Monday, July 6, 2009

Vive la One Cell Phone Charger!

Congrats to cell phone makers (Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson) for sealing an agreement with the European Union to market a universal adaptor for cell phones. Introduction date is set for January 1, 2010.

Thanks to CinDC for the tip on the article.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chickens in Hyattsville

This is an update on progress being made to change the current Hyattsville, Maryland, law which prohibits chicken coops within the city limits. So far I've found five other Hyattsville residents who are interested in raising chickens for eggs and I'm striving to find many more. David Hiles, my new Hyattsville Ward 2 city council representative tells me that it may be possible to bring this issue before the city council this coming fall or Spring 2010. He also says I will have to build more community support, then lobby the council for action. I'm beginning to compile material to illustrate how urban chicken coops have worked well in the D.C. area and other nearby, local jurisdictions.

So let's keep our talons crossed! To get you in the mood for starting your own chicken run, take a look at all the great things (I'm personally fond of the "Eglu") at
Photograph credit: National Archives and Records Administration, RG-83, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1876-1959. The photograph was taken in Shelby County, Iowa, in May 1941.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Perfect bourbon for a perfect mint julep

I've had a request for preparing bourbon for a mint julep. Though, this somewhat off topic for this blog, I think that because green it will be ok. Credit for this idea goes to my wife, Mrs. OSG, who had the idea initially when I started my mint julep kick back ca. 2002. I complained that the drink was only minty if the mint was properly crushed, and even then not as strong as I would like. Did I say that fresh mint is about my favorite flavor?

Mrs. OSG simply collected a bunch of fresh mint, crushed it well, then put it in a pitcher and poured in a whole bottle of Maker's Mark. M and M is my favorite bourbon pick, by the way, and I always order by asking for it specifically. I might raise the price of the drink, but its worth it.

Let the crushed mint steep in the pitcher of bourbon for several days. I think we've don as long as a week in the past. This does not harm the taste of the bourbon that we have found, and certainly doesn't mask the sweet bourbon flavor. The mint flavor is secondary, but delightful.

Last step is to strain the mint out of the bourbon and funnel it back into the Marker's Mark bottle. Mark that bottle with a big "MINT" on the label so you will know better before you pour a Bourbon 'n Coke, or ruin a Manhattan.

Mrs. OSG also came up the idea of infusing the simple syrup with crushed mint as well. Did I already say that I like mint? While the simple syrup is heating on the stove, add the crushed mint and let steep as the syrup cools off of the flame. I always opt for simple syrup over white sugar when making my juleps. This means no gritty texture from putting white sugar into a cold beverage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Chicken "Coup" in Hyattsville, Maryland?

Yours Truly has started a campaign to return chickens and chicken coops to Hyattsville, Maryland. My family wants fresh organic eggs raised without chemicals, without the demand for long distance shipping from the sources and without cruel treatment of animals. I've contacted a member of the Hyattsville City Council asking for help on changing the current city law that prohibits keeping chickens as pets, food or otherwise. I hope I can report, sometime in the near future, that chickens for egg raising are welcome once again in the Maryland suburbs.
Let me know your thoughts on the returning trend of urban chicken coops.
The accompanying photograph comes from the DOCUMERICA collection at the National Archives. World-famous photographer Charles O'Rear took this photograph of farmer John Dolezal collecting chicken eggs in May 1973 on Dolezal's farm near Bee, Nebraska.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Keep Your Cuff Campaign™

Yesterday I noticed my office waste paper basket had not been emptied for several days. Because I recycle every scrap of paper possible, the only thing that ends up in my waste paper basket are my discarded coffee cups and there were three of them in there. No, I don't drink three cups a day. They were left over from last week. For every discarded coffee cup there was also a discarded cardboard comfort sleeve. What a terrible waste! That revelation inspired me to start the Keep Your Cuff Campaign™.

Joining the Keep Your Cuff Campaign™ is simple and will prevent needless waste of perfectly good paper products. Unless you are a particularly uncoordinated and sloppy coffee/tea drinker, you comfort cuff should be clean and unstained and perfectly good for many repeat uses. Before you toss your used paper coffee/tea cup, slip off the comfort cuff and store it in your desk drawer for your next cup. If you enjoy you coffee/tea on the way to work (I don't advocate drinking anything while driving!), slip off the cuff and tuck in the car's console or in the glove box and take it with you when purchasing your next hot beverage. Your coffee/tea vendor will thank you for reducing demand for supplies and the Earth will thank you for reducing landfill waste and saving trees.

You can find numerous reusable cup cuffs for sale. Some are funny, some are artistic, some are carved from wood and double as wrist jewelry, but most are just expensive. The one you get at the coffee vendor is free, so use it for as long as you can!

And yes, I've approached my agency's catering company about offering reusable travel mugs in the cafeteria or allowing customers to use their own mugs, but they gave me a flat, "No." I'm not taking that as a final answer, and will post about progress on this front in the future.

Monday, May 11, 2009

P of C Fact of the Day

Don't flush away all our clean water resources!

Problem: If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses at least 3.5 gallons per flush.

Solution: New high-efficiency models use less than 1.3 gallons per flush—that's at least 60 percent less than their older counterparts. Compared to a 3.5 gallons per flush toilet, a WaterSense labeled toilet could save a family of four more than $90 annually on their water bill, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet. The WaterSense toilet pictured here is by Kohler.

A low cost and more immediate way to save more water is to remember the popular saying, "If it's yellow, let it mellow ..." Well, you know the rest. Start saving money and clean water now! Learn more about WaterSense labelled toilets.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009


My recent DOCUMERICA article now appears online in Prologue, the quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration. Please have a read and let me know your thoughts. I should mention that many more DOCUMERICA photographs appear in the article's print version.