Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day!

For those of you like myself living with inquisitive young people who always ask "Why?", feel free to use this information.

Why Leap Years Are Used
  1. February 29, 2008 The year 2008 is a leap year. If you look at a 2008 calendar, you will see that February has five Fridays–the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between the years 1904 and 2096, leap years that share the same day of week for each date repeat only every 28 years. The most recent year in which February comprised five Fridays was in 1980, and the next occurrence will be in 2036. Leap Day has been associated with age-old traditions, superstitions and folklore.
  2. What is a leap year? A leap year is a year in which one extra day has been inserted, or intercalated, at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days.
  3. Which years are leap years? In the Gregorian calendar, the calendar used by most modern countries, the following three criteria determine which years will be leap years:Every year that is divisible by four is a leap year; of those years, if it can be divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless the year is divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year. According to the above criteria, that means that years 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are NOT leap years, while year 2000 and 2400 are leap years.It is interesting to note that 2000 was somewhat special as it was the first instance when the third criterion was used in most parts of the world.
  4. Why are leap years needed? Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun.
  5. Other leap years facts: The Gregorian calendar has a 400-year cycle until it repeats the same weekdays for every year–February 29, 2008, is a Friday and February 29, 2408, is a Friday. The Gregorian calendar has 97 leap years during those 400 years. The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time that occurred was between 1896 and 1904. The next time will be between 2096 and 2104.

Harold is due home late this evening and no one guessed that he was in Iowa (Ames, to be exact). Have to save the fabulous prize for the next trip!

The blog welcomes new readers in Lafayette, LA; Bronx, NY; Gaithersburg, MD; Salisbury, MD; Champaign, IL; Charlotte, NC; Brooklyn, NY; and Pt. Jefferson Station, NY. Sadly, my social experiment of titling a post "Big Boobs" did not encourage a lot of new international readers.

Congratulations to Hannah Helfman, daughter of Sam's customers, Doug and Marcia. Hannah is starring as "Annie" in Catonsville High's musical of the same name. I hope to see the show at 7:30 tomorrow evening. Break a leg, Hannah!

(Submitted by Pat R.)
To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine - and those who don't.
As Ben Franklin said, 'In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.' In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 litre of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli, (E. coli) - bacteria found in faeces. In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poop.
However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting. Remember: Water = Poop, Wine = Health Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of ..........
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information:
I'm doing it as a public service.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just Wondering

Is it an oxymoron if you order an everything bagel with nothing on it? The everything bagel is a popular choice, but some regulars would like to try an everything bagel minus the salt. Can it be done?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's a Wonderful Knife, Part 2

Thanks, Dima!
Dima gave Doug a knife from his new secret stash, and Doug nearly stabbed himself with the sharper knife! A gentleman popped his head into Sam's and asked whether anyone owned a brown Blazer. Doug does. The man had found a pair of Doug's glasses on the ground near the Blazer. We remembered Doug's career as a handyman when he dropped his glasses into the toilet. He's lost his wallet several times this year too. Think he carries more than one pair of glasses at a time for this reason.

I Love Bagels

OK, we can write a catchier tune too!

Bite Me!

OK creative friends. We should be able to come up with some funny bagel videos. (I threw in the trolley dance since that suggested choreography we may be able to handle). Write your scripts!

trolley dance

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wreck of the Rhone

(Submitted by Alicia)

Saturday's conversation included talk of sailing and diving. Alicia wanted to share these pictures about the Wreck of the Rhone with Dr. Mike. Mike is taking his daughter scuba diving this spring. (From the website

Royal Mail Ship Rhone
Built - 1865 Cornwall, England
Sank - 1867 Salt Island, BVI

If you only have time for one dive trip in the BVI, the RMS Rhone is it. Dive BVI have been leading dives on this spectacular wreck since 1975. Numerous artifacts deposited on October 29, 1867 are still visible today. You'll also see where the 1977 film classic The Deep was shot and get to swim through the amazingly intact bow section as well as under the stern near the large 15 ft propeller. You really get a feel for the size of the RMS Rhone when you swim down the length of the massive driveshaft towards the engine box and gears. No matter how many times you dive on the Rhone, you can still find something new.

At least two dives are required to experience all the Rhone has to offer. Your first dive is 25 - 30 minutes at 75 feet on the bow section. After your mandatory 3 minute safety stop, you'll be treated to the story of the Rhone. This is probably the most educational surface interval of your life! Our instructors have put a lot of research into the history of this ship and take great pride in their story-telling abilities! You'll learn a lot about the Rhone, the BVI, animal life, and many other things from them.

The second dive begins at 75 feet in the mid section where you'll see a set of giant marine wrenches. A giant green moray and several octopus live in this portion of the wreck. It's generally considered good luck if you see one of them on your dive. Then it's off to see the incredible variety of artifacts that still remain on the wreck after 139 + years. This wreck has been featured in most, if not all, of the scuba magazines out there. National Geographic, BBC, and The Travel Channel have all been here to see what it's all about. Combining the Rhone's history with our staff's passion for diving the wreck makes for a fun and exciting day on the water.

Below is an excerpt from "The Royal Mail Steamer Rhone"
by George & Luana Marler
Port Of Spain Gazette
Virgin Islands
May 1870

"We paid a visit to the Murphy's about two weeks ago, they are at Salt Island diving various things out of the wreck of the Steamer RHONE. I have never seen a diving dress, it was a novelty to all of us; the children were delighted to see Murphy in his dress, he certainly cut an awful figure, but when he went overboard and we saw him sinking, sinking until we lost sight of him it was something horrible - the water is 17 fathoms and you can't see the bottom - he was gone for hours, he sent up 12 bales of Cotton and various other things; amongst other matters, a fine Scull, which must have belonged to a very large man - the cotton is as good as the day it went down; he also saved the anchor and chains and lots of copper.

While he was down he sent a message up to invite the ladies down into the saloon of the RHONE. I took a slice of lamb over and we had a first rate dinner. When dinner was nearly ready, Murphy came up, rested for a few minutes and said, 'Now ladies, as I have nothing good to offer you, I will take a look into the other half of the ship (she is broken in two pieces) and see what can be got'. They begged him not to go but off he went and in half an hour we had as much Champagne, Beer and Soda Water, Lemonade, Seltzer Water and Brandy as we knew what to do with, the liquors were as good as they were the first day and it is nearly three years since they have been down; the Champagne was first rate, as cool as possible, we drank it out of tumblers as we did not have champagne glasses.

Three of the Murphy brothers came to St. Thomas soon after the Hurricane of 1867 and have been there ever since. When the RHONE was wrecked they saved the species and bullion out of her and got a large sum of money from Mr. Cameron, some $20,000 for their part, the Steamer had on board some £60,000 in species and bullion. A few months ago the second brother was drowned in St. Thomas harbour, he went down into the hold on the Liverpool Packet and by some means something went wrong and the poor fellow was drowned; the two remaining brothers felt his loss very much. Murphy tells me he sees an enormous Jew fish in the saloon of the RHONE, but the fellow won't come near him .."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Next Field Trip?

(Submitted by Jean)

Any one interested in having a unique dining experience ? You can have breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails or invite your boss for a meeting while enjoying your meal. 50 meters above ground dining event arranged bya professional event arranger of Benji Fun company. It provides 22 seating complete with Chef, server, musicians, and you can select your own location without limitation. Guarantee safety with the hoisting crane which can accommodate the whole band of musicians. This restaurant is in Belgium.

It's a Small World

I stopped by Hubbard's Funeral Home to pay my respects to Gene and Lois on behalf of their friends at Sam's. Poor Lois has been fighting the flu and had saltines in her purse, but she still looked wonderful. On my way in, I ran into an old friend on her way out. Nancy and I had worked together for Howard County Schools long ago. The last time we ran into each other, her husband and my Dad were both undergoing. emergency cardiac bypass surgery at Johns Hopkins. In fact, they were roommates in the ICU. All of you know my Dad has done great. Nancy's husband, after a few setbacks, has regained his pilot's license and is working as a flight instructor. When I asked Nancy how she was connected to the viewing, she said that she had met Lynn, Gene's sister, over Sunday breakfasts at Panera Bread in Columbia Mall. Of course, I met Lois and Gene over breakfasts at Sam's. Who knows how many friendships have beem forged over caffiene and carbs?

Has anyone seen Allison lately? Allison, we miss you. Please stop in or comment here so we know you are OK!

Where in the world is Harold?

New blog feature! If you click on the tiny envelope next to the comment icon below, you can email a copy of any individual blog post to yourself or to anyone else. For example, you could email a copy of Pat's excellent memories of Baltimore. I am not sure if the pictures are included or if you just receive the text version.
Took Harold to the airport this morning. I'll give you a hint.....he is in the U.S.A. west of the Mississippi River. Click on the comment button below and submit a guess. There is a fabulous prize to the first person who guesses the correct state.

Doug talks to himself on his own cell phone. Think anyone answered?

Congratulations to my friends, Sandra and Martin, on the birth of their son, Maximillian.

I couldn't resist sharing this adorable photo. Isn't he cute?

Scott and Jeff place their order.

Paul and Jean finally let me take a picture and my camera refuses to work at first!

Mike tells Doug he wants a hot tub for his 13th birthday.

Great Big Boobs

  • OK, let me explain about the unusual title of this post. Recently, the blog had a reader in New Delhi, India. This piqued my curiousity. When I checked, this poor guy (yes, I am being sexist in assuming it was a guy) in the middle of the night was searching the Internet for the key words "sexy valentain sam". Even with the misspelling of "valentine", he was directed to our blog because of the "sexy valentine day workout video" and the title "sam". So I am conducting a social experiment to see if the above title temporarily increases our number of readers. Gladys recalled how she had innocently searched the Internet for "showers" for suggestions for a bridal shower (at a library class on using the computer) and been shocked by the resulting website. Bill told about a coworker looking up BJ's (the store) at work and being similarly embarassed. So it seems fair play if a few are mistakenly disappointed when they land on our blog. All in the name of science!

  • Now the battery is dead on my laptop. I've replaced the power port, the power cord, and guess now I have to buy a new battery from Dell. (None of these repairs are inexpensive when it comes to computers). I seem to be following a familiar pattern with electrical devices. I can't wear a watch because it begins to run faster and faster until the time is inaccurate and they simply stop working. Guess I need to stop working with the laptop physically in my lap. Can't explain it, my body temperature and blood pressure are low, but my personal electrical system is haywire.

  • Bill T. recalled celebrating his 25th anniversary. He bought his wife a tennis bracelet, a cake, a card, etc. and went out for a special dinner. It was only when they came home that their son realized they were celebrating a year early, it was only their 24th anniversary! Bill, time flies when you are having fun, could explain why your internal clock was off. And better to celebrate a year early then a year late. FYI, by my calculations, your 35th anniversary is this year.

  • Our group now at Sam's is getting so large that several conversations are typically occurring at one time. If you are seated in the middle of the table, you catch parts of both and the results can be hilarious. Recently, it went like this: Conversation #1 involved discussion of - don't know how it got started - tatooing the male member with red stripes so it looked like a barber pole. Conversation #2 centered on someone at the table suddenly getting something in her eye. Conversation #1: "I could take it out and show you". Conversation #2: "Do you need help getting it out?" Conversation #1 : "Although it is probably small". Conversation #2: " It feels so big for something so small". Conversation #1: "I think I can get it out by myself". Conversation #2": "Can you see anything in there?" (Guess you had to be there).