Jan 25, 2013

Happy Friday

Man cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.

It is not complicated; I simply always have a Happy Friday!

S.O.S Scrub Pads

S.O.S brand scrub pads stands for “Save Our Saucepans”. The name was originally thought up by the wife of the creator of the S.O.S pad, Ed Cox.

In 1917, Cox was an aluminum pot salesman and when he introduced himself to potential new customers, he would give them a little steel wool pad that he had encrusted with soap as a gift. Eventually, these pads became more popular than the pans he was trying to sell so he began selling the pads.

The last period in “S.O.S” was left off because “S.O.S.” could not be trademarked due to the SOS distress signal often being written as “S.O.S.”.

Origin of Porky Pig

The inspiration was Joe Cobb, Joe in the “Our Gang/Little Rascals” TV Series. Joe Cobb starred in 86 episodes of the series and played the ever smiling yet hapless stereotypical fat kid, who often sets up gags for the others.

During the early 1930s, Leon Schlesinger secured a contract to produce the Looney Tunes series for Warner Bros. He asked animator Robert Clampett and studio director Friz Freleng to design a new series of characters and suggested they do a cartoon version of the Our Gang films.

The first short, I Haven’t Got a Hat, released in 1935 included: Beans the cat, Oliver Owl, a motherly cow named Mrs. Cud, and Porky Pig in the ‘Joe’ role. Porky quickly became the star. Porky’s name came from Friz Freleng, who remembered two childhood friends and brothers nicknamed “Porky” and “Piggy” and decided to put the two names together. His trademark stutter comes from Joe Dougherty, the first voice actor to voice Porky. Joe had a very pronounced stutter and forced director Freleng to go through take after take of uncontrollable stuttering.

Eventually the studio realized the high production cost of the many hours of wasted material, and replaced Dougherty with Mel Blanc in 1937. By this time the stutter had become so associated with the character that Blanc was asked to use it to create a more precise comedic effect.

Had to include this tribute picture to Mel Blanc, man of a thousand voices with some of his favorite characters, including Porky. It is titled "Speechless."

Porky’s legacy continues with his signature line “Th-th-that’s all folks” heard at the end of Looney Tunes episodes. The Warner Bros. other series, Merrie Melodies, which had always used “So Long, Folks” to close its short films, changed to the more catchy Porky line after opinion polls found most people better associated with it.


Do you like to get outside and explore? Want to do something fun? Geocaching is like a scavenger hunt for adults. It is played with your smartphone or GPS device. There is an app for most phones and it works with your built-in GPS on the phone. The phone guides you to the exact location, but then you need to look around to find the treasure.

There are millions of little treasures hidden around the world. Each has an exact location and a short description letting you know what you are looking for, such as a plastic pencil box, tin can, etc. When you find it, you sign the enclosed logbook and if there is a gift, you are expected to replace it with your own item of equal or greater value.

You can also log on to the internet and share your story with the over six million other players. There are even groups in many cities around the world that you can join to share stories.  I looked up my neighborhood and found the location of two caches, less than a half mile away. LINK  Happy hunting.

Shape of the Earth

When thinking of geo stuff, it is interesting to note that the earth is not round. Most people know this, but did you know you weigh more or less depending on where you live?

The Earth’s shape is classified as an oblate spheroid or ellipsoid. The polar diameter of the Earth is about 26.7 miles (43 km) shorter than its equatorial diameter causing a difference of about 0.3%. This very slightly oblate shape affects the weight of an object according to its position on the Earth’s surface. A 20-lb bag of sand would weigh less at the equator than at the North Pole. This is because the further an object gets from the center of the Earth, the less it weighs. Maybe I might move to the equator.

Are We There Yet

We tend to get irritated with traffic jams and long driving trips by car. Here is a picture from 1800 that might put modern travel time in perspective.

Jan 22, 2013

Wordology, Paladin

Someone who fights for a cause.

Some of you might remember the old TV western series 'Have Gun, Will Travel' with Richard Boone.

What Causes Gray Hair

A few of these gray things have begun to sprout and it made me wonder why. A person’s hair color is the result of pigments known as melanin produced by a specialized group of cells known as melanocytes. Melanocytes are found throughout our body and the melanin they produce is what gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color. Scientists can determine what color your eyes and hair are from DNA.

The melanocytes responsible for hair color are found in the bulbs of your hair follicles.
There are two main types of melanin. Eumelanin produces dark browns and blacks, and pheomelanin produces reddish/yellow. How these cells blend together determines what color hair will be. It is not fully known what makes the melanocytes blend together in the ways they do, but it appears to be genetic.

Once melanin is produced, their granules are transferred to adjacent keratinocytes, also found in the bulbs of your hair follicles. Keratinocytes are what produce keratine, the dead protein cells that make up our visible hair. Gray hair is the result of less melanin within the keratin. The less melanin, the more gray your hair will be and white hair has no melanin.

As we age our melanocytes decrease in number. The result is less and less melanin, until none are present, so hair slowly turns gray, and then white.

In 2009, scientists in Europe found that hair follicles produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Normally this small amount of hydrogen peroxide is broken down by an enzyme called catalase. As we age, catalase production is reduced and there is a build up of hydrogen peroxide, which blocks melanin production by melanocytes.

There are several other things that can cause our hair to turn gray, including: genetic defects; abnormal hormone production, such as stress; abnormal body distribution of melanin; and climate factors, such as pollutants, toxins, and chemical exposure. The time and speed at which you will gray varies greatly.

As an aside, in Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, the spelling is commonly grey. In the United States, the preferred spelling is gray, but grey is accepted.


Gratuitous picture of bacon. A few readers complained that I have not mention bacon for a long time.