Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea drinkers rejoice!

As a tea aficienada and an occasional coffee drinker, this news doesn't come as a surprise. Researchers at the European Journal of Clinical Nutrician have conducted tests or did research showing tea doesn't dehydrate. Actually, I have to confess that this thought never entered my mind, being that I'm a 3-cup plus tea imbiber. If anything, it's a wonderful sensation when the hot liquid hits my stomach.

Drinking three or more cups of tea per day is as healthy as drinking water, plus it has extra health benefits like protecting people against heart disease and some cancers. This is a bonus for we tea imbibers who are accustomed to our daily afternoon tea break along with a cookie or two, which isn't healthy but good. Nothing like dunking a biscuit in hot tea and taking it out just at the right moment before it disintegrates into a pile of mush at the bottom of the cup. But I digress.

Clinically, it 's the flavonoids that promote health. Seems that the polyphenol antitoxidants found in many foods and plants that are the key to preventing cell damage. Tea also replaces fluids and contains antioxidants. I'll drink to that!

So who exactly are the tea drinkers, you're probably wondering. Tea people tend to be in the 40-plus age range.

Actually, I've been drinking tea since childhood and am not worse for wear, although some people might dispute this. My dentist claims that my not-white-anymore teeth are a result of tea stains, but then he wants to bleach my teeth. Pass thank you since I'm going to continue drinking tea, anyway.

Tea isn't as socially fashionable as coffee with its fancy options like your cafe macciato, expresso, cafe au lait or cafe breva. Also, a real tea drinker would disdain to drink their favorite beverage in a paper cup as do coffee drinkers. A real tea drinker uses a china cup with a saucer. Anything else is uncivilized.

The UK Tea Council - is a great site with lots of interesting information including suggestions that include the location of local tea rooms located in the UK, recipes including green tea ice cream plus interesting facts and helpful hints like how to fix a broken nail with a tea bag no less!

"Cut a piece of paper from the corner of a dry tea bag, place over the tear, apply a tiny amount of clear nail polish to the paper and press on top. Allow to dry and finish off by filing into shape." It pays to carry around a used tea bag in one's purse or pocket for such an emergency.

There are also interesting tidbits everyone would find interesting, like 98% of people (in England) take their tea with milk while only 30% take sugar. Perhaps the other 70% use a sugar replacement sweetener - go know! There is also a section on tea customs - bits of information that anyone would want or need to know!

There is a section focusing on how to make the perfect cup of tea. Ask me about it - I know.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The hills are alive with haggis

Those Brits - never fail to surprise us! Most stories that include statistics are usually cut-and-dried factual reports focusing on a subject that attracts readers specifically interested in the topic. On occasion, statistics have entertainment value. Okay - I find these particular stats entertaining.

An on-line take-out food service,, recently commissioned a survey, which revealed that one in five people in Britain believes that haggis, a traditional Scottish dish made from the lung, liver and heart of a sheep, is an animal that roams the Scottish Highlands. Yet another fifteen percent believe it's a Scottish musical instrument and another four percent believe it's a Harry Potter character.

The purpose of the survey, which questioned 1,623 people, was to ascertain how many Brits were aquainted with traditional Scottish food. Even more surprising was the revelation that 14 percent of the 781 Scottish people polled didn't even know what haggis was.

Actually, when it comes down to it, how many people reading this have ever tasted haggis, seen it on offered on a menu or would recognize it if placed on a plate? I know I wouldn't. Here is a photo of the dish in case somebody serves it to you and you don't want to appear ignorant:

Thinking further on this subject many countries have their own culinary specialties. For example poutine with cheese curds and gravy on top of french fries, is a dish loved by Canadian Quebecers:

There's some great pics of unusual (to say or write the least) food items here:

As an aside, in the name of a community TV program, I've indulged in sucking on a bug lollipop, crunched on a chocolate covered grasshopper. Declined fried maggots in tomato sauce. There was something about the way they moved too realistically in the frying pan that bugged me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sarah Palin has Canadian roots

Not only does Sarah Palin claim to see Russia from her doorstep, but now she can also boast Canadian roots - and I'm not referring to her hair.

According to press reports it appears that Palin has relatives in the town of Hartney, approximately 80 km southwest of Brandon, Manitoba. Obviously pleased with this news, the mayor of Hartney is planning to extend an invitation to Palin to visit the town, where she can stand on the front porch to see if she can see the U.S. I mean, it only stands to reason.

The Canuck connection was revealed following a speech Palin gave in Hamilton, Ontario recently, where she told a crowd of 900 people that "the foundation of the Palin family" originated in Canada, where "one grandfather was born in Manitoba, this was a farming family there." She went on to comment that her family has "some pretty funny stories of our relatives who were bootleggers" in Manitoba and Saskatchewan many decades ago. I wonder whether the descedents of these relatives appreciate this being pointed out.

Genealogically-speaking, it appears that it's actually, Todd Palin, Sarah's husband, whose roots are in the province. One Frederick William Palin, Todd's grandfather, was born in the town in February 1905. He moved to Washington state where his son James - Todd's - father - was born.

"I don't know how to go about contacting her but I'm going to try to invite her to come," Harney mayor Bruce Evans opined.

You betcha!

Information about Hartney, Manitoba:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Aliens are among us - at least 20% of people believe

The topic of aliens - the interplanetary visitors kind - with friends and aquaintances tends to be a conversation ender. For the record I'm of the belief that given the enormity of our solar system, there have to be other life forms. Maybe not humans as we know them...perhaps they take the form of - I dunno - worms or ants or crows (crows are very smart so they could be one of "them") but I digress.

I'm not the only one to believe the existence of aliens since a Reuters Ipsos global survey of 23,000 adults in 22 countries reveal that more than 40% of people in India and China believe that aliens are here on planet earth disguised as humans (or ants...or...), while those least likely to believe this possibility live in Belgium, Sweden and Netherland (8%). However, the majority of people polled or 80% don't believe they're living amongst us.

A while back while discussing this topic with an aquaintance, she swore me to secrecy and shared her belief that she may have come accross an alien while shopping at the supermarket. The supermarket no less! Anyway, the reason for this belief is that this particular female's ('it' was in female form) skin was a definite shade of grey that sort-of glittered plus she had a protruding forehead. She didn't approach the woman/alien because, I mean, what would you say? 'Hi there - you look like an alien'?

The survey also disclosed that more men than women — 22 percent vs 17 percent — believe that alien beings are on earth. The majority of the believers are under 35 years of age.

Personally, I'm open to the possibility that aliens are amongst us. Just keep your eyes on the crows - they know.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The arrival of the month of April always makes me smile, accompanied by occasional outbreaks of laughter. The reason for my feeling of happiness is that April is designated as National Humour Month. Not that we need an excuse to laugh but a celebration of “feeling good” is a holiday in which we all should partake.

The creator of this gleeful celebration is one Larry Wilde, who decided in 1976 to devote the entire month to laughter. His aim was and presumably still is, to heighten public awareness on how the joy and therapeutic value of laughter can improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills and enrich the quality in one’s life. Sounds like a good enough reason to me!

Over the years researchers have explored laughter’s effects on the body and produced some interesting information on how it affects us. For example, a study conducted by researchers of the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas and concluded that blood vessels of the group watching comedies expanded and contracted easily, while the blood vessels of the people watching dramas, tended to tense up restricting blood flow. Other studies also reveal that the ability to use humour may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies and boost the level of immune cells.

Want more proof? There’s even scientific evidence that it may offer protection against a heart attack. A study with results presented at the American Heart Association’s 73rd Scientific Session showed that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
A happier person has a positive outlook towards life, lives each day without worrying about the future, appreciates and enjoys the blessings in life and is able to enjoy life to the fullest. Is that you?

Here’s an interesting piece of information for people who are watching their weight. Giggling for a mere 15 minutes per day burns enough calories to shed up to 5lbs. of fat over the year. Researchers measured the number of calories expended by 45 adults while watching a comedy film including nature and comedy shows. Bouts of laughter when watching a comedy film used up 20% more energy than at rest. You can read more about the research conducted by surfing over to

So what does this all mean in the scheme of things? You don’t need medical proof that laughter makes you feel good. In the way of celebrating throughout the month, rent some ‘nutsy’ comedies at least once per week or watch a (good) TV sitcom. Share funny stories and/or jokes with friends – chances are at least one (hopefully more) will elicit a smile or laugh. Read some books written by people who are known for their comedic expression. Some personal favourites are books by the late humorist, Erma Bombeck or compilations by columnist, Dave Barry and don’t forget to laugh at yourself now and then.

Drop by and you’ll find a list of 10 sites to make you laugh out loud. Actually, I feel a laugh coming on right now. You?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

California dog owner builds mansion for pooches

Given the state of our planet these days what with stories focusing on war, natural disasters, death and starvation, here is a story based in California that makes a person wonder what they're putting in their water these days.

A woman, one Tammy Kassis, decided to build her pet pooches a Victorian mansion no less, at a cost of $20,000USD along with a picket fence - I mean, what's a doggie villa without a picket fence. It also has Spanish style turrets in the towers.

The doggie homestead, modelled after her own (that says something in itself), boasts the usual necessities of life including a television set, vaulted ceilings, air conditioning, wall paper and for that extra personal touch, handmade curtains. How sweet! As if all this isn't enough her three dogs, Darla, Chelsea and Cocoa Puff can sleep - if they so choose - in their own designer beds. Floors, which can be drafty, are too common place for this trio. Interestingly enough there is no mention by the way, of toilets...

Other accessories include blinds for the window, heating and ceiling fans. Perhaps the pooches didn't want other local dogs to peer in - nothing worse than voyeur dogs or cats - go know!

Amazing - there are people in many parts of the world going hungry and exposed to the elements due to lack of shelter - and this definitely over-zealous pet owner spends a chunk of cash on her dogs. Talk about this planet going to the dogs...