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ARCHIVES: October 16-23, 2003


October 23, 2003 - Thursday

Revamped the Main Family Tree Page

My first domain was Matson.info. It opened to a large family tree page. While I tried to exercise some control so it would load fast, I still succumbed to the temptation of adding too much. It takes a bit of time to load. I decided to revamp the main page so Matson.info now leads to, I hope, a very fast-loading screen.


I have a real problem with wanting to decorate a page overly much. There are too many fun gimmicks around here, yet I don't have the patience myself to watch someone's long flash animated opening screen and almost always hit the "skip" button.



Advertising the New $20 Bill

I saw on the TV news this morning that the government is spending millions of dollars to "promote" the new $20 bill in TV and other expensive advertising. Why? What is there to "promote?" Aren't they just going to stop printing the old bill? Why do they have to "sell" the public on this?


All I can figure is that they want us all to be aware of the changes so we can spot counterfeits -- but millions of dollars of advertising to do this seems ridiculous. On the other hand, if it stops counterfeiters enough to make the advertising worthwhile --- I wonder if we'll ever find out if this expense was justified.



October 22, 2003 - Wednesday

Best Banana Bread

With the addition of sour cream, this is the best banana bread recipe I've found.


Banana Bread Sour Cream Loaf


2/3 cup margarine or butter

1 & 1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 & 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

2 & 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


Cream butter and sugar till light. Add eggs and bananas and beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, stirring just to blend. Stir in nuts. Spoon into greased loaf pan which as been greased on the bottom only. Bake 350 degrees for about 60-75 minutes (keep checking - it takes the whole 75 minutes in my oven).


When cool, add glaze: 1 cup mashed bananas, 1 cup sugar and 2 T. lemon juice: Combine banana and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add juice. Strain, if needed. Cool and spread on cooled bread. (The glaze is not necessary, but adds a great touch!)



October 21, 2003 - Tuesday

Life 100 Years Ago

This was posted by Tina Peddie from my genealogy mailing list:


Here are the U.S. statistics for 1903...

- The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven.
- Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
- Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
- There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.
- The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
- Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
- With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
- The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
- The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.
- The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
- A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
- More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.
- Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
- Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
- Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.
- Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
- Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
- The five leading causes of death in the US were:
   1. Pneumonia and Influenza
   2. Tuberculosis
   3. Diarrhea
   4. Heart disease
   5. Stroke
- The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
- The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
- Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
- There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
- One in ten US adults couldn't read or write.
- Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
- Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
- Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
- There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.



iTunes - Correction

I didn't realize this, but iTunes DOES preview music for a few seconds. I just had to double-click on a song title. Duh on me. Who reads the instructions?



My Taste in Music

I was trying to classify my taste in music. I think I have a pretty eclectic list. I like good music in most genres - Mannheim Steamroller and Enya, Robert Mile's Children CD was good, then great old rock and roll like BTO and other favorites of the 70's - to Eiffel 65 (loved that album) - to techno remakes of popular tunes - to Shania Twain - to even a little hip-hop and Broadway tunes. I don't know where it ends. I love Christmas music of all kinds and have a large Christmas collection.


My husband is partial to hits of the 60's and 70's. He could probably trounce anyone in trivia games for that topic. (I never remember who sung what and when -- I just know what songs I like.)



October 20, 2003 - Monday

Halloween Music - Mannheim Steamroller

Largeheartedboy mentioned Halloween music and I wanted to tell you about Mannheim Steamroller's new Halloween CD. My daughter discovered this over the weekend and bought the CD on my behalf. I am big fan of their Christmas music.


This CD was superb! It takes old spooky Halloween tunes and turns them into something new - plus they added music of their own creation and a second CD of just sound effects. Imagine -- Mannheim Steamroller spooky sound effects!


(P.S. Even with iTunes, you have to go and buy a CD sometimes. In this case, it was almost the same cost.)



Green Mountain's Nature Trail

The weather was perfect. Friends out on the greenway this morning told me about walking the Nature Trail on Green Mountain, a county park. I felt great so I grabbed my camera when I got home and drove up the mountain and walked the entire trail (pictures posted on the photo blog). Whew -- think I put in enough miles today - 5 miles on the greenway and 1 and quarter or so on the Nature Trail.


I had a chance to talk to the park manager. He said it is not quite full color, yet. Right now is a perfect time to walk here. It is cool enough to be comfortable, the bugs are down, fall colors around and not too crowded.



October 19, 2003 - Sunday

iTunes for Windows

Well, it came out for Windows. I just downloaded it and I am impressed. It is a good music organizer even if you don't plan to buy anything. You don't need to register or give a credit card number or anything to use it as a music organizer and player or to search the store. It works great with my iPod -- I like it better than MusicMatch.


The iTunes organizer found all the music on my system, cataloged it and made it very easy to search and play my songs. It even has a full screen visualizer. I recommend it to anyone with a lot of music on their system whether or not they plan to buy more.



October 18, 2003 - Saturday

Purebred Cats are a Lot of Work

It's true. While our purebred Himalayan is very strong, healthy and can eat anything, my daughter's Silver Persian is sensitve to certain types of food. He has to have Science Diet Kitten Chow. Anything else gives him diarrhea! Even cat milk. We went to the pet store and thought it would be a nice treat to buy "Cat Milk" which supposedly is milk treated for the use of cats. That was a big mistake since it gave him a case of the runs. The owner said NOTHING ELSE - no treats, no milk - NOTHING EXTRA for the first year of life.  Whew!


But he is a little doll and we all love him so much now. Those big sad eyes of his get to me. I would give him the world.


Our two mixed breed cats can eat anything.



October 17, 2003 - Friday

Check Out Your Neighborhood

This link was posted by krh who recommended Yahoo Neighborhoods. Find the crime, education level and more stats about cities across the U.S. My hometown has a median age of 32.7 years as opposed to the national average of 37.41 years - we must be a young group.


(P.S. At my neighborhood grocery store is Blue Bell Cherry Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream -- nice strong cherry ribbons in vanilla sprinkled with chocolate chunks and cherry pieces. This is good stuff.)



Good Use for an Old Mac Computer

This is  cute -- and it's real: Using an Old Mac.



October 16, 2003 - Thursday

Money Origami

My mother liked origami and taught it to me as a child. I could make all kinds of stuff by the time I was in first grade. Here's a site I just found that shows how to fold money origami. The person likes to leave it as a tip at restaurants -- what a cute idea for child birthdays, too. The spider is my favorite and it did not look hard to do. It was made using 5 one-dollar bills --> Money Origami.



Porta-Photo Blog

Apparently photo blogging is gaining popularity. Found this article through Google News from PDA Live:


Porta-Photo Blog?

Forall Systems has come out with a rather unique use for Zire 71 camera users, ForPhotos, a photo blogging application.

All the user must do is install the software, snap photos using the Zire 71's built in camera and then synchronize. The photos will automatically be transferred to any compatible photo-blogging service (such as ForPhotos.net a free service).

Of course Forall Systems hasn't forgot those of us who run our own blogs, all you have to do to be able to synchronize your Zire 71 with your own server is install the XML-RPC conduit on the server which will allow your photos to be transferred and subsequently displayed.

Given the phenomenal response to blogging in recent years, it will come as no surprise if this software becomes increasingly popular and this type of thing is implemented in more handhelds perhaps a utility to update a blog via WiFi or Bluetooth?



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