Archive for November, 2011


Roast Eagle on Thanksgiving?

11 facts about Thanksgiving that might surprise you

  1. Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey, in part because he considered the bald eagle to be a coward.
  2. Serving lamb for the main meal would pay tribute to the woman mostly responsible for turning this celebration into a national holiday: Sarah Josepha Hale (who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), who campaigned to four presidents before Abraham Lincoln finally agreed and declared the day a national holiday in 1863, making it the third national holiday observed by the country; the others were Independence Day and Washington’s birthday.
  3. The Thanksgiving most linked to our national holiday lasted three days and took place in Plymouth in 1621, attended by Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians.
  4. The Guiness Book of World Records shows the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed over a ton and was more than 12 feet long. It was baked in 2005 in Ohio.
  5. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado celebrated a “thanksgiving” with his troops in the Texas panhandle in 1541 during their search for gold in the New World.
  6. Blame FDR for Black Friday — in 1939, 1940 and 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving be the third Thursday in November, in an attempt to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. In the ensuing controversy, Congress decreed in 1941 that the Thanksgiving holiday fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it has stayed for the past 70 years.
  7. Turkeys can have heart attacks.
  8. The first broadcast Thanksgiving Day football game was aired in 1934 on NBC Radio. The Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears. The Bears won.
  9. New York State was the first to adopt to Thanksgiving as an annual tradition, in 1817.
  10. Traveling far and wide, an estimated 42.2 million Americans, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) traveled 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend last year.

The First Turkey Chronicles

It’s the time of year every Tom Turkey across America is hoping to hear the good news that he’s been chosen for the Presidential Turkey Pardon. It turns out that few have actually received that news. The first official Presidential Turkey Pardon occurred in 1989 and was granted by President George H.W. Bush. Following his pardon, the turkey was sent to a petting zoo in Virginia ironically named Frying Pan Park.

President Harry S. Truman received the first White House turkey in 1947, which was promptly cooked and eaten following a few publicity photos.

When President John F. Kennedy received his turkey with a sign around the bird’s neck that read “Good eating, Mr. President,” he responded with “Let’s keep him.”

President Ronald Reagan’s turkey apparently didn’t appreciate his role in the ceremony as he angrily flapped his wings in the President’s face during his speech.

President Bill Clinton pardoned his turkey “Harry,” and sent him on his way to enjoy his golden years at the petting zoo.

In 1990 things got even better for the White House Turkey when he was not only pardoned by President George W. Bush, but was granted a vacation to Disneyland. The turkey was featured as the grand marshal of Disney’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and given a permanent home in Disney’s live animal display. This tradition has continued ever since.


Arizona Foreclosures

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True or False?

The (sometimes) surprising truth behind 3 urban legends

Have you heard the one about the upcoming 1 percent transaction tax? Or that hot water freezes faster than cold water? Urban legends, myths, distorted facts and twisted fiction are more prevalent than ever in the age of the internet. Here is the truth behind five of the more (in)famous “facts.”

1.         The federal government is planning to implement a 1% tax on debit card and/or banking transactions – FALSE

Story: A story has been circulating this fall that the President’s finance team, along with Congress-woman Nancy Pelosi, are planning to sneak in a 1% transaction tax on all financial transactions after the November election.

Fact:Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa, has been advocating replacing the federal  tax code with a transaction fee-based system since 2004. He’s introduced a bill along these lines six times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011) — he originally called his plan the “Transform America Transaction Fee;” he now calls it the “Debt Free America Act.” The bill has no other sponsors than Fattah and has received no demonstrable attention from any member of Congress. (Read more about the myth and the facts at

2.         Hot water freezes faster than cold water – TRUE (mostly)

Story: Against all common sense, which says that from a simple mathematic perspective, cold water will reach its freezing point of 32 degrees fahrenheit faster than hot water, which putatively will start freezing at a temperature further away from the freezing point, studies have shown that hot water can freeze faster than cold. Sometimes. Under extremely specific conditions. With carefully chosen samples of water.

Fact: In the late 1960s a Erasto Mpemba, a school boy in Tanzania, noted that when making ice cream, his warm milk froze sooner than the cold milk. The “Mpemba effect” has been scientifically reproduced, but not with consistency, and for the most part, scientists refuse to unequivocally rule on the Mpemba effect one way or the other. (Read more about boiling cold water and freezing hot water in the New York Times.)

3.         You can find out who’s been viewing your Facebook profile – FALSE

Story: Emails and ads have abounded promising you a way to see who has been viewing your profile on Facebook.

Fact:There is no such app, tool or capability. In January of this year, Facebook’s Director of Engineering, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth replied to the question “Will Facebook ever offer a feature like LinkedIn's, where you can see who has viewed your profile?” with one word: No. (Read the article on SEO News here.)


11 Surprising Facts About Steve Jobs

No detail too small, no dream too big

1. He was adopted.

2. He designed (and held two patents for) the iconic glass staircase used in all multi-level Apple retail stores.


(image from Shanghai Daddy on Flickr)


3. After traveling in India, he became a Buddhist — the Apple slogan “Think Different” comes from the Dalai Lama.

4. His sister is Mona Simpson, author of the novel “Anywhere But Here”.

5. He is listed among the inventors on 317 of the patents held by Apple, including: cord clasps, headset lanyards, power adapters and even the sleek and distinctive cardboard packaging.

6. He briefly dated Diane Keaton.

7. His biological father’s name is Abdulfattah Jandali.

8. Since 1997, his annual salary as CEO of Apple was $1 a year.

9. He never graduated from college, although he did attend Reed College for one semester before dropping out.

10. He bought Pixar from Lucasfilm in 1986 for $5 million — Pixar’s first movie, Toy Story, was released in 1995 and brought in a worldwide gross of over $360 million.

(image from Gizmodo)

11. His famous “black sweater, jeans and sneakers” has been his hallmark since 1998, the year he returned to Apple as interim CEO.