Archive for January, 2015

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Twenty-Six!

January 31, 2015

IMG_0781Apples have long been the subject of stories, myths, and legends and symbolize wisdom, fertility, knowledge, and sensuality.  In Greek mythology, Gaia gave Zeus and Hera apples as a wedding gift; one of Heracles twelve labors involved an apple (he was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life); apples are considered to be the forbidden fruit that led to the “fall of man” in the Garden of Eden; when Paris of Troy awarded the prize apple to Aphrodite, it incited the Trojan War; and many more.

Did you know . . .

  • that there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, but only the crabapple is native to North America?
  • that apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber?
  • that it takes apple trees four to five years to produce their first fruit?
  • that apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated?
  • that apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit?
  • that the largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds?
  • that apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each?
  • that apples are a member of the rose family?
  • that the top apple producers around the world are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy?
  • that apples account for 50 percent of international deciduous fruit tree production?
  • that a peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds?
  • that it takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider?

Source of facts: United States Apple Association

Politicians and Politics!

January 30, 2015

We constantly bemoan our politicians (and politics in general), and yet, nothing ever changes.  It is a huge revolving door — out with the old, in with the new — with the expectation that somehow this way of doing business will all change at some point in time.  But alas, it probably never will (how’s that for cynicism?).  In the meantime, here are a few delightful quotations/definitions of politicians and politics that may provide a smile.  Happy Humpday!

Politician(s) . . .
“A person with whose politics you don’t agree. (If you agree with him, he’s a statesman)” — David Lloyd George

“An animal that can sit on the fence and still keep both ears to the ground.”  — H.L. Mencken

“A fellow who will lay down your life for his country.”  — Texas Guinan

“One who approaches every situation with an open mouth.”  — Adlai Stevenson

“Someone who believes you don’t have to fool the people all the time – just during election campaigns.”  — Stanley Davis

“People who divide their time between running for office and running for cover.”  — Anonymous

“People who shake your hand before an election, and your confidence after.”  — Ernie Kovacs

“People who, when they see the light at the end of the tunnel, order more tunnel.”  — John Quintan

Politics . . .
“The sport of rich men and prostitutes.”  — Richard Dreyfuss

“An occupation that has become so expensive, it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”  — Will Rogers

“The only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

“Choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”  — J.K. Galbraith

“A dog’s life without a dog’s decencies.”  — Rudyard Kipling

“A science derived from two words: ‘poli’ meaning many, and ‘tics’ meaning small bloodsucking insects.”  — Chris Clayton


January 29, 2015

Here’s the next installment of manners and etiquette (courtesy of the Goops)?

Goops leave traces everywhere —
Gum stuck underneath the chair,
Muddy footprints in the hall,
Show that Goops have been to call;
Shoes and stockings on the floor
Show where Goops have been before!

Source: Goops and How to Be Them: a Manual of Manners for Polite Infants Inculcating Many Juvenile Virtues Both by Precept and Example by Gelett Burgess.

College Basketball 2015, Week Twelve!

January 28, 2015

127The Spartans had a mediocre week winning at home against Penn State, then losing by two on the road at Nebraska . . . Only two (2) teams in the AP top twenty-five (25) remain undefeated (Kentucky and Virginia).  The Big Ten Conference has 3 teams ranked in the top-25: Wisconsin (#5), Maryland (#16), and Indiana (#22).  Next up for the Spartans this week, on the road at Rutgers (Thursday),  and at home against Michigan (Sunday).  Go Green!

The upsets among the top-25 this week included:
Iowa State (#9) losing to unranked Texas Tech by only five (5) points.
Maryland (#13) losing to Indiana (#23).
Oklahoma (#19) losing to Baylor (#21).
Baylor (#20) losing to unranked Oklahoma State.
Georgetown (#21) losing to unranked Xavier.
Indiana (#23) losing to unranked Ohio State.
Seton Hall (#24) losing to unranked Depaul by four (4) points.
Seton Hall (#24) losing to unranked Butler.

The close calls (wins by six points or less [two scores]) among the top-25 this week included:
Virginia (#2) defeating unranked Virginia Tech by only three (3) points.
Wisconsin (#6) defeating unranked Michigan by only five (5) points in overtime.
Notre Dame (#8) defeating unranked NC State by only three (3) points in overtime.
Maryland (#13) defeating unranked Northwestern by only one (1) point.
North Carolina (#15) defeating unranked Florida State by only four (4) points.
VCU (#16) defeating unranked Saint Louis by only two (2) points.
West Virginia (#17) defeating unranked Kansas State by six (6) points.
West Virginia (#18) defeating unranked TCU by only one (1) point in overtime.
Northern Iowa (#20) defeating unranked Indiana State by only six (6) points.
Northern Iowa (#20) defeating unranked Illinois State by only one (1) point.
Dayton (#22) defeating unranked Richmond by only three (3) points.
Iowa (#25) losing to unranked Purdue by four (4) points.

The losses to higher-ranked teams among the top-25 this week included:
Texas (#17) losing to Kansas (#11).
Texas (#19) losing to Iowa State (#15) by three (3) points.

Cold and Flu Season!

January 27, 2015

Here we are in the middle of the cold and flu season.  And despite having taken the precaution of getting a flu shot, I have already suffered through an extended bout of feeling less than 100%. I’m hesitant to call it the flu, but perhaps I’m living in denial.  In the February issue of the AARP Bulletin, they compared the state rates for people 65+ receiving the flu vaccination during the 2013-2014 flu season (the range of variance was between 35 and 60%).  I haven’t quite made it into this demographic yet, but noticed that Oklahoma (51.5%) was in the top third of states by percentage of seniors being vaccinated.  Here are the top five (5) states as well as the bottom five (5).

Highest percentage:
1. Iowa (57.3%)
2. Connecticut (57.2%)
3. Wisconsin (56.9%)
4. Massachusetts (56.4%)
5. Delaware (56.2%)

Lowest percentage:
1. Alaska (37.1%)
2. District of Columbia (40.7%)
3. Nevada (41.1%)
4. New Mexico (41.2%)
5. Mississippi (43.0%)

A Cube By Any Other Name . . . !

January 26, 2015

As Valentine’s Day is right around the corner (okay, so it is still a couple of weeks off), here’s a quick origami design that is sure to please/impress.  Try your folding skills today!

Total Eradication!

January 25, 2015

Many a summer was spent extirpating the leafy spurge from the vineyard.  By hoe or by hand, it mattered not . . . the objective was a pristine, weedless vineyard; this objective was achieved more often than not.


EK-stur-payt \, transitive verb;

1. To pull up by the stem or root.
2. To destroy completely.
3. To remove by surgery.

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Twenty-Five!

January 24, 2015

Food fight!   If you like a good food fight, mark your calendars and make your travel arrangement now!

When: the last Wednesday of August (August 26th this year).
Where: Buñol, Valencia, Spain
What: La Tomatina — annual tomato fight.
Duration: one hour; 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM only.

The city council follows a short list of instructions for the safety of the participants and the festival: (the use of goggles and/or gloves on the part of the participants is encouraged)

  1. The tomatoes have to be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.
  2. No other projectiles except tomatoes are allowed.
  3. Participants have to give way to the truck and lorries.
  4. After the second shot indicative of ending the tomato hurl, no tomatoes should be thrown.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this annual event.  Since 2013, in order to offer better control and safety throughout the event, there is now an entry fee and the number of participants is limited (what used to draw anywhere from 40,000-50,000 people is now restricted to 20,000 participants).

What foods would you arm yourself with for a food fight?  Have you ever thrown food (as a baby from a highchair doesn’t count)?

Chips and Dip!

January 23, 2015

Have you been looking for something a little different in the line of dips for your chips?  Are you tired of that same old onion dip?  Here is a refreshing dip recipe that will have you screaming for more!   And, depending on the ingredients you use, you can create a satisfying snack for under 150 calories.  I will put the “light” recipe here, but you can always substitute the “full-strength” ingredients for more flavor and calories.

Cheddar-Bacon-Chive Dip

Combine 5 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream, 1 tablespoon of canola mayonnaise, 3/4 ounce of finely shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, 2 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, and a dash of pepper.  Serve with 2 ounces of reduced-fat kettle-cooked potato chips.

This recipe purports to serve 4 persons (the serving size is about 1/2 an ounce of potato chips [about 10 chips] and about 2 tablespoons of dip).

Calories: 124
Fat: 6.7 grams (saturated: 1.9 grams)
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 236 milligrams

Obviously, if you use the regular sour cream, the regular mayonnaise, and regular potato chips, then the calories, fat, protein, and sodium will be higher (I’m not sure exactly how much higher).

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Roadmap!

January 22, 2015

Are you interested in flowcharts?  Are you interested in infographics?  Do you like to read science fiction and/or fantasy novels?  Then here’s the infographic for you!  Here you have a guide for navigating through National Public Radio’s top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books (courtesy of SF Signal).

Find the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books [Infographic] - An Infographic from

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