Category Archives: life

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.


Filed under health, life

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:


Hello, my name is Peter.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under life

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.

1 Comment

Filed under art, life

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?)


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.

Leave a comment

Filed under animals, life

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under life, movies, music

Don’t Stop, But Don’t Start

It seems as though every other day there is a new report regarding vitamins. Should you take a multi-vitamin daily? My doctor says yes, certain reports say no. (or to be even more confusing, don’t stop, but don’t start)

If you take too many vitamins, studies show you may increase your chances of getting cancer or having a (second) heart attack.

However, if you are deficient in too many vitamins you could develop scurvy, rickets, or beriberi.

Scurvy is caused the lack of Vitamin C. Rickets is caused by the lack of Vitamin D. But what is beriberi caused by and what is it?

Beriberi is a nervous system ailment caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet. Thiamine is involved in the breakdown of energy molecules such as glucose and is also found on the membranes of neurons. Symptoms of beriberi include severe lethargy and fatigue, together with complications affecting the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems.

There are 2 major types of beriberi:

  • Wet beriberi affects the cardiovascular system.
  • Dry beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome affect the nervous system.

At first, it was thought to from a lack of protein, but by 1901 it was discovered that it was indeed a (thiamine)B1 deficiency. To read more about beriberi, go here.

Leave a comment

Filed under life

Detroit Concrete City



The first road to be paved with concrete was Detroit’s own Woodward Blvd. It was back in 1909, the same year Henry Ford introduced the Model T, so it was not the automobile industry that was requesting smoother roads — it was a group of bicyclists called, League of American Wheelmen, who had initiated what became known as the “Good Roads Movement.”

Roads at that time had otherwise been built with brick cobblestone or material called macadam, which was made of stone sprayed with tar to make it somewhat weather resistant (& didn’t last long).

Read full article here.

Leave a comment

Filed under history, life

A Paper Clip…

is one of those inventions that I never really considered who invented it. (or cared, really)

I considered this for the first time while watching the documentary Paper Clips (naturally) which is not about the invention of the paper clip, but is about students in a rural town in Tennessee learning about the Holocaust. It is worth watching and you can learn more about here.

In that documentary, they mentioned the paper clip was invented in Norway.

However, if you google that information, you will find varying reports on the who, where & when it was actually invented.

Some accounts claim that the first patent was given to John Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, in Germany in 1899. (As there were no patent laws in Norway at this time) In 1901, John Vaaler received an American Patent.

However, the Early Office Museum begs to differ…

Sigh, will we ever know the truth?

Leave a comment

Filed under history, life

Talk About a Love Nest…

Take the time to watch this video, it will be worth it. Promise.

The Vogelkop Bowerbird (Amblyornis inornata), also known as the Vogelkop Gardener Bowerbird, is a medium-sized, bowerbird of the mountains of the Vogelkop Peninsula at Western New Guinea, Indonesia.

The bower is a cone-shaped hut-like structure some 100 cm high and 160 cm in diameter, with an entrance usually propped up by two column-like sticks. A front “lawn” of some square meters area is cleaned of debris and laid out with moss. On this, and in the entrance of the bower, decorations such as colorful flowers or fruit, shining beetle elytra, dead leaves and other conspicuous objects are collected and artistically arranged.

1 Comment

Filed under animals, life