Dec 30, 2016

Happy Friday

A smile awhile is always in style.

I always while away my days with smiles, especially on a Happy Friday!

Happy Bacon Day

Bacon Day is celebrated annually on December 30th.

Bacon is a very popular food and you can find many items also flavored or scented with bacon including popcorn, soap, candles, air fresheners, and more. Do not fill up too much on Christmas. You need to save room for Bacon Day. It is the second day of the year we celebrate bacon and its wonderfulness.

Leap Second

Twenty-six times since 1972, the world's timekeepers have added a leap second to the clock to make up for time lost to Earth's slowing rotation. The adjustment is necessary because Earth's rotation is not regular. It sometimes speeds up, sometimes slows down, but is gradually slowing overall.

It will happen again tomorrow. That's right, we get one more second of 2016 added to our lives. The final minute of 2016 will have 61 seconds. After all of the political nonsense during these past twelve months, it is almost like adding insult to injury to have a leap day and a leap second in the same year. Oh well, savor the extra second of life. We can never get too many of them.

Saudi Calendar Change

As we look forward to a new year, thought I would pass along some calendar info. Saudi Arabia adopted the lunar Islamic calendar when it was founded in 1932. In October 2016, that all changed. Saudi Arabia moved from the lunar based Hijri calendar, which starts with the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, and adopted the standard Gregorian calendar as a leap into modernity and as a basis for paying civil servants.

Government employees complained they would have to work an extra 11 days each year, because the Islamic lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the 365-day solar year.

There are other calendars still in use around the world.  It is 1395 in Iran, 2628 in Kurdistan, and 5776 in Israel’s Knesset, 2559 in Thailand, and year 28 (of the Heisei era) in Japan.

Political Time

Less than one hundred years ago, the US Congress passed the Standard Time Act in 1918, which established a single, standard system of timekeeping for the entire US and designated its five time zones by reference to the Greenwich meridian. 'An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States' was enacted on March 19, 1918. It both established standard time zones and set summer Daylight Saving Time to begin on March 31, 1918. Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919.

After the War ended, the law proved so unpopular that it was repealed the next year with a Congressional override of President Wilson's veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in some states and in some cities.

After many changes to the clocks, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, Congress retained the right to revert to the 1986 DST law  should "the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant". Going from 2007 forward, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November. There are now seven time zones for the United States, EST (Eastern), CST (Central), MST (Mountain), PST (Pacific), AKST (Alaska), and HAST (Hawaii).

The earth is about 4.5 billion years old and finally, nine years ago, US politicians finally agreed to what time it is (unless it proves unpopular). Luckily they have not seen fit to change the calendar and we can still celebrate the New Year on January 1.

These same politicians tell us they can predict the future about many things, including global warming, but they cannot even agree on what time it is or if "energy savings are not significant".

Wordology, Nickel

The name for this metal began during 18th century by  Swedish mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt from the Swedish 'kopparnickel', which was taken from the German 'Kupfernickel'.

Copper miners named this different metal ore Kupfernickel, which literally translates as copper-devil. The German word Nickel, related to the name Nicholas, an antiquated term for a mythological spirit that haunts houses, caves, and mines. They used this term because they were often fooled into thinking that nickel ore was copper.

During the second half of the 19th century, people began to refer to small coins as nickels, because they were made of nickel rather than copper. Today a US nickel is 75% copper and 25% nickel.

What's in a Name, Email

Here is a tip to track marketing of your email. When you sign up to a new web site for any reason, use the website name as part of your real name. When you begin getting more junk mail (as you will) at least you will know which site sold your email address.

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

Now that the holidays are over and you made your New Year resolution to drop some post-holiday weight, think about this. A dietitian is an expert in prescribing therapeutic nutrition. A dietitian is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist has completed an undergraduate program in nutrition and also a one year clinical internship program. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists must pass a national exam administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and maintain their registered status through continuing education.

A nutritionist is a non-accredited title that may apply to somebody who has done a short course in nutrition or who has given themselves this title. The term nutritionist is not protected by law in almost all countries so people with different levels of knowledge can call themselves a nutritionist. A nutritionist can also be someone who completes an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition. Some individuals market themselves as nutritionists with little or no training in nutrition. Before you take nutrition advice, be sure to check out the professional background and training of the individual giving it.

Incidentally, 'Dietitian' spelling is preferred over 'Dietician' in the dietetics world, and the term Registered Dietitian has been updated to Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, further confusing the distinction.

Employment Facts

As of 1 October 2016, from a US population of 325 million, 113 million private sector workers support 32 million government workers and contractors, 94 million people who can work, but chose not to, 70 million who cannot work, and 16 million unemployed and underemployed. That is 35% supporting 65%, including all of the government workers, which taxpayers pay for during working years and retirement until death.

One More Thought

Dec 24, 2016

Happy Friday

Happiness does not need sunshine to create rainbows.

The end of a rainbow always lands on a Happy Friday!

Merry Christmas

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Christmas again. I wish each of you a sincere Merry Christmas. I hope you get everything you need, all you deserve, and most of which you want.

Eight Other December 25 Events

December 25, 325 is the first date that Christmas was celebrated specifically on December 25.
December 25, 597 England adopted the Julian calendar, now used by most of the world.
December 25, 800 Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III.
December 25, 1066 William the Conqueror is crowned King of England.
December 25, 1717 the great Christmas Flood ravaged the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Scandinavia.
December 25, 1776 - 11pm, General George Washington, along with 5,400 men, crossed the Delaware River, in order to surprise Hessian troops celebrating the Christmas Holiday.
December 25, 1914 the Christmas Truce. During the height of World War I, the Germans began to sing Christmas Carols, crossed the lines, and met with Allies and both shook hands. (The next day they resumed fighting.)
December 25, 2002 University of New Mexico junior place-kicker Katie Hnida attempts to kick an extra point in a game against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. She is first woman to play in Division I football.

Happy Boxing Day

 In the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand Boxing Day is celebrated on the first weekday after Christmas. This year it will be celebrated December 26.

Incidentally, The day after Christmas, December 26 is celebrated as Saint Stephen’s (patron saint of horses) Day. It is one of the reasons Boxing Day has come to be associated with horse racing and fox hunting.

Laughing and Sleep

Laughing for fifteen minutes has the same benefit as getting two extra hours of sleep.


This word is perhaps best translated as 'coziness', but the English word can only express one aspect of the German meaning. It is a great word for winter and for the Holidays in particular.

Gemütlichkeit is epitomized by a snug room with a sofa nestled next to a roaring open fire, and the friendly, jovial atmosphere, and the resulting state of mind.
Germans use it to refer to many things from people, to a beer in a warm pub, to evenings watching a film.

The OED defines Gemütlichkeit as "the quality of being pleasant cheerful; cozy, snug, homely; genial, and good-natured".

Even though it is an accepted word in English, it is yet to find its way into everyday language. Regardless, my wish to you all for this Holiday Season is Gemütlichkeit!

What's in a Name, Santa Claus

In the United States and Canada, his name is Santa Claus.
In China, he is called Shengdan Laoren.
In England, his name is Father Christmas.
In France, he is known as Pere Noel.
In Germany, children get presents from Christindl, the Christ Child.
Customs of the Christmas Season in Spanish speaking countries have many similarities and many variations. All of Latin America and Spain are predominantly Catholic. For many of these countries Baby Jesus, el Niño Jesus, brings gifts for children. In Colombia, and parts of Mexico, the gift bearer is el Niño Jesus, “the infant Jesus.” In Brazil and Peru, he is called Papai Noel.
In Puerto Rico, children receive gifts from the Three Kings on January 6, also called the celebration of Epiphany, or Three Kings' Day. Each child puts grass under their bed for the camels. In the morning the grass is replaced with gifts. Also, Puerto Rico  has its major gift giving on December 25, with the Christmas Tree and Santa Claus. Epiphany remains a part of the holiday season and is a day off from school.

In Italy Babbo Natale, which means Father Christmas, is Santa. Children put a pair of their shoes by the door on the day before Epiphany and the following morning they find them filled with small gifts and candy. Italy, Spain, Portugal are also mostly Catholic. December 25 is a day of more religious observance, remembering the birth of Christ. The Epiphany, called Little Christmas, is the day for gift giving. However, Babbo Natale does come on Christmas Eve in some parts of Italy.
In Spain children leave their shoes under the Christmas tree the night of January 5th and presents from the Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos) appear the next morning. Santa Claus is called Papa Noel and some children receive presents both days on December 24th from Papa Noel and on January 6th from the Three Kings.
In Morocco he is known as Black Peter.
In Japan, Santa Claus is called Santa Claus or just “Santa”. Children often call him “Santa no ojisan”, which means “Uncle Santa”.
In Sweden Jultomten visits the evening before Christmas day, pulling a big bag of julklappar (Christmas presents) in the deep snow.
Pã Norsk (in Norwegian) Julenissen arrives on the evening of December 24.
In the Netherlands, he is called Kerstman.
In Finland, he is called Joulupukki.
Sinter Klaas in Dutch, is much thinner than the American Santa Claus. He rides a white horse and gets help from numerous Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) handing out gifts and candy. He arrives the first Saturday in November by boat. In the evenings, Dutch Children sing songs in front of the fire place and leave their shoe with a present, such as a drawing for Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet or a Carrot for Amerigo Sinterklaas' horse. In the mornings they find their shoe filled with candy and small presents. On the fifth of December Dutch households have a “Pakjesavond” (Presents night) and exchange presents.

In Russia, he is called Grandfather Frost. He is also called Kris Kringle - which comes from the German term 'the Christ Child'.


 "One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." ~ Andy Rooney


The Mummers Parade is held each New Year's Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. It is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the United States.

Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange. This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year. Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution. Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800’s. January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.

The exact origins of the word “mummer” have become obscure, but they likely had to do with masks or the act of disguise. In England, mummers have dressed up and performed Christmastime plays, which often told the story of St. George and the Dragon and featured themes of winter and rebirth, for many centuries. In some places, mummers’ troupes would also go from house to house to raise funds for their celebrations.

Over time, mummering traditions diverged and developed from place to place within the British Isles and spread with British settlers, across the world. Philadelphia’s Mummers’ Day Parade is derived, in part, from Britain’s mummer plays, in combination with Christmastime rituals that other Europeans brought to the city. But as mummering has been passed down, it has morphed in each place into an idiosyncratic tradition.

One day each year, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, the streets are filled with misshapen, masked figures wrapped in quilts and oversized jackets, or bright boots and distinctive dresses, with undergarments worn on the outside. Their faces are obscured behind gruesome disguises, lacy veils, giant horse heads, or beneath ghost-like pillow cases. These mummers are the latest iteration of a centuries-old tradition that has its roots in Europe, but is entirely unique to this Canadian island. More than a thousand people come out to the Mummers Parade each year, to feel what it is like to shed their normal identity for at least a few hours.

Dec 16, 2016

Happy Friday

A smile is a pleasant task for a happy heart.

I have a happy heart and a great smile, especially on a Happy Friday!

Santa Con and Santa Run

For over 20 years, many groups of people have dressed up like Santa to participate in annual pub crawls. The Santa Con originated in San Francisco in 1994 and has since spread to over 40 countries and 300 cities around the world.

Santa Runs are a bit different, but just as widespread around the world. Groups of people dress up like Santa and do a 2.5k, 5k run/walk to support various, mostly local charities.

Groups sizes of both vary from the hundreds to thousands of revelers. Both are meant to provide good fun for participants and onlookers. It is not too late for this year. Although many cities have already held their 'runs' and 'cons' there are still a few yet to be enjoyed. Check your local newspapers for details and if you get the chance, join in.

Go ahead get off your butts and have some good clean non-denominational, non-sectarian, non-religious, non racist, non-anti Semitic, non-misogynistic, non-deplorable Holiday fun. Get out there with your friends, make some new friends, get some exercise, and enjoy some fresh air and conversation, away from the TV, Internet, and politics. Wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or Seasons Greetings - with no other agenda than having some fun for a change.

Oolitic Sand and Brine Shrimp

Oolitic sand is pill-shaped sand prevalent on the bottom of Great Salt Lake and several beaches. It is soft, smooth and round unlike regular sand that is jagged-edged. A grain of oolitic sand begins as a brine shrimp fecal pellet or other small bit of debris. Calcium and magnesium carbonate particles build up around it, creating oolitic sand and separating brine shrimp waste from the rest of the water. In this way, oolitic sand functions as a filter for Great Salt Lake.
Brine shrimp are the most populous animal in Great Salt Lake. These tiny crustaceans live in salt water around the world, but only one species, Artemia franciscana lives in Great Salt Lake. They measure up to 0.5 inches (1.37 centimeters) long and can live in water with up to 33 percent salinity, according to Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program. They can control how much salt gets into their body tissues better than any other organism on Earth, due to skin lining their stomachs and gills.

Incidentally, a massive brine shrimp harvest occurs every Autumn. The brine shrimp are primarily sent to Asia and South America where they are used as feeders for commercially grown prawn and fish.

Computer Christmas Songs

 "The Christmas tree is filled with flowers. I swear it is Christmas Eve. I hope that is what you say." These are lyrics to a holiday song. You are thinking it is a boy band totally drunk. You assume they are trying to revive a rock band vibe until they fall on their foreheads and their manager rings for a designated driver.

However, the song did not come from a human. The Guardian's Ian Sample, science editor, explained what happened in simple terms. "Scientists fed a Christmasy photograph with a tree and presents into a computer and let it do its thing." Sample said the creators call it "neural karaoke."

The program sang the lyrics to music that it composed along the way. The project is at the University of Toronto. "By feeding the neural network a particular scale, it gives the system a series of notes it can choose from to make a melody." A lab student trained a neural network on 100 hours of online music. Once trained, "the program can take a musical scale and melodic profile and produce a simple 120-beats-per-minute melody. It then adds chords and drums."

The University of Toronto team effort is one example of interest among AI researchers choosing to explore computers and music-making. In September this year it was announced that "At SONY CSL Research Laboratory, we have created two entire pop songs composed with Artificial Intelligence, thanks to Flow Machines. The Flow Machines software learns music styles from a huge database of songs. Then, exploiting unique combinations of style transfer, optimization and interaction techniques, it can compose in any style.

What's in a Name, Diesel

Diesel is used in about 50 percent of cars in Europe, but only in about three percent of the market in the US. The German word Diesel was named after the German inventor and mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel, who patented the idea for his new engine in 1895 that used diesel fuel rather than gas (petrol).

The engine works by compressing only the air and therefore does not use a spark plug to ignite the air-fuel mixture. Although the diesel engine and German car industry has taken a serious hit recently with Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal, diesel engines are still very common across Europe.


This time of year we see many confections made with gingerbread. It has long been woven into the fiber of American history. George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, developed a recipe for gingerbread cake in 1784. Gingerbread was Abraham Lincoln’s ‘biggest treat’ and he invoked a gingerbread anecdote in his Lincoln – Douglas debates. Witches used gingerbread men as voodoo dolls in the early 17th century.

During the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version of gingerbread. The hard cookies, sometimes gilded with gold leaf and shaped like animals and kings and queens were a staple at Medieval fairs in England, France, Holland and Germany.

Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the idea of decorating the cookies in this fashion, after she had some made to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. Over time some of these festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs, and the gingerbread cookies served there were known as ‘fairings'.

Shapes of the gingerbread changed with the season, including flowers in the spring and birds in the fall. Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the popular expression ‘to take the gilt off of gingerbread'. The carved, white architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes is sometimes referred to as ‘gingerbread work’.

Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.

Recently the record for world’s largest gingerbread house was broken. The previous record was set by the Mall of America in 2006. The new winning gingerbread house, spanning nearly 40,000 cubic feet, was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas. The house required a building permit and was built much like a traditional house. 4,000 gingerbread bricks were used during its construction. A recipe for a house this size would include 1,800 pounds of butter and 1,080 ounces of ground ginger.
Gingerbread gets its name from the ginger root and its color from molasses. The ginger root has long been associated with many health benefits. It is thought to aid in digestion, be an anti-inflammatory aid, help with menstrual cramps and morning sickness, fend off disease, and even relieve some of the nausea associated with motion sickness. Some folks use it to relieve heartburn as well. It is usually made with a variety of spices, including brown sugar, molasses, granulated sugar, honey, and/or light or dark corn syrup.

Dec 9, 2016

Happy Friday

Laughter is a universal language.

Everyone understands and appreciates laughter, especially on a Happy Friday!

More About Time Zones

Prior to standardization, there were thousands of local times around the world, generally based on the Sun’s position at a given time. Even after clocks became somewhat commonplace, two cities a short distance apart sometimes had very different ideas about what time it was at any given moment. Usually, the accepted time for a given city was based on a well-known clock in the town, like a clock tower, which was often at least partially based on the Sun’s position.

Once people began to travel, establishing a universal time became more important. During 1675 the GMT was invented at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England. As transportation and communication continued to advance, the need to have standard timekeeping became increasingly apparent. During 1840, the Great Western Railway in Great Britain adopted GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) as the standard for its schedule, and by 1847, all British rail companies were using GMT, which was also called Railway Time.
The Royal Observatory began telegraphing time signals in 1852, and by 1855, 98% of the public clocks in Great Britain were displaying GMT, either alone or in conjunction with local time.
Sir Sandford Fleming was the instigator of a single, worldwide system of timekeeping. His basic idea of having a universal day beginning at Greenwich was ultimately adopted at the International Meridian Conference in 1884. The conferees decided that the line of longitude that passed through Greenwich would be the prime meridian where each universal day would begin at midnight.

As had once been the case in Europe, and for some semblance of standardization from town to town, railroad companies set their own times, which differed from company to company. William F. Allen’s proposal was adopted by the US rail system on November 18, 1883. It was called the day of two noons, every railroad station clock was reset to reflect new time zones, which were designated Intercolonial, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.
Less than one hundred years ago, the US Congress passed the Standard Time Act in 1918, which established a single, standard system of timekeeping for the entire country and designated its five time zones by reference to the Greenwich meridian.
Incidentally, it is called “Greenwich Mean Time,” because the Earth’s daily rotation time is slightly irregular, causing a variance of about plus or minus 16 minutes, so to be consistent, the mean time is used.

Unique Quote

The chairman of a meeting introduced puzzle-loving logician Raymond Smullyan and praised him as unique.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, sir,” said Smullyan, “but I happen to be the only one in the entire universe who is not unique.”

Berlin 1953 - 2016

The Berlin Morning Post has developed a fascinating interactive map of Berlin during 1953 and updated as of 2016. The map is split in the middle and you can move cursor to slide the view from one side to the other interactively and can zoom in, as well as move north and south.

You can search for an addresses in the top left hand corner and see what the neighborhood looked like more than sixty years ago, before the Berlin Wall and while the city was still recovering from the Second World War. Berlin removed 75 million cubic metres of rubble in the years after the war. All names are in German. LINK

Laughing Sailors

 If you feel the need to hear some laughing, click on this YouTube LINK. It is 50 seconds of animated sailors laughing. Completely useless, but a momentary diversion from what ails you.

Wordology, Delicatessen

Most of us are familiar with the word Deli, which conjures up sliced sausage and cheese piled high on rolls and ordered at the counter. The term also brings to mind baguettes and camembert, or olives and prosciutto. The term deli comes from delicatessen shops, which came from the German 'Delikatesse'.

The shops called delicatessens were first opened in New York and London by German proprietors, such as Lingner’s Delicatessen on London's Old Compton Road in Soho, recorded in 1877.

The German word has its roots in Latin “delicatus” and the French word “délicatesse”, but the French term for a fine foods shop is actually “une épicerie fine”.

Centenarian Advice

Five people, all women 113 to 117 years old provide thoughts about what helped them live so long.

 No jogging, smoked until husband had his first heart attack, then quit. Eats anything, but prefers oatmeal.
 Has compassion for others and positive attitude.
 Eat delicious things, including ramen noodles and beef stew, as well as hashed beef and rice mackerel sushi. Learn to relax.
 Eats fish and mutton and sometimes cow foot. Also has locally-grown produce like sweet potatoes, breadfruit, oranges and mangoes.
 Believes being single is what keeps her alive (she left her husband in 1938). Eats two raw eggs and one cooked egg every day and cookies.

Camels in Australia

Australia has camels and they were imported onto the continent during the 19th century from Arabia, India, and Afghanistan, because they were well suited to Australia’s outback.

When the combustion engine came along, the camels were no longer needed, so they were released into the outback. Today it is a huge problem. In fact, there is one roaming flock that has 750,000 camels.

Australia exports camels to Saudi Arabia, a place you would think would be plentiful with camels. There are many camel farms in Saudi Arabia, but the camels are bred for domestic uses and racing. The camels from Australia are mostly used for meat, a delicacy for many countries in the Middle East.

Leading Causes of Death 1900 and 2014

For all of the advances in modern medicine, it seems like many things remain the same. Politics, headlines, and funding appear to have as much influence as medicine and science for finding cures. Case in point, HIV/AIDS threatened to wipe out millions, yet it is not shown in either list. It became a cause célèbre, was well funded, and today is a mere blip in the grand scheme of leading causes of death.
During 1900, leading causes of death were: Pneumonia or influenza, Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal infections, Heart disease, Cerebrovascular disease (stroke), Nephropathies (causes are Diabetes, Alcohol abuse, Vitamin deficiencies, Infections, and Autoimmune disease), Accidents, and Cancer.

During 1940, leading causes of death were: Diseases of the heart, Cancer and other malignant tumors, Intracranial lesions of vascular origin, Nephritis (all forms), Pneumonia and influenza, Accidents excluding motor-vehicle, Tuberculosis, Diabetes mellitus.

During 2014, leading causes of death among Americans under age 80 were: Heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; and accidents. Nearly two-thirds of deaths in the United States were caused by these five diseases or conditions.

Thirty percent of heart disease deaths, 15 percent of cancer deaths, 28 percent of stroke deaths, 36 percent of chronic lower respiratory disease deaths, and 43 percent of accident deaths were preventable, according to the CDC.

It appears we have become much better at defining causes, but not developing cures. To a politician, the problem is the healthcare system, but to a patient, the problem is the disease. To a politician, the symptom is the size of the wallet, but to a patient, the symptom is the size of the tumor.

Bacon Bow

Here is something completely different. Japanese girls have begun wearing plastic food as head decorations. I really appreciate this tasty looking bacon bow.


"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person." ~Audrey Hepburn

Dec 2, 2016

Happy Friday

A smile not shared is like a gift not delivered.

I always deliver my smiles, especially on a Happy Friday!

Whole Fat Milk

Contrary to current publicity, children who drink whole milk are leaner and have higher vitamin D levels than those who drink low-fat or skim milk, according to a recent study at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Another interesting fact to back up that study, childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years while consumption of whole milk has halved over the same period.

Incidentally, whole milk has just 3.25 per cent fat content vs. 2 percent and 1 percent milk.


 Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in a cannabis plant. Both CBD and THC belong to a unique class of compounds known as cannabinoids.

While many strains of marijuana are known for having abundant levels of THC, high-CBD strains are less common. THC is probably best known for being the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD does not get you high. This unique feature of CBD is what makes it so appealing as a medicine.

THC is known to cause some people to feel anxious or paranoid, but CBD is believed to have the opposite effect. Studies show that CBD works to counteract the anxiety caused by ingesting THC. A number of studies also suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety when administered on its own.

In addition to being non-psychoactive, CBD seems to have antipsychotic properties. Researchers believe that CBD may protect marijuana users from getting too high by reducing the psychosis-like effects of THC. On its own, CBD is being tested as an antipsychotic medicine for people with schizophrenia.

One of the most common uses of cannabis is as a sleep aid. THC is believed to be responsible for most of marijuana’s sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, studies suggest CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a poor choice as a sleep medicine. The opposite effects of CBD and THC on sleep may explain why some strains of cannabis cause users to feel drowsy while others are known to boost energy.

While most countries have strict laws surrounding cannabis and THC, the legal status of CBD is less clear. In the United States, CBD is technically illegal since it is classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. A pharmaceutical form of CBD, called Epidiolex, was only recently cleared by the FDA to be tested in children with severe epilepsy.

CBD is also found in hemp, which can be legally imported and sold in the U.S. Some companies have taken advantage of this loophole by importing high-CBD hemp extracts from other countries where hemp is produced.

Microsoft Office Online Free

You can get the new Microsoft Office apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., for free. One hitch is that it is all online, rather than physically installed on your PC. If you can live with that, go to LINK   You need to sign up for a free Microsoft account (if you have not done so).

Travel Tip

Before you leave on your next trip, use your phone to take a picture of your luggage. This will assist recovery efforts for lost luggage and reduce possible disputes. In addition, I always place my business card inside each checked and carry-on bag.

Cranberry Juice Myth

Contrary to popular belief, the cranberry juice commonly found on grocery store shelves is ineffective at preventing urinary tract infections.

Cranberries do contain compounds that defend against bacterial infection in the bladder wall, which can help prevent UTIs, but cranberry juice does not have a high enough concentration of these compounds to do much good. In order for a noticeable reduction in bacterial adhesion, a person would have to consume at least 32 ounces of cranberry juice daily.


"If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?" ~John Cleese

Birthday Cakes and Candles

The Ancient Greeks served some form of cake with candles to honor Artemis, the goddess who, among other things, had dominion over the Moon. As such, people offered cakes that were not only shaped like the celestial object, but decorated with lit candles, presumably to make it glow. It has also been reported that smoke from the candles was thought to help the goddess hear an individual’s prayers as it ascends to the heavens.

Persians and Romans are known to have celebrated the birthdays of at least some 'commoners', although it does not appear that the custom was as ubiquitous as it is today. Rather, when a wealthy person reached a major milestone like 50, family and friends might throw the person a party and serve a special cake. However, it does not appear that they put candles on the birthday cakes.

The Chinese have long had birthday celebrations, though eating cake on that day has only been a recent practice, adopted from the Western world. In China it is traditional to eat longevity noodles on one’s birthday.

German bakers during the 15th century, began marketing single-layer cakes for birthdays. By the end of the 18th century, the practice became common in the west. The Germans were also adding candles on the birthday cakes, numbering at least the years the child had been alive plus often more in the hope of a long life to come.

During 1746 Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf had “a cake as large as any oven could be found to bake it, and holes made in the cake according to the years of his age, every one having a candle stuck into it, and one in the middle.”
It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that ordinary people had sufficient funds and ingredients were cheap enough, that the masses began incorporating enriched, frosted birthday cakes as part of a birthday celebration.

Wordology, Strand

The name of the famous street near the River Thames in London comes from the German word ‘Strand’, which means beach in modern German, but also once referred to river banks.

That is also why, if you are left on a desert island beach helpless and alone, you would be described as ‘stranded’.

Hot Cheese

File this under fun stuff. Sometimes new products come around that just tickle me. The Fondoodler, a hot glue gun for cheese, is one of them and it is a big seller this season.

It can be described as a culinary caulking gun that dispenses hot, coagulated cheese over your bacon, nachos, crackers, or tongue.

Load up the canister with whatever cheese you see fit, let it heat up for three minutes, wave goodbye to any semblance of shame you may have once had, and cover everything with pure, melty cheesiness. Of course, you can just drizzle it directly into your open mouth.

Every piece of the Fondoodler can be washed in a dishwasher. The Fondoodler costs $25, but is already on back-order and there is no guarantee it will arrive in time for the holidays.

Nov 25, 2016

Happy Friday

A genuine smile is the greatest courtesy.

I always extend my courtesies to all, especially on a Happy Friday!

Paper Towels Origin

Scott Paper Company capitalized on the demand for improved hygiene by essentially 'inventing' the market for toilet paper. Nearly a decade later, a manufacturing error at Scott’s mills revolutionized the company by producing tissue that was too thick to use as toilet paper.

Remembering a story about a schoolteacher who cut up copy paper for her students to use as hand wipes (as opposed to a communal cloth that spread germs), company founder Arthur Scott set his sights on marketing the world’s first disposable paper towel.

By perforating the thick, unusable paper so that it could be dispensed in individual sheets, Scott targeted his sales to railroad stations, hotels, industrial buildings, and schools under the name “Sani-Towels.” By 1931, a paper manufacturer’s mistake had become a successful household item throughout America.

Cannabis Genotype vs. Phenotype

There are there are defining characteristics for every strain, but each plant uniquely expresses genes according to its garden environment. That is why the government is so determined to control the production process, from seed to distribution.

Two things influence the structural formation of any given cannabis plant: genetics and environment. The plant’s genetic makeup, also called a genotype, acts as a blueprint for growth: it allows a spectrum of physical possibilities, but it is up to the environment to induce these characteristics.

The physical expression of a genotype is referred to as a phenotype, which is simply defined as the traits that the environment pulls out from the plant’s genetic code. Everything from color, shape, smell, and resin production are affected by the environment.

Cannabis breeding took a major turn during the 1970s and 1980s when federal anti-cannabis sentiments peaked, driving cultivation from the great outdoors to inside. Indoor gardens, raised by soil, electric lights, and hydroponic systems, produce a bulk of the cannabis in the market today. The plant’s phenotypic expression depends on: nutrients, temperature, the amount and angle of light, soil type, photoperiod length, time of harvest, and the distance between the plant and light source. These and other conditions affect a plant’s characteristics.

Narrowing diversity even further, growers during this time were primarily motivated by THC content and selectively chose this characteristic over other important chemical constituents like CBD.

Windows 10 Sign-in

Are you required to sign in to your computer each time you turn it on? Do you hate that? If you are not worried that someone will use your computer without your permission, there is a way to turn this 'feature' off.

Click Start > Settings > Accounts. On the left choose “Sign-in options.” Up at the top, under “Require sign-in” set the drop-down box to say Never.

Now you can turn on your PC, go get a cup of coffee, and when you return it will be ready for you to use.


These days there is much talk about 'cutting the cord', or eliminating the increasingly high cable TV costs. People are looking for decreased costs and instant gratification. The irony is, while people are installing ever larger TV screens in the home, many people are opting to choose their entertainment on miniscule phone screens and tablets. There are common terms for this instant gratification.

VOD is Video On Demand. Wherever there is a screen, in your pocket, in your car, etc., you can watch the latest episode of your favorite show or watch a movie.

AVOD is Advertising or Ad-based VOD. It is a model that is free of monthly or on demand cost, but you pay by letting yourself be subjected to commercials. Think YouTube as an example or commercial, non-cable TV.

SVOD is Subscription VOD, a type of service that requires a paid subscription agreement, which grants access to movies, shows, or other content. The fees are typically charged monthly.

TVOD is Transactional VOD. It is a service that is paid for as you watch. TVOD is typically free sign up, then pay for any content you watch. This is like an electronic version of the old Blockbuster model, watch a movie, pay a fee, watch another movie, pay another fee.

There are examples of services that operate with mixed models, where the customer will pay a monthly fee, which will grant access to certain types of content, but there are extra fees applied to watch particular pieces of content, such as a live sports event. Cable TV, Rabbittv, Selecttv, and VRV are mixed models.

The Internet, with its Over-The-Top (OTT), or Over-The-Air (OTA) watch anything, anywhere, anytime for free is disrupting most of the paid schemes and forcing cable operators to rethink their business models and outrageous fees.

Phone and Internet Use

The International Telecommunication Union reports that Earth has as many phone subscriptions as people (7 billion), even if it does not translate to a phone for each person.

It also finds internet usage is not evenly distributed. Though broadband networks are available to 84 percent of the world’s population, just 47 percent actually use the internet.


Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is often confused with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). GMT and UTC share the same current time in practice, but there is a basic difference between the two. GMT is a time zone and UTC is a time standard.

GMT is a time zone officially used in some European, African, and other countries. The time can be displayed using both the 24-hour format (0 - 24) or the 12-hour format (1 - 12 am/pm).

UTC is not a time zone, but a time standard that is the basis for civil time and time zones worldwide. This means that no country or territory officially uses UTC as a local time.

Neither UTC nor GMT ever change for Daylight Saving Time. However, some of the countries that use GMT switch to different time zones during their Daylight Saving Time periods. For example, the United Kingdom is not on GMT all year, it uses British Summer Time (BST), which is one hour ahead of GMT, during the summer months. Seems to me all Daylight Saving Time should adopt the British acronym and call it for what it is - BST, for Bull S... Time.

Einstein the Horse

 Miniature horses were first developed in Europe during the 1600s, and by 1765, they were seen frequently as the pets of nobility. Miniature horse life span is 25 to 35 years, but often live longer, with the oldest known ones living 50 years of age.

The English began using small ponies in their mines. At the peak of this practice in 1913, there were 70,000 ponies underground in Britain. In later years, mechanical haulage was introduced on the main underground roads replacing the pony haulers. As of 1984, 55 ponies were still in use at the pit in Ellington, Northumberland. When Ellington closed in 1994, the last four pit ponies were brought out.

Einstein, who was born during 2010 in New Hampshire, US is a miniature pinto stallion and not a dwarf. This tiny steed is just 20 inches tall and weighs 47 pounds. His father and mother are 32 inches and 30 inches respectively and are national mini horse champions.

Nov 18, 2016

Happy Friday

Sadness cannot open the door to a happy house.

My doors are always open to celebrate a Happy Friday!

Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse

Steamboat Willie was first released on November 18, 1928, in New York. It was co-directed by Walt Disney. “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” Walt Disney

International Men's Day

International Men’s Day is celebrated every year on November 19. It is dedicated to celebrating men and raising awareness of men’s issues and rights.

World Toilet Day

Totally, completely, and absolutely not related to International Men's Day. World Toilet Day is a day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

Happy Thanksgiving next Week

Hope your Holiday is filled with good fun, good family, good friends, good drinks, and good food!

Bottled Water Sources

Companies are not required to publicly disclose exactly where their sources of collection are. Ironically, most US bottled water comes from (drought stricken) California. Almost all US tap water is better regulated and monitored than bottled water is.

Purified water is a different story. It is usually produced by distillation, de-ionization or reverse osmosis. This water can originate from either the tap or from ground water. Often labeled "purified" or drinking water," this processed water often has minerals added to it to give it taste.

There are more than 3,600 brands of bottled water available. Many now come packed with vitamins, minerals, probiotics,  flavors, and natural and artificial sweeteners.

The various types of bottled water are sourced from:
  • Well water (water found underground that is trapped by rocks or sand)
  • Spring water (collected at the source of a spring)
  • Groundwater (mineral water contains natural minerals dissolved from the source)
  • Distilled water (collected from the steam of boiled water)
  • Purified water (water from anywhere, but it is treated to remove chemicals).
About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.
Evian, Perrier, and Vittel come from natural springs in France. FIJI Water comes from a source in the Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu, one of Fiji’s two principal islands, and is now the number one imported bottled water in the United States. San Pellegrino comes from mountain springs in Italy. Mountain Valley Spring Water comes from Arkansas. Saratoga springs comes from New York and is injected with additional carbonation during bottling. Everest water comes from Texas, Glacier Mountain comes from Ohio, and only about a third of Poland Springs water comes from the actual Poland Spring, in Maine.

Aquafina and Dasani use tap water and treat it. In fact, Aquafina, was recently forced to change their labels to reflect the true source of their water: Public Water Source, in other words, tap water. Coca-Cola bottling plants, which produce Dasani, use 1.63 liters of water for every liter of beverage produced in California.
The following are bottled water brands who refuse to release the location of their water source.

    Big Y Natural Spring Water
    Cool Springs Purified Drinking Water
    Crystal Clear Bottled Water Purified Drinking Water
    Deja Blue Purified Drinking Water
    Floravita 2000 Super Aqua Ultrapure Premium Water
    H20m Natural Spring Water
    Kroger Distilled Water
    Nursery Purified Water
    Publix Drinking Water
    Simply H20
    Smart Sense Purified Water
    Sunnyside Farms Purified Water
    Trader Joe’s Electrolyte Enhanced Water
    Vintage Natural Spring Water
    Voss Artisian Water
    Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral Water
    365 Everday Value Spring Water

The International Bottled Water Association lists more than 20 brands of bottled water that contain fluoride. A few of the brands are Arrowhead, Deer Park, Hinkley Springs, Nursery Water, Ozarka, and more. DS Services and Nestle Waters North America are the most common manufacturers listed.
A new type, Alkaline water, also called ionized water has claimed health benefits. However, researchers have not yet verified claims that alkaline water can cure illnesses or prevent certain conditions. Most doctors agree more studies are needed.

The consensus between the two main water quality regulating groups EPA and EWG, and health research is that bottled water is inferior in quality to tap water. This is due to the extreme filtering process and type of disinfection used.

Lost Cat Tip

Was not sure I believed this, but verified it with a few cat sites and it appears to be true. Here are things you can do to assist in having your cat return home. Put the litter box or scoop of used litter outside along with any of the following: articles of  your own worn clothing, a slept on pillowcase, a used bath mat or towel, a vacuum bag or canister and kitty’s favorite bed or blanket. These will be familiar scents that will appeal to kitty. It is said they can smell from long distances. Putting out cat food does not work.

Incidentally, statistics show many cats return from 8pm to 2am and from 4am to 7am.

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

With the recent election, another sea change is beginning. That change stems from a number of states approving legislation for the legalization of marijuana, either for recreational or medical purposes.
It seems odd to me that any substance can be classified as either medical or recreational. I guess that pouring vodka on a wound to cleanse it might be considered medical use and drinking it might be considered recreational. However, marijuana can be ingested the same way for both purposes. The practical distinction appears to be political.
Cannabis classification has been around for a long time. Early taxonomic distinctions between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa began in the 18th century when differences between their structure and resin production were first noted. The hybrid category was adopted later on, as growers began mixing genetics from different geographic locations. In addition to the major strains, each can have many minor strains that produce different effects.

Indica strains are known for being physically sedating, perfect for relaxing with a movie or as a nightcap before bed.

Sativas typically provide more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects.

Hybrids tend to fall somewhere in between the indica-sativa spectrum, depending on the traits they inherit from their parent strains.
Other unique attributes:
Indica and sativa plants have differences in appearance.
Sativa plants have a longer maturation cycle than indica plants.
Indica strains tend to produce heavier yields than sativa strains.
Indica and sativa strains tend to have different flavor profiles.

Because of these differences, medical patients using cannabis to treat their symptoms and conditions may also consider a strain’s classification. A patient suffering from fatigue or depression may use a sativa during the day, and another treating pain and insomnia will likely choose an indica strain at nighttime.

Incidentally, most countries use the word cannabis vs. the US use of the word marijuana. Also, the US stock market and valuations for cannabis companies is vigorously growing. See also my blog LINK

Great TP Tax

In New York, sales tax for toilet paper is 8.875 percent. Many New Yorkers are unaware of the taxation on a product that is a necessity of everyday life.
After discovering Florida’s sales tax laws, Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo launched a petition pleading for legislators to exempt toilet paper from taxation.  His lone petition drew a mere 89 supporters.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the only two states that specifically exempt toilet paper from tax. during 2016, Costco in New Jersey was sued for charging toilet paper tax. Case is still pending. Target in Pennsylvania was also sued for charging tax on toilet paper.

All toilet papers today break down well in the septic system. However, thinner is better. 1 ply bath tissue will break down easier and is best in recreational vehicles and boats.

Incidentally, In 1996, President Clinton passed a “Toilet Paper Tax” of 6 cents per roll.

Movember Fact

A scientist found the average drinker takes ten sips to finish a pint of beer, of which 0.56 millilitres of Guinness is trapped in the average mustache at every sip. That means almost 163,000 pints of Guinness is wasted each year due to mustaches. This can be seen as a tribute to the sacrifice men who grow mustaches during the month of November to benefit prostate cancer research.

Nov 11, 2016

Happy Friday

If you marry happiness, laughter and joy will be your offspring.

I am wed to creating many a Happy Friday!

Love Your Lawyer Day

Last Friday was Love Your Lawyer Day. Really! It was created in 2001 by attorney Nader Anise, American Lawyers Public Image Association, to begin a campaign of “No Lawyer Bashing or Jokes for a day.” That's it, just do not tell lawyer jokes today. Seems easy enough - Uh, did you hear the one about the lawyer, the donkey and the pig. . .

Splitting States

The United States is strange for many reasons, not the least of which is separating states into two. For Instance, North and South Carolina's evolution from the colony to two separate colonies and then two states occurred back in the 1700s and was caused partly by messy beginnings of governance and poor leadership, and partly by the fact that the original land grant was too large.

West Virginia split from the eastern portion of Virginia in 1861, because the latter voted to secede from the United States in the lead-up to the Civil War.

North and South Dakota had at least two reasons to split. From the creation of the Dakota Territory in 1861 until 1883, Yankton was the capital, in the southeastern corner of the territory. It was a steamboat landing along the Missouri River. However, the landing was crushed by the breaking of an ice dam, in 1881, and the entire riverfront and downtown area were flooded.

Two years later, the northern region of the Dakota Territory declared Bismarck as the capital of the territory. The people living in the southern region planned to become a separate state from the northern territory, so that they could have their own capital. The government balked and said there were not enough people for two states. When North Dakota was finally populated enough to become a state, in 1889, there was a rivalry about which state would be admitted first.

Another, perhaps more important, reason for two separate states instead of one large state was four senators, instead of two, and more representatives. Since Dakotans from the north and the south routinely voted Republican, the admission of two Dakotas gave the Republicans a majority in Congress. I am surprised the residents of the various Hawaiian Islands have not thought of that tactic.

Pumpkin Reuse

Now that Halloween is over and you want to preserve the feeling a while longer, here are a few things you can do.

Use some WD40. The main ingredient in WD-40 is mineral oil—the same stuff in Vaseline It will keep your pumpkins hydrated, protected from moisture, and fresh looking. It also contains several alkanes that are water-repellant and freeze-resistant. So go forth and use it to preserve both carved and uncarved pumpkins.

Spray all over your uncarved pumpkin to keep it looking shiny and new. For carved pumpkins, spray inside and outside making sure every part is saturated. Keep in mind that mineral oil is flammable, so you may want to be cautious about putting a lit candle inside

Another idea. Get three pumpkins of varying sizes, small, medium, and large. Paint them white. Then stack them up like a snowman. add a hat, scarf or other typical snowman clothes. The paint will help preserve the pumpkins and you can enjoy them for months as wintry guests on the front porch.


In Italian, the word affogato means 'drowned'. For those of you not in the know, affogato is a coffee-based treat usually consisting of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream drowned in a shot of espresso. Sometimes there are even additions like Grand Marnier, Amaretto, or whipped cream. It is difficult to decide whether this is a drink or a desert. Either way, it is easy to put together and will make your guests happy.

Freeze ice cream in ice cube trays, then top your ice cream cubes with room temperature coffee, they will naturally float to the top. If you like, add a shot of liqueur, a dollop of whipped cream, berries, or some ground coffee beans on top.

Diet Drink, Coffee with Butter

Some people have only coffee for breakfast, thinking it can help them lose weight, because caffeine does suppress appetite. Butter makes plain coffee considerably thicker, which makes you feel more physically full.

You can take a tip from paleo dieters and add real butter to your cup of Joe. Adding butter, which is higher in fat than cream or whole milk, will slow down the digestive process and maximize the beneficial effects of caffeine. Drop two tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter into your coffee.

One product on the market is called Bulletproof Coffee. It combines coffee beans, butter, and a few teaspoons of coconut oil to combat hunger and help your body burn fat throughout the day. This beneficial fat is a key reason the drink has taken off among paleo dieters. Ingesting butter provides nutrients that frequent breakfast-skippers miss out on.

According to dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, butter's fat content is key to keeping your caffeine buzz, because fat slows down the digestion process, it takes longer for your body to absorb coffee's caffeine. Rather than running through the energy boost quickly, butter helps prolong coffee's effects.

The traditional coffee additives of cream and sugar can't match butter's meal-like effects. Real butter contains the best benefits. Spreads won't offer the same texture and are made of different ingredients.

Of course, adding butter to your coffee also affects the taste. Many Bulletproof drinkers love the creamy, smooth feel of the drink, and it is often compared to the taste of a latte.

GMO Myth

Many headlines proclaim that GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) produced food is bad for us, however science debunks that myth. Sales of such GMO-free products are skyrocketing and they represent about $16 billion in annual sales. GMOs currently on the market provide ample cases of tangible benefit with relatively negligible risk. In the US, 70% of the food in US supermarkets contains GMO ingredients.

Organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission have publicly proclaimed GMO foods to be safe to eat. A large 2013 study on GMOs found no "significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."

Other experts cite the fact that practically all the food we eat today has been genetically modified in some way; everything from corn to watermelons have been selectively bred for thousands of years to give us the traits we find desirable, like large amounts of sweet, edible flesh, or small and fewer seeds. Brings to mind the early ugly looking and untasty small kernel corn, tiny potatoes, tomatoes, and purple carrots.

Thousands of years ago when people simply gathered wild fruits and vegetables for food, these plants were found naturally growing in the wild. Then, about 10,000 years ago, people began to domesticate these wild fruits and vegetables and eventually improve upon them.

For instance, potatoes were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. Over 99% of the presently cultivated potatoes worldwide descended from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile.

Selective breeding is the process of developing a plant or animal based on selecting desirable characteristics of the parent. For example, saving seed for replanting from plants within a crop that have shown to be particularly robust; or breeding a white dog with a black patch over its eye via two parents that have the same trait. Selective breeding is a form of genetic modification which does not involve the addition of any foreign genetic material (DNA) into the organism. It is the conscious selection for desirable traits. GMO adds different genetic material into the organism, in order to create desirable traits.

Incidentally, during October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.

A Different Election Perspective

Seems everyone likes to claim a victor as their own. The Buchan Observer, based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, ran a presidential announcement with the headline: "Aberdeenshire Business Owner Wins Presidential Election."

Donald Trump owns the Trump International golf course in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, which opened in 2011. He has visited the area several times, most recently earlier this year. Trump is also half-Scottish. His mother, Mary Macleod, grew up on the Isle of Lewis.

Speaking after the result became official, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon congratulated Trump on his victory and said it's time for all those who share "progressive values" to speak up loudly together.

Oct 28, 2016

Happy Friday

Celebrate the delicious fleeting flavors of life with all your heart.

I always savor the delicious flavors of a Happy Friday!


This year Halloween is Monday October 31. Here is a Halloween Hack - If you want your carved pumpkin to last longer, rub some Vaseline on the cut parts. Boo!


It began in 2003, and the Movember movement has grown to be a global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas. Men can help by growing a mustache during the month of November, then attending or throwing a party to raise funds for men's health. It is a very worthy cause. My nephew participates each year and has turned his group’s costume parties into major events as well as fundraisers.

The Movember foundation says, "We’re the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. We’re addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. We know what works for men, and how to find and fund the most innovative research to have both a global and local impact. We're independent of government funding, so we can challenge the status quo and invest quicker in what works. In 13 years we’ve funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world. By 2030 we’ll reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.

Exercise vs. Exorcise

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the pronunciation of these two words and content of the rest of a sentence is key to understanding. We exercise to stay fit, but we also exercise to get rid of fat and we exercise to develop skills. We exorcise demons to get rid of them.

Many people have a fear of public speaking, but we can both exercise (develop skills), and exorcise, to get rid of public speaking demons.

Water and Toxins Myth

There is a myth that says water flushes out toxins from our body. This popular misconception is that drinking copious amounts of water will help magically cleanse our innards.

Drinking adequate amounts of water ensures our body’s metabolism works correctly. Part of this is the natural detoxification process liver and kidneys conduct. They work fine as long as they are getting enough, but not too much liquid.

Additional water intake is not going to help. In fact, drinking too much water can actually prevent the detoxification process. It reduces the concentration of salt in our blood, which can damage kidneys and liver and prevent their normal functioning.

DoS and DDoS

These letters mean Denial of Service and Distributed Denial of Service. They are important, because last Friday was not so happy for people trying to get into Amazon, Twitter, GitHub, Heroku, Paypal, Etsy, Spotify, Soundcloud, Reddit, Crunchbase, Netflix, BBC, CNN, The New York Times, HBO Now, Elder Scrolls online, Yelp, Freshbooks, various Squarespace sites, Pinterest, Twilio,, Quora, Business Insider, Zillow, Box, tableau, GrubHub, Overstock, Walgreens, Ruby Lane, Pixlr,  PicMonkey, Ticketfly, and ironically, outageanalyzer - plus more.

DDoS originate when multiple compromised devices or systems are used to target a single computer system. Victims of a DDoS attack are both the end targeted system and all systems maliciously controlled by hackers in the distributed attack. The incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from potentially hundreds of thousands to many millions of devices, including PCs, cameras, DVRs, and many smart devices, such as thermostats, etc. The wave of outages move from the East coast of the US to the West coast as the day progressed. It was reported that 145 thousand security cameras among other devices were part of the attackers causing the outages.

Incidentally, a way you can prevent your devices from being part of the problem is easily solved by changing the default password. Unfortunately many connected devices, such as thermostats, refrigerators, etc. do not provide a means to change the default password. Caveat Emptor.

What's in a Name, Frank Hayes

Frank Hayes was a horse trainer and jockey during the early 1900s. In 1923, at the age of 35, Hayes had an opportunity to compete in a steeplechase in Belmont Park, New York. He had never won a race before that. The horse that he was going to race was named Sweet Kiss, a 20-1 underdog.

In spite of the long odds of winning, and despite the fact that Hayes had little experience as a jockey since he was a horse trainer by profession, Hayes and Sweet Kiss ended up victorious.

The owner of the horse, elated with the win, approached Hayes afterward only to find out that Hayes was dead. It appeared at some point during the middle of the race, Hayes suffered a heart attack and died. Sweet Kiss somehow managed to hop the final fence and cross the finish line ahead of everyone while carrying literal dead weight.

The track physician speculated that his death may have been caused by a pre-existing heart disease. Hayes is in the Guinness Book of Records as the first, and so far the only, deceased jockey to win a race.

IKEA Size Fact

IKEA uses 1 percent of the planet’s lumber. That is about 530 million cubic feet of wood used to make IKEA furniture each year.

Candied Bacon

If you love maple syrup and if you love bacon, Bob Evans should be on your breakfast list of places to visit. It is now serving a candied bacon appetizer.

“It's so crunchy, it doesn’t even feel like meat, but it tastes like meat,” said one taster. "It's sweet and savory and it's still crisp," said another satisfied taster. "It's God's food," said another of the pulcritudunous porcine product.

Health concerns, at least when it comes to bacon may not be much of a concern for the average American. According to the National Pork Board, ten pounds of bacon is sold annually per person, demonstrating the continuous popularity of pork.
The sweet and salt combo will the spot for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner and every snack in between.

Incidentally, in May, a British man legally changed his name to Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

Oct 21, 2016

Happy Friday

Sometimes we need less planning and more doing.
Today I am already doing a Happy Friday!

Microsoft Word Tip

Did you open up your Microsoft Word document after having worked on it all day and have trouble finding where you ended typing?
As soon as you open up your document, press SHIFT and F5.  This will take you back to your last edit.  In fact, if you press Shift-F5 repeatedly, it will take you through your last four edits. This feature disappeared briefly in version 2007, but is back in version 2010.

Honing vs. Sharpening

When most people at home use a honing steel or butcher's steel, or that long metal rod that comes in the center of a knife block, to sharpen their knives, what they are really doing is honing them.

The difference is that a honing steel straightens out the blade of a knife, making the edge straight, free of burrs, and ready to use. As you use a knife, the tip of the blade will eventually bend and curl so you don't get a real blade-on cut at the very tip. The best you can really do at home is to hone your knives regularly to keep the cutting edge straight. For most at-home cooks, this makes the knives feel sharper. To sharpen a blade, you need a knife sharpener, or stone. Attached is a video at Chow showing a visual description.

Food Marketing Expense

Seventy percent of food manufacturers’ marketing budgets goes to trade promotion fees, which is money paid to supermarkets to obtain better product placement and promotion. The other thirty percent is for advertising and product packaging.

Brand awareness only goes so far and packaging, a fine art, is used to entice us to buy, but ultimately we are swayed by what is in front of us. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and we buy what we see first in the store.

Four Rules of Three

The main point of the Rules of Three is that we need to concentrate on the most immediate problem first. People mainly think of these rules for being stranded in the wilderness, but they also apply in an urban setting, such as natural disaster, earthquake, flood, etc. In any extreme situation:

You can survive for 3 minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water,
You can survive for 3 hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water),
You can survive for 3 days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment),
You can survive for 3 weeks without food (if you have water and shelter).

Some people have suggested a fifth rule and that is 3 months without hope.

Incidentally, if you have a stick, or knife, or any other object stuck in you, do not pull it out. The object restricts blood flow. Wrap the area around the wound and seek help as soon as possible.

Dairy and Healthy Bones Myth

Many people confuse “dairy” with “calcium,” and assume they are the same thing. Most still believe that dairy is the best thing for healthy and strong bones. Dairy contains calcium, but so do dark-leafy greens. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, as are many other foods.

Bone health goes beyond calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin K is important for bone health, dark leafy greens have it but dairy does not. Magnesium, which plays an important part of bone health, is present in foods like almonds, cashews, oatmeal, and potatoes, but missing in dairy products.

You should get enough calcium in your diet, and milk and cheese are good sources of it. However there are many other good sources. The Harvard School of Public Health and the
University of Missouri point out that milk is not the best, or only source of calcium. If you are looking for good sources of calcium and Vitamin D, consider collard greens, mustard greens, kale, and bok choy instead of milk.

Caffeine Facts

The Mayo Clinic says most healthy adults can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine each day.

Caffeine is
a central nervous system stimulant that makes us feel alert. It can also improve our mood and is associated with a reduced risk of depression. It can also increase our adrenaline level, which can leave us more irritable, anxious, and far more emotionally-charged. Caffeine has been shown to improve certain types of memory in some, but not all studies. Controlled amounts of caffeine can boost notable performance gains for athletes. Some studies also indicate caffeine is effective to increase long term memories. Although ingesting too much caffeine makes it difficult to focus on anything.

There is some evidence that caffeine, when combined with certain pain-relieving medications like acetaminophen, the main active ingredient in Tylenol, and aspirin, helps those medications take effect quicker, last longer, and increases their effects.
Excedrin contains caffeine.

Here are a few common sources of caffeine:

Most 12-ounce cups of coffee contain 90 to 120 mg of caffeine,
One 12-ounce cup of Starbucks contains about 260 mg,
Dunkin Donuts has 215 mg,
One 2-ounce shot of 5 hour energy contains about 215 mg,
One 12-ounce cup of McDonald's coffee has about 109 mg,
One 8-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 mg,
One cup of brewed black tea contains about 67 mg,
One shot of espresso contains about 71 mg, (a latte is espresso plus steamed milk - cappuccino is espresso plus milk and foam),
One 12-ounce can of diet Coke has 46 grams of caffeine,
One 12-ounce can of regular Coke has 34 grams of caffeine.