Dec 22, 2017

Happy Friday

It is not possible to have too much happiness.

Grab all you can, wherever you can, especially on a Happy Friday!

Christmas Carol Origins

Phillip Brooks was an Episcopalian preacher, he earned a Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Oxford, and taught at Yale University. During 1865, he rode on horseback from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where he participated in the Church of the Nativity's five-hour long Christmas Eve celebration. After returning home he wrote "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Its first public performance was held three years later, performed by the children's choir of his church.

Clement Clark Moore was a professor of Divinity and Literature at a New York Episcopal college when, in 1822, he sat down to write a Christmas poem for his family. Moore never intended for the poem to be published. It was only at his family’s begging that it was published a year later. "The Night Before Christmas", poem became an immediate success. Moore created much of our Christmas mythology. He named the reindeer, was the first to call St. Nicolas an “elf,” the idea of Santa going from rooftop to rooftop, and codified most every concept about Santa entering your home to leave gifts. Much about the current legend of Santa was influenced by his poem.

Christmas Banned

Christmas was banned in England between about 1644 and 1660 by Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England. Oliver Cromwell, along with Puritan members of parliament, believed the merrymaking and festivities observed during Christmastime were acts of sin and insults to God. Celebrating Christmas became a punishable offense, and consumption of Christmas foods was forbidden. The ban in England remained in place for almost 20 years, during which people secretly celebrated Christmas. When the British monarchy returned to power in 1660, it overruled all laws passed since 1642, and lifting the ban on Christmas.

Christmas was, until recent times a purely religious festival and New Year was and still is the main holiday for Scots. Christmas was not traditionally celebrated in Scotland, because it was banned for nearly 400 years until the 1950's. Christmas was not even a public holiday until 1958. Hogmanay was the real traditional celebration. LINK

Similar laws were passed in Puritan colonies in America. Christmas was banned in Boston and Plymouth Colony from 1659 to 1681. In 1659 the Puritan General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony made it a criminal offense to publicly celebrate Christmas and declared that “whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way” was subject to a 5-shilling fine. In New England, Christmas did not become a legal holiday until 1856.

Although outlawed in public, the celebration of Christmas endured in private homes, particularly away from the Puritans in Boston. December 25 was declared a US federal holiday in the United States in 1870.

Silver Bells

The song Silver Bells was originally titled Tinkle Bells, and first appeared in “The Lemon Drop Kid,” a 1951 film starring Bob Hope.

The co-composer Ray Evans said, “We never thought that tinkle had a double meaning until Jay, his partner went home and his wife said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Do you know what the word tinkle is?’” Referring to the fact that it is another word for urination often used with children. If that happened today, they would put him in jail, ban the song, delete any reference to it on Google, and Congress would vote to expunge the word from all dictionaries.

Alternate Reindeer Names

Dunder is variously spelled Donder and Donner. Blixem is variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen. The names Dunder and Blixem derive from Dutch words for thunder and lightning, respectively.

Finally More Sun

On a brighter note, yesterday we celebrated the Winter Solstice Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 10:27 am in Dallas. Beginning today, Dec 22 we begin to gain more sunlight, 1 extra second to be exact. Tomorrow we get 3 more seconds and each day after that more seconds of sunlight.

At risk of starting a Twitter frenzy, THE END IS NEAR. Winter officially began yesterday, so we are now counting down to the end of winter. It will get colder before it gets warmer, but we get to enjoy more sunlight each day and that is a good thing.

By the end of December, we will be enjoying 10 hours and 2 minutes of sunshine. Yea! I can feel the seasonal stress disorder slipping away already. Now I understand why Christmas and New Year's are such festive occasions, more sunshine.

Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft

He was an American voice actor and bass singer. He died May 22, 2005 at age 91. Although most do not recognize his name, almost everyone recognizes his voice - as Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flake commercials.
He was the narrator for "The Glory of Christmas" at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, from the early 1980s through the late 1990s.
He began his career as a singer, performing with The Johnny Mann Singers, and many major stars, including Elvis Presley. Ravenscroft sang bass on Rosemary Clooney's "This Ole House", which went to No. 1 in both the United States and Britain in 1954.
Other voice credits include, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” in the classic cartoon adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Ravenscroft also lent his vocals to such films as Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Horton Hears a Who!, The Hobbit (cartoon), The Brave Little Toaster, and many more. He also can be heard on numerous rides in Disney Land and Disney World, such as the Haunted Mansion, Country Bear Jamboree, Mark Twain Riverboat, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland Railroad, and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.

Christmas Child Car Seat Gifting

When giving or receiving a child car seat it is good to know that many fire departments will install it the correct way for free. Call first as some fire stations do not provide the service. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's maintains a listing of child passenger safety seat inspection locations. There is no charge, but if you do go, cookies, doughnuts, or pizza are always welcome. Make sure the person is a certified child car seat technician. You are welcome.

Roller Coaster Facts

Since 2017 has been such a roller coaster year, thought I would look up some coaster facts.

Missouri is home to the steepest wooden roller coaster, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 'Outlaw Run' has a drop at an 81-degree angle.

Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure near Jackson, New Jersey includes a drop of 418 ft (127 meters). It is also the world's tallest roller coaster at 456 ft (139 m).
The GateKeeper roller coaster at Cedar Point amusement park is the longest wing coaster at 4,164 feet (1269 m). It also has the tallest inversion of any roller coaster 170 feet (51.8 m), has the most inversions on a wing coaster (6) and is the fastest non-launched wing coaster.
Leap-the-Dips is the world's oldest operating roller coaster, built in 1902 and located in Lakemont Park, Altoona. It is also North America's last surviving side friction roller coaster.
Formula Rossa is the fastest roller coaster which races up to 149.1 mph (227kph) in just 4.9 seconds. It is Located in Abu Dhabi, UA.

The thrill of riding a coaster continues and more coasters are being built each year to challenge these records.

Dec 15, 2017

Happy Friday

Don't worry about the afterlife.

Live today and celebrate a Happy Friday!

Web Birthday

The internet as we know it has profoundly changed all of our lives, but many forget how young it is and how quickly it evolved. The web, or "world wide web" turns 27 years old on December 20. On that date in 1990, British engineer and scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who once made a computer out of an old television set, launched the world's first website, running on a NeXT computer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland.

On 30 April 1993 CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain. CERN made the next release available with an open license, as a way to
maximize its dissemination. Making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser, and a library of code, the web quickly flourished to what it is today.

Incidentally, the web neutrality act that was overturned yesterday was just put in place during 2015. Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc., grew and flourished before the government took over the web and the vote to keep the government out of it will not be the end of the world as some pundits will have us believe. Evidence of government control can be found in many other areas, such as post office, student loans, higher education, taxes, healthcare, banking, and more. The internet will not end because the government decided to not be in charge of it.

Natural Foods Myth

Foods that are labeled “natural” are better for you" is a myth.
“Natural” is a word that evokes pleasant feelings, implying that a food is inherently good for you. However, “natural” and “all-natural” are not regulated in the same way that “organic” or “kosher” are. Natural foods can contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, foods treated with pesticides, or genetically engineered products.

In response to consumer concerns about this issue, during 2016 the US Food and Drug Administration asked for public comments on the use of the word “natural” in food labeling. It means the FDA may take action to regulate use of this term to prevent consumers from being misled.

Until the label “natural” is better regulated, reading nutritional labels carefully is the best way to ensure the foods you eat are healthy. Never assume that an “all-natural” food has any particular nutritional benefit or superior qualities.

Holiday Healthy Drinking

There is a myth that says wine has health benefits, while beer and liquor do not.
There are many studies outlining the health benefits of wine, but not as many for other alcohols. However, in addition to the antioxidants in wine, all alcohols, when consumed in moderate doses can raise the body's levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.

Boston-based nutritionist and wellness counselor Alannah DiBona explains, "Wine (as well as beer and all types of alcohol) in moderate doses raise the body's levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, which protects the heart against the plaque buildup that may cause strokes and heart attacks. As Europeans have proven for centuries, 1 to 2 alcoholic beverages per day helps to reduce the risks of heart disease."

Developing an alcohol problem in the name of good heart health and lower cholesterol is not a good idea, but a glass of wine, or a few shots, or a few beers can actually reduce your risk for heart disease when combined with a good diet and exercise. Also remember the calories you intake when drinking alcohol, wine, or six-pack of beer can cause weight gain.

Beer, Wine, and Spirits

The spirits industry, as of 2016 commands 35.9% of the total alcohol market vs. 47% for beer and 17.1% for wine. Beer made up close to 60% of the alcohol market during the 1990s.

Contest vs. Sweepstakes

Some people use the two terms interchangeably, but there is actually a large difference between the two.

In a contest, you might be evaluated based on an essay, a cheesecake recipe, or some kind of design. A panel of judges makes a subjective determination based on the judging criteria outlined in the fine print.

In a sweepstakes, luck takes the place of talent. All entries are given equal consideration and tossed into a random drawing.

According to the many state and federal laws, charging money for a sweepstakes entry would classify it as a lottery, and that is usually illegal, unless it is being sponsored by a state government. Contests, on the other hand, can charge an entry fee since there is a degree of skill involved.

In 2006, the CVS pharmacy chain was ordered to pay $152,000 in civil penalties in New York after they promoted a “sweepstakes” in which entries were automatically submitted for customers buying Nicorette gum; the chain did not make the offer available to people who did not buy the product making it no equal consideration.

4K vs. 8K TV

4K, or 3840×2160, is about 2 million pixels and it contains almost four times the number of pixels on a screen compared with 1080P (current) technology.
8K resolution is 7680×4320 pixels. It is 16 times more dense than 4K. The numbers show 4K at 2 million pixels is compared to 8K at 33 million pixels. Today’s TV technology is not yet capable of handling this kind of raw power.
Other comparisons show current HD is 24 frames per second, 4K ultra HD is 60 frames per second, and 8K super Hi Vision is 120 frames per second.
For human eyes to actually differentiate between 4K and 8K resolutions, 8K televisions need to be at least 70 and 80 inches in size and you need to sit very close. To truly enjoy 8K, the television sets need to be even larger than that. Panasonic has developed a plasma television that is 145 inches.
2020 Olympics will all be broadcast in 8K - Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic have all announced plans to have 8K TVs ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Incidentally, as of September 2017 an 85 inch 8K TV costs $133,000 and is only available in Japan. Oh, and the old wives tale of sitting too close can hurt your eyes is a myth.

HDTV Antenna Myth

HDTV antenna hype created a huge misconception with regard to TV antennas used for HDTV reception. There is no such thing as an HDTV antenna. An antenna is like a pipe (as I recently described HDMI cables). An antenna just takes in the signal and passes it along to your TV. If the signal is HD, it passes HD. If the signal is SD, it passes SD.

Bottom line, do not be fooled by a marketing ploy to get you to pay more for an HD antenna, any modern antenna will pass along HD content to your TV. Also, all antennas provide a better picture than cable as the digital signals are compressed by cable companies.

Heisman Trophy

Last week they awarded the Heisman trophy, but many do not remember who John Heisman was and how he had the trophy named for him.

He was a player, coach, and hugely successful innovator in the early days of football. He played for Brown and then Penn as a collegian from 1887 to 1891, then went on to coach a number of college teams. He changed the sport from placing the ball on the ground and rolling it from center to lifting and handing or passing it back to the quarterback. He also added more innovations to the game.
During 1916, he coached Georgia Tech to the highest scoring game in college football. While playing a makeshift Cumberland team, his team outscored its opponent 222-0.
Heisman became the athletic director at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club, which awarded the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy to the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi. He died after the first trophy was awarded and before the second trophy could be awarded, the club voted to rename the prize the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award and included college players west of the Mississippi.

Incidentally, The famous “Heisman pose” trophy is actually based on Ed Smith, a former NYU running back who modeled for the trophy’s sculptor in 1934.

Robot Handiwork

For those who do not think robots are ready for prime time, here is a gif showing a robot stitching the skin of a grape. LINK  

Dec 8, 2017

Happy Friday

Do not chase happiness, attract it.

I am always attracted to happiness, especially on a Happy Friday!

Camel Beauty Contest

An interesting beauty contest is held in Madinat Zayed in Al Gharbia from December 13 to 29, the Al Dhafra Festival, the world’s largest festival of Bedouin traditions, is organized by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi. The two-week event also serves as an important channel to make future generations familiar with their traditions and cultural heritage.

The festival will host one of the world’s largest camel beauty contests and camel gatherings with organizers expecting around 2,000 camel owners and over 20,000 camels from the GCC taking part in the event.

Last year camels owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, the President’s Representative, won top prizes in the camel ‘mazayna’ beauty contest at this year’s Al Dhafra Festival. Sheikh Sultan’s camels won the Aayel category for the golden-red camel breed, originally from Oman. Camels belonging to Khamis Al Mazrouie won the Majahim category, the black camels of Saudi Arabia.

Overweight Statistics

Many things have changed since 1960. Back then the price of gas was 25 cents, house price $12,700, loaf of bread 25 cents, and a pound of hamburger 45 cents. Not so with the CDC definitions of weight. The tables used to determine the current obesity levels are still the same ones used during 1960.

Unrelated, but interesting to note that since 1960, the average weight of a turkey has more than doubled from 15.1 pounds during 1960 to 31.1 pounds during 2017.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National Center for Health Statistics, as of 2014, close to 71% of US adults age 20 or older are overweight or obese, based on those old tables.

While the world has changed dramatically, the weight definitions for overweight and obese have not changed during the past almost sixty years. The fact that Americans have also increased height and age during that time is not taken into consideration of the weight calculations.

Bottom line, we are comparing current weights to ancient 1960 tables. Also, BMI, as a measure has been debunked by the same CDC which states, "BMI ranges are not exact ranges of healthy and unhealthy weight." According to the BMI table, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Vin Diesel are both overweight.

Maybe the 1960 definitions and the BMI definitions need to be updated according to modern reality. Since we have achieved two standard deviations above the almost 60 year old tables, it might be time to redefine normal or we will soon be 100% overweight. Then the government agencies will forced to redefine the definition of windmills, as they are wont to do.

Text 911

For texting to 911 to work, emergency numbers need to be set up to receive texts, and then people trained and paid to receive and respond to those messages. Most departments have not had the time or money to implement.

There are some localities within the United States who do have the required infrastructure to take 911 messages through text. This does not mean you should take it for granted, as far fewer places can take text messages than cannot. If you are interested in being able to text 911 in an emergency, call up your local police non-emergency hotline and find out first if they have the service. If you are not 100% sure the service is provided in your area, call 9-1-1.

Creating New Tabs

Many times, clicking on a link in your browser opens it on top of what you are reading. This makes you go back after you are finished reading the page that interrupted you. Fortunately there are a few ways around this. Look for options and you can tell your preferred browser to open everything in a new ltab, or you can try a few of these tricks below.

Clicking on a link with the middle mouse button opens that link in a new browser tab. Go ahead and give it a try. It will change your life - or at least your browsing.

The oldest method is to right-click a link and select 'Open in new tab'.

For laptop users, sometimes pressing both trackpad buttons at once works as a middle click.

Finally, you can left-click a link while holding the CTRL key.

Fresh vs. Frozen Food

It is a natural tendency to believe fresh fruits and veggies are better for us, and taste better. However, unless you live in an area with local farms, your produce probably came from a place that is far away. From the moment that spinach was picked, it has been slowly decaying and losing its nutrients during the long journey to the grocery shelf. In addition, it was tossed into a refrigerated storage room for a while, then spread out in the produce section for a while hoping to get selected, then left in your fridge at home after you bought it.

What that all leads to is when it comes to nutrition, frozen produce will probably always be better than fresh. It is flash frozen immediately after it is picked, so it loses fewer nutrients between being harvested and landing on your plate. The same is true for some canned foods. For instance, canned tomatoes are higher in the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene than their non frozen counterpart, due to how they are preserved.

There is a caveat, the convenience and cost of frozen or canned foods makes them attractive options, particularly when fresh foods are out of season in your area. However, make sure you carefully read nutrition labels before purchasing frozen or canned foods. Some of these foods have high levels of added sodium or preservatives, which can make them less healthy options.

Frozen or canned food often allows you to buy higher-quality produce that was picked in-season and kept at that level of freshness. Even Popeye preferred canned spinach.

Three Quick Facts

Oscar Hammerstein II is the only Oscar to win an Oscar.

Tipping the hat comes from the military salute, which in turn comes from men in armor lifting the visor to show their faces.

Wine drinkers pour 12% more wine into a glass they are holding than one that is sitting on the table.


Velveeta does not fit into the fresh or frozen category of food, because it is neither picked nor frozen. It was invented by Emil Frey back during 1918. It is smooth and creamy, melts like a dream, and is one of the truly all-American foods. It was a pantry staple during the 1950s and lives on today. We grew up on many grilled cheese sandwiches made with Velveeta.

Real cheese was originally a part of the recipe, but today it is primarily milk protein concentrate and whey protein concentrate mixed with fat, milk, preservatives, and stabilizers, which the US FDA does not officially recognize as cheese. In 2002, the company was forced to change its official designation from Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread to Pasteurized Recipe Cheese Product.

During the 1920s Velveeta was advertised as a health food, and several years later it became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association’s seal of approval.

Like cream cheese, Velveeta contains both whey and curd, resulting in a creamier product. The whey is drained off of most cheeses, which are made from the resulting curd. Despite the fact that Velveeta is not a true cheese, it is a good source of CLA, containing more than most whole milk cheddar cheeses. It is also a good source of calcium

Today, Velveeta has more than thirty varieties. Its Kraft website calls it 'liquid gold'. It also comes in slices for easy grilled cheese sandwiches. There are the popular shells and cheese as well as variations including broccoli rotini and cheese, Nacho Supreme Cheese Skillets, Cheese Bacon Scalloped Potatoes, and Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole. among others. Its website even has a recipe for creamy Velveeta fudge. The many varieties of Velveeta cheese dips have long been a favorite for game day snacking.

Why Are Planets Round

Have you ever wondered why all the planets are mostly round? The spherical shape of all the planets is caused by gravity. When the planets in our solar system began to form, space was filled with billions and billions of pieces of dust and gas.

As these pieces bumped into each other, they began to form clumps that slowly grew larger and larger. Eventually these clumps of material grew large enough to develop their own gravitational fields. As the forming planets continued to grow, the force of the collisions with additional matter caused them to become hot and molten. Each planet's gravitational force is centered at its core. It pulls equally in every direction from the core, thus pulling all the molten material into a spherical shape. Scientists call this process "isostatic adjustment."

Think of a bicycle wheel. The center of the wheel is like the core of a planet, where the planet's center of gravity is. The gravity pulls equally in every direction, like the spokes of the wheel. The natural shape of the wheel formed as a result is a circle. In the case of a three-dimensional object, it becomes a sphere.

Planets are not actually perfectly round, because they also spin. When planets spin, the forces created by spinning work against gravity, causing planets to bulge out around their equators. Scientists call this extra width the "equatorial bulge." None of this has anything to do with getting older and developing our own human 'equatorial bulge' around the middle.

First Moon Meal

Speaking of the solar system, the first full meal eaten on the Moon consisted of bacon, cookies, and coffee, along with some peaches, and a glass of grapefruit juice. However, this is not the first food consumed on the moon.

When Buzz Aldrin set off on the Apollo 11 mission, he took with him a small communion kit given to him by Rev Dean Woodruff, so that he could symbolically take part in the ceremony with the other members of his Presbyterian church. This kit contained a small piece of communion bread and a small vial of wine, both of which Aldrin consumed after saying a prayer during the Apollo 11 radio blackout. This was also, unsurprisingly, the first religious service held on the Moon. Of course moon meal, another first for beloved bacon. It proves bacon is out of this world goodness.

Dec 1, 2017

My Latest Book

Tis the season for presents and stocking stuffers. My latest book, fourth in a series, Amazing Facts IV LINK should fit well into both categories. In fact all of my books are great presents to give to yourself or a loved one this holiday season. Where else can you get this much wisdom between two covers? Great way to shop without leaving the comfort of your home. Type my surname name on Amazon for a view of all my books, including free sneak previews inside. Happy Holidays! Also, if you do buy any, please leave a review.

Since I have no ads and never charge for producing these weekly Friday Thoughts, picking up my books is a great way to show your support. Thanks!

Happy Friday

Everything happens for a reason.

Today is the reason I am happy to celebrate a Happy Friday!

FedEx Facts

FedEx is very busy, especially during the Holidays. Normally, an average of 13 million packages are delivered daily.

FedEx Express and FedEx Ground are actually two separate entities. Most of the routes for Ground are contracted out to save money. People can purchase the routes from FedEx and then hire their own drivers. While that should not affect the consumer, sometimes people are upset that Express employees cannot pick up Ground packages. Ground drivers tend to handle the larger, heavier items that are not being sent overnight.

FedEx's general tracking services rely mostly on barcodes, barcode scanners and a Web interface that customers can access. With such access, a customer can follow a package from scan point to scan point, either via a tracking, invoice or purchase order, or customer account number.
Many Express Ground trucks are not loaded with GPS or other high-tech distractions. The company provides turn by turn maps for each package. Some Ground drivers provide their own GPS equipment. FedEx drivers get automated delivery information and can have it sent to their own GPS device.

Toothpaste Hack

If you get an ink stain on your clothes, one way to get it out is to rub the stain with non-gel toothpaste, let it dry, then wash as usual.

Top Online TV

Vizio took home the gold in Brand View’s latest analysis of 4K TV online selling. Brand View analyzed online performances of the top five most-listed 4K TV brands in the following sites:,,,, and
In calculating the scores, Brand View used the following criteria:

*Can shoppers find the products on the digital shelf?
*Do the products return on the first page of results when searched for by category, or by keywords, such as “4K television” or “4K TV.”

*Is the brand name present and correct in product descriptions?
*Is key product information, including descriptions, images and videos, accurately listed on retailer websites?

*Are shoppers engaging with the brand online?
*How do the product reviews and ratings represent the brand?

Although Vizio took top billing with an overall score of 3.6 stars, it was a tight race, with LG coming in a close second at 3.3. Brand View determines its overall rankings using a proprietary weighted method, not an average

Vizio 3.6
LG 3.3
Samsung 3.0
Sony 2.8
Hisense 2.3
Incidentally Toshiba recently sold its TV and visual solutions business to Hisense.

Wordology, Mamamouchi

Mamamouchi rolls easily off the tongue and has an equally delectable meaning: A pompous title, someone who believes themselves more important than they really are. In other words, an ostentatious, self-important, and ridiculous pretender.

Related Panjandrum -  A mocking name for a pompous, pretentious, self-important official.

Organic Food Myth

There is a myth that organic foods contain more nutrients than conventional counterparts. In fact, there are many misconceptions surrounding the organic label you see on foods at the store or farmer's market. The term “organic” is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture. Legally, foods labeled “organic” must be grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. Organic farmers also often follow production practices that are less harmful to the environment and to animal welfare.

However, many people still believe that organic products are inherently more nutritious or healthier than their conventional alternatives. Large scale studies of this topic has shown that it is not true. There is no difference in the amount or quality of the nutrients found in conventional foods versus their organic counterparts.

Size Matters

Did you know Russia's eastern border is with the US and its western border is with China.
In the middle of the Bering Strait are two small, sparsely populated islands: Big Diomede, which sits in Russian territory, and Little Diomede, which is part of the United States. At their closest, these two islands are a little less than two and a half miles apart, which means that, on a clear day, you can definitely see one from the other.  Big Diomede, Russia is 21 hours ahead of Little Diomede, US, because of this the islands are sometimes called Tomorrow Island (Big Diomede) and Yesterday Isle (Little Diomede). Yes, it is true that you can see Russia from Alaska.

Incidentally, China is bordered by the most countries. In total, China borders 14 other countries: On the northern border, China borders (west to east) Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia. To the west, China shares boundaries with (north to south) Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Recycling Airline Style

Southwest Airlines is making a new fashion statement. The carrier has inked a multi-year partnership with Mexican fashion designer Carla Fernandez to use recycled leather from discarded Southwest airplane seats to create a new line of accessories and clothing ranging from shoes and bags to ponchos and key chains. The new items will be marketed and sold under the "LUV Seat: Mexico" banner.


In Austria, 'Krampus night' is December 5, or St. Nicholas eve. One of the ways to witness the spectacle is to attend a  Krampuslauf or 'Krampus run'. You remember Krampus, according to folklore he is the devilish sidekick of St. Nicholas, and his duties include throwing naughty children into a sack or basket, beating them with a whip, and carrying them off into the night.

One of the largest events on Krampus night is held in Klagenfurt am Worthersee, near the Austrian-Slovenian border and takes place along almost a mile through the city center. It begins with a troupe of young men who strap 45-pound bells around their waists. They are called called Krampusglocken or Balkenglocke, the instruments make a thunderous boom as the men march together, smacking the bells with their thighs. Most of the hundreds of performers wear elaborate wooden masks and fur costumes, some use painted masks with LED lights and other modern accessories.
A great way to have a fun parade and usher in the holiday season.

Incidentally, the day after is St. Nicholas day, when he comes to leave coins or candies in good children's shoes. Growing up, someone would toss little bags of candy on our porch. The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive in part from Saint Nicholas and in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas, the saint's name in that language.

Nov 25, 2017

Happy Friday

There is happiness all around us.
Increase your share by celebrating a Happy Friday!

Calorie Burning Food Myth Debunked

For many the day after a holiday brings guilt from holiday feasting, but do not fall into this myth trap. Myth: There is such a thing as "calorie-burning" foods.
If you have spent any amount of time researching diets on the web, you probably read articles about 'miracle foods' that are filled with negative calories and foods that have such a low caloric count that the stomach expends more calories digesting them than they contain. In addition to these negative-calorie foods, you can also find lists of other healthy foods that burn fat and some that magically target belly fat. Lately there are various diets which insist spicy foods will burn fat by magically heating up your metabolism. If all of this sounds too good to be true, it is.
There is no such thing as a diet that burns more calories than it provides. There are only diets that specifically cause you to lose weight through reduction in caloric intake. Food cannot reduce fat on its own.
Foods that are called negative calorie lean toward fruits or vegetables. Much of the weight loss you experience eating these foods is water weight, which returns when you start eating normally again.
The only reason you lose weight by eating these foods is that the diet plan they come with requires you to consume less calories. Those fat-burning supplements work on the same principle. You lose weight because you are starving yourself.

Bottom line, the only miracle performed by so-called 'miracle foods' is that they allow you to trick yourself into believing it is the food, not the reduction in calories.

Wordology, Paltering

Misleading by "telling the truth" is so pervasive in daily life that a new term has recently been coined to describe it: paltering.

It is so widespread that some are trying to determine insight into the grey area between truth and lies. We lie all the time, despite the fact that it costs us considerably more mental effort to lie than to tell the truth.
Researchers were looking at how often politicians dodge questions during debates and soon realized something else was going on. By stating another truthful fact, they could get out of answering a question. They could even imply something was truthful when it was not.

Individuals who had been deceived do not distinguish between lying and paltering. Although communicators think that when disclosed, it will be ethical, but listeners still see it as a lie.

Beware if someone does not answer a question directly. Be doubly aware if they state any fact (related or not) rather than answer a question. A preponderance of politicians palter!

Caput vs. Kaput

Caput, is a Latin word meaning literally 'head' or 'top'. It has been borrowed in a variety of English words, including capital, captain, and decapitate. The Italian surname Caputo comes from the appellation used by some Roman military generals. A variant form has surfaced more recently in the title Capo, as in head of La Cosa Nostra. The French language converted 'caput' into chief, chef, and chapitre, later borrowed in English as chapter.

Caput was also the name of the council or ruling body of the University of Cambridge prior to the constitution of 1856 and remains the presiding body of the Senate of the University of Dublin. Caput is also used in medicine to describe any head like protuberance on an organ or structure, such as the caput humeri.

The German word kaputt means destroyed, broken, ruined, or dysfunctional. From German kaputt "destroyed, ruined, lost" (1640s). Maybe is a misunderstanding of an expression from card-playing, capot machen, a partial translation into German of French faire capot, a phrase which meant "to win all the tricks (from the other player) in piquet," an obsolete card game.

The words may be similar, but are not related.

Five Quick Facts

An avocado never ripens on the tree, so farmers can use trees as storage and keep avocados fresh for up to seven months.

Elvis Presley's manager sold "I Hate Elvis" badges as a way to make money from people who were not buying his merchandise.

Tsundoku is the act of acquiring books and not reading them.

New York's Central Park lampposts contain a set of four numbers that can help you navigate. The first two tell you the nearest street, and the next two tell you whether you are closer to the east or west side of the park (even numbers signal east, odd signal west).

In Great Britain and Japan, black cats are perceived as auspicious. In the English Midlands, new brides are given black cats to bless their marriage, and the Japanese believe that black cats are good luck—particularly for single women.

Red Light, Blue Light

Some languages refer to colors differently. For instance, Russian and Japanese, have different words for light blue and dark blue, treating them as two distinct colors. Some languages lump colors English speakers see as distinct, together, using the same word for green and blue. Japanese is one of those languages. While there are now separate terms for blue and green, in Old Japanese, the word ao was used for both colors.
In modern Japanese, ao refers to blue, while the word midori means green. Officially, the “go” color in traffic lights is called ao, even though traffic lights used to be green. This posed a linguistic, the lights are ao in official literature, but they are  really midori.

Since 1973, the Japanese government, in its infinite bureaucratic wisdom has decreed that traffic lights should be green, but that they be the bluest shade of green. They can still qualify as ao, but they are also green enough to mean go to foreigners.


The US Federal Communications Commission has approved a new standard for OTA (over-the-air) antenna TV broadcasts. ATSC 3.0, or Next-Gen TV is supposed to prompt big improvements for antenna users, including 4K HDR video, better surround sound, interactive features, and easier access for mobile devices.

In addition, the DRM (digital rights management) portion of ATSC 3.0 is designed to allow broadcasters to provide value-added services like On-Demand and Pay-Per-View content on a subscription basis to complement Over-the-Air TV, which will remain free.

It is in testing now and Phoenix is serving as a model market for ATSC 3.0. Phoenix currently has more than 20 percent of its 1.8 million TV viewers receiving OTA (antenna) television. Ten stations in that market will deploy the next-generation TV standard before April 2018 to demonstrate the viability of the next-gen system while at the same time continuing to serve over-the-air viewers with current ATSC 1.0 digital television. Testing organizations have been testing the standard for a while and more are expected.

Next-Gen TV also has a bad downside: For the first time, it allows local broadcasters to lock down content with digital rights management (DRM), potentially preventing people from recording free, over-the-air channels. Some stations in South Korea, for instance, are already using ATSC 3.0 to broadcast 4K video, and those feeds are encrypted to prevent unauthorized copying.

All this will require new hardware to view ATSC 3.0, because the standard is not backward compatible with current tuners. That could mean another round of converter boxes or dongles, only without the government subsidies that helped push the analog-to-digital transition a few years ago.

Bottom line, all of this means interactive 4K TV over the air, no internet provider required. Obviously content will be restricted by the big guys, but cord cutters will finally be able to go back to the old days of free, but limited TV, with a few extra goodies and excellent sound and picture quality thrown in. Stay tuned, it will be a few years before we experience it in our living rooms

Another Holiday Myth Debunked

Myth: Different types of alcohol make for different types of drunk. Can you imagine a person drunk on tequila and another person who is drunk on fancy red wine.  Do you imagine them acting the same? They conjure up an image of the tequila person running naked from the cops in Tijuana, while the second is getting sleepy and dialing his ex.
For a fun sports-related buzz, grab a beer. For telling sad stories or intellectual debates, go for gin. If you are feeling loose, but fancy and it is your one night off from the kids, order some red wine. If you want to burn your whole life to the ground, order a bunch of whiskey or tequila. You will be trying to fight a stranger in no time.
Researchers have not found any meaningful difference between types of liquors, in terms of affecting mood. If we do behave differently when we drink a certain type of booze, it is most likely all in our head. There is a  psychosocial effect of drinking -  we behave how we think we behave when consuming that type of alcohol. "I think tequila makes me awesome, therefore I am awesome when I drink tequila."
Many experiments have been conducted. In one experiment, patients were given either bourbon or vodka while living at an inpatient lab for nine days. Researchers noted an increase in hostility, anxiety, and depression across the board. Yet there was no discernible difference between the bourbon and vodka drinker moods.
Different alcohols have different ethanol and congener contents. Different alcohols have different alcohol content. Also, different alcohols are usually paired with different mixers. None of these factors explain or make for different types of drunkenness.

A 2010 analysis of more than 40 studies, differences often appear to be due to the individual attempting to compensate for the expected effects of the alcohol.

Bottom line, if you think to be true, your mind will help you make it be true.qw

Nov 17, 2017

Happy Friday

Life advice is like airplane advice, "Make sure you have your own taken care of before helping others with theirs."

I am always ready to help others celebrate a Happy Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving

Next Thursday November 23, many in the US celebrate Thanksgiving. (Canadians already had their celebration on Monday October 9.) Have fun, enjoy family and friends, and get to bed early so you are ready for the Black Friday buying spree ahead of Christmas.

Turkey Myth Debunked

Myth: Eating turkey makes you sleepy.

Thanksgiving is the official holiday you load yourself up with a competitive eater's portion of hot, steamy bird meat and a myriad of other treats. Many believe your fragile body is no match for the turkey's almighty tryptophan, a sedative so powerful that you wind up falling asleep before halftime of the football game.

According to nutritionists, food science researchers, and people who are not your grandparents, turkey is not a sedative. It is true that turkey has tryptophan (an amino acid that eventually becomes serotonin and melatonin; neurochemicals which play a role in getting your brain to fall asleep).

However, turkey does not contain enough tryptophan to have any noticeable effect on your state of consciousness. In fact, it has exactly as much tryptophan as other dairy, nut, and meat products do. In fact, cheddar cheese contains more tryptophan than turkey.

The main reason you pass out on the couch after the great meal and conversation is the fact that you ate, on average 4,500 calories or more. You pass out because your body is working overtime, struggling to digest all the meat, dressing, bread, desert, and other goodies you just consumed. A few pre and post meal alcoholic beverages also add to the mix, increasing the desire to share a comfortable nap with family.

Incidentally, when it comes to drinking that warm glass of milk, there are no natural sedatives at play either. It is simply very soothing to slowly drink a warm liquid causing a completely calming reaction.

Aluminum Myth Debunked

While we are discussing cooking, many use aluminum foil to cover their holiday bird to prevent burning. Myth: aluminum foil and cookware is linked to Alzheimer's Disease.
This myth was repeated often in the late 80s and through the 90s, and even though it has lately not mentioned as often, mainly because it is not true. There are still many people who believe it.

This myth has its roots in research from the 1960s and 1970s that showed elevated levels of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The alarm was sounded, and for years people were warned off of aluminum pots and pans, and aluminum foil to store food.

Since those studies, a great deal of research has been done into what possible connections aluminum may have with Alzheimer's Disease. The results failed to show any substantive link or connection between aluminum and risk for Alzheimer's Disease. Most experts believe any aluminum absorbed by the body is processed by the kidneys and urinated out, and it does not pose a threat for Alzheimer's Disease.

ECG vs. EKG vs. EEG

An ECG is an acronym for echocardiogram, EKG is acronym for electrocardiogram, and EEG is an acronym for electroencephalogram.

An ECG  is a more advanced testing procedure in comparison to the EKG. The echocardiogram uses ultrasound, or echoing high-frequency sound waves, to create a visual image of your heart. This helps doctors view the internal structure of your heart and how well blood is able to flow through it. Doctors can also get an accurate read on the size and shape of your heart, as well as the level of heart valve function. Echocardiograms are typically used to diagnosis blood clots, infections, and can be used to detect previous heart attacks. By indicating the velocity of blood flow as it leaves the heart, an echocardiogram can indicate whether the heart is pumping efficiently. An ECG can be performed with an external tranducer moved over the heart area or a transesophageal ECG where a thin, flexible tube is inserted into your mouth and down your esophagus.

An EKG can be an effective diagnostic tool for measuring the electrical efficiency of your heart. A healthy heart beats at a certain rhythm. An EKG displays the patterns of your heart as it beats, to determine abnormalities in heart rhythm. It can detect changes in the thickness of the heart walls, or potential damage to the heart muscle and tissue. It is performed by attaching various leads to your chest area.

An EEG is a test that also measures electrical activity, but in the brain and nerves. The electrical signals in your brain, or brain waves, are recorded in peaks and valleys on a graph. It can help determine a seizure, epilepsy, a tumor, or a stroke. EEG is also used to detect head injuries, sleep disorders, dementia, or Alzheimer’s Disease, and more. It is performed using metal discs called electrodes stuck to your scalp.
There is a statue in England that stands over 26 feet tall and is made from over 100,000 knives. It is titled the Knife Angel. The sculpture was constructed at the Shropshire-based British Ironworks Centre to raise awareness about knife crime in the United Kingdom. It is claimed to be Britain's biggest monument against violence and aggression ever created.

The sculptor, Alfie Bradley, spent two years designing and building the sculpture which features police and personal donated knives, many of which were used in violent crimes all over England and Wales. Families affected by knife crime, police officers, politicians, celebrities, community leaders, and ex-gang members welded their own knives on the sculpture as a symbolical gesture.

Families of those lost to knife violence can engrave a message onto one of the sculpture’s thousands of blades. The sculptor hopes to get it placed in Trafalgar square in London to raise awareness of violence and aggression and as a national tribute to victims of knife crime.

Inflammable vs. Flammable

Inflammable and flammable are two words that are frequently misinterpreted. Some people mistake the words as having opposite meanings. In reality, flammable and inflammable mean exactly the same thing—capable of burning.
Inflammable precedes the word flammable and has always meant 'tends to catch fire easily'.

The US National Fire Protection Association urged Americans during the 1920s to start using the word flammable to avoid confusion, because they thought people may mistake inflammable as meaning not being able to burn. Flammable has since become the preferred alternative on warning labels.

Incidentally, non-flammable is the opposite, meaning not flammable.

US Phone LTE Speeds

 LTE is an acronym for Long Term Evolution, basically a term, along with 4G (fourth generation) for phone signal speeds. Open Signal's latest report on the status of LTE networks indicates that the United States ranks fourth in overall LTE availability, with 86.5% of people able to access an LTE signal.

However, LTE service in the States is slower than fifty eight other countries worldwide. The report ranking the United States fifty-ninth of seventy seven countries in terms of average downstream speeds at around 15 Mbps. Most other studies also indicate that United States citizens pay more money for 4G LTE wireless broadband than most other developed countries. So, it is more available, more costly, and less speed. Seems like, in the US greed beats speed.

Jack Churchill

Lieutenant-Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Mad Jack" Churchill, of the British Army is regarded as one the greatest warriors of all time. Prior to his service in WW2, Churchill was the archery champion of Great Britain and represented his country in the world championships.
During World War II he recorded what is thought to be the last confirmed bow and arrow kill in modern warfare, killing a Nazi NCO in France in 1940. The archery shot signaled the rest of his men to launch an attack on the Nazi patrol.
To signal the start of a raid on a German garrison in Norway in 1941, Churchill leapt out his position playing “March of the Cameron Men” on the bagpipes before tossing a grenade at the enemy position and getting into the fight.
He fought throughout the entirety of World War II armed with a longbow, arrows, and a Scottish broadsword. In July 1943, he led his commando unit from their landing site in Sicily with his broadsword hanging from his belt, his longbow and arrows around his neck, and his bagpipes under his arm. After infiltrating the town, he took 42 men prisoner, including a mortar squad.

When the war was over, Churchill remarked, “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years.

Hamburger 101

Two things all the experts agree on for a succulent burger are simple; good meat and do not mess with it while cooking.

1: Start with meat that is not too lean, 80/20 is good. A juicy burger needs fat content to be juicy. Lean meat is, by definition lean and that means less fat. Less fat means drier burger.

2: Do not press the burger. Let it cook. Pressing the meat presses the juices out and they stay on the grill or in the pan, not in the meat.

Everything else, like salt, pepper, other condiments, trimmings, toppings are all a matter of taste. Bottom line, beauty and taste are individual preferences, but juiciness is in the meat.

Nov 3, 2017

Happy Friday

Attitude is a practiced art.

Practice a positive attitude especially on a Happy Friday!

Daylight Saving

It is happening to all of us again this weekend. That silly time old and futile political tradition of trying to control time. Australia changed October 1. Europe and others began changing clocks Oct 27, 28, and 29. For most of the US, Sunday Nov 5, 2am is the time to set your clock back. Fiji and Tonga set theirs ahead one hour.

The biannual time change was originally implemented to save energy. Yet dozens of studies around the world have found that changing the clocks has either minuscule or non-existent effects on energy use. In addition, current research suggests the time change can be harmful to our health and cost us money.
Following the 1973 oil embargo, the US Congress extended the DST period to 10 months in 1974 and 8 months in 1975, in an effort to save energy. After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the DST schedule in the US was revised several times. From 1987 to 2006, the country observed DST for about 7 months each year.

Arizona does not observe daylight saving, but some Indian tribes within the state do. In fact, if driving a route from the Arizona state border through both Navajo and Hopi areas to the other side, a person can end up changing clocks 7 times. For example: Tuba City (Navajo) and Moenkopi (Hopi) are only a few miles apart, but they have a 1-hour time difference during the summer. Jeddito (Navajo), in the middle of Hopi Nation territory, is 1 hour ahead of the surrounding areas during summer.

If a baby is born at 11 p.m. in California and another baby is born at 2 a.m. in New York, they have different birthdays even though they were born simultaneously.

Wordology, Dewlap

The extra flap of skin and fatty tissue that is under the chin of a female rabbit is called a dewlap. The dewlap tends to appear when female rabbits have reached the age when they can begin to reproduce. The dewlap provides a place where the female can pull out her own fur and use it to line her nest. The nest is where she will sleep as well as produce and raise her offspring.

Psycho Censors

Psycho is a genre-defining movie, regarded as one of the finest psychological horror films of all time. The film broke new ground in several ways.
It was also the first film to show a toilet flushing on screen. The censors objected to it and tried have the toilet scene removed, but Hitchcock objected. They eventually gave up trying to fix the film and let the toilet flush be shown. Interesting that the offending flush takes place about forty seconds before a character is brutally stabbed to death in a shower while completely naked.

Incidentally, Alfred Hitchcock staged the shower murder scene in such a way the censors could not find a specific shot that broke the censor's rules.

Zappa Censored

Before streaming and YouTube, stickers, such as 'Explicit Content' were considered a death sentence for certain albums as they effectively prevented them from being sold by large chains of stores that wanted to project a family friendly image. One store went a bit far and put an 'explicit lyrics' sticker on an all instrumental album.

Albums could be slapped with an explicit lyrics sticker for containing a single objectionable lyric. Frank Zappa holds the dubious honor of being the only artist known to have received a parental warning sticker for explicit lyrics on an entirely instrumental album.

The Jazz from Hell album contains no lyrics. It does contain a track titled G-Spot Tornado. This was enough for the Fred Meyer chain of stores to put an explicit lyrics warning label on the album even though the entire album is lyric-less. It appears that some doth protest too much.

Moving Out

According to 2012 US Census data, 74 percent of people living in Pennsylvania were born there. In addition, just 63 percent of New Yorkers, 61 percent of Texans, and 54 percent of Californians, were born in the state in which they currently resided.

Captcha This

Captcha comes from "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". It is used by web sites to distinguish human web users from robot spammers.

Recently, in just minutes, an artificially intelligent machine cracked ond of those jumbled text sequences. The smart machine can be trained in a matter of minutes using just a few hundred example characters, researchers said. It works with multiple different styles of captcha and can also be re-purposed to identify handwritten digits, recognize text in photos of real-world scenarios, and detect non-text objects in images. That is because the company designed the system to mimic the way the brain identifies objects after seeing just a few examples and recognize them in strange new configurations.

Text-based captchas as above work, because unlike humans, computers struggle to recognize the distorted and partially hidden characters that make them up. Though many current machine-learning systems that can solve them exist, they must be trained on millions of images to work.

Many websites have moved away from text-based captchas, and are using image-based tests and data on mouse movements, or cookies to analyze whether users are human or machine. Some captchas are also difficult for humans to accurately decipher on first try.

Oct 27, 2017

Happy Friday

You cannot hide true happiness any more than you can turn off sunlight.

Every day let your happiness shine through, especially on a Happy Friday!

Football Statistics

It is football time of the year and I dug up some interesting statics that go far beyond the typical yards gained, passes thrown, etc.
The average NFL game lasts about 3 hours and 11 minutes, but has about 11 minutes of actual game play. The 60-minute game clock in football can run when the ball is not in play. That means much of game time is spent standing around, walking, huddling up before each play begins, etc.
The 11 minutes of action was calculated a few years ago by the Wall Street Journal. It actually averages out to between 11 and 14 minutes of play. (Counting from the snap of the football to when the play is whistled dead.)

An average game has more than 20 breaks containing over 100 commercials.

Its analysis found that an average NFL broadcast spent more time on replays (17 minutes) than live play. The majority of time (75 minutes) was spent watching players, coaches, and referees essentially wandering around the field.
An average play in the NFL lasts just four seconds and NFL teams average between 64 and120 plays per game.
If you take the highest paid star, Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions and his 2017 salary of $27,000,000 and divide it by game minutes played per season of 16 games - 6 * 11= 176 minutes, $27 million divided by 176 minutes comes out to $153, 409.09 per minute of play - not bad. (Of course this presumes no playoff games for them, which is usually a safe assumption for the Lions.)
The hundreds of millions paid by advertisers to networks and the hundreds of millions paid by viewers to networks and the hundreds of millions paid to teams and players cannot be calculated according to minutes played as we and they are also paying for the rest of the twaddle, not just the game.

Baseball: Per a 2013 WSJ study, Baseball games feature 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action.
Basketball: Since the clock only runs when the ball is in play, there is exactly 48 minutes of play time.
Soccer: Per the website 2011 study, between 57 and 65 minutes of ball-in-play action is seen on average in the major European pro leagues per game.
Hockey: Average play time is 60 minutes.

Shaving Tip

To immediately close a shaving nick, rub it with Chapstick.

Neiman Marcus

Christmas is coming and Texas based Neiman Marcus unveiled its annual fantasy gift collection.

Gifts range from $9 to $1.6 million. The 91st annual Christmas Book is a 300-page catalog with more than 780 items, nearly 50 percent of which are priced under $250. The most expensive is $1.6 million for a rooftop party for 300 people above Times Square on New Year's Eve. Two nights at 150 of the hotel's rooms are included, as is everything necessary for a private party with drinks, dinner, and a DJ.

Shoppers will also find Neiman’s annual fantasy gift collection, which includes 11 more extravagant presents like the Yours & Mine Rolls-Royce Limited Edition Dawns, a pair of vehicles that can be purchased in blue for $439,625 or orange for $445,750. Being conservative, I prefer the blue one, in case you are wondering what to get me.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Before he was thirty, he already served in the army and won numerous body building competitions, while simultaneously going to business school and working at a health club. Once he immigrated to America, he continued to compete in bodybuilding competitions while also starting a bricklaying business, which he then used the profits from to start a mail-order business selling fitness related products like workout instructional materials. He then used the profits from that and his winnings in body building competitions to start a real estate investing business, ultimately making him a millionaire in his 20s, long before his breakthrough role at the age of 35 in the 1982 Conan the Barbarian.

Google Tips

Use an asterisk within quotes to specify unknown or variable words. Searching a phrase in quotes with an asterisk replacing a word will search all variations of that phrase. It is helpful if you cannot remember an entire phrase "imagine all the * living for today", or if you are trying to find all forms of an expression "* is thicker than water".
Compare foods using "vs." Type in "rice vs. quinoa," for example, and you will receive side-by-side comparisons of the nutritional facts.
Use "DEFINE:" to learn the meaning of words. Try "DEFINE: mortgage." For words that appear in the dictionary, you will be able to see etymology, a graph of its use over time, and the definition. It may also define slang words or acronyms.
Type "give me a love quote" or whatever topic you need a quote for.

Use "lyrics" in your search to have Google deliver lyrics of songs for you.

Rabbit Reproduction

We have all heard about 'breeding like rabbits', but few know how prolific rabbits really are.
First, When a doe lets a buck know that she is ready to mate, he circles her, shows off his tail, and sometimes urinates on her. This is what passes for foreplay. Then, the act itself lasts about 20-40 seconds. A buck can mate up to 7 times a week effectively, sometimes twice a day.

The average rabbit reaches sexual maturity at 3-8 months old. They are receptive to mating about 14 of every 16 days. Their breeding season lasts three-quarters of the year, and a doe does not have a 'heat' cycle. They are ready to mate anytime. They also do not have a menstrual cycle, so pregnancy can happen anytime. The act of intercourse stimulates ovulation.

Rabbits gestate for about 29 to 31 days, and usually have litters of between 4 and 12 babies. Once the babies are born, a doe can mate and get pregnant again as soon as the following day. If they maintain a pace like that and all the babies survive, the large-litter breeds can have about 100 babies per season. During October through December, some rabbits go into molting and many do not conceive.

Incidentally, a rabbit is the only edible farm animal able to produce 1,000% of its own weight in offspring per year.

Mississippi Child Law

In Mississippi, it is illegal to have a second illegitimate child - “If any person, who shall have previously become the natural parent of an illegitimate child within or without this state by coition within or without this state, shall again become the natural parent of an illegitimate child born within this state, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ninety (90) days or by a fine of not more than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($ 250.00), or both.” I do not make this stuff up folks, only politicians can make these types of laws.

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant

Antiperspirant is not the same as deodorant. Antiperspirant stops you sweating, the other stops you smelling like you are sweating.

Oct 20, 2017

My Latest Book

I have recently had my 53rd book published. A great read. "Amazing Facts IV - Tantalizing Trivia". If you enjoy this blog, you will love the book. you can pick one up at Amazon.
PS - After you read it, please leave a comment on the page. Thanks.

Happy Friday

When we are young, beauty is on the outside, when older it comes from within.

Happiness always shines through, especially on a Happy Friday!

Wordology, Lenticels

(LEN-tih-sells) These are little pin size spots on apples, pears, and potatoes. Plants need a constant stream of fresh air, just like people, and that “fresh air” means carbon dioxide. Flowers, trees, and fruit all take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, but unlike people, plants do not have nostrils.

The lenticel functions as a pore, providing a pathway for the direct exchange of gases between the internal tissues and atmosphere through the bark, which is otherwise impermeable to gases. The name lenticel derives from its lens-like shape. The shape of lenticels is one of the characteristics used for tree identification

Each little speck is an opening in the fruit or tuber’s skin or the tree’s bark. Carbon dioxide goes in, and oxygen comes out. Like any opening, lenticels are vulnerable to infection and sickness. In an apple disease called lenticel breakdown, a nutrient deficiency causes the apples’ spots to darken and turn into brown pits. This does not hurt the inside of the fruit, but it does make the apple look unattractive.

Salt Quickie

One third of all the salt produced in the US is used to melt ice on roads.

Dawn, Sunrise, Twilight, Sunset, and Dusk

Dawn occurs before sunrise, before the top of the Sun reaches the horizon.

Twilight is the name given to the period between dawn and sunrise, or between sunset and dusk, when light is still visible in the sky due to sunlight scattering off the atmosphere.

Sunrise and sunset are the points at which the top edge of the Sun reaches the horizon; the only difference between them is the direction in which the Sun is moving at the time. It actually occurs when the top of the Sun is 0.57° below the horizon due to refraction of the Sun’s light by the atmosphere.
Dusk occurs after sunset, once the top of the Sun has passed the horizon.

Dawn, dusk, and twilight can also be separated in astronomical, nautical, and civil sections by how far below the horizon the Sun is (18°, 12° and 6° below the horizon respectively).

Health Care Cost

The US has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the US pays for paperwork, overhead, and other non direct-health related expenses.

The US spends 17.6 percent of its GDP on healthcare. The Netherlands is the next highest, at 12 percent of GDP. Ten percent of Canada’s GDP is spent on health care. The average among OECD countries was almost half that of the US, at 9.5 percent of GDP.


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has a mission to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It was established in 1961 and has membership of 35 countries. Its annual budget is EUR 374 million and has a staff of 2,500. It publishes 250 new titles per year.

The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. It works with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. It analyses and compares data to predict future trends. It sets international standards on things, such as agriculture and tax, to the safety of chemicals. It seeks to foster globalization and promote the 'green agenda' by working with the countries involved in the Paris climate agreement.

It looks at issues that directly affect everyone’s daily life, like how much people pay in taxes and social security, and how much leisure time they can take. It compares how different countries’ school systems are readying their young people for modern life, and how different countries’ pension systems will look after their citizens in old age.

In addition, it tries to make life more difficult for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen, and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.

From its web site "Today, we are focused on helping governments around the world to:
    Restore confidence in markets and the institutions that make them function.
    Re-establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth.
    Foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly ‘green growth’ strategies and the development of emerging economies.
    Ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow."