Riddle Time

Have fun at the office with this one. Congrats to Kathy Peacock who go this right this morning!

I never was, am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will
And yet I am the confidence of all
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball.

Answer: Tomorrow

SIGNS OF A HARD WINTER

OK, the Farmers’ Almanac prediction for a Numbingly Cold winter is out, but what are the real experts saying? Here are some signs from mother nature:

  Thicker than normal corn husks

  Woodpeckers sharing a tree

  Early arrival of the Snowy owl

  Early departure of geese and ducks

  Early migration of the Monarch butterfly

  Thick hair on the nape (back) of the cow’s neck

  Heavy and numerous fogs during August

  Raccoons with thick tails and bright bands

  Mice eating ravenously into the home

  Early arrival of crickets on the hearth

  Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers

  Pigs gathering sticks

  Insects marching a bee line rather than meandering

  Early seclusion of bees within the hive

  Unusual abundance of acorns

  Muskrats burrowing holes high on the river hank

  “See how high the hornet’s nest, ’twill tell how high the snow will rest”

  Narrow orange band in the middle of the Woollybear caterpillar warns of heavy snow; fat and fuzzy caterpillars presage bitter cold

  The squirrel gathers nuts early to fortify against a hard winter

  Frequent halos or rings around sun or moon forecast numerous snow falls.

COMPANIES SHOULD SAY SORRY

Economists have finally proved what most of us have suspected for a long time — when it comes to apologizing, talk is cheap. According to new research, firms that simply say sorry to disgruntled customers fare better than those that offer financial compensation. Researchers set out to show whether customers who have been let down continue to do business after being offered an apology. They found people are more than twice as likely to forgive a company that says sorry than one that instead offers them cash.

I see a new position opening up. The “Apologist”! – Justin

Tweeting Everything!

A Missouri woman giving birth kept her Twitter followers updated every step of the way Tuesday. Candy Tai’s first post at 1:51am read: “Off 2 have a baby! This kid wants out NOW!” Once at the hospital she tweeted, “Contractions coming on strong….baby soon! Kids in room with me watching Bolt!” She also wrote about not using any pain medication: “1st time without pain meds..what was i thinking?!” Finally, she posted an update showing her newborn: “Fresh baked baby! Jacob David arrived at 6:59 a.m.” She attached a picture of her newborn son.

Would you be able to tweet through the delivery? – Justin

Friday Funnies

At a big corporation the IT department was doing a password audit — checking to be sure the passwords used by employees were strong. On one computer it was found that a blonde was using the following password: MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofy When asked why such a big password, she said that it had to be at least 8 characters long.

THREE SIMPLE THINGS WOMEN WANT

According to askmen.com, here are three simple things many women are looking for in a relationship with their men…

[1] A man who understands her. Take the time to discover and understand your woman’s moods, interests and temperament. Remember: honest communication is the key to any successful relationship.

[2] A man who knows when to take control – and give it up. You’re going to have to flip flop on this one and know when to do so. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerable side now and then.

[3] A man with an air of mystery. Maintaining a mystique will make your relationship last well past the early stages. Just know when to stop playing games for the sake of intrigue.

Sounds easy enough but I’m sure I’ll miss the mark on this one too – Justin

MRS. BUTTERWORTH HAS A NAME!

Did you know Mrs. Butterworth has a first name? An Illinois woman did and won a national contest. The contest was called, “Can You Guess Mrs. Butterworth’s First Name?” Cynthia Harmon of Champaign, Illinois knew Mrs. Butterworth was born in the early 1960’s, so she began to research. She looked at popular baby names in the 1960’s, and read that breakfast time was a big family tradition. After all of the research, she came up with the name Joy. The reason that clinched her the win was, “As mom’s were getting ready for school they wanted to bring a little joy in their hearts before they went off on their day.” The contest came down to two women out of thousands, and Harmon and another woman took home the prize. They won five hundred dollars and a case full of Mrs. Butterworth syrup.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG

Tips to train and communicate with your (or anyone else’s) dog

» Watch your dog’s ears. If their ears are standing up, and their tail is wagging, that usually means: “I’m happy” or “come on, let’s play.” If the ears are pitched back, and the tail is down, that’s a sign of anger, fear or stress. Your dog is thinking: “stay back and leave me alone.”

» Sniffing. Dogs sniff the ground for a lot of reasons. Usually, they’re just exploring an enticing scent, or looking for a place to relieve themselves. However, dogs also sniff the ground when they’re worried, or ill at ease.  So if your dog suddenly starts sniffing the ground, take a look around to see what’s in the area. If there’s a bigger dog nearby, or a strange person, that sniffing could be your dog’s way of saying: “I see you. I’m minding my own business here, and I don’t want any trouble.”

» Any unusual panting, yawning or drooling. That’s often a sign of stress. You’ll usually see this when your dog is in an unfamiliar surrounding, when they hear a sudden loud noise, or when they’re left alone at home for the first time.

» Your OWN body language. Dogs are very sensitive to slight changes in humans breathing and behavior. So if they see you pacing around the kitchen because you’re nervous, happy, or angry, they’ll zero in on that – and respond accordingly.  On the other hand, if you project a calm demeanor – by sitting comfortably, controlling your breathing, and talking in a steady tone of voice, your dog will be more receptive to your commands.

Man, I must stress my dog out, he yawns a lot! – Justin

FOOD SAFETY TRUE OR FALSE

How sharp are your food-safety skills? Check them against these guidelines provided by the Partnership for Food Safety Education, a coalition of private groups and public agencies.

Before being cooked, chicken should be rinsed thoroughly under running water and patted dry.

FALSE: Rinsing poultry increases the risk that you’ll splatter salmonella and other contaminants around, outweighing the benefits of washing. Your best bet is to cook it until the meat inside is 165 degrees as measured by a food thermometer.

The best way to make sure a hamburger’s safe to eat is to cook it until the inside meat is brown.

FALSE: Cook ground meat just until a food thermometer says it’s 160 degrees. This will also keep you from overcooking your food.

You should wash cantaloupes and other melons before cutting them.

TRUE — and it’s true for any vegetable with a skin or rind, whether you eat it or not. Your knife blade could carry pathogens into the part you eat.

If you eat something suspicious but haven’t fallen ill after 48 hours, you’re in the clear.

FALSE: Incubation periods for food-borne illnesses range from 12 hours to a week or more; listeria can take up to 70 days.

Cutting boards need to be sanitized in the dishwasher or with chlorine bleach.

TRUE: It’s not necessary every day, but the board should be sanitized. Outside the dishwasher, use soap and hot water, then coat it with a solution of one tablespoon of unscented bleach to one gallon of water. Let it stand a few minutes, then rinse and dab dry with paper towel.

You can make sure sprouts aren’t contaminated by rinsing them thoroughly.

FALSE: The seeds from which sprouts sprout are often contaminated with E. coli or salmonella, and even thorough washing won’t help. People with compromised immune systems in particular should avoid eating raw sprouts.

You shouldn’t ever put hot food in the fridge.

FALSE: If you’re not going to eat it right away, you should divide hot food into small portions in shallow containers and stick them in the fridge. Bacteria multiply at temperatures between 40 and about 140 degrees, and food left in that range for more than about two hours is no longer safe to eat.

HALLOWEEN TREAT-GIVING TO BE DOWN

Bad news for any kids expecting a big haul this Halloween. The National Retail Federation is out with its spending projections for the holiday, and they’re grim. Total spending for Halloween is expected to drop from $66.54 per family last year to $56.31 this year. The numbers include candy, costumes and decorations. The biggest drop in spending is expected to come at the candy counter, with 46.5% of consumers telling the NRF they’ll be buying fewer sweets. About 35% are going to use last year’s decorations. (At least they’re not using last year’s candy.) One bright spot: Despite the number of consumers buying less candy, only about 5% said they won’t be giving out any treats. So, kids, get out early this year.

Have you given much thought to what you’re giving out for Halloween? How about some ideas for some different things to give out? Become a registered user and comment on this and other posts.