Jun 29, 2012

Happy Friday

The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humor, and the fourth wit.

It is true that I have the sense to find the humor in having a Happy Friday!

Four Healing Spices

Cinnamon significantly decreased the blood sugar in people who had type II diabetes and ate a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day. This powerful bark decreases cholesterol, keeps your teeth and gums healthy, improves digestion and alleviates the congestion that comes from colds and allergies. It is also anti-inflammatory and improves blood circulation. All that and it tastes good.

Turmeric is perhaps a less well-known spice, unless you love Indian food and curry. This spice is bright orange and comes from the root of a plant in the ginger family. It is a powerful antioxidant (just as strong as vitamins C and E) and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, it can be drunk in the form of golden milk to reduce inflammation and joint pain, or put on a swollen area as a poultice. People with liver problems or hepatitis also drink turmeric or take turmeric capsules because this spice increases the production of bile in the liver and protects it from toxins.

Basil is not only delicious on pizza or ground up in pesto, but also boosts the cardiovascular system. People who have colds or asthma drink basil tea to make breathing easier and to invigorate the lungs. Basil also has a calming effect on the nerves, relieves headaches, brings down fevers, and promotes healing from insect bites and skin infections.

Oregano has always been known to help relieve bad breath. It is also great against swollen throats, coughing, insomnia and headaches. This herb is also a powerful antioxidant. Oregano has “42 times more antioxidants than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries.”

Not often the we find so many good tasting things that are actually good for us.

German Chocolate Cake Isn't

German chocolate cake is actually named for Sam German, the American who invented a dark baking chocolate when he worked for the American Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852.

However, Germany has been instrumental in the advancement of many desserts, with contributions that include lebkuchen or spicy gingerbread, apple strudel, stollen, which is similar to fruitcake, and of course, the Berliner, which we call the jelly doughnut. Christmas has many more German specialties, not the least of which are rum ball cookies.

CN Tower Facts

Back in June 1976 this tower solved a few problems for the people of Toronto, Canada. They had been having problems with their TV and radio reception. Interference from the many skyscrapers in the city were causing TV shows to be superimposed on top of each other.

To remedy the situation, the Canadian National Railway Company was commissioned to build an antenna that would tower over every building ever built. The antenna design turned into a tourist attraction design by John Andrews Architects and Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Architects.

63 million dollars and 1,537 people were needed to complete the tallest free standing structure and building in the world (until 2007). The CN (Canadian National) Tower, including the 335 foot, steel broadcasting antenna, is 1,815 feet, 5 inches tall. At 1,465 feet, you can stand on the public observation Space Deck.

You can take one of six elevators to the Sky Pod level at a speed of 15 miles per hour, or you could climb the 1769 steps up the tower. There is also dining in the world’s highest and largest revolving restaurant, aptly named "360". I have been up there and the views are magnificent.

Sixteen Toronto TV and FM radio stations broadcast their signals from the antenna and all over Southern Ontario, Canada.

What's in a Name, Sooner

The name refers to an Oklahoma resident and also the OU football team. Many settlers entered Oklahoma before the legal time for settlement in April 1889, thereby beating out law-abiding folks who followed the rules and moved in on time. Sooner came to mean both an Oklahoman and anyone who begins too soon.

Origin of Birthstones

In the Bible, when Moses went to Egypt, his brother Aaron stayed behind in their birth town in Egypt's far east. When Moses asked the King of Egypt to set his people free, it was Aaron who sold the idea to their kinsfolk.

Aaron became a high priest. His ceremonial breastplate held four rows of three stones each. Exodus 28:17-20 states, "There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes." These 12 stones also symbolized the 12 months of the year and the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Biblical scholars have a difficult time translating exactly what these stones are. The King James Bible lists the stones as: (Row 1) sardius, topaz, carbuncle; (Row 2) emerald, sapphire, diamond; (Row 3) ligure, agate, amethyst; (Row 4) beryl, onyx, jasper. The New American Standard Bible lists them as: (Row 1) ruby, topaz, emerald; (Row 2) turquoise, sapphire, diamond; (Row 3) jacinth, agate, amethyst; (Row 4) beryl, onyx, jasper.

The gems have changed a few times and different countries use different stones. Below is the US version for 2012.

It was in 15th-century Poland that wearing these birthstones gained popularity. In contrast to today's custom of wearing your birthstone throughout the year, the early proponents owned a full set of 12 and wore each month's stone, regardless of birthday. The Gemological Institute of America says the custom began in Germany in the 1560s.

Amazon and Texas Taxes

July 1, 2012 Amazon will be collecting Texas state tax on items purchased online. If you live in Texas and are thinking of buying something soon, buy it before July 1 to save a few dollars on taxes. BTW, while you are there this might be the time to pick up a few of my books.

Most Expensive Beer in the World

Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale
Price: $800-$1815/500ml This high priced wonder beer was concocted by Nail Brewing in Perth, Australia. All profits go to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the Whale Wars people. 

The Sea Shepherds landed a helicopter on an Antarctic iceberg, dug up some ice, melted it in Tasmania, and flew it to Perth for brewing. Only 30 bottles were made, and the first bottle sold for $800 at auction.

Another extremely expensive beer is made by Pabst. Hard to imagine, but at $44 per bottle, Chinese Pabst Blue Ribbon costs about 40 times more than what’s sold in the US.

PBR 1844 is made from German caramel malts, is aged in uncharred American whiskey barrels, and comes in a fancy glass bottle. Master brewer Alan Kornhauser designed the ale to compete with higher end wines and brandies. It is not sold outside of China.

Marilyn Monroe Thank you Note

For some reason, this tickled me.