Wednesday, August 31, 2016
It began as a rather boring newspaper article. A Chicago Tribune beat writer traveled to Kentucky to interview Colonel Sanders' nephew. Yawn. However, things became exciting when the reporter, Joel Ledington, asked to see an old scrapbook on a bookshelf. It contained the usual black-and-white photographs, cards and portraits. Then...suddenly....he saw a handwritten note. To the astonishment of the world, it listed out the 11 herbs and spices of KFC's secret recipe. This prompted us to count the Top Five Trade Secrets:
#5 Dr. Pepper. This tale begins way back in 1880. The setting is the soda counter at WB Morrison's Drugstore. The place is the dusty town of Waco, Texas. Here, Charles Alderton first served his first Dr. Pepper. Twenty-three ingredients came together in a delicious concoction. Instantly popular, the recipe was patented five years later. Since then, the 23 items are known only by a handful of CEO's. NOTE: Although it tastes like prune juice, company officials have stated it contains no prune juice.
#2. KFC's Secret Recipe. Back to the original item. In response to these outlandish claims, YUM! Foods released a statement. They clarified that the document listing the amounts of the 11 herbs and spices remains "locked in the KFC vault." They also reminded us that it is sooo secret, the spices are "mixed at different locations around the US, to protect the full recipe." We here at the DUNER BLOG see this angry and defensively worded statement as a clear indication that Joe Ledington has indeed discovered the secret.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Well, the Rio Olympics concluded yesterday with a rousing ceremony. The traditional hand-off to the next host took an un-traditional turn, when Japanese PM Shinzo Abe appeared in a Super Mario costume! An hilarious ending to a memorable games...marred only by troubled US swimmer Ryan 'Swim-Shady' Lochte. Sigh. Our final of three Olympic blogs gives four different ways to view the Medal Counts.
BY CONTINENT. As everyone knows, the USA dominated as a country, finishing first among nations. However, North America as a continent placed only third. If it weren't for Jamaica, we would have been fourth. Nope, Europe took home nearly half (47%) of all medals. Asian nations China, Japan and Korea all fared well, placing their continent in second place at 21%. At the bottom were Australia and Africa with 5% each.
BY U.S. STATE. Based on their birthplace, it's fun to see how individual US States would fare if seen as independent nations. For example: California hauled in 28 Gold Medals. This is seventh best, ahead of France and Italy. New Yorkers grabbed 13 for second place, while Illinois had ten. The next two entries had immense help from one super-athlete. Maryland (Michael Phelps) and Texas (Simone Biles) round out the top five.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
With all of the eye-popping events in the Rio Olympics, combined with all the jaw-dropping comments in the Presidential Elections, here's a story you might have missed. Last week, an alarming study was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It discovered that the birthrate in the USA has fallen to its lowest rate ever. This goes all the way back to the 1910 Census, when the US first began calculating such data. Wow!
Let's dig deeper: In the first three months of 2016, only six babies were born for every 100 women, aged 15 - 44. While the birthrate has been in steady decline since 1970, the sudden 10% dip in the last five years warrants our attention. There is some good news. The study also found that women are giving birth at an older age: 26.2 is the new average. This means that teen pregnancies are down and the 30 -44 group is at an all-time high: Every tenth woman is this group will give birth this year. That means more babies come to functioning households and less babies are coming to confused teenagers.
Let's combine the CDP's study with another statistic from the last census: Life Expectancy. Today, Americans enjoy the longer lives, clocking in at an average of 78.7 years. With advances in science and healthier diets, we can only expect this number to grow in coming decades. You know what this means: Our country is on a dangerous course. Nations with lots of older people and fewer younger workers don't function well. By the year 2040, there will be fifty million people retirees in America, but no one to take care of them.
Friday, August 12, 2016
The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are in full swing! They are defiantly true to the Latin motto established back in 1894: Citius, Altius, Fortius. (Faster, Higher, Stronger). Our mailbox is jam packed with questions. So let's get started:
What's the story with the Tongan Flag Bearer? Jessica, NYC. Few of us stayed up until 11:15pm to see all 200+ countries in the Parade of Nations. But those who did were handily rewarded when the delegation from the Pacific nation of Tonga's delegation entered Marcana Stadium. Proudly carrying the flag was Pita Taufatofua. He wore traditional Tongan dress and was covered in coconut oil. The Taekwondo athlete instantly shot to internet super-stardom. But it came with an ugly side: TODAY SHOW hosts Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb insisted on touching his chest. Yuck!
What happened in the stands during a tennis match? Dmitry, Moscow. The Brazil / Argentina rivalry is well known in South America, but now the rest of the world is learning how intense it has become. During a tennis (!) match between the two, shouts escalated to blows and both spectators were removed. In the parking lot, they continued to debate who's better: Pele or Maradona...
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Yesterday, London's Metropolitan Police unveiled new uniforms for their beloved Bobbies. Boy, do they look different! Instead of the standard wool coats, Bobbies are now wearing grey Kevlar body armor. Instead of the black billy clubs, they are now carrying Sig Sauer MCX machine guns and Glock 9mm sidearms. Heck, some don't even walk anymore...they drive customized black BMW motorcycles. Don't panic: For the time being, only a fraction of patrolmen will don the new uniforms. Traditional Bobbies are still present.
With all the issues the US is facing regarding Police Presence, this item provides a great opportunity to review the history of the world's first cop squad. It all began in 1829. At the time, London had no formal law enforcement. Rather, the city had a mix of night-watchmen, private constables and Royal Army officers...all operating for their own motives. It did not work. As the city grew and grew into an industrious powerhouse, things became more and more dangerous in the streets.
As today, Londoners in 1829 complained about being policed. They said their personal liberties were being restricted by the Bobbies. In response, Peel quipped: "I want to teach people that LIBERTY does not consist in having your house robbed by organized gangs of thieves." At the time, massive factories demanded more and more employees. Workers streamed into London, creating a new, morally-challenged society. Peel's reply: "We shall not leave our principal streets in the nightly possession of drunken women and vagabonds."