Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deck the Halls and Read These Books

The Wee Free Men By: Terry Pratchett
Fiction- youth, fantasy 263 pages, 5th grade reading level copyright 2003

This book has nothing to do with Christmas; however, we will be giving it out as a Christmas present to someone that does not read our blog and so we read it to see if it was something that we wanted to give. And as others might be in the same predictiment that we were we thought we would share with you. First, we got the names of some cousins in the family Christmas name exchange that were rabid Harry Potter fans and as such have been branching out into other fantasy books now that they have nothing more to read about Potter. They are also in high school and good readers, so we wanted to get something not too babyish for them, but didn’t want to randomly pick out some adult novel that was full of sex and/or gore as sometimes happens in fantasy books. (As we don’t want to deal with their mom when mad, it is not pretty!) We asked a friend into fantasy books for some ideas and they mentioned that we might like to try a Terry Pratchett novel. Looking on-line we saw this series of children’s books that he wrote, where this was the first in the series. According to the reviews by others it was interesting even to adults, but as the main character is only 9 we were worried that it would be too childish. We are happy to report that it is not too childish. There is only one time that it is mentioned that the main character is 9 and without that one could easily think that she is in her early teens. The story is fun with fun characters like the wee free men who are blue, tattooed covered little men in kilts, who escaped from fairyland. It also has a nice storyline in that Tiffany, the main character, must risk her life to save her little brother, even though, like most girls with little brothers, she doesn’t really like him. (He is always sticky and yelling that he needs to use the bathroom.) All in all, we wouldn’t mind reading more of this series, even if it is for kids.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deck the Halls and Read These Books

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, By: David Kamp
Non-fiction, food 364 pages copyright 2006

This book is a great read it you are a foodie. If you just like food or are interested in what people eat, but are not a foodie this book will be interesting as well but you may be insulted at times by the overwhelming hatred to jell-o, fast food, and other non-foodie foods. So if you don’t know if you are or are not a foodie here is a short quiz to help to find out.

1. Do you watch channels like the Food Network, Fine Living etc that have shows centered around food?
2. Do you like to watch chiefs like Bobby Flay for their superior cooking skills and do not think that they are self-centered jerks?
3. Do you hate that cooks like Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee have cooking shows even thought they make non-gourmet foods and use short cuts in their cooking?
4. Do you seek out restaurants of famous chiefs?
5. Do you read magazines devoted to gourmet cooking like “Gourmet” or “Food and Wine”?
6. Do you know what arugula or rocket (in British) is?

If you answered 5 or more of the questions yes, then you are a foodie and should read to book, if you like to read.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holidays in the month of December

2- Start of Advent
3- International Day of Disabled People
4- Hanukkah starts
5- 21st Amendment Day
6- St. Nicholas Day
7- Pearl Harbor Day
8- Feast of the Immaculate Conception
10- Human Rights Day
12- Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
12- Poinsettia Day
13- St. Lucia Day
17- Saturnalia
20- Eid ul-Adha
22- Winter Solstice
22- World Peace Day
25- Christmas
26- Start of Kwanzaa
26- Boxing Day
26- St. Steven’s Day
31- New Year’s Eve

Friday, November 23, 2007

The day after Thanksgiving

As you know today is the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday as it is the first official day of Christmas shopping and the biggest day in retail. We at Weird News B.N.I. hope that you enjoyed your shopping. Now get ready for this year’s Christmas fun!!!!!

Countdown to Christmas: 32 days

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving Read

The Big Book of Beer: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Greatest Beverage on Earth By: Duane Swierczynski
Non-fiction: History, travel, cooking, crafts, science etc. 202pages copyright 2004

First, why is this a Thanksgiving read many of you are asking, the reason is although your high school history teacher might have made up some BS about the Pilgrims landing where they did because of being blown off course, or secretly planning to end up outside of the king’s colony, or needing to find a place in time for winter, the real reason that they ended up where they did is that the ship was running out of beer and the sailors wanted to dump them fast to make sure there was enough beer left for themselves. Beer is the worlds oldest drink (water sooooo doesn’t count as a drink, it’s like eating grass because you feel like stake, sure you need it to make what you want, but it in itself is in no way tasty.) And as such has a long and important history that this book gives to glimpses of. Although the title’s claim of having everything you want to know about beer isn’t necessary true it does include the major important things and fun facts too. (Note: if our web editor ever invites you over for a true luncheon you should eat first as in the Middle Ages a nunchion was having a beer at noon time and lunch was having some bread at noon making a luncheon a hunk of bread and a beer.) Anyway, this book is great fun for someone that loves beer.

Monday, November 19, 2007


We at WNBNI would like to apologize for the lack of post. Like everyone we are busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. We have also been making crafts for a craft show, planning a surprise party (it was yesterday so they won’t find out about it from reading this, which is why we waited to post this), looking everywhere for the impossible to find Christmas present (found it!!!!), battling a cold and insomnia with out being able to take much medicine as we are also constantly sick with morning sickness for the last few months, and tired from the last three things too. Anyway that is why there are the missing post, but we hope after Thanksgiving to be better at posting as a number of those things will be done then. And we will only have to contine with the shopping for the perfect gift for the dozen other people on our list.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Thanksgiving Read

The Thanksgiving Book
Non-fiction, cooking, songs, poetry etc, 119 pages

This book has some interesting recipes for Thanksgiving food from around the country. Each one has a short into to where it is from and some date back to colonial times. It also has stories, poems, songs and prayers for Thanksgiving time and some history on Thanksgiving. At the end is a place to put your own Thanksgiving information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cranberry Conversation

(Fun facts on that holiday berry.)

- A ripe cranberry will bounce.
- Cranberries were first called cranberries, most likely due to the way the flowers resemble cranes.
- They are also called mossberry in parts of Canada, fenberry in the UK and Sassamanash in certain Native American tribes.
- Cranberries were used in a Native American snack food with venison and fat.
- Cranberry bogs are only flooded for harvesting and to help the plants winter over, in the growing season they are dryer.
- Cranberries that will be sold fresh are often picked before flooding the bog.
- About 95% of cranberries grown are processed before selling. Mostly into juice but also sauces and dried.
- Cranberries were likely to have been at the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving.
- Cranberries are though to be a superfood due to their antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Scientist are researching its help benefits on the cardiovascular and immune systems (especially in stopping bladder infections) as well in its use and fighting cancers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Turkey Talk

(Fun facts on the Thanksgiving bird)

- There is no evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, although it is an animal native to North America.
- In fact in the years before refrigeration some form of pork, such as ribs were often eaten as that was the time of year that pigs were slaughtered, while turkeys could be eaten any time of the year.
- It is thought by many that turkey became the main meat at Thanksgiving in large part to the Norman Rockwell painting “Freedom from Want” that shows a woman setting a very large turkey down on the dinning room table.
- Every year two turkeys are picked out and the President pardon’s one after which both are retired to a petting zoo or farm.
- This custom originally started when President Lincoln was giving a turkey for Christmas dinner, but his children wanted to keep it as a pet, so he gave the turkey a pardon. And was later moved to a Thanksgiving Day custom.
- Although turkey’s contain high amounts of tryptophan, a chemical that causes sleepiness, it doesn’t contain enough to make on fall asleep and it is more the over eating of Thanksgiving that causes the post dinner nap.
- A 3.5 oz serving of turkey breast meat contains on average 17 g protein, 10% DRA of vitamin B1, 21% of B2, 10% B6, 10% vitamin C, 12% iron, 23% phosphorus, 13% zinc and smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
- Scientifically there is no difference between wild and domestic turkeys.
- Only male turkeys gobble.
- The turkey can fly.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today in History

Today in 1975 the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior about 17 miles from Whitefish Bay. All 29 crew members aboard died in a sinking that most likely took less then 10 minutes. Although many boats have sunk in the Great Lakes, it was the largest, most famous, and it remains a mystery exactly what happened. It is the largest as the boat was the biggest boat in the Great Lakes until the ‘70’s measuring 729 feet long and able to hold 26,600 tons of cargo. It is the most famous in large part to the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. If you live in the Great Lakes area or listen to a folk, country, classic rock, or mix of music radio station you can hear the song today by turning a radio on. (If outside the Great Lakes area, you may need to request it, if in side the area it may be played up to once every hour.) This song was at #2 on pop charts in 1976. And for a pop song contains few historic inacursies. The main ones are that the boat was headed to Detroit, the church in the song is actually called “The Mariners’ Church of Detroit”, the old cook wasn’t on the boat and his replacement was a young man, the captain didn’t call in, and they winds were not due to hurricanes or at hurricane levels. Mainly small changes that help make it easier to sing, or more interesting. It is also used in other songs about it, including a musical and there is a beer named after it. It is still a mystery what happened to it, even after finding the ship as important parts of the boat can’t be viewed with how it is laying on the lake bed, and even if they could move it out of the water it will not be done as it is a burial place for all the men in the ship. There are a few theories on what happened. At first it was thought that the huge boat snapped in two and then sank; however, after finding the boat it showed that although in two pieces, the pieces are too close together for that to be likely. It is also thought that the hatches were leaking, letting in water. Or that due to there radar being out they ran aground without knowing it and water got in that way. Reasontly the Discovery Channel has suggested that a set of freak waves damaged the hatch covers and sank the ship. This ship is also so important of a wreak as it happened only 32 years ago, the wives and/or children of the crew are still alive. In fact the reason that you don’t hear the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” that much in TV or movies is that Lightfoot gave the rights to the song to all 29 families of the crew making it hard the get permission to use it. Also in 2005 there were efforts to make November 10th “Great Lakes Mariners Day” to honor all that died on the Great Lakes. For the lyrics to the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” click here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Food Rant

For thousands of years farmers have cultivated different plants changing them throughout the generations to showcase traits that they find desirable. Why is it then that when ever you cook with beets your kitchen looks like the set of a B grade horror film? If a cabbage can become anything from tiny Brussels sprouts to purple cauliflower then how come no one has worked on a beet that doesn’t bleed more than a nasty head wound? I for one would like to see a beet that doesn’t turn everything red. Some one should start working on this right away!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Thanksgiving Read

Patriotic Holidays of the United States: An Introduction to the History, Symbols, and Traditions Behind the Major Holidays and Days of Observance, By: Helene Henderson
Non-Fiction: History, Holidays 359 pages copyright 2006

This book covers the history and traditions of: Armed Forces Day, Citizenship Day, Election Day, Emancipation Day, Juneteenth, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, Memorial Day, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Patriot Day, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, and Washington’s Birthday. In this book you learn many interesting facts like what a caisson is (from the song “The Caissions Go Rolling Along”), and that Citizenship Day also is in honor of American born citizens who have turned 18 that year. It includes many documents related to each holiday as well as web pages and information on places of major celebrations for each day. Over all I would recommend it as a good source of information as the only thing I found wrong with it is when talking about WWII it makes it sound as it only Jews were killed in the concentration camps, and I felt that it was a bit insulting to not note that other groups were also being targeted by the Nazis, being a part Polish person with some Gypsy ancestors and gay friends, as the least they could do is add “and millions others” to the line on the numbers killed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Count Down to Thanksgiving

Starting today on food network every day they will have Thanksgiving programming starting at 8 p.m. From what I’ve seen so far some times it is an hour of programming and sometimes it is two hours. Also they are not only airing shows about only Thanksgiving but also shows dealing with foods common to Thanksgiving, for example a Good Eats on stuffing.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Today is Election Day

Today is election day. Although there are not state or national elections today, there are various local races such as mayor, city counsel and other possible city positions. So may sure you go out and vote as with fewer people voting on each thing today your vote counts for even more.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Holidays in November

1- All Saints’ Day
Day of the Dead
2-All Soul’s Day
4- Daylight Savings Time Ends
King Tut Day
5- Guy Fawkes Day
6- Election Day
Middle of Fall
8- Harvey Wallbanger Day
Parents as Teachers Day
9- Diwali
World Freedom Day
11- Veterans/Remembrance Day
Bhai Dooj
13- Young Readers Day
14- World Diabetes Day
15- Nativity Fast
16- Fast Food Day
International Day for Tolerance
17- World Peace Day
Lung Cancer Awareness Day
Survivors of Suicide Day
19- US Marine Corps Day
20- Universal Children’s Day
21- World TV Day
22- Thanksgiving
Stop the Violence Day
23- Leftlovers Day
Black Friday
25- St. Catherine’s Day
30- St. Andrew’s Day

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Question to You

We at WNBNI would like to know if you, the reader of WNBNI would like to have a “Holiday Question of the Day” Like we put in last years holiday editions. If so when you would like it to start and what holidays would you like to see included? Please tell us what you think in our comments for this entry.

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Tomorrow at 2 a.m. daylight savings time ends, so remember to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed. Also remember that it is the end of the savings time for daylight, because there is just sooo little daylight in the summer that we have to save it. Also to read a classic WNBNI on the “truth” behind Daylight Savings time, click here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Today in Holidays

Today is the Feast of All Saints Day, as anyone who knows the history of Halloween knows it is the All Hallows that yesterday is the eve of. As I stated last year it’s a day for all the saints that aren’t officially known as saints (and those that got moved off the calendar of saints to make room of others.) Because of this it is hard to write about the people that this holiday is for. So the next week of entries will be the life stories of all my relatives that I am sure are honored in this holiday. Just kidding!! As tomorrow is All Souls’ Day to be fair I then would have to spend the rest of the month talking about everyone that was a jerk, but God still loves them. No once again I will be talking about patron saints. This time more on people that became the patron of something centuries after they lived and one that is only unofficially the patron of this. (Note: Now a day basically a saint becomes a patron of something either as it was part of their life, or enough people want them to be the patron of blank and the pope OKs it.)

St. Isidore of Seville (d. 672) unofficial patron saint of the internet. St. Isidore lived long before even the most basic of electronics, so why pick him for the internet? Easy, he made an encyclopedia of all knowledge known in Europe at that time. And if you remember you internet history (besides how it’s a series of tubes invented by Al Gore) then you know that sharing all the information in the world was one of the internets early goals.
St. Helen (d. 329) patron saint of divorce. St. Helen actually was divorced. Her husband left her after years of marriage to marry a younger woman with better political ties, but it is only in reasont years that she was declared the patron of this as up until the last century divorce was almost unheard of in all Christian societies.
St. Margaret of Cortona (d. 1297) patron saint of single mothers. Much like St. Helen she actually experienced what she has reasontly became the patron of. She became the mistress of a single nobleman in her early teens. They lived together for years having one son. When here lover was murdered she turned her life around and ended up becoming a nun. Unlike in the case of St. Helen single mothers were not uncommon in her lifetime or when she was declared a saint; however, as she was a single mother because she never married her child’s father and not due to a husband dying, many think that she wasn’t made the patron saint of single mothers until now for fear that to do so might condone her early lifestyle.
St. Joseph of Cuperting (d. 1663) patron saint of air travelers. There were no planes during his life, so why is he the patron of flying? Simple, he had the habit of levitating when praying. There are records of 70 times that this happened, including times in which the nearby villagers would watch, and a investigation by the Inquisition in which they could not find anyway that he was faking.