Saturday, November 17, 2012

SpaceX. 7 Benefits. Winter Storms. Colds and Flu. Rats and Peet’s Coffee. Black Friday. PE for Kid’s Grades. Shop at AdoptAShelter. Sick Floors. Lino or Vinyl? Twinkies. The Heidi Bowl, Raiders v. NY Jets.


For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old.

NASA to SpaceX: Bring Our Astronauts' Urine Home

On Oct. 10, the SpaceX Dragon berthed with the space station, the first of 12 contracted cargo missions for NASA.

On Oct. 10, the SpaceX Dragon berthed with the space station, the first of 12 contracted cargo missions for NASA. NASA/SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — “An unmanned space capsule carrying medical samples from the International Space Station splashed down in the Pacific Ocean Sunday, completing the first official private interstellar shipment under a billion-dollar contract with NASA.

The California-based SpaceX company gently guided the Dragon into the water via parachutes at 12:22 p.m., a couple hundred miles off the Baja California coast.  Astronauts aboard the International Space Station used a giant robot arm to release the commercial cargo ship 255 miles up. SpaceX provided updates of the journey home via Twitter, including a video of the Dragon separating from the ISS.

The supply ship brought back nearly 2,000 pounds of science experiments and old station equipment. Perhaps the most eagerly awaited cargo is nearly 500 frozen samples of blood and urine collected by station astronauts over the past year.  Unlike other freighters that service the station, Dragon is designed for round-trip flights, enabling scientists and engineers to bring back experiments and equipment no longer needed aboard the outpost.

It's a service that hasn't been available since the space shuttles stopped flying more than a year ago.  SpaceX is preparing for the return of its first cargo ship to the International Space Station. Is an astronaut taxi far behind?”  More at:


7 Valuable Benefits You May Not Even Know You Have

images[1] “Most of us know about Social Security, Medicare, our employer’s retirement plan and IRAs, but if you’re like many Americans, you could be eligible for other benefits worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that you might not even be aware of. These are benefits that you’ve paid for either by working for a particular employer or through your tax dollars. Here are some of the most common:

1) Lost Pension Benefits

Just like bank accounts are insured by the FDIC, pension plans are partly insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation or PBGC.

2) Retirement Accounts from Previous Jobs

3) Spousal Social Security Benefit Windfall

 The Social Security Survivor

If you apply for Social Security before your normal retirement age, you’ll either get your benefits or a spousal benefit equal to 1/2 of your spouse’s benefits. Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, that’s a windfall of over $22k.

4) Social Security Survivor Benefits

You may think of Social Security as a retirement and maybe a disability program, but Social Security is a life insurance program as well. While the lump sum benefit is only $255, your family may be able to collect thousands of dollars in monthly survivor benefits when you pass away.

5) Discounted Employee Stock Purchase Plan

While it’s generally not a good idea to have more than 5-10% of your portfolio in your employer’s stock

6) Free or Discounted Estate Planning Documents

Do you have a will, power of attorney, and health care directive?

7) Free or Low Cost Investment Help With Your Retirement Account

Finally, an increasing number of employers are providing employees low cost access to investment management, advice, or guidance.   

Complete article at:


Winter Storms & Extreme Cold

A neighborhood street covered 3 foot deep in snow

Inspire others to act by being an example yourself, Pledge to Prepare & tell others about it!

Pledge to Prepare

“While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

Ready: Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.

FEMAThe National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.”  From:


Immune-boosting foods for cold & flu season

Immune Boosting Foods

“The weather is beginning to cool down, and soon cold and flu season will be upon us. Cold and flu are a larger burden than we may think. Between treatments, illness-compromised productivity, and lost workdays, it is estimated that the common cold alone costs the U.S. $40 billion each year.

We all know the basics for reducing exposure – wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid being exposed to people who are already ill. However, exposure to these viruses is not the only factor here – excellent nutrition can reduce our vulnerability to infection and reduce the length and severity of illness if we do become infected.

Many micronutrients are required to support proper function of the immune system, and phytochemicals from colorful produce have additional anti-microbial and immune-boosting effects.  A well-nourished body houses a high-functioning immune system.

Mushrooms have a unique ability to activate the body’s natural immune defenses……more…

Cruciferous family of vegetables includes kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, watercress, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and more……more…

Berries are powerful anti-cancer foods that also offer protection against viruses. Antioxidants called flavonoids, which are abundant in berries, have antiviral activity…..more…

Garlic and Onions daily has clear benefits when it comes to cancer prevention. Garlic phytochemicals have virus-killing activity against common respiratory viruses….more…

By eating nutrient-dense plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts) every day, you will provide your body with a spectrum of immunity-boosting phytochemicals, and you’ll get an additional perk too – these same foods protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other devastating chronic illnesses.”         Complete article at:


Red-Tails in Coffins

“….the original Peet’s Coffee. I am from New York but I had never dreamed of such a taste. That coffee epitomized the Bay Area: organic in the sense of rising naturally from the cultured and good intentions of the singular inhabitants here. REALLY GOOD. Now it looks like I’ll be switching my brand.

Peet’s is on-line to be acquired by Joh A. Benkiser (JAB), which among many other holdings has a 10% stake in Reckitt-Benkiser, the maker of D-Con. D-Con is an anticoagulant rodenticide the EPA has been trying to get off the market. Among other ill effects, EPA asserts that between 1999 and 2003, more than 25,000 children under six had poisoning symptoms after exposure to D-Con.

Larger animals higher up the food chain, including dogs and cats, eat the rats and are felled by the concentrated poison. Hawks and other raptors, which can help keep rodent populations in check naturally, also die from D-Con. Casualties thus far include the mate and several offspring of Pale Male, the Central Park Red-tailed Hawk immortalized by Marie Winn in her wonderful book, Red-Tails in Love.”        More at:



Family Watchdog





Black Friday  “What's more scary than spending a holiday with your great aunt pinching your cheeks every five minutes? You guessed it, Black Friday. While Black Friday is great for scoring some amazing deals, it is also a dangerous place if you are not careful. In 2008, a Walmart employee was trampled to death when the doors opened and the shoppers came in to the store. Click here read more.

If you plan on scoring some amazing deals, make a gameplan. Some things you might want to consider:
Be careful driving in the wee-hours of the morning. ALWAYS wear a seatbelt.
•  Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
•  Shop online with companies you know and trust.
•  Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.
•  Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards.
•  Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
•  Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
•  Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
•  If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
Also, check out this site for some helpful shopping tips for Black Friday: Click here:


Physical Fitness in Childhood Linked to Higher Reading and Math Scores

Improving IQ Level

“Recent research indicates having a healthy heart and lungs may be one of the most important factors for middle school students to make good grades in math and reading. To improve academic performance, the authors urge schools to re-examine policies that limit students’ involvement in physical education classes

Previous studies have shown that children who exercised regularly nearly doubled their reading scores. Thirty minutes on a treadmill allowed students to solve problems up to 10 percent more effectively

Aerobic and resistance training have been found to be equally important for maintaining brain and cognitive health. Aerobic fitness can improve your ability to coordinate multiple tasks, and your ability to stay on task for extended periods, while resistance training appears to improve your ability to focus amid distractions. Overall, exercise tends to improve the ability of different parts of your brain to work together

Intermittent bouts of exercise, i.e. high-intensity interval training, is an ideal form of exercise for children, as well as adults. Video demonstration and safety guidelines are included.”   Complete article at:


Now You Can Help Homeless Pets While You’re Shopping Online

“Just about a year ago, a website called was launched to tap into the existing Internet economy and redirect some of the revenue generated to help animals.

Homeless Pet

When online shoppers visit the site, in a matter of seconds they can select the shelter of their choice and start shopping at any one of nearly 500 retailers, including, Petsmart, eBay, and others.

Over 700 animal charities in 48 states have registered with the site. So if you shop online, consider making your first stop so a small percentage of your purchase price can go to help homeless pets.”

Complete article and shopping categories at:


Floors that Can Make You and Your Children Sick

play-mat floors health risks

“Soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as vinyl or those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens, too), are typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contain dangerous phthalates

A new study conducted by Swedish researchers found levels of certain phthalates were higher in the urine of babies that had PVC flooring on their bedroom floor

PVC flooring has been linked to chronic diseases, including allergies, asthma and autism

The phthalates emitted from PVC floors are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to a wide range of developmental and reproductive “gender-bending” effects that are particularly dangerous to infants and children

When choosing flooring materials for your home, and especially for your child’s bedroom, avoid PVC whenever possible.”  Complete article at:


Linoleum and Vinyl: Deciphering the Difference

“These days, one of the most important aspects for many people who are choosing materials for their new or renovated home is that of environmental friendliness. This is one area where vinyl and linoleum are extremely different.

Vinyl, being a PVC product, is made from non-renewable petrochemicals, and while it does last a long time due to its inert properties, it is also not easy to get rid of for the same reasons. Vinyl is purported to be inert and as such does not take special considerations when you put it into a landfill, however, when you put an inert material into a landfill it stays there forever.

Linoleum, on the other hand, is made from quickly renewable resources and does break down in a landfill.   Another deciding factor for many people when choosing a flooring type is that of health concerns.

You may have read recently about VOCs or volatile organic compounds; these are gasses given off by a variety of things both inside and outside your home. VOCs can be natural, for example those given off by trees, or synthetic like those given off by plastics. VOCs can make you sick or exacerbate allergies and asthma.

Vinyl gives off VOCs while linoleum does not. Linoleum often smells when it is freshly installed and some people may find that the smell of freshly installed linoleum is rather disagreeable, but with some good ventilation it will subside. Otherwise, linoleum is classified as asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.

However, I think that if you're looking at the issue from the angle of renewability of materials and health of the consumer, linoleum wins this battle hands down.”     More at:


Zombieland - The Last box of Twinkies


The Twinkie factory is closing it’s doors.  Too many people found out how unhealthy they are!


Oldie but a Goodie

Found on the internet


On This Day:

The Heidi Bowl, Raiders v. NY Jets. Nov 17, 1968:

“On November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders score two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat the New York Jets--and no one sees it, because they’re watching the movie Heidi instead. With just 65 seconds left to play, NBC switched off the game in favor of its previously scheduled programming, a made-for-TV version of the children’s story about a young girl and her grandfather in the Alps. Viewers were outraged, and they complained so vociferously that network execs learned a lesson they’ll never forget: "Whatever you do," one said, "you better not leave an NFL football game."

The game between the Jets and the Raiders was already shaping up to be a classic: It featured two of the league’s best teams and 10 future Hall of Fame players. By the game’s last minute the two teams had traded the lead eight times. The game’s intensity translated into an unusual number of penalties and timeouts, which meant that it was running a bit long.

With a little more than a minute left to play, the Jets kicked a 26-yard field goal that gave them a 32-29 lead. After the New York kickoff, the Raiders returned the ball to their own 23-yard line. What happened after that will go down in football history: Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica threw a 20-yard pass to halfback Charlie Smith; a facemask penalty moved the ball to the Jets’ 43; and on the next play, Lamonica passed again to Smith, who ran it all the way for a touchdown. The Raiders took the lead, 32-36. Then the Jets fumbled the kickoff, and Oakland’s Preston Ridlehuber managed to grab the ball and run it two yards for another touchdown. Oakland had scored twice in nine seconds, and the game was over: They’d won 43-32.

But nobody outside the Oakland Coliseum actually saw any of this, because NBC went to commercial right after the Jets’ kickoff and never came back. Instead, they did what they’d been planning to do for weeks: At 7 PM, they began to broadcast a brand-new version of Heidi, a film they were sure would win them high ratings during November sweeps. Before the game began, network execs had talked about what they’d do if the game ran over its scheduled time, and they decided to go ahead with the movie no matter what. So, that’s what NBC programmer Dick Cline did. "I waited and waited," he said later, "and I heard nothing. We came up to that magic hour and I thought, ‘Well, I haven’t been given any counter-order so I’ve got to do what we agreed to do.’"

NBC execs had actually changed their minds, and were trying to get in touch with Cline to tell him to leave the game on until it was over. But all the telephone lines were busy: Thousands of people were calling the network to urge programmers to air Heidi as scheduled, and thousands more were calling to demand that the football game stay on the air. Football fans grew even more livid when NBC printed the results of the game at the bottom of the screen 20 minutes after the game ended. So many irate fans called NBC that the network’s switchboard blew. Undeterred, people started calling the telephone company, the New York Times and the NYPD, whose emergency lines they clogged for hours.

Shortly after the Heidi debacle, the NFL inserted a clause into its TV contracts that guaranteed that all games would be broadcast completely in their home markets. For its part, NBC installed a new phone--the "Heidi Phone"--in the control room that had its own exchange and switchboard. Such a disaster, the network assured its viewers, would never be allowed to happen again.”



We have had a couple of nights when it was pretty close to freezing, so it is time to start winterizing the house.  Also, it’s been a little too chilly for Prime to want to go out on the screen porch first thing in the morning. 

Ray and I put the clear vinyl shower curtains back up in the screen porch.  They are numbered so they each have their own place, and we staple them in place with wooden strips.  That stuff lasts forever, and we are still using the same ones.  We have been taking them down each Spring, folding them up and storing them for the next Winter for about 10 years now. I have a lot of aloe plants on the porch, so they will be fine during any freezes now.  It is very rare that I have to turn on the heater out there.

Then we put up the insulated covers for each soffit vent on the north side of the house.  My water lines, and water heater are up there in northern part of the attic so we need to keep it protected from the cold Canadian winds up on this hill.  There are plenty of vents on the south side of the house to keep the rest of the attic ventilated.


Here is Prime back out on her porch early this morning.  The wrinkles in the vinyl will go away soon.


Even though it has been cold during the nights, it turns into beautiful sunny days.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Looks like you are prepared for winter. Maybe we will have one this year.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi DD, thanks for your comment.

It sure feels like Winter has arrived here, it was 32 this morning. But it is so nice when it warms up to sunny 60's and 70's during the day!

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.