I Wouldn’t Know How Many Candles to Put on the Cake…

But according to Paul Giametti (and PBS), ducks as a species have been on the earth longer than whales…

Duck and Whale

 

 

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Gargling With Salt Water

It’s amazing how the simplest things can help the most. For generations it has been known that gargling warm water with salt can help a sore throat. But how?

The answer lies within the very nature of salt. It’s a natural dehydrator commonly used in food preservation and preparation. Its ability to draw out the water in foods is the reason pickles retain their tartness and crunch after months in a jar, and also how salmon lox is made.

 

While salt doesn’t exactly pickle your throat, the same principle applies. A sore throat is usually inflamed due to bacteria and other germs wreaking havoc on your soft tissues or mucosa. These inflammations (known as edemas) are usually filled with water, and the salt works its way into your throat. Through osmosis, the salt draws out the edema fluid, killing the bacteria, which requires a warm, wet environment.

 

While the relief from pain and swelling is real, gargling with salt doesn’t necessarily cure the ailment. Also, the principle of too much of a good thing can apply. While the warm water and salt grains dancing in your throat may feel good, too much salt can harm your mucosa. Gargle in moderation, then go see a doctor if your symptoms persist.



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Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

My friend Heather recently acquired a pet hedgehog in exchange for 2 rabbits. Seemed like a good deal, but the poor little guy is sick. Yes, he has Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome and it is a real disease.

Wobbly hedgehog syndrome (WHS) is a disease found in the African Pygmy domesticated hedgehog. It characterizes of vacuolization of the grey matter of the brain and spinal cord that leads to neurogenic muscle atrophy. There is no inflammation of the central nervous system associated with WHS. The cause of WHS is unknown, but familial tendency to the disease has been indicated.

Here is the poor little guy:

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Baby Corn IS Baby Corn

I am sure many of you know this by now, but the baby corn (also know as candle corn) used in many asian dishes with an occasional appearance on  a relish tray or salad bar, is actually young (AKA baby) corn.

Baby corn or candle corn is a cereal grain taken from corn (maize) harvested early while the ears are very small and immature. It typically is eaten whole–cob included—in contrast to mature corn, whose cob is considered too tough for human consumption. Baby corn is eaten both raw and cooked.

I still prefer mature corn.

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Martha Stewart probably already knows this…

Has this ever happened to you?

Apparently, you are not supposed to use liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets on your towels.

In fact, the more often you do such a thing the less absorbent your towels will become.

A sad, true story.

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If Looks Could Kill

While reading an article entitled “15 Cute Animals That Could Kill You” (don’t laugh, you would look at it , too), I was actually surprised by a lot of the list. Mostly because I don’t consider the following, although deadly, to be cute:

Blue-ringed Octopus, Gila Monster, Cuttlefish & Cassowary. NOT cute, right?

Now some may argue with me on this one…the Leopard Seal. Sure he looks cute here while at rest (didn’t our parents always prefer us when we we sleeping too?)

aww?

But look again and you will find yourself agreeing that the Leopard Seal is once again, is NOT cute:

You are probably nodding your head right now.

Onto ACTUAL cute animals that could indeed kill you.

#1. The Pufferfish

He seems to be saying hello!

It is possible that I have seen one of these cute but deadly fish while snorkeling in Hawaii. For once, I am glad that I didn’t know then what I know now.

The pufferfish is the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet. Fishermen recommend the use of thick gloves to avoid poisoning and the risk of getting bitten when removing the hook. The poison of a pufferfish, which has no antidote, kills by paralyzing the diaphragm, causing suffocation.

#2 The Slow Loris

For the last time, I am not an Ewok!

This animal might look like a harmless, big-eyed baby ewok, but the slow loris is one of the only poisonous mammals in the world. Its subtle nature makes it popular in the illegal pet trade, but unknowing humans should stay clear of its toxin, which is released from the sides of its elbows. When threatened, the loris takes the toxin into its mouth and mixes it with saliva. The animal will also lick its hair to deter predators from attack. The toxin can cause death by anaphylactic shock.

Find the full list here.

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Smile, though your heart is aching

I thought I actually learned something from watching American Idol last night, but it wasn’t the whole story.

The song Smile was performed on Idol last & it was announced that it was written by Charlie Chaplin which I was not aware of…

To be clear, the score was written by Chaplin in 1936 for his film Modern Times. He did not write the lyrics. The lyrics weren’t written until 1954 by John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons.

Since then it has covered by many artists including Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson,  & even Robert Downey Jr.


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