Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Through the keyhole - April Edition

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Through the Keyhole

Informative & Interesting... not your everyday company newsletter.

The Boys of Summer are Back!

That's right. It's baseball season and we predict the Cubs will win no more than 65 games this year and the White Sox 82.  Sorry Chicago, it looks like another October drought but who knows, hope springs eternal.

Last month's winner of the "guess the location" game was Tim Cherwin who correctly guessed Istanbul, Turkey.  He also referenced an obscure They Might Be Giants lyric so he gets extra points for mentioning Constantinople.  Great Job Tim.  More about the location below...

And now for a new picture above- Can you guess where it is by looking through the keyhole?  "This place is the historic center of the region and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  It is home to magnificent artworks, fashion and leather goods.  If you find yourself here you'll wonder how people from the Jersey Shore ever lasted a summer..."

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.

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

Istanbul, Turkey - Keyhole Answer

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"This location separates East and West and is a major part of the shipping route in this part of the world. Tippy boats serve tasty fish and you definitely will be clean if you care to be but remember to cover up your legs if you visit one of many mosques." 

On the Golden Horn, just off the Spice Market, you will find boats that serve fresh fish sandwiches straight from the sea.  The boats sway with the waves and commuter ferries servicing tourists and residents alike as they pass from continent to continent. Home to many Mosques, men and women must keep their knees covered and all women must cover their heads while inside these structures.

Istanbul has a deep history with the rise and fall of Constantinople leading through the Ottoman and Turkish Eras.

Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus, also referred to sometimes as the Istanbul Strait, which separates Europe from Asia.  Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey with over 14 million people of all different backgrounds.  Although most people are Muslim, the majority of young people are non-practicing and quite present in the very active social scene throughout Istanbul.  Home to the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Golden Horn, Taksim Square, Spice Market and world famous Grand Bazaar, there is so much to see in Istanbul.  More than that, however, is the lively city and its inhabitants.  Located on many cruise ship itineraries, it is not to be missed as the cultural center of the region. 

Before you can decide whether you hate or love going to a Turkish bath or hamam, you need to experience it at least once (especially if you have made the long trek halfway across the globe.

Istanbul is hot. And we’re not talking about the weather. These days, there are more happening restaurants, bars, galleries and clubs around town than there are exquisite Ottoman mosques (and that’s a lot). The local drink is called Raki or "Lion's Milk" that is mixed with water and ice. The international fashion and design press have been talking up İstanbul ad nauseam, but the most significant thing about the accolade ‘World’s Hippest City’ is that İstanbullus themselves have come believe it. The creeping sense of decrepitude that had fallen like a pall over their once-all-powerful home town has vanished, replaced by a sense of energy and innovation not seen since the days of Süleyman the Magnificent.

Read More

Rick Steves short video

Highlights of Istanbul video

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April is Autism Awareness Month

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The CDC estimates 1 out of 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Here at TURNkey, we work with a number of companies whose focus is to help children and families living with an autism diagnosis.  What some people may not realize is that autism often negatively affects one's ability to simply have a good night's sleep.  Currently 60% of all ASD children have sleeping issues.  This not only has an impact on the child but often the entire family as everyone in the house suffers.

One company has introduced a technology that helps people with autism sleep.  The company is called, fittingly, Autism Sleeps and can also be found on Facebook. The company seeks to provide a possible environmental sleep solution for those on the spectrum. The company embeds state-of-the-art acoustic resonators into the bed's foundation which transmit gentle sound waves through the surface creating a customizable, tactile sensory experience which allows one to "Feel the music" relating the entire sensory system...

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Traditional Polish Easter Basket - "Swieconka"
Ever since I was a little kid, my late Polish Grandmother would prepare a beautiful basket filled with items that are symbolic of different things in Christian life.  I always enjoyed taking the basket over to church on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter) and having it blessed by the Priest. Although we could eat the food items the next day, we mostly had the basket for display only. 

You may see people both Polish and non-Polish gathering at Catholic Churches for this activity on Holy Saturday.  Now you know the story behind it.  It is a very nice tradition and as a kid, helps to display some symbols as Christians around the world celebrate Easter.

Items contained in the Easter Basket:

Maslo (Butter)
- This dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have towards all things.

Babka (Easter Bread) -
A round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.

Chrzan (Horseradish)
- Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds.

Jajka (Eggs) and Pisanki (decorated with symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity)
- Indicates new life and Christ's Resurrection from the tomb.

Kielbasa (Sausage)
- A sausage product, symbolic of God's favor and generosity.

Szynka (Ham)
- Symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or veal. The lamb also reminds Christians that the Risen Christ is the "Lamb of God."

Slonina (Smoked Bacon)
- A symbol of the overabundance of God's mercy and generosity.

Sol (Salt)
- A necessary element in our physical life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice and to remind us that people are the flavor of the earth.

Ser (Cheese)
- Symbolic of the moderation Christians should have at all times.

- Represents Christ as the Light of the World.

Colorful Ribbons and Sprigs of Greenery
- are attached to the basket as signs of joy and new life in the season of spring and in celebration of the Resurrection.

Linen Cover
- drawn over the top of the basket which is ready for the priest's visit to the home or the trip to church where it is joined with the baskets of others to await the blessing. The food is then set aside and enjoyed on Easter Sunday. 

Why Google Glass Will Never Be Okay

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Google Glass has a tiny display that tells time, takes pictures and video and, using voice dictation, can send you messages, give you directions, and search the Internet.

But here’s the problem: It’s creepy. 

Last month I told you about a woman who got assaulted because she was wearing them in a bar.  This month, Yahoo goes to SxSW (South by Southwest) convention in Austin, TX where they feature the latest in music, movies and technology.  Last year, Google Glass debuted there...

Epic Deli

Now that winter is finally coming to an end, there is a place that you must know about and visit if ever in the area of Johnsburg, IL.  This little place is renowned for its creative sandwiches and delicious hot dogs.  It has been featured on Chicago's Best and for good reason.  Here is a little sample...

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The Dorito-wich -
ham, cheddar, provolone, mayo, lettuce, tomato slices and doritos to top it off.
As a kid it was always cool to add your side item to your sandwich, we have now made it socially acceptable for anyone to have your chips a part of your sandwich with the dorito-wich.

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Tyler's Favorite Hot Dog
  bacon wrapped deep fried hot dog topped w/ barbeque pulled pork and coleslaw.    

Here are some other standouts on the menu:

Italian beef, chopped italian sausage, bacon, hot giardinera, gyro meat, tzatsiki sauce, and mozzarella served on a toasted sub roll.
The aPORKalypse
ham, pepperoni, salami, pulled pork, capicola, bacon, procuitto, pepperjack, white bbq sauce and topped with creamy coleslaw.
turkey, pastrami, salami, bacon, ham, pepperoni, roast beef, pepperjack, provolone, cheddar, banana peppers and ghost pepper ranch. VICTORY!

If you are in the area, give them a try.  The are good people who love their product.

Take better pics with your phone

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 1. Rule of thirds

Ever wonder why you'd want a grid layered on your viewscreen while in camera mode? Composition. The right composition can make or break a great photo. The Rule of Thirds says to divide shots into thirds vertically and horizontally using a grid, then place the subject either where these lines intersect or within one of the "thirds." Amazingly, this simple rule reduces vast amounts of empty space, helps your camera focus and creates visually appealing images.


The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.

2. Aim high: More megapixels, please

Argue if you must about its importance, but having a high-definition (HD) sensor on your smartphone's camera means you'll get a more detailed, higher resolution picture. More detail means it'll be easier to zoom, crop and edit the image once it is taken.

Some phones allow you to adjust the number of megapixels captured, so check your settings menu and adjust to your needs.  Remember, higher resolution images take up more space in your phone. So taking multiple shots and not deleting the ones you dislike puts future snapshots at risk. If needed, upgrade to a larger capacity mini SD card, similar to the one in your point-and-shoot camera.

3. Bring the action: Burst mode captures it all

Kids don't usually stop for pictures. So, you probably have more than your fair share of blurry, "artsy" shots of your kids in action. Burst mode is a function that takes a series of shots back-to-back and captures different points in the action. This is your best friend when trying to capture your kid's holiday hip-hop routine or new skateboard trick. If your phone's camera has this function, you should be able to easily engage it through your phone settings or by simply holding the shutter release button.
Apps are a great leveler when it comes to making the most of your smartphone camera. Camera Genius, Action Snap, Ultra Burst and Quad Camera are just a few that introduce burst mode to your phone's camera and increase the likelihood of getting that perfect shot.

4. Use a timer

One solution to blurry photos that you've probably never considered? Using the timer. You might only think to use the timer if you want to get into the shot yourself, but it is actually your best defense against the blur-inducing tap of pressing the "shoot" button. What you'll lose in spontaneity you'll gain in pristine pictures.

5. Don't zoom

Your smartphone's lens is fixed. So when you zoom in on something, your phone just blows up the image. Frankly, you'll get better results by cropping and resizing a portion of an image after you've taken the picture. Better still, use the "human zoom" and get as physically close as you can to your subject. If you really can't get closer, make sure you're using your phone's camera at its highest megapixel setting. That way, you'll be able to zoom in after the picture is downloaded.

Extra credit

Here are a couple more tips you may also want to consider.
Keep your lens clean.

10,000 Steps a day

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If you buy a smart pedometer or fitness tracker like a Fitbit, chances are the device will encourage you to take 10,000 steps a day. But do you really have to walk this much to be healthy?

Experts say that while 10,000 steps a day is a good number to reach, any amount of activity beyond what you're currently doing will likely benefit your health.

8 benefits of walking (just walking)

# 1: It deflects diabetes

#2: It soups up your sex life.

#3: It saves you on gym costs.

#4: It can get you off meds.

#5: It can help fade fibromyalgia pain.

#6: It helps you beat breast cancer

#7: Strolling reduces stroke risk.

#8: It can save your mind

Complete Article Here

Word of the Day

skull 2Skullduggery - Noun.
Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; trickery.
"a firm that investigates commercial skulduggery"
synonyms:trickery, fraudulence, underhandedness, chicanery;
informalshenanigans, funny business, monkey business, monkeyshines
"Yvonne found herself entangled in the skulduggery of Gregor's private business deals"

Change the way you watch TV

first-television 3If you're a fan of TV, then you're likely aware that TV has changed dramatically over the course of the last decade. Gone are the days of bunny ears being our sole method of accessing TV, and in are TV-viewing options via the Internet.

In some cases, consumers may not even need to pay for TV service. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can simply log onto a network's website and stream your favorite TV shows for free. Unfortunately, if your favorite TV show is on a premium cable network, you'll have pop open your wallet to get access. But here's the good news: Thanks to the evolution of TV, access to TV doesn't have to come at such a high cost anymore.

Cloud Based TV service is on its way and binge watching via Netflix has come of age...

Read more

Getting words into your brain faster

1234 2The written word, after 8,000 or so years, is still an extremely effective way to get a message from one mind into the minds of others. But even with the advent of the digital age and decades of usability work, font and layout development, we’re still nowhere near optimal efficiency with it yet.

Take this article – It's written in easily digestible chunks, and we’ve presented it in nice, thin, 8 to 17 word columns that should make it easy to scan. But pay attention to what your eyes are doing while you try to read it. Chances are, even if you’re a quick reader, your eyes are jumping around all over the place.

In fact, according to Boston-based startup Spritz, you spend as little as 20 percent of your reading time actually taking in the words you’re looking at, and as much as 80 percent physically moving your eyes around to find the right spot to read each word from. So, the Spritz team decided, why not eliminate that time altogether?

The Spritz reader is a simple, small box that streams text at the reader, one word at a time. The words are presented in a large, very reader-friendly font, and centered around the "optimal recognition point" of each word. In fact, the box will only display a maximum of 13 characters, so larger words are broken up.

Read on


“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
- Thomas Jefferson


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1. Your shoes are the first thing people subconsciously notice about you. Wear nice shoes.

2. There are at least 6 people in the world who look exactly like you.
3. A person’s height is determined by their father, and their weight is determined by their mother.

4. If a part of your body "falls asleep",you can almost always "wake it up" by shaking your head.

5. There are three things the human brain cannot resist noticing -food, attractive people and danger

6. Right-handed people tend to chew food on their right side

7. Putting dry tea bags in gym bags or smelly shoes will absorb the unpleasant odor.

8. According to Albert Einstein, if honey bees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead within 4 years.

9. There are so many kinds of apples, that if you ate a new one everyday, it would take over 20 years to try them all.

10. You can survive without eating for weeks, but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.

11. People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don’t.

12. Our brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb!!

13. Our body gives enough heat in 30 mins to boil 1.5 liters of water!!

13. The ovum egg is the largest cell and the sperm is the smallest cell!!

14. Stomach acid (HCL) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades!!

15. Load the toilet paper roll properly. The loose end should be dangling freely away from the wall.

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Tip of the Month
Use a rubber band when painting to keep paint off the side of the can...  It works.

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3 things that will give you peace of mind when traveling by air

No more (permanently) lost luggage. Make sure your misplaced luggage always finds its way home by putting your business card inside your bag - often, luggage tags are lost or mangled in baggage machines.

Buy some peace of mind. If the airport is extra chaotic due to bad weather or other travel disruptions, buy a day pass to your airline’s club for about $50 - a small price for an oasis of calm, refreshments and a nice space to lounge and work but most importantly, access to “experienced, unrushed airline agents [that] can solve problems and help rebook”.

Keep your laptop safe. Put your computer on the X-ray belt last after your bags, shoes, and other personal items when going through security. If you get held up at the metal detector, it won’t be hanging out at the end of the belt waiting for another traveler to walk away with it.

Nailed it.

Did you ever try something and really nail it?  These next pictures are priceless and in honor of Easter and the infamous Lamb cake...  Not sure why they are so funny but there is something about these photos that make you chuckle.
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Easy Jambalayajambalaya-done-pan-1024x680 2

This is probably the easiest, most delicious Jambalaya you will ever find.  It is similar to something you would see Sandra Lee do on the cooking channel but is a delicious way to make a great meal with little to no effort.

Ingredients1 box of Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix (in the rice section of your grocery store)
1 lb. of andouille sausage (pork or turkey)
1 small yellow onion
3 stalks of celery
1 large carrot
okra to taste (or omit if you don't care for it)
2 1/2 to 4 cups of chicken stock
olive oil to taste

Cut up sausage into bite sized pieces.  Chop onion, celery, carrot and okra into small pieces.  Saute vegetables in olive oil until onion is transparent.  Do not brown.  Once this is complete add 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix and sausage to boiling broth mixture.  Simmer for 25 minutes or until rice is tender.  More stock or water should be added as needed to ensure jambalaya does not get too dry.  Once rice is tender and most of the water is completely absorbed / cooked off, remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork before serving. 

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