Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ping Pong = Table Tennis But When?

Table Tennis, Ping Pong, Passion, Sport  I remember watching experts play table tennis growing up.  I'd see games on television and be amazed at how fast they'd return the ball.  Back and forth, back and forth until the ball shot off the table, past the player.

When I play, I'm a lot slower, a lot less graceful than most players.  The only advantage I have, is I'm a left handed player so I can sometime sneak a ball through but I am purely an amateur.

I often wandered how the game came to be.  Did it start as an indoor version of tennis?  Did someone have some odds and ends around and created the game?  When and where did it come from?

It started back in the 1880's when lawn tennis players figured out a way to bring their game in so it could be played over the winter.  The game gained a reputation as a parlor game because anyone could play it if they had a table, a ball, and a paddle.  The early balls were made of rummer or cork but were replaced by a celluloid ball that bounced much better in 1900.  In the 1890's, the David Foster company began selling a boxed version of table tennis, fully patented. At the end of the 1800's, a company invented the name "Ping Pong" in England while Parker Brothers, the American game company, trademarked the name.

The game became quite popular and was marketed under a variety of names from Ping Pong, Table Tennis, Whiff Waff, Parlour Tennis, Indoor Tennis, Pom-Pom, Clip-Clap, and others.  In 1901, over 300 people participated in tournaments sanctioned by the Ping Pong Association.  In 1902, a visiting Japanese professor discovered the game and took it back to Japan when he returned.  Others took the game to Hungry and Austria before it spread out across the world.  By 1922, England had their own All England Table Tennis club and the Daily Mirror newspaper sponsored a series of competitions which drew over 40,000 competitors.  In the same year, the Ping Pong Association renamed itself the Table Tennis Association.

Soon afterwards, international matches began with the Hungarians dominating the championships throughout the 30's.  Most paddles of the time had a thin layer of pimpled rubber but in the 1950's, the Japanese introduced paddles with a sandwich rubber that changed the face of the sport.  The new material caused balls to spin more, and move differently, almost as if imbued by magic. As a result, The International Table Tennis Federation adjusted their rules so the thickness of all paddles was controlled.

In addition, since 1988, Table Tennis has been a recognized Olympic Sport and debuted in Seoul Korea. This lead to the size of the ball being changed in 2000 so it was larger and more easily seen on television when being broadcast.  Just a year later, the rules changed again so instead of needing 21 points to win, it was dropped to 11 points. China has become a table tennis powerhouse, winning all the gold medals at the past few Olympics.

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wanted! Cat to Hire!

Cat, Young Animal, Curious, Wildcat Throughout history, people have gotten bright ideas for using cats to make life easier.  Some ideas sort of made sense but the originators of these uses forgot that cats tend to be quite independent.  Most cats are not trainable, nor do they listen to instructions very well.

Sometime during the 1870's, the town of Liege, Belgium decided to hire cats to deliver the mail.  The post office hired 37 cats to deliver the mail. From what I can tell, the idea was the cats hired would take the mail directly to their owners home for a small fee - a saucer of milk.

Postal employees placed the mail in waterproof bags which were then fastened around the neck of the cat.  Once released, the cat was supposed to immediately go home but most cats wandered around the city.  The fastest delivery took five hours while most took all day.  This service didn't last very long.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom hired cats beginning in 1868 but not to deliver it.  Cats were hired to keep the Post Offices clear of mice.  Every cat was paid one shilling per week for food, etc and some even received a small pension.  This continued well into the 1950's.  Even the United States had cats who kept post offices clear of mice.  Unfortunately, the feline population got out of hand and was banished from all buildings.

Although it is the 21st century, cats are still being hired to perform certain duties, some you know and some you don't.

1.  A Bengal guard cat hired by the Bandai toy factory to hunt and kill mice in their warehouse.  The cat is classified as security guard and as part of the employment package receives proper care.

2. There is a cat who is recognized as a prize winning composer.  One day the cat jumped on a piano  keyboard.  Its owner heard the music and wrote it down as the cat created it.  The owner submitted it to a Parisian contest and it won a prize.

3. A cat in Russia has been hired to find illegal sturgeon smugglers by sniffing them out.  Unfortunately the cat was run over by a hitman because he was interrupting the illegal trade by finding shipments.

4. One of the libraries in Russia promoted a cat to the position of assistant librarian.  The cat is regularly paid 30 servings of cat food per month.

5. In 1963, the French tested 14 alley cats to become astronauts but 10 had to be discharged from the program for over eating.  One of the remaining four traveled 97 miles into space and survived a space shot.

6. In addition, the CIA tried using cats to spy on the Russians during the 1960's.  They spent $20 million and 5 years to develop the first cat spy. When they tested the cat, it ran away into traffic and was killed by a car.  The CIA dropped the program.

7. For 16 years, a cat has been elected Mayor of a town in Alaska.  He loves his catnip but his time as mayor has been fraught with personal danger.

8.  In Japan, one of the rail stations hired a cat as station master which resulted in an increased ridership of 10 percent or around 2.1 million additional riders.  Due to this contribution, the cat was moved up the ladder to become an Operating Officer with two assistants.

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Which Sunset?

Horizon, Sky, Sunset, Ocean, Water, Sea  I don't know why people say watching television is a waste of time but I watch the type of shows that provide me with new information.  Again, due to NCIS, I learned there are three different definitions for when sunset or sunrise occurs.

The three different definitions actually refer to twilight which is the time when its light but before the sun rises above the horizon. 

In the morning, it's referred to as dawn but in the evening, its called dusk.  What actually happens is the Earths upper atmosphere is scattering and reflecting sunlight to the lower levels. The three twilight's happen because the sun is quite large and it takes time to pass by the horizon.  As stated earlier, there are three types of twilight classified by the angle formed by the sun's elevation.

First is the civil twilight. It is defined as happening when the sun is fewer than 6 degrees below the horizon.  Civil twilight lasts until sunrise.  It is the brightest and often people do not need any artificial light outdoors.  During civil twilight, it is possible to see the brightest astronomical objects with the naked eye.

Second is the nautical twilight is defined as when the sun is between 6 and 12 degrees below the horizon.  It is not as bright as the civil twilight and usually requires artificial light for outdoor activities.  The name dates back to when they used to navigate by the stars.  Furthermore, the United States military uses the nautical twilight time when planning tactical operations.

Finally is the astronomical twilight defined as when the sun is between 12 and 18 degrees below the horizon.  This is the darkest version of twilight and often the light is just beginning to peek through the total darkness.

In addition, the length of twilight is determined by the location the viewer is located on the planet.  The twilight at the equator is much shorter from astronomical to civil than further north at the poles where at certain times, the nautical twilight is much longer.

A side effect of the three different twilight's has to do with the color of light you see.  During the astronomical twilight, since the rays of light must travel further, the light is going to show up as deep violet or blue.  As the sun rises towards the horizon, the colors change to red, orange till it finally looks light.

I hope this explains the different colors you see every dawn and dusk while learning about the three types of twilight.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 28, 2019

On the North? Always?

Fall Foliage, Moss, Tree, Autumn, Leaves  I remember as a child, one should look for moss on trees to help you figure out which way is north and from there you can get an idea of which way to go.  Then the other night, I was rewatching NCIS and the medical examiners arrived late because the driver thought moss grew on the south side.  Ducky replied that only applied in the southern hemisphere.

That comment made me wonder if it was true?   People say the Coriolis effect has water swirling one direction in the north and the other way in the south, so why wouldn't moss grow on the opposite side of the tree.

This idea has been around for a very long time and has probably been handed down from generation to generation.   So the question is why does moss seem to grow only on the north side of the tree? 

Moss is a simple plant that likes to grow in shade.  The way the planet works is that the further north from the equator you travel, the more shade you are likely to get on the north side and in they same way, the further south you go from the equator, the more shade is found on the south side of the tree.

Furthermore, moss need moisture because moss are unable to circulate water around, the cells have to have immediate access to water and the plant also needs it to reproduce.   Again the north  or southern sides make it more likely the moss will find everything it needs to survive.

But that is not the full story.  Moss only tend to grow more on the north or south side but if the conditions are right, moss can be found any where on the tree as long as there is shade and water.  Which is why you may find moss growing on rocks, fallen logs, or anywhere else proper conditions are found.

In addition, the surface has to be such that water slows enough for the moss to absorb and use the moisture.  This is one reason you may not see moss on certain rocks, or trees while they are on others or higher off the ground than in other situations.

So now you know, its not always found on the north or south side.  It is found where ever the conditions are proper for moss to grown.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Sugar Before Sacks.

Lump Sugar, Sugar, Cubes, Sweet, Food Have you ever read any books by Laura Ingalls Wilder? I read the whole series when I was younger and in the parts she talked about baking sweets, she always had to chip the sugar off a block and then smash it till it was soft.

I'd never heard of that because all the sugar we used was granulated and easy to use.  I have no idea when it went from solid bricks to loose granules so here is a bit of its history.

The story goes that  the Persians borrowed it from India because it was a sweet not produced by bees and much easier to get.  Of course it came from sugar cane and the Europeans did not discover it until they invaded the Middle East during the Crusades in the 11th century. They brought back the "sweet salt with them.  It was first recorded in England in 1099 and by the 1300's cost about $100 per kilo in today's dollars so it was a luxury item afforded only by the rich.

In the 1300's, Venice became the first sugar processing center as ships brought the cane from the Near East.  At this time, refined sugar was sold in conical block of crystallized sugar also referred to as "Venice Cones".  They were made by heating the sugar cane juice to turn it into a sugar syrup. The syrup was poured into a upside down cone where the crystals formed and any extra water could run out. 

About the same time, other countries began planting sugar cane in other places such as Brazil, Central America and the Caribbean.  In fact, Columbus is alleged to have taken some sugar cane plants with him and introduced them to there in 1493 where its been grown since then.  By the mid 1700's, there were around 120 sugar refineries spread around the United Kingdom but they could only produce 30,000 tons per year so it was still quite expensive to purchase.  It was often referred to as "White Gold". About the same time, the government began heavily taxing it as a way to raise money until the tax was abolished in 1874 so ordinary people could afford it.

A second source of sugar was discovered in 1747 but it didn't become a major source until the Napoleonic wars when Britain blockaded continental Europe so sugar could no longer be imported. So they turned to the sugar beet and it became the major source of sugar by 1880 in Europe.  Britain began using sugar beets during World War I when their supply of sugar became hard to obtain.

Around the mid 1800's, a man developed a machine to make sugar cubes but individually wrapped sugar cubes appeared in Paris in 1908.  Granulated sugar sold in loose form in bags showed up sometime late in the 1800's or the early 1900's.  Its unclear exactly when but it happened and made cooking so much easier.

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

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Origins of Childhood Songs and Poems.

London, Tower Bridge, Bridge, Monument When I was growing up, we played games outside and sometimes in the gym. These games seemed to have songs associated with them.  We never thought about the origins and honestly, I don't know if the games are still played because I've never seen them played here in the village. 

One, Ring Around the Rosie, is said to originate from the 1300's when the Black Plague struck the world, wiping out about a third of the population but Snopes states that statement is not true.

According to Snopes, Ring around the Rosie is quite recent and has not been around since the 1300's.  The first printed version of the song appeared in 1881 in Kate Greenway's  "Mother Goose in 1881.  It is unlikely for this song to have been about the plague in the 1300's yet is never referred to in any way until 1881.  Furthermore, there were several different versions of this song published in at least 5 different books between 1881 and 1898.  Although it is possible to argue there are references to the plague in one version, none of the others have that so its unlikely any of the versions were preserved perfectly for over 5 centuries.

Jack and Jill is another one that may have shrouded origins.  It is said the Jack in the story represents King Louis 16th of France who was beheaded while Jill is his wife Marie Antoinette yet there does not appear to be any clear cut proof of that.  One source suggests its just a rhyme written over a period of time.  It is said the first verse is the oldest and probably has been around since the 1700's.  The second verse did not make an appearance until the early 1800's when chapbooks became all the rage.  Chapbooks were small illustrated books filled with extended versions of nursery rhymes. 

Then there is London Bridge in which we all fell down.  One story says its about the bridge falling down way back in 1044 but there is no evidence this claim is true.  On the other hand, they've found a reference to "London Bridge is breaking down" in a poem printed in 1725 and in another poem published in 1740.  About the same time, children's games involving falling bridges appeared in London, Paris, and other countries.  In fact, the Italian game "La Porte" which is essentially a game involving a falling bridge dates from the mid 1300's.  Thus it seems to be based on a game, not on a bridge actually collapsing.

I've always wondered about these.  I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about these three games/songs.  I remember playing to London Bridge and Ring around the Rosie but Jack and Jill was a song they had us learn in music.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Strangest Desserts.

Cake, Piece Of Cake, Confectionery, Bake  If you ask people about their favorite desserts, you are likely to get everything from ice cream to cake to possibly fresh fruit but I doubt some of these are your first choice.

They are all different and unique.  Some are extremely expensive while others are just a tad more than you'd normally spend but each and everyone is distinctive.

Lets start with the Cherpumple, is a spice cake  filled with apple, pumpkin, and cherry pies, sealed with cream cheese frosting.  This dessert was created in 2009 by a humorist who lives in Los Angeles and whose idea was translated into commercial dessert sold by a Philadelphia Bakery.  Each piece has bout 1800 calories.

Next comes the Sultan's Golden Cake a worthy dessert costing $1,000 and requires 72 hours prior notice for a hotel in Turkey produce.  What makes the cake so expensive is the rare French Polynesian vanilla,  caramelized black truffles, and 24 carat gold edible flakes.

Not every dessert is going to be this expensive.  Over in Malaysia and Singapore you can find shaved ice  topped with evaporated milk after being mixed with red beans, lychee fruit, and green grass jelly.  I've had something similar and it was soooooo good and sooooo cooling.

So many people like ice cream. I do.  My favorites are ginger shower or chocolate peanut butter but there are people who like to make ice cream in a much faster way than the traditional method.  In stead of salt and lots of churning, they use liquid nitrogen to freeze it instantly. I have no idea how it tastes but I did see it made on Num3ers one time.

On the other hand, you could try a table dessert where lingonberry syrup and yellow butternut are placed on the table.  Drops of a sweet stout reduction are sprinkled on followed by bowling ball sized pieces of chocolate that are then smashed to pieces on the table. Or you could try the other dessert of peppermint snow, persimmon, honey gelee, cranberry pudding and anise hyssop all served on Douglas Fir.

If you like candy bars, how about trying one that is deep fried.  Think about a Mars bar, dipped in batter and deep fried to let everything become gooey before eating it.  Of course if you go to Los Angeles you could try a Sriracha bar composed of a rice crispy bar layered with caramel, a chili ganache, spicy peanuts, dark chocolate and  covered with chocolate.

The same place makes the Devil's Tres Leches where they take devils food cake, soak it in a cinnamon infused - cayenne pepper infused milk before adding tapioca pudding and spicy peanut brittle.

Last is a dessert from Turkey finely minced chicken mixed with rice, milk, sugar, flour, and butter before being covered with a dusting of cinnamon and sprinkled with almonds. This dessert has been around since the Ottoman Empire.

Some sound a bit richer than I'd be interested in.  Please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Which Butter To Use?

Butter, Ingredient, Yellow, Cooking  Butter is one of those things you love or hate.  I love it but I monitor how much I use on vegetables because too much of anything can be bad but when it comes to baking I have some definite preferences just like every other cook out there.

I love cooking with butter for cookies, cakes, and breads but I have other family members who think its a waste of money and stick with margarine.

If you are like me, you've noticed an increase in the number and types of butter have been increasing from the two - salted and unsalted that used to grace the shelf.  So in the interest of educating myself and others, I am sharing what I've learned.

1.  Regular salted and unsalted, the type that's been on the shelves forever.  The salted variety is best on toast, pancakes, and waffles which is how I love it.  Butter made in the United States is required to have 80% butter fat.  It is considered a sweet cream butter because it is made out of fresh pasteurized milk.  The unsalted is better used in baking or in making pan sauces because the amount of salt needs to be controlled.

2. Next is Grass Fed butter made from the milk of grass fed cows.  The butter is yellower, with a more grassy flavor.  Some say its healthier than regular butter but I don't know for sure.  This version also comes in both salted and unsalted and can be used in the same way.

3. Coming from a slightly different avenue is cultured butter, originally made from cream that has begun to ferment.  In today's world they add bacterial to obtain  the same results as natural fermentation.  Cultured butter comes in both salted and unsalted versions but its said to provide a bit more tang than both regular and grass fed.

4.  You'll also see butter labelled as "European" which is a label that could mean its from a specific area such as Bordeaux or it means butter made somewhere in Europe but most of it is classified as cultured butter.  In general, European butter is required to contain 82% butter fat as opposed to the 80% required in the United States.  This means it will taste a bit richer than you are used to.  It also produces fluffier cakes and flakier than normal pastries.

5.  Of course there is always Ghee also known as clarified butter where the butter is heated so that only the butter fat remains.  Clarified butter smokes at a higher temperature than regular butter, lasts longer than regular butter due to the reduced amount of water.  It is frequently used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. 

6.  Then there is clotted cream which is made out of cream that is indirectly heated and cooled in shallow pans so small clots rise to the surface, separating from the rest.  This is used in the United Kingdom as part of afternoon tea.  Due to the high amount of butter fat, it is classified as a butter in the United States.

You will find whipped butter which has air blended into it to make it lighter while spreadable butter has oil added to make it easier to smooth on toast but they both use regular butter.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Myths of the Blood Moon

Astronomy, Moon, Cosmos, Lunar, Space Last night, there was a blood moon.  It was actually a lunar eclipse that happened around 7:45 PM local time.  I stepped out of the house into a blowing wind that pushed snow all over the place while the sky was mostly clear.

I walked to the end of the building where I could see things.  The moon was almost covered with just a slit of white showing out of the reddish cover.  The moon almost faded into the deep sky color.

A blood moon can only occur during the full moon.  The red color is caused by the moon passing through the earth's shadow rather than totally blotting it out.  Historically, a blood moon signaled impending doom.  Each society had their own interpretation for this event.

The Incan people believed the deep red color was caused by a Jaguar eating the moon.  They were afraid the Jaguar would attack the earth once it finished eating the moon, so they made lots of noise in the hopes of keeping it away. 

On the other hand, Mesopotamia's people believed the blood moon or any eclipse was an assault on their king so a body double was hired from the general population to take the place of the king during eclipses so if the pretend king was killed, the real  one remained alive. 

Some people took advantage of the blood moon to line their pockets.  It is said that on Columbus's fourth journey to the new world, his boats were attacked by worms so they had to put in at Jamaica.  After about six months, their welcome was wearing thin and people did not want to continue feeding them.  Columbus had an almanac, so he used the information of the upcoming blood moon to tell the leader that the Christian god was upset with the natives for refusing to feed them.  When the moon turned red, the natives rushed to provide food for Columbus and his men out of fear.  He pardoned them just as the eclipse ended.

Several Hindi folktales connected the blood moon with the demon Raku imbibing an elixir to obtain immortality.  It is said that the sun and the moon decapitated him but his head reamed immortal and it chases the sun and moon across the sky.  When the head catches the moon, we have a blood moon.

At least two Native Americans thought the moon was ill during an eclipse so they would sing or chant healing songs at the moon in the hopes of healing it. A tribe in Africa sees this event as the sun and moon having an argument which the people encourage them them to resolve.

Of course, as science has developed and we've learned more, we know none of the beliefs mentioned above are true but its still fun to learn about them.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The History Of Chewing Gum

Candy, Chiclets, Brand, Gum, ColorfulI seldom chewed gum growing up because it was seen as something nice people didn't do.  Actually, the only time I could chew gum was when I flew somewhere because it relieved the pressure in my ears, otherwise, I couldn't.  I think there was a song in the 60's about leaving your chewing gum on the bedpost over night so it would taste better but I have no idea if that was true.

During my research on gum flavors, I stumbled across a comment about chewing gum being around for a very long time.  I thought it was rather recent but apparently, this item has been around a lot longer. 

According to several sources, people as far back as 9000 years ago were chewing a birch bark tar while the Ancient Greeks chewed a mastic gum made out of resin from the mastic tree.  Ancient Mayas chewed a derivative of the Sapodillo tree while Native Americans chewed spruce tree resin, a practice taken up by European settlers. 

This lead to John Curtis developing the first commercial chewing gum in 1840 by boiling spruce tree resin before cutting it into strips, coating it with cornstarch and selling it. He called it "The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.  About 10 years later, Mr Curtis build the first chewing gum factory in Portland, Maine but spruce resin gum had a few problems.  The gum really didn't taste good and it became too brittle when chewed, so he and others began playing around with the recipe to make it better by adding paraffin wax.

It wasn' until 1869 that the United States issued the first chewing gum patent to Amos Tyler who never actually commercially made chewing gum.  However, a dentist took the patent and marketed a chewing gum with charcoal and chalk.

About the same time, another inventor - Mr Adams - got some chicle, the derivative from the Sapodillo tree, from the Mexican President to produce some type of rubber but he discovered it worked better as chewing gum by flavoring it.  He founded a company to produce the Adams New York Chewing Gum which was really the first mass marketed gum. 

Over the next few years, the company marketed Sour Orange gum as an after dinner gum and Black Jack - a licorice flavored gum. Unfortunately there was only one big problem with all these gums, they were unable to hold flavor for very long.  This problem was overcome in the 1880's when someone added sugar and corn syrup to the Chicle, threw in some peppermint for longer flavor and marketed it as Yucatan Gum.

Adams took advantage of this technology to create Tutti-Fruitti flavored gum, the first chewing gum sold in vending machines located in the New York subways.   Until the mid-1900's, Chicle was imported from Mexico and South America and used as the main ingredient in chewing gum. 

Around the same time as this was happening, William Wrigley Jr was selling soap to stores and offering free cans of baking powder as a reward.  He discovered store owners were more interested in the baking powder than the soap, he began selling baking powder while offering chewing gum as a reward for buying the baking powder.

In 1893, he began offering two new flavors of gum.  One was Juicy Fruit while the other was Spearmint.  Wrigley decided to stand out in the crowd of competitors by heavily advertising his product and using direct marketing.  He did things like mail samples of chewing gum to every person listed in the phone books, or sending gum to every child on their second birthday. 

While Wrigley did this, Frank Fleer took a different path after he made cubes of chicle overlaid with a sweet material marketed as Chiclets.  He was one of those numerous competitors, so he focused on creating a chewing gum that could be blown into bubbles.  In 1906, he came up with "Blibber-Blubber" the first bubble gum but it didn't sell well because it was way too sticky.  However, in 1928, one of his employees finally solved the problem and the company released the first commercial bubble gum dubbed "Dubble Bubble". 

Competition continued with changes to the basic recipe so gum improved along with new flavors, colors, etc.  In 1951, the Tripp company created a new demand for bubble gum when they began packaging baseball cards with the gum, instead of a single cigarette.  This lead to children beginning their baseball card collection.

The other big development of the 1950's, was the invention of sugar gum and bubble gum to decrease the formation of cavities.  So now you can find gum in all sorts of flavors, shapes, and sizes.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Let me know.  Have a great day.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

11 Weird Flavors of Gum.

Child, Chewing Gum, Surprised It seems that more and more people are chewing gum, from students, to waitresses, to the paperboy.  Most of the gum chewers I know, tend to stick to regular flavors such as wintergreen, mint, or possibly a fruit flavor but there are flavors out there, I've never heard of.

In addition, most of these flavors I've never seen in the stores I visit, but I'm assured they exist. You'll find flavors you might want to try and other flavors you'll say no way but I hope you enjoy reading about each and every one.

1.  For those who love, love, love bacon, there is a bacon flavored chewing gum produced in the United States. According to the description, this gum allows you all the flavor without any of the calories associated with real bacon.

2.  On the other hand, for those who love a spicy flavor of gum, check out the Wasabi gum made by Archie McPhee specialty company.  Wasabi is becoming quite a popular flavor for things like chips and dried peas.

3. Don't have time for dinner, try TV dinner chewing gum with three flavors, beef, corn, and apple cobbler. I suspect they expect you to chew one flavor at a time, rather than all three at once.  Don't worry, the gum comes in three different colors so you can tell the difference.  I'm not sure I'd like the beef or corn but the apple cobbler sounds appealing.

4. From Japan comes Man Smells Gum which is labeled as having a rose menthol flavor.  The gum is marketed towards older men with the idea that the rose essence soaks into a man's pores making the whole gum chewing experience so much more.

5. Back to America to try Meatball chewing gum which is shaped like meatballs and tastes like meatballs but it does not include marinara sauce.  This gum was designed for those who like Italian food.

6. The next flavor sounds like something that would work out in the Alaskan bush where frozen ice cream often melts and is refrozen before it arrives in town.  Wrigley's made a sugar free Mint chocolate chip flavored gum to join its "Desserts Delights" line of gum.

7. Now for those people who love to celebrate Thanksgiving year round are in luck.  They can buy the Thanksgiving Gumballs with turkey, pumpkin pie, and cranberry flavored gum.  Each flavor is a different color so you know which one is which flavor.  Again, all the flavor without the calories.

8. If you prefer something a bit more highbrow, check out the Fois gras flavor or as my father would say "Duck liver" flavored gum. Quite fancy but affordable for everyone.

9. Do you like fruit?  If so, head to Mexico and check out the Mojitas Bananas gum which I'm told is quite close to the original. 

10.  Back to Japan for a Pepper Fruit gum which is a combination of fruit with the spicy tank of black pepper.  I've heard the balance of the two flavors is quite good because they compliment each other beautifully, sweet against spicy.

11.  For the last flavor, we return to the United States to enjoy pickle flavored gum.  If you are curious as to the type of pickle, the gum balls are dill flavored.  If my sister had kept these around, she wouldn't have had to send her husband out in the middle of the night to buy more pickles when she was pregnant.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

One Pot Pasta Meals

Pasta, Noodles, Plate, Eat, Lunch The other day, I came across a basic formula for making one pot pasta.  I'd never done anything like that so I tried it for dinner and it worked so well. Using only one pot to cook dinner meant clean up was so much easier. 

I chose to make the pasta because I'm waiting for my fresh produce to arrive later this week.  I'll describe what I did to make my dinner.

The first thing I did was to grab a handful of dried mushrooms and reconstituted them in 2 1/4 cups of hot water.  Once they were soft, I pulled them out, cut them up and threw them back into the mushroom water with onions, garlic, basil pesto and tomato paste along with 8 ounces of whole grain macaroni.

I put it over medium heat for 15 minutes until the liquid was almost absorbed, pulled the pan off the burner, and let it sit on the stove top for about 15 more minutes until the liquid was fully absorbed. The last thing I did was throw a bit of grated Parmesan on top and I had a lovely meal.

The great thing about this formula is the ratio of pasta to liquid is 8 ounces to 2 1/4 cups.  The liquid could be water but it could be a combination of water and beer or wine or even stock or broth for a more flavorful base.  This is where you'd add tomato sauce or paste if you prefer a tomato flavor.

To the liquid you need to add the pasta, spices,  some sort of protein like chicken, tofu, beans, but not the cheese.  That comes later.  You'd also add any veggies you want such as mushrooms, eggplants, peppers, etc at the beginning.  Put a tight fitting lid on the pot, put it over medium heat so it doesn't boil over and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender with a bit of liquid left in the pot.

If you want to add cheese, this is when you would add it with some heavy cream for a smoother mac and cheese or broccoli and cheese type of pasta.  I would recommend you cut the meat into small pieces if you want it to cook properly or use left over meat from the night before. 

I didn't need an instant pot, or a slow cooker.  I just used one of my regular pots with a tight fitting  lid and it worked properly.  This is a dish I can make any night I have little time or I'm extremely tired.  It made enough for me to have for lunch later in the week.

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Salt, Salt, and More Salt.

Salt, Hand, Food, White, Salt, Salt The other night, I grabbed a packet of dried soup to make for dinner.  It was a simple vegetable soup with dumplings that took about 5 minutes to cook.  Once it was done, I tasted it and it had so much salt, I could have floated an egg on the liquid.  I needed to double the amount of water to make it almost edible. 

I checked the back of the soup packet to check the nutritional contents.  The amount of sodium listed turned out to be about 40 percent of the daily required amount per person.

I looked at another packet and it contained enough sodium to meet 44 percent of the daily required amount per person.  I don't usually buy preprocessed foods so it was a surprise to find so much sodium in the soup.  One reason, there is so much salt in processed foods is due to salt's preservative characteristics.  Salt when used as a preservative, absorbs water from bacteria either killing it or slow down its growth.

The second thing salt does is enhance the flavor of the food being prepared.  For this, its best to use a sprinkle of salt once the dish is prepared because you don't need much at all.  Unfortunately, people get into a habit of salting the food before they taste it so they add to the amount there.  One important thing is that salt is not the only item that adds sodium to the food.  It can also be added via Mono sodium glutamate,  sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate, and many other additives.

Some of the foods you'll find high levels of sodium, include processed cheese, dried foods, luncheon meats, bacon, sausage, pasta mixes like mac and cheese, pizza, chips, crackers, soups, rice dishes, fast food, etc.  At this point over 70% of sodium consumed by Americans is by eating processed food from the store or from restaurants.  Since the daily required amount of sodium recommended is between 1500 and 2300 milligrams each day, that means most people are getting between 1000 and 1650 milligrams of sodium by eating processed foods.

Think about this,  if I ate two servings of that soup every day, I'd have used most of my recommended daily amount.  Unfortunately, too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease and strokes. 

The fastest way to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet is to read the nutritional labels on every product you purchase to make life easier or even better is to make everything from scratch so you are not adding sodium by adding a can of mushroom soup and onion rings to your cooked green beans for your famous green bean casserole you bring to every potluck.

If you buy it at the store, check the nutritional label even if its labeled all natural or whole grains because it can still have a fair bit of salt.  Even your bottled salad dressings often have 300 to 400 milligrams of salt per serving.  If you buy it at the store and it has a nutritional label, there is a good chance it has quite a bit of sodium.

I now know, not to assume but to double check.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bad Beginning to January

Snowflakes, Snow, Bokeh, Snow Bokeh After two days of bad weather, I arrived home to frozen pipes.  Part of it was due to the fact I'd been for two weeks and the other had to do with the way the system had been constructed. 

The running water flows through a double pipe system filled glycol between the two pipes designed to keep the water from freezing.

Unfortunately, over the years, they system has spring leaks which have not necessarily been fixed properly.  In addition, the pipes lie on top of the ground because if the pipes were buried under ground, it would be too hard to dig the ground up around them due to the frozen ground.

Originally, the village got several feet of snow each year which provided a natural insulation around the pipes.  The water never got cold enough to freeze and generally worked well but over the past few years the amount of snow had decreased significantly and this year, there is not enough snow to properly insulate the pipes. 

They got my plumbing working by around Tuesday of this past week but by Saturday night, it was down again.  My toilet flushed but no water flowed in to replace the liquid which was sucked out by the suction system.  I replace the water so I didn't burn the suction system out but by the time I got ready for bed, the tub was not draining properly. 

Come Sunday morning, I had several inches of standing water in my tub and my toilet wasn't even working. I called maintenance to report the situation only to find out the whole east side of town had no running water due to everything being frozen.  I was told I'd be put on the list but they'd eventually get around to fixing it eventually.

I also heard the pipes in the boys locker room at school were frozen today so if they don't thaw and if the city doesn't get all the plumbing working properly we might have an abbreviated day.  The school has some sort of holding tanks for the toilets so when the city water goes down, we can still hold school for a few hours until they are full.

In the meantime, I couldn't clean house the way I wanted due to a lack of water but it got working in my kitchen sink so I washed hair there.  I can't take a shower, so it'll be what my mother calls a "spit bath" and hopefully, everything will be up and running. 

That is one of the things about living out in the bush of Alaska.  Even when you have running water, it is still controlled by the weather.  Its been so cold here, you could feel the cold work its way through your outer coat to your bones.  I don't know the temperatures, but it has been extremely cold.  Cold enough to freeze half the pipes in town.

I'm hoping by the time you read this, I'll have everything up and running so I can do the laundry I couldn't do over the weekend.  I hope you've had a better weekend then I did.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, January 11, 2019

6 Obscenely Expensive Swimming Pools.

Swimmers, Swimming, Race, Competition The other day as I read up on the most expensive cakes, I got flippant and looked for the most expensive swimming pools.  Honestly, when I checked things out, I didn't think they would be all that expensive since swimming pools seem to fall within a certain range of prices.  I can tell you, I was wrong.  Some of the pools I found were way more expensive than I ever thought.

I admit that some of these pools are no what I would call a swimming pool but they seem to meet the definition of a pool.  Furthermore, they are found all around the world.

1.  We'll start out trip out in Egypt where the City of Stars is being built in Sharm el Sheikh by the Crystal Lagoon group.  This particular pool covers 21 acres at the City of Stars resort, surrounded by 30,000 condominiums and hotel rooms.  This pool is large enough to sail a yacht or really have a long swim.  The price tag on this baby is $5.5 million.

2.  Next in Japan, is the Sheraton Resorts  Seagaia Ocean Dome in Miyazaki Japan is the largest indoor pool in the world.  For a cost of $2 million, is 1000 feet by 328 feet complete with a wave pool, water slide, children's pool and an artificial volcano. The volcano erupts every 15 minutes,  while they clear the pool out several times a day so surfers can enjoy a wave or two.   In addition, it has a retractile roof so it can be opened on a warm day and covered when the temperature drops. Over the years it has closed due to renovations, changes in ownership, etc.

3. Popping over to Chile, you can visit the San Alfonso Del Mar resort with a swimming pool covering over 20 acres and filled with 66 million gallons of sea water.  The pool is large enough to have both swimmers and boats as it is about 6000 times the size of a regular hotel pool.  In addition, the water is regularly purified with advanced salt water technologies.The cost to build this pool - only a measly $2 million but it took 5 years to build and is only accessible by those visiting the resort.

4. Check out the Nemo 33 pool in Brussels, Belgium which has the the record of being the deepest scuba diving pool with a depth of 108 feet or 33 meters.  It has over 660,000 gallons  of filtered non-chlorinated spring water that is kept at a constant temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. It cost $3 million for a pool filled with tunnels, rooms, and regular diving areas.  Furthermore, they offer diving lessons for the non diver or places of exploration for the experienced divers.  This place is also used by underwater crews to film underwater scenes.

5.  In Arizona, the Kitchukov family took five months to build one of the most luxurious pools in the United States.  The pool is surrounded by a fully landscaped garden, a 15 foot water slide, a waterfall grotto, and multiple fountains.  The pool is about 10 times the size of a normal home pool,

6.   The Lev Leviev Family movied into a $68 million house in the United Kingdom.  Included in that price is a swimming pool is lined with gold tiles and has a sauna and full spa and the pool has a retractile cover.

There are other pools out there that are as expensive or more but many are much older and the cost has been adjusted to today's costs.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

The 7 Most Expensive Cakes.

Cake, Chocolate, Chocolate Cake  For most of us, cakes are not a big ticket item, even if we buy them from a bakery,  If we are after something special, it might cost us one or two hundred dollars but the cakes I'm about to discuss, are way more expensive.  Some are more expensive than those houses owned by millionaires.

1.  This $75 million cake takes the record as the most expensive cake ever made. The designer Debbie Wingham sett the record in 2015.  When the cake was unveiled, it was done so on a catwalk with models, jewels, and spectators.  Imagine a cake decorated with over 4000 diamonds worth a cool $45 million, It took over 1,100 hours to create this 1000 pound cake.

2. Next is a $53 million dollar wedding cake that is way over the average $400 cost for this type of cake.  This eight tiered cake covered with over 4000 diamonds was specifically made for the National Gay Wedding Show in 2013.  Attendees were allowed to eat the cake but they could not keep the diamonds.

3.  Coming in third is a $35 million pirate fantasy cake created by Dimuthu Kumarasinghe who won the Culinary Olympics nine times.  Each layer in the 10 layer cake featured a different flavor such as pumpkin, pistachio, cinnamon, or coconut.  Dimuthu designed it to look like a rundown pirate ship complete with a treasure chest filled with bounty.  The gems and jewelry were what took it up to the $35 million.

4. Then there is the $30 million cake created by the Cake Boss in answer to a challenge from the editor of Social Life.  The challenge was to create the most expensive cake at that point in time.  He used $30 million worth of rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires and he placed a crown on the top of the cake.

5.   Don't forget  the $20 million cake commissioned for the 2006 Luxury Bridal Show in Beverly Hills, California.  The designer created a 5 layer cake studded with diamonds and 24 carat gold.  This particular cake was guarded by six security guards during the show due to its cost.  It is not known if the cake was sold during the show. 

6.  Next is the rumored $5 million chocolate cake built in the shape of South Africa by a Tokyo jewelr shop owner who placed 2000 diamonds on it.  Apparently, there is only one photo on the whole of the internet supporting the existence of this cake.

7.   Finally is the Luster Dust cake worth only $1.3 million. This non-edible cake was covered with jewels and jewelry from the Dallas Gold and Silver Exchange for the 2010 Bridal Fair. The cake was made from foam and covered with a "Luster Dust" frosting before being covered with over a million dollars worth of jewels.  It was transported in an armored car and when displayed was watched 24 hours a day.  If it had been real, it would have weighted around 200 pounds.

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Skydiving, Older Than Expected.

Skydiving, Jump, Falling, ParachutingToday's blog is due to a topic Myth Busters explored on one of their shows.  Apparently, there were three things in the movie Point Break involving skydivers that Myth Busters wanted to determine if they could actually happen.  While watching it, they showed a clip of someone from the 1940's or 1950's getting ready to step out of a plane and I wondered how long skydiving has been around because planes have only been around for just over a century.

According to historical records, the Chinese were jumping off of cliffs in 1100's, using makeshift parachutes to float to the ground, something we refer to as "base jumping" today.  A few hundred years later, in 1485, Leonardo DiVinci drew detailed plans for the first parachute.  These drawings remained as drawings until the year 2000 that someone actually built a parachute from those plans and they worked  beautifully.

The first real parachute jump didn't happen until 1797, when a man using a basket and canvas parachute descended from a hot air balloon in France.  During World War I, the men in observational hot air balloons were equipped with parachutes in case they were damaged or shot down.  The first free fall jump, where people jump out of something, fall for a while before engaging their shoots only happened in 1919.

By this time, some pilots carried parachutes in planes and in 1922, one such pilot used a parachute when he had to bail out of his plane.  Sometime during the 1930's competitions between skydivers began while at the same time, the Soviet Union began developing their parachute units expanding them from 62 men in 1933 to 1,800 men in 1936. In general World War II increased the number of jumpers because it was a good way to get soldiers behind enemy lines. 

It was during this period that parachute technologies improved so parachutes were better and safer but due to shortages, parachutes were available to only the military.  When the war ended, parachutes were available to nonmilitary personnel which meant that many of the soldiers who returned home were able to continue jumping.

The group which later would become the United States Parachute Association, the governing body for skydiving was founded in 1946 in New York but over time it expanded until it became reconized as a national body.  The term skydiving was coined in the 1950's when skydiving became a national sport.  Within a decade, skydiving schools began popping up across the world.

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Did He Really Exist?

Wc, Toilet, Public Toilet, CleanIf you watch, enough television, you'll hear the name Thomas Crapper mentioned in association to the toilet.  Did he exist or is he a total myth.  Well, its a bit of both.  Thomas Crapper was born in 1836, probably sometime in September because he was baptized in September 1836.  Although his death is listed as July 17, 1910, it was more like July 27, 1910 as proven by his headstone and death certificate.

He had a successful career as a plumber and sanitation engineer between 1861 and 1904 in England. It is claimed he was never a plumber but according to sources, he apprenticed to a master plumber at the age of 14. 

By the time he was 25, he owned his own shop.  When people talk about flush toilets, people usually give Thomas Crapper credit for inventing it but that is not quite correct.  Although he did hold nine patents covering drains, water closets, manhole covers and pipe joints, he never actually filed a patent dealing with toilets.

Thomas Crapper had little to do with the invention of flush toilets because one was built back in 1596 but its cost was so expensive that few people could afford it. The first real flush mechanism appeared in 1775, well before he was born.  People believe he invented a silent valve to improve the flushing action of a toilet so it would work better with a half full cistern but again, that was someone else.

One reason people believe he invented the silent valve is because he marketed the product in his store.  No one is sure whether he purchased the patent from the inventor or whether the man worked for him and allowed him to sell it.  Either way, he became known for the Crapper Plumbing stores which were showrooms for bathroom fixtures such as tubs, toilets, sinks, etc.

At this point in history, it was scandalous to display plumbing fixtures out where people could see them but over time, he changed public opinion and created a market for these items.  Eventually, there were three Crapper Plumbing shops in the UK. When he retired he sold his two businesses to his partners who continued running all three stores until 1966.

Apparently, the term "crapper" as a nickname for toilet came from the Doughboys who passed through England on their way to the front lines during World War I.  They saw the name "Crapper" on the toilets and thought it was slang for toilet. Or at least says one story.

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

Monday, January 7, 2019


The trip home was not as fun as expected.  I did not make it home this past Friday as expected due to weather issues.  My trip had my flying to the regional hub via Anchorage and that was all wonderful.

I arrived at the hub to a beautiful sunny day with little wind but upon check-in, they informed us we could not fly as we were on weather hold.  It was cruddy at my destination.  Unfortunately, it didn't clear up at all, so all flights were cancelled and I had to take a room in town for the ugly rate of over $200 for the night.

Early the next morning, I arrived at 7:05 to check in for a possibly flight out to the village.  The great news did not override the bad news.  Due to an extremely low ceiling and no wind, we couldn't get out of town even though the village was clear and sunny.  

In addition, the terminal next door had their plumbing die so they sent their customers over to the terminal I was in to use the toilets.  This was all great until the holding tank ran out of water and suddenly no one could use the toilets. No water for flushing, no water for drinking, and no water to wash hands.  Furthermore, the cafe upstairs had to close down all food preparation since they couldn't clean anything.

Furthermore, the low cloud ceiling didn't clear at all so I had to spend another night in the hotel.  The only good news was the special Friday rate the hotel offered people who lived in villages.  It cut about $100 off the nightly rate.  So I spend one more night in a hotel that wasn't much better than a room at Motel 6.  

Once again, I arose before I wanted so I could arrive at the airport by 7:00 AM.  The idea of arriving so early is simply if the plane flies, you are there and can get on and go but due to the height of the fog, nothing was flying again.  Fortunately, the water truck was scheduled to make it's normal water delivery but it took them two tries because the first time the truck drove out, the driver forgot to check to see if the tank had any water.

After another hour, the tanks were filled and we could use the facilities again.  Talk about wonderful times to celebrate.  On the other hand, the fog still prevented us from going anywhere and we all hung out hoping and praying.  Sometime around 2 PM, everything started clearing up slowly and by 3:30 we were boarding and soon we hit the airways. I finally got home around 5 PM Saturday night, too tired to even do anything on my blogs for the weekend.

It looks like half the staff may not make it in because nothing managed to fly on Sunday due to snow there and fog here.  As of when I wrote this, unless a miracle happens, we will be missing several staff members for the first day of school.  

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Tomorrow, I'll be back to normal.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Mall!

These pictures were taken this past Sunday when I walked from my hotel to the mall to check it out and to do some shopping at one of the tourist shops.   As we left the hotel, I found this tree with pomegranates on it.  I've never seen them on a plant before.  As far as I can tell, these are not quite ripe but some appear to be ripening slowly.  This tree is located in the small square located in front of the hotel which is in the upper corner of the photograph.
As I walked towards the shopping mall, nothing was on the streets except for walkers, runner, skateboarders, and mothers with strollers.  Apparently, Cabo closes down the street every Sunday morning for several hours for a fun run.  That explained why the traffic took the first one way street away from the main road.  Shifting regular traffic off meant the small side road was bumper to bumper and it was not moving very fast.  The walk over was so nice and just before I got to the mall, there were a group of people doing aerobics exercise in the street with nice loud music.

This shows how nice it is inside.  It was fairly early so not many people were exploring at the mall.  I suspect many were at church or enjoying a sleep in. From the outside, it didn't look that good because the city was redoing the corner and I had to walk through a nasty construction area.

This photo was taken over near the shop of an artist who is well known in Mexico and world wide I'm told.  I saw some of his work and popped into the shop to ask permission to take pictures.

I suspect I've seen his work somewhere on line because it looks so familiar but I can't say his name rings any bells.

For those of you into art, you might recognize the name.  Sergio Bustamonte has created some awesome sculptures filled with character and fun.

I saw these guys and I had to take pictures of them because they remind me a bit of the work done by Dr Seuss and a couple of other people.

I looked at the Dr Fish sign and thought it was someone who diagnoses your sick fish but that is not what they do there.  Its actually a place where people put their feet into the water and let the fish nibble the feet.  Its supposed to be quite relaxing and fun.

By the time you read this I will have returned to Alaska.  I admit, I am not ready to go back to work.  I've really enjoyed getting up when I want, having a nice breakfast, then taking an nice long walk twice a day and in-between, I take naps and I have been catching up on my fun reading.

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

Finally, a new way to relax.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Indications of Christmas and the Mall.

 The local mall which has one end opening to the street while the other side opens to the Marina.  The marina has boats ranging in size from small 6 to 8 seaters all the way up to those huge three story yachts you dream about but will never own.

The mall has more upscale type stores than what many American malls have but it was fun to explore. Being the holiday seasons, the mall took up the decorating challenge to provide some really nice scenes.

In the photo to the left, you see the nativity scene which is enclosed by a fence.  I suspect the fence is to keep small children out.

In the same open area on the floor with the casino,
the mall arranged some wonderful snowmen who are decked in their finest.

As I stood checking this one out, I kept expecting them to break out in song.  It is fun seeing snowmen in a temperature when normally they'd be nonexistent.

The area with the nativity scene and with the snowmen is open air between one side of the mall and the other.  There are few stores on this level but it takes you outside to enjoy the sun.

The only other thing up on this level is one of those racing cars you put your 30 pesos in, and get a nice rice in place.  Its a larger car so it fits people more comfortably but this time, it was covered with a tarp.   This picture was taken on the Marina side of the Puerto Paraiso.  Just out of sight to the left of the picture is a Hagen-Das, just like at home.

This side had the Christmas tree with all sorts of decorations and fake snow surrounding the presents at the bottom.  It's a beautiful tree but its definitely fake, otherwise they would have to bring it into a desert climate.

This area of the mall, has several upscale eating places such as a Ruth and Chris Steak house.  Off to the right are more restaurants.

This is the first shopping mall, I've seen that has a Menorah situated right next to the Christmas Tree in the above picture.  Its a beautifully decorated Menorah.

Since Cabo is a tourist area, you notice the a place you can go to invest in a specific residence. There are so many real estate offices interspersed among all the bars, restaurants, and pharmacies along the main road.

Everywhere there are indications it is the Christmas season because waiters wear Christmas hats, cows are dressed in Santa Clause Coats, and displays as I've shown you here.  Even Tiffanies had their own silver Christmas tree.

Tomorrow, I've got some other pictures to share of some of the more interesting stores at the mall that are not the run of the mill ones.

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Lands End Tour

 This past Saturday, I took a tour to the end of the Baja Peninsula where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean.  These trips are extremely popular and there are tons of vessels out there.

I choose a tour which took us out in a glass bottom boat so we could see fish as they swam under the boat.  We left the harbor along with so many other boats to head out to either visit the beaches, scuba dive, kayak, or whale watch.

The first picture shows a local beach used more by the local population rather than visitors.

Our first stop was at a set of small rocks in a fairly shallow place to check out pelican rock.  Pelican rock is small and it got its name because  of all the pelicans who sit on the rock.  In addition, the area has some great schools of fish.

The captain of the boat next to ours, threw some food into the water to attract fish and it did the job.  I saw all sorts of fish, some looking quite normal in that they weren't very pretty but others were beautiful.

If you look carefully at the photo to the left you'll see some of the prettier fishes.  They were purple, yellow and had some red.  I wasn't able to get a photo all the school because they moved quickly and I had to turn around totally and I could only snap a picture of the stragglers.

In the same area, people were scuba diving to see these fish up close and personal.  Riding in a glass bottom boat, meant we got a great view of the fish.

After a short stop, we headed back out to sea making our way slowly towards Lands End or the end of the body of land.  Its not just one long piece of land but made up of several different pieces of land.

In-between a few pieces, you'll find beaches.  One beach "Love Beach" goes all the way through to the Pacific side and our captain joked that side was the "Divorce Beach".

Geologically, the rocks looked to be intrusive, crystalline possibly made a granite. This tidbit same from a geologist on the trip so I thought I'd include it.  If you look carefully, the water is a beautiful color and seems quite clear.

We spent time, moving around, stopping here and there to enjoy a view before moving again.
 This photo was taken as we came around the southern point and crossed from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean.

It was a beautiful day so both the Sea and the Ocean were quite calm and enjoyable.  I didn't take tons of pictures showing all the boats out in the same piece of water.

As you can see, there are lots of small pieces of land that thrust straight up out of the water, standing proudly.

 This beach is on the Pacific side of Baja.  That beach runs through to "Love Beach" and the sand is beautifully white, much like you think of Hawaiian sand.

I could have been dropped off at the beach but I didn't want to spend all day there as I'm not one who likes to sunbath and get burned.

If you look carefully, you'll see the land juts out into the Pacific.  I assume most of the area is either beaches or sharp edged rock
This particular shot is one you see frequently associated with the Cabo area when you look at pictures.

The arch is one I saw when I signed up for the tour because this is what its noted for.  I love the shot I got.  This was taken on the way back to the Marina.

From here we continued back only to pause at another place to see all the local sea lions or seals who love lazing on the rocks.
 If you look carefully, you'll see several sea lions lazing on the rocks.  Unfortunately, it was quite smelly because the  animals dropped poop on the rocks by the water.

Everyone in the boat held their breath while sitting there checking out the animals.

There were even a couple swimming in the water, turning circles, popping up, and down.  It was fun watching them.

What marina is complete unless they have a couple of pirate boats. According to the captain of our boat, these pirate boats are used for whale watching but according to him, they are not as good as the smaller boats like his because they do not maneuver as easily.

We saw a whale during this trip and the captain offered to take us over if we were willing to give him a good tip because it was not part of the tour.

Most people decided to forgo it.  I see whales out where I am so it didn't matter to me one way or the other.  I might choose to do some whale watching next trip.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing some more local stuff.  I hope you are enjoying this.  let me now what you think.  Have a great day.