Archive for March, 2007

Five Light-Hearted Celebrations in March and April

March 29th, 2007

In Western countries, April 1st has long been celebrated as April Fools’ Day, an opportunity to play tricks on others and to suspend seriousness for a short period of time. As it turns out, there are other holiday traditions that nearly coincide with the beginning of April; some have suggested that the start of spring […]

Five Products Sold by Monasteries

March 26th, 2007

There is a long tradition in monasteries of manufacturing products that are sold locally, or more widely, in order to support the life of the community. Since they are usually self-contained, this type of business can ensure their financial independence. In addition, many religious orders see great value in pursuing hands-on work that complements the […]

12 Intriguing Cheeses Available from

March 23rd, 2007

There are innumerable types of cheeses in the world, and while I’ve tried many different kinds, I know I’ll never be able to try them all. That said, it’s still fun to make the effort to taste as many as I can. Here are just a few of the intriguing cheeses that caught my eye […]

12 Ways to Back Up Your Mac Online

March 21st, 2007

In my book Take Control of Mac OS X Backups I mention the existence of several software-plus-online-storage combos that enable Mac users to back up their files to a nice secure server somewhere out there on the net. But I don’t express much enthusiasm about them, because they’re generally quite slow and unreasonably expensive compared […]

Six YouTube Videos Featuring Entertaining Automatons

March 20th, 2007

I first fell in love with automatons when I visited the famous Musée Mécanique in San Francisco. At that time it was housed in a dark, low-ceilinged hall right near the beach, but has since moved to the more tourist-oriented Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a great place to visit; for a few quarters you can see […]

Nine Things To Do While Stranded in an Airplane

March 19th, 2007

Over the past weekend, the winter storm that hit the East Coast had a big effect on air travel in that area. As with some previous storms this winter, airline passengers were stranded on planes for hours without leaving the ground, sometimes overnight. To help those poor souls stuck in similar situations in the future, […]

Six Wacky Stores That Support Children’s Writing Centers

March 16th, 2007

A group of nonprofit organizations called 826 National, which currently has six chapters around the country, teaches writing skills to children. As a way of raising money to support their work, each chapter runs a specially themed storefront operation selling supplies for everyone from superheroes to pirates. (Read more about 826 National at Interesting Thing […]

Seven Common Myths About St. Patrick

March 15th, 2007

St. Patrick’s Day will soon be here with all its colorful traditions, which makes this a good time to look at the legends surrounding the man himself. Most everyone knows some part of St. Patrick’s story, from his expulsion of Ireland’s snakes to his favorite color. However, on closer inspection, some of the commonly held […]

Eight New Year’s Rituals from Around the World

March 14th, 2007

Next week, on March 19th, residents of Bali, Indonesia, will celebrate Nyepi, the beginning of their new year. Nyepi, sometimes called the day of silence, is a time when everyone remains indoors and refrains from their regular activities in order to reflect on the past year as well as the year ahead. Many other cultures […]

Eight Ways to Find Serenity

March 13th, 2007

As previously mentioned, Firefly is without any doubt the best thing ever to have been broadcast on TV. This outer-space western followed the exploits of Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity, and has attracted a rabid base of fans (or “Browncoats,” as we like to be called) far out of […]

Six Melodic Instruments That Are Easy to Play

March 12th, 2007

Learning to play a musical instrument can be quite daunting; not only do you need to know how to change the pitch in a musical way, but also how to physically manipulate the sound of the instrument. The following instruments are easy to learn because they simplify one or the other (or both) of these […]

31 Places in North and South America That Do Not Observe Daylight Saving Time

March 9th, 2007

Starting this Sunday (March 11) at 2 A.M., most residents of the U.S. and Canada will set their clocks forward one hour in observance of the start of Daylight Saving Time. This is a change for 2007, since in previous years DST started the first Sunday in April. However, there are many regions in the […]

Seven Interjections That Include Personal Names

March 8th, 2007

By George! A modernized version of “by Jove!” (in other words, Jupiter). For Pete’s Sake! A softer form of “for God’s sake” or “for Christ’s sake,” supposedly a reference to St. Peter. For the Love of Mike! Slightly less popular, according to Google, than “for the love of Pete!” but Pete’s already made the list, […]

11 Famous Winds

March 7th, 2007

Today on Interesting Thing of the Day I wrote about the Chinook winds of the Western US and Canada. There are many other famous winds around the world; below are a few of the best-known ones. If I haven’t included your favorite, feel free to add it in the comments section. Bora: Adriatic, Greece, Russia, […]

21 Quirky Pub Names

March 6th, 2007

I first became interested in the phenomenon of pubs with names that contain two nouns (e.g., Crown and Anchor) when I visited Oxford a few years ago. Some combinations seemed natural, like Fox and Hounds, while others left me scratching my head (Angel and Greyhound). There are various explanations for these puzzling names, including the […]

Seven Movies Coming Out in 2007 That Are Third in a Series

March 5th, 2007

2007 seems to be the year for “3” movies; not only films with “3” in the title (e.g., 300, The Number 23), but also for those that are third in a series. Here are seven of them, listed in order of their release date. Spider-Man 3: May 4, 2007 Shrek the Third: May 18, 2007 […]

14 Peter, Paul and Mary Songs Involving Modes of Transportation

March 2nd, 2007

Just recently I was listening to a Peter, Paul and Mary album, and realized how many of their songs involve travel or someone leaving someone else behind (e.g., Leaving on a Jet Plane, Early Morning Rain). More than that, many of their songs mention a mode of transportation in particular. I guess it shouldn’t be […]

12 Hotels Made of Ice

March 1st, 2007

Just a few years ago, it was a novelty found only in Sweden: a hotel built entirely out of ice. Each spring it melted, and each winter it was rebuilt, bigger and better than before. The original Ice Hotel is still a hot (well, cold) property; each year thousands of people pay handsomely to sleep […]