Friday, September 28, 2018

The History of Video Games

Video Game Videogames Control Gamer GamepaDo you ever admit to playing video games?  Even as an adult?  I do but I tend to play word games because I find them a bit more fascinating.  However, I do like Angry Birds 2 enough to play it on a regular basis.  The only thing I hate is when it gets stuck due to not having an active internet connection at that moment.

We all know video games have been around for a while don't we?  I mean, many people's parents played those early games from the 1970's or so.  The one with the monkey who threw the banana!

However, did you know the first game was created in 1940 when Edward U. Condon built a computer that played Nim, a popular game of the time where players did not want to be the person taking the last matchstick.  He unveiled it at the Westinghouse display at the World's Fair.  It generated a lot of interest and tens of thousands of people played it but the computer won 90% of the games it played.

The next invention on this path happened when two men patented a cathode ray amusement device in 1947. They hooked a cathode ray to an oscilloscope so people could fire a gun at a target.  In 1950, one man wrote an article on programming a chess playing computer and then with another man, actually wrote the program so a compute could play chess.

In 1952, someone at Cambridge programmed a computer to play tic-tac-toe as part of his research on human-computer interactions.  Just two years later, programmers at Los Alamos programed an IBM computer to play black jack.  Then three years later, the United States government used computers to play war games as a way of checking out possibilities of the United States against the Soviet Union.

In 1956, one of the programmers demonstrated a computer playing checkers on television.  It was only six years later, the computer beat a checkers master.  Over the next few years, people improved the chess programs so the computer could think several moves ahead, created a tennis game that predated pong, a maze game where a mouse worked its way through a maze to find the cheese at the end, a baseball game, a simulation of the global cold war, until 1962 when a student at MIT created Spacewar!, the first real computer based video game.

In 1964, the programming language BASIC made its appearance. This language allowed people to easily create video games and soon games were being published.  Within the next few years, the first box video game and the interactive television games made an appearance taking us one step closer to the modern video game.

In 1971, the first educational video game, The Oregon Trail, hit the market.  Many of you know the game and have played it when you were in school.  Video games development continued, bridging out to computer based role playing games, video game boxes and arcade games evolved, games became multiplayer, and even the movies joined the trend with Disney's Tron.

As cell phones and digital devices evolved and became more available, video games soon moved over to digital devices until everyone has the ability to play video games.  In addition, some games such as Pokeman Go have embraced using Augmented Reality to add a different element to the game. 

Furthermore, many traditional games such as pinochle and backgammon have shifted to being played on mobile devices.These games have come so far over the past 70 plus years so know you can play alone or with people half way across the world as if they are in the next room over.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Drive-in Movie Theaters.

Drive-In, Theater, Vintage, Movie  I have fond memories of everyone piling into the back of the station wagon loaded with kids, blankets, pillows, and munchies.  Dad would drive us to the outdoor movie theater where we'd pay one fee and drive in. Dad usually parked towards the back in site of the snack bar with all the bathrooms.

We'd try to get there during all the previews so we could get comfortable and set up.  We'd pull the speaker inside, turned up the volume and we were ready to go.

The first drive-in opened in 1933 in Camden New Jersey.  Originally, these were called Park-in theaters as they'd come in and park.  Richard Hollingshead came up with the idea.  Before he received the patent in 1933, he experiment with a variety of projectors, sound systems, and parking situations to find the optimum situation. 

With a $30,000 investment, he opened his Park-in Theater which advertised fun for the whole family.  Although he charged 25 cents per person and 25 cents for the car, he didn't charge any group more than $1.00.  The second drive-in opened one year later in Orefields, Pennsylvania but they didn't really do much growth until the invention of the car-in speakers in the early 1940's. Once his patent expired in 1949 and the in car speaker developed, the idea caught on and drive in theaters sprang up across the country.

One of the largest on 28 acres of land that could park 2,500 cars, had a children's playground, and an a full service restaurant, was found in New York State. The post World War II era made drive in theaters even more popular, growing to over 5,000 theaters in the 1960's.  One reason drive-in's took off is that they were better for families than indoor theaters.

The whole family could all come, including babies so no one needed a babysitter.  In addition, people could smoke without offending anyone.  Since then, due to the rising value of the real estate associated with drive-ins,  the number of theaters has dropped until there are no more than 500 in existence today.

Most drive-ins showed B grade movies, or the newer movies during their second run. They were a part of growing up in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.  I remember seeing several movies I would never have gotten to see in the theater because it was too expensive for the family to go but drive-ins were affordable for most families.  As the availability of films changed, drive-ins often resorted to showing adult films but when that happened, they didn't last long.

On the other hand, a new phenomena has grown across the United States.  Many cities now offer movies in the park where people bring their chairs to a nice green area. The city has set up a screen and choose to show a movie at night, creating fun family times.

Unfortunately, both drive-ins and theaters under the stars were restricted to certain seasons since both are outdoors.  In addition, rain often made it much harder to watch the films.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Creating Your Own Temporary Tattoos.

Henna Hands Mehendi Pattern Female Palms D  In recent years, tattoos have become more popular and more accepted in society.  When my father was in the navy, only low life and sailors had tattoos.  Good girls and boys did not every consider getting one.

The bad thing about tattoos is that they are permanent so if you change your mind, you must pay a lot of money to have it removed.

One way to do it is by using a henna mix to stain the skin so you have beautiful temporary tattoos but you have to find someone to do it who is good at drawing the designs.  Another way is to purchase those tattoos you web and apply to your skin for a short period of time.  But what if you want one and you don't have either henna or those temporary ones handy, there are ways to create your own with a permanent marker and hair spray.

1.  Use eye liner to create a simple tattoo with bold strokes.  The design should not be very complex.  If its too big a pattern, it could look fake while the smaller ones tend to look "right". Be sure to play with the design on paper before you use an eye liner pencil to create it. Do not use the liquid liner because it could smudge.  You want an eye liner pencil you have to sharpen to get the proper look.

Now to apply it.  Choose a location with very little hair.  Make sure the area is clean and dry.  Draw the design on the skin.  If you need to shade, use a cotton swab to do it.  Finish by covering with a light coat of hairspray or apply with top coat nail polish.

It lasts about one day and can easily be removed with warm soapy water.  If you used nail polish, it will peel off or you can use nail polish remover.

2. If you are not the best free hand drawer out there, you could create a stencil out of a 3 by 5 inch index card.  Draw the design on that, cut out the parts you need removed to create the stencil, the you are ready.  Use permanent markers labeled for use on skin so you don't get hit with any chemicals you don't need. 

Normally, you'd use black to have it look like a real tattoo but there is no reason you couldn't use colored ones to create a more cheerful look.  You could also use the ink from stamp pads instead.  Find a clean dry area, place the stencil where you want it, color it with a permanent marker or with an ink saturated cotton ball.  When done with it, wash it off with soap and water.

3. You could make your own paper design for a tattoo, similar to those you buy at the store.  You need to buy some water slide paper which has adhesive on one side and plain on the other side.  This type of paper is available online or from craft stores. 

Create a picture on the computer.  Decide if you have to have it in black and white or will you make one in color because you have a color printer.  Play with the picture until its just right and print on the adhesive side of the paper.  Remember, the image will be reversed so if you use text, it needs to be reversed. Once its printed, cut the design out, place it tattoo side to your skin, dampen the paper by covering it with a damp cloth or paper towel.  Press the cloth down for 30 seconds before removing the cloth and paper.  This should last a week.  Remove with soapy water and a bit of scrubbing.

4. The last possibility is to apply the tattoo by drawing it on your skin with a sharpie. Once you've drawn the design, cover it with a bit of baby powder to set it by rubbing it in.  Then cover with a light layer of hair spray.  Enjoy the tattoo for about a month.

So now if you want a temporary tattoo, you can make one anytime you want.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Gambling in Nevada. When and How?

Roulette Roulette Wheel Ball Turn Movement When one mentions gambling, the first thing I think of is Las Vegas, Nevada. The town with a history of the mob and gangsters who tried to make their city respectable.  I don't even think of anything on the east coast because I grew up in the west.

Gambling in Nevada has an interesting history due to the state's love - hate relationship with it.  In a sense, gambling has been with the state since the first influx of people hungry to participate in the gold rush up there and with them came various games they'd gamble on.

When the first territorial governor was appointed, he worked on outlawing all forms of gambling.  He convinced the territorial legislature to place high fines on all games of chance but when Nevada became a state in 1864, the new government tried to legalize it again.  Unfortunately, they failed but they were able to reduce penalties associated with anyone convicted of illegal gambling.

Although gambling was once more outlawed, the penalties were relaxed and gotten rid of so by 1919, cities and towns throughout the state were opening card rooms and Reno became the gambling capital of the state with both legal and illegal card rooms.  In 1931, the laws changed to allow gambling so there were no illicit rooms operating.

About the same time, a Las Vegas business received the first gambling license starting the trend of gambling in that city which over time became the capital city of gambling.  Up until the mid 1940's, licensing was done by counties and other local levels but then it was shifted to the state.  Casino's paid taxes based on their gross earnings in addition to a per machine fee.  The first year the taxes were collected, the state made over $650,000 in additional revenue.

Over the years, the Flamingo and other famous casinos opened, bringing more people and growth to the state.  In the late 1950's the gaming commission was created and they created a Black Book listing all known cheaters and others as a way of keeping the industry clean. 

In the 1960's licensing laws changed so public corporations could own casino's without every stockholder.  This lead to an increased growth of casino's in Las Vegas.  In addition, Don Laughlin, the former owner of the 101 club, purchased land and a former motel on the Arizona, Nevada boarder.  The town got its name when the Post Office Inspector rejected Laughlin's choice and named it after the owner.

Tourism developed along side the increased number of casino's open in Las Vegas.  Casino's and hotels were torn down as they aged and newer, larger ones were build until the downtown area of Las Vegas resembled a clash of dreams people had to check out.  The latest development is when Nevada entered into agreements with other states to offer internet based poker.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Monday, September 24, 2018

12 Weird Addictions

Valentine'S Day Chocolates Candy Heart Lov At some point in our lives, we've heard of people who are addicted to things like chocolate, exercise, tanning, cigarettes, etc but I stumbled across some really weird ones.  Ones I'd never heard of or even imagined existed.

I plan to share about 12 of those that I've found and some are absolutely gross but these people must have their addiction satisfied.  Be warned that some of the addictions are downright unhealthy while others are quite dangerous.

1.  Eating cat hair.  There is a woman out there who began licking her cat and soon became addicted to eating the cat hair that came loose.  She's been doing this for quite a while.

2.  Drinking urine.  Another woman is addicted to drinking her own urine.  She has consumed over 900 gallons of the liquid in the past four years.

3. Eating drywall.  In another place, there is a woman who is slowly eating through the walls in her house because she must eat it.  Her house has large chunks of missing walls due to her addiction.

4. Eating toilet paper.  One woman out there must eat up to a roll of toilet paper each day.  She loves the smell and taste of the product so much, she must consume some every single day.

5. Snorting baby powder.  16 years ago, a woman developed an addiction to snorting baby powder.  As of this year, she snorts up to ten times each day. I realize its not a "drug" but she has a craving for it.

6. Eating glass.  There is a man out there who loves to eat glass from glasses or lightbulbs.  He says he has eaten at least 100 glasses and 125 light bulbs.

7. Drinking nail polish.  How about the woman who drinks five bottles of nail polish every single day.  She says the blue nail polish has the best flavor and the ones with glitter are great. 

8. Eating husbands ashes.  Talk about love after death, there is a woman who eats a few ashes of his cremated body every day.

9.  Eating mattress stuffing.  There is a woman who has to eat mattress stuffing every single day. She's eaten the stuffing out of her mattress so now she is eating the stuffing in her mother's mattress.  Wow.

10.  Drinking gasoline.  There is a woman who must have her daily drink of gasoline even though she knows she could die or be hurt from it. 

11.  Chewing on dirty baby diapers.  There is a woman out there who must chew on dirty baby diapers.  When she became addicted to them, she didn't have any children and had to steal them from others.

12. Plastic surgery.  There are quite a few people out there who have had plastic surgery on their faces or bust because they were never satisfied with their looks.  Most notable is the woman who felt the need to look like Barbie - the doll or wanted to look like a cat.  Others are never satisfied with the size of their bust and want it made large, and larger.

I left out the ones where people are addicted to drinking blood, having lots of inflatable friends, or are in love with their car or other mechanical item.  Honestly, I think the people who have these types of addictions need a bit of professional help because those addictions are not healthy or normal.

I came across a show called "Strange Addictions" on Amazon prime and it triggered that morbid fascination we all have when we see something like that.  Its not a show I will watch but yes it did make me want to check it out due to the "ughhh" factor.

You are welcome to let me know what you think of these.  Have a great day.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Where In The City, Do You Stay?

Facade Balconies Urban House Architecture Many years ago, if you moved to the city you had a choice of two places to stay.  That is if you were a respectable young lady who wanted to earn money by working in a factory or store.

One was the YMCA or YWCA or girls chose a boarding house.  If you watch enough television shows based in the late 1800's or early to mid 1900's, these girls always stay at a boarding house.  I've been watching a show which takes place during World War II in Canada.  The single girls all stay at the local boarding house where they hang out when not working.

One will find boarding houses mentioned in literature such as when Jo March out of "Little Women" moves to the city to find a job and write, she ends up staying at a boarding house. Boarding houses were filled with strangers who lived under the same roof while sharing meals at a common table.  This was the standard accommodations for singles of the time.

Often in major cities, boarding houses filled whole neighborhoods.  There'd be boarding houses for African Americans, the Irish, Jews, and other groups so each neighborhood got named after the groups such as "little Italy". 

The use of boarding houses began growing in the 1830's and 1840's when people flooded into the cities looking for works.  They couldn't afford their own houses so they'd rent a room in a house.  Sometimes, it might be renting a room with a "gentile" family while other times it might be a room in a large building with others.

Boarding houses might be run by an private individual or they might be associated with a company.  When the Lowell textile mills opened, they provided boarding houses for their workers so they'd have a place to stay, do laundry, and have minimal meals provided.  It is estimated that between one third and one half of the population of Boston lived in boarding houses in the 1830's.

By the 1930's the boarding house was becoming a thing of the past due to improved transportation.  Before people needed to be close to their place of work but once transportation improved, people could live further out and commute in.  There are a few boarding houses that have been preserved around the country but they are gone because they've outgrown their need. 

In addition to finding boarding houses in the United States, they were found in England and Canada.  Many of these places were run by women in England where they ruled with an iron hand. 

I'm off, please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Harvey Girls

Bar Barmaid Barman Bartender Buffet Cafe C  Back in the wild west in the late eighteenth century, there were not that many jobs available for women other than marriage.  Most of the jobs available were saloon girl, teacher until she married, seamstress, laundress, or other similar job.  None had much future because it was assumed she was either fallen or would marry shortly.

This was true until a man, Fred Harvey came round with his idea that helped improve the image of meals available when traveling cross country by train. He could be said to be the father of the chain restaurant since he created the first string of restaurants.

Before he began his chain of restaurants in 1878, people were expected to bring their own food onto the train with them or stop at a boarding house restaurant for a quick meal during a "water stop".  Unfortunately, many of the more isolated water stops tended to be robbed quite often so it wasn't that safe.

Fred Harvey got the idea to open restaurants at various train depots beginning in Florence Kansas in 1878.  The idea was so popular that pretty soon he had a string of Harvey House restaurants running east to west.  What made his restaurants stand out is the elegance of each eatery and the high quality food.

Bread was baked fresh daily and sliced to 3/8th of an inch thick.  The cooks only squeezed fresh orange juice when it was ordered.  Any perishable fruits or vegetables were shipped on ice to the destinations.  He gave patrons a choice of food each day so they could order what they wanted instead of taking what was given.  Service made his restaurants so successful because all patrons were served a four course meal within 30 minutes.

He started using male waiters until a bunch in Raton, New Mexico got involved in a major fight. So he fired them and hired females to do the same job.  Unfortunately, at this time female waitresses were considered on the same level as prostitutes so Mr Harvey had to establish standards for those he hired.  All female employees underwent a 30 day training session before being allowed out on the floor.

All women wore a black dress with white apron, no jewelry, no makeup.  In addition, they were expected to sleep in the dormitories provided by the company after working a 12 hour shift six to seven days a week.  When customers were in the dining room, the women waited on them, making sure they had a great meal.  When the dining room was empty, women spent time cleaning it so it remained spotless.

These women made a flat rate a month plus tips with laundry, travel expenses, room and board included so they had few expenses and could either save or send money home to their families.  In a west where men outnumbered women, many of these respectable women were snatched up by farmers, ranchers, etc.

  Although women could not rise higher than supervisors over the dining hall, Harvey house changed the way society looked at waitresses and changed it into a respectable profession.  Fred Harvey made it possible for women ages 18 to 30 to have a career before marriage.  

Harvey houses profited during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but as other forms of transportation such as cars and airplanes became more popular, these restaurants slowly closed until they were all gone in the 1960's.

There are still a couple left as museums so people can check it out.  I visited one at a national or state park years ago and found it impressive.  let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Employment Agencies? When and Where?

Looking For A Job, Work, Silhouettes  Do you want a job?  Temporary or full time?  Where do you go?  Most of us pour over the want ads, check the job board places such as Indeed or Monster Board or network to find a job now but how long have employment agencies been around?  Can you tell me?  I can't.

According to my research, employment and temp agencies are a very recent thing.

There are records of at least three agencies dating back to the 1890's but they specialized in placing domestic help in wealthy homes.  They were not large and they certainly were not nationwide like many of the current ones.  Employment and temporary agencies really got their start in the 1940's due to shortages created by World War II.

When World War II began, there was a major exodus of workers who enlisted in the military to fight but in the process they left a bunch of openings.  Industries worked hard to fill the positions left open by recruiting housewives and others.  This eventually lead to specialized businesses designed to help fill those positions.

Just after the war ended, the first real employment agencies as we know them began.  The first and most well known agency formed in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan when William Russell Kelly created the Russell Kelly Office Service.  Kelly services advertised themselves as a company who could provide office help on demand.

Originally, he arranged to pick up typing assignments at offices, bring them to his company, have his people type it before returning the finished product to the original company.  One day, he got a call from a company requesting a temporary secretary because their own one had not shown.  This gave him the idea we see today.  He sent typists off to companies who called for temporary help.

The Manpower agency founded in 1948 by two attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who desperately needed a secretary for a project. When they could not find one, they checked with other businesses to find out what they did for temporary help.  Realizing there was a need, they founded Manpower designed to find temporary workers. 

In 1948 Kelly Services, Manpower, and other agencies avoided clashing with the unions by claiming temporary work was actually "woman's work" since most clerical workers were female.  They took advantage of this idea by associating temp work as a wonderful way for women to earn a bit by working outside the home.

This field continued to grow.  By the 1960's companies were earning between 12 and 24 million per year. As demand continued to grow, a new designation arose, the semi-permanent employee who remained employed by the temporary agency while working at a company or was hired for the duration of a project.  It was cheaper for the company because they didn't have to pay for holidays, insurance, or any of the extra benefits.  In fact, many companies hired their full time employees via temp agencies.

In fact during recessions, the number of temporary employees increase.  Currently agencies place over three million workers every week.  These agencies place people in jobs from janitorial, to medical, to CEO's.  I worked for a temporary agency at various points in my life because I could take time off as I needed and enjoyed the varied work.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Where To? For Dinner?

Restaurant, Gastronomy, Guest Room When you are feeling lazy you sometimes head out for dinner. Some times its a fast food place while other times its something a bit more expensive but all of them are classified as restaurants.

I live in a location with an eatery that comes and goes depending on whether the house is needed for living space.  Otherwise its a small coffee shop/takeout with food that is over priced.  You are talking $25 for a plain burger.

The eating places we know as restaurants have only been around since the mid eighteenth century in Paris.  The word restaurant comes from the French name of a meat broth or boullion made for people who were unable to eat a full meal.

Usually restaurants were associated with health institutions which were well decorated, quiet, and attracted the wealthier clientele.  They were several steps above the inns and taverns of the time which were noisy and served the common man. The standard of sitting people at individual tables, ordering food off a menu, and having hours of opening came out of the original restaurants. 

One story about the beginning of a restaurant, states a man added cooked lamb to a stew he sold in his shop somewhere near the Louvre.  It was actually sheep's feet in a white sauce which moved it from a soup to a stew. At this time in 1765, it was illegal for anyone other than the charcutiers guild to cook and sell meat.  The guild sued him for violating rules.  He won by arguing that since the sauce was cooked separately before being poured over the meat he did not tread into their territory because it was not cooked altogether. One book published in 2000 claims it was false because no evidence could be found to support these claims.

This is just before the French revolution.  According to various sources, when the French revolution began, many of the chefs who worked for the wealthy were suddenly out of work so they opened up their own places.  To set themselves apart they began offering the formal seating, menus, etc to provide a more equal experience for the middle class.

Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau in Paris is said to have started the first restaurant in 1766 in Paris while Beauvilliers opened his establishment, Le Grande Taverne de London  in Paris in 1782.  Beauvilliers is credited with listing dishes on a menu, much like the daily specials and having small individual tables available to eat during specific hours.

The first American restaurant opened in 1793 in Boston, run by a French chef who'd lost his job during the French revolution.  This establishment specialized in turtle soup and even went to the extent of advertising in the local newspaper.  Since then, this type of eating place has spread out across the world.  There were ways to eat out before this time but they were much different.  I'll talk about that another day.

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Apgar Score? Do You Know Of It?

Baby Newborn Tears Sad Cry Scream Emotion If you've had kids, you probably have heard of the Apgar score.  If not, you'll hear something about it right after you've given birth.  You may have heard of it, on a television show or maybe you've never heard of it.

Today, I plan to give you a bit more information including its history.  This particular medical discovery came about due to a woman's observation of newborns back around 1950.

Dr Virginia Apgar, a well known American anesthesiologist is responsible for the scale named after her.  Before this simple system was developed, many infants who were born blue, had trouble breathing frequently were said to be stillborn because the belief at the time was these infants would have difficulty living and die.  Many could have lived with a bit of oxygen or help.

She became an anesthesiologist because that field was more open to women at that time.  She was good enough to be offered the post of  professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons which she held for at least a decade. While at this post, she taught students to look at the baby as soon as its born.  The story goes that one day a student asked her what they were supposed to be looking for. Instead of answering directly, she wrote five things on a napkin for him to look at.

This list told students to look at appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration.  In other words check the heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, appearance etc at birth and then five minutes later.  In 1952, she presented the score at one of the national meetings on anesthesiology and published a paper on it in 1953.  Soon after, this scoring system came into common use at hospitals across the United States and the world.

One reason, the use of the Apgar Score spread so fast is that it is extremely easy to use and to teach trained medical personnel to use it.   The Apgar score ranges from zero to 10.  A perfect 10 indicates the baby has the best possible health while a score of 0 to 3 indicates a need for immediate resuscitation.  Ordinarily, the baby's health is checked at 60 seconds and again 5 minutes later.  It could be done again after 10, 15, or 20 minutes if the child's score is lower.

The invention of this scale also had a side effect that no one could have predicted.  This score lead to the creation of the field of neonatology and the creation of neonatal units to help those little ones with problems.  As time progressed, neonatal care has improved tremendously, allowing babies to survive who might not otherwise make it.

This score helped medical personnel determine the odds of a baby surviving and the type of treatment it might immediately need to survive.  This simple score created by a woman, changed the face of medicine in a short time.  One of the women whose contribution was huge but who we know little about.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear.  I hope you have a great day.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Love to Exercise? Get Paid To Do It!

Sport, Training, Abdominals, Sixpack You are one of those people who love to exercise.  You exercise any chance you get or maybe you are a person who needs a bit of motivation to exercise. Which ever one you are, there are ways to get paid to exercise rather than paying.

I realize it sounds too good to be true but it happens.  I'm looking at ways of getting paid to exercise that are legal and fairly easy to do.

1.  The obvious one is to get a job with a gym or YMCA/YWCA as an aerobics instructor or personal trainer.  This usually requires some sort of training but when I took classes at my local YMCA, they'd announce classes one could take to become an instructor.  If you are really good at something like Yoga, look into getting a job as an instructor.  You lead a class so you are exercising while getting paid for it.

2. If you are really into exercising and can lead people through a fitness boot camp, you might want to think about starting your own classes or hook up with a business already offering these.  I'm not into this strenuous a workout but there are those who do not mind being up at the crack of dawn while being yelled at to do better.

3. How about getting a job in a warehouse where you are expected to lift and move boxes, walk up and down long aisles.  Imagine getting paid to do this and you'll make your 10,000 steps each day quite easily.

4. Sign up as a walking tour guide by opening your own business or getting a job with a company already offering such tours.  Most towns offer some sort of ghost tour, historical tour, or perhaps a food tour of specific areas.  These tours often cover a three to five mile area and you get some great exercise.

5. Become a seasonal forest firefighter where you'll be called in to fight fires, make money, while carrying heavy packs, equipment, and walking across uneven terrain.  Seasonal firefighters can make up to $40,000 per season but you usually have to prove you are in shape to do it before being hired.  Many of the folks here in the village always get certified so they can be called to duty either here in Alaska or anywhere they are needed.

6. Are you a good snowboarder or skier?  Often ski resorts and ski areas hire people to provide lessons to new learners.  I paid for a lesson the one and only time I've been skiing because I had no idea what I was doing.  In return for being an instructor, you earn money and are usually allowed to ski for free on your own time.

7.  If you live in a large enough city, you could look at becoming a bike messenger just like the ones you see whizzing through traffic on tv shows.  You get a lot of exercise when you spend the day going from place to place.

8.  Do you love dogs?  If so, you could offer your services as a dog walker. My experience with walking dogs is they love to pull you along and you get a good workout by the time you are done.  I do not recommend you try to walk multiple dogs when you are wearing roller skates. I watched a young man being pulled along by two dogs.  It was going well until one went around the stop sign on one side while the other one took the other side of the sign and he went splat when he ran into the stop sign.

9. Do you love watching sports?  Become certified to referee or coach sports and you'll get a lot of exercise chasing people up and down.  I regularly ref elementary games and I spend a lot of time running up and down the court.  By the time I'm done refereeing two games, I've had a great workout.

These are nine ways you can exercise while getting paid to do it.  There are supposedly apps out there designed to pay you when you exercise and charge you if you don't but I'm not sure how well they work. One "Pact" ended up being fined due to not paying people the money owed and for other reasons such as it did not recognize certain gyms or it continued charging people who quit using the app.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Its always nice to find ways to earn money while exercising. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pinup Girls Helped Win The War

Retro Pin-Up Pinup Fifties Calendar Hot Re If you knew anyone who fought in World War II, they will most likely tell you they had a picture of Betty Grable pinned somewhere in their locker.  She was the dear of every fighting man.

During the 1940's she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood.  In her movies she flirted, sang, and danced her way through the movies, appealing to the men overseas.

Her most famous poster showed her looking over her shoulder at the audience, grinning at the audience.  She wears a one piece suit with high heels and you see her wonderful long legs.  At one point, she insured her legs at one million each.

Her name is the one that pops up as the number one pin-up girl of the time but there were others, some real, some created by artists and each one added something to the look that kept men going.

Rita Hayworth, another Hollywood actress posed for a pinup picture showing her in what looks like her bedroom while wearing a lacy one piece teddy perhaps.  She grins at the camera while looking sexy and inviting.  This picture was the most requested one until Betty Grable released hers.

The shot of Jane Russell in "Outlaw" was one of the most requested pinup pictures during the war.  Its the one where she lays on a bed of straw with her shirt slipping down her shoulder and her skirt up, showing her knees.

Then there was Ava Gardener who is posed on a blanket covered sofa in a two piece swimsuit. She is leaning her head on her hand, raised slightly, turned toward the camera with a mischievous look on her face as she glances at the camera.

Finally, Veronica Lake often had her picture requested by fighting men. Her look with one eye covered by her hair gave her a unique look.  She paritially inspired Jessica Rabbit in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

These four women were the most requested pinups of the real women but there were some fantasy women who were equally appealing.

One artist, Alberto Vargas, created beautiful women for Esquire Magazine. The women wore figure hugging clothing that barely covered the body. Men fighting overseas were thrilled to get the magazine so they could check out the latest figures guaranteed to perk them up.

Another artist, George Petty, who worked for Esquire and True Magazines drew cartoon like females who were featured on the nose of bombers.  The most famous, the 'Memphis Belle' was on the nose of a bomber which complete 25 bombing mission before going on tour to help raise money for the war effort.

One female artist, Zoe Mozert, who created a series of Victory Calendars filled with females based on her.  She wanted the military men to know what they were fighting for.

Another female artist, Elvgren, created drawings of females which appeared regularly on the sides of B-17 bombers.  This artist is known as the one who launched a 1000 B-17's.

Art Frahm provided art in which women were caught in predicaments such as having hands full so when their skirt flies up, they can't grab it.  He made a name creating this naughty drawings.

Each and every one of these women both real and fantasy contributed to the morale of the fighting men who helped to win World War II.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Taxi Anyone? When Did They Start?

Taxi Cab Traffic Cab New York Street Road  You've seen it in the movies, someone steps out of the building, whistles and a taxi pulls over to pick them up.  In many of the hubs in Alaska such as Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, taxi's work a bit differently.

You call a cab and for a set fee, they'll take you anywhere in town along with a bunch of other people.  These drivers make their money by stuffing the car with as many people as they can because of the price charged per rider.

But have you ever wondered when taxi's started?  I never actually thought about it because I've spent most of my adult life living in places without taxi's and when I'm in town, I don't usually use them.  I rely on public transport, friends, or shuttles.

A type of ride for hire has been around since the early 1600's.  England passed its first laws controlling horse and carriages for hire in 1635 while five years later a man began offering horses and carriages for hire in Paris in 1640. From this point on, people hired this mode of transport to travel across major cities or across Europe.  Usually members of the middle class such as merchants and innkeepers preferred to travel this way.

By the mid-1800's someone made changes to this mode of transport to make the carriage, lighter, faster and smoother.  It was renamed the "Handsome Cab" so that it could be pulled by one horse.  This allowed the cab to move quicker and was easier to move around city streets.

The word Taxicab actually comes from the taximeter, an instrument which measured distance so the correct fair could be calculated. This particular instrument was invented in 1891 by a German.  About the same time, people started taxi companies in London and New York used motorized vehicles but they didn't have the taximeter.

 The first real motorized taxi was invented in 1897 by Gottlieb Daimler when he built the Daimler Victoria, the first gas powered dedicated taxi complete with a taximeter.  The first taxi was delivered to an entrepreneur who created the first taxi company in Stuttgart Germany.

Once the taxi hit the roads, accidents followed. The first recorded fatality occurred in September of 1899 in New York City.  The person killed was helping a friend cross the street when one of the one hundred taxi's lost control and hit him.  By 1907, taxi's were plentiful on New York streets so one enterprising owner obtained permission to paint his cabs yellow because it was the color most easily seen at a distance, thus the Yellow cab company was born.

In 1922,  the Checkered Cab company in Joliet Illinois began producing three checkered taxicabs a day. The company added stripes of black and white checkered areas running down the side of yellow cabs.  As time passed, everyone realized that rules had to be instituted for both drivers and passengers but it was not a concerted effort until much later.

One of the biggest leaps forward in the taxi industry came with the invention of two way radios.  Dispatch could keep their drivers on the road, going from one place to the next without interruption.  This lead to more people being transported.

By 1950, there were over 12,000 taxicabs servicing New York City alone.  Cabs could be found in all major cities nationwide.  In 1971, owners got together to create the Taxi and Limousine commission so everyone operated under the same rules, making it safer for both drivers and passengers.  About the same time, New York City demanded all taxicabs be painted yellow to cut down on the number of fraudulent drivers.

In 2012, there were over 240,000 registered cabs operating in the United States twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Think about this, the next time you have to use a cab.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Better Indicator of Potential Heart Problems?

Puzzle, Heart, Love, Two Hearts Over the past few years my numbers for cholesterol have been going up and last year the ratio took a significant jump.  I suspect the jump was due to my father suffering a stroke and my sister dying suddenly.

His recommendation was to go on a low cholesterol diet and think about taking cholesterol lowering medication.  I eat a mostly healthy diet, exercise regularly, am not over weight, do no smoke, nor do I drink.  I do not have any real risk factors for heart problems so when he suggested taking medication, I decided to do some research.  Before we go any further, I am not a doctor but I check things I read to be sure they are supported with research.

I discovered so much about the topic that I didn't know, nor did my doctor discuss.  Apparently there are two types of LDL or bad cholesterol.  One is small and dense while the other is large and fluffy.  According to several sources, the LDL type A molecule which is large and fluffy is a good type while the type B or small dense one is not good for people. A study from 1988 indicates that the more the LDL type B you have, the higher your chances of having heart problems.

In addition, the HDL particles are not always good.  It turns out there are many types of HDL molecules, more than originally thought.  Some of the HDL cholesterol helps clean build up from vessel walls while others take the cholesterol to places its not wanted.

In the book the authors, one of whom is a cardiologist, mention checking the ratio of triglycerides to HDL is a much better indicator of potential heart problems than the over ratio.  I found several papers which seem to support this claim.

The idea is to divide your total triglycerides number by your HDL value to give you a ratio.  If the ratio is 2 or below, you are in the ideal range and at the least risk of future heart attack or problems while a ratio of 4 is high and anything over 5 is not good.  In fact, the higher the ratio, the higher the risk you have of experiencing heart problems.

Due to this, I plan to discuss it with my doctor the next time I go in for a physical because my triglyceride/ HDL ratio is about 1.5, well below the cut off of two.  I do not want to end up on cholesterol lowering medications if I really don't need them.  I'm always cautious when its suggested I go on a medicine I might have to take for the rest of my life.

As stated earlier, I am not a doctor so I'm just sharing what I found in the book and that these claims appear to be supported by real research papers.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, September 10, 2018

You Insured Your What?

House Insurance Protect Home Care Safe Han  If I asked you what you insure around your house, you'd say your car, your house, possibly your cell phone or digital devices, your life, and your health.  Then I remembered one of my relatives talking about Betty Grable insuring her legs for one million dollars each.

Think about it. She was earning over $300,000 per year being the pinup lady for military personnel so she protected her legs.

I wondered what else has been insured by people, besides the usual legs, hands or fingers for musicians and models, voices, eyes, etc.  Now for the unusual type of insurance one can purchase.

1.  An employer in the United Kingdom can purchase insurance against the possibility of two or more employees winning the same national lottery at once and quit at the same time.  Since it must occur when the two employees win under the same drawing, the odds are very much in the insurance company's favor.

2. The television show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" has insured their show against a contestant winning the actual million dollar prize.  This way if anyone wins, the prize money does not come out of their pockets.

3. Lloyd's of London issued one of the most expensive insurance policy for the world's largest cigar.  It is 12 feet long, made of more than 15,000 tobacco leaves.

4.  Over 10 million dollars worth of Alien abduction insurance has been issued.  It is possible to write the policy so you get more money if you are frequently abducted but you have to provide proof that the abduction occured.

5. The Cutty Sark Company has offered a 1.5 million dollar reward to any who brings the Lockness Monster to them alive.  They purchased an insurance policy which will pay the money should anyone capture the monster.

6. An Australian cricket player has insured his mustache for $400,000 because he feels his handlebar mustache is his trademark.

7.  Singer Tom Jones believes his chest hair is his best feature so he's insured it for several million dollars.  His image is that important to him.

8. Many wine or food tasters have insured their ability to distinguish flavors as a way of protecting themselves.  Some have decided their ability is worth millions of dollars.

9. Even Abbot and Costello took out a $250,000 insurance company against the possibility of splitting up during their first five years.

10.  A travel company back in the 1980's took out insurance against any client being hit on the head by a falling coconut.  Yes, one girl was hit and the insurance company had to pay up.

11.  A company in the United Kingdom is now offering insurance against a zombie apocalypse and any resulting cleanup needed.

12.  A photographer took out an insurance policy against the possibility of his number one model marrying.  She eventually married but only after the policy expired.

13.  What about a policy insuring you against being hit and killed by the falling "Sputnik".

So many things you can buy insurance to protect from crossed eyes to being hit on the head by a coconut.  Wow!

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, September 7, 2018

LoungeBuddy App

Galleon Rio De Janeiro Airport Travel Trip
 I travel quite a bit in the summer. Sometimes I go overseas, sometimes not but there are many times when I have several hours between arriving and my connecting flight. Trying to wait in the terminal, near a charging station or even finding a charging station is a pain.

I spend a lot of time going through the SeaTac airport which is undergoing expansion and the plugs that used to be there are no more.  You find them in walls along the walkways so you have to park there.

The app, LoungeBuddy,  I downloaded today is designed to help people like me.  I have not tried it but it had decent ratings and looks good.  This app is designed to let you type in an airport such as Frankfurt or Seattle and they will let you know how much it costs to purchase access to one of the airline lounges.  That helps so much because I do not always know where any are or I am not a member of one so I don't know where to go.

What's cool about the app is you can check out the airport for lounges who have day passes available, the price, its location, hours, amenities available, pictures, etc so you know what its like.  On the location, it even tells you whether its inside or outside security.  If the lounge offers an overnight option, you'll know.  For instance, in Philadelphia, the lounge offers an overnight option so you can rent a suite for up to 8 hours to sleep.  It's priced by the hour but still may come out cheaper than renting a regular hotel room for 4 hours.

In addition, you can check out specific airline lounges such as Alaska Airlines or American to see what lounges they have at each airport and the going cost.  I like that it even tells you limits to visitors such as needing to show a boarding pass to prove you are traveling, limits on alcohol, etc.  If you want to use the lounge, that day, you know how much and where to pay. 

Furthermore, if the lounge does not accept walkup payment, it will tell you. At the bottom of the page, Lounge Buddy lists other possible lounges in the same concourse regardless of if you can purchase a day pass through this app.  I checked the Frankfort airport and discovered the Sky Lounge offers access to a shower for just 2 Euros more.

I checked the reservation process which is streamlined and easy.  When you purchase the pass, you are told the length of time, that it is per person so you can buy multiple passes ahead of time, you can usually cancel up to 24 hours in advance at no charge.  You even provide the time you are planning on arriving at the lounge.

I even learned about a program called Priority Pass's Lounge Program with several different levels of membership and allows entrance to over 1000 lounges world wide.  The least expensive, the standard level, offers admission at a reduced price but the other more expensive levels offer either limited or or totally free but all guest are still charged the $27 fee.

I have not used this but since I'll be traveling to Europe this next summer and doing a lot of travel, I plan to use this when I'm stuck in airports for multiple hours and need a place to hand.  I love the information provided and not just on the lounges you can book through this app but through others.

Le me know what you think, I'd love to hear from you, especially if you've used this service before.  Have a great day.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Retiring Overseass

Portugal, Lisbon, Porto, Harbor, Port  I am reaching a point where I am thinking of retiring since I've put in the required 20 years necessary.  I have a friend who retired to Thailand due to the lower cost there but he eventually returned to the United States.

I read that if you want your retirement money to last longer, go over seas but I'm not sure that would be a good thing because there are other factors one should keep in mind.  Factors we do not usually think of.

The biggest one I can think of has to do with distance.  When you retire overseas, you are usually a long airplane ride from your family. So if you want to visit them or they visit you, that costs.  You can't just hop into the car and drive a few hours or a couple days to get there.  If you don't mind being away from your family fine but I'm not sure I want to be that far away.

I'd also want to make sure the country has the type of medical care I'd need so I could get it.  For instance, do you have a cardiac problem so if you had a heart attack, could the local hospital and doctors give you proper treatment?  Can you get the insulin dependably should you need it?  I'm in good health but I'd want to make sure I had access to good medical treatment in that locality.  What about long term care should it be needed?  Can you find it there or would you have to return to the states?

It is highly recommended one rent rather than buy in a foreign locale because you might not be able to get a mortgage since you do not have regular income in the traditional sense. You'd have to tie up a chunk of your retirement monies to buy the place. In addition, you'd have to understand the contract which is probably in another language. 

Furthermore, investing in a house overseas means less flexibility should you need to leave suddenly or you want to move elsewhere. It is recommended that if you must buy, live in the area for at least a year before deciding to do buy so you know if you really, really want to settle in the area. 

Another thing is to keep most of your monies in the states because accounts in the United States are federally backed.  You can also use ATM machines to get cash if you end up in a place that uses mostly cash.  I know the next time I go to Germany, I need to have lots of cash because they prefer cash to credit cards.  When you have to use ATM's overseas make sure you are with an institution that refunds foreign ATM fees.

In addition, there are tons of headaches if you try to buy or sell investments  or try to deposit certain funds overseas.  Depositing 401(k) or IRA funds overseas can trigger a 10% withholding fee while one thing that is tax exempt in one place may not be in the United States.

Furthermore, you'll need to get credit cards that work in the country of your choice but which do not charge a foreign transaction fee.  This saves you money.  You also need to make sure you have medical coverage via a policy of some sort because Medicare will not work there.  The last thing to think about is you will still be required to pay United States Taxes if you are a United States citizen.  Often you will be able to deduct the taxes so you pay little or none but be aware of that policy.  Please check the last bit about taxes if you do decide to go overseas because tax rules change and this may no longer be the case at the time it is read.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The 8 Most Expensive Liquor in the World

Martini Drop Water Colo Drink Alcohol Glas

I will preface this column with the note that I am not a drinker in anyway shape or form but the rest of my family does.  My father's favorite is Talisker single malt whisky from Scotland.  It's the one thing I know I can give him at Christmas, Father's day, and on his birthday and knew he'll love it.  He's reached an age where he appreciates its taste even more.

I know that some liquors are more expensive than others so I thought I'd check into those because I'm always interested in prices of the finer things even if I can't afford them.  My list is not necessarily in order of price, just to let you know.

1.  Armand de Brignac Midas is a wonderful champagne from a small vineyard in France.  It comes in a gold painted 30L bottle packaged in a minimalistic black box for a measly $200,000 price tag.  A regular bottle of champagne from these same producers is still rather expensive at $300.

2. Bombay Sapphire Revelation is a limited run of five bottles filled with a high quality gin.  The bottles are adorned with  Baccarat crystal, diamonds and sapphires and goes for $200,000 per bottle.

3. The Dalmore 62 is one  of the most expensive bottles of scotch in the world for only $215,000.  The liquor was aged for 62 years before being bottled.  In addition, only twelve bottles were ever produced so its a very limited run. It has been suggested a person buy a bottle and keep it because as the other bottles are opened, the value for the unopened ones will increase.

4. Royal Salute Tribute to Honor is  another scotch one can purchase at $215,000 per bottle.  The liquor is a mixture of its various scotches, the youngest of which is 45 years old.  The bottle is encrusted with over 400 black and white diamonds.

5. The Macallan 64 Year old in Lalique: Cire Perdue is a scotch that goes for $460,000 per bottle.  The bottle is filled with 64 year old whiskey but what makes it so expensive is that only one bottle was ever made. 

6. DIVA Vodka goes through a process where it is triple distilled from natural spring water and other ingredients before its filtered through sand made from diamonds and gem stones before being placed in a bottle encrusted with tons of diamonds.  The price?  Only one million dollars.

7. Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne is an extremely rare cognac aged for 100 years before being bottled in a sterling platinum and 24 carat gold container encrusted with  over 6000 diamonds.  This is yours for $2,000,000.

8. Pasion Azteca, Platinum Liquor Bottle is the most expensive in the world at $3.5 million.  For that you get the most expensive tequila in the world.  Must of the cost is due to the bottle it comes in.  The four year old tequila is found in a platinum and white gold bottle covered with about 6,400 diamonds.

As I said, I am not a drinker but its interesting to see three scotches on the list and finding out the tequila is the most expensive but it appears much of the cost is due to the fancy container they come in.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

It Started With A Glove!

Tennis, Sport, Sport Equipment, Racket Imagine trying to hit a ball with your hand instead of a racket.  Along the way things changed to what we know today.

There is theory that tennis originated in the town of Tinnis in Egypt by the Nile.  The same theory states the word for racquet evolved from the Arab word for hand.

Unfortunately, there is no real evidence to support this particular theory.  The best evidence for tennis is that it began in French Monasteries. 

It started by bouncing a ball against a wall or over a string strung across part of the courtyard.  It gained the name of "game of the hand" or jeu de paumes because they used their hands to hit the ball.  Another theory is that the term Tennis came from the french word tenez which means "Take this!", the comment players are reputed to have yelled out before hitting the ball.

Originally the game was played with a bare hand but that was uncomfortable so people began using some sort of glove that either had webbing between the fingers or used a paddle.  This evolved into a crude racquet with webbing attached to a handle.  Balls were made of wool, hair, or cork, covered in string, or even cloth.  Over time, they became hand stitched and resembled the modern ball.

The monks taught the French Nobility and they loved it so much, it is said that there were over 1,800 courts in France.  The pope and the king both disapproved of it to the point they tried  to ban it but were unsuccessful.  The game migrated over to England where King Henry VIII loved it and promoted it.

The wooden frame racquet strung with sheeps gut became popular by 1500, along with the three ounce cork centered balls.  The tennis courts of this era were much narrower, with walls used by player to bounce balls off of.  The net was not the same height all the way across, instead, it was five feet tall at the ends with a center of only three feet.

Unfortunately over time, interest dwindled until there were few players left but it was the invention of rubber which renewed interest because tennis balls with a rubber core were much bouncier and moved better than previous ones.  In addition, the game moved from being played inside to outside which demanded a different set of rules.

In 1874, the first rules and pieces of equipment were patented for a game resembling modern tennis.  At about the same time, the first tennis court appeared in the United States and equipment had been sold across the world. However, the court and rules were critisized because the court was hour glass shaped and the rules hard to follow so both were changed by players. Within a few years, Wimbledon began with its annual competition.

The Wimbledon committee came up with the current shape and size of the court along with the rules all matches are played by today.  Wow, I never realized it had such a fascinating history.  This topic came out of one of my math books when we read a teaser on it and I wanted to learn more.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.