June 29, 2020


Everybody’s Talking

Small but beautiful: Visitors to Iceland might want to try booking a tiny house for their vacation. The tiny house in question has some very special qualities.  It’s part of the Panorama Glass Lodge, located about a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital. The bedroom walls and ceiling are made of glass so visitors can go to sleep watching the Northern Lights dance in the sky. The amazing scenery includes Hvalfjör˘our (fjord of the whales) as well as snowcapped mountains. The little place has many luxury amenities, including an outdoor hot tub.

Big banknote: When people open a new bank account, they usually take a cheque or a bit of cash to deposit into their chosen financial institution.  However, tellers at a bank in Lincoln, Nebraska (U.S.), were surprised when a  man presented them with a $1 million banknote and asked them to open an account and deposit the money.  The bank employees knew that a real $1 million bill doesn’t exist. In fact, the largest bill currently in circulation in the United States is $100. The bank manager called the police, who are trying to find the man. 

Raining unicorns: Folks working at a television station in Calgary, Alberta  (Canada), got a bit of a shock one Halloween morning when their weatherman arrived on the set. Jordan Witzel, a meteorologist, pranced in front of the camera dressed as a white unicorn, including pink hair, a horn, hooves, and a  multi-coloured tail. A banner appeared on the screen identifying him as  “Ferdinand: Mystical Meteorologist.” With the anchors laughing and exclaiming in disbelief, “Ferdinand” proved he could work the clicker with his hooves to present the weather report.

Pet rooster: Some people might love dogs, while others enjoy the company of cats, parrots, or hamsters. But for Martin Herrera of San Jose, Costa Rica,  roosters are his pets of choice. He has been domesticating and training the birds for many years. His favourite is a rooster named Paquito. Herrera can be found walking the streets of the city with Paquito on a leash, taking him to markets and cafés. In San Jose, people are allowed to bring pets onto city buses, so Herrera takes his favourite bird on bus rides, too. The bird lover trained Paquito to sit on his shoulder, to the delight of onlookers.

Quoteable Quotes

“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.”
—Amelia Earhart

“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you a person who has never achieved much.”
—Joan Collins


1. Which sport was featured in the movie Hoosiers?


2. If a glow-worm is not a worm, what is it?

A beetle

3. Which breed of dog won the first “Best in Show” prize at Westminster in 1908?

Smooth Fox Terrier

4. Incisors, canines, and molars are three types of what?


5. A jellyfish has a brain and a heart—T/F?



Did You Know?

The sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D is produced in the skin in reaction to sunlight. People who don’t get enough sunlight may need to take a  supplement, as this vitamin only naturally occurs in a few foods, such as fatty fish.

Big lakes: Located between Asia and Europe, and bordering five countries,  the Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world. The second largest is Lake  Superior, which straddles the Canadian-American border in North America.

Season: Earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees in relation to our orbit around the Sun.  When the North Pole has pointed away from the Sun, it is winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. Vice versa when the North Pole is pointed toward the Sun.

Odd sea creature: The dugong lives in the warm coastal waters of the Red  Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. This large mammal looks a little bit like a  manatee. Dugongs are herbivores and like to eat seagrass.

Wind watch: Prevailing winds are winds blowing in their most frequent direction in a certain location. Depending on  the latitude, prevailing winds  generally blow from east or west, rather than from north or south.

On the Lighter Side

Teacher: “Why can’t freshwater fish live in saltwater?”
Student: “The salt would give them high blood pressure.”

If the world keeps getting smaller every day, why does the cost of a stamp keep going up?

What can run, but never walks? Has a mouth, but never talks?
Has a head, but never weeps? Has a bed, but never sleeps?
A river.

Starting next month, I’m going to stop procrastinating.
Where is the ocean the deepest? On the bottom!

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June 22, 2020


Everybody’s Talking

Doodle art: A young, grade school student from Shrewsbury, Shropshire,  England, used to get into trouble for doodling at school. Joe Whale didn’t mean any harm; he just likes to draw. His parents, Greg Whale and Vanessa Jameson, decided to do something positive with their son’s skill and enrolled him in an  art class. The teacher was amazed at his talent, posting some of his doodling  pieces on social media. Soon, a restaurant owner called who wanted him to  decorate a wall in the dining room. It’s the boy’s first commercial work, and his  family has high hopes for his future.

Sandy landscape: The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in the United Arab  Emirates is a national park that’s home to plants, birds, reptiles, and mammals,  including the Arabian oryx, sand cats, hedgehogs, and pygmy shrews. Visitors can book an adventure into the park, which might include going on a trek by camel, fat-bike riding, or sandboarding on the desert’s dunes. The reserve is located 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Dubai. Since temperatures soar in the summer months, it’s best to go between November and March when it’s usually around 27° C (80° F). 

Flare for drama: A horse named Jingang, who shares a name with a town in  China, has gained fame through social media postings showing his acting abilities. This smart steed has a unique way to avoid giving people rides. He lies down on the ground and refuses to get up until the would-be rider walks away. Not even a carrot or a sugar cube will lure him up! Apparently, Jingang does give people rides, but he plays this trick when he doesn’t want to cooperate.

Living simply: Daniel Price doesn’t need much to live on. Originally from the state of Kentucky (U.S.), he now lives in the state of Oregon in a hillside dugout in the forest. He considers himself a “minimalist.” Many years ago, he left his job as a photojournalist to try to live as simply as possible. Before making his dugout, he lived in tents, a teepee, a hut, and a shed. He has made his dugout comfortable with rugs and furnishings, and he even has electricity. He pays only $100 (U.S.) a month in rent to the land’s owner, and he has a self-imposed annual budget of $5,000 to pay for all his needs.

Quoteable Quotes

“Adornment is never anything except a reflection of the heart.” 

Coco Chanel

“Work consists of what a body is obliged to do…. Play consists of whatever a  body is not obliged to do.”

Mark Twain


1. Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of what?

Number 13

2. How many grams of protein are found in a hen’s egg—0, 3, or 6?


3. What are female elephants called?


4. In the sport of curling, where does the tee sit?

Centre of the house.

5. Who is older—Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney?

Paul McCartney


Did You Know?

Welcome stop: The Sahara Desert in northern Africa has about 90 major oases with fresh water near the surface from the water table below. Oases are important stops for travellers as they can restock with water and food.

Rock hounds: Mineralogists are scientists who study the Earth’s minerals.  Petrologists study the composition, texture, and structure of rocks.

Pink shell: Argentina is home to the pink fairy armadillo, also known as the pichiciego. It is the smallest armadillo in the world at only six inches long. It gets its name from its pink bony armour shell.

Warm versus cold: When an El Niño weather pattern occurs in the Pacific, the effect in North America is unusually warm temperatures in the winter.  When it’s a La Niña, the southeastern part of North America will be warmer  and the Northwest will be cooler than normal.

Circus laughs: Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a 45-episode English sketch comedy show that ran from 1969 to 1974. Its six creators were Graham  Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.

On the Lighter Side

Q: A man rode into town on Tuesday, and left two days later on Tuesday. How so?
A: His horse is named Tuesday!

Which month has 28 days? All of them!

Restaurant customer: “This egg doesn’t look fresh.”
Server: “It’s so fresh, the hen hasn’t even missed it yet.”

A psychologist received this postcard from a vacationing patient: “Having a wonderful time. Why?”

When you want to use me, you throw me away. When you’re done using me, you bring me in. What am I? An anchor.

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June 15, 2020


Everybody’s Talking

Coffee Time: Move over watercolours. Coffee has become the new medium for an artist in the small town of Ontinyent, Spain. Nuria Salcedo, an architect by training, learned to draw on her own. She loves to draw and do illustrations of famous people, but she didn’t think she had much skill. To differentiate herself from other artists, she focused on coffee. She uses diluted coffee of different tones in her work, as well as brown pencils. The result is an interesting sepia look with various shades of brown and tan. She often uses photos as her source material but is moving towards painting original works of art.

Loyal Friends: Nurses at a hospital in Rio do Sol, Santa Catarina, Brazil, treated a patient in the emergency department who appeared to be homeless, but certainly wasn’t alone. The man, known only as César, had come to the facility to obtain treatment for a medical condition. Nurse Cris Mamprim and her coworkers wondered if he would be okay when he was released a little while later. They needn’t have worried. Waiting happily at the door for César were four, tail-wagging dogs, excited to see their master again. The nurses realized that, while César may have been homeless, he was a kind man to have such loyal friends.

Extras: Finding chocolates on the pillow is a nice experience when staying at a hotel. Some luxury hotels are known to offer outlandish “extras” which may be part of the room rate or may incur an extra charge. A Fender guitar, for example, is available to Hard Rock Hotel guests around the world who choose the “Sound of Your Stay” program. The Acqualina Resort in Miami, Florida (U.S.), provides a Rolls-Royce Ghost to those renting a certain deluxe suite. And, if you are athletic, you can enjoy a free acrobatic skills program from Cirque du Soleil while staying at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Splashy Entrance: Guests at a wedding in Anglesey, Wales, got a big surprise when the groom arrived at the venue. Wearing his tuxedo, Matt Knight rode a wakeboard behind a boat on the Menai Strait. Accompanying him were his groomsmen — brother Chris and friend Paul — who also wore tuxes. The three did a few tricks for the assembled guests who were waiting outside the hotel where the nuptials would be held. The trio was soaking wet, of course, but all had dry formal wear waiting for them. The bride, Kirsty, loved the show and said the groom made the exciting entrance due to his love of James Bond movies.

Quoteable Quotes

“Literature is my Utopia.”
Helen Keller

“If everyone minded their own business…the world would go round a deal faster than it does.”
Lewis Carroll


1. A harpoon is a barbed spear or a string on a harp?

Barbed Spear

2. Which plant is known to devour insects?

Venus Fly Trap

3. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1925, 1935, or 1945?


4. Name the firstborn of England’s Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince George

5. What is the fruit of the blackthorn bush?

Sloe Berry


Did You Know?

Earth’s Layers: Earth’s crust is between about five and 100 kilometres (three and 62 miles) thick. The next layer is the mantle, which is approximately 2,900 km (1,800 mi.) deep.

Very Venomous: Deinagkistrodon acutus, commonly known as the Chinese moccasin, is a venomous snake found in parts of southeast Asia. Its venom has been used for centuries to treat tendon and bone pain.

Peppermint Beginnings: The American sitcom The Brady Bunch ran for five seasons between 1969 and 1974. A band called The Peppermint Trolley Company originally performed the show’s theme song.

Measuring the Weather: Anemometers and barometers are both meteorological instruments. The former measures airflow speed while the latter measures atmospheric pressure.

Bone Health: Calcium, which can be obtained naturally in such things as dairy products, leafy green veggies, and some fish, is important for bone health in both children and adults. The amount of a person’s daily need depends on age.

On the Lighter Side

  • My cat constantly looks at me like I asked her to give me a ride to the airport.
  • Q: What type of cloud is so lazy that it never gets up?
    A: Fog!
  • In a recent poll, 78 per cent of those polled said they didn’t like being polled.
  • You can break me without touching me, or even seeing me. What am I? A promise.
  • If you don’t like cheese with holes in it, eat around them.

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June 8, 2020


Everybody’s Talking

Seeing Red: Zorica Rebernik of the small town of Breze, Bosnia, loves the colour red. In fact, she loves it so much that she tries to make sure everything around her is red. The retired schoolteacher lives in a red house filled with red furniture. Her hair is dyed bright red, and she dresses in red clothes. Red flowers adorn her table, she sleeps on red bedsheets and drinks out of red glasses. Rebernik claims that her love of red started at about age 18 and hasn’t abated. She wore a red wedding dress when she married her husband, Zoran.

Arctic adventure: Adventure tourists looking for a little luxury might want to call a travel agency called Luxury Action. The Scandinavian company plans to place portable “igloos” on the ice at the North Pole during the month of April. The igloos are heated and have glass walls and ceilings so guests can admire the northern lights in the Arctic sky. Those interested in the adventure, which also includes hikes on glaciers and wildlife sightings, will fly in by helicopter. Guests hoping to stay there will need plenty of money. The trip costs about $100,000 (US) per person.

Reunited: Mike Plas of Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada), lost his dog Jack in 2015 when Jack disappeared from his yard. When Jack didn’t come home, Mike had to face the fact that he might never see his canine friend again. Imagine his surprise when, four years later, he got a call from an animal hospital located in Winnipeg, Manitoba – 800 kilometres (500 miles) away. They had found a dog with a microchip that contained Mike’s contact information. Mike drove all the way to the hospital and was reunited with Jack, who whined and jumped and gave him lots of doggy kisses. It was a happy reunion!.

Making up time: Jenny Wilson and Kath Millns lived all their lives only 20 minutes away from each other near Rothingham, England. However, the twin sisters in their seventies didn’t know each other. Millns never knew she had a twin, but at age 11, Wilson had discovered that their mother had placed them for adoption when they were born. Wilson’s daughter, Nicole O’Halloran, initiated a search on social media, and eventually found Millns. Since their emotional reunion, the sisters have become very close, visiting each other’s homes regularly and going out for coffee.

Quoteable Quotes

“Time does not become sacred to us until we have lived it.”

John Burroughs

“To find in ourselves what makes life worth living is risky business, for it means that once we know we must seek it.”

Marsha Sinetar


1. What is a dreidel?

A Spinning Top

2. Carob is a caffeine-free substitute for what popular ingredient?


3. Pharmacology is the scientific study of what?


4. N.C., Andrew, and Jamie represent three generations of which family of artists?


5. What is pinchbeck?

Imitation gold


Did You Know?

Plant-eater: The Iguanodon was a dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous Period. Fossils have been found around the world. The first one was discovered by Mary Mantell in Sussex, England, in 1822. The Iguanodon was an herbivore.

Big tree: The Hollow Tree is a famous stump of a western red cedar tree. Located in Stanley Park in Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, it is about 1,000 years old. People stand inside the tree and get their pictures taken.

Exploding pod: The invasive Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) has a seedpod that explodes when disturbed. Native to India and the western Himalayas, it is found elsewhere in Asia, North America, and Europe.

Foggy view: When the lens in a person’s eye becomes cloudy, usually that means they have a cataract. Cataracts are common. They form slowly, cause blurry or foggy vision, and can be fixed with surgery.

Twisting winds: Tornados are funnel-shaped columns of rotating air that descend from thunderclouds. When they touch the ground, they move forward and can destroy anything in their paths.

On the Lighter Side

I have a neck, but no head and I wear a cap. What am I? A bottle!

Student: “There was a typo on a test I was taking. Instead of ‘(D) None of the above,’ it said ‘(D) one of the above.’ So I circled it.”

We are all time travelers moving at the speed of exactly 60 minutes per hour.

What do pandas have that no other animal has? Baby pandas!

Politics wouldn’t be so bad if we could just get rid of the politicians.

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