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In this electronic age of cell phones, text messages and email, a handwritten letter seems like a quaint bygone. Paper letters can be kept, reread and cherished. So sit down and write a letter to a friend or relative. It’s sure to bring a smile, and you might even get a letter back.
Some background. The Renaissance era was a cultural movement that influenced literature, philosophy, art, politics, science and other intellectual inquiry.
A feast for the eyes. The setting is typically a village with lads, lords and other men appearing in cloaks and swashbuckler attire. Duchesses, countesses and other females don dignified gowns, underskirts, bodices and robes.
Belly full of laughs. Plentiful performers entertain: comic actors, jugglers, stilt walkers, trained jousters and medieval musicians and dancers.
Children laughing, playing and MOST of all having a great time was our intent. Judging by the looks of the two little girls in the photo, the Family Day was a success.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to fly as free as a bird, floating in a hot air balloon is about as close as you can get. Hot air balloon festivals abound in summer as a feast for the eyes. For the adventurous, commercial hot air balloon rides are increasingly available.
The first hot air balloon took flight in 1783 in France, with a sheep, a duck and a rooster on board. In 1793, George Washington witnessed the first balloon launch in North America, piloted by Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard.
The three basic components of the aircraft are the envelope, burner and basket. The envelope is the actual balloon that holds the air. The burner is the equivalent of an engine and drives hot air into the balloon. The basket is where the pilot and passengers stand. To drive the balloon upward, the pilot opens the propane valve. To move it downward, the pilot uses the parachute valve. To steer the balloon, the pilot moves the craft up or down, depending on the location of wind currents, and rides with the wind.
A commercial ride in a hot air balloon generally costs from $150 to $275, but often rides in tethered balloons are available for much less at festivals. Check out HotAirBalloon.com for a list of balloon festivals around the world.
Whether you spell it ketchup or catsup, the tangy tomato-based condiment is in peak demand during the summer as Americans take aim on hot dogs and hamburgers.
A forerunner to ketchup known as ke-tsiap or kecap originated with Indonesian and Asian cultures hundreds of years ago as a spicy pickled sauce for ﬁsh made of anchovies, walnuts, mushrooms and kidney beans. British seamen brought the condiment home with them in the 17th century and changed its name to catchup. By the 18th century, New Englanders were adding tomatoes to the mixture.
Full-blown commercial production started in 1876 when Henry J. Heinz started bottling ketchup. Although he was not the ﬁrst to produce ketchup, his recipe caught on and remains the same to this day. Competitors soon were bottling their own formulas under the names of catsup, katsup, catsip, cotsup, kutchpuck, cutchpuck and even cornchops, which was brieﬂy produced by Hunt’s for the state of Iowa.
Ketchup does have healthful properties. Its base is cooked tomatoes, which contain lycopene— shown to have cancer-ﬁghting properties. Still, the scientiﬁc world rebelled when ketchup was declared a vegetable on school lunch menus for a brief period in the 1980s. It would be absurd to declare a hot dog smothered in ketchup a health food, but it’s summertime—the time to indulge.
Besides making you look better in a bathing suit, the health beneﬁts of working out are legendary. Exercise builds muscles, strengthens bones and improves heart health. But did you know it could protect your vision, boost your word power and slash sick days? From Prevention. com, here are some of the lesser-known perks of exercise:
Healthier mouth. A study found that adults who moderately exercised for 30 minutes ﬁve times a week were 42 percent less likely to have periodontitis, a gum disease.
Sharper vision. A physically active lifestyle can cut the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 70 percent, according to a British Journal of Ophthalmology study.
Bigger vocabulary. Researchers at the University of Muenster in Germany found that people who ran two three-minute sprints, with a two-minute break in between, leamed new words 20 percent faster than study participants who didn’t exercise.
Fewer colds. A University of Washington study found that women who did 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days a week had 33 percent fewer colds than the control group, who did stretching exercises once a week.
Better attendance. Research ﬁnds that people who participate in strenuous leisure activities, such as running or cycling, take about half as many sick days as their sedentary cohorts.