Thursday, March 28, 2019

Through the Keyhole - March 2019

MAR 2019
Through the Keyhole
Take a break from your day...

Not your typical company OR newsletter
Can you guess the location?
"This American city is COLD but it also warms up in the summer where people have 10,000 places to boat, swim, fish, canoe, and enjoy.  This year it hosts one of collegiate sports storied tournament finales.  It also has two parts with two names (one of them is the capital of the state)...And my father went to college here."

Send your guess HERE

Time for Corned Beef and Brackets...
Did you know that corned beef and cabbage is an AMERICAN tradition (not Irish)...  Did you also know that if you are Irish you DO NOT HAVE TO ROOT FOR NOTRE DAME?

Are you aware that the NCAA tournament lowers productivity at American companies by A TON during the Thursday and Friday games of the first two weekends?  On average, workers spend 25.5 minutes per day monitoring the games—with checking game scores and team rankings being the most popular distractions. Water cooler chatter about the games is a close second.  See Fortune Magazine article here.

First, to the origin of corned beef dinner... To be clear, this meal is as Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City, in 1762. Over the next 100 years, Irish immigration to the United States exploded. The new wave of immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Pork was the preferred meat, since it was cheap in Ireland and ubiquitous on the dinner table. The favored cut was Irish bacon, a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. But in the United States, pork was prohibitively expensive for most newly arrived Irish families, so they began cooking beef—the staple meat in the American diet—instead.

So how did pork and potatoes become corned beef and cabbage? Irish immigrants to America lived alongside other “undesirable” European ethnic groups that often faced discrimination in their new home, including Jews and Italians. Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis and lunch carts, and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that couldn’t be easier to prepare.
After taking off among New York City’s Irish community, corned beef and cabbage found fans across the country. It was the perfect dish for everyone from harried housewives to busy cooks on trains and in cafeterias—cheap, easy to cook and hard to overcook. It was even served alongside mock turtle coup at President Lincoln’s inauguration dinner in 1862.

Far from being as Irish as a shamrock field, this St. Patrick’s Day classic is as American as apple pie.  So there you have it.  It is delicious and I love the tradition no matter where it came from...
To be clear - THIS is IRISH
When I was in high school, I was in the orchestra, band, marching band, jazz band and basketball band.  It was a great time and music provided me and my fellow musicians a lot of opportunities.  One trip I will never forget was a trip to Ireland in 1985.  We travelled over the pond for 8 days of grueling travel, concerts, tours and the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade (which we marched and played in).  It was quite the trip and an adventure I won't soon forget.

I remember listening to Wham on my Sony Walkman that I recorded off the radio (B96 to be exact).  Of course, I had other music that was quintessentially 80's (early U2, Rush, Asia, Peter Gabriel, Van Halen, etc.)  but for some reason I remember the wonderfully romantic Careless Whisper playing while the incredibly green countryside passed by.

People say you have not seen green until you visit Ireland and I can tell you there is nothing like it.  It was cold, damp and mostly dreary on that trip so long ago but I can tell you if fit the country and the beauty was extraordinary.

Don't kiss the Blarney Stone because the locals supposedly pee on it when it's closed...  Not sure if that is a real thing but I am fairly sure I kissed it before they told me.

But by far my biggest memory of that trip was our bus driver (whose name was Val).  He was a friendly man who gave us some of the best tours I have had to this day.  Val told us about history, lore, legends, battles, Irish pride and much much more.  His Irish brogue was thick and barely understandable but he genuinely bonded with a group of us during that brief trip.  So much so that one night, after a little Irish cheer, Val took a group of us to the pub in the bus.  We had a few pints and as youngsters it didn't take much to get tipsy.  Needless to say, Mr. Kulikowski (a chaperone) busted us and ruined all the fun.  AND they fired Val the bus driver.  We tried to take the blame but even in 1985 there were rules and Val broke them.  We cried when he left.

What ensued was hilarious.  We were punished by having to stay in our rooms for the next night.  They had a hall guard and everything.  We managed to sneakily congregate in one person's room, to play cards and smoke cigars. BIG NASTY STINKY CIGARS.  I mean the room was so smoke filled you could barely see your hand in front of your green face.

When discovered, everyone had a fit and disbanded us.  We got to join the rest of the group and they couldn't touch us (even though they wanted to).  I almost got beaten up by Mr. Kulikowski but he stopped just short when I reminded him that my father owned a funeral home and could get rid of the evidence.  I am sure I deserved it with my sharp tongue.

What a great trip.
Guess the Location Game

Last month the winner of the guess the location game was Anne Welch who guessed the right answer.  I appreciate all of the participation.  THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Seychelles - Keyhole Answer
"This far away tropical destination is home to rare tortoises, oddly shaped rock formations and is mostly visited by Europeans who pay in rupees.  Can you guess the location?"
The official name of the country is the Republic of Seychelles.

Seychelles are located 1,500 kilometers (932 mi) east of mainland East Africa.

Nearby island countries and territories include Comoros, Mayotte (region of France), Madagascar, Réunion (region of France) and Mauritius to the south.

There are three official languages in Seychelles: Seychellois Creole, English and French.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Seychelles was estimated to be 97,551 people. It is the smallest population of any sovereign African country.

Seychelles is the 189th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 459 square kilometers (177 square miles). It is the smallest sovereign country in Africa.
The nation is an archipelago of 155 islands, most of which are uninhabited.

The islands are spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,374,000 square kilometers (530,500 square miles).
There are two distinct regions, the granitic islands, the world’s only oceanic islands of granitic rock and the coral islands. The granite islands are the world’s oldest ocean islands.
The granite Inner Islands is the collective term for 45 islands with a total area of 247.2 square kilometers (95.4 square miles) 54% of the Seychelles area but with more than 99% of the population.
The coral Outer Islands comprise 211.3 square kilometers (95.4 square miles), 46% of the Seychelles, but less than 1% of the population.
The island of Mahé is the largest island, and has a rocky landscape with a narrow coastal strip. Located on the island of Mahé with elevation of 905 meters (2,969 feet) Morne Seychellois is the highest peak in Seychelles.
Victoria is the capital city of Seychelles and is situated on the north-eastern side of Mahé island. The city was first established as the seat of the British colonial government. Named Port Victoria in honor of the British queen after her coronation, the small capital of the Seychelles is the only seaport in the country.
The coastline of the islands total 491 kilometers (305 miles) in length.
Seychelles is well known for its magnificent beaches, which are major attractions for visitors.
Anse Source d’Argent is perhaps the best-known beach in the Seychelles, and certainly one of its most spectacular locations. A real must-see for any Seychelles holidaymaker, the powdery sand, crystal-clear water, and imposing granite boulders make this a uniquely enchanting beach, and undoubtedly worth a visit.
Anse Lazio is probably the most famous beach on Praslin thanks to its picturesque, postcard scenery, including perfect white sand, crystal-clear water, imposing palm trees, and much more. This beach is ranked the eleventh-best beach in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017.
Anse Georgette is perhaps the most beautiful beach on Praslin, and certainly one of the best in the Seychelles thanks to its incredible mixture of pristine white sand, bright turquoise ocean surface, and tropical palm trees.
The economy of Seychelles is based on fishing, tourism, the processing of coconuts and vanilla, coir (coconut fiber) rope, boat building, printing, furniture and beverages.

Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa, excluding the French regions.It is one of only a handful of countries in Africa with a high Human Development Index.

Most people are Roman Catholics, about 76% of them. About 10% are Protestants.
Seychellois society is essentially matriarchal. Mothers tend to be dominant in the household, controlling most expenditures and looking after the interests of the children.
Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice. Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked. Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country’s cuisine.
The music of Seychelles is diverse, a reflection of the fusion of cultures through its history.
The most popular sport in Seychelles is basketball.
The national currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee.
A hidden treasure...
Seychelles footage in 4K
A little bit like Reggae but in French and authentically Seychellian (if that is a word)
Meet Meural - Changing Artwork
This canvas is $795, a little small but really cool technology that changes from classic works of art to your own photos.  You can do portrait or landscape mode and the company is owned by NETGEAR.
Lazy Geniuses
Keep your Beer Cool outdoors...and SAFE
Although this looks as if it is from Denmark, the idea is pretty ingenious.  Take a look at this video!
Kids say the DARNDEST Things.
Things that don't make sense
1. If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
2. Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?

3. Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?

4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?

5. Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

6. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

7. The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims"

8. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.

9. If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.
Four great confusions still unresolved : 

10. At a movie theatre, which arm rest is yours?

11. If people evolve from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?

12. Why is there a 'D' in fridge, but not in refrigerator?

13.  Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?
An aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and witty manner.  The term is often applied to philosophical, moral and literary principles.

I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble, but shouldn't that be an even number?
I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.
When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90% of their body. Men are so polite they only look at the covered parts
My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that!
If you think nobody cares whether you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.
I always wondered what the job application is like at Hooters. Do they just give you a bra and say, "Here, fill this out?"
Denny’s has a slogan, "If it’s your birthday, the meal is on us." If you’re in Denny’s and it’s your birthday, your life sucks!
The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can go in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!
The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.
Observations on Food
OSHA Awards
Hilarious Spelling Mistakes
INSTANT POT Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
If you don't have an instant pot yet, get one.  They are an old school way of cooking up some really good stuff.  Think crock pot but much better.  Fresh ingredients when pressure cooked properly are very savory.  You can even bake a cake in one of these monsters.  Buy them HERE on Amazon.

4-5 garlic cloves
4 cups water
2.5-3 lb. corned beef brisket, including spice packet or DIY spice packet
2 lbs petite red potatoes, quartered
3 cups baby carrots
1 head green cabbage, cut into large wedge
1. Place corned beef brisket, spice packet, garlic and 4 cups of water into the instant pot. I used the rack to keep the brisket off the bottom of the pot.
2. Cook on 90 minutes using the meat/stew setting or high pressure for 90 minutes. Once time is up, quick release pressure. Remove corned beef to a platter and cover with foil. Let rest while cooking the vegetables.
3. Without discarding liquid, add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to pressure cooker, you may remove the rack if desired.
4. Cook at high pressure for 4-5 minutes. Do a quick pressure release before removing vegetables.
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