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Monday, February 3, 2020
Through the Keyhole - February 2020
FEB 2020 Through the Keyhole Take a break from your day...
Not your typical company OR newsletter
Can you guess the location? "This capital city (not always) is the most populous in its country is home to the Police College for its home continent. It's chock full of hot springs and has a really old subway system. The city also makes in on a lot of travel magazine covers and commercials for river cruises. Can you name it?" Send your guess HERECredit: GETTY - CONTRIBUTOR
It's February. Yay.
It’s that glorious time of year again where the rain / (snow?) falls hard and the wind blows cold. It’s February, the month that nobody loves. We get an extra day this month as it is LEAP YEAR. When most people think of winter they’ll think of snow and Santa, but that joy’s come and gone. Now there’s no change of leaves, no holiday spirit and definitely no decent weather. So, here’s my top 5 reasons to lament February.
1. It’s cold
You begin your day in the warmth of your bed dreaming of your latest holiday. Then the piercing sound of your alarm (or the garbage man in my case) throws you into a reality where any limb left out of the covers turns immediately to ice. It makes you want to stay in bed, even more so than usual. Then you have to defrost your car for 20 minutes, which nobody ever remembers to do in advance. Then you’re late to work and you’ll probably freeze to death if you have a breakdown between home and work. Did I mention it’s pitch black? Oh and it will be when you leave work too, your entire existence is this way for now.
2. Valentine’s day
The one day of the year where PDA couples are permitted to flaunt how happy they are. It's rookie day for new love. When the cashier at Walgreens says, “aww I bet they’ll love that” when you buy any oversized chocolate bar.Let's face it, it is a Hallmark Holiday and the only thing good about it is a contrived overpriced meal with your significant other and the new trove of Hallmark Valentines movies that are cheesy, predictable and at times hilariously over-written.
3. The lights are all gone and you remember how miserable the world looks
Christmas is over, New Years is over, the Super Bowl is over, all celebrations are done. You’ve spent the last 2 months walking around the set of ‘Love Actually’ any time you’ve left the house. Everything in December is shrouded in beautiful lights, which phases out a bit in January. With the exception of the lazy people who have not removed their decorations while it has been mild. In February, it’s gone. It’s all gone and now you have to face reality in that everything is a bit dirty and grey. So you stop leaving the house and you stay inside, then you become bored. But you can’t do anything with your time that doesn’t involve spending money because the artic sits outside your door! So, you turn up the heat, turn on the TV and hope that you find something to watch.
In January, you’re full of hope. You’ve got the whole year ahead of you and you’re gonna do great things! Well now it’s February and you’ve got 11 months of gym membership still to pay for, you’ve not learned a single word of French and you’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that you stopped achieving after high school.
5. Summer isn’t here yet
It’s literally months away, that’s practically a decade. You might as well continue eating heart-shaped chocolates and thinking about going to the gym. That will burn some calories. Buy some new swimwear 2 sizes too small if you really want some motivation but I’d honestly put the money into a nice pullover instead.
So just face it, nobody likes February. One bright side is that there is an extra day this year which makes it even longer... We all feel secretly feel sorry for that family member who was born in such a pathetic month. Don’t worry though, Easter is within sight so there’s plenty more chocolate to come...
Hang in there, a two day Spring is right around the corner followed by a glorious Summer.
Remember Windows XP?
Guess the Location Game
Last month the winner of the guess the location game was Bruce Frystak who guessed the right answer. I appreciate all of the participation. THANKS FOR PLAYING!
ANSWER: Lisbon, Portugal
"This city hasn't always been a capital city and is placed upon 8 hills, not 7. Here you will find one of the world's smallest bookstores but you will never get the recipe for Pasteis de nata (because only 3 people in the world have it). This place is also known as a 'city of spies'. Can you name it?"
As the home of fado music and colorful cobbled streets, Lisbon has a plethora of secrets and fun facts that are unknown to most people. If you’re planning a trip to Portugal’s trendy capital and want to know what lies beneath the surface, take a look at our list of unique information to really bring the city to life.
Lisbon wasn’t always the capital of Portugal
UNESCO World Heritage Site Guimarães was the first capital of Portugal, designated in the 12th century, and it is nicknamed the ‘birthplace of Portugal’ (Guimarães is also where the country’s first king was born). Located a short distance from Porto, it is an excellent city for a weekend getaway filled with ancient buildings like the 10th-century Castle of Guimarães, medieval churches, and archaeological sites from the Iron Age.
Coimbra became the second capital of the country and remained so for a century before the title transferred to Lisbon. Lisbon periodically lost that title again in the 19th century, when the Napoleonic Wars caused Portuguese royals to flee to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro was temporarily the capital for 13 years.
Belém Tower was once a prison
The beautiful Belém Tower is one of the city’s must-see landmarks and architectural wonders. It was built during the Age of Discoveries as a military fortification, but many people don’t know that it was used as a political prison during the Liberal Wars of the 19th century.
Lisbon is actually a city on eight hills, not seven
The idea of a city on seven hills, like Rome, is certainly a romantic one and perhaps that’s one reason why this description of Lisbon stuck. The original reference came from a book called O Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa where the author listed seven beautiful hills but forgot the highest of them all – the hill of Graça where the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen offers one of the most dramatic sweeping views over the city, facing the river, castle and bridge.
You’ll find one of the smallest bookstores in the world here
Portugal has a well-deserved reputation as a bookworm’s dream and it is home to many literary treasures, including the oldest bookstore in the world, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. What people may not know is that it is also the home of one of the smallest bookshops in the world. Located a few steps up the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão, on the border of Baixa and Alfama, this spot is worth a visit but you may need to wait for space to clear since the cupboard-sized shop (crammed with approximately 4,000 books) only fits a couple of people inside at a time.
It’s home to one of the world’s most top secret recipes
Pastéis da nata, loved by locals and tourists alike for their flaky crust and creamy, sweet egg filling, have put Lisbon on dessert-lovers’ maps. Even though they are made all over the country and found in nearly every pastry shop, only 3 people in the world know the original recipe: the same one that is sold in Belém at Pasteis de Belém.
Lisbon was one of the first (if not THE first) international cities to buy in Guinness
Lisbon was known as a ‘city of spies’ and exiled internationals were welcomed in nearby Estoril
During World War II, Portugal maintained a reputation as neutral, but, behind the scenes, both Nazi and Allied spies were believed to be pulling invisible strings in the Portuguese capital as Lisbon’s secret police kept a close watch. Portugal’s dictator, António Salazar, was said to be ‘playing both sides’ in order to protect the country from wartime backlash. In addition to spies, war refugees and prominent international figures, who were exiled from their own countries, mingled in Lisbon and nearby Estoril. Lisbon’s espionage connection is believed to have inspired writer Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond stories, during his time there while working as a British Naval Intelligence Officer.
Lisbon in 4K ~2 min.
Lisbon from the air (drone footage) ~9 minutes
Food Lovers day out in Lisbon ~4 minutes
Biggest wave ever surfed in Portugal ~1 minute
Living in Lisbon from an American perspective SUPER INTERESTING ~7 minutes
This happened at TURNkey last week.
Watch the moment my snowplower takes out our fence.
This is funny video that pokes fun of Northern Midwestern Accents. Take a look ~5 minutes
Sunbathing on the roof
A rather well proportioned young lady spent almost all of her vacation sunbathing on the roof of the hotel. She wore a bathing suit the first day but, on the second, being a naturist, she decided that no one could see her way up there, and she slipped out of it for an overall tan. She’d hardly begun when she heard someone running up the stairs. She was lying on her stomach, so she just pulled a towel over her rear. “Excuse me, miss,” said the flustered little assistant manager of the hotel, out of breath from running up the stairs. “The hotel doesn’t mind you sunbathing on the roof but we would very much appreciate you wearing a bathing suit as you did yesterday.” “What difference does it make,” the woman asked rather calmly. “No one can see me up here.”
“Not exactly,” said the embarrassed little man. “You’re lying on the dining room skylight.”
Two 90-year old guys, Leo and Frank, had been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Leo was dying, Frank visited him every day.
One day Frank said, "Leo, we both loved playing baseball all our lives, and we played all through high school. Please do me one favor: when you get to heaven, somehow you must let me know if there's baseball there."
Leo looked up at Frank from his deathbed and said, "Frank you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favor for you."
Shortly after that, Leo passed away. A few nights later, Frank was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, "Frank ... Frank."
"Who is it?" asked Frank sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"
"Leo … it's me, Leo."
You're not Leo, Leo just died."
"I'm telling you, it's me, Leo," insisted the voice.
"Leo! … Where are you?"
"In Heaven," replied Leo. "I have some really good news and a little bad news."
"Tell me the good news first," said Frank.
"The good news," Leo said, "is that there's baseball in heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play baseball all we want, and we never get tired."
"That's fantastic," said Frank. "It's beyond my wildest dreams!
So what's the bad news?"
"You're pitching Tuesday."
Billboards in Canada (eh?)
Did you know?
What's Popeye's Favorite Food?
Hilarious. ~1 minute
Funniest Answers EVER.
This guy likes Turkey ~1 minute
20 BEST Things to do in San Francisco
I met this nice young woman who subscribes to this newsletter and introduced herself. She wanted to share something I wrote on this blog and I thought that was really nice and polite. It turns out she is an avid traveler and writes about the places she travels. I thought the least I could do was share her post on SF attractions. Although we aren't featuring that location this month, it is a good article and worth your time.
I bet they wished they had a different best man. ~ 1 minute
A hot dog is a taco. A steak is a salad.
A Pop-Tart is a calzone.
Let the Cube Rule explain.
Whether a hot dog is a sandwich is a problem that has long divided people who like to get into meaningless arguments on the Internet. Some say that a sandwich is anything in between bread, which would make a hot dog a sandwich. But some say bread that is not in two distinct slices is different — and that tubular meat within it deserves its own distinct category. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council does not call a hot dog a sandwich: “Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy,’ ” says its website. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary disagrees. New York and California tax law say a hot dog is a sandwich.
Enter the Cube Rule, a simple way to categorize What Foods Are and What Foods Aren’t. According to the Cube Rule, there are eight categories of food, each defined by the placement of starch. Use a cube as your guideline for where the bread or starch goes, and it will determine what a food truly is — and whether it is a sandwich. Starch only on the bottom? It’s a toast. Starch on the top and bottom that is not connected is, obviously, a sandwich. But starch on the bottom and two opposing sides is a taco. Therefore, a hot dog is a taco. And, to correct RBG, a sub is also a taco. Rolled starch on the top, bottom and two opposing sides is, according to the Cube Rule, maki roll sushi. Therefore, an enchilada is sushi. Starch on every side except the top, like a quiche, is a bread bowl. Any food fully enclosed in starch is a calzone. A corn dog is a calzone. A Pop-Tart is a calzone. A bean pupusa is a calzone.
The handy diagram above, created by Twitter user @Phosphatide, makes it easy to understand the Cube Rule and issue decrees on other dishes. He drew it after the hot dog debate came up on a video game stream he was watching, and another user outlined the basis of the Cube Rule. His name is Brandon, but the 25-year-old student declined to give his last name because he didn’t want to be seen as taking credit for the theory, even though the diagram and many of the clarifications and rulings on particular food items are his.
6 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut Into Small Cubes
Kosher Salt To Taste
1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Ginger
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1/4 cup Sherry Or Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 cup Drained Canned Water Chestnuts, Coarsley Chopped
1 cup Unsalted Cashews (be Sure To Use Unsalted)
2 whole Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
Cooked Rice Or Noodles, For Serving (if Desired)
In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the chicken in a single layer. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt, then leave it alone for at least a couple of minutes to give the chicken a chance to brown. When the chicken has turned golden, stir it around so that it can brown on all sides. Throw in the garlic and ginger and stir to combine. Stir in the bell pepper and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
While the pan is still hot, pour in the sherry. Stir it around, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all the flavorful bits. Turn the heat to medium-low and pour in the sauce mixture, then mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water to make a slurry and pour it in. Stir the sauce for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken, then add the water chestnuts and cashews and stir to coat everything with the sauce, adding a splash of water if the sauce is too thick.
Finally, sprinkle on the green onions. Serve with cooked rice or noodles.