Donate a pint, get a pound!

I know that Walt has a different opinion about this, but I like the Red Cross. I’ve been donating blood since I was like 18 or 20. Right now I’m on the plus side of 15 gallons (fairly impressive when you realize that not only can you only donate a pint at a time, and only ever 56 days (or six times a year at most).

These days I try to donate five or six times a year, and the location of a local donation center near my house makes it easier than having to find an open donation call. This month (as in years past) if you donate blood you get a coupon for a free pound of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.

So, yea, if I wasn’t already donating this would get me into the chair.

The Perfessor

Building a better slicer

You like bagels? Yep, me too. If you are like me, you tend not to buy the pre-bagged, pre-cut versions, and go for the fresh (uncut) versions. Ever cut yourself while slicing them? Me,? Not so much (I’ve cut myself while cutting other things, not bagels). Still there are — apparently — a large number of people who do just that, cut themselves while slicing bagels (yes, we’re talking about you, Ed).

According to The Wall Street Journal:

In 2008, according to an analysis of fingers cut by knives as reported in the government’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, 1,979 people appeared in ERs with a BRI [Bagel-Related Injury]. Chicken-related injuries (3,463) led the category, but recorded bagel injuries were otherwise exceeded only by potato, apple and onion injuries.
[Bagel Guillotine]

Bagels, in fact, were implicated in more finger cuts than pumpkins (1,195) or cheese (1,236). Fewer than 100 incidents in 2008 involved turnips; ditto for wedding cakes.

(Of course, many BRI victims skip ERs and go to urgent-care offices. Or they stay home and eat breakfast anyway.)

Bagel__slicerI worked in a professional kitchen for a number of years as a short order cook, and one of the first rules of the kitchen (right after “the stove is hot” is “knives are sharp.” This is important to know. (An important corollary is that you don’t attempt to catch a falling knife. Trying to stop whatever just used to be in your hands from hitting the floor is a natural reaction. It is not really something you want to try with something that has a sharp end.)

Anyway, I just wanted to alert you all to this:

“Whenever you put a knife in a person’s hand, it’s an issue,” Mr. Ricard said. “People don’t know how to use knives.” It was this insight, which came to him while he was chopping wood 15 years ago, that led to the guillotine’s self-contained blade.

The breakthrough gave rise to a new era in bagel-safety — and a multitude of competing contraptions, most of which have flopped. Mr. Ricard has collected a bunch — from the “Bagel Wizard” with three handles for two hands, to a Ginsu slicer that resembles a slot machine. All operate on the principle that pushing an unreachable blade into a bagel beats sawing a bagel in half.

Knives are sharp, and if you don’t handel them proberly while cutting stuff (especially bagels) you could (and probably will) cut yourself. (Right Ed?)

The Perfessor

Let it Bleed

MargaretI realize that this event happened back in June, but I just recently became aware of it. Apparently, 90-year-old great-grandmother, donated her 25th gallon of blood to The Red Cross. Now while you may realize how very cool this is right away, you have to understand that you only have about four quarts of blood in your body, and can only donate a pint at a time, and can only give every eight weeks.

This means that it takes just over a year (like a year and three months, give or take) to get a gallon. So, assuming that Margaret managed to give six-to-eight times a year, it would have taken her well over 30 years to give that much blood.

I bring this all up because I’ve been giving blood since I was about 18 and just last week I reached 15 gallons which means (at my current rate of giving) I should reach 25 gallons in about 13 years, so by the time I reach Margaret’s age, I should be hitting 68 gallons or so.

The Perfessor

Don’t fear the 13th!

JasonYeah, yeah we are all superstitious to some bit of another. Not walking under ladders, tossing salt over our shoulder, Black Cats crossing our paths, breaking mirrors, And of course, Friday the 13th. Well, apparently fear of the #13 is something of a real phobia (probably started by right around the time of the Last Supper when the 13th guy at a dinner party got nailed to a tree); it is actually called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

Anyway, not only is this the third Friday the 13th we’ve had this year, (something that happens only every 11 years) there are quite a few interesting things about the #13. Some of them are as follows:

  • Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
  • Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.” Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
  • The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

Meanwhile the belief that numbers are connected to life and physical things (which is called numerology) has a long history.

“You can trace it all the way from the followers of Pythagoras, whose maxim to describe the universe was ‘all is number,’” says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Thinkers who studied under the famous Greek mathematician combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them, Livio said.

If you want to learn more about the superstitions surrounding this particular date (or just the number 13 itself) you can go here.

Meanwhile, I’m staying indoors, drinking heavy, and, you know, keeping my guns close by.

The Perfessor

Beware Black Cats

Today is Friday the 13th, and you should be especially aware of Black Cats whom might cross your path.

Especially if they look like this…

Black_cat_small

Be safe.

The Perfessor

Sleeping through the re-runs

No, this isn’t me.
No, this isn’t me.
So, have you ever had the experience where you were watching a TV program and you fell asleep just before the end while watching it? Of course you have. this is one of the reasons that they invented recording devices for the TV. This way you can simply roll back the recording and watch what you’ve missed. In fact, my wife and I have taken to the habit of recording virtually any TV show that we regularly watch that falls in the 10:00 hour, as it is a sure bet that one (or both) of us will pass out on the couch just before the end.

Needless to say, this very often involves us watching the last 15 minutes of last night’s program (or last week’s episode) before watching TV tonight (or this week). Well, last night I wanted to watch an older episode of CSI NY, only, as I was watching it, I recalled that I had apparently seen parts of it (I think I was dozing all the way through it when it first ran). Anyway, I started watching it around 10:30 or so, and finished watching it at 4:30 this morning.

How does it take six hours to watch a one-hour program? Easy, I kept falling asleep during a portion of it, would wake up, roll the program back to the last point I remembered viewing, get another two minutes into the program, and then fall back asleep, only to repeat the process about a dozen times.

Sure, sure I could have simply have thrown in the towel and gone to bed, simply to have finished watching it another day, but I was bound and determined to finish watching it so that I could erase the show off the DVR and free up the space. Well, as stated, it took six hours, but I did finish watching it. Needless to say, once I had finished, I was wondering why I had bothered.

The Perfessor