Monday, March 2, 2015

Through the Keyhole - March 2015

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Through the Keyhole

Informative & Interesting... not your everyday company newsletter.
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb...
I love idioms. Not really sure I understand them completely, truth be told, but I do love them.  There is an old expression saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The way I take it is that March comes in usually cold and harsh and goes out mild(er) and pleasant(er).

Idioms are word combinations that people use which have different meanings that the literal ones.  It is no wonder why people learning English can have a hard time picking up on the language.  Here are some good examples of idioms:

  • Bee in her bonnet - She is upset
  • It cost an arm and a leg - It was expensive
  • It’s in the bag - It’s a certainty
  • A bull in a china shop - someone who is very clumsy
  • Get a kick out of - Enjoy
  • Play it by ear - Improvise
  • A basket case - A crazy person
  • Out of the blue - With no warning
  • I’m all ears - You have my undivided attention
  • Call it a day - Time to quit
  • Kettle of fish - Something is completely different
  • Cry crocodile tears - To pretend to be upset

Last month's winner of the "guess the location" game was Rob Woerdehoff who guessed Havana, Cuba...I believe the bright buildings and late model Chevy gave it away.  Interestingly, the embargo against Cuba began in 1960 (or maybe '59) which would make that the last time new cars were imported there.  Great job Rob.

And now for a new picture above- Can you guess where it is by looking through the keyhole? "This rock is a monolithic promontory.  People refer to something that is very safe and firm as being as solid as this place.  Famously, Prudential makes its trademark out of this 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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Havana, Cuba - Keyhole Answer

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"This place just became more accessible."  Thanks to the Obama administration whether you like it or not Cuba is opening up...

I have always wanted to go to Cuba.  In fact, in 1995 I had a trip planned to go first by heading to Toronto and then to Havana. In the end, I did not go because I was afraid of causing an international incident.

Canadians and Europeans have been going there for years without incident.  As of this point in time, it is still not possible for Americans to travel to Cuba for strictly tourism purposes but it is coming soon.
It will be very strange to pass by a gate at the airport and see Havana, Cuba as a destination.  Even more strange, a port of call on your next cruise.


Cuba is trapped in a time warp and some say you should go as soon as possible before it gets "Starbucked" and "McDonaldized".  One thing that is very interesting to me is that boats are not legal for Cubans to possess.  Therefore, when you see a picture of Havana's port you will see no piers, docks or private boats but rather only Military installations.  Try google mapping it and you will see.
Most visitors are surprised to arrive in Havana and find, not some grey communist dystopia, but a wildly exuberant place where music emanates from every doorway and even hardened cynics are ensnared by the intrigue and romance. Rhythms and melodies are ubiquitous in this melting pot of African, European and Caribbean cultures. Witness them at the opera and at the ballet; in the corner bar or through the hypnotic drumming of a SanterĂ­a ceremony; with the trombonist practicing his arpeggios on the seawall, or in the rhythmic gait of the people as they saunter along Havana's musical streets.

That Cuba has survived is a miracle in itself. That it can still enthrall travelers from around the globe with its beaches, bays, mountains, rum, music, and impossibly verdant landscapes is an even greater achievement. The key lies in the Cubans themselves: survivors and improvisers, poets and dreamers, cynics and sages. It is the people who have kept the country alive as the infrastructure has crumbled; and it is also they who have ensured that Cuba continues to be the fascinating, perplexing, paradoxical nation it is.

There ought to be a banner in the arrivals hall at Havana airport that reads 'Abandon preconceptions, all ye who enter here.' Prepare yourself to be shocked, perplexed, confounded and amazed. Cuba is a country with no historical precedents: economically poor, but culturally rich; visibly mildewed, but architecturally magnificent; infuriating, yet at the same time, strangely uplifting. If the country were a book, it would be James Joyce's Ulysses; layered, hard to grasp, serially misunderstood, but – above all – a classic.

The closest I have ever been is to Little Havana in Miami, FL where they speak fast but move very slowly.  My wonder is how a nation that has no incentive to be better, faster, stronger or smarter than the next guy will be able to live up to its enormous potential.  That is, communism has given no incentive for the Cuban people to be competitive in order to get ahead and without fundamental change to democracy, I am not sure it can handle the flood of Americans clamoring for a piece of the action.

We shall see...

Top things to do in Cuba (article)

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Brian Williams inserted himself into another war.williams 4

What is it like to fly in an F-14 Tomcat (Hilarious)

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Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a F-14 Tomcat.  He pens this article and directs its content at America's most famous athletes.

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have. John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity... Move to Guam.

Change your name.

Fake your own death!

Whatever you do.

Do Not Go!!!

I know.

The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should have known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach .

Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way, Fast.

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. ('T-minus 15 seconds and counting .' Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him to say, 'We have liftoff'.

Biff was to fly me in an F- 14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next morning.

'Bananas,' he said.

'For the potassium?' I asked.

'No,' Biff said, 'because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down.'

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast.

(No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot. But, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would 'egress' me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious.

Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another F-14..

Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80.. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us.

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We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me, thereby approximating life as Colin Montgomerie.

And I egressed the bananas.

And I egressed the pizza from the night before.

And the lunch before that.

I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade.

I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that never thought would be egressed.

I went through not one airsick bag, but two.

Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down.

I used to know 'cool'. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know 'cool'. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.

What is it?? I asked.

'Two Bags.'

Double Entendres

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7 of the finest (unintentional) double entendres ever aired
on TV and radio:

1. Ted Walsh - Horse Racing Commentator -  'This is really a lovely horse. I once rode her mother.'

2. Pat Glenn, weightlifting commentator - 'And this is Gregoriava from Bulgaria . I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing!'

3. Harry Carpenter at the Oxford-Cambridge boat race 1977 - 'Ah, isn't that nice. The wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the Cox of the Oxford crew.'

4. US PGA Commentator - 'One of the reasons Arnie ( Arnold  Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them. Oh my god !! What have I just said??'

5. A female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked, 'So Bob, where's that eight inches you promised me last night?'

Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too, because they were laughing so hard!

6. Clair Frisby talking about a jumbo hot dog on 'Look North' said: 'There's nothing like a big hot sausage inside you on a cold night like this. '

7. Mike Hallett discussing missed snooker shots on 'Sky Sports':
'Stephen Hendry jumps on Steve Davis's misses every chance he gets.'

Stock Photobombs.

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Coca Cola Milk


Coca-Cola has launched a new kind of milk nationwide that costs twice the price of regular milk.
The beverage, called Fairlife, doesn't contain lactose and it has 50% more protein, 30% more calcium, and 50% less sugar than regular milk.

Coca-Cola executives believe the new milk will "rain money" for the company.
We decided to try it out.

We tested three kinds of Fairlife: Chocolate, fat free, and 2% reduced fat milk. The company also sells whole milk.

The chocolate milk was the crowd favorite.

It's very sweet, but not overpowering, and the consistency is creamier and thicker than regular milk.


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Swear Jar Banned Commercial

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This commercial is banned but really funny from Budweiser.  Have a look.


TEST: Are You More Type A or More Type B

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Have you ever wondered if you were Type A?  This is a simple, fun test that places you in one camp or another.  Have some fun and find out...

Take the TEST

Type A vs. Type B and TIME...

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It's only human to be late sometimes.

But some humans are late most of the time.

Take, for example, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has missed a memorial service and held up an entire JetBlue flight thanks to his frequent tardiness.

He's not alone.

By one estimate, America loses $90 billion a year because of tardiness.

Psychological science is starting to find out why:

• Being late partly has to do with having different definitions of "on time." You might think that five minutes late is acceptable, but your boss doesn't — or the reverse might be true.

• It's also a matter of your habits: multitaskers are more likely to be later than everybody else, because multitasking makes it harder to have "metacognition," or an awareness of what you're doing. 

But chronic lateness may come down to something more essential — your personality type. San Diego State University psychologist Jeff Conte has found that people with achievement-oriented, hard-charging "Type A" personalities tend to be on time more than laid-back "Type B" people.

"Across three [of Conte's] previous studies, Type A individuals estimated that a minute passed in 58 seconds, compared with 77 seconds for Type B individuals," The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other words, the friend of yours who is always late may experience time differently than you do.
"If you have an 18-second gap," Conte  told The Journal, "that difference can add up."

Hidalgo, Mexico

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Take a look at Hidalgo MEXICO!

Hidalgo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 84 municipalities and its capital city is Pachuca de Soto. Hidalgo has a population of about 2.4 million. Hidalgo is just one of over 60 official online guides covering the whole of Mexico. If you´re planning a trip to Mexico and would like discover our fabulous nation before visiting or, if you´d like to visit a specific place in Mexico, then you´ve come to the right place.


Waterpark website

Trip Advisor

YouTube Video


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If you like Microsoft Surfaces, you will love this...

Presidential Factoids...

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Some researchers dispute that FDR suffered from polio.  Many doctors have speculated the Franklin D. Roosevelt likely had Guilain-Barre Syndrome.

George Washington initially refused his salary while president but eventually relented.  It was $25,000 annually.

John Adams' last words were allegedly "Thomas Jefferson survives."  The two presidents were rivals but also friends.  Adams did not know that Jefferson had died earlier on that same day...July 4th 1826.

James Madison was the shortest president at 5'4".

James Monroe has a city in Africa named after him: Monrovia is the capital of Liberia.

Andrew Jackson had a parrot that knew how to swear. One story stated the parrot cursed at the president's funeral.

Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen.  All presidents before him were British.

Franklin Pierce didn't actually take the oath of office with a Bible.  He placed his hand on a law book instead.

Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and was part owner of the Springfield, IL saloon called Berry and Lincoln.


I do not like playoff baseball starting and I'm in the backyard cooking steaks.  I hate that. I want everybody else cooking steaks when we're playing baseball in October.

-Joe Maddon (new manager of the Cubs)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

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For the Best-Ever Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, this chicken cordon bleu pasta casserole is the one to try! As chicken cordon bleu recipes go, this casserole is completely delicious and very easy to prepare. With distinctive flavors like Swiss cheese, cubed ham, cream cheese, cayenne pepper, and Dijon mustard, this casserole is sure to delight. Bread crumbs, butter and some herbs and spices make up the crispy breaded crust that goes on top of this wonderfully cheesy entree. Bon appetit!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (preheat oven to 350)
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 pound fully cooked ham cubes* (2-3 cups)
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed** (2-3 cups)
1 pint half-and-half
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
Panko topping:
1 3/4 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
6 tablespoon butter, melted

Prepare the casserole:
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Cook pasta in liberally salted water per manufacturer’s instructions for al dente preparation; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat and stir half-and-half, cream cheese, white pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt and Dijon mustard over medium heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, ham, chicken and cream sauce. Fold in Swiss cheese. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Prepare the panko topping:
In a medium bowl, combine panko, salt, garlic and parsley. Mix in melted butter. Sprinkle panko topping over pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until panko is light golden brown.

*These little packs are usually found near the whole hams in the refrigerated section. If you can’t find a pack already cubed, just buy a ham steak, trim the fat and cut it into cubes.

**I just poached mine in some water with salt and pepper then cut into cubes.

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