Archive for September, 2016

99 Great Ways to Save (Part 5)!

September 30, 2016

In the July /August issue of the AARP Bulletin, several experts offer tips and tricks that will help you save money in a variety of categories: travel, technology, home, finance, style, food, fun, getting there, health, and entertainment.  Part 5 will be the style category (tips courtesy of Lois Joy Johnson [AARP beauty, fashion, and style expert], Dan Chizzoniti [publisher of Realguyswearties], and Marissa Stephenson [senior editor Men’s Journal]).

40. Do-it-yourself blemish-balm cream (dab of foundation + dab of daily moisterizer).
41. go natural on manicures (mix 1 T hydrogen peroxide + 2 T baking soda, let sit, wipe off, buff).
42. Let dry shampoo do many jobs.
43. Choose suede (instead of leather).
44. Go longer between hair coloring appointments.
45. Rescue stinky shoes (scented dryer sheets).
46. Shop in July or January.
47. Check prices after you buy (retailer will refund, if on sale later).
48. Buy clothes through online airline miles programs or rebate sites.
49. Use double-duty grooming products.
50. Use shampoo sparingly.
51. Buy better quality clothes.
52. Stay neutral.

Source: AARP Bulletin, July/August 2016, p. 23, 26.

Venice and the Renaissance!

September 29, 2016

jacopo_tintoretto_-_paradise_detail_-_wga22639Happy Birthday Jacopo Comin!  Don’t recognize this name?  How about Jacopo Robusti?  Still no glimmer of recognition?   Il Furioso?  Tintoretto? Yes, all one and the same.  And while his exact date of birth is unknown (believed to be in late September or early October), his talent and paintings are a treasure to the world.  This piece, “Paradise,” is purported to be the largest painting ever done on a canvas (74.1 by 29.9 feet).  This Italian painter, who was born and died in Venice, was a key figure of the Renaissance movement.  Tintoretto got his early (and short) training under Titian, but was mostly self-taught.

A Little Loon!

September 28, 2016

LoonHere is an original oil painting that I acquired last summer while vacationing in the Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties of Michigan.  I found this piece at the 56th Annual Outdoor Art Fair  (sponsored by the Crooked Tree Arts Center) on the campus of the Northwestern Michigan College on the last Saturday of July.  I have already collected several other paintings by this particular artist (Katie Chichester-Mester) and I am always delighted to visit with her and see what new treasures she has for sale.  I am never disappointed and I always manage to walk away with a purchase — thank you Katie for your extraordinary talent!

Best Cities for Running!

September 27, 2016

In the October issue of Runner’s World, they analyzed more than 250 cities (populations greater than 160K) with the highest number of households per capita who reportedly participated in some form of running over the last twelve months.  Data was gathered from a variety of sources to create five categories of special importance to runners (presence of sanctioned clubs, races, and running stores; the number of trails, open spaces, running tracks, etc.; ideal running weather; access to healthy food options; and safety [crime and traffic] for pedestrians).   Here’s the list of the top-50.

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. New York, NY
  9. Omaha, NE
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Madison, WI
  13. Colorado Springs, CO
  14. San Jose, CA
  15. Los Angeles, CA
  16. Rochester, NY
  17. Pittsburgh, PA
  18. Tucson, AZ
  19. Raleigh, NC
  20. Boise, ID
  21. Oakland, CA
  22. Philadelphia, PA
  23. Sacramento, CA
  24. St. Louis, MO
  25. Buffalo, NY
  26. Virginia Beach, VA
  27. St. Paul, MN
  28. Richmond, VA
  29. Santa Rosa, CA
  30. Charlotte, NC
  31. Las Vegas, NV
  32. Tampa, FL
  33. Lincoln, NE
  34. Albuquerque, NM
  35. Cleveland, OH
  36. Cincinnati, OH
  37. Milwaukee, WI
  38. Atlanta, GA
  39. Des Moines, IA
  40. Irvine, CA
  41. Salt Lake City, UT
  42. Baltimore, MD
  43. Spokane, WA
  44. Honolulu, HI
  45. Indianapolis, IN
  46. Phoenix, AZ
  47. San Antonio, TX
  48. Miami, FL
  49. Oklahoma City, OK
  50. Houston, TX


College Football 2016, Week Four!

September 26, 2016

Following their excellent win on the road last week (at Notre Dame), the Spartans hosted the Badgers of Wisconsin in their Big Ten Conference opener this week.  And . . . the Spartans did not show up to play (offense or defense) and lost the game.  Bummer.

In the AP rankings, the top seven teams remained the same, but the rest were shaken up a bit.  The Big Ten continues to have five teams in the AP top-25 rankings (four in the top-10):   Ohio State [#2], Michigan [#4], Wisconsin [#8],  Nebraska [#15], and Michigan State [#17].

Next up for the Spartans: on the road to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.   Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Michigan State (#8) losing to Wisconsin (#11).
Georgia (#12) losing to Ole Miss (#23).
LSU (#18) losing to unranked Auburn by five (5) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Washington (#9) defeating unranked Arizona by seven (7) points in overtime.
Utah (#24) defeating unranked USC by four (4) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Texas A&M (#10) defeating Arkansas (#17).
Tennessee (#14) defeating Florida (#19).

Do You Know Your Baseball?!

September 25, 2016

I encountered this word while working a New York Times crossword puzzle recently and had no clue as to its meaning or origin.  I had seen the movie Moneyball, but didn’t realize that the team had used sabermetrics to build their successful team.   This word originated in 1980 by utilizing the initials of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) plus    –metrics.

sabermetrics or sabrmetrics, sabermetrician

\ sey-ber-me-triks \, noun;  \‐mi-trishuh n \

1.  (used with a singular verb) the computerized measurement of baseball statistics.

99 Great Ways to Save (Part 4)!

September 24, 2016

In the July /August issue of the AARP Bulletin, several experts offer tips and tricks that will help you save money in a variety of categories: travel, technology, home, finance, style, food, fun, getting there, health, and entertainment.  Part 4 will be the finance category (tips courtesy of Farnoosh Torabi [host of podcast So Money] and Jane Bryant Quinn [AARP financial columnist]).

30. Reduce your auto insurance.
31. Buy more to spend less on life insurance (price bands).
32. Ask for discounts from monthly billers (call customer retention).
33. Take advantage of credit card perks.
34. Say yes (email promotions).
35. Don’t put college tuition on a credit card.
36. Buy like a man (i.e., razors and shampoo — feminine brand, paying for packaging).
37. Shop every year for a new Medicare Part D drug insurance plan.
38. Check the unclaimed property sites (
39. Don’t buy your bank’s overdraft-protection plan.

Source: AARP Bulletin, July/August 2016, p. 23.

Flute, Violin, and Bagpipe!

September 23, 2016

Happy Friday! Here is an “amazing” rendition of Amazing Grace involving Andre Rieu (on violin) and Teun Ramaekers (on piccolo/fife).  Unfortunately, I’m not sure who’s playing the bagpipes so I cannot give her a shout-out at this time.

Good Advice!

September 22, 2016

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

Good Advice

Some years ago, a charming dame
In Paris to the regent came.
She was so vexed she scarce could speak,
She trembled, and her voice was weak:
But rage, however closely pent
In a woman’s breast, will find a vent.
Three times she sighed, and thus begun:
“Great Orleans, I am undone;
“Just now the cardinal I saw,
“Told him I had a suit for law,
“That I’d be baffled at the court,
“Unless he did my cause support,m
“Then to him kneeled; as God shall save me,
“The wicked wretch an answer gave me,
“With which I was quite thunder-struck:
“Madam,” said he, “go home and f___.”
“What could the lewd, the rotten brute
“Say to a common prostitute?
“Was this fit language to a maid?”
To this his Highness, smiling said,
“What though Dubois’s a slave to vice,
“Yet, faith, he gave you good advice.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

The Right to Bear Arms!

September 21, 2016

Want to know how your state rates when it comes to the percentage of adults who own guns (data for 2013)?   The September issue of the AARP Bulletin provided a map comparing all of the states (source: Injury Prevention).  I’m not exactly sure how this was measured (Legally owned? Registered/permitted?) , so I’m reticent to totally accept the accuracy of these percentages . . . but for purposes of the conversation, a starting point.  I’m wondering if Illinois’ percentage failed to include the city of Chicago?

Highest to Lowest
1. Alaska (61.7%)
2. Arkansas (57.9%)
3. Idaho (56.9%)
4. West Virginia (54.2%)
5. Wyoming (53.8%)
6. Montana (52.3%)
7. Alabama (48.9%)
8. North Dakota (47.9%)
9.  Hawaii (45.1%)
10. Louisiana (44.5%)
11. South Carolina (44.4%)
12. Mississippi (42.8%)
13. Kentucky (42.4%)
14. Tennessee (39.4%)
15. Nevada (37.5%)
16. Minnesota (36.7%)
17. Texas (35.7%)
18. South Dakota (35.0%)
19. Wisconsin (34.7%)
20. Colorado (34.3%)
21. Iowa (33.8%)
21. Indiana (33.8%)
23. Florida (32.5%)
24. Arizona (32.3%)
25. Kansas (32.2%)
26. Utah (31.9%)
27. Georgia (31.6%)
28. Oklahoma (31.2%)
29. Virginia (29.3%)
30. Michigan (28.8%)
30. Vermont (28.8%)
32. North Carolina (28.7%)
33. Washington (27.7%)
34. Missouri (27.1%)
34. Pennsylvania (27.1%)
36. Oregon (26.6%)
37. Illinois (26.2%)
38. District of Columbia (25.9%)
39. Maine (22.6%)
39. Massachusetts (22.6%)
41. Maryland (20.7%)
42. California (20.1%)
43. Nebraska (19.8%)
44. Ohio (19.6%)
45. Connecticut (16.6%)
46. New Hampshire (14.4%)
47. New Jersey (11.3%)
48. New York (10.3)
49. Rhode Island (5.8%)
50. Delaware (5.2%)