Thursday, October 23, 2014

Woman Tries to Sell Imaginary Friend on eBay

Thanks for clicking by! You look ready for a nice heartwarming mug of coffee and a virtual treat. Well, you have come to the right place. After yesterday's apparently terrorist-motivated tragedy in Ottawa, we need to get back to reality - even if reality has a slightly different feel to it today. 

Prime Minister Harper said "We, as, as Canadians, will not be intimidated." 

A newscaster said, and I paraphrase a little... "Get out there and enjoy today - keep to the values that make Canadians strong and fun-loving folks." So, go out; buy a Two Four (Translation for non-Canucks: a case of 24 pints of beer) and a pizza...with an order of poutine on the side. Keep on wearing your shorts and t-shirts until the snow flies!

This blog is about people and things you may not see on the six o'clock news...sometimes a little odd perhaps, interesting, educating and entertaining. That's my blog's reality so with that in mind, read on...

On the advice of her shrink, 22-year-old Londoner Georgia Horrocks is trying to declutter her mind by selling her imaginary friend on eBay!

“I have recently come to the decision that it is time to sell my imaginary friend Bernard who was created during a time of emotional instability,” Georgia wrote in the eBay listing.

“My psychiatrist recommended that I say goodbye to Bernard, and although I would like some financial compensation, it is more important that he finds a good home.” She added that he has an ‘active’ and ‘mischievous personality’.

Maybe Bernard would be a good addition to the staff here at CWB. What do you think? My mind is generally quite cluttered with ideas, book plots, artistic intentions and multitudinous blank canvases, so one more thought-provoker wouldn't be out of place. In fact, he may provide a second opinion on things. "Say Bernard, what do you think of this idea?"

Sorry, Georgia, I can't offer any compensation but...now hold on a minute. I keep getting emails from Britain telling me that I have won a lottery over there.  Tell you what, Georgia, send me your email address. The next lottery email, I receive, I'll forward to you and appoint you as my official agent. You keep half and I'll trust you to send me the other half. No...phone me and I'll come over there and collect. We can have coffee, too, and an English cream scone. How's that for an offer?  Tell Bernard to pack his imaginary long underwear...here in Canada, winter is coming.

See ya, eh!

Bob

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Ways Pumpkin Boosts Immune Health



May the Great Pumpkin shine on all your endeavours today! Yes, indeed! Glad you could slide by and join me in a big mug of coffee (we couldn’t afford a hot tub!). Grab a virtual muffin or doughnut, too (don’t get it wet!). Well, it’s fall and that means pumpkins. Lots of good things about these bright, unassuming, gourds...

Pumpkins are more than just beautiful and versatile. They may just help you strengthen your immune system just in time for cold season. Maybe that’s why they’re such a popular food in fall and winter!

Pumpkin flavours are everywhere in the fall, and there is more than one reason that this seasonal gourd is so popular. Pumpkin (and other winter squash) are packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients that help support immune health. Below are five macro- and micro-nutrients in pumpkin that help keep you healthy all year long.

The nutritional information below is for a cup of pumpkin puree, but other winter squash like butternut, acorn, and kabocha squash also contain healthy doses of vitamin A, soluble fiber, folate, manganese, and riboflavin. So if you’re feeling a little bit burnt out on pumpkin, don’t worry! You can get similar anti-inflammatory benefits from whatever winter squash strikes your fancy.

Don't care for pumpkin? Don't worry! Your favourite winter squash also contains some or all of the immune-boosting nutrients below.


1. Eat your vitamin A
A cup of pumpkin puree contains almost eight times you daily requirement for vitamin A. You probably associate vitamin A with good eyesight, but a 2010 study found that vitamin A — along with vitamin D — plays a big part in supporting your body’s immune system. So take that slice of pumpkin pie outside to soak up some vitamin D along with all of that vitamin A to avoid cold and flu.

2. Get your soluble fiber here!
That same cup of pumpkin has over 25 percent of your daily fiber needs. What does fiber have to do with immune health? Quite a bit, it turns out! There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Pumpkin is rich in insoluble fiber, which another 2010 study found stimulates your body’s immune system and helps fight infection.

3. Say hello to folate.
Folate — aka folic acid — is a B vitamin that may be critical to a healthy immune system, and a cup of pumpkin puree has almost a third of your daily folate requirement. Preliminary research shows that a folate deficiency may be linked to a weaker immune system, so pass the pumpkin spice latte, please!

4. A little manganese goes a long way.
Pumpkin has 18 percent of your RDA for manganese. Manganese helps your body build cells called superoxide dimutase, which fight free radicals and help your body maintain normal cell growth. It’s important not to get too much manganese, though, because it can cause neurological problems.

5. Cook up some riboflavin.
A serving of pumpkin puree has eight percent of your daily riboflavin requirement. Riboflavin — aka vitamin B2 — help your body fight off bacterial infections. Combine that pumpkin with other riboflavin-rich foods like spinach and almonds to give your diet a little riboflavin boost.

Pumpkin nutritional information via Nutrition Facts database.
Source: Care2.com

Thais use pumpkins all the time – as a veggie cut into bite-sized cubes in a Thai curry.  We had some at Anna’s party this week and even got to bring some home. Aroy! (Delicious). 

They also make a dessert which is real easy to make. Find a small pumpkin, cut off the top and scoop out the guck. Fill the cavity with custard and steam it till the pumpkin softens. Let it cool. The custard will gel. Cut it into slices and serve. Aroy!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get Your Ice Cold Lemonade Here!

G'day to you! How're you faring today? Ready to take on the world? The galaxy? The universe? Geesh... what have you been putting in your bran flakes and where can I get some? Help yourself to a mug of coffee and a virtual treat, why don't'cha? Now here's a kid who's taking on the world in his own way...

In August, the Tampa Bay Times reported a dispute in Dunedin, Florida, between 12-year-old lemonade-stand operator T.J. Guerrero and the adult neighbor (Doug Wilkey) trying to close him down as an unlicensed entrepreneur, despite T.J.'s business plan for assisting his favourite animal shelter. 

A local radio station heard about the complaint, and encouraged people to support the business. Of course, T.J. was quickly inundated with donations, media praise and more lemonade sales.


Even the town's mayor even stopped by the stand.

The neighbour, Wilkey, is under investigation by the city after a tipster revealed that Wilkey himself might be operating a home-based financial services business not properly licensed.

Goes to show you what a little publicity can do for a struggling business, huh. Especially if the local media think there's a human interest story to be told.

See ya, eh!

Bob


Monday, October 20, 2014

Got your 'Air' Umbrella yet?

Well, there you are. Great to see you today. Everything okay? C'mon in here out of the rain...or snow.,..or sunshine... whatever. Coffee's fresh and the virtual treats are vying for your attention so dig in! Speaking of rain, there's something new on the market. Read on...

A team of engineers in China is currently involved in developing something called the ‘Air Umbrella’ – a revolutionary new device that uses blasts of air to shield people from the rain. The high-tech umbrella, shaped like a plastic microphone, is capable of producing horizontal gusts of air that repel raindrops, creating a dry, one meter wide circle around the user’s head.

There is a small catch, of course – the device works only for a short while. In true Cinderella style, the ‘magic’ wears off at the stroke of the 30th minute – the umbrella stops producing air and you’ll be drenched in no time at all. So you’d probably want to use it only if you’re confident you can get out of the rain in 30 minutes or less.

Hmmm...interesting, eh? It would be great if the inventors could come up with a large one to replace, say, a tent or outdoor display booth. They'd obviously need a much larger battery or a plug-in, right? Maybe one affixed to the top of your car that emits warm air to keep off overnight snow and ice...wouldn't that be something?  Let me know what you think!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Doing the Hindu Squats

Well hi there! Wonderful to see you today. I'm thankful that you dropped in... out of cyberspace, that is. Landed smack in the middle of my red VIP carpet, too. Amazing! Reach out and pour yourself a mugga and wrap your mitt around a virtual treat, too. Say...I haven't posted anything from my pal, Dr Al in a while. But here's one I just received from him about the benefits of doing the Hindu Squats...

Dear Bob,

You probably know someone who’s fallen and broken a hip. But what you may not know is that it’s not just the elderly who fall, or break their hips.

You can be very youthful and still be at high risk.

    The risk of hip fracture doubles every five years after you turn fifty.

    Nine out of ten hip fractures happen to people over sixty.

    Over 25% of those people will develop complications and die within a year.

However, no matter what your age or level of fitness, you can take one simple step right now to keep this from happening to you.

It involves improving the signals to your muscles, which start to slow down as you get older. This makes it harder to keep your balance, and for your muscles to respond when you need them – to keep you from falling, for example.

Researchers at the University of Delaware looked at how muscles respond when the brain’s neurons send out electrical signals for the muscles to move.

They found that in the elderly, not only do muscles respond more slowly, but neurons actually fire less frequently. At first glance this seems to confirm the conventional wisdom that slowing down physically is an inevitable consequence of aging but there’s more…

The researchers discovered that strength training significantly improves both neuron and muscle response.

In other words, you can “turn back the clock” on this particular feature of aging to help keep your mobility as you age and avoid the risk of breaking a bone in a fall.

Strength training builds up the so-called “fast-twitch” muscles. This is the kind that gave our ancestors the sudden, explosive power they needed to capture prey or escape from danger.

These same muscles – and the neurons that activate them – are responsible not only for power, but for coordination, balance, and sudden response.

If you’re going up stairs, going for a walk, or bicycling, you’re much less likely to fall if you have more fast-twitch muscle power. The Delaware study showed that this is true no matter how old you are.

Other studies show that leg strength is the number one predictor of how active, healthy and mobile you’ll stay as you get older.

So here’s something you can do starting right now to boost the power in your legs and hips. It’s my favorite leg workout, and the one I do every day, no matter what else I add to it. They’re called Hindu squats.


    Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

    Extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground with your hands open and palms facing down.

    Inhale briskly and pull your hands straight back towards you as if you’re rowing.

    As you pull back, turn the wrists up and make a fist.

    At the end of the inhalation, your elbows should be behind you with both hands in a fist, palm side up.

    From this position, exhale, bend your knees and squat.

    Let your arms fall to your sides and touch the ground with the tips of your fingers.

    Continue exhaling and let your arms swing up as you stand back up to the starting position.

Repeat at the pace of one repetition every four seconds. Once you are comfortable with the form, you can increase your speed to one squat per second. Repeat until you feel winded. Rest, recover and do two more sets.

It’s important to keep in mind that increasing your strength – not doing “aerobics” or other endurance exercise – is what makes the difference to reduce the risk of fractures.

With more strength, you’ll do a lot more for yourself than avoid injury. You’ll also boost your immune system, elevate your mood, increase your stamina, burn more fat, and even prevent chronic aches (like back pain).

One final note: If you think you’re too old to get these benefits, think again. Researchers at Tufts University’s Human Nutritional Research Center studied the effects of strength training on a group between the ages of 63 and 98. Most needed hearing aids or wheelchairs.

After just ten weeks, even the most elderly saw an increase in muscle strength, stamina, and stability. Many were able to walk unaided by the end of the study.

The fact is falling doesn’t have to be a part of aging. You get to decide that you’re not going to take it lying down.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

I sort of do a modified squat but it's tough to bend the old knees too much. I stand in front of the kitchen sink and wrap my hands around the edge of the sink and counter, using that to help my balance and allowing me to bend as much as I can (it increases the more you do it). Works well for me. If I did the real Hindu Squats, I fear I'd get an urge to go out for curry and start speaking with a heavy East Indian accent!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spacesuit technology in high-end dress shirts so men sweat less

Hi ya! How's it going? Got time for a deliciously perky mug of coffee and a virtual muffin? Sure, why not, eh! Here's something that will appeal to guys...and women who have to live with them, date them, etc...

The founders of Ministry of Supply (MoS) have created a high-end dress shirt from the same materials that NASA uses in US spacesuits to regulate body temperature.

One of the startup’s early employees learned about phase-change materials (PCMs) while studying spacesuit design for travel to Mars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The founders were familiar with the use of PCMs—materials that absorb and release heat depending on the temperature—in sportswear but saw an opportunity with work and dress apparel.

They reached out to Outlast Technologies, which holds the patent on the PCM technology developed for NASA, and became one of about 100 clothing brands to license it (others include Jockey and Timberland.) NASA has a long history of technology transfers—such as memory foam used in pillows—through its spinoff division.

In particular, the MoS founders wanted to used PCMs to solve the problem of how dress shirts tend to show it when men sweat.

Using thermal imaging to determine where heat is generated in the body, MoS designed shirts that incorporate PCMs, wick away moisture, and control for odors. “It’s sort of like Under Armour for dress shirts,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst with Forrester Research.“There’s not a lot of innovation in a mature category like dress shirts.”


The orange areas in the thermal image below indicate where the body generates the most heat. That’s where MoS’s Atmos shirts have the most ventilation:

After a successful Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign in 2012 and press coverage of the $98 Apollo shirt, MoS last fall recruited Jarlath Mellett, the former lead designer at Brooks Brothers and Theory. The company has raised close to $4 million and now has several menswear products—dress shirts, t-shirts, and pants—and is testing new ones to bring to market.

MoS says it takes a scientific approach, testing various color and design options on customers to determine demand, and adjusting based on feedback. Last year it decided to sell 43 pairs of aviator chinos and sold 42 of them, which led the company to order the product in bulk. “We are different from the rest of the fashion industry because we are not about releasing new products every season,” CEO Gihan Amarasiriwardena said in a NASA article.


Last year the Boston-based company had 20,000 customers, 75% of whom are in the US. It’s on track to see that number grow again in 2014. While it had intended to manufacture its products in the US, MoS moved its supply chain primarily to factories in Taiwan, Vietnam, and China “because they produce high-tech clothing better,” says MoS co-founder Aman Advani. The company is starting to do some development and production in New York City.


Remember the old saying that...Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow?  Whoever made that up never lived in Thailand where it is 32-34 C most days and goes up to 40C in the summer!

See ya, eh!

Bob


Friday, October 17, 2014

Meet Bodhi, the Adorable Pooch Who Works as a Menswear Model

Life going to the dogs, you say? Wish it were so! Hey...how's it going today. You didn't step in any.... on the way in today, did you? Good! Glad you could make it unsoiled, as it were. Help yourself to a mug of roasted and brewed arabica and a virtual muffin, why don't'cha? Here's a cute story for you and it just shows that once in a while ingenuity pays off. There's hope yet!

Bodhi the dog has no time for silly pastimes like chasing squirrels or playing fetch – he’s quite serious about his high flying career as a top New York menswear model. 

The four-year-old Shiba Inu is well known in fashion circles as ‘Menswear Dog’ – he has landed paid modelling contracts with top brands such as Coach, Todd Snyder and Salvatore Ferragamo. He’s also a social media sensation with over 140,000 followers on Instagram.

Bodhi’s owners – Yena Kim, 27, and Dave Fung, 29 – came up with the idea as a joke; they dressed up their adorable Shiba Inu in a few fancy suits and hats. 

When they posted photographs on their Facebook page, the response they received was overwhelmingly positive. So they started their own Tumblr page featuring Bodhi dressed according to popular fashion trends.

We don't have a dog...or a cat...or a ferret...or a bird. Maybe we could borrow one. I have a cousin who has chickens. Maybe that would...nah!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Couple Accidentally Build $680,000 Dream Home on Wrong Lot!

A splendid good day to you! How the heck are you? What'cha been up to? Got time for a mug of coffee and a virtual doughnut? Help yourself. Say...you ever make a huge...I mean, huge...mistake? These folks did. This is more than an...oops!

You can’t help but feel sorry for this Florida couple – their newly constructed dream home is now turning out to be a mega-nightmare. Although Mark Voss and his wife own eighteen residential lots in the gated Ocean Hammock community, their house was accidentally built on one that doesn’t belong to them!

“We’re in total disbelief,” said Mark, who is the owner of a property management and real estate company in Missouri. “We may have moved someday. But, with this headache and grief, we’re not so sure. The Midwest is looking pretty good now.”

The couple said that they purchased the lot – with the address of 23 Ocean Ridge Blvd. – in 2012. Then they hired a company called Keystone Homes to build the three-story, five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot vacation rental that cost them a whopping $680,000. Six months after the custom house was built, however, a survey crew working nearby realized the error – that the house actually stands on the lot next door to the Vosses’ – 21 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North. This one belongs to a North Carolina couple who bought it way back in 2003.

Now, I'm sure they have approached the other couple with the idea of swapping lots. I mean the couple own seventeen other lots in the same community...even if they had to, say, give the other couple two lots, that would be a lot cheaper than moving the dang house.  Of course there's a question of whose at fault here.  Was the builder given the incorrect address? If not, then he has the problem. I'd be interested in following this to see what transpires. I'll let you know if I hear anything...and I likely will.

See ya, eh!

Bob

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Quest to Have Coffee with His 1,088 Facebook Friends

G'day to you! Thanks for dropping out of cyberspace for a mugga and a VT. The cranberry muffins (made using leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving dinner) are especailly tangy today, mate. Help yourself! Seque to Australia...

It seems that all it takes to make the news these days is a social media account and a bizarre quest of some sort. Like this Australian man, who is making headlines with his quest to have coffee with all 1,088 of his Facebook friends. His project is called ’1000+ Coffees’ and he describes it as “an exercise in remembering to socialize with and getting to know people”.

“I plan to have a one-on-one coffee with every single one of my 1000+ Facebook friends over the space of the next three years, or as long as it takes to complete,” 28-year-old Matt Kulesza wrote on his Tumblr page. (By the time this hits the social media wall, he's apt to have a kazillion friends! That'll keep him busy, eh!)

“I obviously don’t have 1,000 real-life friends. The point of the project is to see who these people actually are and get to know them.”

If you watched the video I shared yesterday on Facebook, this is appropriate as the video talks about how so many people seem to be glued to their iPad, iPhone or other media device and don't get out into the real world. I think this is a great idea. Wish I had thought of it first! Dang! Never mind. Think of what a boost it would be to the economy if we all made a pledge to do this! Coffee shops around the world would reap the benefits... not to mention travel companies, airlines, bus, rail and you name it.

To use some Aus vernacular, "Good on you, Matt!"

See ya, eh!

Bob

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Freshly cooked: 7-Eleven’s quest to conquer Thailand

Well hi there! You're looking good today. What have you been up to? Never mind... I don't really need to know. I'm glad you're here so fill your mug with some robust Bob's Special Dark Roast coffee (no elephants were harmed in the making of our coffee) and snag a virtual treat or two...unless you stopped off at 7-Eleven on the way here and are already full. Speaking of 7-Eleven...

7-Eleven has reportedly launched an a la carte meal booth inside one of its stores on Soi Prachasongkroh 23 in the Din Daeng area of Bangkok, Thailand.

While some have speculated the booth probably serves the usual frozen meals, others pointed out a sign on the bottom left of the photo which said  “every meal is freshly cooked, ready to serve.”

Rice with pork, gravy BBQ pork with steamed rice, fried rice served in an omelette, and different types of noodles come at prices from THB35 to THB55. These are favourites of students and, not surprisingly, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce is located nearby.

7-Eleven or 7-11 is part of an international chain of convenience stores. 7-Eleven is the world's largest operator, franchisor, and licensor of convenience stores with more than 50,000 outlets. This number surpassed the previous record-holder, McDonald's Corporation, in 2007, by approximately 1,000 retail stores.

7-Eleven branded stores under parent company Seven & I Holdings Co. The stores are located in 16 countries with its largest markets being Japan (15,000), the United States (7,800), Thailand (6,800), Indonesia, Canada, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore.

7-Eleven, Inc. is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, while its globally operating parent company, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. In turn, the holding company of Seven-Eleven Japan is Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd.


Stores in Canada all seem to be in Ontario or the West. 22 in Toronto. None in Ottawa or the thriving community of Cornwall. I remember reading about their expansion within Thailand a few years back. At the time they had 3600 stores there and were aiming for 10,000. As you can see a couple paragraphs above, they are well on their way with a current 6,800 stores in the Kingdom. Is Thailand a moneymaker for them or what? Maybe Nong and I ought to get a franchise, eh? Maybe one in 
Cornwall?

On second thought, I just looked at the initial costs:
  • A one-time initial franchise fee based on the store’s gross profit . The range of this fee is from $50,000 to $750,000, however, the actual fees depend on the store you select
  • A down payment on the store’s inventory, supplies, business licenses, permits, bonds (approximately $29,000)
 I may wait a few days...

See ya, eh!

Bob



Monday, October 13, 2014

Thailand's Black Ivory coffee

Sawatdee, krup and a cold Canadian good day to you! Great to see you. -2C this morning when we woke up. Nothing a good hot mug of coffee can't fix, right! Help yourself...and grab a mittful of virtual muffins while you're at it, eh! Say...not so long ago, I introduced you to Kopi Luwak coffee -- whose beans had first passed through the digestive tracts of Asian civet cats (to give them, supposedly, a certain tartness, as well as a certain hipster price tag). 

Not to be outdone, Canadian entrepreneur Blake Dinkin, 44, believes his Black Ivory Coffee tastes even better because his pre-digested beans are recovered from elephant dung in Thailand -- and are less bitter, in that the pachyderms, unlike civets, are herbivores. 

Dung-farming labour in Thailand may be inexpensive, but it takes 33 pounds of Arabica beans to achieve the precise blend Dinkin demands, and he said in August that he anticipated sales only to upscale resorts in the Middle East (and to one elephant-themed store in Comfort, Texas).

Hey...press the elephant dung together and you'd have a slightly odourific Thai version of a snowball, wouldn't you? Take the coffee beans out first though!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beggar Turned Millionaire Rewards his Benefactor

Ni Hao! Hey...if nothing else, at least you'll learn how to say 'Hello!' in a number of languages by reading my blog! Good to see you. Everything okay? Pour yourself a well-deserved mug of coffee and partake of a virtual treat...maybe a Chinese doughnut. I think you'll like this story...

This heartwarming rags-to-riches story is guaranteed to restore your faith in humanity. A Chinese businessman who was once helped off the streets by a passerby, is now repaying the kindness by offering his benefactor a whopping one million yuan (over $160,000).

This story began in 1993, when 17-year-old He Rongfeng was forced to beg on the streets of Taizhou city in China’s Zhejiang province, to support his poor family. “Two friends and I had gone to Taizhou looking for work, but we were unsuccessful and ended up roaming the streets, penniless, starving, and without even shoes,” Rongfeng recalled. “We were in the pits and couldn’t see a way out, and then this young woman turned up.”

The woman was Dai Xingfen, who ran a local noodle shop with her husband. She took Rongfeng and his friends back to her modest one-room apartment and offered them food and a place to sleep. She gave them hot water to soothe their blistered feet, and then called a few acquaintances to find work for the boys in another city. Before they parted, she even gave them money for the train fare.

Aw-w-w-w-w! Ain't that nice? We could use a lot more of that in this strange old world we live in, don't'cha think?

See ya, eh!

Bob

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thailand's Incredible Hulking Great Statue!

Sawatdee, krup! How's it going today? Thanks for taking time to click by. Fill your coffee mug and snag a virtual treat or two so we can get right down to the nuts and bolts of today's topic...

Ban Hun Lek is a Thai scrap metal art company that makes amazing pop culture sculptures from discarded auto parts. One of their best works is this Incredible Hulk statue made almost entirely out of rusty old nuts and bolts.

According to the brand’s website, Ban Hun Lek is a family-run business, specializing in hand-made scrap metal art that’s created piece-by-piece from used auto parts that have no value.

“Bolts, nuts, screws, spark plugs, and other used auto parts have been re-created by our skillful welders with just a normal electric welding technique,” they wrote. “These art would make great gifts, and are great for collection and decoration.”

This Life-Size Hulk Statue Made Entirely of Discarded Nuts and Bolts Is probably the Coolest Thing You’ll see today. I agree!

See ya, eh!


Bob

Friday, October 10, 2014

UKIP Elects First Member of Parliament in Britain

Allo! Allo! Frightfully good to see you today! You're just in time for a spot of coffee and a virtual English muffin. I say...did you read the news from the Britain..?

In October 2014 UKIP gained its first elected Member of Parliament (MP) in Douglas Carswell, who had defected from the Conservative Party and won the consequent by-election triggered by his resignation, regaining his seat of Clacton.

It was founded to take Britain out of the European Union but that is not the only policy in UKIP's armoury. Here, at a glance, are its commitments...


:: Top of the list and the reason for the party's existence is to leave the European Union – keep trade union with the EU but no political union.

:: No free health treatment, education or benefits for immigrants for five years – until they have paid enough to the state. Immigrants banned from UK entry unless they have private health insurance
:: No tax on the minimum wage
:: Social housing priority for those whose parents and grandparents were born locally
:: Scrap the HS2 high speed rail project
:: No green taxes or wind turbine subsidies
:: Scrap inheritance tax
:: Cut the foreign aid budget
:: Stop the European Court of Human Rights having a say in UK cases
:: No votes for prisoners
:: GP surgeries open in the evening for full-time workers
:: New grammar schools
:: An end to "political correctness", which the party says "stifles free speech"

BACKGROUND: The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1993 by members of the Anti-Federalist League. The party describes itself in its constitution as a "democratic, libertarian party" and, in September 2014, reported a membership of over 48,000.

In May 2014, UKIP became the first party in over a century other than Labour or the Conservatives to come first in a United Kingdom-wide election, with its performance in the 2014 European elections giving it 24 of the UK's 73 seats in the European Parliament. 


The party's performance in the 2013 local elections, when it came fourth in the number of council seats won and third in nationwide vote share, was called the "biggest surge for a fourth party" in British politics since the Second World War.

The party's leader, Nigel Farage, was re-elected to the post on 5 November 2010, and was leader from 2006 to 2009. Farage is a founding member of the party, and has been a UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 1999.


Is the political wind shifting in Britain? It just might be...

Got any thoughts on this?

See ya, eh! 

Bob

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kokoro Scanner – Lets Others Know If You Are Lying or Telling the Truth

Konichiwa! Great to see you today! How're you keeping? Ready for a mug of arabica juice and a virtual treat? I should think so! Help yourself! Say, you know the ugly, bulky old-fashioned lie detectors we see on police shows, eh? Well a Tokyo toy company has come up with a new model...

The Kokoro Scanner (Heart Scanner) is a high-tech Japanese invention that can spice up classic party games such as ‘Truth or Dare’. It is a lie detecting device that is worn on the forehead and changes color to indicate the truthfulness of a person’s responses.

Created by Tokyo-based toy company ‘Takara Tomy’, the scanner works a lot like a polygraph machine – it monitors the pulse using infrared rays. So when you make a person wear it, it first monitors their heart rate to establish a baseline. Then, you ask them a question, the wearer responds, and the device monitors the heart rate once more to compare it with the baseline.

It then flashes green if the person’s pulse is normal indicating that they’re telling the truth, yellow if they might be lying, and red if they are lying for sure. Because the light is attached to the person’s forehead, they won’t be able to tell what color is flashing while they’re being interrogated with all sorts of embarrassing questions.

Whoa! I can see all kinds of semi-practical uses for this, can't you? Singles bars spring to mind. How about the foreheads of all politicians the world over? I like that idea. I'd have them implanted!

See ya, eh!

Bob

 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deep-Fried Maple Leaves?

Well, hi ya! How are you faring today. I'm really glad you clicked by. Fill your mug with some freshly brewed coffee and nudge a virtual treat onto your plate, why don't'cha? Say...have you been out raking leaves? Well don't throw them out! Read this...

They say everything tastes better deep fried, but who’d have ever guessed that also applies to maple leaves? Well, the dish is real – it’s called Maple Tempura and it’s a fall delicacy in Japan. 

Surprisingly, it isn’t just made by picking up random fallen leaves and frying them. There’s actually an elaborate process involved in making these sweet, golden snacks.

To prepare Maple Tempura, the leaves are carefully selected and preserved in salt barrels for over a year. Then, they’re removed from the salt and dipped in a batter made from flour, sesame seeds and sugar. These batter-coated leaves are then deep fried for over 20 minutes, until crisp.

Well I'll be hornswoggled! I'd never of thought of that, would you? Hey...where are you going with that rake and deep fryer? C'mon back here. Your coffee'll get cold!

See ya, eh!

Bob 

In case the Japanese run out of maple leaves, we can round up a ton of them for only...let's say, oh...a dollar a piece...or three for five. How's that for international marketing. eh?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Deep Brain Stimulation


I knew you'd be here! Just can't resist the stimulating conversation, rich aroma of coffee and the taste of our ever-delicious virtual treats. Who can blame you? What are you waiting for? Dig in! Did I mention stimulating before? I did, didn't I? How about that...

For patients who are musicians, deep brain stimulation (open-brain) surgery can provide entertainment for operating-room doctors as they correct neurological conditions such as hand tremors. 

In September, the concert violinist Naomi Elishuv, who has performed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, played for surgeons at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center so they could locate the exact spot in the brain for inserting the pacemaker to control the hand-trembling that had wrecked her career. 

In fact, last week's winner of the annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Eddie Adcock, 76, had finger-picked some tunes in the operating room in 2007 for his own deep brain surgery. [Huffington Post, 9-11-2014] [New York Times, 9-16-2014] 

Me? I had some deep-heart stimulation in March and that's enough. So far the ol' brain's not too bad. Used to play guitar and bass guitar but I'd need six months to get my finger calluses back if I was going to pick anything other than my proboscis in the operating room.

See ya, eh!

Bob

Saturday, October 4, 2014

California Farmer Grows Frankenstein-Shaped Pumpkins for Halloween

Happy Hallowe'en Month, eh! All the stores are already decorated for the event and we're several weeks away so let's celebrate the whole month. Why the heck not, eh? Help yourself to a pumpkin Latte (Tim Hortons has them) and a pumpkin spice virtual muffin, why don't'cha? Here's a farmer in California who's already into the spirit...

You can forget about carving jack-’o-lanterns this year, and take your Halloween decorations to a whole new level with Tony Dighera’s organic ‘pumpkinsteins’ – pumpkins that are grown to resemble the head of Victor Frankenstein’s grotesque monster. They’re admittedly expensive at $75 apiece, but these bad boys really do bring in the Halloween spirit!

The price is kind of justified considering the effort that Dighera put into creating these fabulous pumpkins. The California farmer used two special $100,000 tooling machines to make the pumpkin molds, which is quite huge in terms of investment. But he seems confident that his product is going to be a huge hit and that he will earn back the initial investment within the year.

Thought I'd give you a Canadian Living Pumpkin Spice recipe...

Pumpkin Spice Muffins


Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Instead of an icing, these pumpkin pie-spiced muffins are dressed up with a complementary maple spread. In a hurry? Omit spread and serve as is or with butter.
By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Source: Canadian Living Magazine: October 2008



  • Portion size 12 muffins

Ingredients


  • 1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnut halves
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Maple Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 1/2 pkg (8oz/250 g pkg) cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla

Preparation

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease; set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves and nutmeg; mix in 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the walnuts.

In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree oil and vanilla; pour over dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Bake in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until golden and tops are firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

Maple Cream Cheese Spread: In bowl, beat cream cheese until light; beat in icing sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until blended. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Serve muffins with spread.

Sound yummy, don't they? Moist, too! Wash a couple down with another mug of virtual coffee!

See ya, eh!

Bob