Sleep benefits and deprivation [videos]

Enjoy the honey dew of slumber.  Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, quote

The benefits of a good night’s sleep – Shai Marcu by TED-Ed, on YouTube

The average amount of sleep we need is 8 hours; that is, one third in a 24-hour period.  But most of us, including me, push the limit of waking hours depriving us of that good-health-promoting slumber time.

It’s so ironic for me to think that I am freely given one third of that daily 24-hour period to doze off and yet, I lie wide awake on bed worrying… Why do you think bears hibernate – just to dream of honey fields??! Get to your cave and recharge . . . please! But, of course, you’ll say, “we’ll I’m not a bear.”

Why do we sleep?

Neuroscientist Russell Foster cited three reasons why via TED:

  1. Restoration
  2. Energy conservation
  3. Brain processing and memory consolidation
Why Do We Sleep? by Russell Foster, on TED

Restoration

After a whole day of activities, sleep is your avenue to restore used up energy.  Some parts of the brain, including specific genes, are more active when sleeping.

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.  Thomas Dekker quote

Energy conservation

We turn off our tv, computer and other electronic gadgets to conserve energy.  Similarly, we turn off our thoughts by hitting the sack.  Foster shared that about 110 calories per night is saved.

Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.  Frank H. Knight quote

Brain processing and memory consolidation

Studies suggest that blood circulation is regulated and long-term memory is consolidated through the last two stages of sleep…

The Non-REM (or No Rapid Eye Movement stage of) sleep is believed to be associated with transferring your declarative memory from short-term to long-term memory storage in the cortex.  This happens about 3 hours after you drifted into sleep.

REM sleep, the final stage on the other hand, helps in consolidating your procedural memory. (1)

In other words, depending on what was learned and when you slept, sleep aids in stabilizing that memory – promoting both quantitative and qualitative changes in brain activity. (2)  While slow wave sleep or SWS consolidates your newly acquired math equation even within 2 hours of dozing off, deep REM sleep will make you remember your piano scale when you wake up the next day. (3)

Quoting Foster: “After you try to learn a task, and you sleep-deprive individuals, the ability to learn that task is smashed…  Our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by night of sleep.” (4)

Synapse is the passing of information between neurons in our brain.  The changes in connection caused by synapses is called synaptic plasticity.

Synaptic plasticity, which is particularly important to memory and learning, is boosted during sleep. (5)  Studies have shown that sleep establishes active consolidation of memories – “stimulating the idea that forming long-term memories represents a general function of sleep.” (6)

Sleep deprivation

If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.  Henny Youngman

Youngman, above, has hinted us that there will be ill effects for not going to bed at the right time.  I so agree because it makes me feel hungry that I end up raiding my fridge.  Plus, knowing that I didn’t hop onto my “sleep train” right away, I get stressed thinking what time it’s coming back to pick me up.  It usually comes around past midnight or somewhere close to dawn. (pitiful sigh)

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD

Studies also suggest “that sleep and mental illness aren’t simply associated, they are physically linked.”  Sleep disruption could be an early warning sign of schizophrenia (as schizophrenic patients seem confused between the right timing for sleep and wakefulness).  Sleep then becomes the doorway to begin therapy before the real onset of such mental illness. (7)

Now, let me end this article the way Foster cleverly ended his TED talk – by quoting…

Sleep is God.  Go Worship.  Jim Butcher quote

References:

  1. TED-Ed.  (2015, January 5).  The benefits of a good night’s sleep – Shai Marcu [Video file].  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=330&v=gedoSfZvBgE.
  2. Diekelmann, S.  and Born, J.  (2010, February).  The memory function of sleep.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20046194.
  3. Diekelmann, S., et.al.  (2009, October).  The whats and whens of sleep-dependent memory consolidation.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19251443.
  4. Foster, R.  (2013, June).  Why Do We Sleep? [Video file].  Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/russell_foster_why_do_we_sleep.
  5. Sehgal, A. and Mignot, E.  (2011, July 22).  Genetics of Sleep and Sleep disorders.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153991/.
  6. Rasch, B. and Born, J.  (2013, April).  About Sleep’s Role in Memory.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768102/.
  7. Ha, T.  (2013, June 11).  The neuroscience of sleep: Russell Foster at TEDGlobal 2013. Retrieved from https://blog.ted.com/the-neuroscience-of-sleep-russell-foster-at-tedglobal-2013/.

Wearing red on the first February Friday

February 1st, 2019 is National Wear Red Day, a non-official holiday annually celebrated on the first Friday of the American Heart Month.

Go red day

National Wear-Red Friday, sometimes called Go Red Day, was created to raise awareness of the no. 1 killer of American women – heart disease. This is to remind and motivate everyone, not just ladies but also gentlemen, to take action in protecting themselves from such cardiovascular disease, as well as stroke.

The red dress

In 2002, the Red Dress® was created and became the trademark of The Heart Truth®, a national campaign on women’s risk to heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in partnership with many national and community organizations. It is the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness.

Nothing attracts attention like a red dress.

Laura Bush

Come join the NHLBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS Office on Women’s Health and many other groups in the U.S. flash their reds on February’s very first Friday.

References:
About The Heart Truth. (2016, March 17). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/hearttruth/about/index.htm.
National Wear Red Day. (2016, March). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/hearttruth/events/wear-red.htm.
Wear Red And Give. (2019, February 1). Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/get-involved/give/wear-red-and-give.

Audrey Hepburn quote: the shade on every woman

Audrey Hepburn said: There is a shade of red for every woman.

There is a shade of red for every woman.

Audrey Hepburn

Happy Bench Monday Thank A Mailman Day

February 4th is Thank Your Mailman, Postman or Mail Crarrier Day. Go ahead and do so on this day. 🤓

February 4th is Thank Your Mailman, Postman or Mail Crarrier Day. Go ahead and do so on this day.

But for today, Happy Bench Monday! 🤓

Mailman holding his bag of mail while standing on a bench beside a package
Mailman holding his bag of mail while standing on a bench beside a package

Jake Shimabukuro quote: a better world of ukuleleists

Jake Shimabukuro said: If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

Jake Shimabukuro

The month of February

February is the 2nd month of the year that has either 28 or 29 days. Its birthstone is Amethyst and its birth flowers are violet and primrose. When there are 29 days or when it is leap year, a worldwide festival is held in Anthony, the leap year capital of the world.

February is the second month of the year. It has 28 days but 29 days every 4 years during leap year.

The Februarian birthstone is Amethyst, a purple quartz, that was believed to protect the wearer from drunkenness. (1) Following suit with the color of this gemstone, the birth flower is surprisingly violet (not even close to the fiery love-month red). Violets symbolize faithfulness and so to give this bloom to someone is to show your loyalty to that person (which now correlates to love). Primrose, a colorful perennial that is not related to a rose, is also February’s birth flower. (2)

How do you know it is the 4th-year leap year?

Simple. If you can divide that year by 4, then it is a leap year.

Leap year capital of the world

Anthony, a small town between New Mexico and Texas, is the Leap Year Capital of the World. This began when Mary Ann Brown, born in leap year 1932, and fellow leap-year born, Birdie Lewis, proposed the idea of celebrating “Leapies” birthdays to the town’s Chamber of Commerce on February 1, 1988 – Leap Year Festival and Leap Year Birthday Club. From the NM-TX borderline town’s old name, “The Best Little Town in Two States”, it has been proclaimed the Leap Year Capital of the World. Drawing in only 9 leap-year celebrators on the first year of proclamation to a few thousands on the next 2-day festival. (3)

“I always thought that Leap Year Day should have more recognition . . . It just came to me that it would be a good theme for the Chamber of Commerce to use—and we’d only have to work hard once every four years.”

Mary Ann Brown, American Profile (3)

This worldwide leap year festivities are packed with fun-filled events, such as 10K race, chuck wagon breakfast, hot air balloon launch, craft show, carnival, hayrides, golf tournament, concerts, parade and the ultimate birthday party for those February “29ers”. (3)

“When you only get one birthday every four years, you want to make it special . . . Here in Anthony, we try to do everything we can think of to entertain the people who come to the festival.”

Mary Ann Brown, American Profile (3)

References:
(1) American Gem Society. (n.d.). Amethyst Overview. Retrieved January 11, 2020 from https://www.americangemsociety.org/page/amethystoverview.
(2) The Old Farmer’s Almanac Editors. (2019, January 30). February Birth Flowers The Violet and the Primrose. Retrieved from https://www.almanac.com/content/february-birth-flowers
(3) Johnson, E. (2004, February 22). American Profile. Retrieved from https://americanprofile.com/articles/leapyear-capital-of-the-world/.

Alcohol-related brain damage and thiamine deficiency

Too much alcohol and deficiency in vitamin B may lead to brain damage, such as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Those are two medical conditions that often happen together or successively. It is important to know the difference for appropriate treatment.

Clinical testings and quantitative analysis have proven that excessive alcohol can result to structural and functional organ damage as well as brain abnormalities. For one, alcoholics can develop liver cirrhosis (liver with scarred tissue) that can impact the brain. It is also possible that with chronic drinking, one may have a poor diet that will lead to Vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency. This can also cause severe brain damage and dysfunction.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is a term for two medical conditions that often happen together – Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff psychosis. While the Wernicke disease happens suddenly such that treatment is needed right away, Korsakoff patients experience long-term cognitive issues, including memory loss. (1)

Wernicke’s encephalopathy

Wernicke sufferers may have the following:

  • Confusion – You may feel confused of what is going around you.
  • Loss of muscle coordination – Your arms and legs may feel weak such that standing up and walking will be a little difficult.
  • Vision problems – Your eyes may move around quickly and you may have double-vision.

In addition to the above symptoms, there may be a feeling of dizziness when standing up due to low blood pressure. A patient may also feel a faster heartbeat but with less energy; and even feel drowsy or faint. With no immediate treatment, Wernicke encephalopathy can lead to Korsakoff syndrome. (1)

Korsakoff’s syndrome

“Korsakoff syndrome, also called Korsakoff dementia, Korsakoff psychosis, or amnesic-confabulatory syndrome, is a life-altering, permanent neuropsychiatric condition characterized by anterograde and retrograde amnesia as well as frontal lobe dysfunction and affective disturbance.” (2)

With the Korsakoff syndrome, learning is impaired because remembering new things and recent events becomes difficult. However, other thinking and social skills are relatively unaffected. An individual may seem to be able to converse properly but later forgets that occurrence entirely. (3)

This chronic memory disorder is caused by severe vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency. It is most commonly caused by alcohol abuse although some other conditions may also cause this brain-debilitating disease. (3)


References:
(1) What Is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome? (2018, January 11). In WebMD Medical Reference. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/brain/wernicke-korsakoff-syndrome-facts#1.
(2) McCormick, L. M., Buchanan, J. R., Onwuameze, O. E., Pierson, Ronald K., and Paradiso, S., (2013, January 22). Beyond Alcoholism: Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome in Patients With Psychiatric Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3551444/#R3.
(3) Korsakoff Syndrome. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2019 from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/korsakoff-syndrome.

Alexander Fleming quote: what penicillin and wine do to people

Alexander Fleming said: Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.

Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.

Alexander Fleming

 

Happy Bench Monday Drink Wine Day

February 18th is Drink Wine Day. 🍷 Please drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive. Cheers 🥂 Photo: Lady holding two wine glasses as she sits on a low white bench; two bottles of red wine sit on the floor, one almost empty, while red-and-green dark chocolate kisses scatter

February 18th is Drink Wine Day. 🍷

Please drink responsibly.
Don’t drink and drive.

Cheers 🥂

Lady sitting on a white bench while holding two wine glasses; two bottle of wine and red-and-green chocolate kisses scattered on the floor
Photo: Lady holding two wine glasses as she sits on a low white bench; two bottles of red wine sit on the floor, one almost empty, while red-and-green dark chocolate kisses scatter

Cocktail party memory deficit and alcohol-induced memory blackout [video]

Studies have shown that while working memory still functions for a brief period of time during intoxication, short-term to long-term memory conversion is disabled. The more alcohol is consumed, the more memories are impaired. With excessive blood alcohol content or BAC, the normal processes of the hippocampus in the brain is disrupted.

Some non-official holidays, such as below, are particularly linked to social drinking and merry-making. This might result to binging on alcohol. It is important to know the risk factors and the impact on your memory.

  • February 14th is Valentine’s Day.
  • February 18th is National Drink Wine Day.
  • February 22nd is National Margarita Day.
  • March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day.

So they say…

Please drink moderately. Do not drink and drive.

But once you’re on it and got past to “your moderate level”, will you be able to remember what you are not supposed to do? Will you be sane enough to make a wise decision for yourself and others?

What Happens To Your Brain When You Get Blackout Drunk by Science Insider, on YouTube

Studies have shown that alcohol can still allow the functioning of working memory but only for a brief period of time. Conversation of short-term memory into long–term, however, is disabled. The more ethanol-based beverage is consumed, the more your memory is impaired (which also has ill effects on your motor skills and executive decision-making). Excessive blood alcohol content or BAC disrupts the normal process of your hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for creating new explicit memories.

Cocktail party memory deficit

In 1971, Ryback observed that BAC has a direct relationship with alcohol-induced long-term memory impairment. If there is a small to moderate amount of ethanol flowing in your blood stream (BAC below 0.15 percent), then there is also a small to moderate occurrence of memory deficit. This is what Ryback termed as cocktail party memory deficit – small-to-moderate memory lapses due to small-to-moderate drinking. If BAC is increased, then memory impairment will also be higher, oftentimes resulting to a blackout. (1)

Alcohol-induced blackout

A blackout is an episode of amnesia – one that is anterograde or that in which the person is unable to form new memories while intoxicated. This also means that whatever memories he or she had prior to alcohol influence, those can still be recalled once sober. (1)

Also called alcohol-induced amnesia, blackout oftentimes occurs during binge drinking – when alcohol is rapidly increased in the blood stream. The impairing effects of blood alcohol content or BAC, on memory vary among people. (2)

The possible key to having a blackout is “rapid drinking”.

Given the same levels of alcohol, evidences have shown that, as compared to men…”are at greater risk . . . for experiencing blackouts” and have more susceptibility to “milder forms of alcohol-induced memory impairments.” This is due to physiology, such as metabolism, body weigh, body fat proportion and enzyme levels. (1)

Women may experience blackouts more than men.
They are more prone to memory impairment when drunk.

2 types of blackouts

In 1969, Goodwin and colleagues studied 100 hospitalized alcoholics and found 64 had blackout episodes categorized into two types –

  • Fragmentary blackout
  • En bloc blackout

Fragmentary blackout

Fragmentary blackout is the “partial blocking of memory formation” and is the most common form of amnesic episode during intoxication. You can remember a few things or “fragments” of what has happened but not entirely. (1) It is also called brownouts in which you may remember once triggered or given a cue. (3)

En block blackout

En block blackout is when your total memory function is impaired. This is the stage of drunkenness in which actively retained information are never transferred into long-term memory. (1) It is like time-traveling without the knowledge of what has transpired during that event. (3)

Blackout vs. pass out

Passing out is when a person loses consciousness and falls into a sleep-like state. Blackout is when a person who appears conscious behaves rather uncontrollably and loses memory of what happened. (2)

To summarize, alcohol impairs memory up to the extent of how you are intoxicated. The more alcohol streaming in your blood (BAC above .15 percent), the more memory impaired you possibly become.

Please drink moderately.
Do not drink and drive.

Alcoholic drink pouring onto wine glass with a brain
Alcoholic drink pouring onto wine glass with a brain

References:
(1) White, Aaron. (2003). What Happened? Alcohol, Memory Blackouts, and the Brain. Alcohol Research & Health, 27(2), 186-96. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm.
(2) Binge Drinking & Alcohol Blackout. (2018, November 8). Retrieved from https://www.alcohol.org/effects/dangers-of-blackouts/.
(3) I Did What??? The Anatomy of a Blackout. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2019 from https://drugabuse.com/i-did-what-the-anatomy-of-a-blackout/.

Valentine’s day in her memory

That’s why I hear people congratulate those that get engaged. For the couple, it’s like winning the lottery – your synced hearts as prizes. A romantic moment…

Such a sweet memory! Love that! ❤️

Inspire&change

“The luckiest person in the world is the one who gets proposal from the one whom he/she loved the most”

Here’s a small poem from the memory lane………….

You made me love you from the day, I made my eye contact with you,                                   You walked in and asked for my name that was the day I knew,

The day you cried for my failure and made me realize you are there,                                           I would never felt more alive.

As the days passed, I knew it was the perfect time to propose you,                                            To…

View original post 108 more words

Did you know almond is not a nut?

Did you know that an almond is not a nut? It is the seed of an almond fruit, in which an outer fleshy part surround it pit.

An almond is not a nut but the seed of the almond fruit. Although it is typically called an almond nut, this type belongs to drupes or fruits with outer fleshy parts and pits (1) . . . such as peach and mango.

Reference:(1) Hiskey, Daven.  (2010, April 7). Almonds Are Not Nuts. Retrieved from http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/04/almonds-are-not-nuts/.

National Almond Day: brain benefits of almonds

National Almond Day is celebrated annually on February 16th… An almond, fruit of an almond tree, is rich in vitamins and minerals essential for good brain health, such as proteins, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

February 16th in National Almond Day, a non-official foodie holiday that is annually celebrated.

How to Eat Almonds to Increase Memory Power by No1HealthCare, on YouTube

The nutritious almond drupe

Almonds are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain power. Some of these nutrients, according to the United States Department of Agriculture are: protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, niacin, choline, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

  1. Protein breaks down into amino acids, which make up the neurotransmitters. It helps the body repair brain cells that impact cognitive function, including memory /noted by Phyllis Bach, prescription for nutritional healing
  2. Zinc boosts the immune system that prevents bacteria and viral infections. This mineral is also and antioxidant – one that protects the brain cells from free radical molecules that attacks and oxidizes lipids in your bloodstream; thereby, maintaining brain function and prevent memory loss.
  3. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine aids, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aids in the metabolism of proteins. It helps to increase the availability of proteins for brain cell repair and also promotes the production of neurotransmitter chemicals for better brain synapses.
  4. Vitamin E slows down aging of cells, including those in the brain that impact memory. (Note: Too much of this vitamin results to Vitamin E toxicity so please consult your doctor first if you’re thinking of taking this skin vitamin supplement. Almonds, however, will no do this kind of harm.)

Kids’ reactions to kisses, dates and all things Valentine’s Day

Kids are so cute and they even say their “ews” to rather silly questions in the most fascinating way. Watch…

Kids React to Valentine’s Day by Emily Frame – Small Fry, on YouTube

Valentine’s Day: open for business

Holidays are what they are today mostly because of the economic benefits they bring to big businesses. For any financial gain to be made, it is only wise to take advantage of these situations. 

🍾

Any holiday or special day is a mere celebration of some sort . . . but sometimes with an aura of something mystical . . . delightfully enchanting.

Christmas 🎄 is a season of giving; Thanksgiving 🍗 is a time of gratefulness; and Independence Day 💥 is the spirit of freedom, pride and patriotism. Even some non-official or totally odd holidays are being integrated into our subconscious. Take Spouse’s Day or Cheeeselover’s Day as an example. I can even sell Mnimi t-shirts and market a day for Wear Your Mnimi Shirt Day or something. Ha.

But anyway…

♥️

There seems to be one special day that appeals to our most basic instinct – that of being wanted and to want. Valentine’s Day.

The day of hearts is arguably the easiest holiday to promote. It’s also the easiest day to relate or deny. I mean, who doesn’t want to be loved, to love . . . or to be beloved?

So, bring it on Cupid! Flowers.💐 Chocolates.🍫. Restaurants.🍷 Red, pink, heart-shaped whatevers.💕. Just don’t get lost in all the business side of it. As the Beatles sang it: “Money can’t buy me love.”

It won’t hurt to give that single red rose 🌹 though. Its thorn will.

Valentine’s Day: Buyer Beware.

A happy Valentine’s Day greeting card
Happy Valentine!

History of Valentines Day [videos]

Valentine’s Day is annually celebrated on February 14th. Ironically, happy hearts day has a cruel history that dates back to 270 A.D. Legend even says there are 3 St. Valentines who share this very same feast day.

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, the feast day of St. Valentine. Ironically, happy hearts day history is about Christian persecution of 3 martyr Valentines.

The History of St. Valentine’s Day by breadnbeyond, on YouTube

Valentine and his secret marriages

During the 3rd century, Rome was at war among tribes. Emperor Claudius II thought his army weakened due to Roman men’s devotion to their wives and families.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Seeing that as a problem, he proclaimed the banning of marriages as well as engagements. (1)

Valentine, at that time, was a bishop who was one of those who opposed the unjust decree. So in defiance, the devout Catholic secretly united loving couples 💑 in holy matrimony until it was discovered. The cruel emperor then ordered his arrest and the priest was beaten with clubs. It was believed he was beheaded on February 14th around 270 A.D. (1)

Legend says…

While Bishop Valentine was waiting for his execution, he healed then became close (or may have fell in love) with his jailer’s blind daughter. Prior to his execution, the future saint wrote a farewell message 💔 to his “girl” or friend with a complimentary close saying: From your Valentine. (2)

The three St. Valentines

According to Catholic faith, there are three different St. Valentines with the very same feast day of February 14th. (3)

  1. The Roman priest-physician Valentine who comforted martyrs and was put to death under Emperor Claudius II’s order (above story)
  2. The Bishop of Interamna, now Terni in Rome, who also suffered under the same cruel emperor, was arrested and beheaded
  3. A less popular martyr in Africa was also called Valentine
The History of Valentine’s Day by WatchMojo.com, on YouTube

Valentine’s Day vs. Lupercalia

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius made February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day.💝 It is also believed that this date was chosen by Christians to suppress the pagan fertility festival called Feast of Lupercalia, which was celebrated from February 13th to 15th. (4)

My ideal Valentine’s Day is spending it with someone you are in love with and for that someone to make you feel loved and appreciated.

Candice Swanepoel

References:
(1) St. Valentine beheaded. (2018, August 21). In History.com. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/st-valentine-beheaded.
(2) Breadnbeyond. (2013, February 8). The History of St. Valentine’s Day [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGx7q4O6w2w.
(3) Saunders, William. (n.d.). History of St. Valentine: Who was Saint Valentine and how did he come to inspire Valentine’s Day? Retrieved February 9, 2018 from https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/history-of-st-valentine.html.
(4) WatchMojo.com. (2013, February 11). The History of Valentine’s Day [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YguF1pcBWYI.

My funny valentine [ lyric video ]

My funny valentine,
Sweet, comic valentine,
You make me smile with my heart.
Your looks are laughable,
Un-photographable,
Yet, you’re my favorite work of art.

My funny Valentine – Chet Baker – Lyric Video by Giuseppe Vergara, on Youtube

My funny valentine,
Sweet, comic valentine,
You make me smile with my heart.
Your looks are laughable,
Un-photographable,
Yet, you’re my favorite work of art.

Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak,
are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me,
Not if you care for me;
Stay little valentine, stay.
Each day is valentine’s day.

Frank Sinatra, My Funny Valentine
Lyrics by Rodgers Richard and Hart Lorenz

Happy Bench Monday Get Out Your Guitar Day

February 11th is Get Out Your Guitar Day.

…and make music. 🎶

The guitar has a kind of grit and excitement possessed by nothing else.     

Brian May

Guitars have been the obsession of my life. I first picked one up at the age of four and Ive been a guitar junkie ever since.

Johnny Marr

Happy Bench Monday! 🎸
Happy Get Out Your Guitar Day!

man standing on a bench in a park while holding a guitar
Man standing on a bench in a park while holding a guitar for Get Out Your Guitar Day

Brief history of umbrellas from parasol to Hanway and today [video]

February 10th is National Umbrella Day. It is not known how this came to be but umbrella-history-wise, its use dates back to ancient times. From the sun-protecting parasol to the ridiculed Hanway, modern brollies are being developed to provide better sun-rain protection and wind resistance.

February 10th is National Umbrella Day. It is not known how this came to be, but whether it’s sunny or rainy on that day, open your umbrellas to use or shake the dust off.

🌧

Wow. California is being rained a lot since 2018. Thank goodness, Mother Earth is doing her balancing act – reducing the drought condition that plagued us here. Hopefully, you’re getting (or will get) your fair share of that nature’s magic.

So this morning, February 9th, I woke up with yet another drizzle and I’m just glad it’s a Saturday… By the time I’m finishing this write-up though, the sun is coming out beautifully. It’s perfect for a party we’re going to attend this afternoon. Rain or shine 🌦, however, we’re going to bring our brollies . . . well, not just to celebrate a birthday, but also pre-umbrella day!  Haha.

But first, some facts and a little history for ya…

The ancient parasol

The umbrella has been used around 4 B.C., not for the rain, but for the sun. It was originally called parasol – that is, para (protecting against) + sol (sun). ☀️

Mostly women of the ancient worlds – Rome, Greece, Egypt, India and the Middle East – had used sunshades 😎 made of feathers, leaves and even leather. But some royalties, clergies and dignitaries had also been depicted on ancient drawings using parasols. It was as if carrying one was an honor. (1)

From umbra to Hanway

Umbrella came from the Latin word, umbra, which means shade or shadow.  As mentioned, it was primarily used as sun protection but later on, as some history shows, the Chinese 👲🏻 made their yúsăn or săn useful during the rain by reinforcing it with wax and lacquer.

What started as a woman’s accessory was passed on to men when a Persian traveler and writer named Jonas Hanway publicly carried this once-for-a-lady-only contraption in England. He popularized it for men use. Thus, English gentleman often referred to their umbrellas ☂️ as “Hanway”. (2)

Umbrella today

What Makes the Perfect Umbrella? by GeoBeats News, on YouTube

There are many attempts to improve this age-old hand-held device for many reasons. Standard umbrellas can poke someone in the eye, provide inadequate protection only and be wet-messy when folded. 🌂

Umbrella inventors created modern-looking parasols that are even more functional. There are rain-shields ☔️ with extended water-splash-resistant canopy on one side, rain-shaders sans the poking, aero-dynamic versions that resist wind 💨 up to 70 miles per hour and inside-out umbrellas that also will literally prevent the wind from tipping umbrellas inside out…

Still, the development of a better umbrella continues…

A little monk boy walking away as he carries a red umbrella that matches his red robe
A little monk boy walking away as he carries a red umbrella that matches his red robe

References:
(1) What is the history of the rain umbrella? (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2018 from https://cheekyumbrella.com/pages/rain-umbrella-history.
(2) Bellis, Mary. 2018, June 13, 2018. Who Invented the Umbrella? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/who-invented-the-umbrella-1992592.

Bittersweet memories by Bullet For My Valentine [ music video + lyrics ]

🎼 You turn me off at the push of a button – And you pretend that I don’t mean nothing – I’m not a saint; that’s easy to tell – But guess what, honey? You ain’t no angel – You like to scream; use words as a weapon – Well, go ahead take your best shot, woman – I wanna leave you – it’s easy to see;
But guess what, honey? It’s not that easy. 🎵

Bullet For My Valentine – Bittersweet Memories by Bullet For My Valentine, on YouTube

You turn me off at the push of a button,
And you pretend that I don’t mean nothing.
I’m not a saint; that’s easy to tell;
But guess what, honey? You ain’t no angel.

You like to scream; use words as a weapon;
Well, go ahead take your best shot, woman.
I wanna leave you – it’s easy to see;
But guess what, honey? It’s not that easy.

I wanna run and escape from your prison;
But when I leave, I feel something is missing.
I’m not afraid; that’s easy to tell;
This can’t be heaven; It feels like I’m in hell.

You’re like a drug that I can’t stop taking;
I want more and I can’t stop craving.
I still want you; it’s easy to see;
But guess what, honey? You’re not that good for me.

We get so complicated (complicated);
This finger’s for our memories.

So rip my pictures from your wall;
Tear them down and burn them all.
Light the fire and walk away;
There’s nothing left to say, so…

Take the ashes from the floor;
Bury them to just make sure
That nothing more is left of me –
Just bittersweet memories.

Just bittersweet memories…

There’s nothing left to say.
There’s nothing left to say.

Bullet For My Valentine, Bittersweet Memories
Lyrics by Don Gilmore, Jason James, Michael Paget, Michael Thomas & Matthew Tuck

Dr. Seuss quote: in love when reality is better than dreams

Dr. Seuss said: You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

Dr. Seuss

Hazelnut effect on memory

Hazelnuts are nutritious nuts used to make oil, praline, chocolate truffles and Nutella. Also known as cobnuts or filberts, these edibles have also been studied for their effect on memory. Iranians are said to use hazelnuts on their traditional remedy for Alzheimer’s disease.

The hazelnut, also known as cobnut or filbert, is an edible nut used to make oil, praline and chocolate truffles. It is also the ingredient for Nutella.

Hazelnuts, of the Corylus Avellana species, are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamin E, thiamin, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. They also have B vitamins, vitamin K, calcium, zinc and potassium; as well as fats – monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. (1)

Cobnuts

A cobnut is a type of hazelnut that is larger and has a distinct flavor. It is traditionally grown in Kent (thus, called Kentish cobnuts) but now, there are other commercial orchards within United Kingdom. (2)

Filberts

Hazelnuts are ready for harvesting around August 20th, which happens to be the feast day of France’s St. Philbert. Thus, Catholic European hazelnut eaters, began calling those nuts as filberts. However, some historians believe that filbert came from vollbart, the German word for full beard, that which resembles a hazelnut husked shell. Typically though, filbert refers to commercially cultivated crops of hazelnuts. (3)

Hazelnuts and memory

Hazelnuts have been studied for their effect on memory as Iranians traditionally use it to remedy Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The results showed memory improvement on hazelnut-fed lab rats, as well as reduced anxiety in their behavior. Overall findings suggest that hazelnut dietary supplements could treat AD and improve healthy aging. (4)


References:
(1) Hazelnut. (2018, December 28). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelnut.
(2) About Kentish Cobnuts. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2019 from https://www.kentishcobnuts.com/cobnuts/.
(3) Filippone, Peggy Trowbridge. (2019, February 1). Why Are Hazelnuts Known as Filberts? The Story Behind the Name. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/why-are-hazelnuts-called-filberts-1808319.
(4) Zahra B. (2017, July). Hazelnut and neuroprotection: Improved memory and hindered anxiety in response to intra-hippocampal Aβ injection. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26808646.

World Nutella Day history

February 5th is World Nutella Day that was founded in 2007 by Sara Rosso, an American blogger and a Nutella fan.

February 5th is World Nutella Day as founded in 2007 by Sara Rosso, an American blogger and a Nutella fan.

Nutella Stories: Sara Rosso by Nutella, on YouTube

Ferrero’s Original Giandujot

Nutella is a chocolate spread that contains palm oil, sugar, milk powder, cocoa solids and hazelnuts. It was created by Pietro Ferrero, an Italian pastry maker, in response to cocoa shortage after World War Two. He called it Giandujot – named after a famous local carnival character at the time. It was Pietro’s son, Michele, who renamed it to Nutella® after improving his father’s original recipe.

Nutella – I dig my spoon in and eat it straight out of the jar. I can easily go through one a week.

Malin Akerman
Mother and children enjoying pancakes with Nutella for World Nutella Day
Mother and children enjoying pancakes with Nutella for World Nutella Day

Reference:
(1) History About Nutella. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2019 from https://www.nutella.com/en/uk/history#1951.

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