June 2, 2017
The weather has heated up. Schools are letting out. Life is a beach.
But, do you really know summer? Check out these tid-bits-
- The phrase ‘the dog days of summer’ has to do with the stars and not about sweltering heat. The dog star Sirius begins its rise just before the sun towards the end of July. The Romans believed the extra light gave off more heat heat to the sun and was responsible for the super hot days.
- More thunderstorms occur during summer than at any other time. It’s all that extra heat and moisture! Believe it or not, the most occur in the south of England. Hmmmm
- New York has a cool thing going on! Owing to the city’s design on a grid rotated 29 ° clockwise from true east-west, twice a year the sun sets directly at the end of the many New York’s major streets to create a spectacular sunset. The sun is slightly above the horizon and nestled between the rows of buildings.
- The first modern Olympic games were held in the summer of 1896 in Athens.
- The last day of summer is September 20th.
- The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris grows every summer. With the heat, the metal expands and it grows up to 6 inches!
- The Roman general, Marc Anthony, named the month July after Julius Caesar.
- August was named after Julius Caesar’s nephew. He had received the title of “Augustus” which means “reverend”.
- Ice pops were invented by an 11 year old boy in 1905! THANK YOU!
- The first women’s bathing suit was created in the 1800’s. It had a pair of bloomers with it! ACK!!!
- Swimming nude used to be the norm. In ancient days, clothes were definitely pitched to the side. However, in the 17th century, laws were put into place about decent swimming attire…and nude wasn’t it!
- Watermelons are a vegetable! Who knew?!? It is a member of the squash, cucumber, and pumpkin family. Americans eat around 15 lbs. per year.
- In the United States, over 650 million long distance summer trips are made. Let’s hit the road!!
- Scientist argue that babies born in the summer will suffer from more mood swings than babies born at other times. Really?
- Jenn and I hope you have a terrific summer filled with lots of laughter and fun…and that’s a fact!
April 28, 2017
Most people know writers tend to live in their own little worlds. I can hear many of you laughing already because you know me! Yes, we are different…but some are even more interesting than you think!
- Stieg Larsson, who created The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stated the heroine was based on what Pippi Longstocking would be like when she was grown. Hmmmm, not what I would have thought about Pippi.
- Alexander Dumas, The Three Musketeers, fought his first duel at the age of 23. He has the unusual distinction of having his trousers fall down during the event! I think it was better he wrote about fighting instead of participating!
- Before finding fame as a novelist, The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was a pop singer. One of his solo albums was called Angels and Demons.
- Bram Stoker, Dracula, was a crazy conspiracy theorist! One of his best theories is that the Queen Elizabeth that we all studied about was really a man in drag! Supposedly, the real Elizabeth got sick and died when she was 10.
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, was kinda weird. For instance, he always positioned his bed northward- he said it sparked his creativity. He had a thing for the dead. One of his favorite past times was hanging out in the morgue- he even spent a few Christmas and New Years Days at the Paris morgue……
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, thought Houdini was magical. After his son died, he spent a great deal of time studying mysticism and trying to talk to the dead. Somehow along the way, he decided his friend, Houdini, had magical powers even though Houdini was constantly trying to prove to him otherwise.
- Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song, was a raging alcoholic who stabbed his wife and beat up actor Rip Torn. Many considered him to be a world renowned jerk! He also ran for mayor of New York City claiming he would outlaw private cars, have trial by jousting and turn the city into the 51st state. The stories only get better from there- I just don’t have space to write about so many!
- John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East of Eden and was known to use up to 60 pencils in a day.
- When Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham, was stuck writing his books, he would go to a secret closet filled with hundreds of hats and wear them till the words came. Something else to make you go hmmmmmm.
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, once took home the urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he’d ‘pissed away’ so much of his money into it that he owned it.
- Sting wrote the song ‘Every Breath You Take’ at the same desk which Ian Fleming used to write his James Bond novels. It was at the ‘Fleming Villa’ at GoldenEye on the island of Jamaica.
- D. H. Lawrence, Women In Love, liked to climb trees buck naked because he wanted to stimulate his creativity.
April 21, 2017
I started poking around the internet and before I knew it, I had lost two hours! Sigh. I know learning is never a waste, but it sure can be a time suck. Check out some of the tid-bits I dug up!
- In 1986, a volcanic lake in Africa let out a cosmic sized burp of sulfuric acid and killed 1746 people within minutes!! Holy Moly!! I had no idea this could happen.
- There was a Harley Davidson motorcycle built to look like a giant hamburger………………….. why?
- In the past 20 years, scientists have found over 1000 plants outside of our solar system. Really? Have you heard about this?
- If you started with a penny and doubled your money everyday- you’d be a millionaire in 27 days!
- You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
- In France, it is legal to marry a dead person. (Things that make you go hmmmmm)
- It’s considered good luck in Japan if a sumo wrestler makes your baby cry.
- The oldest marathon runner was 100 years old when he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Canada. Fauja Singh crossed the line in 8hrs., 25min., and 16sec.
- The Spanish national anthem has no lyrics.
- The full length Greek national anthem has 158 verses. Well, that’s from the sublime to the ridiculous!
- Tupac Shakur’s ashes were smoked, along with marijuana, by his friends.
- A full head of hair is strong enough to support 12 tons of weight! Another holy moly in my book!!
- In 1567, the man who was said to have the longest beard, died trying to run away from a fire. You guessed it! He tripped on his beard.
- Did you know you could dance yourself to death? Yes! Yes, you can! There was such a thing called The Dance Fever which occurred in 1518 in Strasbourg. Inexplicably, hundreds of people danced for a whole month. Many of them danced themselves to death.
- Light doesn’t necessarily travel at the “speed of light”. The slowest light has been recorded moving is at 38mph. Who knew?!?!?
April 7, 2017
Many of us have switched to olive oil since it is a healthier alternative to many other oils for cooking. What you didn’t know is that you are probably getting ripped off. This is big business and millions are being made by scamming the public. What a ripe scenario for a book!
- “Mafia copies of fine olive oil, wine and cheese have fueled an explosion of food crime in Italy,” said CBS News correspondent, Bill Whitaker.
- “It’s very difficult to say in any given case with olive oil exactly how many drops in a given bottle actually have Mafia blood on them.” Tom Mueller
- Many times you get a lower grade oil mixed with a small amount of good extra virgin oil.
- Sometimes it’s very low quality that has been deodorized, mixed with something that has a little color and BOOM! you have high quality, made in Italy, extra virgin olive oil. It’s illegal and its done all the time.
- You can take colorless, odorless sunflower oil, add some chlorophyll and it has the color of “olive oil”.
- Some responsible olive growers in Sicily have tried to fight back against the Mob. Nicola Clemenza started a consortium and had his car burned and also part of his house while he was still inside with his wife and daughter!
- 75-80% of the olive oil that reaches Americans is NOT really extra virgin.
- The top-selling brand in the US is Bertolli. Samples were sent to professional tasters and they described it as lampante- which means its the lowest grade of oil. Bertolli is embroiled in a fraud investigation and several class action lawsuits.
- Italy is not the only one making money this way. A company in Córdoba, Spain are under investigation for allegedly exporting adulterated olive oils to Italy to be sold as authentic extra virgin olive oil.
- Portuguese food standards y agency ASAE seized 6,000 liters of fake olive oil from a company in the town of Penamacor.
- The earliest written mention of olive oil, on cuneiform tablets at Ebla in the twenty-fourth century B.C., describes teams of inspectors who toured olive mills on behalf of the king, looking for fraudulent practices.
- “The single-minded devotion of these food artisans, who built Italy’s culinary fame, is almost superhuman when you consider how consistently they’re being undercut by olive oil crooks, and abandoned by their own government. In fact, forces within the Italian government often help the crooks.”
February 10, 2017
The only fact you need to know today is that Moms are AMAZING!
I love this!! Moms are pretty special people. I know because I’m one of them…just kidding, just kidding. Well, I mean, I am a mom but I wasn’t claiming the “special” part. 🙂
My son is coming home from college for the weekend and I probably won’t get to see him again until Spring Break. I’m so excited, I can hardly sit still to write this! I will get to do extra loads of laundry (because he saves it up for me), cook many extra pounds of meat, wash a ton of extra cups and protein shake (nasty) bottles, and many of my kitchen towels will be mixed in with the car rags and will be covered in oil and axle grease (the boys are restoring a 1970s 280Z).
But…I wouldn’t have it any other way. Enjoy the video.
I love you, Mom and I miss you everyday.
February 3, 2017
Yes, you read that correctly. I bet you didn’t know there was any interesting information about potato chips! Check this out-
- The United States potato chip industry employs over 60,000 people. Let’s hear it for crispy jobs!!
- There’s a tale that says the lowly potato chip was born out of frustration. A New York chef who worked for Cornelius Vanderbilt was so fed up with the mogul complaining about his potatoes being soggy, or bland, or mushy, he decided to teach him a lesson. He shaved the potato paper thin and then let it fry until it was golden colored and too stiff to eat with a fork and knife. To his surprise, Mr. Vanderbilt loved it and the first potato chip was born. Great story, but there are numerous folks who say that it’s a folk tale.
- That may be a great story but Americans do own the chip! We had them around before the UK had their crisps. In 1822, there was a found recipe, but it calls for the potatoes to be 1/4″ thick. Chips really do trace their roots back to Saratoga, New York, but it wasn’t until a man by the name of Herman Lay brought it to his Nashville company that it became a national phenomena.
- Frederic Baur, the inventor of Pringles, died in 2008. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in one of their cans.
- In the UK, numbers show that a ton of crisps are eaten every 3 minutes. A telephone box could be filled with eaten chips every 43 seconds and an OLympic sized pool could be filled every 14 hours………..that’s a lot of crisps!
- When the US entered WWII, potato chips were declared non-essential food and production was called to a halt! Manufacturers were not happy and set on a campaign to convince the government chips were necessary. They won (Phew) and chips sold better during and after the war than they ever had before.
- You’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys’s feud, right? That was nothing compared to Pringles vs. the potato chip industry. Pringles had the gall to make their product from dried potatoes and not from a slice of fresh potato. After 10 years of fighting they lost the right to call it a chip so it is a crisp. Whoa.
- Your bag of chips doesn’t just have air in it. It’s pumped full of nitrogen to keep it fresher longer.
- The largest single bag of potato chips was 18 ft. tall and had more than 2515 lbs. of potatoes in it- all of which were cooked in a single batch to fulfill the Guiness Book of Records’ requirements! It took over 17 hours to fry.
- Flavored chips came to be in the 1950s. We have our usual barbeque, sour cream etc., but there are some unusual flavors for sale! Have you ever tried OLd Bay crab seasoning chips? How about fried pickle flavor? Got to Greece and you might get Oregano, Japan, there’s soy sauce flavor and seaweed. Other countries might sell you mayonnaise, paprika, or mint, but I know you’d really like the hoisin duck or Cajun squirrel ones the best!!!!
- Laura Scudder came up with the idea to put chips between 2 pieces of wax paper and ironing the ends shut. Voila! The first bag of chips.
- Some engineer spent 6 years studying the “crunchiness” of chips……….I got nothing…….
January 31, 2017
Writing is a creative process, but a very long, drawn out one to tackle. The results sometimes takes, months or years to come to fruition. How do we get there? What process to you go through to stroke your muse? Here are 12 famous authors and what they do! Enjoy.