AotM #15: Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Yes, everyone, that’s right, Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day is a thing. Enjoy some chocolate and almonds for breakfast, lunch, & dinner today, since they are an incredibly healthy and delicious snack.


  1. ‘O’ [Yawn!]
    …Did that work? Did you yawn through sheer peer pressure? Well hopefully so, since yawning is AWESOME! It oxygenates the brain, increases alertness, and moves you closer to a meditative state. So never be ashamed of yawning. I love articles like this that explore that fuzzy nexus of science and spirituality.
  2. Everyone should keep as many houseplants as you can handle. We spend more time indoors than ever before in human history, surrounded by more toxic chemicals than ever before, in more tightly sealed and insulated domiciles than ever before—those old drafty houses on the prairie were actually good for you. So do yourself a favor and invest in some all-natural, sunlight-powered, green air-filters. (Or spend more time outdoors…Either way).
  3. Books are great, and reading improves your language ability, but you can’t trust most books out there when it comes to grammar…Even that supposed “classic” Elements of Style by Strunk & White is full of horrendous and ill-informed advice. Grammar isn’t nearly as boring or stuffy as lots of codgy old books, misinformed teachers, and snobby editors would have you think. And incidentally, I absolutely love the Language Log blog, as it brings language and grammar to life.
  4. Your new car runs more lines of code than the Joint Strike Fighter (no wonder car costs haven’t gone down much over the decades). Might this cause some problems, maybe with brakes…? It’s unfortunate that it’s becoming more difficult to find and learn the pleasures of a no-frills manual transmission these days.

AotM #13: Mischief Night

I never knew this before, but it certainly makes perfect sense that it was those hooliganish Brits who invented Mischief Night.


  1. No matter how often studies like these that promote the benefits of exercise come along, I’ll never stop sharing them, since getting sweaty really does make everything better. Today, Tai Chi reduces depression and joint pain in the elderly, and moderate exercise can lessen or even prevent flu.
  2. Although it’s certainly nothing new, here’s yet more research showing that even just beginning to study and play music improves brain function and memory. Get out and play something now!
  3. Where does dust come from? Surprisingly, we didn’t quite know where until now.
  4. While it’s about 90% true that you always get what you pay for, Monster Cables are one solid example of the remaining 10% of utter scams. Never trust marketing or commissioned “experts” (cough cough RadioShack).
  5. Here is an excellent proposal describing why English should NOT ever be legally made our official language. The fact that this topic is even an issue really does only go to show how discombobulated and disconnected we have become as One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty & Justice for All (I have omitted the “Under God” since it’s a relatively recent addition to the Pledge). If we felt more unified as a nation, it wouldn’t matter what languages people spoke.
  6. Finally, here’s a fascinating study showing how our unconscious biases effect the “results” of torture. Combined with the uselessness of most lie detection methodologies, we as a nation should most definitely forbid torture for anything related to our national interests. It just doesn’t work, and only serves to reduce our standing in the world.

AotM #11: National Nut Day

Yes, that’s right, National Nut Day. So, barring any allergies, go nuts with some healthy snacks!


  1. In honor of National Nut Day, extremists are more likely to be vocal than the moderate majority. This certainly explains the reporting tendencies of the MainStream Media, the silliness of the Dems and the GOP, and many other arguments in life. Maybe we Moderate Majority people need to start speaking up as early and often as the whackjobs, ignoramuses, jerks, and idiots out there, and thereby do our part to bring balance to society.
  2. Here’s the full text of a book about exercise and health by one of the fittest amateur athletes in the world in the late 1800’s. Muller’s ideas about cross-training, stretching, diet, etc, were all way ahead of his time, and his exercises are still well worth doing. [EDIT: In fact, here’s a 2011 article about how the Muller System is still going strong.]
  3. Are you one of the millions of people who consider ketchup to be their favorite condiment? Are you one of the tens of people who’s wondered what the origin of the word “ketchup” is? Well wonder no more, and read on to learn how ketchup was originally fish sauce from Southeast Asia.
    The linked blog has a number of fascinating posts about the Language of Food, including this amazingly well-researched essay that goes into great depth on what “entree” actually means, and how American meals differ from French or Italian meals, etc. Anyone who loves food, loves eating at nice restaurants, or loves arguing with European gourmands would all love this article.