Wednesday, 24 December 2008

How NORAD Tracks Santa

By Dave Demerjian December 23, 2008 | 5:05:28 PM

Santa Claus may be able to fly around the world in a sleigh, but even he can't cross North American airspace without NORAD knowing about it.

For more than 50 years, the joint American-Canadian air command that safeguards the continent against aerial attack has used its sophisticated tracking technology to follow Kris Kringle's journeyand provide real-time updates on his location to children worldwide.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command gave us a rundown of how it does the job.

The North Warning System, a network of 47 radars strung across the continent's northernmost frontier, tells NORAD when St. Nick takes off from the North Pole. Infrared satellites track the jolly old elf's flight path once he's airborne. "The satellites actually pick up an infrared signature from Rudolph's nose," Navy Lt. Desmond James told us.

Once Santa touches down, a little-known network of surveillance cameras called "Santa Cam" transmit images of St. Nick making deliveries. The global network went online 10 years ago, and NORAD officials swear it is used only on Christmas Eve. Four C-18 fighter jets escort Santa through Canada before handing the job over to F-16s as the sleigh enters American airspace. Canadian Air Force Capt. Matthew Maurice is among the pilots assigned to the job.

"He's looking forward to the responsibility of making sure Santa makes it through Canadian airspace," the pilot's mother told the Burlington Post. “He’s busy making preparations. They’re training on a daily basis to handle whatever comes up.”

Tracking Kris Kringle became part of NORAD's mission in 1955, when the organization was called the Continental Air Defense Command and Col. Harry Shoup was the man in charge. Sears-Roebuck had put an ad in the local paper listing Santa's phone number, but the number was misprinted. Instead of ringing the department store, it rang CONRAD's ops center. Shoup got the first call, and rather than being a Scrooge, he told the tyke, "Let me check the radar."

A tradition was born. (You can hear Shoup talk about the experience here.)

In the half century since, NORAD has expanded and updated the program, which provides updates in seven languages. "We added the online component ten years ago," James says. "And today, Google software outputs images from the Santa Cams, and Google Maps and Google Earth track his trajectory."

These days, kids can track Santa's progress online, by cellphone or Blackberry and even by Twitter. Volunteers have been doing most of the work for a few years now, and the whole thing is funded largely through corporate donations. Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers answered 94,743 phone calls and replied to 10,326 e-mails from kids around the world. Another 11 million people visited the Web site.

Track Santa's progress by calling 1-877-HINORAD, sending an email to or by logging on to NORAD says its intelligence indicates Santa will be departing the North Pole at 6 p.m. EST.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Men are Just Happier People

If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah.
If Matt, Dave and Bill go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-eyes.


When the bill arrives, Matt, Dave and Bill will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel
The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.


A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Still Christmas Shopping?

As the 2010 retirement of the space shuttles Discovery, Atlantis, and
Endeavor draws near, NASA this week released proposed post retirement plans
for several of the space shuttles.

The initial release was designed to gauge
interest from potential buyers who would be willing and able to put the
retired ships on display.

Intended for schools, science museums, and other
organizations that might be interested in showcasing one of the three
remaining shuttles, the proposal contains what would be a prohibitive price
for most organizations.

NASA estimates that it will cost around $42 million
dollars to get the shuttle ready for it's final destination. It is
important to note that the $42 million will only get the shuttle to the
closest major airport, shipping fees beyond that will cost extra, most
likely a lot extra, as the space shuttle "will not be disassembled for
transportation or storage." One of the shuttles appears destined for the
Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, but the other two are up for grabs. If
$42 million is too much for some, NASA is also offering some of the main
shuttle engines for the bargain prices of $400,000 and $800,000, and no,
this doesn't include shipping.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Six Myths About Health During the Holiday Season

Everyone knows that you wear a hat in winter to keep in the body heat. Wrong--a new study reported in the British Medical Journal claims that keeping one part of the body covered has just as much effect as covering any other. So when it is cold outside, wrap up, but wearing a hat won't make a big difference.

And the one about cutting back on the sugar for the children because it makes them hyper-active? This seems to be a figment of parents' imagination--the study says that tests show that there is no difference in the behaviour of those children that had sugar and those that didn't. This includes sugar from candy, chocolate and natural sources.

The third myth is hangovers--there is no cure for hangovers. Never mind the aspirin, bananas, water--the only cure is drinking less.

Here's a delicious surprise: late night snacking is not more fattening. It's just a matter of how much and how often you eat, not when.

Suicides over holiday periods? No again; there are fewer before, more afterwards. And surprisingly, the numbers are lower in the winter and higher in the summer.

And lastly, bring on the poinsettias....they are not toxic. An analysis of all the so-called poisoning by the flowers showed that no one died from eating them and more than 96 percent of the cases didn't even need hospital treatment.

seen at

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues." - Abraham Lincoln

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop

"Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life.
It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to
serve others by using them." - Thomas Kinkade

"Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than
on outward circumstances." - Benjamin Franklin

"I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make
it through one door, I'll go through another door -- or I'll
make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark
the present." - Joan Rivers

"Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss about it as
possible." - Charles Dickens

"The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance." - Laurence J. Peter

"Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas Shopping

This item, courtesy of Don Sandin. Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of the author.
I am flat broke from overspending at Christmas time. But I need to go shopping again soon because I am completely out of self-respect. I've said things I wish I could take back and I am not feeling too good about myself.
I also want to exchange a carton of self righteousness for an equal amount of humility. I hear that it is less expensive and wears well, and while I'm at it I'm going to check on tolerance and see if there is any available in my size.
I must remember to try to match my patience with the little I have left. My neighbor is loaded with it and it looks awfully good on her. I was told the same department has a repair shop for mending integrity. Mine has become frayed around the edges from too much compromising. If I don't get it refurbished soon, there won't be any left.
I almost forgot the most important thing of all – compassion. If I see some – no matter what the color, size or shape – I'm going to stock up heavily regardless of the price. I have run out of it so many times and I always feel ashamed when it happens.
I don't know why it has taken me so long to get around to shopping for these items. They don't cost nearly as much as some of the frivolous things I bought at Christmas time.
And I'll get a lot more satisfaction from them.
Yes, I'm going shopping today and I can leave my checkbook and credit cards at home! The things I'm looking for have no price-tags.

What a joy!

“From Ralph Milton's RUMORS, a free Internet ‘e-zine’ for Christians with a sense of humor."

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Show You Love Your Computer...By Keeping It

Even among TreeHuggers, computers have a sadly short lifespan.

With the holidays rapidly approaching and so much temptation to go out and buy a shiny new computer, we thought it was worth putting up a fun little reminder that your computer can last a really, really long time as long as you show it the love it deserves.

Read on for some stats and tips to help you nurture a long term, committed relationship with your computer.

The LoveThe1YoureWith website notes that the energy required to produce a new computer is enough to run a computer for 10 years, and the energy saved by extending the life of your computer by a year could run it for 2 years.

By doing a few quick fixes, you can keep your computer happy and lighten your environmental load. Defragment your hard drive regularly, reinstall the operating system or switch to Linux, add RAM, treat the battery right, uninstall programs you never use, and most importantly, be patient.

If you have more tips, please leave it in the comments. We want to learn and share as many tips and tricks as possible.

Friday, 12 December 2008

LIFE Photo Archive

Anyone can type in a simple image search into Google, but this new
initiative sponsored by both LIFE and Google takes these searches to a whole
new (and rather interesting) level.

Working together, the two businesses brought together several million images from the 1750s to the present day. Many of the images have never been seen before, and it's quite a bit of fun just to look around their offerings.

On the site's homepage, visitors can browse photos by decade, or by a set of basic categories that include "People", "Places", "Events", and "Sports". These categories include everything from Jacqueline Kennedy to the Winter Olympics.

If visitors like certain shots, they also have the option to purchase various prints from the site.

It's also a bit fun to type in any number of phrases to see what they
offer, such as "medicine ball", "lacrosse", or "Robert Maynard Hutchins".

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Curing Colds

from the Farmer's Almanac

A common saying about a cold is that it “lasts for a week if you treat it, seven days if you don’t.” As amusing and true as that may be, it’s not fun to have a cold. What can we do to help our bodies through this seven-day healing process so that we can savor the joys of the season?

1. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated during times of dry indoor air.

2. Hot soups (chicken, of course) clear nasal passages. Try Granny’s Best Chicken Soup steaming hot and seasoned with garlic.

3. Herbal teas bring relief. Rose hip tea is full of vitamin C.

4. Eating foods heavy in garlic, onion, or horseradish may aide recovery as well.

5. To ward off spreading colds during the holidays, wash your hands frequently!

See more herbal cold remedies as well as ways to avoid colds and the flu before they start!

Simply stay warm, rested, and wait. In seven days, we all have the same amount of time!

Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings. –Publius Syrus (c. 42 B.C.)

5 Reusable Water Bottles Better Than Recyclable Paper Bottles


In the effort to kick the water bottle habit, we’re open to all suggestions on alternative water containers. But that doesn't mean we like anything that isn't a disposable plastic bottle.

There is a new product idea getting attention called the 360 bottle that uses paper instead. But it doesn’t appear to be any sort of ideal solution. While the containers are made of recyclable paper, it is still a disposable product and therefore far more wasteful than any solution we would prefer.

Read on for five better ideas that area already on the market for water bottles at Treehugger

Monday, 8 December 2008

Buy Nothing Day: A Memorial

Kalle Lasn, co-founder of Adbusters, whose brain child is the Buy Nothing Day campaign recently wrote. "It's our culture of excess and meaningless consumption - the glorified spending and borrowing of the past decade that's at the root of the crisis we now find ourselves in." The crisis that it would lead to people lining up all night, just to save a few bucks on some junk at Wal-Mart. TH Lloyd thinks we do need a Buy-Nothing Day, if for no other reason than to honour the memory of Jdimytai Damour, the Wal-Mart employee who was crushed to death, as shoppers stampeded for their precious cheap stuff. :: more ::


Saturday, 6 December 2008

Some more Quotations

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you
believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you

-- From A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh

"There are no classes in life for beginners: right away you
are always asked to deal with what is most difficult."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

"Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture
of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously.
Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the
picture... Do not build up obstacles in your imagination."

-- Norman Vincent Peale

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you
help them to become what they are capable of being."

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I believe that uncertainty is really my spirit's way of
whispering: I'm in flux. I can't decide for you. Something is
off-balance here."

-- Oprah Winfrey

"One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to
beat him at politeness."

-- Josh Billings

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test
first, the lesson afterwards."

-- Vernon Sanders Law

"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, 1 December 2008

Girl Scouts Perform Energy Audits

Being a Girl Scout has come a long way from making jewelry out of tree bark and safety pins and selling cookies. And it’s a good thing, too.

On November 22, 25 Girl Scout Juniors and Cadettes participated in a day-long camp focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings. They learned the bulk of the lessons by performing an energy audit of the Math and Science Center and the Program Center at Camp Dellwood in Indianapolis, IN.

However, the training is intended to do more than just teach about energy efficiency.

The scouts used Trane’s Energy Analyzer Software to determine the efficiency of the buildings, based on everything from lights to air conditioning to windows. They also got a chance to conduct experiments on energy efficiency, and learn about the different engineering specialties that create the different parts of buildings and their efficiency improvements.

Have to admit, I’m a bit jealous. Makes you kinda want to be a Girl Scout for a day. And makes you proud of the next gen of girls – apparently they’re an “untapped resource.”

"Girls are the single greatest untapped resource for engineering talent in this country," said Sommer. "They make their decisions on whether or not they want to pursue math and science-related fields by the time they're in middle school. We need to get to them early with options on how engineering can be fun and how it can truly make a difference on the economy and environment."

Yaaaay! It’s a relief to hear that kind of encouragement. It only means even more hope for the planet in the future with young people getting this kind of training early.

seen at

Friday, 28 November 2008


Surveys have found that 36 per cent of computer users have between six and 15 passwords to remember; a further 18 per cent have more than 15 unique identifiers to memorise. Research from the Burton Group suggests that the average user can spend up to 15 minutes every day logging on to separate applications – which adds up to 65 weekday hours spent entering user IDs and passwords each year. The Gartner Group estimates that 25 to 35 per cent of calls made to IT helpdesks are password related at an estimated cost of around $25 - $35 a call, adding millions to the support bill at larger companies.

How many passwords do you have?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

"For the Curious"

Bata Shoe Museum

The tagline for the Bata Shoe Museum is "For the Curious". It's an
appropriate motto, as this provocative museum in Toronto contains over
10,000 shoes within its prodigious holdings. The museum opened in 1995, and
visitors to this site can traipse through sections such as "Exhibitions" and
"Collections" to learn more about their interpretive mission and their
thematic areas. Most visitors will want to start by looking at the online
exhibit "All About Shoes". Developed in cooperation with the Department of
Canadian Heritage, the collection allows visitors to view over 500 shoe
images, 200 of which are in 3D. Short of actually picking up the actual
shoes themselves, this is a very effective and immersive way to examining
the intricate patterns and designs on each item of footwear. Moving on,
visitors can also check out the podcasts by assistant curator Sarah Beam-
Borg. In recent months, Borg has offered up talks and commentary on "Dancing
through the Halls of History" and "The Fate of Fashion". Finally, interested
parties may also wish to check out the "Visiting" area to learn about the
museum's hours of operation, special events, and so on.

Visit the site here

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A good way to start the day

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in
traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day
and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry
and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young
man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college
student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of
not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the
same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to
addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow
through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are
savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got
back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give
us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love
with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are
close to
us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive,
show patience, empathy and love.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Famous Quotations

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the
world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely
nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird
and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very
early the difference between knowing the name of something and
knowing something. - Richard Feynman

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. - Robert Benchley

All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway. - Harry S Truman

The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture, finished, and put inside boxes. - Dave Barry

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Puns Alert!

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
3. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
4. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
5. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
6. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
7. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
8. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
9. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a-head.'
10. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
11. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
12. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
13. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium, at large.
14. A backward poet writes in-verse.
15. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
16. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
17. Don't join dangerous cults. Practice safe sects!

“From Ralph Milton's RUMORS, a free Internet ‘e-zine’ for Christians with a sense of humor."

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Plastic Bags

Teen Finds Way to Decompose Plastic Bags in Just 3 Months!

An 11th grader from Canada set out to make the dream of degrading plastic bags come true as part of his school science project. A wildly successful endeavor he figures will make them decompose in just 3 months. This extraordinary young scientist named Daniel Burd identified two strains of naturally occurring microorganism bacteria, rarely found in nature, that actually do make plastic decompose. The charmingly named Sphingomonas serves as the primary decomposer with help from Pseudomonas. Well done Daniel! More from Treehugger

Friday, 14 November 2008


It's been more than a week since the historic election of Barack Obama, and the energy unleashed by his campaign and its supporters has yet to diminish. In fact, it seems to be getting stronger: last week the Obama transition team launched, the transition site devoted to getting supporters involved in the administration.

On, Americans can participate in governance on an unprecedented level (and this is just the beginning). President-Elect Obama, we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful worldwide friendship.

Old English Poetry

It's never too late to learn Old English poetry, and this site is just the
place to delve into this fascinating subject. Created by Murray McGillivray
at the University of Calgary, the site presents a wide range of Old English
poems and poetic lines in a very simplified and easy to use fashion. The
purpose of this project is "to make useable and reliable texts of Old
English poems available in convenient form for students and scholars."
Visitors can click on the "Old English Poetry" section to review a list of
all the poems by title. Also, visitors can view a list of the poems by
original manuscript, and they can also learn about the project's history as

Visit the website The Online Corpus of Old English Poetry

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Things to Know

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping
the length of a football field. (But I ask...Why?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.(WOW)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(Okay, so that would be a good thing)

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.(I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains..
(I know some people like that too.)

Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they'll live a lot longer)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour
(Don't try this at home,maybe at work)

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced
enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(Hardly seems worth it.)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough
to make them all yourself."

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can
start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that
everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward
introducing justice straightaway... And you can always, always
give something, even if it is only kindness!"

-- Anne Frank

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when
work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having,
just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

-- Arthur Conan Doyle

"Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes,
playing a poor hand well."

-- Jack London

"One of the nice things about problems is that a good many of
them do not exist except in our imaginations."

-- Steve Allen

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My
strength lies solely in my tenacity."

-- Louis Pasteur

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability
to get the other person's point of view and see things from
that person's angle as well as from your own."

-- Henry Ford

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax
return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale."

-- Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


For attractive lips, speak words of kindness

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others

Monday, 3 November 2008

Moving Toward Vegetarianism

It wasn't so long ago many people in North America thought vegetarians were weird, lived in hippie communes and lived off of tofu and brown rice. Our cultural ideas have shifted enough in the last decade that this concept has mostly fallen away.

There's no question that more people are embracing a vegetarian diet, especially in the under 30 age group, but there is still some resistance. There are many people out there who are flummoxed by the idea of cooking and eating a meal without meat.

We'd like to change that.

The challenge this week: Eat just one dinner without meat or fish in it.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Creation Explanation

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables
of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar
from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman
unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them.." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried
steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not
have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center
into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger.
Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created OHIP.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Organic food: the definition

Though known colloquially as food that is grown to be more healthy (and is more expensive), in order for organic food to be certified as such, it must be produced under specific, legally-regulated standards and be subject to testing in order to retain certification.

In agriculture, this means that crops were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without food additives (like chemical preservatives). When it comes to animals, they must be reared without the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones and fed a diet of organic foods. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified.

from Treehugger - Green Basics

read the full article at: Green Basics

Thursday, 30 October 2008


You are in the middle of some kind of project around the house. Mowing the lawn, putting a new fence in, painting the living room, or whatever.
You are hot and sweaty. Covered in dirt or paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit, shorts with the hole in crotch, old t-shirt with a stain from who knows what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.
Right in the middle of this great home improvement project you realize you need to run to Wal-Mart to get something to help complete the job.
Depending on your age you might do the following.

In your 20's:
Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss, and put on clean clothes. Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout lane.
You went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30's:
Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change shoes.
You married the hot chick so no need for much else. Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell.
The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40's:
Stop what you are doing. Put a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in the crotch of your shorts. Put on different shoes and a hat.
Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute Cologne is almost empty so you don't want to waste any of it on a trip to Wal-Mart. Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing.
The spicy young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird thinking she is spicy.

In your 50's:
Stop what you are doing. Put a hat on, wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dirt in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and you swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat.
The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember the hat you have on is from your buddy's bait shop and it says, 'I Got Worms'.

In your 60's:
Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat anymore. Hose the dog crap off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50's. You hope you have underwear on so nothing can be seen through the hole in your pants.
The girl running the register may be cute but you don't have your glasses on so you are not sure.

In your 70's:
Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Wal-Mart until they have your prescriptions ready too. Don't' even notice the dog crap on your shoes.
The young thing at the register smiles at you because you remind her of her grandfather.

In your 80's:
Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember that you needed to go to Wal-Mart. Go to Wal-Mart and wander around trying to think what it is you are looking for. Pass gas out loud and you think someone called out your name.
The old lady that greeted you at the front door went to school with you.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Quiz: How Green Are You?

Are you an Eco-Hero, a Tree-Hugger-Hater or a Green-in-Between? Take the quiz to find out.

Q1. Which of these vacations are you most likely to take?
1. A visit to an exclusive golf resort in a far-away desert area
2. A volunteer trip to help clean up your own town or city
3. A trip to Disneyland
4. A jaunt to a tropical, eco-friendly hotel

Q2. Which of these best describes the contents of your closet?
1. Clothes from mainstream stores, but I try to buy from local producers when I can
2. Clothes made from a variety of fabrics, but they're mostly secondhand or something I made myself
3. Clothes made from organic, unbleached cotton, hemp, and other natural fabrics
4. Leather, fur, silk, wool... I like everything!

Q3. Are you ecologically mindful about your food choices?
1. No. I eat what appeals to me.
2. Somewhat. I buy organics whenever possible and try to eat locally.
3. Yes. I grow my own food and refuse to go to any restaurant that doesn’t meet my ethical food standards.
4. Not really. I just try and eat as healthily as time allows

Q4. On a scale of one (not very) to ten (extremely), how green is your home?
1. One. I can't be bothered to recycle or anything.
2. Four. I recycle.
3. Seven. I only use green cleaning products and have energy-saving light bulbs. That said, I could always be better.
4. Ten. I rely on solar or wind energy, own only eco-furniture, compost, and own a hybrid car.

Q5. Do you encourage your friends and family to become more eco-savvy?
1. No. I have more important things to worry about.
2. Absolutely, all the time. Protecting the environment is the most important thing that we can do.
3. Actually, they're the ones encouraging me
4. Somewhat. I have done things like show people how my eco light bulbs save money on the electric bill.

Q6. How would you describe your spiritual connection to the earth?
1. I feel inspired and awed by the amazing planet.
2. I like looking at beautiful parts of nature.
3. I can't say that I have one.
4. I realize that what we and the earth are one.

Q7. Do you have a garden?
1. Sort of, some greenery for aesthetic purposes.
2. Yes, I grow some of my own food and use organic compost to nurture it.
3. No, plants and dirt bother me.
4. Yes, I grow my favorite flowers as well as some herbs and spices I can use for cooking.

Q8. Do you decide whether to patronize businesses based on their environmental policies?
1. Yes. I will boycott any company that doesn’t meet high standards for its eco practices.
2. Rarely or never, I don't really think about it much.
3. No. The bottom line is who can get me the product the cheapest.
4. Yes. If I have the choice between two stores, I make a point to choose the one that is locally owned or uses organic products.

Q9. When you need apples, you:
1. Collect the fallen fruit from your sustainable orchard.
2. Go to Costco and buy in bulk.
3. Go to the farmer's market to buy local and organic.
4. Go to whatever store is closest, could be Whole Foods.

Q10. When you vote, how important is the candidate's stance the environment?
1. I want him or her to value jobs more than trees.
2. It’s the number-one factor in deciding whom I vote for.
3. Very important, since the decisions we make about the environment now will affect our children.
4. Somewhat important, but I look for the candidate with the best overall platform.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Canada Year Book Historical Collection

Learning about Canada's past just became a bit easier with the Canada Year
Book Historical Collection website. The site provides access to one hundred
years worth of the annual "Canada Year Book".

These books cover the years 1867 to 1967, and visitors will get the opportunity to learn about social and economic history from across the provinces.

Visitors can browse by year or topic, and looking over the topics, which include "Occupations" and Economic Gains" is a good way to start. Additionally, visitors can also browse tables, charts, and maps as they see fit.

Educators will want to look through the "Tools and Reference" area, as it contains lesson plans and a set of links to related sites

Monday, 27 October 2008

18 Green Things a Homeowner Should Do

So I was reading The Simple Dollar, a personal finance blog, and stumbled on an article about 18 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money. It just so happens that the very same tips that can help someone save money are also very green. In fact, out of the 18 tips, 16 are directly green, and the last 2 could be considered green indirectly. Maybe there are some you haven't done yet.

Here is the complete list. For the details, you'll have to go check out the article at The Simple Dollar.

1. Check the insulation in your attic - and install more if needed.
2. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
3. Toss a water heater blanket over that hot water heater as well.
4. Install ceiling fans in most rooms.
5. Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation.
6. Install a programmable thermostat - and learn how to use it.
7. Hang a clothes rack in your laundry room (or, better yet, an outdoor clothesline).
8. Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks or constant running - and check faucets, too.
9. Replace your air handling filter.
10. Make sure the vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions.
11. Mark any cracks in the basement with dated masking tape.
12. Install CFL and LED light bulbs in some locations.
13. Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you have to pay more up front.
14. Set up your home electronics with a SmartStrip or two.
15. Air-seal your home.
16. Plant shade trees near your house.
17. Take advantage of tax benefits for any improvements you make.
18. Develop a home maintenance checklist - and run through it for the first time.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Politically Correct Ways to Describe Men

With all the effort to use inclusive language to include women, it’s time we developed some politically correct ways to describe men.

A few samples.

...He does not have a beer belly; He has developed a Liquid Grain Storage Facility.
...He is not quiet; He is a Conversational Minimalist.
...He is not stupid; He suffers from Minimal Cranial Development.
...He does not get lost all the time; He discovers Alternative Destinations.
...He is not balding; He is in Follicle Regression.

...You do not kiss him. You become Facially Conjoined.
...He does not get falling-down drunk; He becomes Accidentally Horizontal.
...He does not act like a total ass; He develops a case of Rectal-Cranial Inversion.
...He is not short; He is Anatomically Compact.
...He does not have a rich daddy; He is a recipient of Parental Asset Infusion.
...He does not constantly talk about cars; He has a Vehicular Addiction.
...He does not have a hot body; He is Physically Combustible.
...He is not unsophisticated; He is Socially Malformed.
...He does not eat like a pig; He suffers from Reverse Bulimia.
...He is not a bad dancer; He is Overly Caucasian.
...He does not hog the blankets; He is Thermally Unappreciative.
...He is not a male chauvinist pig; He has Swine Empathy.

'nuff said

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Do all the good you can

It's not always about being nice.

It's about doing the right thing. And it was never put better by anyone than by eighteenth century church reformer John Wesley:

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the
ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you
can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


The other day, someone I know read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ''Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?''

I replied:

I had a drug problem when I was young:
I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.
I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.
I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best
effort in everything that was asked of me.
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word.
I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields.
I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, Canada would be a better place.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

How To Find Your Real Self Again

On the surface it seems an odd idea that you could actually be
anything other than who you really are. But from the time we can
talk, we're being programmed to "fit in". We find ourselves
conforming in order to please the people we love, and who love

Read full article here

Monday, 20 October 2008

Best Retirement Jobs

Reader for Library Deciding on Books

"I got a part time job at my local library in the Reader's Advisory Department. This is like being a personal shopper at Nordstrom, only for books. There is no stress. I meet a lot of my neighbors, and since I'm a reader, it's like working in the candy store. So far, I can't think of any drawbacks. And, oh yes, I get paid for this."

Submitted by: Bchrastka


"My husband and I have been married for 41 years and we both retired...We had too much energy to sit still and we missed being with people. Solution. I went to work three days a week, five hours a day for Target and he became a greeter for Wal-Mart. Needless to say the pay isn't all that great, but we both get a 10% discount, have great evening conversations and a lot of laughs...You need to stay in touch with life in order to stay alive."

Submitted by: DooWaDitty1

Bagging Groceries

"I am a military retiree, bank retiree, and at the age of 66 I decided to bag groceries for around 6 months. Well here it is nearly 10 years since and I am finally starting to feel old and really am slowing down but feel if I suddenly quit I would probably die. It is such fun flirting with all the women and playing with their kids that I will probably stay a few more years and will have a serious look at retiring when I reach 79 or maybe 80. My wife is not the jealous type so who knows when."

Submitted by: Rnjnogle

Ranger at a Golf Course

"I Retired [and] moved a mile from a golf course, volunteered to work as a ranger, and it evolved into a part-time position. The best part is that I can play golf at several courses for free, paying only for the golf cart if I want to ride that day. I'm hoping to be able to do the same at the ski resort nearby also!"

Submitted by: Darby1044

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Interesting Quotes

The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.
- -- Thomas Edison

If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.
- Johnny Carson

If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect.
- Ted Turner

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
- Arnold Toynbee

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
- Henny Youngman

Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?
- Clarence Darrow

Monday, 19 May 2008


I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned .... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Random Thoughts

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
'And what do you think is the best thing
about being 104?' the reporter asked.
She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.'

It's never just a game when you're winning.
- George Carlin
One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.
- Oscar Wilde
Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist.
- Harrison Ford

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Dawn to Dusk

"Dusty old farmer out working your fields
Hanging down over your tractor wheels
The sun beatin' down turns the red paint to orange
And rusty old patches of steel
There's no farmer songs on that car radio
Just cowboys, truck drivers and pain
Well this is my way to say thanks for the meal
And I hope there's no shortage of rain

Straw hats and old dirty hankies
Moppin' a face like a shoe
Thanks for the meal here's a song that is real
From a kid from the city to you"

- Murray McLaughlin, The Farmer's Song

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Three Quotes

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.
- Mark Twain
That all men are equal is a proposition which, at ordinary times, no sane individual has ever given his assent.
- Aldous Huxley
What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream? Or what's worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
- Woody Allen

Friday, 2 May 2008


I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned.... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I 've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Do All the Good You Can

Someone advised, "If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague." But kindness and goodness extend far beyond how we talk about each other. The person who dares to be good -- and DO good -- may have to find the heart to stand up and be counted.

It's not always about being nice. It's about doing the right
thing. And it was never put better by anyone than by eighteenth
century church reformer John Wesley:

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the
ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you
can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."

Tuesday, 29 April 2008



I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned.... That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned. ... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Right to Dry for Apartment Dwellers

Are you living in an apartment, dorm, anyplace without the space to hang a clothesline? After all, what can you do? You don't own a backyard!

But wait! There is a better way! The drying rack, a device which folds compactly out of the way when not in use, allows anyone to dry their clothing naturally. The modern drying racks add a design element to your green living, a big improvement over the unstable, old accordion-racks.

Natural drying will save energy and money. Not only on your gas/electric bill, but also on the wear and tear your clothing avoid. Your favorite tight jeans come off the rack fitting just right. And you can wear that perfect shirt you found months longer without the heat-and-tumble drying process. No more lost buttons or snags.

Modern washing machines have faster spin cycles, leaving clothing already dry enough that they will not drip when hung out, so there are no worries about water damage. Set out in a well-ventilated room, clothing will be dry by the next day, smelling fresh and fine. The clothing comes off the rack already sorted and half-way folded: so the labor quotient is not significantly different than machine drying. Also, you can wear most clothes without ironing.

So trust me and try it: you won't miss your dryer a bit.

Friday, 25 April 2008

The International Year of the Potato

The potato has been around for some 8000 years, and the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has created this site to promote
2008 as the International Year of the Potato. The intent of the site is to
promote the role of the potato as a way to alleviate world hunger and to
help achieve a number of internationally agreed upon development objectives,
including the Millennium Development Goals. On the right-side of the
homepage, visitors can read fact sheets on the potato, learn about world
potato production, and even view a photo gallery of potatoes from around the
world. Along the top of the site, visitors will find the "Potato World"
section. Here they can learn about world potato production over the past two
decades via a set of statistics and a nice map. Clicking on each region of
the world will reveal even more detailed country-level statistics, including
acres in potato production and consumption rates.