Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Useful Words & Phrases in Swedish

First, some pronunciation tips for Swedish phrases:

Most consonants are exactly the same in Swedish as they are in English. Some exceptions:

j: pronounced like the "y" in "yellow"
g: pronounced like the American "g" if it is followed by an a, o, or å; pronounced like the "y" in "yellow" if followed by an e, i, ä, or ö
k: pronounced like the American "k" if it is followed by an a, o, or å; pronounced like "sh" if followed by an e, i, ä, or ö
rs: r followed by s is pronounced as "sh"

This provides a basic idea of the pronunciation of vowels:

a: pronounced like the "aw" in "claw"
e: pronounced like the "e" in "fell"
i: pronounced like the "ee" in "fleece"
o: the pronunciation falls between that of "o" in "close" and "oo" in "moose"
u: pronounced like the "oo" in "moose"
y: the pronunciation falls between that of "oo" in "moose" and "y" in "any" (the trick: shape your mouth as if you were going to say "y" but then try to say "oo")
å: the pronunciation falls between that of "o" in "close" and "o" in "pot"
ä: pronounced like the "a" in "apple"
ö: pronounced like the "u" in "full"

Hello: Hej.
Goodbye: Adjö/Hej då.
Yes: Ja.
No: Nej.
Please: Snälla/Vänligen.
Thank you: Tack.
That's fine: Det är bra.
You are welcome: Varsågod
Excuse me (sorry): Ursäkta mig/Förlåt
Do you speak English?: Talar du engelska?
I don't understand: Jog förstår inte.
How much is it?: Hur mycket kostar den?
What's your name?: Vad heter du?
My name is …: Jag heter …

Small Talk
Where is the …?: Var finns …?
Bus stop: busshållplatsen
Train station: tågstationen
Tramstop: spårvagnshållplatsen
What time does the …leave/arrive?: Nar avgar/kommer?
Boat: båten
Bus (city): bussen
Tram: spårvagnen
Train: tåget

Entrance: ingång
Exit: utgång
No vacancies: fullt
Information: information
Open: öppen
Closed: stängd
Police station: polisstation
Rooms available: lediga rum
Toilets: toalett
Men: herrar
Women: damer

Around town
Bank: bank
City centre: centrum
… embassy: … ambassaden
my hotel: mitt hotell
market: marknaden
newsagency: nyhetsbyrå
post office: postkontoret
public telephone: offentlig telefon
public toilet: offentlig toalett
tourist office: turistinformation
what time does it open/close?: när öppnar/stänger de?

Times & Dates
What time is it?: Vad ar klockan?
Today: idag
Tomorrow: imorgon
Yesterday: igår
Morning: morgonen
Afternoon: eftermiddagen
Night: natt
Monday: måndag
Tuesday: tisdag
Wednesday: onsdag
Thursday: torsdag
Friday: fredag
Saturday: lördag
Sunday: söndag

Zero: noll
One: ett
Two: två
Three: tre
Four: fyra
Five: fem
Six: sex
Seven: sju
Eight: åtta
Nine: nio
Ten: tio

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I've kinda been on a brief hiatus. :P :P But I'm back now!! XD XD

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is there a door in St. Peter's basilica that's opened once every 100 years?

Yes but this is not exactly a secret back door to the Vatican. It is an odd tradition at St. Peter's involving the Porta Santa, or Holy Door. This door is in the front of the basilica to the right of the main entrance. Most of the time it's kept not merely locked but walled up. It's opened only during Holy Years, also known as Jubilee Years. Massive numbers of pilgrims descend on St. Peter's at these times, and I gather the door functions as a sort of Holy Fire Exit.

Holy Years are an odd tradition in their own right. The first was proclaimed in AD 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII, not entirely voluntarily. The faithful somehow got the idea that centenary years were the occasion of a Great Pardon. Tens of thousands of them spontaneously embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome with the view of getting one.

So here's Boniface looking out the window, and he sees vast crowds of people who'd evidently done something bad enough that they figured it was worth going to Rome to get a pardon for. Whoa, says Boniface, time to think fast.

He worked up a system whereby participants could gain a special indulgence (pardon from punishment for sins) in return for fulfilling various conditions, notably visiting certain Roman churches, St. Peter's being the most important.

The original plan was that Holy Years would occur every 100 years, but the interval was soon reduced to 25 years. Additional Holy Years are sometimes proclaimed for special occasions, e.g., in 1983-'84, which marked the 1,950th anniversary of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

A Holy Year starts on Christmas Eve, at one time considered the last day of the year. There's an elaborate ritual in which the pope strikes the Holy Door three times with a silver hammer. The door promptly collapses, no doubt inspiring at least one or two spectators to hope that the rest of St. Peter's was built by a different contractor. In fact, however, workers with ropes and pulleys nudge things along.

Considering all the buildup, one would suppose the Holy Door provided admittance to a garden of forbidden delights. But in fact it gets you into the back of the church just as the other entrances do. The door remains open until the following Christmas Eve, when it's again walled up.

One can appreciate that having a special door heightens the drama of the Holy Year, provides instructive symbolism, etc. But why the pope feels he has to wall it up as opposed to using a good dead bolt is a matter that remains obscure. Cynics will of course suggest that some cardinal's nephew probably has the plaster contract.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TaeKwonDo Times Excerpt

"The Korean word for uniform is dobok. Do means "way of life" and bok means "a spiritual protector or shield against the elements". So, wearing your uniform has great symbolic value. When you wear it, you also "wear" your commitment to follow the spiritual path leading you your Silent Master. Your commitment is assuredly your protection against the elements. The belt wrapped around your waist symbolizes the unity of spirit you share with others on the path, and it's color proudly proclaims your level of achievement. When you honor you uniform, your honor your real self". Quote from Tae Yun Kim/TKD Times Mar. 2008.

Pixar Tennis Short

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two Quotes by Goethe

"Some of our weakness is born in us, some of it comes through education; it is a big question as to which gives us the most trouble."
"If the mass of people hesitate to act, strike with swiftly and with boldness, the brave heart that understands and seizes opportunity can everything."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Canadian Music

Music from the artist of my homeland. The true North, Strong and Free.
Featuring artists such as Jann Aden, Avril Lavigne, Chantal Kreviazuk, Fiest, Nelly Furtado, Cory Lee, Celine Dion, Kardinal Offishall, Chad Kroeger, The Barenaked Ladies, Kreesha Turner, and Hedley

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Quote from Richard Taylor, beekeeper and writer

"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birthday Cake

Evidence of birthday observances dates back before the rise of Christianity. In pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits - especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. As a result, birthdays were merry occasions celebrated with family and friends, who surrounded the person of honor with laughter and joy in order to protect them from evil. Instead of gifts, most guests brought positive thoughts and happy wishes for the upcoming year. However, if well-wishers did bring gifts, it was considered an especially good influence for the birthday person.

The world's largest birthday cake was created in 1989 for the 100th Birthday of the city of Fort Payne, Alabama. The cake weighed 128,238 pounds, 8 oz. and used 16,209 pounds of icing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Between The Sheets

The Between the Sheets Cocktail was born during Prohibition in the 1920’s. A speakeasy was the only place to get a decent drink, and no respectable Flapper would be seen without her flask neatly tied to her leg. Most cocktails only masked the taste of inferior booze, so fruit juices became the standard mixers for just this purpose.

1 oz brandy
1/2 oz light rum
3/4 oz orange liquor
1 oz. guava juice
1 oz. mango juice
1 oz. passion fruit
1/2 oz. lemon juice

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beet Root

Beet Root is one of our favorite scents to wear. On the skin it gives the wearer a sense of the dirt it just came from, and the beautiful rouge-sweet juice within.

Red beets as we now know them probably didn't develop until the 17th century--but they have been eaten as wild, slender-rooted plant species with edible leaves over a broad sweep of land, from Britain to Indian, since prehistoric times. Early Russian homeopaths claimed it could cure tuberculosis, scurvy, and toothache--while Russian peasants believed it worked as an insecticide. During "babye leto" (Indian summer), they would bury beets imbedded with mosquitoes and flies in a ceremony meant to relieve them of insect bites. Ironically, Russian beauties--both peasants and ladies in high society--used the beet as rouge for their cheeks...to keep away mosquitoes and attract the opposite sex.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Brief History of Basil

It's not commonly known that basil originated in India. It was brought to the Mediterranean via the spice routes in ancient times. Basil spread to other parts of Asia, and became popular in the use of curries in Thailand, and in Italian cuisine.

In Romania, basil took a more romantic turn; when a man accepts a sprig of basil from a woman, he is officially engaged. The Greek word for basil means royal or kingly. It was believed that only the king himself should harvest this herb, and only with the use of a golden sickle. No matter what the country the consensus is that basil is Royalty amongst the herb family.


6 firm bananas
1 c. orange juice
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. rum

Peel bananas and slice in half lengthwise. Arrange in layers in buttered baking dish. Sprinkle each layer with orange juice and brown sugar. Dot with butter. Bake in 400 degree oven until fruit is softened, not too soft, about 15 minutes. Warm rum. Place bananas in chafing dish, bring to table and add heated rum. Ignite and serve when flames die down. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Bamboo regenerates itself eternally. The life span of a single bamboo is not very long-about 20 years-but the grove stands forever. The fully mature bamboo sends most of the organic nutrients prepared by its leaves down through paths in the vascular bundles, which run vertically down the culms, to its rhizomes, which form the vast, complicated underground network that creates its progeny. New bamboo shoots are produced every year from these rhizomes, ensuring the survival of the bamboo grove.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mmmmm....Apple Pie

“As American as Apple Pie!” How many times has that phrase been uttered over the years? But is it true? Well, yes and no. Not to upset the Founding Fathers, but Apple Pie, like most American customs and traditions, is European in origin. Indeed, pies were especially popular during the reign of Elizabeth I.

No one knows who ate the first slice, but pie in one form or another has existed since the ancient Egyptians made the first pastry-like crusts. The early Romans, who probably learned about it from the Greeks, probably made the first pies we would recognize as pies. The Roman, Cato the Censor, published the first written recipe: a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. The Romans then spread the word around Europe, including England.

Evan Jones, in American Food the Gastronomic Story, writes: Some social chroniclers seem convinced that fruit pies as Americans now view them originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch. Potters in the southeastern counties of that state were making pie plates in the early 18th century and cooks began to envelop in crispy crusts every fruit that grew I the region. “It may be,” Fredrick Klee asserts, “that during the revolution men from other colonies came to know this dish in Pennsylvania and carried this knowledge back home to establish pie as the great American dessert.”

Thus, Apple Pie, while not originally American, was “assimilated” and transformed into a distinctly American experience. If the food loving Pennsylvania Dutch didn’t invent pie, they certainly perfected it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mmmmm...Angel Food Cake

No one is completely sure of the origin of Angel Food or “angel cake”, although we know it surfaces first in America, and in the 1880’s. Most culinary historians think Angel Food is a takeoff of the sponge cake and the cornstarch cake, and that it originated in southeastern Pennsylvania. Critical ingredients in Angel Food are egg whites, sugar, vanilla and coconut.

Friday, September 12, 2008


More than just foods, throughout history, almonds have maintained religious, ethnic and social significance. The Bible's "Book of Numbers" tells the story of Aaron's rod that blossomed and bore almonds, giving the almond the symbolism of divine approval. They were used as a prized ingredient in breads served to Egypt's pharos. The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm. Today, Americans give guests at weddings a bag of sugared almonds, those wonderful Jordan Almonds. In Sweden, cinnamon-flavored rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is a Christmas custom. Find it, and good fortune is yours for a year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Short History of the Popsicle

The Popsicle was created by accident in 1905. One afternoon, Frank Epperson, then 11, left a mixture of powdered soda and water and a stirring stick on his porch. That night, San Francisco experienced record low temperatures, and he woke the next morning to find the flavored water had frozen solid to the stick.

Epperson dubbed his invention "Epsicle," a combination of the first two letters of his surname and "icicle." He experimented with "Epsicle" variations for friends and eventually created the Epsicle Company of California. Epperson sold his product at amusement park concessions in California before applying for a patent. Sometime after receiving a patent in 1924, Epperson changed the name from "Epsicle" to "Popsicle." According to legend, the name evolved from his children's frequent requests for "Pop's sicle."

The Creamsicle, the ice cream variation on the Popsicle, came in 1938

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Giant Sequoia

A big, bold, fresh evergreen and woody fragrance capturing the unique scent of the majestic Giant Sequoia.
These trees are generally considered the largest living organisms on earth. It is hard to be anything but awed in their presence.
These Amazing organisms can live for up to 3,500 years.

Giant Sequoia in California

Monday, September 01, 2008


OMG Do not forget to catrch Fringe. If you do I'm afriad I must kill you. Lmfao jk jk

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random Quote

Frink: As you can see, I have created a lemon ball so sour it
can only be safely contained in a magnetic field. The
candy, known as 77X42... Bwei... Where the hell is the
Homer: I don't know.

HotForWords On (Douchebag)Bill O'Rielly

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

Mulligatawny--literally, "Pepper Water"--is a substantial and deliciously complex meal in itself. At the same time it poses its own mystery since soup is not a significant part of traditional Indian cuisine. Rumor has it that the English adapted a traditional spiced pea and lentil Indian peasant dish to suit their own love of soup...and called it Indian. Serve this one hot--and with a lot of showmanship--to 4-6 people.

2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 chile pepper, seeded and deveined (your choice: banana, poblano, jalapeno, habanero--whatever you can stand)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup lentils
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk* or whipping cream
1-2 cups cooked rice (preferably basmati)
1/2-1 cup shredded cooked chicken (you can cook raw chicken in the stock at the start if you don't have leftover chicken lying around)
1/2 cup tart raw apple, chopped fine
Garnish: spoonsful of extra cream or coconut milk--and minced cilantro or parsley.
Saute the celery, carrots, onion, and pepper in the butter at a low heat until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder to blend and cook for a minute. Pour in the stock, add the lentils (and chicken, if it's raw), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, get the rice cooked (if it isn't already); likewise with the chicken. Then shred the chicken and chopped the apples finely. You don't need to skin the apples.

When the soup is done, season to taste with the salt and pepper, then puree, solids first, in a blender. Return to pot.

When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer and add the coconut milk or cream. Take the pot to the table, as well as individual bowls of warm rice (heated in the microwave, if necessary), shredded chicken, finely chopped apple, coconut milk (or cream), and minced cilantro (or parsley).

To serve, have big individual serving bowls at the ready. Spoon rice into each bowl (flat soup bowls are nice here)--then pile on a big spoonful of chicken and a spoonful of apple. Ladle the soup on top, then drip coconut milk/cream into the center and swirl--and sprinkling with fresh cilantro and parsley.

Star Wars Blue Harvest Clips

You'd Be More Miserable Than A Lonely Old Widow Living In A Downstairs Apartment

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Square fruit stuns Japanese shoppers

Japan has again shown off one of its greatest innovations - square watermelons.
For years consumers struggled to fit the large round fruit in their refrigerators.

And then there was the problem of trying to cut the fruit when it kept rolling around.

But 20 years ago a forward-thinking farmer on Japan's south-western island of Shikoku solved the problem.

The farmer, from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture, came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored.

Fashion food
To make it happen, farmers grew the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumed the same shape. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.

But the fruit, on sale in a selection of department stores and upmarket supermarkets, appeals mainly to the wealthy and fashion-conscious of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan's two major cities.

Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.

"I can't buy it, it is too expensive," said a woman browsing at a department store in the southern city of Takamatsu.

Special Thanks to BBC

Fucking Kick Ass Scene From Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Scientists 'see new species born'

Scientists at the University of Arizona may have witnessed the birth of a new species.

Biologists Laura Reed and Prof Therese Markow made the discovery by observing breeding patterns of fruit flies that live on rotting cacti in deserts.

The work could help scientists identify the genetic changes that lead one species to evolve into two species.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

One becomes two

Whether the two closely related fruit fly populations the scientists studied - Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila arizonae - represent one species or two is still debated by biologists.

However, the University of Arizona researchers believe the insects are in the early stages of diverging into separate species.

The emergence of a new species - speciation - occurs when distinct populations of a species stop reproducing with one another.

When the two groups can no longer interbreed, they cease exchanging genes and eventually go their own evolutionary ways becoming separate species.

Though speciation is a crucial element of understanding how evolution works, biologists have not been able to discover the factors that initiate the process.

In fruit flies there are several examples of mutant genes that prevent different species from breeding but scientists do not know if they are the cause or just a consequence of speciation.

Sterile males

In the wild, Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila arizonae rarely, if ever, interbreed - even though their geographical ranges overlap.

In the lab, researchers can coax successful breeding but there are complications.

Drosophila mojavensis mothers typically produce healthy offspring after mating with Drosophila arizonae males, but when Drosophila arizonae females mate with Drosphila mojavensis males, the resulting males are sterile.

Laura Reed maintains that such limited capacity for interbreeding indicates that the two groups are on the verge of becoming completely separate species.

Another finding that adds support to that idea is that in a strain of Drosophila mojavensis from southern California's Catalina Island, mothers always produce sterile males when mated with Drosophila arizonae males.

Because the hybrid male's sterility depends on the mother's genes, the researchers say the genetic change must be recent.

Reed has also discovered that only about half the females in the Catalina Island population had the gene (or genes) that confer sterility in the hybrid male offspring.

However, when she looked at the Drosophila mojavensis females from other geographic regions, she found that a small fraction of those populations also exhibited the hybrid male sterility.

The newly begun Drosophila mojavensis genome sequencing project, which will provide a complete roadmap of every gene in the species, will help scientists pin down which genes are involved in speciation.

Special Thanks to the BBC

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Recipe: The Copper Connection

Copper-rich beans are good for the brain, and tasty too.

Pinto beans don't just make a delicious seven-layer dip—they may be good for your brain, too. According to USDA research, store-bought pinto beans are a good source of dietary copper, with a cup providing almost 20 percent of your daily needs. The nutrient is known to be important for transporting oxygen in blood, and findings from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest copper might also play a role in learning and memory. Scientists found that copper is partly responsible for controlling the strength of connections between neurons. These findings bolster previous research showing that copper deficiency can impair brain development and function, and may also be associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease.

More Heavy Metal
Other copper-rich foods:

Food: Oysters (raw)
Copper Amount: 1.85 mg/100g
% Daily Recommended Intake: 92%

Food: Sunflower Seeds (dried)
Copper Amount: 1.75 mg/100g
% Daily Recommended Intake: 88%

Food: Mushrooms (cooked)
Copper Amount: 0.5 mg/100g
% Daily Recommended Intake: 25%

Food: Potatoes (baked)
Copper Amount: 0.32 mg/100g
% Daily Recommended Intake: 16%

Food: Raisins
Copper Amount: 0.25 mg/100g
% Daily Recommended Intake: 13%

Vegetarian Pinto Bean Chili
6 Servings
Prep Time: 2.5 hours

1lb dried pinto beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. chili powder
4 oz green chilies, chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
4 oz. cubed cheddar cheese (optional)

Wash beans. Soak them overnight under 3 inches of water. Drain beans and place in large pot. Add crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili powder, chilies, herbs, salt, and pepper. Add enough water to cover beans. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer two hours or until beans are tender. Remove bay leaves and add cheese. Serve with rice.

Special Thanks to Psychology Today

Friday, August 08, 2008

Vanilla Silver Dollar Pancakes

This thick batter cooked on a griddle and served with fresh fruit makes a lovely breakfast or dessert. The batter makes 12 - 3" pancakes but it is a good idea to double the recipe as people often can’t get enough when you start to cook them.

• 1 Cup flour
• 1 TB. baking powder
• ½ tsp. salt
• 2 TB. sugar (could use VANILLA SUGAR)
• 1 egg
• 1 Cup milk
• 2 TB. butter, melted
• sweetened yogurt or whipped cream for topping, optional

Preheat an electric griddle to 350°, or use your favorite pancake pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Mix in the sugar. In a jug or bowl with a pour spout, beat the egg, VANILLA EXTRACT and milk. Pour in the melted butter. Make a well in the flour and add the milk mixture gradually to form a batter. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer. Drop 2 TB. of the batter onto a hot griddle and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. You can flip the pancakes when they start to bubble and seem set. Layer on parchment paper if you are not serving immediately. To serve, layer up with fruit and powdered sugar. Don’t forget—a dollop of yogurt or whipped cream will make them even more yummy.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 6-8 minutes per batch
Yield: 12 pancakes

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Useful Facts about Herbs

Herbs have many and varied uses for people around the world. Herbs add charm to our gardens, flavor to our cooking, healthful balm for our bodies and even embellish our crafts. The following text is a compilation of interesting facts about many types of herbs.

Aloe can be a decorative table top plant, but its soothing gel is also the number one home remedy for minor burns and poison ivy.

Oil derived from the root of angelica can be placed in the bath for a soothing soak. Angelic can also be useful for treating bronchial problems.

Anise is astoundingly alluring to mice. If you have a mice problem, bait your traps with anise instead of cheese.

Ointments containing arnica are useful to assuage pain from sprains and bruises.

A concoction of crushed barberries and water should be gargled to help sooth a sore throat.

When consider herbs for hair care, it might be useful to know that basil adds natural luster to any hair color.

Want to add some natural protection to your store of flour? Placing a bay leaf with flour is traditionally used to repel insects.

Cinnamon contains a substance that may kill bacteria and fungi. Sprinkling it around door thresholds may also help to deter ants.

A member of the mint family, beebalm used in tea can help sooth menstrual cramps.

Native Americans living in the Great Lakes region were the first to discover bloodroot’s anti-cancer properties for treating cancers of the skin.

Old wives tales say that borage invokes courageous feelings. Drinking some tea steeped with borage leaves might help prepare for giving a speech or proposing marriage!

Calendula has been used to treat flu symptoms, cramps, toothache—even syphilis. A rinse composed of it may also draw out blonde highlights to hair.

Crushed caraway seeds can add great flavor to fresh popcorn.

The ancient Egyptians used chamomile to cure the chills associated with malaria. However, this apple-scented tea is frequently taken today in teas for its soothing effects.

During the Middle Ages, chervil was eaten to cure a bad case of hiccups. Today, it is frequently used by French chefs to flavor their dishes alongside thyme and tarragon.

Chives have been used by cooks for almost five thousand years. But in the garden, they may help protect and drive away pests like Japanese beetles. Plant them near roses, tomatoes or grapes.

There are over five hundred species of eucalyptus. It’s believed that Australian aborigines were the first peoples to understand its healing properties.

The secret to successfully growing goldenseal is a humus-rich soil.

Ginger can reportedly help alleviate morning sickness nausea.

Marjoram has been a staple of folk medicine used to treat rheumatism, toothache—even conjunctivitis.

A drop of oregano oil on a toothache is a soothing folk remedy still in practice today.

Sage can be used as a fragrant additive to homemade soaps and perfumes.

Sassafras is sometimes used to ease the itching of poison ivy and poison oak.

Queer IQ: The Gay Couple's Advantage

Gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.

By: Kaja Perina

"There will always be a battle between the sexes because men and women want different things," quipped comedian George Burns. "Men want women and women want men." But when men want men and women want women, each couple can circumvent treacherous romantic terrain because partners more closely share sexual appetites and mind-reading abilities than do heterosexual pairs.

Most lesbians don't fear rapacious women and gay men need not always soft-peddle their sexual predilections. On balance, gays and lesbians understand their partners' bodies and biases with a certainty that many a clueless "breeder" yearns for. "Homosexuality could be viewed in some respects as the triumph of the individual's mating intelligence over the gonads' evolutionary interests," argues Geoffrey Miller.

The result is that gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.

"If two guys in a relationship are on the same wavelength, it's going to be very hard for them to deceive one another about their motives, their lusts, their philandering. Whereas between the sexes, each sex presents a socially acceptable form of masculinity or femininity that is reassuring to the other person but not particularly accurate," says Miller.

Romantic lies are, after all, a sort of Rosetta stone on which gender differences are coyly inscribed. Straight men lie about their commitment to the relationship and about their resources, finds psychologist Maureen O'Sullivan. They are also more likely to lie to keep their partner from getting angry at them, a small but telling testament to the wrath of women. Women, in contrast, lie to flatter a man's sense of self and to downplay their interest in other men.

Gay and lesbian couples are not only more honest with one another, they are also more likely to exhibit affection and humor in negotiating relationship stressors, according to John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Gottman compared conflict discussions in gay and straight couples and found that "gays and lesbians talked explicitly about sex and monogamy. Those topics don't come up in 31 years of studying heterosexual couples, who are uptight in discussing sex. In their conversations, you really don't know what they're talking about."

Whether a same-sex edge to mating intelligence makes for longer unions is unclear. Among the couples Gottman studied, the projected break-up rate for homosexuals, over a four-decade span, is a grim 64 percent (gay men are far more likely to split than are lesbians). The 40-year divorce rate for straight couples in first marriages is 67 percent. To amend George Burns: If you wait long enough, every couple wants different things.

Special Thanks to Psychology Today

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"These jellyfish near shore are a message the sea is sending us saying, ‘Look how badly you are treating me.’"
DR. JOSEP-MARÍA GILI, one of the world’s leading jellyfish experts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Interesting Quote

"You cannot invade the mainland United States.
There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."
- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Parents, Watch Out for "Alcohol Powder!"

Get ready for the latest twist in the fight against underage drinking: Alcohol you buy as a powder – and just mix with water. According to the website Scientific Blogging.com, the patent for “alcohol powder” has been around since 1969. Back then, food chemists found that a sugar derivative could absorb 60% of its weight in liquid. Meaning the alcohol content of a single cocktail could be stored inside one capsule of powder – about the size of a Tylenol. Until recently, the resulting alcohol powders were considered “unfit” for beverage purposes.

That all changed last year, when a Dutch company introduced a product called Booz-2-Go. It’s a powder you stir into a glass of water to create a bubbly, lime-flavored cocktail. More recently, a German company began offering 4 different flavors of a powder product called SubYou over the Internet. Later this year, a company called Pulver Spirits will introduce the first drinkable alcohol powder here in North America. Now, it’s important to note that the alcohol content in these powders is very small. In fact, it usually ranges between 3% and 5% after it’s mixed with water.

The issue that concerns most parents is who regulates these powders? Here in North America, the powder qualifies as an “alcopop.” That’s a crude term for flavored alcoholic beverages – like wine coolers and malt liquors – which combine a low alcohol content with the sweetness of soda pop. So, in this country, alcohol powders are regulated – and taxed - just like any other alcoholic beverage. A lot of other countries don’t regulate the powder at all – because their drinking laws only apply to liquids. So minors in The Netherlands, for example, are free to buy as much alcohol powder as they want! That kind of easy access could open the door for a new black market, where imported powder could be accessible in North America, or over the internet, to kids under the legal drinking age.

So be aware of what your kids are doing, especially online. Talk to them about drinking – research shows it works! Kids whose parents have “the alcohol talk” with them are less likely to start drinking.

Eat Your Way to Happiness

Want to feel happier? Open the fridge! Or the cupboard. It turns out, certain foods can help boost your mood. So here’s how you can eat your way to happiness, courtesy of Woman’s World.

Have eggs for breakfast. They’re loaded with folic acid, which studies suggest is one of the most mood-elevating nutrients. Pour a little hot sauce on your eggs. The rush you get after the hot pepper comes in contact with your tongue triggers an outpouring of endorphins – which reduce stress and lift your spirits.

Have a tuna sandwich for lunch. According to studies, taking in more of the omega-3 fats in fish cuts your risk of ever experiencing depression in half! Why? According to Harvard researcher Dr. James Hudson, the brain needs these fats to help anxiety-fighting chemicals penetrate cell membranes and do their job keeping us calm.

If you want to feel happier, go ahead and have a little chocolate after dinner. British research reveals that chocolate contains about 300 natural health-boosting compounds – including several agents that make you feel alert and happier. Now, concentrations of these chemicals are highest in DARK chocolate, but if you prefer milk chocolate, don’t worry: The pleasure you get from simply eating the treat means any type of chocolate will probably lift your mood.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Movie Food

If you’re in the mood for something salty and crunchy – the ugliest choice you can make is the large buttered popcorn. It’s 20 servings worth of saturated fat. A better choice, but still bad are the nachos with cheese. A serving size equals 7 chips – not the 25 you get when you order it. The best choice you can make when you’re craving a salty snack is a soft pretzel. It has zero saturated fat and a serving – which is one pretzel – is only 280 calories.

If you’re craving a sugary sweet snack at the movies – the ugliest choice you can make is a box of Whoppers – those malted milk balls. The box holds more than two servings and it’s loaded with calories and fat. A better, but still bad choice is Raisinettes. They’re good because raisins are good source of iron, potassium and fiber – but Raisinettes are still high in fat. The best choice for your sweet craving is Jolly Rancher chews. They’re hard to eat so you won’t just gulp them down – and they’re low in fat. Keep in mind, a serving is six pieces – not the 30 that come in the bag. So get them and share.

So now that you’ve got your snacks – what about the drink? Forgo the Blue Raspberry Icee Slushy. That’s just empty calories and tons of sugar. Skip the soda too and opt for unsweetened iced tea. Low cal – zero fat – and the tea will be filling you with disease fighting anti-oxidants while you’re watching Meryl Streep singing and dancing along the Grecian coast.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Great Quote

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant"
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming soon the spray-on condom for custom-fit sex

Scientists have developed a spray on condom that is tailor made to a man's most treasured asset in seconds.

The sheath, invented by the Condom Consultancy in Germany, is made in a chamber that pumps out liquid latex over the man's penis and then dries in 20 to 25 seconds. It is later rolled off like a normal condom. The aim is to cut the drying time to 10 seconds.

Inventor Jan Vinzenz Krause said it is better than the one-size-fits-all versions on sale in shops.

"We thought why not come up with a condom that fits the man rather than vice versa? This would represent a revolution in the condom market," said Krause.

He has filed for a patent for the latex spraying system he invented. "As far as I know our idea is unique," said Krause.

He admits he will have to overcome some legal hurdles and technical niggles before he can bring the product to market, but he already has a working prototype and says the system can cater for most sizes.

"With our technology we could spray a condom on an erect elephant," he declared, not without a hint of pride.

Men who tested the prototype were split in their reactions.

"Some said it's a great idea and would help them because they can't find conventional condoms that fit them," Mr Krause said.

"Others say they can't imagine it working in practice. There's the romance factor: applying the condom does interfere with the sex act."

The spray-on condom will be more expensive than conventional ones. The chamber will cost around £17 and the liquid latex refills, which produce between 10 and 20 condoms depending on size, will be priced at between £5 to £7.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a Difference BY NAV PUREWAL

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.

If lots of champagne drove the ladies insane, you wouldn't be kissing your sister at New Year's.

If flowers and jewels were power tools, your husband wouldn't keep forgetting your anniversary.

If drinking weren't the way on St. Patty's Day, you probably could have avoided that venereal disease.

If instead of chocolate that bunny gave out lots of money, we wouldn't be spending Easter at the shelter.

If you were handsome and charming, with a wit that's disarming, that girl from the office might have come to your birthday party.

If costumes and candy were vodka and brandy, trick-or-treating at 25 wouldn't seem as pathetic.

If a dreidel and candle were all the fun he could handle, that Jewish kid wouldn't look so sad on Christmas Eve.