Monthly Archives: March 2009

Alfred Hitchcock (03/26)

key_art_alfred_hitchcock_presentsAlfred Hitchcock was originally a draftsman/advertising designer for  a cable company, he then became interested in photography and broke  into the movie industry by designing the titles for silent movies.

It  only took 5 years from the time he started as a title designer to  become a film director.

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Earworms (03/25)

No, I am not talking about the horrible scene in Star Trek: Wrath of Kahn. If you don’t know the scene I am talking about, consider yourself lucky.

I am talking about the term used to describe when you get a song stuck in your head.

Many people are set off by the theme music of a film or television show or advertisement. This is not coincidental, for such music is designed, in the terms of the music industry, to “hook” the listener, to be “catchy or “sticky” – to bore its, like an earwig, into the ear or mind; hence the term “earworms” -though one might be inclined to call them “brainworms” instead.

from Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, p 45

Now the next time you get a song stuck in your head you can imagine it as a worm. You can thank me later.

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Like Father, Like Son (03/24)

Joakim Noah, of the Chicago Bulls, is not the only athlete in the family.

noahx1

His father, Yannick Noah, was a professional tennis player and won the French Open in 1983.

ten_g_yannick_195I am not sure if Joakim has the same musical aspirations, but Yannick is also a pop-soul singer. Who says you have  to the same thing your entire life?

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Wear Gloves (03/23)

Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno Pepper

I learned a few things about jalapeno peppers. First of all, the smaller the pepper the hotter it is. Second of all, if you are chopping a jalapeno – wear gloves.

If you do not , your hand will feel like it is burning (up to 24 hours). It feels like a slow burn, as if you are holding a cup of hot soup for just a little too long, coupled with the pins and needles feeling of a hand that has fallen asleep.

If you are experiencing this pain in your hands and are wearing contacts – DO NOT take your contacts out before going to bed. That is unless you want your eyes to burn as well.

The cure? I read several on message boards. The one that worked for me? Milk. Soak your hand in milk. It may sound a little gross, but it is better than be driven crazy by the pain in your hand.

I would like to share one more helpful tip that I learned last Thanksgiving:

You should also wear gloves when peeling butternut squash. If you do not, the skin on your hand will become dry, tight and have a film over it. This may be an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) and not affect everyone, but it is worth knowing. It is also recommended to peel the skin off with a knife rather than a peeler. It gets the job done faster and your not in direct contact with the starch.

My hand was so dried out that I could not even open my palm. It was scary at first, but once again message boards saved the day. Although it took a few days, lotion and hand washing (with a little gentle scrubbing) took care of the problem.

Now you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did…

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Caribbean Pineapples (03/22)

black_jamaican_pineappleFor many years Eleuthra (Bahama) was a major center for pineapple production. It has a number of large pineapple plantations and because the pineapple are allowed to ripen slowly without chemical assistance they’re extremely sweet.

Pineapples have been cultivated in the Caribbean for thousands of years. Scientists have reached that conclusion because the Caribbean pineapple no longer produces seeds, and that the fruit has been farmed by man for so long that it no longer feels responsible for its own reproduction.

Burt Wolf

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What is Your Wish Today? (03/21)

One of the most memorable Seinfeld episodes is The Soup Nazi, much to the surprise of everyone involved. It is easy to remember all that is involved with getting the soup and of course the dreaded “No soup for you!”. However, there is another memorable part of this episode — the armoire thieves.

John Paragon & Yul Vazquez

John Paragon & Yul Vazquez playing the armoire thieves

By any chance, do you recognize the gentlemen on the left? (I’ll give you  hint, he was a prominent character on a children’s television show.)

If you don’t know, don’t worry. I didn’t know either that is why I am posting the answer now.

Paragon as Jambi the Genie

John Paragon as Jambi the Genie

“Mekka-lekka hi mekka hiney ho!”
“Mekka-lekka hi mekka chahney ho!”
“Mola-mekka chala mekka hola hayla hey!

Long live Jambi.

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A Musician’s Brain (03/20)

brains1

In Part II, chapter 7 of Oliver Sacks book, Musicophilia he states that:

Anatomists today would be hard put to identify the brain of a visual artist, a writer, or a mathematician–but they could recognize the brain of a professional musician without a moment’s hesitation.

p.100

You may be asking yourself how on earth is that possible?

Using MRI morphometry, Gottfried Schlaug at Harvard and his colleagues made careful compariaons of the sizes of various prain structures. In 1995, they published a paper showing that the corpus callosum, the commissure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain, is enlarged in professional musicians and the auditory cortex has an asymetric enlargement in musicians with absolute pitch.  Schlaug et al. went on to show increased volumes in gray matter in motor, auditory, and visuospatial areas of the cortex as well as the cerebellem.

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