Archive for May, 2014

The Benefits of Running!

May 31, 2014

I’ve learned firsthand the power of running and the influence it can have on a person’s life.  Mizuno (the running apparel company) wanted to know if running were powerful enough to change the world and commissioned a statistical analysis to find out.

What if everybody ran?  Here are some of the “numbers.”  (Note: the numbers are for illustrative and hypothetical purposes only.  Actual numbers and results may vary and these statistics are based on the United States only.)

  • Up to 48 million fewer cigarettes would be smoked daily.
  • Up to $134 billion dollars in savings in health care per year.
  • 7 billion more hours would be spent outside each year.
  • There would be 135 million more victory beers.
  • There would be 63 million happier best friends (dogs/pets)
  • There would be 46% fewer homeless.
  • 60 million more pounds of pasta would be eaten each year.
  • There would be 14 billion fewer hours spent online.
  • There would be 135 million fewer hours of television per week.
  • There would be 25% more breaths of fresh air.
  • There would be 10% more earning potential.
  • There would be an up to $25 billion dollar increase in the gross domestic product.
  • 27 million more sunrises would be seen each week.
  • There would be 37% more smiles.
  • There would be 270 million bigger hearts.
  • There would be 20 million more grandmothers (and great grandmothers).
  • There would be 1 world transformed if everybody ran.


Fowl Recipe Indeed!

May 30, 2014

Here is a wonderful recipe for Chicken Piccata that is not only delicious, but quick and easy to prepare as well. I served  this with wild rice, steamed broccoli, and carrots au gratin.  Yum!

Chicken Piccata

2-4 chicken breast halves (skinless and boneless)
Seasonings (salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg and 1 Tablespoon water (beaten)
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Start by butterflying the chicken breasts in half horizontally then place the chicken breasts between 2 layers of parchment and pound to about 1/4-inch thick.

Season both sides of chicken breasts with cayenne, salt, and black pepper; dredge lightly in flour and shake off any excess.  Dip in the beaten egg then immediately into the crumbs/cheese mixture — coat well.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, wine and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

The Crystal Bottle!

May 29, 2014

Here is another poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (originally printed circa 1730).  Enjoy!

In Ormond Street, the other day,
A lady, who as people say,
Did scold her maids like any shrew,
Nay, very often beat them too;
Had got a maid so country bred,
That she still had her maidenhead.

Whenever her mistress raised her voice,
She trembled at the dreadful noise,
And wished that quarter-day was come,
For much she longed to be at home.

Her lady called on Sunday last,
“You Bridget, Bridget, run in haste,
“And from Lamb’s Conduit, bring me quick
Some water, for I’m very sick.”
Poor Biddy, all in terror, shook,
And up a crystal bottle took;
Away she ran, alack the day!
A cursed stone lay in her way,
And just as she had reached the well,
Down she and the crystal bottle fell.

As Phaeton, that head-strong fool,
Who wanted wit and strength to rule
His father’s steed, looked from on high,
And saw the earth, the sea, the sky,
All in a blaze, and thundering Jove,
Armed with his lightning, stand above,
All pointed at his destined head,
Whose burst he knew would strike him dead.
So looked poor Biddy, when she found
The shattered crystal on the ground;
Too well her lady’s way she knew,
That all excuses, false or true,
Would be in vain; in deep despair
She beat her breast, and tore her hair.

“Alas!” she cried, “There’s not in nature
“So lost and so undone a creature:
“Whither, ah! whither shall I fly?”
A handsome ‘prentice standing by.
And seeing Biddy all in grief,
Came kindly up to her relief;
He saw the girl was wondrous fair,
Black were her eyes, and brown her hair,
Upon her cheeks sat blooming youth,
And charming was her little mouth: —
Uncovered was her lovely breast,
That swelled, as wanting to be pressed.
She seemed so formed to give delight,
That Dick was wounded with the sight.

“My dear,” said he, “I can’t conceive,
“Why one so fair as you should grieve,”
“Alas!” she cried, “I am undone,”
While from her eyes two torrents run;
“I, by my cruel stars, am cursed,
“To serve of womankind the worst;
“Do well or ill, ’tis all the same,
“I cannot please the surly dame;
“Although I give her no offence.
“Yet she will take  the least pretense,
“To rail and scold, nay, beat me too,
“And make my sides both black and blue;
“Think,then, what welcome I shall meet,
“When I return to Ormand Street;
“To tell the glass she thought so fine,
“Doth shattered on the pavement shine?
“The dreadful thought I cannot bear;
“No, death shall ease me of my care,
”  ‘Tis better far at once to die,
“Than bear her cruel tyranny;
” ‘Tis death alone can cure my grief,
“To death I fly to seek relief.”

“Alas!” said Dick, “My charming fair,
“Why give you way to this despair?
“Would you, who ought to live in joy,
“With your own hands yourself destroy?
“Take courage, fair one, I shall  find
“Another bottle of that kind.”

“No, no,” she cried, ” ‘Tis all in vain,
” ‘Tis death alone can ease my pain.”
Young Dick replied, “Though you must die
“Yet I can see no reason why
“You’d kill yourself , since doctors tell,
“Self-murderers go down to hell;
“But if you are resolved on killing,
“I’ll do it, dear, if you are willing.”

With joy fair Bridget gave consent
And Richard on her murder bent,
Behind a quickset led the fair,
To end her life and end her care;
There laid her down amongst the dew,
And ran poor Biddy through and through.

To those oppressed with woe and grief,
Death is alone the sure relief;
At first fair Bridget lost her sight;
She fainted, then she died outright.

But when returned to life again,
Her heart knew neither grief nor pain;
“Kind Sir,” cried out the panting fair,
“If thus you cure a maid’s despair,
“My lady in a week or two,
“Will have no bottles, old or new.”

Here’s to Libraries, Week Eighteen!

May 28, 2014

Library_18Back in 1992, while finishing up my Master’s degree, I was fortunate enough to have spent some time in the United Kingdom at the University of Oxford.  What an incredible experience!  The majority of my time was spent in, and accessing the resources of, the main  Bodleian Library (there are actually more than a hundred different libraries in Oxford — fifty within the Bodleian system, forty-two within the individual Colleges and Halls, and ten additional libraries — here’s a map of the libraries). Let me tell you, what a privilege it was to apply for and receive my reader’s card.  The library featured today, the Codrington Library, is from one of the Colleges, All Souls College, at the University of Oxford.

The Codrington Library was established in 1751 and contains more than 185,000 items (one third of which pre-date the 1800s).  The library contains one of the most significant collections of manuscript and early printed books in the United Kingdom, and attracts scholars from around the world.

“What in the world would we do without our libraries?” (Katherine Hepburn)

Source: photo courtesy of  (BuzzFeed).

Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the . . . !

May 27, 2014

You probably recognize this phrase from the opening line of the refrain to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma.” And, while Oklahoma does indeed have its fair share of strong winds (and tornadoes), you can also find gusting williwaws in the near-polar regions of the globe.   Batten down the hatches!


\WIL-ee-waw\, noun;

1.  a violent squall that blows in near-polar latitudes, as in the Strait of Magellan, Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands.

Happy Memorial Day, 2014!

May 26, 2014

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayArlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery (400,000 grave sites) covering 624 acres in Arlington County, Virginia.  The cemetery was established 150 years ago (May 1,3 1864) and is directly across the Potomoc River from the Lincoln Memorial.  The most visited site within the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which has been continually guarded since since July 2, 1937.  On April 6, 1948, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment began guarding the Tomb and they follow a rather strict procedure for doing so . . . 

  1. “Marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb.
  2. Turns, faces east for 21 seconds.
  3. Turns and faces north for 21 seconds.
  4. Takes 21 steps down the mat.
  5. Repeats the routine until the soldier is relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard.

After each turn, the Guard executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the Guard stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.

Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed—the 21-gun salute.

Each turn the guard makes is precise and is instantly followed by a loud click of the heels as he snaps them together. The guard is changed every half hour during daylight in the summer, and every hour during daylight in the winter and every two hours at night (when the cemetery is closed to the public), regardless of weather conditions.”

Source: the official website of the Arlington National Cemetery.

The Cities With The Most Flex Appeal!

May 25, 2014

Which cities have the highest percentages of people who weight train?  Which have the lowest?  Here are the rankings (courtesy of Men’s Health magazine) compiled and analyzed from the number of gyms, trainers, and C.S.C.S’s per capita (SimplyMap, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Strength and Conditioning Association); percentage of households with  people who lift weights and buy “high-protein” food (SimplyMap); and percentage of people who do muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week (CDC).  While Tulsa was not in either the top ten or the bottom ten, it was interesting to see that Oklahoma City was #93!

Buff Bodies
1.  Denver, CO
2.  San Francisco, CA
3.  Seattle, WA
4.  Colorado Springs, CO
5.  Anchorage, AK
6.  Washington, DC
7.  Austin, TX
8.  Portland, OR
9.  Aurora, CO
10.  Boise City, ID

Flabby Physiques
100.  Memphis, TN
99.  Detroit, MI
98.  Corpus Christi, TX
97.  El Paso, TX
96.  Laredo, TX
95.  Buffalo, NY
94.  San Antonio, TX
93.  Oklahoma City, OK
92.  Philadelphia, PA
91.  San Bernadino, CA

Source: Men’s Health magazine, June 2014 (

Are You Hungry Yet?!

May 24, 2014

As we begin this long holiday weekend, why not allow our thought to drift into the realm of eating, drinking, and being merry?  Just FYI, did you know that the average American household spends $6,599.00 on food each year?  Hmm, I fear I am way above the average.

  • $3,921.00 dining in, and
  • $2,678.00 dining out.

When you consider the U.S. retail grocery store and supermarket industry (40,245 stores), their revenues totaled around $650 .1 billion for 2013, and that doesn’t include the wide variety of stores other than supermarkets.  Consider other outlets such as some of the non-traditional food sellers (Sam’s Club, Costco,  and the dollar stores) — their revenues are estimated in the range of 435.0 billion.  Additionally, there are the more that 155,000 convenience stores (not including gasoline sales) that bring in an additional $175.9 billion in revenues.  But what about the restaurant sector?  The revenues generated in this sector total $552.0 billion.  This brings the grand total to about $1.8 trillion just on the food and beverage (not counting the impact on employment — employment estimates: 1.5 million employed in food manufacturing, 0.7 million in wholesale distribution, 2.9 million in retailing, and 10.3 million in restaurants and bars).

Wow, what a lucrative industries.

Source: Plunkett’s Food Industry Almanac 2014 Edition


Fastest States in the Nation!

May 23, 2014

Okay, so I’m a little behind in my reading, but I just found an article in last month’s Runner’s World magazine that broke down the results from last year’s Boston Marathon to show the top ten states with the highest percentage of their runners finishing in the top 1,000.  Woohoo, Oklahoma comes in at #10!  Interestingly enough, Massachusetts had the most number of runners (4,860), but less than 5% finished in the top 1,000.  None of Alaska’s 41 runners were able to break the top 1,000.

1.  West Virginia (17.4% – 8 runners)
2.  Montana (17.0% – 7 runners)
3.  New Mexico (16.3% – 13 runners)
4.  Nevada (15.4% – 13 runners)
5.  District of Columbia (15.2% – 26 runners)
6.  Hawaii (14.0% – 8 runners)
7.  North Dakota (13.5% – 5 runners)
8.  Colorado (13.4% – 70 runners)
9.  Wyoming (13.0% – 3 runners)
10. Oklahoma (12.8% – 11 runners)

Here are some other interesting statistics  . . .

  • 38% of runners in the 2014 field were age 18-39.
  • 42% jump in runners over age 50 over the past five years.
  • 3% increase in women runners in the field over the past five years.
  • 46% of the 2014 field that was female.
  • 43 was the average age of a 2014 Boston Marathoner.
  • 47 runners in 2014 were age 75-79.
  • 4,506 International runners (from 75 countries).
    • 2,359 from Canada.
    • 318 from the United Kingdom.
  • 2,976 runners qualified to run, but were slower than 1:38 under the standard and were kept out due to the large number of eligible runners.

Source: Boston Athletic Association (and Runner’s World magazine [May 2014]).

It’s Time to Get Loopy!

May 22, 2014

In case you missed the “live” The Tonight Show version, here is the YouTube recording of the Billy Joel/Jimmie Fallon duet of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” using the Loopy HD app for iPhone and iPad.  This powerful app allows you to “create music by layering looped recordings of singing, beatboxing, or playing an instrument with a savvy, sophisticated, tactile looper” (from their website).  It certainly looks pretty easy to use . . . hmm, I don’t usually acquire apps that cost, but this one might well be worth the nominal fee.