Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In This Small Alaskan Town Everyone Lives under the Same Roof

Hey there! Thanks for clicking by. Got the coffeepot on and the virtual treats sitting waiting for you so help yourself. Now I've never been to Alaska but I can understand isolated towns and when the wind is blowing and it is snowing like crazy and the temperature would freeze the nuts off of a jeep, it makes sense to stay together, doesn't it? Maybe that's why...

Most of the 200-odd residents of the Alaskan town of Whittier all live in the same 14-story condominium – Begich Towers – located on the edge of town. 

The former Army barracks is often described as a ‘vertical town’ with walls so thin that keeping secrets is simply out of the question.

Apart from residential apartments, the one-of-a-kind settlement also houses a police station, a health clinic, a convenience store, a laundromat, and a church in the basement. 

It really is inconceivable how missionaries, bartenders, city council members, policemen, and even drug dealers can co-exist in the same building, share the same facilities, and ride in the same elevator.

As eccentric as this living arrangement sounds, it really does seem to work out for the residents of Whittier, mainly because of its size and the weather conditions. 

The town is rather inaccessible – you can only get there by sea, or take a long, one-lane tunnel through the mountains, which only runs one way at any given time. At night, the tunnel is closed completely.

Wouldn't be surprised to hear there was even some hanky-panky going on there, eh? Though with a church in the basement, maybe not...

See ya, eh!


Source: http://www.odditycentral.com/

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 Fun Ways to Help Your Brain!

Hi ya! How's it going? Keeping the ol' brain active? That's good. I've got some fun ways to do that but first things first. Fill your mug with some arabica bean juice and grab a virtual doughnut, muffin or pastry to munch on while I rattle on about your brain...

Scientists used to think neural networks were hardwired early in life, and that we couldn’t change the way our brains worked. With the help of improved technology in brain scanning, this theory was thrown out. Researchers now see our brains as being more akin to the muscles in our body — we can build and improve them, or we can ignore and weaken them.

Actively using the brain keeps it strong and healthy. But when you aren’t in the mood for intense and challenging thinking exercises, here are five fun — and less demanding — ways to aid in the building process. Click through for a chance to win two books that will help boost your brainpower.

Drink Wine!
Norwegian researchers found that women who drank a moderate amount of wine –at least four times during the week– scored better on cognitive tests than women who drank less wine. The study included over 5,000 participants who were questioned over the course of seven years.
Wine may not have been the only factor that contributed to the higher scores. 

The researchers noted “A positive effect of wine…could also be due to co-founders such as socio-economic status and more favorable dietary and other lifestyle habits.” However, the initial finding is worthy of further exploration–especially considering the health benefits that have been associated with moderate alcohol consumption in previous studies.

As Natural News reports, “Most of the 68 studies conducted over the past decade that relate to alcohol’s potential health benefits show some relationship between light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and a reduced risk of brain abnormalities like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” In addition, red wine is filled with antioxidants that can fight free-radical damage that accompanies aging.

Of course, the key is moderation, and there are plenty of reasons to avoid alcohol, if you already do so. However, if drinking a little wine helps you wind down, you may not need to feel guilty about it.


In addition to boosting endorphins and making you happier, working out may make you smarter. Physical exercise promotes neurogenesis — a process that builds networks in your brain. Exercise can strengthen “executive” cognition — or help the brain to plan, reason and perform other higher-order functions. There is also evidence that exercising may protect against Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

Get intimate! 

If going to the gym or hiking outside doesn’t get you excited, fear not. Staying in bed and having sex can produce some of the same effects. According to a study by Leuner, Glasper, and Gould, published on PLoS ONE, sexual activity also promotes neurogenesis — and, as an added benefit reduces stress and anxiety! Naughty! Naughty!

Eat Guacamole! (or other Healthy Fats)

Our brains are made up of 60 percent fat, so it makes sense that nourishing the body with essential fatty acids supports brain health. This Natural Solutions article on IQ-Boosting foods explains that Omega-3s help neurons in the brain communicate with one another, which may positively affect our ability to learn and memorize. Good sources of brain-boosting Omega 3s include cold-water fish, avocados, walnuts, flax seeds, and olive oil.

Play Games.
Playing games, such as Sudoku, exercises a part of the brain associated with memory. Sudoku, a number-placement puzzle, relies on logic, guesswork, and our ability to remember patterns. “To crack Sudoku our brains use a unique set of neural pathways known as associative memory– which enables us to discover a pattern from a partial clue,” says ABC Science reporter Judy Skatssoon, referencing research done by Professor John Hopfield of Princeton University.


So there! Drink wine! Have sex! Exercise...well the first two anyway. Just remember not to engage in any of the above while driving!

See ya, eh!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Warsaw’s Keret House – World’s Narrowest Home Is Just 1.2 Meters Wide

Hi there! Thanks for clicking by today. Got a tiny story for you today... but first, I can tell by the look on your face that a nice robust mug of coffee and a virtual treat would go down well so help yourself! Now, let me wedge a little story in here...
Wedged into the narrow space between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland, the Keret House is considered the narrowest home in the world. At just 36 inches across at its narrowest point and 48 inches at its widest, the house is barely large enough for one person to move around.

The unique living space is the brainchild of Israeli writer and film maker Etgar Keret. The gap between the two buildings was discovered almost six years ago, by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny. He realized that it was just enough room to fit a house, so he decided to go ahead and build one.
Coming up with a design for the tiny available space was tough, but the real challenges were ownership issues, building regulations and financing. Luckily, he managed to raise 70,000 euros (over $80,000) for the project and began the construction in collaboration with the Polish Art Foundation.

I'd so small that if you wanted to change your mind, you'd have to go outside!

It's so small that when you put your key in the door, you break the back window!

It's so small that when you drop a Kleenex tissue you have wall to wall carpet!

It's so small that the welcome mat only says 'Wel'!

It's so small, the front and back doors are the same door!

It's so small that when you order a large pizza, you have to eat it outdoors!
It's so small that when you eat in the kitchen, your elbows are in the living room!

Enough of this tomfoolery...Tom, cut that out!

See ya, eh!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Only in Japan – The LED-Illuminated Upskirt Skirt

Hi there! It's Saturday so cyberspace should be chock-a-block, eh! But you seem to have navigated your way through it all and spiralled down safely to the CWB cafe. Glad you're here. Coffee's awaiting' and so are the VTs so help yourself! Here's a story for all fashionistas... and anyone else who appreciates the female form (ahem!).

Japanese designer Kiyoyuki Amano has combined fashion and technology to create futuristic short skirts that illuminate the wearer’s thighs. Aptly named ‘Hikaru Skirt’, which means ‘Shining Skirt’, the garment comes equipped with LED lights and the miniature gyro sensors on the inside. So the skirt lights up, and the color and pattern of the light changes every time the wearer moves.

Amano said that he first placed light bulbs inside a skirt on a whim, and that’s when he noticed that it created a pleasant illumination of the thighs. So he worked on the design some more and soon created a whole line of LED-illuminated minis. The Hikaru skirts, he said, are meant to bridge the gap between everyday fashion and cosplay.

You never know what these crazy Japanese designers will come up with next, do you? Keep on lighting up our lives, guys!

See ya, eh!


Friday, January 23, 2015

The Greek State That Forbids Both Human and Animal Females

Γεια σας...(Yahsas!) Hello! Great to see you today! Only 150 days until summer! Heard a weatherperson say on TV this morning, "It's -9C but actually it's quite comfortable." Yeah right. Okay...granted it is better than the -30C we woke up to a week or two ago but my tropical body craves heat! Had dinner this week with a couple of teachers we just met. They returned in October from 4-6 years in Thailand (she 4 years, he 6). We commiserated over all the things we missed about living in The Kingdom of Thailand. And now on to Greece or actually the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain.

Mount Athos, formally known as Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, is located on the Greek peninsula of Halkidiki. The monastic traditions of the mountain date back to 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries, and 2,000 monks from Greece and other eastern orthodox countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia. These monks live an ascetic life, isolated from the rest of the world.

Although technically part of the European Union, the Holy Mountain is largely self-governed. This prohibits the free movement of people and goods in its territory, unless formal permission has been granted. 

As a result, a number of traditions at Mount Athos might seem odd to people outside. The keeping of Byzantine time, for instance, means that their day begins at sunset. But perhaps their most bizarre practice is the centuries-old ban on women entering the sacred peninsula.

For over 1,000 years, women have been forbidden from setting foot on the mountain. In fact, females of other species such as cows, dogs and goats aren’t permitted either. Only birds and insects are exempted from the rule – scanning the skies and grounds for female body parts would surely be too absurd, even by Mount Athos standards.

Dedication, focus and faith without any distractions. No 75" Smart TVs. No Super Bowl. No...you name it! 

I'll bet you they don't have any elevators either...

See ya, eh!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to make Bulletproof Coffee

High-dee-hi-dee-ho! I'm ready for a coffee and a chocolate dough...nut (or a cheese biscuit maybe). How about you? You've heard of a 'brain freeze', right? Well, get ready for a 'braintaze' (a new word I just coined). There he goes, adding words to our already overly burgeoning English language!  A shot of this coffee is like having your brain energized is what I`m getting at, eh! Could this be what the EverReady bunny is on, I wonder?

The premise of Bulletproof Coffee is to get a good dose of healthy fats from unsalted butter and also from the added MCT oil. Some people speculate butter may be a superfood. The jury is still out on whether butter is better than margarine. Two camps - two opinions. But give this coffee a try at least once.

What is MCT oil?

MCT simply stands for medium chain triglycerides, as opposed to long chain triglycerides (LCT), which are found in most foods. MCT is comprised of primarily caprylic and capric fatty acids, and is a light-yellow, odorless, translucent liquid at room temperature. MCT oil occurs naturally in coconut oil and other foods. Supplementation with MCT oil began as a fat source to help treat diseases such as cystic fibrosis, obesity, and fat malabsorption. It has also been used to add calories to infant, and certain other formulas. Recently, athletes, bodybuilders, and diet gurus have jumped on the MCT bandwagon, embracing its fat burning and energy sustaining powers. 
Here's how to make this famous bulletproof coffee. 

8 ounces strong coffee, 
1-2 tbs unsalted butter, 
1-3 tsp MCT oil

1. Brew some premium coffee. You can use a pour-over method, french press, french drip, or a regular coffeemaker. Just make your coffee how you like it.

2. Blend the MCT oil, butter, and coffee in a food processor. Some people use a blender but watch you don't explode bulletproof coffee all over your kitchen. A food processor or immersion blender works better. 

You can pick up some MCT oil online at Amazon or likely your local health food store will have it.

3. Enjoy. You really only need one cup. Two cups may put you on a wired caffeine high. I don`t recommend it after 12 noon. It can mess with your sleep!

See ya, eh!


PS: Butter in your coffee sound strange? The Tibetans have been drinking tea with yak butter for centuries.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Student Turns Her Exam Notes into a Unique Recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Well hello there! You're looking good today. You must have had a good starry night's sleep, what? Bet you're ready for a resoundingly refreshing mug of coffee and a virtual treat...? Why not! And speaking of starry nights...

Anthropology sophomore Van Truong recently combined art and biology in an effort to ace her final exam in December. While most of her college mates used lists and flashcards to memorize stuff, Van used a whiteboard to write out all her notes in the form of ‘Starry Night’, Van Gogh’s famous masterpiece.

“I knew I had to study for this exam, and I knew I’d be writing on this whiteboard for hours,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I did it in a form where people didn’t know how to feel about it?’”

So when she got to Smathers Library on the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, she started to write down all her notes with the words forming a replica of Van Gogh’s iconic painting. Three hours later, the masterpiece was complete.

Very creative. I am not sure if it helped but let's hope it did. Any method that helps people to remember things is a good one. 

A good what?

See ya, eh!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meet the Moranbong Band – North Korea’s Version of Spice Girls

Hey music lover! How are you doing? Glad you could make it by today and partake of a refreshing coffee and a virtual treat. Fill your mug, wrestle a giant muffin onto your plate and come on over here to the VIP table so I can tell you about a not-so-new music group I doubt you have ever heard of. 

Believe it or not, North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, is actually a big fan of K-pop music. In fact, he’s so passionate about it that he hand-picked every member of the girl group ‘Moranbong Band’ – his country’s answer to the Spice Girls.

As a result of Kim Jong-un’s endorsement, the band has been playing sell-out gigs across the country. Their first concert was so popular that the streets of Pyongyang were apparently deserted during the broadcast. Often dressed in conservatively sexy attire – with skirts cut well above the knee and hair clipped short – the Moranbong girls have received good reviews from local critics as well.

Although the band has been around for a few years, they appeared to have fallen out of favor in late 2013. But after a six-month hiatus, they were back to performing in April 2014 to rave reviews from Korean media, thus reclaiming their status as queens of North Korea’s pop scene, and the darlings of primetime TV. Their comeback concert featured ‘colorful numbers’ such as ‘O My Motherland Full of Hope’, ‘Our Father’, and ‘We Think of the Marshall Day and Night’.

Wow! They sound like awesome songs, eh! Hope for their sake that they never come up with a song the big guy doesn't like such as the theme song from The Interview, eh. Wouldn't be the first band that has fallen out of favour and faced his fatal wrath.

I'll let you know when the band schedules it's first International tour, okay?

See ya, eh!


Source: odditycentral.com

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spidey Sense Gets Real

Come into my web, why don't'cha? Help yourself to a steaming mug of arabica joy juice and a virtual muffin, doughnut or pastry. A question for you...Do you like spiders? Me? I hate the little beasts to the point of a mild case of arachnophobia. But anyway...here's a new spin on 'the little black dress'. Maybe black widow spider dress?

Among the breakthroughs demonstrated by the computer chip company Intel's RealSense system is a cocktail dress from Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht that not only senses the wearer's "mood," but also acts to repel (or encourage) strangers who might approach the wearer. 

Sensors (including small LED monitors) measure respiration and 11 other profiles, and if the wearer is "stressed," artistic spider-leg epaulets extend menacingly from the shoulder to suggest that "intruders" keep their distance (in which case the dress resembles something from the movie "Aliens") 

-- or, if the wearer feels relaxed, the legs wave invitingly.

The experimental "spider dress" was showcased at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. [Daily Mail (London), 1-7-2015] 

Not my cup of tea. Nifty gift for someone, though, eh?

I'll stick with the WW Web, thank you very much!

See ya, eh!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

At This Chinese Restaurant Good-Looking People Eat for Free

Hey, good looking! Great to see you. How you doing? Got time for a mugga and a VT? Of course you do. No cost either. No sirree. It's on the house! Now there is a restaurant in China that does the same thing... sort of.

Who needs money when you have a pretty face, right? At Jeju Island, a Korean eatery in Zhengzhou city, China, people are allowed to dine at no charge if they happen to be among the five most beautiful patrons of the day. Hanging outside the establishment last Saturday was a bold sign that states: “Free Meal for Goodlooking”.

If you think the practice is bizarre, wait till you hear who the judges are – a panel of local plastic surgeons! 

All those hoping to earn a free meal are taken to a ‘beauty identification area’, where they are photographed. The doctors then evaluate the potential diners on the quality of their faces, eyes, noses, and mouths.

Yeah...and no doubt the testees get a free consultation about how their faces could be improved with a little surgery on both their faces and wallets! Then they get their free meal.

Wonder if they get follow-up phone calls at dinner time ever after? Discounts? Two for one offers? Bring your mother-in-law! Bring your friends. With six you get eggroll!

See ya, eh!


See ya, eh. 

Source: odditycentral.com

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Selenium and Anti-Aging

Hi there. Glad you found time to click by today. Got another email from Dr. Al that I want to share with you as soon as you fill your coffee mug and hoist a virtual megamuffin onto your plate. Okay, here we go...

Dear Bob,
I always had an idea that deep down, living longer isn’t what people want.
As long as they’re mobile and independent, and still have a sharp mind, most people accept that nature has given us a pretty good lifespan.
And that’s what my patients often tell me. They want a better quality of life, not more years.
That’s why I have always been about anti-aging. Extending life is a noble goal. But I want to help you live better now. And I’m very grateful to be living in a time when technology allows me to help you achieve that goal.
Because the fact is, you have an advantage over everyone who’s come before you. And that is, don’t have to let aging interfere with how you want to live.
All of the people at my clinic who have been on a protocol that maintains their telomeres have had incredible health-enhancing experiences. Their eyesight, their hair, their bodies... people tell me they simply feel better.
Telomeres are the basic clocks that tell your body how old your cells are. And everything that happens from the time you are born is dependent on how old the telomere tells your body to act.
And there’s so much new science coming out every day on how maintaining your telomere length keeps you younger for longer.
I was reminded of this while I was doing research for the presentation I gave a few weeks ago at the A4M Annual World Conference on Anti-Aging in Las Vegas. I came across some studies on an ant-aging nutrient I’ve had my eye on. Yet it’s been completely overlooked as a telomere protector.
For instance, I read a little-known study from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Researchers there were looking into why the mineral selenium seems to keep cells youthful and functional for longer.
They took liver cells and divided them into three groups. One group got no supplementation, but the other two got infusions of selenium.
After 3 weeks, the cells that were the most youthful and healthy were the ones that had gotten selenium.
But what interested me the most was that after 4 weeks, these cells’ telomeres were significantly longer than normal.
Giving the cells selenium didn’t just “turn on” the gene that produces telomerase (the enzyme that rebuilds the telomere). Telomerase in these cells skyrocketed!1
As I did more research, I discovered that getting more selenium also stops telomere loss. It even improves telomere function.2
This effect on telomeres might be why people who get the least selenium age much faster than people who get more.3
Selenium is such an all-round anti-aging powerhouse that it’s one of the minerals I mention first when I tell my patients about my new Nutritional Pyramid.
  • We need a lot of each nutrient that makes up the bottom of the pyramid, which I call primal nutrition. This gives us a solid nutritional base so we can avoid modern diseases like cancer.
  • I call the second level of my nutrition pyramid ortho-nutrition. This is where you replace the minerals and nutrients we’re depleted of in the modern world.
  • The third level helps you get nutrition beyond what is simply normal. I call this ultra-nutrition.
  • The top of my Nutritional Pyramid is telo-nutrition. It includes all the nutrients you can use to maintain and lengthen telomeres.
Selenium helps you fulfill all four levels.
Selenium used to be something we got fairly easily from our food. But you can’t get the amount of selenium that we would have gotten in primordial times.
If you were foraging, you could have eaten a few Brazil nuts every day and gotten all the selenium you needed. You might have even gotten enough through vegetables and plants, which took up plenty of minerals in ancient times.
Today, vegetables are somewhat void of minerals. In fact, you’d have to eat 10 servings of spinach to get the same level of minerals from just one serving about 50 years ago.4
That makes selenium something important for both primal and ortho-nutrition.
Also, even though selenium is a powerful antioxidant itself, it also helps your body make an even stronger antioxidant, glutathione. This super-antioxidant effect of selenium makes it ideal for ultra-nutrition.
And, as I just showed you, selenium also protects and lengthens telomeres.
So here you have an anti-aging superstar mineral that can keep your body acting much younger… yet almost no one gets enough of it.
Processing and cooking both deplete the selenium in food. So for most of my patients I recommend getting it from fresh, freeze-dried, or aged garlic. Garlic has a bioactive form of selenium. Start with one capsule or one clove and slowly increase to three capsules or cloves after each meal.

You can also eat Brazil nuts every day. Each has around 100 micrograms of selenium. But while 100 mcg is fine for primal and ortho-nutrition, it’s a good idea to eat a bunch of Brazil nuts to get enough selenium for telomerase activation.
A good multi-nutrient supplement will give you at least 200 micrograms of selenium, enough for telomerase activation. The problem is, the government’s recommendation is only 55 mcg. So only my and a very few other multi-nutrient formulas will give you enough; a full 200mcg of bioactive selenium.
To Your Good Health,
Dr. Sears' Signature image
Al Sears, MD
1. Liu Q, Wang H, Hu D, Ding C, Xiao H, Xu H, Shu B, Xu S. "Effects of sodium selenite on telomerase activity and telomere length." Sheng Wu Hua Xue Yu Sheng Wu Wu Li Xue Bao (Shanghai). 2003;35(12):1117-22.
2. Ferguson L, Karunasinghe N, Zhu S, Wang A. "Selenium and its' role in the maintenance of genomic stability." Mutat Res. 2012;733(1-2):100-10.
3. Mocchegiani E, et. al. "Micronutrient-gene interactions related to inflammatory/immune response and antioxidant activity in ageing and inflammation. A systematic review." Mech Ageing Dev. 2014;136-137:29-49.
4. Heinrich, Elmer. “The Root of All Disease.” TRC press, 2000. 84 pages.
As soon as you wash down the last of your muffin, get out there and buy some of those selenium-rich fruits. I want to keep you around, enjoying life and reading my blog as long as I can.
See ya, eh!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Japanese Company Fills Offices with Cats to Help Employees Unwind and Improve Productivity

Meow-the-heck-are-you? Thanks for clicking by. You didn't step on any cats on the way in here did you? Black cat cross your path? No? Good. Pour yourself a refreshing mugful of coffee and purr on over to the virtual treat tray to select a morsel or two. Hey...are you a cat person? If you are, you'll love this office in Tokyo...

In a cramped city like Tokyo, where owning a pet is a luxury and most apartments have strict no-pets policies, it’s hard for cat lovers to spend quality time with their favorite animals. 

In response, cat cafés have cropped up all over the city, where people get to sip delicious beverages while petting a purring kitty. But even that doesn’t come close to having a cat in your own home, because the time spent with the furry creatures is quite limited.

That’s why a Japanese company has come up with a great idea to get its employees to interact with pets more often – a cat-populated workplace! The offices of Ferray Corporation, an internet solutions business, is filled with nine lovable rescued cats that are allowed to roam freely all through the day. 

The cats are so adorable that employees of Ferray are reporting considerably lowered stress levels.

Ah, but... has it affected productivity in any way? And what about the aroma of litter boxes, eh? I know...keep them in the boss's office. No one wants to go in there anyway!

Most people know that "Hello Kitty" is a worldwide Japanese brand of clothing, school accessories, office gear, etc. Having cats wandering all over the place seems like a natural brand extension...

See ya, eh!


Source: www.odditycentral.com

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Meet Philly Jesus – The Former Drug Addict Who Became a “Walking Billboard for the King of Kings”

Hallelullah...it's good to see you! I'm tickled pink that you could make it today...what with your bust schedule and all. Coffee's perked and there's a tray of delectable virtual doughnuts, muffins and assorted pastries waiting for you next to the coffeepot so dig in! Today, I want to introduce you to a colourful young fellow in Philadelphia (City of brotherly love)...

Once a heroin addict, young Michael Grant managed to turn his life around and become Philly Jesus, one of Philadelphia’s most iconic characters. Since April last year, the 28-year-old has been hanging out at LOVE park, in Center City, dressed as Jesus Christ. “I’m not the real Jesus,” he admits upfront. “I’m just a huge fan. I’m doing it as a walking billboard for the King of Kings.”

Every day, Grant walks seven miles to LOVE Park, carrying with him a 12-foot wooden cross with wheels at the bottom that he made himself. “This is my way of letting my light shine, by carrying a cross in the ‘hood’,” he explained. “This is my way of sharing Jesus without preaching a blow horn and condemning people. It’s like making a statement. When they look at me, I don’t want them to see Michael, I want them to see Jesus.”

Grant, who was raised in a Catholic family, is the older of two brothers. His mother says that he was always a creative child, did theater and loved drawing. He even went to a clown school, where he learned to juggle knives and torches. “He liked people’s reactions, so he always liked reaching people that way,” she said.

Praise the Lord and pass the virtual doughnuts!

See ya, eh!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Man's Other Best Friends

G'day to you. Wonderful to see you! I sure hope it is warmer where you are than the -32C we woke up to this AM. Ready for a coffee and a virtual muffin? Me too! So...how much money would you spend on a sick pet? On a fish scale of one to ten?

People's love for their pets reached a new high in December when a British man paid a veterinarian the equivalent of $500 to perform delicate surgery on a sick office goldfish (typical pet store "replacement" price: $1 to $5). 

Vet Faye Bethell of North Walsham, England, told the Eastern Daily Press in December that there was "nothing special" about the fish, but that the customer "just liked it a lot." In fact, the goldfish likely did not even have a pet name -- as Bethell in an interview spoke intimately of another patient by name (Cadbury, the skunk). 

(Bethell's procedure involved removing the patient from the bowl, flooding its gills with anesthetic-fortified water, and using a tiny scalpel to remove lumps that were causing it constipation, with the surgery guided by a miniature heart-rate monitor.) 

Source: [Eastern Daily Press (Norwich, England), 1-1-2015] 

Hey, if it makes the fish owner happy, what the heck, right?

See ya, eh!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Indian Man Finally Gets Fired after Skipping Work for 24 Years

A very splendid good day to you! I am immensely pleased that you found your way to my virtual cafe here on the backstreets of cyberspace. Rest your weary bones with a delicious mug of coffee (or a steaming cup of Darjeeling tea, if you must) and munch on a virtual curry nan as I relate a quick story of ...well, you'll see.

An employee of India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been found guilty of ‘wilful absence of duty’ – believe it or not – for the past 24 years! Assistant executive engineer A.K. Verma went off sick from work one morning in 1990, and he simply never returned.

“He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the department told the media last Thursday. Verma is said to have joined the CPWD in 1980, and risen to the rank of executive engineer in 1990.

Although he came under investigation in 1992, he was only fired this month. Formal proceedings to dismiss him did not start until 2007, and it took seven more years for the department to actually reach a decision to sack him. Ultimately, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu ordered his dismissal, in order to ‘streamline the functioning of the CPWD and to ensure accountability’.

Does 'accountability' mean he has to repay his salary for the past 24 years? Good luck trying to collect that, eh! 

I wonder how long it takes that government to, say, build a bridge?

See ya, eh!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Thai Winner on Food Network's 'Chopped'!

Sawatdee, krup! How the heck are you? Got time for a coffee and a virtual treat? Of course you do. Hey..Nong was watching "Chopped' on the Food Channel last night and she called me to say that one of the contestants was Thai. We watched the Thai lady (also named Nong) create several dishes that were very imaginative and impressed the judges and, believe me, they are not that easy to impress. She beat out all the others to win the competition and a $10,000 US cheque.

Nong Poonsakwattana is from Thailand where her family was poor. Her mom taught her how to cook from a very young age and she worked in her mom’s restaurant. So when she went over to America, she worked very hard and saved up her money to open her own food cart. She now runs a successful food cart in Portland, Oregon where food trucks abound and the competition for the lunch trade is fierce!
Quality, quality, quality! That is what Nong is all about. She is a passionate and a determined woman. She basically only serves one dish, chicken and rice (khao man gai). (One-dish food carts abound in Thailand). Her dish may be simple, but she does not scrimp on using the best ingredients nor does she take any shortcuts to make her dish. Nong stays true to her Thai roots and keeps her dish authentic. It’s pretty bold to open a food cart with only one dish, so you know it has to be pretty darn good.

Khao man gai is one of my favourite eat-out lunches and she is right...it is always served with a little bowl of soup. Some of us have been known to ladle a little soup onto the chicken and rice for added flavour.  And the sauce is so tasty that I could sit and eat just that with a little rice.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Yum!

Good luck, Nong in Portland. My own Nong here in Cornwall, ON, is a great cook as well!

See ya, eh!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Villa Epecuen – The Argentinian Town That Spent 25 Years Underwater

Buenos Dias! Traffic heavy in cyberspace today? Glad you could find a few minutes to click by and join me for a mug of coffee and a virtual treat. Pull up a chair while I tell you about the reemergence of Epecuen.

The town of Epecuen, in the Argentinian farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires, was once a bustling lakeside resort with a population of over 5,000. Over a quarter of a century ago it was flooded by the waters of a nearby lake and, until recently, it remained submerged. Now it’s finally come back up for air.

Established in 1920 along the shore of Lake Epecuen, the popular tourist destination played host to at least 20,000 visitors every season. Its main attraction was the saltwater lake, which contained 10 times more salt than the ocean. According to local legend, the lake is so salty because it was formed by the tears of a great Chief crying for the pain of his beloved. The waters of the lake were believed to cure depression, rheumatism, skin diseases, anemia, and even diabetes.

Thousands of visitors would arrive by train from the nation’s capital to relax in the town’s saltwater baths and spas. Tourists, mainly from Buenos Aires’ large Jewish community, enjoyed the floating water because it reminded them of the Dead Sea in Israel. The town had almost 300 thriving businesses – including guesthouses, lodges, hotels and other establishments centered around tourist trade.

Source: http://www.odditycentral.com/

Knowing the world's thirst for unusual destinations, I wouldn't be totally surprised to see Epecuen make a remarkable comeback. Line up here for a Tim Horton's franchise!

See ya, eh!