Fun Fact Friday, Number Thirty-Seven!

August 18, 2017

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “music/instruments.”  Do you know what kind of instrument (string, woodwind, percussion, or brass) is an English horn?

Well, first of all, it is not a brass instrument; it is not a horn, and, it isn’t even English.  An English horn is technically a woodwind (and alto oboe) with an angled mouthpiece.  The word “English” is actually a mis-translation from the French word for “angled.”

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Night of a Thousand Suns!

August 17, 2017

Night of a Thousand SunsHere is another wonderful painting by the talented Duane Duvall.   He took a really experimental approach to this one as he attempted to paint an assortment of styles and versions of the sun (and he claims there really are images of 1,000 suns).  He used cheerios, a silver dollar, a paint brush, inks, palette knives, acrylics, and layering and weathering as he has never done before.  His plan was “to take this piece and add so many different takes on the sun that you would look for years and see different things every time.”  I believe he succeeded.

Name That Weevil!

August 16, 2017

While today’s word has been included in numerous English-language dictionaries for years, it had never been included in the Oxford English Dictionary until recently.  Zyzzyva is now recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary and has the distinction of being the very last entry in the OED.

zyzzyva

zizuh-vuh \, noun;

  1.  any of various South American weevils of the genus Zyzzyva, often destructive to plants.

Cheesecake of the Month – August 2017!

August 15, 2017

Every know and then you run across a recipe that makes you “stop, and take notice.”  This month’s cheesecake recipe is no exception.  And as much as most people like chocolate chip cookies, this cheesecake is sure to be a hit.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups of crushed chocolate chip cookies
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of all-purpose four
1-1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips, divided

Directions
1.  In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and the sugar; stir in the melted butter and mix.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan and set aside.  Place the pan on a baking sheet.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs and beat on low speed until just combined.  Add the sour cream and the vanilla; beat until blended.  Pour this mixture over the crust and set aside.

3.  In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the water and the vanilla.  Gradually add the flour.  Stir in one cup of the chocolate chips.  Drop this dough by teaspoonfuls over the filling and gently push the dough below the surface (the dough should be completely covered by the filling).

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until the center is almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes.  Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and cool one hour longer.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove the sides of the pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips before serving.

Some Chemistry Humor!

August 14, 2017

Here is a funny joke/pun involving sodium chloride and copper.  Enjoy!

SaltandCopper

Source: http://www.jokelibrary.net/education/chemistry.html

Storing Your Groceries!

August 13, 2017

For those of you who can never remember which foods need to be stored in the refrigerator (or what steps you can take to keep your foods fresh), here is a marvelous infographic with the low-down on all of the dos and don’ts (courtesy of Jessica Stevens in Kitchen Hacks).

cooking_infographic_28

Chaconne in F Minor for Harpsichord!

August 12, 2017

Johann Pachelbel, best know for his Canon in D Major (and rightly so) was a prolific composer during the Middle German Baroque period.  He composed more than 200 compositions for organ, works for other keyboards (e.g., harpsichord), sacred music, and chamber music.  His exact birthdate is unknown (but it was sometime in August (ca. 1653) due to his baptism in early September), so to honor this wonderful composer during his birthday month, here is his Chaconne in F Minor for harpsichord.  Enjoy!

Fun Fact Friday, Number Thirty-Six!

August 11, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about smell.  Did you know that . . .

  • an ant’s sense of smell is stronger than a dog’s? (Real Fact #39)
  • the average smell weighs 760 nanograms? (Real Fact #54)
  • smelling apples and/or bananas can help you lose weight?  (Real Fact #109)
  • bloodhounds can track a man by smell for up to 100 miles? (Real Fact #435)
  • polar bears can smell a seal from up to 20 miles away? (Real Fact #744)
  • dolphins are unable to smell? (Real Fact #970)
  • Chicago is named after smelly garlic that once grew in the area? (Real Fact #990)
  • elepohants can smell water up to 3 miles away? (Real Fact #1390)

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

The Joys of “Getting Away!”

August 10, 2017

Vacations are wonderful . . . the process of “getting away” from the day to day drudge is ever so important for one’s mental health and well-being.  But how many of us are guilty of not taking advantage of our vacations to relax and recharge our physical and emotional batteries?  I know that I’ve been guilty of not taking appropriate vacations or travel (from time to time), but I’m certainly striving to do better in this department lately. Speaking of travel, here are some humorous definitions (by way of quotations) on the topic of “travel” and “tourist.”

Travel
“The process of journeying thousands of miles away from people to avoid them, and then sending them a card saying, ‘Wish you were here.'”  (E.C. McKenzie)

“What’s only glamorous in retrospect.”   (Paul Theroux)

And, regarding a “tourist,”

“A man who travels hundreds of miles just to get a photograph of himself standing beside his car.”  (Hal Roach)

Source: The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone.

Bird of Paradise!

August 9, 2017

When it comes to exotic flowers, I’ve always been enthralled by the bird of paradise (native to South Africa).   I, of course, am not talented when it comes to growing or caring for plants.  But here is an origami version that will just have to do for those of us with other than green thumbs.  You’ll need a few extra materials besides the paper, but it will be well worth it.