Still chewy after 100 years!

The red ones are my favorite.  Today is National Gummi Bear Day!  According the National Day dot com, few treats are as cute and sweet as gummi bears. Fruity and fun, these colorful chews have been charming us since 1922.  That’s right, the Gummi Bear is 100 years old!  I remember the first time I ever ate a gummi bear.  I was in sixth grade and I remember the small plastic bag filled with the colorful and flavorful chewy treats.  I also remember the name on the bag, Haribo.  Hans Riegel started the Haribo company in 1920 from his home kitchen in Bonn, Germany.  The name is an acronym of Riegel’s name and his hometown. Two years later he created the world’s first gummi bear, originally called Dancing Bears. Today, they’re known as Goldbears are an iconic treat all over the world.  Haribo makes about 100 million gummi bears every day. Listen to the podcast here;

Get a grip!

Tool time Tuesday.  They grip, they grab, they pinch and they twist.  We’re talking, of course, about the Vice Grip.  According the Living History Farm dot com, The first locking pliers, with the trade name Vise-Grip, were invented by William S. Petersen in De Witt, Nebraska, in 1924.  Petersen was a farmer and blacksmith. He was no stranger to invention, at one point he even tried to make and sell a motorcar. While working in his shop he realized that some of his tasks would be easier if he had a pair of pliers that would lock in place, like his vice.  He figured out that a screw mechanism in the handle could adjust the opening of the pliers. Later, he figured out a way for the other handle to lock it in place. He built several prototypes, first out of cardboard and then wood. Finally, he hammered one out of metal on his forge.  I have several sizes and shapes of Vice Grips in my tool collection.  I used a pair of needle nose vice grips over the weekend to stop a leaking fuel line on one of my tractors.   Listen to the podcast here;


This one is for the gents. Tonight is the Pumps and Pearls ladies party at the Apple Blossom Festival.  We all know what pearls are but pumps?  According to Shoes History Facts dot com, the pump, or court shoe, came into fashion as part of the medieval traditions of the wealthy class of rulers and politicians in Renaissance countries like Italy, France, Spain and England, among others. Here in the US pumps for women usually have a medium or “kitten” height heel. The shape has varied through time but they usually have a closed toe and have a small vamp, that being the part of the shoe that covers the toes. Pumps can be made from any material, but traditional paten leather is popular. Pumps are mostly worn with a suit or a uniform, but are also worn with formal and informal dresses, skirts, trousers, and jeans.  In the Regency Period upper class men also wore a form of pumps, or opera shoe.  Today men’s pumps have been replaced by the Oxford.  So men, when your lady sends you to her shoe collection to get her cream colored pumps, you’ll at least have a clue as to what you’re looking for.  Oh, by the way, if it looks like a pump but has a strap across the instep, that’s a Mary Jane.  Listen to the podcast here;

Playin’ it by ear!

For today’s fun fact, I’m just going to play it by ear.  In other words, I don’t really have a plan, or a clue, as to what I’m going to write.  This phrase most likely originated from the world of music, where people would listen to a piece of music and then try to play it by what they heard.  Although I took piano lessons when I was a kid, I never really developed the skill to read the musical notes.  My piano teacher moved away when I was eight or nine.  Perhaps it was the way I played.  I can look at sheet music and figure out the notes, but I can’t do it fast enough to actually play from the sheet music.  I can sit down at a keyboard and peck out a tune, at least with one hand.  When I started playing guitar, I learned some scales and chords, but still play mostly by ear.  Some people live their entire life playing it by ear, in other words just live day by day and adapt to the current situation, whatever that may be.  I suppose there is a certain freedom in that, but for me there is also a great deal of potential for things not to work out so good mixed with the risk of something awesome taking place.  Sort of a double edged sword.   Listen to the podcast here;

Four bells!

It’s nearly four bells and all is well!  Ever heard time given in bells?  According to West Marine dot com, ship’s bell time originated in sailing ship days, when the crew of a vessel was divided into Port and Starboard Watches, each on duty four hours, then off four hours.  One stroke of the ship’s bell indicates the first half hour of the watch. Then an additional bell is struck for each succeeding half hour. Thus eight bells indicates the end of a four-hour watch. When the time calls for two or more strokes, they are sounded in groups of two.  The first watch is from 8:00 pm until midnight, followed by the middle, morning, forenoon and afternoon watches.  The next four hours are divided into two Dog Watches; the first Dog Watch, 4pm to 6pm and the Second Dog Watch, 6pm to 8pm. By means of the Dog Watches, the watches can be changed every day, so that each watch gets a turn of eight hours rest at night. Otherwise each member of the crew would be on duty the same hours every day.  So, four bells is 6:00 o’clock, or halfway through your watch.   Listen to the podcast here;

A holiday for some.

Today is April 20th, or 4/20, a date synonymous with smoking marijuana, but why?  Some suspect it has links to the Bob Dylan song Rainy Day Women #12 and #35.  Twelve times 35 equals 420.  Today is also Adolph Hitler’s birthday.  It was thought that Hitler was addicted to various drugs.  Another theory is that the police code for someone actively smoking marijuana is a 420.  According to Time dot com, all those theories are false.  The most credible story takes us to Marin County, California In 1971, where five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by a statue of Louis Pasteur that was on the campus to partake. They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. The group became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana.  Fast forward to a Grateful Dead concert in 1990 where flyers were handed out inviting people to smoke on April 20th at 4:20.  Steve Bloom, the Editor of High Times magazine got a copy of the poster and in 1991 his magazine published the flyer and the stoner holiday was born.  Recreational use of cannabis is legal in eighteen states and medical use, with a doctors recommendation, is legal in 37 states.  It still remains against Federal law to posses or use marijuana.   Listen to the podcast here;

Sudden impact!

Tool time Tuesday and a new addition to my collection.  My family gave me an impact wrench for Easter.  I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but I’m looking forward to putting it to the test on my wife’s Jeep.  I’m sure you’ve seen or heard one of these in action, especially if you’ve ever had your car in the shop for some work.  Automotive techs use them a lot, in particular when changing or rotating your tires.  My wrench is battery powered but they can be electric, pneumatic or hydraulic.  Some models allow the user to adjust the amount of torque the tool will apply, so things don’t get too tight or broken.  The first impact wrench was invented by Robert H. Pott of Evansville, Indiana.  In addition to spinning to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, there is also a hammering action that helps to coax the nut or bolt to loosen it’s grip and spin off without breaking.  Listen to the podcast here;

Whole lotta’ shakin’!

Over the weekend we watched the movie “San Andreas” staring The Rock.  Pretty good movie.  According to History dot com it was on April 18, 1906 that the Great San Francisco Earthquake happened.  It’s estimated that this quake would have registered an 8.0 on the Richter Scale, a measuring system that wasn’t introduced until 1935.  The shaking began at 5:13 am.  Fires immediately broke out and, because broken water mains prevented firefighters from stopping them, firestorms soon developed citywide.  in the face of significant aftershocks, firefighters and U.S. troops fought desperately to control the ongoing fire, often dynamiting whole city blocks to create firewalls.  By April 23, most fires had been put out, and the task of rebuilding the devastated city began. It was estimated that some 3,000 people died as a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the devastating fires.  Almost 30,000 buildings were destroyed, including most of the city’s homes and nearly all the central business district.  Could it happen again?  The USGS estimates that there is about a 75% chance that a major earthquake will hit the San Francisco Bay area in the next 30 years.  Listen to the podcast here;

A special day for sure!

My life changed forever on this date, in a couple of ways.  First on April 15th, 2003, my first son, Mason was born.  If you have kids, you know the range of emotions you go through when they come into this world.  I remember sleeping on a chair in the hospital room and the doctor coming in to check on Carrie.  When I heard her I sat up and she said, “relax dad, I’m just checking on mom.”  About a minute later she said “wake up dad, we’re having a baby.”  An odd coincident the doctor that delivered Mason and the one that delivered me were both named Dr. McCoy.  Another major life changing event happened for me on April 15th; it is the day the I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.  Today is also Good Friday, the day Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus.  Known as Good Friday because it led to the resurrection of Jesus and his defeat of death and sin three days later.   Listen to the podcast here;

The nose knows.

Sometimes these Fun Facts stink, but if you suffer from anosmia you wouldn’t notice.  According to Yale Medicine dot org, anosmia is the loss of the sense of smell.  It can be a partial or total loss of smell and can be caused by several factors from the common cold, Covid or more serious conditions like polyps, nasal deformity, diabetes or brain injury.  Because anosmia can result from any number of  conditions, your doctor will first address the primary condition that seems to be causing the problem.  However, it’s important to know that sometimes the cause of a smell disorder can’t be determined for certain. And sometimes anosmia cannot be treated.  Listen to the podcast here;