Friday, May 29, 2015

Shanghai Shopping Mall Creates Extra-Large Parking Spaces for Women

Well there you are. I was beginning to wonder. I thought I'd be sitting having coffee alone but suddenly there you were. I am delighted. Park yourself at the VIP table here. Can I pour you a mug of choice arabica? Virtual pastry? Muffin? Doughnut? One of each? Speaking of parking...

A shopping mall in Shanghai recently sparked controversy with its special, super-sized parking spaces for female drivers. The pink-colored spots are six meters long by three meters wide, making them half a meter larger than normal parking spaces. 

Although mall staff insist that they are intended to make parking safer and more convenient for women, plenty of netizens have deemed the move sexist.

The four pink-colored spaces on the B1 level of Wandu Center, on Xingyi Road, feature the image of a woman, similar to the ones used to designate restroom doors, on the floor and the walls behind them are to be painted pink for easy identification. Men are obviously not allowed to use these spots, but strict action won’t be taken against those who do, at least not at first. “Whether the ladies-only spaces will be properly used still depends on public awareness,” said mall employee Li Ming.

“Isn’t it a kind of discrimination against female drivers,” a netizen asked on Xinmin.cn. “Some men may be less skilled at parking than women.” Some people have suggested that wider parking spaces should be made available to amateur drivers of both sexes.

“We have noticed these online comments, and we want to emphasize that this is not a kind of discrimination against men or women drivers, but rather a way to show kindness and respect to women,” Li Ming insisted.

Hey, in the Central Festival Shopping Mall on Beach Road in Pattaya, Thailand, an entire parking level is dedicated to 'lady shoppers'. When Nong and I shopped there, we used to have to go one floor higher to park. Should have worn a wig, eh! Hindsight is 20-20. No, when I say hindsight, I'm not talking about watching the parkers getting in or out of their cars!

See ya, eh! 

Bob

Source: http://www.odditycentral.com/news/shanghai-shopping-mall-creates-extra-wide-parking-spaces-for-women.html#more-45719

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fine Points of the Law

Hiya! How're you doing so far today...not that I'm planning to change that, mind you (much).  It's just that...well first get yourself a mug of coffee and a virtual doughnut, muffin or pastry Okay, now...this is a strange one but, in retrospect, not really surprising in this day and computer age, I suppose.

John Deere became the most recent company in America to claim that, though a buyer may have paid in full for a device, he may not actually "own" it. Say what?

Deere claims that because its tractors run on sophisticated computer programs, the ostensible owner of the tractor cannot "tamper" with that software without Deere's permission -- even to repair a defect or to customize its operation. 

Already, traditional movie videos may come with restrictions on copying, but the Deere case, according to an April report on Wired.com, might extend the principle to machinery not traditionally subject to copyright law. Source: [Wired.com, 4-21-2015]

So, that same logic(?) would apply to your car...and anything else that comes with a build-in computer...such as your TV, watch, cellphone, refrigerator, stove...need I go on? 

Think about it. If that logic stands up in court, it will soon be a case of 'what do I own?' because everything that isn't yet computerized will be soon in some way or another. It could also be that you won't be able to have repairs made to anything outside of a 'duly licensed and authorized dealer' which might mean the end of "Joe's Auto Shop", for example.

Say...you know the John Deere slogan that says, "Nothing Runs Like a Deere!" Well the old joke says that they first had another saying that didn't work so well...
"Nothing Runs Like a John!" Makes you wonder, eh? If John Deere wins their case, every other business with computerized products could jump on the bandwagon and current applicable laws could go right down the toilet! 

Of course, these things are meant to test our fortitude. People all over challenge the status quo on everything. That is just the way the world is and I think I better stop this verbal rambling and go get myself another coffee. Want one...it's from my new computerized coffee maker which, though I think I do, I may not officially own?


See ya, eh!

Bob

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

11-Year-Old Homeschooled Boy Graduates from College with 3 Different Degrees

Well hi there! Thanks for clicking by. I trust you are having a 'caffo' day...learning something new and sipping on a mug of coffee. Speaking of coffee, mosey on over to the coffeepot, pour yourself a mugful and snag a virtual treat or two while you're over there. Now, since we're talking about learning, listen to what this kid has accomplished so far...and he's only 11!

11-year-old child prodigy Tanishq Abraham is in the news for graduating from college with not one, not two, but three different degrees. The talented kid from California made headlines last year as well, for completing high school at the age of ten and earning a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama. And now, just a year later, he’s finished college with three associate degrees.

Last week’s graduation ceremony at the American River College in Sacramento was attended by Tanishq’s parents – his mother Taji, a vet, and his father Bijou, a software engineer. His sister Tiara, also a child prodigy, was present as well. They cheered for Tanishq as he was awarded associate degrees in math and physical sciences, general science, and language studies. He wore a rainbow colored scarf that his grandmother had knit specially for the occasion, and a cap with his favorite Toy Story-quote: ‘To Infinity and Beyond.”

“The assumption is that he’s the all-time youngest,” said college spokesman Scott Crow. “But we don’t have all the archives to completely confirm. He was definitely the youngest this year.”

Tanishq said that he wasn’t intimidated by the fact that his classmates were all twice his age, especially because he was well-received. “A lot were really happy that there was a kid in their class,” he said. And his parents were pretty low-key about the whole affair, being used to all his accomplishments since a young age. “Even in kindergarten, he was a few years ahead,” Taji said. “It just went from there.”

“The way my brain works is that when you give me something, information about that topic comes into my mind. ‘I don’t know what it is,” Tanishq revealed.

Interestingly, Tanishq has been home-schooled by his mother, who put her own career on hold to teach him. He’s also been taking classes at the American River College since he was seven years old. He joined Mensa International – a group of people whose IQ is in the top two percent of the population – at the age of four. His sister also joined Mensa at the age of 4, making them the youngest siblings to join the high-IQ society.

In order to join Mensa, one needs to score in or above the 98 percentile on a Mensa-approved standardized IQ test. Tanishq scored 99.9 percentile and Tiara scored 99 percentile on the test.

You’d think that Tanishq is probably done with books for his life, but he actually has no plans to stop learning. “I want to become a doctor,” he said after the ceremony. “But I also want to become a medical researcher, and also the president of the United States.” In a tweet, he revealed that he hopes to win the Nobel Prize some day in medicine or research. In the meantime, he plans to spend his summer on a family vacation and a Calculus II course.

It appears that young Tanishq has his whole life planned already. Most kids his age have only vague ideas of what they might want to do when they finish school. 

Good for you Tanishq!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sources: http://www.odditycentral.com/news/11-year-old-homeschooled-boy-graduates-from-college-with-3-different-degrees.html#more-45655


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Traveller's Prayer

Hey there! I was sorting through a bunch of papers looking for something this morning (that I have not yet found) and I came across this Traveller's Prayer. As you are either on vacation or probably thinking about going somewhere in the near future, this may help. Fill your coffee mug and nudge a virtual treat or two onto your place...then read on! Oh...did I mention it's great to see you?


Ha! Ha! I knew you'd like that!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Whistleberry Biscuits

Hey there! Thanks for clicking by today. I trust you are faring well. Coffee's hot and so are the virtual treats so dig in. Try one of my new Whistleberry Biscuits.  Never heard of Whistleberries? Well, shame on you! 

This week, Nong had an urge for a Thai dessert...Tua Keow Tom Nam Tan (boiled mung beans with palm or coconut sugar) so she made some. One cup turns into several when boiled so when she made the dessert, we ended up with several cups left over. 

I decided that I would adapt my usual tea biscuit recipe to make use of some of the left over mung bean dessert...which I did and here is the recipe:

First the dessert: Tua Keow Tom Nam Tan

Nong could not tell me the proper proportions because Thais generally use their eye to measure ingredients. but I would say two cups of water to 1 cup of beans. 

Mung beans come in green and yellow (split and washed). Don't use the green ones because they still have the skin on them! Look for a package of yellow split-beans. If your normal supermarket doesn't have them, try an Asian/East Indian store. In some stores, they may be called MOONG DAL WASHED and they look sort of like yellow Sesame seeds but a little bigger.

If you don't have or can't find Palm or Coconut sugar, brown sugar will do though it is not as sweet.

Put a cup of beans in a saucepan of water. Bring it to a boil and add sugar to taste. The mixture will thicken as it boils. Taste it periodically to see if it is sweet enough for you and if the beans are softening. When you are satisfied with taste and consistency, take it off the heat and let it cool down.

Whistleberry Biscuits

3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1Cup Mung Bean Dessert (Tua Keow Tom Nam Tan)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk

1. Preheat your oven to 375
2. I put parchment paper on a cookie sheet
3. Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl (None of that separate dry from wet, etc.)
4. The dough should not be very sticky. If it is, add more flour until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl easily and is not too stick to the touch.
5. Dump the dough onto a floured surface. I knead it a little
6, Roll it out to about 1 inch high.
7. I use the top of a glass to cut out good-sized biscuits.
8. Place biscuits on the parchment paper at least an inch apart.
9. Put the biscuits in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. 
10. Test with a toothpick which should come out dry.
11. Let them cook on a rack and enjoy!

You may be wondering why I call these Whistleberry Biscuits. Hey...they are made with beans and beans give you the whistleberries.

Now you know. See ya, eh, and don't forget to let me know how they turn out...the biscuits, I mean!


Baker Bob
Uncle Bob's Bakery

PS: If you do have a package of green mung beans, these are great for making bean sprouts. I used to use these with kindergarten classes. Each kiddie would plant a few beans in a cup on Friday, water it, and theey would be amazed when they came back to school on Monday to see that their beans had already sprouted. Science in action!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Japan’s Bizarre Anti-Crime Orange Balls – A Unique Way to Stop Crime

Konichi wa and a happy day to you!.. Good to see you. Wander over to the coffeepot, pour yourself a healthy mug of coffee; load a couple virtual treats onto your plate and c'mon back here to the VIP table so's I can fill you in on the latest Japanese innovation.

If you happen to visit shops, commercial establishments, and even police stations in Japan, you might be baffled to discover bright orange baseball-sized orbs, generally placed next to the cash register. But they won’t be for sale, because believe it or not, they’re actually anti-crime devices!

The balls, locally known as bohan yu kara boru, derive their bright hue from the orange paint that fills them. In the event of a theft or robbery, store employees are supposed to fling the balls at the perpetrator. When the balls hit the thief, they will burst, marking him with orange paint and making it easy for the police to identify and apprehend him.

As hilarious as they are, the anti-crime balls remain largely unused. In fact, research conducted by Japan’s National Police Agency indicate that they have been used in only three percent of robberies so far. That’s understandable – when faced with a life-threatening situation, throwing a paintball at an armed criminal is probably the last thing you’d want to do. If you miss, it might just be the last day of your life.

Interestingly, staff members in shops are given training on how to throw the balls effectively. They’re asked to aim at the floor near the culprit’s feet, because the resulting splash will ensure that some paint will stick to him anyway. If that doesn’t work, employees are asked to throw the anti-crime balls at the getaway car – another indicator that the police can look for. In spite of this training, the balls haven’t been used much.

So keep them at all? Well, the anti-crime balls seem to be doing their job just by being present, because they act as a deterrent to crime. It seems that criminals choose not to rob stores where the balls are present, just to avoid the possibility of getting marked and caught later. 

“Even if the balls aren’t actually used, that they are in the store and visible to would-be thieves helps protect the store,” public safety officer Akihiro Suwa told The Japan Times reporter Alice Gordenker. 

“That’s why we, and police departments around the country, ask banks and store owners to include color balls as part of their crime-prevention efforts.”

“We have introduced color balls in all of our 8,500 stores, and we put signs on them so there’s no mistake about what they’re there for,” said Kazuo Kimura, senior manager for public relations at a convenience store.

“Still, arrests do happen thanks to color balls,” Gordenker wrote in the 2008 article. “Just last month, a man held up an agricultural cooperative in Yokohama and made off with a bag of cash. When an employee was able to mark the getaway truck with a color ball, the thief abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot. But the police tracked him down through the truck’s registration and arrested him at home.”

It seems that the balls were developed over two decades ago, as a replacement for throwing eggs at criminals! “At that time, the nation’s highways had a problem with toll evaders, and toll-booth attendants had taken to throwing raw eggs at vehicles that charged through without paying their tolls,” Gordenker wrote. “ While the police appreciated this effort to mark non payers, they felt it was inappropriate to use food for the purpose. So someone came up with pigment-filled balls as an alternative.”

The balls have a limited shelf life, because the pigment tends to harden over time. So existing users need to keep purchasing replacements, which makes the market an estimated 100,000 balls a year. There’s no marketing, though: manufacturers keep a low profile in order to prevent individuals from buying them for vandalism.

Knowing how much the Japanese love baseball, I am sure their aim is pretty good.

See...keep reading my blog, learn something new and have yourself a splendiferous 'caffo' day!

Bob



Friday, May 22, 2015

9 Reasons to Ditch Bacon for Good



Hi ya! How’re you doing? Had your breakfast already? (Yeah, I realize my readers in Asia have already had lunch and dinner, too). Didn’t have any bacon today did you? I’ll tell you why as soon as you fill your coffee mug and load a couple virtual treats onto your plate. Okay, well, as much as most of us love bacon, we do realize it has health risks...despite what the Paleo Diet people may claim.

Seriously, bacon never was and never will be a health food. While diets like the Paleo Diet may have some redeeming qualities, these diets are often just an excuse to eat more meat … and especially more bacon. Here are 9 reasons to ditch bacon for good:

1. A 42% Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Regular bacon consumption has been linked to a significant increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Three strips of bacon contain approximately 435 mg of sodium. If you’re not sure, that’s a lot. Regular bacon or other processed meat consumption has been found to increase the risk of heart attack by 42%.

2. A 44% Increased Risk of Dying Young
According to a study published in the medical journal BMC Medicine, researchers found that eating processed meat such as bacon significantly increased the risk of dying prematurely from any cause, but especially from heart disease or cancer. One in seventeen people followed by researchers died; however, those who ate more than 160 grams of processed meat (about two sausages and a slice of bacon) were 44% more likely to die than those who ate about 20 grams daily.

3. A 19% Increased Risk of Diabetes
While food manufacturers and celebrity chefs alike seem to be adding bacon to just about everything, including cookies, ice cream, chocolates, and almost any main course, bacon consumption is no laughing matter. The journal Science Daily published research illustrating that daily consumption of bacon and other processed meats can increase the risk of diabetes by 19 percent.

4. Increased Risk of Lung Disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
A study from the University of Columbia found that consuming bacon 14 times a month – less than once every two days – significantly increased the risk of lung disease and reduced lung function. Eating bacon or other cured meats increased the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including disorders like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

5. Can Trigger Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Just Two Days
In a Harvard University study published in the journal Nature researchers found that eating a diet high in meat rapidly alters the microorganisms residing in the gut. They found that a diet high in animal-based foods caused an overgrowth of microorganisms that can trigger inflammatory bowel disease within only two days of eating a high meat diet.

6. A Significantly Increased Risk of Cancer of the Urinary Tract
In a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention researchers found a significant increase in urinary tract cancer in men who ate the highest amounts of bacon and other processed meats.

7. A Risk of Colorectal Cancer
An earlier study published in the medical journal Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health found a link between meats like bacon that are treated with preservatives known as nitrates, and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

8. An Increased Risk of Lung Cancer
Consumption of bacon and other processed meats has also been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in both men and women according to research in the journal Epidemiology. No amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

9. Allergic and Asthmatic Reactions
The preservatives found in many brands of bacon can cause an allergic or asthmatic reaction in some individuals and is best avoided by those suffering from breathing disorders like asthma or those with many chemical or food allergies or sensitivities.

Yeah...we know. It’s just that it tastes so darn good, eh! Just to help matters along, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, here in Cornwall, is currently featuring it’s bacon-wrapped pizza! 

Nong and I may have bacon three or four times a year as a treat. That’s about it.

See ya, eh!

Bob

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pop-Up IKEA Cafe Serves Breakfast in Bed

G'day to you! You're looking fresh and chipper. What have you been up to? Fill your mug and grab a virtual treat while I fill you in on an new innovation over at IKEA...

IKEA has been selling food and furniture for years, but they recently managed to marry the two with a pop-up restaurant called ‘The IKEA Breakfast in Bed Cafe’. The uniquely themed eatery was furnished with luxurious beds instead of the traditional chair and table setup. Visitors were shown to their beds, from where they could order food and drinks, get expert advice from sleep specialists, and even take naps!

Located on Leonard Street in London’s hipster hub Shoreditch, the pop-up was open between 7am and 3pm, until May 20. Patrons chose between single and double beds, kicked up their heels, and relaxed, while being served by specially trained waiting staff. The menu included classic British breakfast food like salmon, toast, fresh juice, and sleep inducing teas, along with traditional Swedish breakfast options.


IKEA management said that they wanted to give people the experience of eating restaurant quality food in a homelike atmosphere, especially because their research revealed that 50 percent of Brits have never enjoyed breakfast in bed. “There’s nothing better than being in your own bed, you can enjoy sleep, cuddles and lazy days, but the piece de resistance has to be breakfast in bed,” said Myriam Ruffo, IKEA’s head of Bedrooms and Bathrooms.

So they furnished the pop-up with the best cots and bedding from their Bedroom and Bathroom collection, and even included a special menu from which customers could order beds and pillows of their choice. Entry was free, and each customer was allocated a maximum time of 45 minutes, which included a meal, a consultation with a sleep specialist, and a short nap.

I have always said that a roll in bed with honey is the best way to start the day!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Millions of Spiders Rain from the Sky!

Hiya! Good to see you spiralling down from cyberspace...and landing right next to the coffeepot. How you manage that day after day, I'll never know. Fill your mug and grab a handful of virtual treats as I tell you about something else falling from the sky...in Oz!

Earlier this month, the residents of Goulburn – a small town in Australia’s Southern Tablelands – were spooked to discover their properties blanketed by millions of tiny spiders and mounds of their silky threads. The spiders had apparently rained down from the sky, silken thread and all, a phenomenon known as “Angel Rain”.

“Anyone else experiencing this Angel Hair or maybe aka millions of spiders falling from the sky right now?” wrote resident Ian Watson on the Goulburn Community Forum Facebook page. “I’m 10 minutes out of town, and you can clearly see hundreds of little spiders floating along with their webs and my home is covered in them. Someone call a scientist!”

That sounds positively frightful, but experts say that arachnid rains are actually a natural phenomenon, and not as uncommon as you’d think. It is referred to as ‘spider rain’ or ‘angel hair’ in scientific circles, and is actually a form of spider transportation called ‘ballooning’.

Ballooning is a not-uncommon behavior of many spiders,” retired arachnologist Rick Vetter told LiveScience. “They climb some high area and stick their butts up in the air and release silk. Then they just take off. This is going on around us all the time. We just don’t notice it.”
 
It’s understandable that we never notice spiders ballooning, because they’re not always doing it at the same time and in the same place. 
What’s happened in the Southern Tablelands is that millions of spiders started ballooning at once, naturally creeping out residents.

“In these kinds of events [spider rains], what’s thought to be going on is that there’s a whole cohort of spiders that’s ready to do this ballooning dispersal behavior, but for whatever reason, the weather conditions haven’t been optimal and allowed them to do that. But then the weather changes, and they have the proper conditions to balloon, and they all start to do it,” said biology professor Todd Blackledge of the University of Akron in Ohio.

He added that certain species of small spiders and tiny hatchlings of larger spiders generally balloon in May and August in New South Wales. But an abrupt weather change this month may have carried the migrating spiders up and away, and then back down to earth in large groups. 

“They fly through the sky and then we see these falls of spider webs that almost look as if it’s snowing,” South Australian retiree Keith Basterfield told Gouburn Post. “We see these vast areas of baby spiders, all coming down at once in the late morning or early afternoon. You can know this has happened by either seeing it or spotting what looks like long threads of cotton telegraph poles, power lines and houses.”

Thankfully, none of the ballooning spiders are poisonous or pose a threat to humans. “There’s a tiny, tiny number of species that have venom that’s actually dangerous to people. And even then, if these are juvenile spiders, they’re going to be too small to even bite, in all likelihood,” Blackledge told LiveScience. He did add that such a huge group of spiders could block sunlight, causing damage to crops.

While the bizarre phenomenon has a scientific explanation, having your entire town shrouded in spider webs is surely a surreal experience. Ian Watson, who was later interviewed by the media, said: “The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred metres into the sky. But at the same time I was annoyed because you couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you. And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard.”


Interestingly, there’s a phenomenon opposite to Angel Hair, which can occur at around the same time as ballooning, after heavy rains or a flood. 
“When the ground gets waterlogged, the spiders that live either on the surface of the ground or in the burrows in the ground, come up into the foliage to avoid drowning,” said Australian naturalist Martyn Robinson. These ground spiders also throw silk ‘snag lines’ up into the air, and when they catch, use the lines to come up from the ground to avoid drowning. “You end up with thick silk roads, criss-crossing finer silk lines to to produce this interwoven shroud.”

“There’s nothing to worry about,” Robinson said. “They’ll all disperse once the weather conditions warm up.”
 
if you are interested in more information on  how spiders get themselves airborne, here’s a video explaining the fascinating Angel Rain phenomenon:


Ah, sorry but the thought of spiders dropping from the sky does little to help my arachnophobia!

See ya, eh!

Bob






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Man Invents Toilet Seats That Glow to Help You Go in the Dark

Well hi there! Thanks for clicking by. How're you doing? Great I hope! Pour some coffee into your mug and fill your other mug with virtual treats, why don't'cha, while I tell you about a guy who's not only number one...he's number two as well!

When American man Dave Reynolds hurt himself in the bathroom one night, he decided that no one should ever have to go through the same ordeal. So he invented the world’s first glow-in-the-dark toilet seat that can be spotted and used safely in the dark. Thanks to his creation, you don’t need to worry about fumbling with the light switch or tripping in the dark anymore.

“It eliminates the problem of not knowing where you are or where you’re going,” said Reynolds, a former employee of Virgin Records. “This could help anyone from a grandparent to children.”

He first got the idea for the unique product when he suffered a bathroom mishap shortly after moving to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 2012. “I went to the bathroom one night and literally fell off the toilet in the dark,” he recalled. 

“On my way down, I felt something was wrong. I bounced off the toilet, fell to the ground and halfway into the bathtub. The next morning I was all banged and bruised and I told my family what had happened and, of course, they all laughed at me.”

The white toilet seat looks like any other common seat during the day, but starts to glow at night. It comes in two colors – green and blue – and two styles – elongated and regular – and is priced at $49.99. “We decided these things would glow all night, they wouldn’t be cheap. The best thing about it is because it’s made with high-end materials, it can glow for 20 years and there’s nothing in it that fades away,” he explained.

The company has supposedly shipped seats to customers all over the world, including countries like Germany, Japan, Australia, UAE, Italy, and Malta. “We had no idea how they found out,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what language you speak or where you are, we all walk and go to the bathroom the same way.”

“I’ve seen what people spend dumb money on, but this will stay with you and you will use it every day. You won’t use it for two days and be done, you’ll use it as long as you want it or need it,” he added. “It’s a concept that can help someone. If we can help one person prevent an accident in the bathroom then it’s done its job.”

Reynolds said that his goal is to see at least one glowing seat in every home. “It’s a lofty goal, but I haven’t met anyone yet who says I’m nuts.”

The question that immediately springs to mind is...does any of that glow come off on your butt? No? Well why the heck not? I could see a whole (yes, I did spell that correctly!) new idea developing here, can't you?  Don't think I want to pursue this any further though...

See ya, eh!

Bob




Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Birthday to... Wait! Did You Pay your Royalty?



Hi there! I’ll bet that somewhere recently you’ve been eating birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday, right? Well  grab a mugful of coffee and a virtual treat to munch away on while I tell you why you could owe a lot of money!

There's hardly a more "generic" song than "Happy Birthday to You," but to this day (until a judge renders a decision in a pending case), Warner/Chappel Music is still trying to make big dollars off of the 16-word ditty (15 original words plus a user-supplied 16th). 

Its original copyright should have expired, at the latest, in 1921, but amendments to the law and technicalities in interpretation (e.g., did the copyright cover all public uses or just piano arrangements?) bring Warner at least $2 million a year in fees. 

A federal judge in California is expected to rule soon on whether the song is in fact uncopyrightably "generic" -- 125 years after the Hill sisters (Mildred and Patty) composed it. [CBS News, 3-27-2015]

So does that mean that every time anyone sings the song, they could be liable for a royalty payment to Warner? I guess we owe them a bunch. Well, Warner, try and collect!

I’ve decided to write a new birthday song. 

Here it is:

Merry Birthday Wishes
Birthday cake in your face
On your hands...On your shirt
Birthday cake in your mouth
On the floor...On the dog
(I haven’t written the rest yet. Got any ideas? You can share in the royalties once it catches on, okay?)

See ya, eh!

Bob

PS: It was Nong's birthday yesterday but instead of birthday cake, we had Tiramisu. Yum!