Jul 8, 2011


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

Jul 5, 2011

How to Change Time

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

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

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

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

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

Beverly Hills Bacon

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

Burning Calories

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

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

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

Jul 1, 2011

Happy Friday

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

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


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

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

Three Flag Facts for the Fourth of July

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

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

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

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

Six Grades of Beef

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

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

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

Bacon Potato Pie

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