Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today is the Longest Day of the Year

Hey, got a second to spare? Excellent to see you today. How you doin'? I'm delighted that you chose to help your day along by enjoying a break here at the Virtual Café with a mug of coffee, a virtual pastry, doughnut or muffin...and yours truly! 

Y'know, most people regard Summer Solstice as the longest day of the year. Well sure it is the day with the longest amount of daylight but usually our days are all the same length...24 hours exactly...or 23 hours 59 minutes and 60 seconds, right? Usually, that is true, but...today, June 30 will be a second longer than any other day this year...and for the next two years as well. 

A "leap second" needs to be added in 2015 to make sure the time on atomic clocks stays in sync with Earth's rotational time, but some Internet companies are dreading the day.

Earth's rotation has been slowing down by about two thousandths of a second every day. But atomic clocks, which are now accurate up to quadrillionths of a second, don't change pace. While this situation isn't an immediate problem, it would eventually cause clocks to become so out of sync with Earth's rotation that they would read noon during the dead of night. 

That wouldn't be good, now would it? For the full story on our extra second today, go to:

Source: http://www.livescience.com/49370-leap-second-added-2015.html

Me? I'm planning to sleep right through it!

See ya, eh!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Albert Has Been to Every Country in the World!

Hey there! Glad you could make it! Wonderful to see you. It looks as though you've got your coffee mug out and ready for a fill up so go ahead...and nudge a virtual treat or two unto your plate, too, why don't'cha. Ready to continue on our world tour? Today we're going to hear about Albert who has spent 50 years on his world tour. All aboard!

Calling Albert Podell ‘well travelled’ would be an understatement. 78-year-old Podell, a former Playboy editor, can truly say that he’s seen it all, after spending half a century visiting every country in the world. He’s encountered pretty much everything on his travels, right from guerillas in Yemen, to flying-crab attacks in Algeria, and police interrogations in Cuba. He has chased water buffaloes, broken his bones, and eaten all kinds of weird stuff. He’s been robbed, arrested, and almost lynched!

Podell was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age. “Aged six, I started to collect postage stamps, and where the other kids specialised in certain countries, I wanted a stamp from every country in the world,”. “Getting a passport stamp from every one may have been inspired by that.”

“Those little coloured bits of perforated paper also instilled in me a fascination with travel because I wanted to see the lands where all the objects, people, and places depicted on those stamps came from.” So he resolved early on that “there was more to life than hanging around in one city forever.”

As a young man, Podell took off on the next adventure whenever he got time off work. At age 28, he led an expedition around the world, setting the record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the earth. But as he grew older, he realized that he wasn’t satisfied with travelling in bits and pieces.

“As I moved past middle age, I still wanted to do one grand and glorious travel venture, to go out with a bang rather than a whimper, and, after I realized that I had been to 90 nations, I decided that I just might be able to visit every one of the 196 countries during my allotted years,” he said.

Travelling has not exactly been smooth-sailing all the time, but Podell has enjoyed every second of it. With an accommodation budget of about $10 per night, he has spent several nights in his sleeping bag, “at border posts, roadsides, jungles, glaciers, airport floors, and in hostels, tents, trailers, trees, teepees, campers, cars, caravansaries, desert dugouts, and flea-bag motels alternately sweating and freezing; dodging dengue-fever mosquitoes by day and malarial ones by night.”

He’s also been through some truly terrifying moments, like the time when he was unable to provide proof of not being Jewish to the Egyptian government, or the time he was unable to prove that he was not CIA to the Cuban secret police. He was also thrown in jail in Baghdad, when a conman pretended that Podell had hit him with a car. Some of his hair-raising moments include being stranded on Kiribati, robbed in Algiers and the Khyber Pass, nearly lynched in East Pakistan where he was mistaken for an Indian spy, and almost drowned in Costa Rica.

Understandably, he’s eaten some odd food during the course of his travels. “Among the most memorable was an anteater Steve (his friend) and I found recently run over on a road in Panama,” Podell said. “Not wanting to waste a good source of protein, we chopped it up, added salt and pepper, wished we had a box of Roadkill Helper, roasted it over a campfire, and it tasted… awful, like a burger marinated in formic acid.”

Rats, he says, are unexpectedly tasty, “especially the big boys eaten in Africa, where they’re called ‘grass cutters’. The locals skin the rodents, split them down the middle, spread them out flat, and roast or grill them. Each tastes exactly like what it ate. If it lived in a cane field, it tastes like sugar.”

“Unfortunately, the elephant dung beetle I ate in Kenya smelled exactly like what it ate, but I overcame this olfactory impediment with a liberal application of insect repellent under my nose,” he joked.

Some of the other strange foods he’s eaten include iguana in Central America, fish lips and organ meats boiled in blood in China, possum pie in the Caribbean, and crocodile in Australia. “I’ll eat almost anything except endangered species,” he told National Geographic News. “I ate the brain of a live monkey in Hong Kong. I ate old camel meat, which just slithers around in your mouth and coats it with grease.”

He’s been on some offbeat modes of transport as well – ancient airplanes, overloaded ferries, broken-down bush taxis, pole-pushed canoes, cotton trucks, camels, donkeys, rickshaws, tuk-tuks and more. “In short, almost anything that transports people, except an ambulance, thank God,” he joked.

Podell has strict criteria as to what counts as a ‘country’ while travelling. He obviously doesn’t cheat by counting places where he’s changed planes. According to his standards, for a country to be considered ‘visited’ three requirements have to be met: “It has to be a recognized country at the time you go there,” “You must have a visa or enter legitimately,” and, “You must get a passport stamp.”
He also has a few flexible rules: “You should at least go to the capital, stay at least 24 hours, and if possible cross the country in one direction.”

Over the years, he has also developed a unique system for rating countries, called the PPPR (the Podell Potty Paper Rating System). “You can spend hours looking at these studies that are issued by the World Bank and the IMF. But I found the surest way to know where a country ranks economically and socially is to go to a public bathroom and check the toilet paper,” he said.

“I have seven rankings, starting with the best, which is soft white. From soft white it goes down to hard white; hard brown; purple, green, and other colours; to torn-up newspaper; to no paper at all, just a little bucket of water. The lowest ranking, which is a seven, is when there are no public toilets. The only place I have tentatively given a number seven ranking to is my hometown of New York City. In the entire city, I’m only aware of three public toilets.”

Although he’s been everywhere, Podell named the US as his favourite country in the world. “We have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world: the redwoods, Glacier National Park, Mount Rainier, the foliage trails of New England,” he said. “We are a heterogeneous society. In New York, you can see people of every race, creed, and colour in the world, all getting along.”

“But if I had to pick countries, I’d go with Nepal and Switzerland for scenery,” he added. “For food, I would go with Vietnam, Thailand, and France. For culture I would go with France, England, Spain, and Egypt.”

One of his biggest learnings from all his travels has been that people around the world are the same. “With the exception of the few truly weird countries (like North Korea and those in the midst of famine or war) people around the world are pretty much the same in terms of their love for their families and children, their desire to be happy, and their hope to live in peace and have a better life,” he said.

“The main differences I observed were that people in the very poor countries were far more able to get along on less than citizens of the rich countries ever could.”

It would have been a shame not to share all his experiences with the rest  of the world, so Albert Podell put all the best moments of his epic travels into a book called Around the World in 50 Years.

Source: http://www.odditycentral.com/travel/man-spends-50-years-visiting-every-country-in-the-world.html#more-46158

Well that's it for today. Now that we've done the world, where shall we go tomorrow?

See ya, eh!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dr Al's Purple Drink!

Hey there! Great to see you. What’cha been up to? Tell me over a coffee and a virtual treat at the VIP table. Meanwhile, I just received an email from Dr Al. He’s on about the benefits of veggie and juice drinks...including a recipe I want to try. Nong and I usually have fruit after supper...sometimes a fruit drink with milk...or yogurt...or OJ so this is of interest and I thought I’d share it with you...it's a bit long so grab another virtual treat, why don't'cha?
Dear Bob,
During one of my trips to Brazil a few years ago, I went in search of new healing herbs I could use at my wellness center. That’s when I discovered açaí berries.
Now everyone’s talking about these berries. And they really are one of the richest sources in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, and E, minerals and omega-3s.
In fact, I ended up including powdered açaí berries in one of my supplements.
Back then, they were pretty much a novelty outside of South America, but now I even see frozen açaí berry smoothie packs when I’m in the grocery store.
And that’s my problem with açaí berries – they grow mostly in the Amazon floodplains, but here in America you can’t get them fresh.
Of course, like most fruit and vegetables, freezing them only slightly reduces the nutritional content of the berries. But the process inevitably changes their flavour and texture.
And for the best nutritional value and “kick,” it’s impossible to beat any fresh fruit that’s eaten straight from the tree or vine.
The locals in the Amazon always eat açaí berries fresh. Then, after a day or so, they just throw them out.
I remember eating fresh açaí berries with some of the tribes-people in the Amazon and I felt a noticeable boost – both mentally and physically.
These super-berries can enhance your brainpower, something those Big Pharma chemical creations have so far failed to do.
The secret is a group of biochemicals called anthocyanins. They give fruit and vegetables a range of colors from red to blue and purple. But they do a lot more.
In one study, anthocyanin extract helped reduce brain-cell damage from Parkinson’s disease.1
They work by firing up mitochondria, the tiny biological power plants that provide energy to cells. The extra energy helped the brain cells resist the neurotoxins linked to the disease.
Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants that help keep your brain young by reducing inflammation and by helping remove and break down toxic biochemical byproducts that damage neurons.2,3,4,5
Researchers have shown that this plant dye can do what no prescription drug can do – promote the creation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF.6
BDNF is one of the hallmarks of a young, vital brain and nervous system.
Your brain can’t grow new nerve connections if it doesn’t have enough BDNF. And the more you have, the more easily your brain creates connections among your neurons.
And a shortage of BDNF makes it harder for your brain to move memories from short-term to long-term storage.
Açaí berries are just one of my favourite sources of anthocyanins. If you get them fresh, the power of anthocyanins extends to many other fruits and vegetables. Here are just a few:
· Blackberries;
· Blueberries;
· Cranberries;
· Eggplant;
· Grapes;
· Cherries;
· Plums;
· Red beets;
· Red cabbage;
· Strawberries.
And as a fan of fresh fruit and vegetables, here’s a fresh drink I like to make myself. It’s loaded with key nutrients, vital cellulose and, of course, anthocyanins.
I call it simply my “purple drink.” I gather red beet, or other anthocyanin-rich vegetables, along with an occasional fruit. Then I blend them with ice into a large smoothie.

Here’s one of my favourite recipes:
· 1 whole lime, peeled
· 1 whole beet
· 1 whole cucumber
· ¼ cup of cilantro
· 1/16th piece of turmeric
· ¼ cup of coconut water
· 1 cup of filtered tap water
· ¼ cup of kale
· ¼ cup of spinach
· ¼ cup of arugula  
· 6 stalks of dandelion greens
· 4 baby carrots
· ½ cup of ice
You don’t have to follow this recipe to the letter. You can make it to your taste.
But remember, you don’t want to spike your blood sugar, which will end up stored as fat. So choose ingredients that will keep the mix low on the glycemic index. And here’s a link to my glycemic guide that you can use to help.
To your good health,
Al Sears, MD
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Strathearn, K.E., et al. "Neuroprotective effects of anthocyanin- and proanthocyanidin-rich extracts in cellular models of Parkinson's disease." Brain Research.Vol. 1555, 25 March 2014, Pages 60–77. 
2. Poulose, S., et al. "Anthocyanin-rich acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) fruit pulp fractions attenuate inflammatory stress signaling in mouse brain BV-2 microglial cells."
 J. Agric Food Chem. 2012 Feb 1;60(4):1084-93. doi: 10.1021/jf203989k. Epub 2012 Jan 20.
3. Poulose, S., et al. "Improving brain signaling in aging: Could berries be the answer?"
 Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. August 2012, Vol. 12, No. 8 , Pages 887-889 (doi:10.1586/ern.12.86). 
4. Lee, S.G., et al. "Berry anthocyanins suppress the expression and secretion of proinflammatory mediators in macrophages by inhibiting nuclear translocation of NF-kB independent of NRF2-mediated mechanism."
 The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Published online Jan. 2, 2014. 
5. American Chemical Society. "Eating berries may activate the brain's natural housekeeper for healthy aging.
ScienceDaily. August 24, 2010. 
6. Rendeiro, C., et al. "Dietary levels of pure flavonoids improve spatial memory performance and increase hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor."
 PLOS One. 2013 May 28:8(5).
Told you it was a bit long, didn’t I! Worth the read though.

See ya, eh!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Japan Humanoid Robot Sells Out in 1 Minute!

Holy Jumpin’ Jimminy! Do you believe it? I have seen Apple products sell out quickly, vanity licence plates, and special offers but this is ridiculous. Aha...the Internet. Talk about putting a new spin on speed dialling, eh! Hey...great to see you. Glad you touched down here for a mug of coffee and a Japanese pastry before they all sold out! Nah! I always keep yours set aside for you...regular VIP customer and all, I mean! Here's more on the humanoid robot...

Softbank Robotics Corp of Tokyo sold all units of its humanoid robot "Pepper" in just one minute after they went on sale on its website last Saturday.

Softbank said that 1,000 units of "Pepper" were sold out in just one minute on Saturday.
Softbank began accepting orders at 10am (8am Thailand time) on Saturday. Delivery will start in July. By the end of July the company will announce when it will sell the next batch of the robot, the firm added.
Priced at 213,840 yen (=$2124.24 CAD), the robot is claimed to be the world's first personal robot capable of reading emotions via its camera, touch sensors and microphone.
Softbank plans to begin selling "Pepper" for corporate use, such as to use as a receptionist or to provide other customer services. Softbank also aims to begin selling it overseas possibly later this year.
Hey...how about training Pepper to walk your dog including stopping to stoop and scoop the poop?
Could it help with homework? How about a thesis on thermal nuclear collisions of anti-matter at the sub-molecular level?
Can it make coffee? Bake muffins? It’s hired!
If you had a humanoid robot, what would you like it to be able to do? I’d love to hear from you...
See ya, eh!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Yo Daddy Noodles

Sawatdee, krup! Yup...our world tour got stuck in Thailand but only because I love noodles and Thailand has such a variety that it is nutritious, filling and fun to eat them! Hey...great to see you. Hope you brought a good appetite with you. Soon as you pour yourself a delightfully robust mug of coffee and wrap your fist around a virtual muffin or two, I’ll take you to Yo Daddy’s in Chiang Mai in Thailand's north!

Kunakorn Kusawadee, an infamously foul-mouthed vendor known as “gangster” in Chiang Mai, Thailand is tired of the same complaints: Not enough noodles and paper-thin pork. So he designed the ideal dish, big enough for the fattest dad bods.

Ba Mi Por Tai or “Yo Daddy Died! Noodles,” plays off the Thai humour equivalent of Western "Yo Mama" jokes and is actually a thing that can be ordered as seen.
After photos of his giant plate of noodles made reporters hungry last week, they tracked down Kunakorn, or “Hong,” at his shop in the great wild north of Thailand, where he told them it was an idea born of laziness.
"The idea came from the fact that my customers always need more than one bowl of noodles to feel full, so that’s more dishes for me to wash," Hong explained "So I started serving larger and larger portions. Our largest bowl is called 'Yo Daddy Died!'"
Hong serves his red pork, which is so thick you can't eat it in one bite, on top of 60 servings of noodles, wontons and boiled eggs, all arranged on one giant plate.  The Yo Daddy Died costs THB600 and can feed 10 to 15 people. It’s only one plate for Hong to wash, too.
If the Yo Daddy is too much to handle, Hong has other options:
"The cheaper ones are 'F**king Worth It! Noodles' and 'F**king Idiots' for a company of five to six,” Hong said.
Despite Yo Daddy Died, Hong said customers have requested even larger servings, so he's working on a new ambitious idea.
"I know ... I'm gonna call it 'Yo Daddy’s Funeral!' because you know ... your dad died and now you have to go see him," he said. "It will be 84 servings of noodles for a company of 15 or more."

The "Yo Daddy's Funeral!' will be sold for THB990. For more information visit Soom Hia Hong Facebook page.

Next time we’re up in Chiang Mai, we’ll be sure to stop in (with an army of friends... right Shaun?)!

See ya, eh!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

'Death Railway' vets and former enemies

Konichi wa! Sawatdee! How are you doing today? I appreciate you dropping in...spiralling down in elegant loops from cyberspace. Mind the coffee pot! Pour yourself a mugful and snag a virtual muffin or doughnut while you’re over there. Yesterday, I took you on a helicopter tour of Bangkok. Well, today, my friend, we’re still in Thailand but a little northwest as we head to Kanchanaburi...location of the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai.

The above photo shows World War II vets British army Cpt. Harold Atcherley, 96, and Japanese army engineer Mikio Kinoshita, 94, when they attended a reception in their honour in central London on Monday. Photo: Leon Neal / AFP
A Japanese engineer on the notorious World War II "Death Railway" in Thailand and a British soldier forced to build the line clasped each other's hands tightly Monday as they met in reconciliation.
Mikio Kinoshita, 94, and former prisoner of war (PoW) Harold Atcherley, 96, whose Japanese captors made him work as a slave labourer on the track between Burma – modern-day Myanmar – and Thailand, sat quietly on a sofa together as they reflected on their shared experiences.
The two did not cross paths in the 1940s and despite only being able to converse through a translator, the warm rapport between the elderly men, both slowed by age but razor-sharp in mind, was evident at a reception in the Army and Navy gentleman's club in London.
As the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender ending World War II approaches in August, the two men hoped their rare meeting would encourage understanding between those affected by the "Death Railway" – and foster remembrance of the suffering of those who worked and died building the line.
"This evening marks the reconciliation between Mikio Kinoshita and myself. It is 73 years ago since he and I worked on the construction of the Burma-Siam Railway," said Atcherley, who was then a young army captain.
Citing his former enemy's empathy, he said it was wrong to judge people for the group they happened to belong to rather than their character.

"We should, I think, remind ourselves that wars are not made by soldiers but by governments," he said.

Click the link below to read the full story:

Story: AFP

See ya, eh!

PS: I had the privilege of riding the death railway a few years ago. Quite an experience on its 70-year old trestles.

Take an UberCopter Tour of Bangkok!

Sawatdee, krup! Sabai dee mai, krup? Are you well today? Good! You don't get airsick, do you? Good because, as soon as you fill your coffee mug and munch down a virtual treat or two, we are going to continue our world tour. Yesterday Ecuador. Today...Bangkok, Thailand!

You likely know Uber...the alternative ride-sharing transportation company that is doing its best to stand the taxi business on its ear in many cities around the world. Well Bangkok is no exception.

As in other major cities, Bangkok commuters suffer the agonies of traffic jams morning, noon and night, but now there is a way over all that -- UberCopter.

Digital ride-sharing service Uber has chosen Thailand's capital to launch its new commuter experience in Southeast Asia.

But while it may be a way beat Bangkok's traffic chaos, cost-conscious commuters could be wary, as they will have to pay "a little bit more" for this time-saving convenience.

Last Sunday, the California-based company offered free helicopter rides on demand to Bangkok customers, who were given an exclusive 30-minute tour over the city. In real life, the fares have not yet been announced. (Video by Jetjaras Na Ranong and Chumporn Sangvilert)

Click the link below to take your 1 minute 33 second UberCopter tour of my favourite city! The introductory commercial shows off one of the cities swankiest new housing developments. You can skip that after a few seconds...

See ya, eh!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Meet Baltazar, the Last Ice Merchant of Ecuador

Buenas Dias! Come sta usted? How's it going, eh? Glad you could spiral down for a fresh mug of coffee. You didn't bump into Baltazar on the way down, did you? Sure, he's in Ecuador but you never know how those orbital spirals go, do you? Help yourself to some fresh Ecuadorian coffee and a virtual treat. Since I have piqued your interest, here's more on Baltazar...

While the rest of the world reaches into the freezer for ice, there’s someone on this planet who actually climbs mountains to chop it off. Meet Baltazar Ushca, Ecuador’s last hielero, or ‘iceman’.

Ushca is the last surviving practitioner of his family’s trade – passed on from father to son for centuries. At least once a week, the 68-year-old spends five hours hiking up Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak. He keeps going until he reaches the ice mine that has fed him and his family for generations.

Negotiating the steep 14,700-foot path is no joke, especially at Uscha’s age. But he continues the family tradition of cutting ice from the cave and shaping it into blocks. He then transports the blocks, by mule, down to the nearest city of Riobamba, where they are sold.

Despite his age and his short stature (4ft 11in) Ushca can carry two 66-lb blocks of ice on his shoulders. And he’s quite happy working on the mountain that he considers to be sacred. “This is a man’s work,” he said, proudly. “I am happy when I walk. Father Chimborazo looks after me.”

When asked about his profession, Ushca fondly recollects the time when his entire community sold ice. “We would go out in a group of friends – four or six groups,” he said. “I would go with my mother and father, with my brothers and sisters.” Now, he only has his son-in-law Juan to keep him company. The walk itself has become much longer as well, because of the receding glaciers.

Ushca and Juan leave their village at around 7am. Uscha rides the donkey for about an hour. They make a pit stop at the pajonal – an area with low brushes – to pick up straw for wrapping the ice. They load the straw on the donkey, and walk the rest of the way. In the final leg of the trek, the path is covered with loose rocks, so the mule needs to be lead with great care.

The duo finally reach the ice mine – Los Hieleros – at around midday. Ushca then gets to work, using a pick to break blocks of ice off the glacier. He sculpts the ice into cubes, wraps them in straw, and loads them up on to the mule again. Ushca and Juan then start the journey back home; they usually return by 4pm. Every Saturday,  Ushca travels to Riobamba’s markets to sell the ice at $2.5 for an 80-pound block. He makes about $25 a week selling ice.

Interestingly, Ushca’s ‘natural ice’ is still in demand. People claim that it has healing properties, and it is still used to make traditional fruit juices and ice creams. And ever since his story was covered by the media, it seems that his humble profession has transformed into a lucrative business. He earns a fair bit of money from tourists as well, who pay him about $60 an day for a guided excursion to the ice mine.

Baltazar has found the secret to a good job...do what you love and love what you do.

See ya, eh!


Monday, June 22, 2015

School Fire Drills in China

Ni Hao! Great to see you. How's it going today? Got a hot topic for you today. As soon as you fill your mug, grab a virtual treat and bring them over here to the VIP table, I'll continue with the drill...fire drill that is!

Let’s face it: fire drills are boring and they do nothing to prepare you for a real disaster. Recognising the need for some serious training, a school in China recently collaborated with the local fire department to take traditional fire drills to the next level.

During the mandatory annual event hosted by Nanhu Vocational School, in Hongkou District, Shanghai, students had to evacuate the building at the sound of a bell. But they also had to run through a series of burning doorways with napkins over their mouths, to avoid smoke inhalation. After crossing the obstacles, the students used fire extinguishers to put off the flames. Over 1,000 students from different grades attended the course.

“We don’t want to leave anything to chance, to make sure that students are prepared for all eventualities in the event of a fire,” said fire brigade spokesperson Chen She. “It might only be a small blaze, but fire can spread very quickly, filling rooms with smoke, and we want them to be prepared for the reality of a blaze which will save lives in the long run.”

Of course, there are dangers involved in organising such events, but a group of professional firefighters were watching over the students, making sure that they stayed safe and the flames were all properly extinguished after the drill.

I think that's a good thing, don't you? Aside from the fact that the kids will be smelling of smoke for the rest of the school day, the idea has merit. A little reality helps get the reason for fire drills across.

Got any thoughts on it? I'd love to hear what you think. 

See ya, eh!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Triple Celebrations!

Happy! Happy! Happy! Yes sirree...today is a triple celebration and I am thankful that you are here to celebrate with me...even if it is only for a few minutes. Fill your coffee mug; lift a virtual megamuffin onto your plate (gluten-free if you prefer – not the plate...the muffin!) and bring them over here to the VIP table. Yup, there are three celebrations going on today.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, today is Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year. "Solstice" is a word that means "sun" and "staying," or the sun standing still. While on other days the sun seems to move in the sky, on the solstice it doesn't. In terms of the planet's revolution, the sun is farthest away from the Earth during the North Hemisphere's summer and closest during its winter. Check out your shadow -- around noon on the solstice, it will be the smallest it'll get all year.

At the exact same time summer starts in the Northern Hemisphere, winter starts in the Southern Hemisphere. Br-r-r-r! I don't want to think about it!

The world has partied for the solstice since ancient times. 

Stonehenge is home to one of the biggest observations of the summer solstice because legend says the stones were set up to align with the sun on the solstice. As such, thousands of people now gather there to do yoga and worship the sun every year. 

Today is also National Aboriginal Day.

Canada’s National Aboriginal Day is annually held on June 21 to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of the nation’s Aboriginal peoples. There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Canada’s National Aboriginal Day gives many people the chance to learn more about Aboriginal people and their contributions towards the country’s development and progress. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have the opportunity to showcase their cultures and achievements throughout Canada on this day. We need a lot more understanding on both sides.

Need I mention that it is also Father’s Day? For those of you whose father is still alive, cherish him. He is your family strength. If he is lost, find him. Today is the day to remember all the good he has done in your life. If he has passed away, today is a time to remember all the good he did in your life.
Enjoy whatever you are celebrating today!
See ya, eh!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Muffins! Muffins!

Hey there! Great to see you as always. Glad you could make it today. After our short tour of Africa recently and then flying about in our new Aerocar, I thought I'd bring you back to our Cornwall kitchen for a bit. Decided I'd rustle up some muffins...couple of the bananas in the fruit bowl were looking kind of spotty and there was some raisin bran cereal with overly chewy raisins so I combined the two into one of my favourite foods - muffins! Didn't use any goats milk in them either! They turned out pretty good...nice and moist the way I like them.

This recipe is really easy:

BANANA RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS                                                                                                        
1 c. mashed bananas (2-3 lg.)
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
3 tbsp. oil
1 1/2 c. raisins bran cereal
1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Line muffin tins. 

In medium bowl combine banana, egg, oil, milk and cereal. 

Let stand 10 minutes. 

Stir to break up the cereal flakes. 

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and nutmeg. 

Add cereal mixture all at once to dry mixture. 

Stir just until moist. 

Spoon evenly into muffin cups. 

Bake 12 large muffins for 25 to 35 minutes or 18 small muffins for 20 to 23 minutes.

Enjoy a couple with a mug of your favourite coffee!

See ya, eh!