Monday, August 1, 2016

Through the Keyhole - July 2016 (oops forgot to post)

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Through the Keyhole

Informative & Interesting... not your everyday company newsletter.
Happy 5th of July!
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I wanted to get this newsletter out today as it probably would have been lost last week in the rush to get out for the 4th of July.  I hope everyone had a great time and you did not blow any digits off while lighting fireworks...

2016 is officially half over and the best is yet to come.  This month, we celebrate the 4th of July and all of the things that go along with summer - baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and cars made in Mexico and Japan (and you thought I was going to say Chevrolet).  Most of us went to a parade, had a BBQ and then watched some fireworks.

Did you know that the 4th of July was celebrated in the 1800s by parades, public readings of the Declaration of Independence, and artillery salutes?  Fireworks were also part of early celebrations as well as over 14,000 of them countrywide today.  Since 1870 the 4th of July has officially been a FEDERAL Holiday (the others being New Year's Day, Veteran's Day and Christmas Day).

Some tidbits of knowledge about the 4th of July:
  • Thomas Jefferson changed the wording of the Declaration of Independence from "the pursuit of property" to "the pursuit of happiness"

  • Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776 — John Hancock and Charles Thompson

  • In 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the United States verses 311.7 million people in 2011

  • An estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4th.

  • The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.

  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826

Last month's winner of the "guess the location" game was Joe McGonagall with the correct response of "some mosque" - very clever and yet the closest guess.  Thanks for playing. 
More about the location below...
And now for a new picture above- Can you guess where it is by looking through the keyhole?  "This city is a stark contrast to the rest of its country let alone it's continent.  Therein lies the attraction and you don't even have to wear a cape to explore it.  At the very southern tip of its continent, the level of sophistication is astounding in this otherwise WILD place." Can you guess the location?

Correct answers will be given recognition but half the fun is trying to figure it out.  The correct answer will be revealed in the subsequent issue.  Good luck and have fun.

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As always, send any items you think are newsworthy, interesting or just plain odd to

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul - Keyhole Answer

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"You have to cover your legs and women their heads before entering this blue place.  Six Minarets decorate this building and can be heard for miles around. "

To begin with, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost their lives in the Istanbul airport terrorist attacks.  It is never my intention to choose a location that could be controversial in any way.  This is meant to be a lighthearted, fun communication and it is sad that there is pretty much no corner of the world that is truly safe from these kinds of attacks.

A few years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Europe just before the "Arab Spring".  At that time, my wife and I visited this historic place called the Blue Mosque (Called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish).  This place is a big tourist attraction and something to be seen.  I would highly recommend getting a tour escort in Istanbul so that you can maneuver throughout this massive city of about 18 million (feels like about 40 million).  The City is on the Bosphorus River which is the border of Europe and Asia.  A very interesting and mystical place...

One of the things that strikes you as you walk up to this massive structure is the amount of people mulling around.  The crowds are huge and there are lines to get in.  If you have a guide, the process of touring is much faster (you jump the queue) and the guides are full of knowledge.  Women must cover their heads and legs and the men must also cover their legs.  Shoes are not allowed.

The mosque is known for its blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.  It was built between 1609 and 1616 (JUST 7 YEARS), during the rule of Ahmed I. It also contains his tomb, a madrasa (school for Islam) and a hospice.  This place is an active mosque, so it is closed to non worshipers for a half hour or so during five daily prayers.

Just before each of the five daily prayers, you cannot miss the call to prayer that sounds and looks like
this (YouTube).. It is a bit odd to be part of (if you are not Muslim). The towers or minarets that surround the mosque are a symbol of importance and where the call to prayer is broadcast from.  The more minarets, the more important the mosque.  When the building was constructed, Ahmed ordered the 6 minarets which caused a bit of a stir because that is the same number at the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca (the main place of worship where all mosques of the world face).  Ahmed overcame this presumptuous stance by ordering a seventh minaret be built at the Mecca mosque. 

Also part of the general grounds is the Hippodrome.  This object is what is left of a social center of Constantinople (I know this gets confusing) where they used to race horses and chariots.  When you see it, you picture Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur racing a chariot (
see clip here).  At least that is what I thought. It must have been quite the spectacle.

As 90% of all people from Istanbul are Muslim, a trip to the Blue Mosque offers a unique opportunity to peer into their world in a welcome fashion.
Rick Steeves (video tour)

Local guide to the Blue Mosque (private video tour)

Prayer Rituals (interesting explanation of Muslim prayer)

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Men must wash up before prayers.
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Parking Garages just got Cheaper
Thanks to technology, parking just got cheaper.  Just use this site or app for Android and iPhone users and you will unlock some good parking deals.  Enter the location you are going to and you will find bargains for parking ANYWHERE. Chicago, New York, Miami, even St. Louis - any US City...

visit site here

How Memes become Memes
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original picture above

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3 hacking techniques that you need to watch out for...

Here is another really common sense way to protect yourself.  Spend 3 minutes and hear what WGN news has to say about your security on the web...
video here

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Never Lose Your Reading Glasses Again...
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cool product video
These readers fit right on the back of your cell phone and you will never misplace them again (unless you lose your phone)...
Buy here

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10 Things Millennials Buy Far More Often Than Everyone Else

complete article

1) Gas Station Food
2) Same Day Delivery
3) Hot Sauce
4) Snakes (really?)
5) Athleisure
6) Organic Food
7) Tattoos and Piercings
8) Energy Drinks
9) Donations at the cash register
10) Craft Booze


Surfing Office Dog Competition
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Quotable “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” - Sigmund Freud


Recipe of the Month - perfect for summer
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I have to admit that I really don't like fruit salad. However, this one is a great recipe and has a twist to it - there is a citrusy dressing that marinates the fruit.  Give it a try... you may just be the next hit at the party.

"The perfect fruit salad for a backyard bbq or any occasion. There are never leftovers! This is one of my favorite fruit salad recipes, as I think the sauce really makes it. This salad is tastier the longer you can let it soak in its juices. I prefer 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator before I serve it. Enjoy."


  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups blueberries


  1. Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.
  2. Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

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