrot tastes better than any other carrot that ever existed, it won’t sell simply because it looks weird. Every year Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, culled and threw away tons of vegetables too ugly for supermarket shelves.

In some harvests, 70 percent of his carrots were tossed. Most culled vegetables wind up getting fed to farm animals, but pigs and cows can only handle so many carrots. After a while, their fat turns orange, and meat is about as useful at the market as a lumpy carrot.

In 1986, he came up with a solution to his ugly carrot problem. He would cut the carrots into smaller, sleeker, better looking forms, like a plastic surgeon for vegetables. He took the culled carrots and cut off any lumps and twisted parts. He was left with a perfect-looking mini-carrot just a few inches long, which he then peeled. They are often labeled as “baby-cut” carrots in stores.

There’s actually a second type of baby carrot available that’s specifically grown only to the “baby stage” and harvested long before the root reaches its mature size.  They’re usually more expensive than baby-cut carrots.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

The Ancient Celts used mistletoe as an animal aphrodisiac, or more specifically, to increase the fertility of sheep. Such became the mythic power of mistletoe that in addition to bringing a lamb-ful spring, mistletoe was hung over doorways to ward off fire, lightning, and evil spirits. Despite its protective properties, mistletoe couldn't shuck its fertile past, and even though it was hung in people's doorways, it seemed as if something romantic should occur in its presence. Thus the kissing.

Did you know that mistletoe's power runs out? Every time a man steals a kiss under the mistletoe, he must pay by plucking one of its berries. When the berries are gone, no more smooching.

Dec 10, 2011

Happy Friday

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.
Misery runs out the door when I am disposed to have a Happy Friday!

Cadenas and Forks

Forks have been used for a few thousand years in various cultures, but its adoption in northern Europe was first described in English by Thomas Coryat in a volume of writings on his Italian travels in 1611). Some writers of the Roman Catholic Church expressly disapproved of its use. "God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks, his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating."

Forks were common in France, England and Sweden by the early 17th century.The curved fork that is used in most parts of the world today, was developed in Germany in the mid 18th century. The standard four-tine design became current in the early 19th century.

The earliest forks usually had only two tines, but those with numerous tines caught on quickly. The tines on thee early implements were straight, meaning the fork could only be used for spearing food and not for scooping it.

When dining with nobility, it was proper for a guest to arrive with his own fork and spoon enclosed in a box called a cadena.

There are hundreds of specialty forks, such as Asparagus fork, Beef fork, Berry fork, Carving fork, Cheese fork, Chip fork(french fries), Cocktail fork, Crab fork, Dessert fork, Dinner fork, Fish fork, Fondue fork, Meat fork, Olive fork, Oyster fork, Pastry fork, Pickle fork etc., etc. We should not forget the knork (knife fork) and the spork (spoon fork). Despite all the specialty forks, some foods are still best suited to be enjoyed with the fingers, such as chicken wings and bacon.

Say What

There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. Research shows that  one vanishes every 14 days when its last speaker dies.  In a hundred years, predictions are that half will disappear.

In Brazil, 4,000 people are left who speak Kayapo. Their language distinguishes between 56 types of bees. Of the 231 languages spoken in Australia, at least 50 have never been written. Forty languages are still spoken in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, many of them originally used by Indian tribes and others introduced by Eastern tribes that were forced to resettle on reservations.

83 languages with “global” influence are spoken and written by 80 percent of the world population.  Lesser used languages will fall by the wayside, while English will become the most used form of communication around the world. More people in China speak English than in the whole United States. English is the official language of more countries than any other language.

The top five most spoken languages in the world, in order are: Mandarin, English, Hindustani, Spanish, and Russian.

Say Cheese

The root of the English word cheese comes from the Latin caseus, which also gives us the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese. Caseus is also the root word for cheese in other languages, including queso in Spanish, kaas in Dutch, käse in German, and queijo in Portuguese. Caseus Formatus, or molded (formed) cheese, brought us formaticum, the term the Romans employed for the hard cheese used as supplies for the legionaries. From this root comes the French fromage and the Italian formaggio.

Cheese consumption began as early as 8000 BC, when sheep were first domesticated. It is believed to have been discovered in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia, where foodstuffs were commonly stored in animal hides or organs for transport. Milk stored in animal stomachs would have separated into curds and whey by movement and the naturally present bacteria

The United States is the top producer of cheese in the world, with Wisconsin and California leading in production. Although the US produces the most cheese, Greece and France lead in cheese consumption per capita. Cheese consumption in the US has tripled since 1970 and is continuing to increase.

Charleston Dance

This short minute and a half video is pure fun. LINK It shows many of the steps and some variations from the the old time dance craze, the Charleston. It is an old dance set to new music. Who said the new dances are better than the old ones.

Dec 7, 2011

Bacon and Boobies

We all like bacon and we all like boobies. For some reason, many years ago man introduced pigs to tiny uninhabited Clipperton Island, about 800 miles off Acapulco Mexico. 

The pigs soon turned feral and began eating the eggs of the nesting Boobie sea birds. A few years ago, Ken Stager came to count the wildlife on Clipperton and brought with him a shotgun to shoot some birds for a museum. Instead, he saw what the pigs were doing to the birds and used his shotgun to kill all the pigs. True story.

Today Clipperton is host to 40,000 Masked Boobies and 20,000 Brown Boobies, among others, but no pigs and no men. Just goes to show you that if that island had been inhabited by man, who is naturally predisposed to bacon, then man, boobies, and pigs would have all lived in peace and harmony.

Wyatt Earp

There have been many stories, movies, and books about Wyatt Earp, but did you know he is buried in a Jewish Cemetery in California? We know many stories are from the old West. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born about 1848, just before the Civil War and died in 1929, just before the great stock market crash.

Josephine Sarah Marcus ran away from her home in San Francisco with a friend and joined an acting company touring the country. When they played Tombstone, Arizona, she met Wyatt Earp. They fell deeply in love and were married.

It is true that he did have an extra long barrel pistol. It was given to him and a few others, including Bat Masterson by  pulp-fiction writer Ned Buntline, hence the name 'Buntline Special'. It was a Colt. Colt did not use that name until the 1950's when the TV series made it a household name. The foot-long barrels were made until the 1980s.

Wyatt, his brothers, and Doc Holliday went to trial for the famous gunfight at the OK Corral and were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. The Clantons did not like the verdict and ambushed Wyatt and killed his brother Morgan. After that, Wyatt and Doc Holliday, along with others, raided various hideouts, killing anyone they suspected had a hand in Morgan’s death.

With the law after him for the killings, Wyatt and Josie moved to Gunnison, Colorado. They moved often and invested in mines, and real estate, and operated saloons and gambling parlors in Nome, Alaska, Eagle City, Idaho and others. For a while, they even lived with Josie’s parents in San Francisco. Later, they settled in southern California and raised racehorses and lived off gambling winnings and real estate speculation. In the 1920s, they invested in oil wells.

Wyatt Earp died in 1929 and his wife had his ashes buried in her family plot at the Little Hills of Eternity Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California, just outside of San Francisco. Wyatt Earp was not Jewish, but his wife was. Josie, his wife of fifty years died in 1944, and is buried next to Wyatt.

GPS Shoes

Here is a great idea for those who have someone with Alzheimer’s in the family. 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease with that figure predicted to rise to as many as 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. To make it easier for caregivers and family members to keep track, GTX Corp has partnered with comfort shoe manufacturer Aetrex to produce the GPS Shoe that allows real-time tracking of the wearer.

The company started out producing footwear for children with a miniaturized GPS chip and cellular device embedded in the sole that allowed parents to keep track via an online portal and then started offering similar shoes for long distance runners. It then realized the technology would also be beneficial in keeping track of those suffering dementia  and built its GPS technology into comfort and wellness shoes for the elderly. Sometimes technology is wizbang and practical.

Food Tidbits

Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
    The onion is named after a Latin word meaning large pearl.
    Potato chips were invented by a North American Indian, George Crum.
    During a lifetime the average person eats about 35 tons of food.
    Within 2 hours of standing in daylight, milk loses between half and two-thirds of its vitamin B content.
    There are about 100,000 bacteria in one liter of drinking water.
    Bakers used to be fined if their loaves were under weight, so they used to add an extra loaf to every dozen, just in case -- hence, the expression "baker's dozen.
    In France, people eat approximately 500,000,000 snails per year.
    It has been traditional to serve fish with a slice of lemon since olden times, when people believed that the fruit's juice would dissolve any bones accidentally swallowed.
    The first breakfast cereal ever produced was Shredded Wheat.
    Reindeer like to eat bananas.
    Maine is the toothpick capital of the world.
    Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a billion dollars on chewing gum.
    American's eat about 18 billion hot dogs a year.
    The oldest piece of chewing gum is 9,000 years old.
    The man who played the voice (Mel Blanc) of Bugs Bunny was allergic to carrots.
    Apples are more effective at keeping people awake in the morning than caffeine.
    Every time you lick a stamp you gain 1/10 of a calorie.
    Yams have 10 times more vitamin C than sweet potatoes.

Dec 2, 2011

Happy Friday

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
I plan to stand tall and carry on with a Happy Friday!


If you have about ten minutes to waste, this site shows what can be seen on earth from Google earth satellite. LINK Amazing and quick paced. It is also scary with the level of detail to show someone laying out in their yard. Fascinating pictures of our earth from space. The Singularity web site occupies way too much of my time.

Chewing Gum

Gum has a long history from many countries and civilizations. For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum, the resin obtained from the bark of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found on the island of Chios, Greece. Grecian women especially favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.

In the Middle Ages, mastic was used in the Middle East by the Sultan's harem both as a breath freshener, cosmetics, and for its healing properties.

The Mayan people chewed chicle, which is derived from the sap of the Sapodilla tree, a tropical evergreen native to Central America. Chicle was enjoyed for its high sugar content and sweet flavor.

American Indians of New England chewed gum, made from the resin of spruce trees. The custom of chewing gum grew until the early Nineteenth Century when lumps of spruce gum, were sold commercially. Spruce gum was gradually replaced by paraffin wax-based gum. It was eventually replaced by other substance. Sweetened and flavored paraffin wax is still used in the production of novelty chewing products.

Former Mexican political leader Antonio de Santa Anna went into exile and boarded with Thomas Adams in his Staten Island home. Santa Anna brought with him a large quantity of chicle. He felt chicle would be in high demand among Americans because he believed it could be used as an additive to natural rubber, which could make rubber a less expensive material and could be used to manufacture all kinds of things, such as tires. He asked Adams to experiment with it.

Adams spent over a year trying to make rain boots, toys, masks and bicycle tires, but found chicle unsuitable as a rubber substitute. Adams decided to experiment with chicle as a gum base and found that chicle-based gum was smoother, softer and superior in taste to the paraffin gums available at that time. Adams produced a batch of chicle-based gum and persuaded a local druggist to carry it. Soon Adams opened the world’s first chewing gum factory.

By February 1871, Adams New York Gum could be found on sale in drug stores for a penny per piece. In 1888, a Thomas Adams' chewing gum called Tutti-Frutti became the first gum to be sold in a vending machine. The machines were located in a New York City subway station.

The firm was the nation's most prosperous chewing gum company and built a monopoly in 1899 by merging with the six largest and best-known chewing gum manufacturers in the United States and Canada, and achieved great success as the maker of Chiclets, named after chickle.

Also in 1899, Dentyne gum was created by New York druggist Franklin V. Canning. A few years later, in 1906, Frank Fleer invented the first bubble gum called Blibber-Blubber gum, which never sold. Still a few years later in 1914, William Wrigley, Jr. and Henry Fleer added mint and fruit extracts to a chicle-based chewing gum and created Doublemint gum.

In 1928 the first commercially successful bubble gum based on Frank Fleer’s 1906 creation was manufactured and was called Double Bubble. The Wrigley Company was a prominent user of chicle until the 1960s, when it was replaced by a less expensive material that made chewing gum cheaper to manufacture. There are only a few companies today that still make chewing gum from natural chicle and other natural gums.  That's a lot to chew on.

American Drinking

Sixty four percent of American adults drink alcohol. Of those who imbibe, 36% prefer wine, 35% beer and 23% hard liquor.

What's in a Name, Jukebox

The first Jukebox, or ‘Nickel-in-the-Slot’ was placed in service in 1889 in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco, California.

Juke was a slang African word for a disorderly house, or house of ill repute, then a juke joint became a place where they had jukebox music. Now it is a name for a Chicago dance, and also means to fake, as in football. Some diners still have juke boxes

The unit, developed by Louis T. Glass and William Arnold contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. After receiving a coin, it unlocked a mechanism, allowing the listener to turn a crank which simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. The new device took in $1,000 in six months.

The more modern, but still classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when entered in combination, are used to play a specific selection.