Friday Thoughts

February 13th, 2009

Staying young – doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. John Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University outlines a 10-step program to improve quality of life as we age.

He suggests little changes that involve good eating, such as including dark chocolate in your diet, drinking wine, socializing, adding simple exercises, fidgeting in your office chair to burn calories, spending time walking from your car to the store rather than driving to find a close parking space, working in your garden, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going dancing once a week. I can fidget, and adding wine, chocolate, and dancing, how can this be bad.

Hate America? – I loved this quip from England about why the world hates Americans. “. . . because they have fridges bigger than most of our flats,” he said. “It’s envy.”

Health care stuff
– A New York Times Jan 2009 study that included 2,807 hospitalized adults found 75% were not able to name even one physician taking care of them and less than half of the 25% of patients who came up with a name got it right. The patients who were able to name one of their physicians also were more likely to be dissatisfied with their care, researchers found.  Could it be because the doc just pops in for five minutes every other day?

Dentists – The Raleigh News & Observer says that North Carolina faces a serious and growing problem of people who can’t afford to see a dentist or can’t find one in their community, health experts say. The state’s growing population is trumping efforts to increase access to dental care, especially in rural areas that generally have fewer dentists.  I think if you divide the number of dentists by the actual numbers of teeth of the NC population, it probably comes out about even with the rest of the country.

Roman Dental Care – Romans imported Portuguese urine (believed to be stronger than their own) to rinse their mouths, to improve the color of their teeth and freshen their breath,. Urine contains several compounds like ammonia and urea that actually kill germs and help fight the gum disease gingivitis. This is one home remedy I will leave for others to try.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Google does it under water – Google launched a new service last week to allow Internet users to explore the depths of the world’s oceans from the comfort of their homes on dry land. The “Ocean in Google Earth” feature allows users to virtually dive beneath the water surface, explore 3D underwater terrain and browse ocean-related content contributed by marine scientists.

Nearly four years after Google Earth enabled users to zoom in to view streets, and later explore galaxies in the sky, the latest version of the software allows virtual travelers to cross miles of unchartered territory underwater. Ocean in Google Earth was unveiled formally at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences.

Google Earth users can click icons on sea maps to see video of creatures that thrive in those locations and can virtually swim with the sharks, dolphins or turtles.

Clean Garbage – A town in Britain has recently demonstrated its new electric garbage truck that is fueled by the garbage it collects. The waste-powered Ford Transit garbage truck was presented a few weeks ago at Huddersfield town center.

It will collect garbage from 25 newly installed split bins and take it to the Energy from Waste power station and recycling center nearby. The power station burns the garbage to generate electricity, and the truck recharges at a charging post to be ready for the next day’s route.

More Google wiz-bang technology – This scary bit of news recently hit the web. Google unveiled an upgrade to Google Maps that allows people to track the exact location of friends, foes, or family through their mobile devices or laptops. Google Latitude not only shows the location, but it can also be used to contact them via SMS, Google Talk, or Gmail. A beta version of Google Latitude has been around for about a year and there are others, but Google is the biggie to bring it to the masses.

You can do things like find where your spouse is stuck in traffic or what bar your friend is at, or where the kids really go when they are out at night. Businesses can watch employees, anywhere in the world.  The good news is that it is opt-in for now, but I can see company paid-for phones not offering a choice. I can also see where it might be good for law enforcement and military use. This one was overlooked by George Orwell, but could be more devastating than anything he ever thought of, if used wrong.

“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!” Thomas A. Edison

China is the world’s largest cigarette producer, with a growing market of about 320 million (we have only 305 million people in the US). Chinese cigarettes are also among the cheapest in the world — a pack can cost as little as 8 US cents.

China has 1.3 billion population and that is a bit over 20% of the world’s population. India’s population is 1.1 billion, a bit over 1/6th of the world population, and is younger and growing faster than China.
Here we are the most prosperous nation on earth with our measly 320 million. Kind of gives a perspective that we might be doing something right. Except, maybe we should elect the illegal aliens for Congress. It will give them jobs, take them off of welfare, reduce the number of criminals in Washington, and they might even get something done.

Cheers tidbit – Jay Thomas, who played Eddie LeBec on Cheers, was also a radio DJ in LA. He answered a call on the air one morning asking him, “What’s it like working on Cheers?” Thomas made several unflattering remarks about Rhea Perlman and having to kiss her. Rhea happened to be listening to his show. A few weeks later, on Cheers, Eddie LeBec was killed in a bizarre Zamboni accident. We knew she was tough.

Did you know that Spam was created in 1937 and originally called Hormel Spiced Ham. People seem to take sides where they love it or hate it, but more love it than don’t. It has a worldwide following and is especially enjoyed in Japan. South Koreans give it out as gifts. Hawaiians love it so much, they consume over seven million cans a year.

If you go to Hawaii (the only state that grows coffee), look for Spam on the McDonald’s breakfast menu – true, and if you are ever up in Austin, Minnesota, stop by the plant and check out the Spam museum.

There is hickory-smoked Spam, hot and spicy Spam, garlic Spam, and, for Dieters, “light” Spam. There is also a collector’s edition Spam Golden Honey Grail as shown above. Is Hormel trying to outdo Monty Python?

Holy Cow, how about a drink with that Spam – True, a new soft drink made from cow’s urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India is about to be launched. Many Hindus consider cow urine to have medicinal properties and it is often drunk in religious festivals. The bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months with commercial release sometime after that.

The flavor is not yet known, but the liquid produced by the holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer. “Cow urine offers a cure for around 70 to 80 incurable diseases like diabetes. All are curable by cow urine,” Om Prakash, the head of the RSS Cow Protection Department, said.

No name or a price for the drink has been announced yet. A few names come to mind, but I’ll let you fill in the blanks. Do the Romans and Indians know something we don’t?

Hope – It didn’t take long to find out there is little Hope for Change in Washington. Maybe it’s time to Change your Hope.

Spring Gardening Tip – When weeding the garden, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it was a valuable plant.


Friday Thoughts

February 6th, 2009

In the bigger is better column – Not too many months ago I mentioned to a few of you about a 1TB (terabyte) disk drive at only $250. It has been displaced as the largest drive available for your PC. Now Western Digital has come out with a 2TB drive. It will hold about 600,000 MP3s or more than 50 Blu-ray discs. That’s two thousand billion bytes, or two trillion bytes. I think I might need one of these.
If you remember Liz Taylor – In a controversial new biography, Liz Taylor reveals she likes
her lovemaking loud, rough and frequent. Coincidentally, that’s also how she likes to eat.

Digital TV delay until June 12 – You probably already heard this one. The Senate unanimously approved the bill and The House I am not surprised, even though the industry was ready, our wonderful senators and representatives only had four years to send out cards and botched it.

It is almost time for golf.

Why not ride around the links in this, a fully chromed-out Berline Cadillac Escalade golf cart. The electric cart tops out at 20 mph, comes equipped with an Alpine CD system and a 3.5 gallon cooler.

My mother said, “Take your asprin.” – She must have known something. Aspirin may be good for your liver, protecting it against damage from too much Tylenol and possibly even from obesity and alcohol abuse, according to a new study by a Yale physician, Dr. Wajahat Mehal of Yale, published in last week’s Journal of Clinical Investigation. It shows liver damage can be prevented by low doses of aspirin and has a protective effect, preventing inflammation of the liver caused by many medications.

Save the Earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate.

Are you nuts – The ACLU filed suit in Illinois because the state would not change the birth certificates of two men who had sex change operations to become female. It said the refusal violated state law. One of the ‘women’ said, “It could create significant problems for me in the future. A document that says I am male puts me at risk of embarrassment, harassment, and possibly even physical violence.” Yeh, he lost his balls.

Healthcare – Couldn’t resist these two headlines back-to-back in a recent email.
1. Despite economy, overall healthcare employment picture strong
2. WellPoint hit by 61 percent loss in Q4 2008, plans job cuts

Who says bigger is better?
– Physicists have set a new world record for the smallest writing, with features of letters as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The initials for Stanford University below were written in electron waves on a piece of copper and projected into a tiny hologram.

What’s in a name – Apparently lots. A new study in the journal Social Science Quarterly examined the relationship between first name popularity in adolescents and tendency to commit crime. Results show that, regardless of race, juveniles with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity. David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee of Shippensburg University analyzed state data by comparing the first names of male juvenile delinquents to the first names of male juveniles in the population.

Researchers constructed a popularity-name index (PNI) for each name. For example, the PNI for Michael is 100, the most frequently given name during the period. The PNI for David is 50, a name given half as frequently as Michael. The PNI is approximately 1 for names such as Alec, Ernest, Ivan, Kareem, and Malcolm.

Names case two – A cow with a name produces more milk than one without. Scientists at Newcastle University have found that by giving a cow a name and treating her as an individual, farmers can increase their annual milk yield by almost 500 pints.

The study, published online today in the academic journal Anthrozoos, found that on farms where each cow was called by her name the overall milk yield was higher than on farms where the cattle were herded as a group.

“Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention,” explains Dr. Douglas, who works at Newcastle University.
The real test will be to name the cows Kareem and Malcom and see if they give more milk, of spit their cud at you.

Border Patrol in action – 35 seconds of fun. Click here

The evening news is where they begin with ‘good evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

Flexible TV
– I know, I seem to be preoccupied with TV sets these days, but great stuff is happening in the business. Sony showed a flexible TV last year and again this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. It will hit the market in Japan this year. It the thickness of three credit cards and really is bendable. Not sure of the practical use, but it is very cool stuff. Maybe those placard carrying guys announcing going-out-of-business sales could wear them and show live feeds inside the store.

Bacon – My favorite
bacob clock

It is called ‘Wake n Bacon’ – an alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell and sizzle of cooking bacon, because no one likes to wake to an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of fresh cooked bacon. Makes me want to take a nap, just to wake up.

Turn right to go left
Plano, TX is setting up extended left turn lanes this year on a few intersections. check this link to see how it works. It is supposed to reduce congestion, didn’t mention about increasing confusion, especially because you have to cross three lanes to make your first U turn.

Old Folks Wisdom – Never sleep with a woman whose problems are worse than your own.
Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.
Women are like cow pies, the older they are, the easier they are to pick up.
Age is a relative thing – think about dead fish and good wine.
Never skimp on spending money on a good pair of shoes and a decent bed. If you’re not in one, you’re in the other.
Always leave a party while you’re still having fun.

– If we want fast change, vote all non-incumbents next election (regardless of party). If we want lasting change, lobby for term limits with no grandfather clause.
Gas outbreak quelled – A 12-year-old Florida student was arrested in November after he “deliberately passed gas to disrupt the class,” according to police. The child, who was also accused of shutting off the computers of classmates at Stuart’s Spectrum School, was busted November 4 for disruption of a school function. Page two of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office report follows.
It is true there is water on Mars.
water mars

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. Mother Teresa

Friday Thoughts

January 30th, 2009

Gimme another cup of Joe – Midlife coffee drinking can decrease the risk of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease later in life. This conclusion is made in a Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study has been conducted at the University of Kuopio, Finland in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.

It included 1409 participants from the survivors of population-based cohorts surveyed within previous studies.

The study found that coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life compared to those drinking no or only little coffee with the lowest risk (65% decreased) among moderate coffee drinkers (drinking 3-5 cups of coffee/day). Adjustments for various confounders did not change the results.


Elvis and his dyed black hair will always be remembered as he stands among the throng of Californian blondes and again makes true the old adage that, “In the kingdom of the blonde, the one dyed man is king.”

Speaking of Black – Did you know coal provides just over half our nation’s electricity.

Check out the new 56″TV from Philips. The new format 21×9 vs. the current HDTV 16×9 vs. regular TV 4×3. Others are expected to come out with competing versions. The idea is that it gives a wider and more pleasing view, like a movie theater.  A demo shows that the  ‘letter boxing’  or black lines on bottom and top of the regular HDTV is eliminated, but there is no more content showing, just a better view of the picture. If they can marry OLED and 21×9, I will be really excited. Oh, yeh, it will be sold first in Europe this spring. Maybe a gift for me next Christmas.


China becomes more monolithic – China plans to complete its own satellite navigation system by 2015, making it independent of foreign technology such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Beidou Navigation System will enable military and civilian users from China to find their way anywhere in the world. “The system will shake off the dependence on foreign systems,” said Zhang Xiaojin, director of astronautics at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

China aims to launch 30 more satellites into space by the middle of the next decade. Ten satellites will be launched in 2009 and 2010. The five-satellite system currently in place only provides regional navigation services within China’s own territory.

The Beidou Navigation System is seen as a rival not just of the GPS, but also the European Union’s Galileo Positioning System and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System.
Just what we need, more space garbage flying around.

What good is a dollar these days?
– Here is a place to find out.
and here–1998-0.asp

Health Care – “I think we’ve finally arrived at the point in time [related to health reform] when the pain of change may be lower than the pain of the status quo.” – Francois de Brantes, CEO of Bridges to Excellence, told AIS’s HEALTH PLAN WEEK.
I think he may be correct.

– Last year, 62% of Americans sought some kind of alternative medicine treatment. 75% say they have done this at least once in their lifetime. Eight million people a day conduct health information searches on the Web.

– Legislative provisions that would require providers to use federal health information technology funds to purchase equipment made in America were stripped from both the House and Senate versions of a massive $819 billion economic stimulus package, riling Republican lawmakers who say they want assurances that taxpayer dollars stay in country.

– LONDON, Jan. 24 (UPI) — Doctors say a record number of British men last year sought breast-reduction surgery for “man boobs” or “moobs,” as some call them. Breast-reduction surgery for men rose from 22 operations in 2003 to 224 operations last year, said the Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in Britain. Are the real boobs the physical appendages, or the guys getting the operations?

Uncle Jay – We all love those youtubes he does. Here is his website, and it has an RSS. He does a new video each week.

Cool technology for diabetics
– Scientists at Draper Laboratory, in Cambridge, MA, are developing a nanosensor that could be injected into the skin, much like tattoo dye, to monitor an individual’s blood-sugar level. As the glucose level increases, the “tattoo” would fluoresce under an infrared light, telling a diabetic whether or not she needs an insulin shot following a meal. Sure beats sticking a needle in your finger.
Dog lovers – will love this way to get their screen cleaned for free.

Mail to cell phone

January 29th, 2009

If you know someone is probably not at their PC or on the road and you want to send them an email, you can use the following to send your email to their cell phone.
address the email to the persons number and the carrier.

The message must be short, 160 characters max. You can also send a small picture (jpg) file.

Below is a list of the major carrier domains:


If you don’t know the cell phone’s service carrier, you can look it up at or and enter the 10-digit cell phone number using the reverse lookup feature. It should list the carrier.
If the carrier’s domain isn’t listed above, check its Web site.

Friday Thoughts

January 23rd, 2009

Fifty years ago this month Alaska became the 49th state and Hawaii become the fiftieth in August, 1959. It was a boom year for geography book and map publishers.

Twenty years ago, President George H. W. Bush signs an agreement to bail out over 800 insolvent savings and loans institutions (eight months after taking office).

Eleven years ago, House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton for grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice.

Ten years ago, the Jimmy Carter signed treaty (from 1977) went into effect turning the Panama Canal over to Panama, beginning the slide to the current Chinese control and rule.

Researchers found the stress of thinking caused overeating with heavy thinkers seeking out more calories. The research team, supervised by Dr Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks.

The first was relaxing in a sitting position, the second reading and summarizing a text, and finally completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.

The researchers had already discovered that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6 per cent and 29.4 per cent increase, respectively, compared with the rest period.

Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods. The body could be reacting to these fluctuations by spurring food intake in order to restore its glucose balance, the only fuel used by the brain.

Mr Chaput added: “Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries. This is a factor that should not be ignored, considering that more and more people hold jobs of an intellectual nature.”

The results of the study, carried out at Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, are published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, December, 2008.

My advice – Just eat and don’t think about and you will lose weight.
Here is something to relieve your stress. Moving kinetic sculpture – Complex, but not complicated.

Statistics show that the people who have the most birthdays live the longest.

A man called his banker to check on his account. “Your finances are in terrible shape, your checking account is overdrawn and your loan is overdue.”
“Yeah, I know,” said the man. “It’s my wife. She’s out of control.”
“Why do you let her spend more than you have?” asked the banker.
“Frankly,” sighed the man, “Because it’s easier to argue with you than her.”
Bye George! By George, we’ll miss ya!


“by George” is a minced oath, (where one letter –  ‘g’ word is substituted for another ‘g’ word), in this case, George is substituted for God because some people did not believe in God. The use of George came into use around the turn of the 20th century and usually meant great or OK, as in ‘everything is George’. Some people also used to say ‘everything is Jake’.

Leaving Paradise – Jan, 2009 – Official figures show that for a fourth year running, more residents have left California than moved there. According to census estimates, in the year ending July 1, 2008, the state lost 144,000 people, more than any other US state.

California hasn’t seen such a prolonged period of departures outweighing newcomers since the downturn of the early 1990s.

According to those leaving:
soaring unemployment (8.4 percent, the third highest in the nation);
the cost of living – taxes, food, gas, rents, home prices (even with the property crash);
bad schools;
bad air;
a state government inching ever closer to bankruptcy;
and the omnipresent threat of more cuts to public services and tax increases.

Here are a few goodies from 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Writing Contest. Sometimes I get so inspired.

Bryson the Plainsman seldom spoke a discouraging word, but he did when he filed for divorce after discovering his dear and an interloper played.  Maree Lubran, Saratoga, CA

As usual, Mr. Riddle came home from work, and, as usual, took the toy poodle, Fluffy, out for her walk, and, as usual, Fluffy “did her business” at the usual places, first at the bush, second, on the sidewalk, and third, in the grass, so that there, on the pavement, was evidence of Fluffy’s evening sojourn: Mr. Riddle’s little poodle’s middle piddlle puddle.  Dr. Ford Sutherland, Venice, Florida

The homicide detective was an aging woman with a crusty and somewhat ill-tempered personality, an individual who reminded me of the kind of woman my mother, a Sunday-school teacher, would have been if she had been a crusty and somewhat ill-tempered homicide detective.  Bill Crumpler, McKinney, TX

Vito watched as Robert squirmed in his life vest while the Great White brushed against his chum-soaked and shackled body, but it wasn’t until the terrible fish circled back, finally ending Robert’s evening, that Vito, with the vision of the legless torso undulating up and down in the Farallon current had his epiphany, and uncovered one of life’s truly great mysteries: when you shorten Robert you really do get bob.  Paul Olson, San Jose, CA

More research – Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England claim that men with longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers, tended to be more successful as financial traders.

Not sure what prompted the study, but at least the research also pointed out that the “finger-index” was about equal to years of experience in the financial business.

With the Wall Street meltdown, a lot of investors would like to give their brokers a message with a finger, but it’s neither the ring finger nor the index finger.

The Obama plan for another WPA  (Works Progress Administration) type of plan might do well to look at the original WPA.

It was in effect from 1935 to 1943, cost $11 Billion, and was designed to increase the purchasing power of persons on relief by employing them on useful projects. WPA’s building program included the construction of 116,000 buildings, 78,000 bridges, and 651,000 miles of road ,and the improvement of 800 airports. It also sponsored art projects and musical performances.

At its peak WPA had about 3.5 million persons on its payrolls. There was sharp criticism of the WPA by the Senate in 1939; the same year the WPA appropriation was cut, name changed to Work Projects Administration, several projects were abolished, and others were curtailed.

A strike of thousands of WPA workers to prevent a cut in wages on building projects was unsuccessful. Steadily increasing employment in the private sector caused further drastic cuts in WPA appropriations and payrolls.

Now that we have a baseline, we can compare what will happen this time. I wonder if the Obama team will start with those on welfare or if this will be for other folks. . .

BTW – check out for all of Obama’s plans – motherhood, apple pie, taxes, and lofty goals. Download the pages that interest you so you can compare in a few years when it is election time again.
The Firth of Forth – I just like the way this rolls off the tongue. The Firth of Forth is the estuary, or firth, of Scotland’s River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea. It all has to do with the gun at the Edinburgh Castle firing at 1:00 p.m for the seamen approaching the Firth of Forth. Daylight savings time screwed everything up for these folks in the old days.


One of my books, “Greatest Jokes” is cited on a wiki about president John Adams of all people.

Snopes is a site that debunks the myths floating around in cyberspace. Many of the popular emails asking for money, or promising that Microsoft will donate if you forward this email, etc.

This valuable site became even better recently when it cited another of my joke books for a story about Nancy Pelosi. I just love it. Now I am a credible source. . . for jokes, I guess. Such a dubious distinction!


The mother of three unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she would have children if she had it to do over again.
“Sure,” she replied, “But not the same ones.”