May 25, 2012

Happy Friday

“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” - Linus Pauling

Although my curiosity will never be sated, my Friday Thoughts always help me have a Happy Friday!

What's in a Name, Reno

It was in 1868 that a little town in Northwestern Nevada was officially named, Reno (after General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer of the Civil War).

Actually, the town just over the border from California, already existed before this date. It was first settled by the Washoe Indians who used the area for festivals and ceremonies. As settlers moved in, it was known as Fuller’s Ferry, and later, as Lake’s Crossing.

In the mid 1800s, Reno was just another settlement of silver miners. When the Comstock Lode was discovered in the Virginia City area, fortune hunters throughout the world came to the area to strike it rich. Today, they still come to strike it rich at Reno’s glitzy gambling casinos.

Reno is also a haven for quickie divorces (six-week residency is required), is known as the biggest little city in the world, the winning slogan from a contest held in 1929. If you look on a map you will find that Reno is actually west of Los Angeles.

Glass Slippers

Cinderella's slippers were originally made out of fur. The story was changed in the 1600's. The glass slipper is likely to have arisen from a confusion between the French, "une pantoufle en vair" (a fur slipper) and, "une pantoufle en verre" (a glass slipper.)

Sports Names

In the four major US professional sports, (Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey) there are only eight teams whose nicknames do not end with an "S."
Basketball: Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic.
Baseball: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox.
Hockey: Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild.
Football: None.
The only reason I find this interesting is because my name starts with an S.

Ten More Interesting Names

On Night Court, Nostradamus Shannon was better known as Bull.

2. On Entourage, Turtle’s real name is Salvatore Assante.

3. Sesame Street‘s resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym all these years. He was born Bernie Liederkrantz.

4. The Michelin Man’s name is Bibendum.

5. Jonas Grumby was called The Skipper on Gilligan's Island.

6. The Professor on Gilligan's Island was Roy Hinkley.

7. The Shaggy of Scooby-Doo is Norville Rogers.

8. The Pillsbury Doughboy’s name is Poppin’ Fresh. He has a wife, Poppie Fresh, and two kids, Popper and Bun Bun.

9. The patient in the classic game Operation is Cavity Sam.

10. The true identity of The Lone Ranger was John Reid. He was also the uncle of the Green Hornet. Both radio series originated on Detroit radio.

Barry Manilow

The famous “I am stuck on Band-Aid…” jingle was written by Barry Manilow.

May 24, 2012

Clean Up With The Boss

William Henry 'Boss' Hoover didn't even invent the vacuum cleaner, yet his name has become a verb and a noun, especially in England, where they hoover the floors with a Hoover. 

James Murray Spangler invented the first upright vacuum in 1908 because his asthma was exacerbated by the dust the carpet sweeper used at his work stirred up. He was making one every 2-3 weeks when he loaned a model to his cousin Susan Hoover.

Her husband was looking for a new business venture since he was a leather worker and the popularity of the car was reducing people’s need for his goods. He seized the opportunity and bought Spangler’s patent from him. Absolutely no one was interested in his weird sucking machine. He decided to put an ad in a popular magazine for possibly the first ever 'free at home trial'. The gimmick worked and within four years the Hoover Company was an international brand.

Walnuts and Other Handy Home Tips

My brother, a carpenter, among other skills, says to rub a walnut over a wood scratch to hide the scratch.

Six Uses for Butter

Butter isn't just good for topping toast and popcorn. There are plenty of other things it is useful for, such as:

Swallowing pills: Coat the pills with a thin layer of butter to make them go down easier, especially bigger pills and ones that have no coating.

De-stress cats
: If you're moving or throwing a party, your cat can get a bit stressed by the sudden change in the environment. Put a little dab of butter on the top of her paws. She'll be distracted by cleaning herself.

Prevent cheese mold
: Put a thin coat of butter on the cheese after you cut it so it won't get too hard or start molding, especially harder cheeses.

Preserve onions
: If you cut an onion in half and decide to leave the other half in the fridge, coat the exposed side with a bit of butter to keep it fresh longer.

Duffel Bags

Duffel bag now stands for a particular style of bag. They were originally named for the thick Duffel cloth they were made out of, which was produced in the town of Duffel, Belgium. Duffel coats are named for the same cloth.

Five Weaponology Facts

The Chinese invented gunpowder, but they were not the first to develop firearms.

Sam Colt invented the revolving pistol, therefore, all revolvers are correctly called pistols.

Revolvers cannot be silenced, due to all the noisy gasses which escape the cylinder gap at the rear of the barrel.

A 12 gauge rifled slug does not spin, even though there are grooves on its bearing surface. A slug actually travels like a dart.

A bullet fired from the 7.62 x 51mm NATO cartridge (also called the .308 Winchester) is still supersonic at 1000 yards.

May 18, 2012

Happy Friday

Words are strong, brevity stronger, silence strongest.

No words needed to have a Happy Friday!

Glass is the New Plastic

For the techno geeks, here is an interesting site that discusses technological uses of glass, like curved glass, smart glass, wearable glass, Gorilla glass and more. Too much to summarize here. link


Contrary to popular belief, leprosy does not cause rotting flesh or the loss of limbs. It is actually a disease (now called Hansen’s disease, named after Gerhard Hansen a Norwegian physician who discovered the leprosy bacteria that damages nerve endings and effects the skin. Because of the numbness caused by leprosy, a sufferer can be unaware of harming himself accidentally. It is this accidental harm that can lead to infections and, consequently, the loss of limbs.

Leprosy has been treatable since the 1930s, but to this day there remain leper colonies in some nations such as India, Japan, and China.

Armadillos also carry leprosy and can transmit it to humans. Ninety five percent of humans are naturally immune to the disease, and the remaining five percent can be easily and successfully cured of it.

Wilhelm Scream Again

A while back I had a Friday Thought about the Wilhelm Scream from movies. I just found out it was the voice work of Sheb Wooley, a man more famous for his novelty song ‘Purple People Eater’. Shelby Wooley passed away in 2003. He played Ben Miller, brother of Frank Miller in the film High Noon, played Travis Cobb in The Outlaw Josey Wales, and also had a co-starring role as scout Pete Nolan in the television program Rawhide.

The Cool Botijo

The botijo generally has a wide, spherical belly with two openings on top -- a wide opening to pour water in the jug and a smaller drinking spout -- as well as one or two handles to carry it. Traditionally, people drink the water directly from the botijo by holding it up and tilting it so that the water pours from the drinking spout.

Botijo-etiquette demands that the lips do not touch the drinking spout, as the water container is usually shared among several people. The large opening is covered with a cork or a cloth after filling the jug, in order to keep insects out. Botijos come in different sizes, but on average it contains about 3 liters of water, with larger ones holding up to 7 liters, enough to supply a small group of people with drinking water for a full day.

After the botijo is filled with water, it is preferably placed outside in the shade, although it also works when placed in the sun or indoors. The technology is based on evaporative cooling, the same process that keeps the human body cool by sweating. Because the ceramic jug is not completely water-tight, a small amount of the stored water filters through the pores of the clay and evaporates once it comes in contact with the outside, dry environment. Evaporation (the transition from liquid to gas) requires thermal energy, which is partly extracted from the water inside the jug, cooling it down. One 1995 study showed that, under optimal conditions, a cooling of up to 15 degrees Celsius can be obtained.

Glazed botijos often sold as tourist souvenirs do not cool water as it cannot evaporate through the glaze.

The botijo is a mobile refrigeration device, for which there exists no modern counterpart. Plastic, glass or metal bottles, which have no pores are unable to 'sweat'.

What's in a Name, Adidas

Adolph 'Adi' Dassler and his brother Rudolph owned their own shoe company in Germany during the 1920s and 30s. Their products were so popular, many of the German competitors in the 1928 Olympics wore Dassler Brothers shoes.

During WWII the brothers had a falling out. Both joined the Nazi party, but Rudolph was more fanatical and went off to fight, leaving Adi to make shoes for the military. After the war ended, Rudolph left and formed his own company, Puma. Adi then renamed the original company after himself, and Adidas was born.

New GE Bulb

First we get the hundred dollar bulb, now we get an over-engineered bulb that requires built in cooling. GE just announced a new LED light bulb replacement for the 100 watt incandescent that uses pulses of air to keep cool. The design comes just as the 100 watt incandescent bulb phase-out is this year, 2012. 

If common bulbs cost a hundred dollars, need to be cooled, or contain mercury they have other deficiencies beside cost. This would be the same as building an iPad that cost five thousand dollars and needs continuous water cooling. GE and Philips must be designing these bulbs in Washington DC. Thomas Edison is likely crying in his grave at the politicians who caused this.

May 16, 2012

Chicken Fried Bacon Creator

The creator of chicken fried bacon, Frank Sodolak has passed away. Thirty years ago Frank Sodolak borrowed a few hundred dollars and made his idea a reality in a small restaurant (Sodolak's Original Country Inn" in Snook Texas, population about 500. It is about 80 miles from Houston. His bacon delight has been featured in Maxim Magazine, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and more. Some call it Sodalak's saturated succulence.

“People hear about chicken fried bacon and they're like huh? But when they eat it, they're like Wow!" explains son Curtis Sodolak.

"He left us a mini-empire, and we have to keep it going, and that's my promise to him, and who knows, maybe one day, I'll pass it on to my kids," said his son, Curtis.

PS - Even Emeril has come up with a Pecan-Praline candied bacon. Seems everyone wants in on the act. Not sure why. Bacon does not need toppings to be good.


The word gymnasium comes from the Greek gymnazein, which means 'to exercise naked'.

How Not to Spill Coffee

Rouslan Krechetnikov is a mechanical engineer at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and he spends most of his time working on fluid dynamics, the flow of air on a plane’s wings, the stability of a rocket, and other weighty problems. None of that has brought him as much attention as his newest paper in the journal Physical Review E: “Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?”

Krechetnikov and a graduate student, Hans Mayer, decided to divert from weightier subjects last year after a scientific conference, where they had watched fellow researchers stumble to their tables, trying not to get coffee all over themselves and the floor.

“The project was certainly fun. We just wanted to satisfy our curiosity and, given the results, to share what we learned with the scientific community through peer-reviewed literature,” Krechetnikov wrote.

They set up a simple experiment, watching a person walk in a straight line, mug in hand. They had their test subject look at the coffee cup. They had their test subject look at the floor ahead. They shot video of it all, recording how the coffee oscillated and how long it took to spill.

The results. Don’t rush. You may think the coffee will spill less if you get it to the table more quickly, but the opposite is true. Slow down and the sloshing will too. Watch the cup, not the floor. You will spill less.

The abstract concludes: “The studied problem represents an example of the interplay between the complex motion of a cup, due to the biomechanics of a walking individual, and the low-viscosity-liquid dynamics in it.” Isn't science wonderful?

May 11, 2012

Happy Friday

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

I always forgive, and never forget to have a Happy Friday!

French Fry Calorie Fact

A single McDonald's french fry has 5 calories A single Pringle has twice as many calories, 10.

What's in a Name, Tanqueray

When he was a young boy, Charles Tanqueray’s path through life seemed pretty clear. He was the product of three straight generations of Bedfordshire clergymen, so it was assumed he would take up the cloth himself.

He decided to do something different and began distilling gin in 1830 in a little plant in London’s Bloomsbury district. By 1847, he was shipping his gin to colonies around the British Empire, where many plantation owners and troops had developed a taste for Tanqueray and tonic.

Ten Interesting Names

Did you know the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons has a name? It’s Jeff Albertson. Creator Matt Groening says, “I was out of the room when [the writers] named him. In my mind, ‘Louis Lane’ was his name, and he was obsessed and tormented by Lois Lane.”

2. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. (Ken’s last name is Carson.)

3. Cap’n Crunch’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch

4. Snuffleupagus has a first name - Aloysius.

5. In the Peanuts comic strip, Peppermint Patty’s real name is Patricia Reichardt.

6. The Wizard of Oz' full name is, Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. Frank Baum’s Dorothy And the Wizard in Oz relates,
“It was a dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When I grew up I just called myself O.Z., because the other initials were P-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled ‘pinhead,’ which was a reflection on my intelligence.”

7. Mr. Clean's first name is ”Veritably.” The name came from a “Give Mr. Clean a First Name” promotion in 1962.

8. In a deleted scene in the 2006 Curious George movie, The Man With the Yellow Hat’s name was revealed as Ted Shackleford. The original scene was deleted.

9. The real name of Monopoly mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags is Milburn Pennybags.

10. The policeman in Monopoly is Officer Edgar Mallory.

Numbers and Letters

If you spell out numbers individually, (one, two, three, etc.) you will need to reach a thousand before you find the letter A.

Madame Curie Facts

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was an expert in physics, chemistry and radioactivity. She was also the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and then was awarded a second.

Marie Salomea Sklodowska was born in Warsaw Poland. Her father was a math and physics teacher and atheist. Her mother was a teacher, operated a boarding school, and was Catholic. Four-year-old Marie taught herself how to read Russian and French and was known to help her four brothers and sisters with their math homework. It was also at age four that she began demonstrate her incredible memory.

As a teenager, Marie was anxious to attend college, but her family couldn’t afford it so she spent five grueling years earning money as a governess. In 1891 she headed for the Sorbonne in Paris. There, she met future husband Pierre Curie. While there, she discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium (She named it after her native Poland). Later, she became the first woman professor at the Sorbonne.

In her thirties, Marie worked closely with her husband, and together they devised the science of radioactivity (she named the term radioactivity), for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize in physics. They had two children Irene and Eve. After Pierre’s death in 1906, Marie continued her work, winning her second Nobel, in chemistry at age 44.

It has been determined that Marie contracted aplastic anemia from all of her time spent with radiation which, at that point, had no dangers associated with it. She died from it in 1934.

May 8, 2012

Bacon Fat

Almost half of bacon fat is monounsaturated, just like what is found in olive oil. It can actually lower your bad cholesterol.

Seven Uses for Lemons

Summertime always means refreshing lemonade to quench your thirst. Here are some other uses for those yellow goodies.

Realtors say a nice bowl of lemons makes a colorful and inexpensive arrangement for the table or counter top.

Finger nails looking dull and yellowed after a long period covered in dark polish? Just squeeze a lemon into a small dish, clean your nails and soak them in the lemon juice for a minute or two. Some women claim that this treatment will also make nails stronger, particularly when adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the dish.

Keep cut fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, avocados and potatoes from turning brown by squeezing on a little bit of lemon juice.

You can perk up droopy lettuce by soaking it for an hour in a bowl of cold water and the juice of one lemon.

Simmer lemon peel in water on the stove-top as a natural air freshener

A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep it from sticking to the pot and make clean-up a lot easier.

Blond vs. Blonde

You see the words used interchangeably, but there actually is a difference. The difference is gender. When referring to a woman with yellow hair, you should use the feminine spelling 'blonde'. When referring to a male with yellow hair, you should use the spelling 'blond'.

Coca Cola Facts

It was originally used for medicinal purposes and sold at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, GA. Coca leaves do indeed contain traces of cocaine, which was then believed to help control one’s dependence on opiates.

John Pemberton received a medical degree at 19 and worked as a druggist in Columbus, Georgia, before joining the Confederate army during the Civil War. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel with the Third Georgia Cavalry and was severely wounded in battle.
To control the pain resulting from those wounds, he became addicted to morphine.

After the war, he settled in Atlanta, where he began work on a beverage combining coca leaves and cola nuts. His objective was to create a pain reliever but when his lab assistant accidentally mixed the concoction with carbonated water on May 8, 1886, the two men tasted it, liked it, and decided it might make a profitable alternative to ginger ale and root beer. Vernor's Ginger Ale, created in 1866 by a Detroit pharmacist, preceded Coke and was originally available only in Detroit.

Three years later, Dr. Pemberton he sold out for $2,300. He had no idea what the still very classified, secret formula would be worth. It is now used in a product that sells about 350 million cans and bottles a day in nearly 200 countries. He died a few years after his accidental invention and only a few months after the Coca Cola Corporation was incorporated.

The original medicine was sold to make people feel better. Some say it still does, minus the cocaine. Vernor's, especially with Captain Morgan, still makes me feel better than Coke.

May 4, 2012

Happy Friday

Books are a guide in youth, an entertainment for age, and put our disappointments to sleep.

You can make book on the fact that young and old are never disappointed when they have a Happy Friday!

Kindergarten Facts

Friedrich Froebel, German, invented kindergarten. He was a teacher, author and toy maker. His experience as an educator led him to the conclusion that playtime can be very instructive; an essential part of a child’s education. He founded the first kindergarten for this purpose in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany.

Froebel also invented of a series of toys designed to stimulate learning. He called them gifts. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's mother gave her son some of these gifts in the form of maple wood blocks. Wright often spoke of the value the gifts had brought him throughout his life.

The first public kindergarten in the U.S. was started by Conrad Poppenhusen in College Point, Queens, New York in 1870.

Seven Bits of Trivia

The 3 Musketeers bar was originally split into three pieces with three different flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When the other flavors became harder to come by during World War II, Mars decided to go all chocolate.

Carly Simon’s dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.

Reno is farther west than Los Angeles.

Only female mosquitoes will bite you.

“Jay” used to be slang for “foolish person.” So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a “jaywalker.”

The only number whose letters are in alphabetical order is 40 (f-o-r-t-y).

The word “PEZ” comes from the German word for peppermint, PfeffErminZ.

Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward.

What's in a Name, Hamptons

According to legend, The Hamptons posh area of Long Island is named after the Earl of Southampton. Thomas Wriothesley, the 4th Earl when Southampton was founded in 1640, was a Cambridge-educated aristocrat. He eventually rose to one of the most powerful political offices in Britain, Lord High Treasurer.

Since the town of Southampton was the first to be settled in that area, and since the other Hamptons (Bridgehampton, East Hampton, etc.) take their names from that town, all of them can claim to owe their name to the Earl.

However, according to the Easthampton Historical Society, “19th century snobbishness” may have resulted in locals spreading that story around, since being connected, however tangentially, to aristocracy was a big deal in early America. According to their records, Southampton was more likely named because it resembled the town of Southampton in England with no connection to the Earl.

The word hamp means pasture. The Native Americans had deforested much of Long Island and farmed it, so the open flat land bordered by a coarse, brown sandy beach may have evoked memories of the south coast of England. So the Hamptons are either posh or pasture, your choice.

Houston, TX Art Car Parade

On May 12, Houston, Texas will be hosting its 25th art car parade.

It features weird and funny cars. Here is a LINK to previous winners.

May 1, 2012

Happiness and a Happy Heart

Scientists have long known that people who are chronically angry, anxious or depressed have a higher risk of heart attacks. A new study shows, the opposite type of being upbeat and optimistic may help protect against heart disease.

Rather than focusing only on how to lessen heart risks, "it might also be useful to focus on how we might bolster the positive side of things," said a lead researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health.

They reviewed dozens of studies examining a positive outlook on heart health. A number of studies found the most optimistic people had half the risk of a first heart attack when compared to the least optimistic. People with a better sense of well-being tend to have healthier blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, and are more likely to exercise, eat healthier, and get enough sleep.

Results cautioned that it will take more research to identify if a positive outlook makes people feel more like taking heart-healthy steps, or whether living healthier helps you feel more positive. So the researchers are still not sure if it is 'be happy be healthy' or 'be healthy be happy'. They do know stress associated with negative psychological traits can lead to damage of arteries and the heart.

Other research found that asking people to smile helps put them in a better mood. Many of my books will make you smile and put you in a better mood. Pick up a few and we will both be happy and healthy. A bonus is that if you at least have a Happy Friday you will be one seventh more healthy.

New 4K TV Coming

Television manufacturers are always eager to shore up their business with new technology and are gearing up to roll out sets with what's known as 4K screen resolution. These TVs, which should start to hit store shelves in the United States later this year, have about four times the resolution of 1080p screens, the current standard for high-definition sets.

Regardless of the size of its screen, a 1080p TV has about 2 million pixels arrayed across 1,920 vertical columns and 1,080 horizontal rows. Although electronics manufacturers haven't yet settled on a standard, 4K resolutions generally have at least 7 million pixels - and sometimes many more - arranged across about 4,000 columns and 2,000 rows. All those extra pixels allow 4K televisions to display images in much finer detail than HDTVs.

On bigger screen sizes at close distances, the difference between 1080p and 4K is stunning. At a close viewing range, HD video on a big screen can look pixilated, and colors and images can blur into the background. By contrast, 4K video looks super sharp and almost lifelike. At a further distance the difference tends to be less noticeable.

You might want to wait for 4K. The first 4K TVs will likely be outrageously expensive. Toshiba's 55-inch 4K television is already available in Japan for $10,000 or so. Another reason to wait is that no shows are being produced in 4K yet. In fact very few are produced in 3D so far, but ESPN is betting that many will love the 3D sports events it will be producing.

The 4K video processor should only add about $10 to the cost of a TV, but the big cost issue is the display technology. The ability to cram that many pixels into a relatively small space is on the cutting edge of display manufacturers' capabilities.

Manufacturers will only sell about 5,000 4K TVs this year worldwide and won't sell more than a million per year until 2015. 3D TV should be selling more units by then, also.

Five Fun Food Facts

Several states used to require margarine to be dyed pink to appease the dairy lobby and keep butter sales strong.

The Quaker Oats guy's name is Larry.

Twinkies originally had banana-flavored filling. Hostess switched to vanilla after bananas were rationed during World War II.

Oklahoma’s official state vegetable is the watermelon.

The eight juices in V8 are tomato, spinach, celery, carrot, beet, lettuce, watercress and parsley.

Antibiotics and Drinking Myth

With the advent of antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted diseases came a word of advice: don’t drink while taking the pills. The reason given for this was (and still is) that it will stop the medication working.

This is not true. Most antibiotics are not hindered in any way by the consumption of alcohol, though it may cause a stomach upset depending on the type. In fact, only five of the more than one hundred types of antibiotics really do have adverse effects when taken with alcohol.

The real reason for telling people not to drink is that people suffering from STDs would most likely be the type to have casual sex when drunk. Stopping them drinking for a short period of time would often help to prevent them from spreading their illness before others caught it.

Because of high costs and low profitability, very little research is done these days in the field of antibiotics. It has been nine years since a new form of antibiotic has been developed.