Sunday, September 30, 2012

7 Foods You Shouldn't Cook While Naked

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make the assumption that most of us don't cook while in the the naked as the proverbial jaybird. Now, I'm referring to actually standing at the stove and cooking rather than simply popping something into a microwave.

But (that's with only one T rather than a naked two Ts), that doesn't mean cooking in the nude is a bad thing. There are, however, certain foods and situations that would be better if the preparer were to wear something even if only a full chef's apron.

And why have I brought up this unlikely topic? Well...I came across an article recently that talked about 7 foods that shouldn't be cooked while the preparer is au naturel. So, without further fanfare, I present to you that list of 7 foods.

So obvious that it almost doesn't require a mention. Bacon sizzling in the skillet—it smells oh so good regardless of what you are pairing it with for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But as we all know, bacon creates its own grease and all the sizzle is really popping hot grease projectiles. Definitely requires something to cover that bare skin.

Burning hot seeds...unprotected body parts...need I say more? Well, yes—I probably do need to say more. If you are making guacamole while in the nude, you might want to rethink things. If you insist on squishing those avocados through your fingers as a sensual experience while in the nude, you might want to consider leaving out those seeds.

Just as the word bacon conjures up an image, so does the word searing. Yes, we again picture the popping of the fat that's part of the meat. And we picture that hot grease landing on our bare skin in the most inappropriate places.

Once again we're talking hot oil. It's tough to get that nice crispy exterior without it. Better do this one with that aforementioned full chef's apron.

A recent trend for Thanksgiving is to deep fry that turkey rather than putting it in the oven. As this is basically an outdoor activity, same as grilling those summer hamburgers, it's more common in warmer climates. Being outdoors in the nude at Thanksgiving is not a cold weather activity. But for those of you who do live in the warmer climes...there's that popping hot oil again.

The concept of working with brown rice and raw fish might seem like a healthy endeavor. But, that super hot mustard is hot to more than the taste buds. There's the possibility of having it on your hands and then needing to scratch one of those unclothed places...

You have a choice of sweet seduction or hot, smooth sexy. Either way, you risk physical damage when cooking with sugar while in the nude. We're talking serious spattering. Something that should not be exposed to your exposed places.

There are, of course, other foods that should also be kept at more than arm's length if cooking in the nude. These 7 seemed like the most interesting.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Have We Become A Totally Superficial Society?

I came across an article a while back (actually it was July 2011) and I decided this would be a good time to pull it out of my save for possible blog file. It reported the results of a survey that showed half of the men who participated in that survey said they would leave a partner who gained weight.

I stared at the headline for maybe a full thirty seconds (a long time…try holding your breath while watching the seconds tick away on a clock and you'll find out it's much longer than it sounds). Had I read that headline correctly? I returned my attention to the article. Yep, I had correctly defined the words.

Then my thoughts turned to what the women who participated in that survey had to say. According to the same survey, twenty percent of the women would leave a significant other over a few extra pounds. Not as eye-opening as the male response, but still a surprise.

Whether a marriage or a committed relationship with a significant other, traditional considerations such as love, respect, and trust are totally expendable and can be callously thrown out the window over a few pounds? The article didn't mention how much of a weight gain. The aforementioned survey was a combined project of AskMen and with the results reported by MSNBC.

And, according to those results, apparently size really does matter!

So, this brings me back to my original question. Have we become such a superficial society that we consider the wrapping paper to be far more important than the contents of the package?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

9 All Time Unsolved Mysteries

A few weeks ago I saw a list titled 9 All Time Unsolved Mysteries. The items listed…well some were a surprise that they made an All Time list and I was curious about some that were left off the list. This list seem to consist of only places and things and not specific people so I guess that explains why the mystery of Jack The Ripper's identity, what happened to Amelia Earhart, and exactly who took that axe and gave Lizzie Borden's parents all those whacks didn't make the list.

Two of the items on the list were new to me—the Chase Vault and the Taos Hum (and I've been to Taos…didn't hear a mention of this).

So, confusion still in hand about the criteria for what made the list and what didn't, I present 9 All Time Unsolved Mysteries.

9) ATLANTIS—location unknown
Myth or reality? The lost continent from ancient times [rather than the current Caribbean resort :) ] is one the world's favorite legends. Most of what we know about Atlantis comes from the Greek philosopher Plato who wrote about it approximately 2000 years ago although the story of the ancient civilization places its time at 9000 years prior to that. He described Atlantis as a huge island where brave and virtuous people…a highly advanced civilization…lived in a kind of paradise. He placed its location west of the Pillars of Hercules, known today as the Straits of Gibraltar. The story claims that the physical disappearance of the actual island came as a result of a massive earthquake or volcanic eruption that caused it to sink into the ocean. To this day debate continues about whether Atlantis was real or myth and people continue to search literally all over the world for the remains of the lost continent.

Discovered in October 1900 in a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera, this machine contains the oldest known complex gear mechanism…sometimes referred to as the world's first analog computer. It's estimated to have been made in the first century B.C. and appears to have been constructed on theories of astronomy and mathematics. The device is believed to be made from a bronze alloy of 95% copper and 5% tin, but its advanced state of corrosion from having been in the ocean for almost 2000 years has made it impossible to perform an accurate analysis. It's precise functions have not been scientifically confirmed.

This mystery begins in 1808 in Barbados when the wealthy Chase family purchased an 80 year old vault to inter their dead relatives. At the time they acquired the used vault, it contained only one occupant—Thomasina Goddard. Col. Thomas Chase made the decision not to disturb Goddard, so she was not moved to another vault. Shortly after that, young Mary-Anne Maria's body was added to the vault. Then 4 years after that, the vault was opened to inter her sister's body. Only a month after that, Col. Thomas himself passed away. And that's when the legend takes hold. Coffins had moved, some were standing on end. Vandals were blamed. Everything was returned to its original position and the vault once again closed and sealed. From then on, every time the vault was opened to admit another coffin, the vault's contents would be in disarray, including Col. Thomas' heavy casket which took 8 men to lift. No seals had been broken, no evidence of illegal entry into the vault, no evidence inside the vault of anyone being there as the sandy floor was undisturbed with no signs of flooding or earthquake. The Chase family bodies were eventually moved to other burial sites in the cemetery and all incidents stopped.

The Nazca Lines were discovered by accident when a small airplane flew over the arid Peruvian coastal plains in 1927. More lines were discovered nearby at the end of the 1980s. The lines depict animals and geometric forms, many of them several kilometers in length with some of them only recognizable from an airplane. The most outstanding shapes depict the figures of a spider, monkey, dog, small lizard, hummingbird, condor, and what appears to be an astronaut. The lines were scratched into the desert between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. They are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions. Others believe they were meant as sign posts for ancient extraterrestrials. UNESCO named the Nazca Lines an Archaeological World Heritage Site in 1994.

5) EASTER ISLAND—Chile (South Pacific)
Roughly 64 square miles in area and located in the South Pacific approximately 2,300 miles from Chile, Easter Island was named by Dutch explorers in honor of the day they discovered it in 1722. It was annexed by Chile in the late 19th century. The mystery of Easter Island centers around the almost 900 giant stone figures that are centuries old and are distinctive from other stone sculptures found in various Polynesian cultures. The purpose of the statues, how they were constructed and transported is still a matter of speculation. Today, Easter Island's economy is based on tourism.

June 30, 1908, a mighty explosion occurred in this remote area of Siberia. It was 1927 before a scientific expedition investigated the site. They found 800 square miles of remote forest ripped apart, 80 million trees on their sides in a radial pattern. They acted as markers pointing directly away from the blast's epicenter. When the members of the expedition arrived at ground zero, they found the trees standing upright but all the limbs and bark had been stripped away, resembling a forest of telephone poles. This phenomenon was seen again 37 years later at another massive explosion in Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II. A century after the Tunguska Explosion there is still debate over the cause, but the generally agreed upon theory is that a space rock approximately 120 feet across entered the atmosphere above Siberia at about 33,500 miles per hour, heated the surrounding air to 44,500 degrees Fahrenheit and self-exploded at an altitude of about 28,000 feet producing a fireball and releasing energy equivalent to 185 Hiroshima atomic bombs. The majority of the asteroid was consumed by the explosion so there was no impact crater.

3) PIRI REIS MAP—circa 1513
The Piri Reis Map is often cited as proof that civilization on Earth was once very advanced then for unknown reasons disappeared with man only now gaining any understanding of this mysterious cultural decline. In addition to the map's historical interest, it contains details that no European could have known in the early 1500s. The Sumerians in Mesopotamia are the earliest known civilization and appeared on the scene apparently from out of nowhere around 4000 B.C. but had no nautical or maritime cultural heritage. Piri Reis' own commentary indicates some of his source maps in creating his map were from the time of Alexander The Great (332 B.C.). The map shows that the makers knew the accurate circumference of the Earth to within 50 miles. The depicted coastline and island shown in Antarctica are as they were prior to 4000 B.C. when they were ice free. Debate continues with no clear answers of how Piri Reis could have created such an accurate map at that time.

2) TAOS HUM—New Mexico
The Taos Hum is a low-pitched mechanical buzzing sound often heard in Taos, New Mexico. Not everyone can hear it, but those who do say it's driving them crazy. Apparently it begins suddenly as if someone had turned on a switch, never abates, interferes with their sleep, and is more noticeable inside the house than outside. In 1993 residents requested that Congress carry out an investigation into the source of the hum, but no specific causes were uncovered. In 1997, Congress asked various scientists from several elite research institutes to look into it. So far, no concrete facts have been uncovered to prove exactly what is causing the hum or what it is that allows some people to hear it and others to not hear it.

There is intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians, and researchers about the origins of the shroud and its image. The shroud is housed in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. It is a linen cloth showing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma of the type consistent with crucifixion. This image is commonly associated with Jesus Christ, his crucifixion and burial. In 1988 a multi-national scientific group did a radiocarbon dating test on small samples of the shroud and concluded that the samples they tested dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 A.D. and 1390 A.D. Since 2005, at least four articles have appeared in scholarly publications stating the cloth samples used were not representative of the whole shroud. The shroud continues to be a much studied and controversial artifact.

Are there any unsolved mysteries of place or thing that you think should have been on this list?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

10 Of The World's Oldest Aphrodisiacs

Since ancient times mankind has been experimenting with various potions, serums, and foods in search if that elusive tangible that can be called a genuine aphrodisiac. In the U.S., we generally put our support behind such on-going favorites as chocolate (good for absolutely everything), spicy peppers (acceptable), and oysters (not on my list of favorite things). Other cultures, however, have more exotic offerings to add to the category.

Following is a list of 10 decidedly unusual love potions for your consideration…offerings that have been around for a very long time and steeped in the traditions and history of other cultures.

1) Cobra Blood (China, Southeast Asia, The Philippines)
This Cantonese tradition dates back to 205 B.C. Some restaurants serve this aphrodisiac straight up or with alcohol. However, it's said that more benefits are gained if those using this aphrodisiac actually catch and kill the cobra themselves.

2) Cow Cod Soup (Jamaica)
This is a rural delicacy and aphrodisiac in Jamaica. It's made with a rum-based broth to which bananas, chili peppers and bull genitalia have been added. It's claimed that this concoction will increase virility and re-establish a flagging libido. This offering is eaten only by men.

3) The Spanish Fly (Europe)
The secretions of the European blister beetle cause irritation and swelling when making contact with human skin. And it's this swelling that has had European men using it to stimulate erections since the days of Caesar. It does have a definite side effect of prolonged erections. As they say in a certain commercial, if this condition lasts for more than 4 hours…

4) Fetal Duck Egg (The Philippines, Southeast Asia)
This libido enhancer is called balut and is often sold on the sidewalk for as little as one dollar each. After drinking the egg's liquid, the user peels back the shell and reveals the yolk and young chick inside, both of which are eaten.

5) Stewed Crocodile (Thailand)
According to the beliefs of many cultures, when you eat a specific animal you take on that animal's characteristics. Crocodile is a much sought after aphrodisiac in Thailand where they believe they will obtain the croc's appetite and aggression, traits highly prized in the bedroom. Canned croc stew is readily available on grocery shelves. The Thais can now have their aphrodisiac without risking life and limb by hunting it in the wild.

6) Skink (Lizard) Flesh (North Africa)
Pliny the Elder (ancient Roman scholar and author) is possibly the person responsible for the skink being considered an arousing creature. In his writings, he said certain parts of the lizard should be steeped in wine and consumed to enhance sexual appetite. Skinks are usually kept as pets these days rather than eaten, but native tribes in North Africa still eat them for the libido.

7) Leaf-Cutter Ants (South America)
These two centimeter long insects are soaked in water and roasted producing a crunchy snack that supposedly tastes like bacon. It's been given to couples as a marriage gift since Pre-Columbian times and is still available in several Columbian towns today.

8) Deep Fried Tarantula (Cambodia)
This was first considered food out of necessity, then later valued for the aphrodisiac qualities of its venom. More recently, this has become a popular item at markets catering to tourists. The spiders are often as large as a man's hand. This delicacy is typically mixed with MSG, sugar, salt and garlic then fried so that it's crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

9) Ambergris (Europe, Middle East, China)
Today, ambergris is commonly used as a fixative in perfumes. But in the 15th to 19th centuries this solid waxy substance regurgitated by sperm whales was a popular aphrodisiac. Various salves and balms containing ambergris were rubbed on the skin to encourage arousal. There are some Far Eastern cultures that still use it for this purpose.

and finally…

10) Dried Tiger Penis (China, Taiwan, South Korea)
In the same way as the Thais eat crocodile to acquire that aggression, the Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean men ingest dried tiger penis in soup, wine or rice in order to gain the tiger's masculine prowess. This practice is one of the reasons the tiger is now on the endangered species list.

Hmmm…after going through this list, those oysters sound very tame in comparison.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

History Of Labor Day Holiday

The Labor Day holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in September. This is the same day that Canada celebrates their Labor Day holiday. This year, that date is September 3, 2012.

The history of Labor Day in the U.S. goes back to the labor movement of the late 1800s and became an official federal holiday in 1894, celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. Prior to 1894, workers who wanted to participate in Labor Day parades would forfeit a day's pay.

Over the ensuing decades, Labor has come to symbolize something else, too. In defiance of the Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox signaling the beginning and ending of the summer season, Labor Day has become the unofficial end of the summer season that unofficially started on Memorial Day weekend (the fourth Monday in May).

What led up to the creation of a holiday specifically designated to honor and celebrate the workers and their accomplishments? The seeds were planted in the 1880s at the height of America's Industrial Revolution when the average American worked 12 hour days/7 days a week in order to manage a basic living. Although some states had restrictions, these workers included children as young as 5 years old who labored in the mills, factories and mines earning a fraction of the money paid to the adults in the same workplace. Workers of all ages were subjected to extremely unsafe working conditions in addition to insufficient access to fresh air and sanitary facilities.

Labor Unions had first appeared in the late 1700s. As America changed from an agrarian society into an industrial one, these labor unions became more vocal and began to organize rallies and strikes in protest of poor working conditions and low wages. Many of these events turned violent. One prominent such incident was the Haymarket Riot of 1886 where several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Other rallies were of a more positive nature such as September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off from their jobs and held the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history when they marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City.

It was another 12 years before Congress legalized the holiday. This was primarily brought about on May 11, 1894, when employees at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Then on June 26, the American Railroad Union called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars thus crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the government sent troops to Chicago. The resulting riots resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. As a result, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in all states, the District of Columbia and the territories (many of which later became states).

And now, more than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day still hasn't been identified.

So, for everyone enjoying this 3 day holiday weekend, now you know why you have that additional day. And why the banks are closed and you don't have any mail delivery. :)