Friday, September 23, 2011

Facts and Factoids for the Start of Fall 2011

Today, I'm taking a break from my daily blog ( to bring vital information to the attention of those who have nothing better to do but read my blogs.  Believe it or not, there are a few of you out there who read these blurbs and some actually feel the need to needle me about stuff I publish.. and I love you for it.  And to those in China and Japan who send me comments.. thank you.. however, I am, as of yet, unable to read Chinese or Japanese, but I enjoy gazing at the written characters.

1.  Burning Question

Elaine and I were in the Elkton, Maryland area the other day, and we remembered that a few years ago, lots of "Northerners" took trips to Elkton to get a "quickie marriage."  The reason given was because Maryland did not require a blood test with a waiting period before getting a marriage license and Elkton was just over the Mason-Dixon line.. and a short hop for New Yorkers and other Yankees.

Question:  Why did some States require the results of a recent blood test before granting a marriage license?

My reading of information found on the Internet tells me this:

Blood tests were instituted to ensure that the parties did not have syphllis.  Only Mississippi and Montana still require blood tests.

In a Supreme Count case: Meister v. Moore (1877).. it was "ruled" (?) that it is illegal for any state to mandate any form of marriage license or ceremony, and (technically) all states must recognize "common law marriage."

Interesting.. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if I'm interpreting this information correctly or not.

2.  It was a very good year..

Y'all know that I'm an old dude.  I was born in 1934.  Imagine that!

The famous movie star, Alan Ladd, graduated from Hollywood High School in 1934.

Mr. Ladd was 5'7" and when he played parts with tall leading ladies, he had to stand on an overturned box.  He was also blond. I related to Alan because I was also 5'7" and blond.  However, not being a movie star, I didn't have to stand on a box when kissing my tall girl friend.

One of my favorite Alan Ladd movies is: Shane!  If you haven't seen it.. see it!  It's great fun.

3.  More on 1934..

In a Public Auction Notice from 2009.. as part of a list of household items being auctioned off:

"1934 bedroom suit with chair, stool, night stand and dresser used about 50 times"

I'll bet there is an interesting story there.

4.  Don't forget hubby...

IKEA has announce a "Play Place for Men".. this is a location near the front of the store, where ladies can drop off their husbands or boyfriends, while they shop without distraction.  The ladies are outfitted with a buzzer system, which will go off if they try to exit the store without their male companions.

5.  The Great Satan!

Yesterday, Iran's (also short) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his expected United Nations rant against the United States and it's allies.  Remember last year, he accused the U.S. of staging the 9/11 attacks to support Israel's survival in the Middle East.

I wonder if he mentioned Iran's latest wonderful accomplishment:  the banning of squirt guns.

6.  Dick Cheney's Book

I'm reading Dick Cheney's book In My Time.  I'll be giving my opinions about the book in a future blog entry.. but for now, just let me cite a 1970's quote by California Congresman Don Edwards, as reported in The Nation magazine:

"Congress...must be vigilant to the perils of the subversive notion that any public official, the president or a policeman, possesses a kind of inherent power to set the Constitution aside whenever he thinks the public interest or "national security" warrants it.  That notion is the essential postulate of tyranny."

7.  Not Torture?

The Week magazine reported in 2008 that a Utah salesman sued his former employer for waterboarding him during a team-building exercise.  The boss is alleged to have said to his salesmen:  "You saw how hard C... fought for air.  I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales!"

8.  No more fat mice...

Georgetown University researcher Zofia Zukowska reported back in 2007 that by injecting an NPY-blocking agent into the fat bellies of mice, the mice started to become skinny again... she said:  "It just melts the fat!"  Apparently the stuff called NPY* increases fat deposits.. so anything that blocks NPY would be a good thing.

I've tried to read some of the voluminous current Internet entries for Zofia, but I'm still not sure yet how far she has gone with her work on fat mice, and how it applies to humans.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just take our fat buns down to the Doctor's office, get our injections and not have to worry about diet anymore?

*(Internet sources say, kind of, that NPY  or Neuropeptide Y,  is a 36 amino acid peptide neurotransmitter found in the brain and the autonomic nervous system.  It causes increased food intake and  decreased physical activity, and it stores energy as fat.)

9.  Factoid #1.  Suicide

Over 300 people have jumped to death from the top of Notre Dame in Paris.  I guess these would be very religious people, otherwise they would be jumping off of the much higher Eiffel Tower.

10.  Factoid #2.  Make nice nice

That marvelous radio show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me reports that sharks can be taught to cuddle!

11.  Factoid #3.  Baby Blues.

Blue Whale babies get a ton of very rich milk every day which helps them grow at a rate of 90 pounds a  day.  The 3 tons of krill that they eat each day also helps in that growth.

BTW: the tongue of a full-grown blue whale weighs the same as an African elephant!

12.  GBS was right.

Just as speech purists deride the outrageous use of "like and "I mean"  and "you know" .. another unwanted phrase has entered into everyday American English. 

For years, when one said "Thank You!", the proper response was "You're Welcome!"

Now, you are just  as likely to hear "No Problem!"  What is this world coming to!  Call the speech police!   H.L. Mencken must be rolling over in his grave.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September Madness

Last week was very sad, as we relived the events of 9/11/2001.  In spite of that horrible memory, life goes on.  I wonder if the hi-jackers received their promised virgins.. if so, I hope that they experience continuous post-coital depression until the end of time.

What makes some "human beings" believe that good will come out of killing innocent persons? Could there actually be a Satan making them act that way?  But everything I've ever read about Satan tells me that "Old Nick" is only concerned with amassing souls, not killing little babies.  (Wait a minute!  That's not a picture of Satan; it's a picture of a satyr!  Do you remember that old magazine:  the Satyr Dairy View?)

Of course, these hi-jackers were only amateurs when compared to famous mass-murderers like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.  Does Dante mention a spot in Hell for people like these?

Basta!  Let's jump to other topics in the news.

01.  The Bruins lose.

NPR reports that a bear broke into an automobile, somehow got it into reverse, and crashed into a tree.  I'd like to read that insurance claim.

The Week reports that when a dog owner saw a bear trying to tear her dachshund into edible pieces, she got mad and punched the bear in the nose.  The bear knew that he had met his match, dropped the dog, and ran for the hills.

02. Why is Fluffy crying?

You've heard of the Reader's Digest?  Well, some cat food apparently contains something called ''Animal Digest".  Years ago, that great magazine, Consumer Reports  contacted a cat food company service rep who said that "Animal Digest" is just is a combination of treated pork and chicken livers in powdered form, regardless of what flavor the package wording might indicate. Check it out.. I'm going to start reading the ingredients listed on SuZee's food, because I want her to get all the fish and meat carnivores like her deserve.

I read somewhere that if your house cat was bigger than you are, she would sooner or later be hungry enough to eat you.  Look at what happened in the Sigfried and Roy show. 

Also, have you ever noticed little insect legs on your carpet in the morning?  Apparently, cats like to eat crickets, but not their legs that have sharp barbs.

Speaking of crickets.. during the recent flooding rains, some crickets sneaked into our garage to avoid the water.  For a few days, they kept up a symphony of sounds.  I didn't bother them.. I couldn't find them anyway.. until the symphony stopped.  Their bodies can be found now.. apparently, they died of starvation.  Sad.

03. Lee sez:

"It never rains but what it stops."

04.  Justice

A jailbird is suing the Guiness Book of Records for not listing him as the person who has initiated the most law suits.  (over 4,000)

05.  Ideas

I don't remember where I got these ideas from, but I think they are designed to make life easier for persons with disabilities.. or older folks.

a.  Cut button holes in napkins.  (a great idea for anybody who keeps losing their napkins)
b.  Glue a knob onto a ruler (to make it easier to work with)
c.  At a restaurant, ask the chef to cut up your food.
d.  Put hooks on high cabinets.
e.  Use bungee cords for belts.. or, cut down, for shoe laces.

06.  Thought for the day

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness... and just be happy.

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

07.  Ho Hum!

Why do we yawn?  I had always heard of two theories:

a.  We are simply tired and our bodies need more oxygen to be able to function. But why is it contagious?

b.  It is a warning signal that some problem is near, and the warning must be passed on, which is why yawns are contagious.

Now there is a new theory that yawning keeps people alert by cooling their brains.  In a test, people who held an ice pack to their foreheads when observing others yawn, did not get the urge to yawn.

Also, people who breathe exclusively through their nasal passages are supposedly immune to yawning contagion because blood vessels in the nasal cavity carry cooled blood to the brain.

08.  Words to live by

I think I have mentioned that in my youth I attended Quaker meetings and Baptist services.  In fact, at the age of 13, I was baptised at the First Baptist Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The Baptists were rather strict, as I have outlined earlier in one of my blogs.  Someone once gave me what they called The Baptist Moral Code:  "Don't drink, smoke, or chew; and don't go with girls who do."

I recall that as soon as the services were over at the First Baptist Church, the men could not get out of the building fast enough so they could light up their cigarettes.  Go  figure.

09.  Politicians

Today, as I waited for my car to be serviced, I watched their big screen TV.  They had it tuned to CNN and Governor Perry of Texas was giving a lively speech to the students at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia.  You remember the Governor.. he seems to me to be trying to be a carbon copy of George W. Bush.  Sounds like him.  Also, he says some things that are questionable, at least to me.  For instance, he says that Social Security is just a big old Ponzi scheme. 

You know.. I would be willing to bet that when the Gov turns 62, he will file for his Social Security benefits just like everyone else.  And.. it will still be in existence.. and the big earners will still be getting a free ride on the taxes on most of their big salaries.

Do you really think that people believe what the current crop of politicians say?  I believe it would be a sad commentary on the intelligence of our population, if that were true.

10.  Caught

I don't know where I read it, but it was reported that 27 well-known unfaithful politicians since President Clinton have said:  "I'm sorry!"

11.  All the news...

I haven't heard about what happened to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's newspaper revitalization legislation.  This law would have given  non-profit status to newspapers.. to save them financially.  Newspapers are having trouble surviving, and this would supposedly help them.  I must admit, I am having trouble understanding the rationale for this. Newspapers in France are subsidised by the Government, but  I can't see that ever happening in the U.S.

12. Dick Cheney

I am reading In My Time by Dick Cheney.  It's an easy read, and not too controversial just yet.  I am at the part where he is telling how he gained more and more influence in the White House over the years. It seems to me.. and this is, of course, my opinion.. that he and his boss at one time, Don Rumsfeld, were "Loose Canons".. lots of power and not much concern with how it would affect John Doe.. I could be wrong.  I like one part where a big shot (read the book and find out who) had an Air Force plane fly a long distance to deliver some magazines that he wanted to read.  Mr. Cheney, to his credit, thought that this was a bit much.