Monday, December 30, 2019

New year traditions

Happy New Year! [Brisbane Australia]
Here are some New Year traditions from around the world:

Spain – eat 12 grapes, one at each chime of the clock at midnight
Colombia – carry empty suitcases around the block
Ecuador – burn scarecrows
Puerto Rico – dump a bucket of water out the window, sprinkle sugar outside the house 
Denmark – throw old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends, stand on a chair and “jump” into the new year
Finland – cast molten tin into water and then interpret the resulting shapes
Panama – burn effigies of well-known people
Scotland – parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles
Philippines – display round items, eat round fruits, wear polka dots
Brazil – wear underwear of a specific color [red for love, yellow for prosperity, white for peace, etc]
Greece – hang an onion at your door
Russia – jump into frozen lakes carrying tree trunks; write wishes for the new year on a paper, burn the paper, put the ashes into champagne and drink
Switzerland – drop ice cream on the floor
Romania – throw coins into the river
France – eat a stack of pancakes
Thailand – smear people with gray talc, throw water on people
Chile – sleep at the cemetery with deceased loved ones
Ireland – bang loaves of bread on the walls
South Africa – throw furniture out the window
Estonia – eat seven times on new year's day
Australia – fireworks

Some US traditions: 

Make resolutions
Decorate a New Year tree
Toss tinsel or confetti
Make noise, light fireworks
Sing “Auld Lang Syne” or other songs
Give gifts
Send thank-you notes
Count down and kiss at midnight
Eat “new year” foods
Wear clothes commemorating your heritage
Toast with champagne or other drink

Go to bed early [okay this one is just me]

How do you celebrate your new year?  Tell us in the comments.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The last Monday before Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my house to yours
Here are some popular Christmas movies.  Which ones have you seen?  Not seen?  Liked?  Not liked?  I made my favorites bold.

1940 - The Shop Around the Corner
1945 - Christmas in Connecticut
1946 - It's a Wonderful Life
1947 - Miracle on 34th Street
1949 - Holiday Affair
1951 - Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
1954 - White Christmas
1962 - Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
1964 - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
1965 - A Charlie Brown Christmas
1965 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas [animated]

1969 - Frosty the Snowman
1970 - Santa Claus is Coming to Town
1983 - A Christmas Story
1987 - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
1988 - Scrooged
1988 - Die Hard
1989 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
1990 - Home Alone
1992 - The Muppet Christmas Carol
1993 - The Nightmare Before Christmas
1994 - The Santa Clause
1994 - Miracle on 34th Street
1995 - While You Were Sleeping
1996 - Jingle All the Way

2000 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
2003 - Elf
2003 - Love Actually
2003 - Bad Santa
2004 - The Polar Express
2004 - Christmas with the Kranks
2006 - The Holiday
2009 - A Christmas Carol

Do you like any that I didn't include here?  Tell us in the comments!

Monday, December 16, 2019

2 Mondays until Christmas!

World natural disasters of 2019

*Photos are illustrative and not representative of the actual event from 2019

January 26 – Dam burst in Brazil, killing 34 people

January 27 – Tornado in Cuba killed 3 people and injured 172
February 20-22 – Record snowfall in Minnesota and Arizona, more than 30 inches

February 24 – Record flooding in Tennessee

February 28 – Record flooding in California

March 3 – More than 12 tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia, killing 23 people

March 13 - “Bomb cyclone” brought blizzard conditions and hurricane-strength winds to mid-Western US

March 15 – Tropical cyclone killed 700 people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi
March 31 – Thunderstorm killed 25 people in Nepal

April 7 – Flooding in Iran killed 70 people

April 10 – Second bomb cyclone brought blizzard conditions and hurricane-strength winds to most of US

April 14 – Tornadoes killed 5 people across the southern US

April 22 – Magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Phillipines killed 8 people

April 29 – Tropical cyclone killed 38 people in Mozambique

May 3 – Tropical cyclone killed 12 people in India

June 5 – Severe flooding caused a landslide in Uganda which killed 5 people

June 17 – Two earthquakes in China killed 11 people

June 26 – Major heatwave in Europe, temperatures 110+ degrees Fahrenheit

July 2 – Heavy rainfall caused a dam burst in India killing 11 people

July 3 – Heavy rainfall [more than 13 inches in 24 hours] in Japan caused a million people to be evacuated

July 4 – Magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Southern California [I felt this one!]

July 5 – Magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Southern California [I felt this one too!]
July 11 – Flash floods in the US Northeast killed 2 people

July 15 – Heavy rainfall caused landslides in India and Nepal, killing 88 people

July 19 – Heat waves across the US caused power outages in Wisconsin and New York

July 23 – Heavy storm caused 2 deaths in Virginia

July 24 – Wildfire in Idaho grew to 90,000 acres

July 27 – Magnitude 5.9 and 4.5 earthquakes in Phillipines killed 8 people

August 10 – Typhoon in China killed 13 people

August 10 – Continuing flooding in India killed 95 people

August 17 – A fire swept through a Bangladesh slum and destroyed 15,000 homes

August 21 – Fires destroyed as much as 20% of the the Amazon rainforest
This one actually IS from August 2019
September 1 – Flash flooding in Kenya killed 6 people

September 4 – Hurricane Dorian killed more than 56 people in the Bahamas, North Carolina, and other Eastern states

September 13 – Severe weather in Spain killed 3 people

September 25 - Magnitude 5.5 earthquake in Pakistan killed 38 people

October 11 – Several wildfires in California killed 1 person and caused the evacuation of 100,000 people
October 12 – Typhoon Hagibis killed 1 person in Japan

October 19 – Heavy rains caused a dam to collapse in Siberia, killing 15 people

October 23 – Flash flooding in Spain and Italy caused the deaths of multiple people

October 26 – California fires caused the deaths of 2 people, power was cut off for one million people

October 30 – A landslide in Cameroon killed 42 people
November 1 – Flooding in Somalia caused the evacuation of 200,000 people

November 8 – Magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Iran killed 5 people

November 9 – Wildfires in Australia killed 3 people

November 18 – Flooding in Italy and France caused a bridge collapse and killed 1 person

November 26 – Bomb cyclone brought blizzard conditions and hurricane-strength winds to Western US

December 3 – The bomb cyclone moved across the US and caused severe snow and blizzard conditions in Eastern US

December 15 - Magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Phillipines [yes this just happened yesterday]

Monday, December 9, 2019

3 Mondays until Christmas!

January 7 - Amazon passes Microsoft as the world's most valuable listed company.

January 14 – For the first time, an American's chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose is higher than in a car accident.

January 24 - 17 temperature records broken in South Australia including capital Adelaide at 46.6c.

January 29 - US Postal Service suspends deliveries to ten states because of severe polar vortex.

February 12 - US national debt exceeds 22 trillion for the first time.

March 14 - California drought officially ends after more than 7 years.

March 20 – According to the World Happiness Report, Finland is the world's happiest country and South Sudan is world's least happy.

March 24 - Mike Trout [2-time American League MVP] signs the biggest contract in North American sports history - $426.5 million, 12-year extension with the Los Angeles Angels. 
April 1 - US online sales exceed retail sales for the first time.

April 10 - First ever photo of a black hole.

April 15 - Paris cathedral Notre Dame catches fire. 
April 25 - Microsoft joins Apple and Amazon with a market worth of 1 trillion.

October 9 - Pacific Gas and Electric cuts power to 1 million people in northern California to try to avoid wildfires amid high winds.

October 29 - Pacific Gas and Electric cuts power to 1.5 million people in California to try to avoid sparking more wildfires.

October 30 - Washington Nationals beat Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 to win first World Series in franchise history.

October 31 - US House of Representatives votes to formalize impeachment proceedings against Present Donald Trump

November 11 - More than 120 bush fires cause Australia to declare state of emergency in two states with a catastrophic threat issued for Sydney region.

November 11 - Transit of Mercury across the sun, closer than any other transit this century.

November 11 – Polar vortex brings record low temperatures for November to the US Midwest.

November 20 - Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is "climate emergency".

November 23 - Sumatran rhino officially declared extinct.

Monday, December 2, 2019

4 Mondays until Christmas!

Let's look at the most popular names from 2019:

Most popular baby boy names, as per the US Social Security Administration

1 Liam
2 Noah
3 William
4 James
5 Oliver
6 Benjamin
7 Elijah
8 Lucas
9 Mason
10 Logan

 Most popular baby girl names, as per the US Social Security Administration
1 Emma
2 Olivia
3 Ava
4 Isabella
5 Sophia
6 Charlotte
7 Mia
8 Amelia
9 Harper
10 Evelyn

Most popular dog names, as per Mental Floss 
1 Luna
2 Bella
3 Charlie
4 Bailey
5 Lucy
6 Cooper

7 Max
8 Daisy
9 Bear
10 Oliver

Most popular cat names, as per Mental Floss 

1 Luna
2 Bella
3 Kitty
4 Oliver
5 Lucy
6 Charlie
7 Shadow
8 Max
9 Leo
10 Milo

Monday, November 25, 2019

5 Mondays until Christmas!

Here are some interesting facts from 2019:

Wealthiest country:

Poorest country:
Wealthiest person:
Jeff Bezos [Amazon]
Wealthiest author:
JK Rowling [Harry Potter]
Wealthiest celebrity:

Oprah Winfrey
Most dangerous job:
Highest paid job:

Highest paid job without a degree:

Nuclear reactor operator
Most trusted job:
Least trusted job:
Member of Congress

Monday, November 18, 2019

6 Mondays until Christmas!

Between now and Christmas, we're looking at some Top 10 lists, personalized by me.

Today - My top 10 14 celebrity deaths in 2019, in alphabetical order.

Grumpy Cat – age 7
Real name – Tardar Sauce
Actual cat behind internet meme

Tim Conway – age 85
Hysterically funny comedian
Loved him on the Carol Burnett Show

Darryl Dragon – age 76
“Captain” from Captain and Tennille

Valerie Harper – age 80
Actress played Rhoda on the
Mary Tyler Moore Show

David Hedison – age 92
Actor – The Fly
Two James Bond movies
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Lee Iacocca – age 94
President of Ford Motor Company
CEO of Chrysler Corporation

Arte Johnson – age 90
Comedian – Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Peter Mayhew – age 74
Actor who played Chewbacca
in original Star Wars trilogy

Toni Morrison – age 88
Awesome author
Pulitzer Prize for Beloved
Presidential Medal of Freedom

Denise Nickerson – age 62
Actress – played Violet Beauregarde in
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Ric Ocasek – age 75
Lead singer of The Cars
One of my favorite bands from high school

John Paul Stevens – age 99
Associate Justice of the
United States Supreme Court

Peter Tork – age 77
Played bass and keyboards for
The Monkees
Rip Torn – age 88
I loved him in Men in Black!

Monday, November 11, 2019

7 Mondays until Christmas!

Between now and Christmas, we're looking at some Top 10 lists, personalized by me.

Last week we looked at top 10 12 best places to retire.

Today let's take a poll.  Here are 10 locations.  Where would you rather live, either now or in retirement?  Tell us in the comments!

#1 - Ski Cabin
#2 - Farm
#3 - Scottish Castle
#4 - NYC / Big City Apartment
#5 - Mountain Cabin
#6 - Country Cottage
#7 - Beach House
#8 - Desert House
#9 - Redwood Forest Cabin

#10 - Retirement Home / Assisted Living
I'd pick #9, the redwood forest.  Best place in the world!  Next would be #5 mountain cabin and #6 country cottage.  What about you?