What Exactly Is Baccalaureate?

With graduation ceremonies approaching, many are asking why there are two ceremonies and “What is a baccalaureate anyway?” Merriam Webster says baccalaureate is “1. the degree of bachelor conferred by universities and colleges; 2a. a sermon to a graduating class, and 2b. the service at which this sermon is delivered.” While I know my collegeRead more

The Cost of Salt Has Changed, But It’s Value Remains

Salt (sodium chloride or NaCl) has been a constant throughout history. There are recorded uses of salt dating to 5060 BC. At one time, it was so valued it was even used as currency. In 2700 BC a pharmacological treatise in China describes more than 40 kind of salt and two salt extraction methods (whichRead more

Burgs, Villes and Boros, What’s In a Name?

We have been doing more traveling recently and it is interesting to note the signs we pass. Besides the sometimes entertaining advertising billboards, the exit signs indicating nearby towns or streets also attract attention. Once you get out of the familiar bubble you call home, there are notable differences in town names, making one wonderRead more

Who Needs Technology? Punxsutawney’s Got a Special Groundhog

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  Groundhog Day, celebrated on February 2, like many other holidays, started with a pagan festival, in this case celebrating the beginning of spring by the Celts. Like many other traditions, this came to America via Europe. Going back to the ancient Romans, each February, people would watch for hedgehogs (or badgers, depending on yourRead more

What Do Pumpkins Have to Do With the Devil?

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It is believed that the idea of the Jack O’ Lantern comes from an Irish folktale about Stingy Jack, a man who invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Not wanting to pay for the drinks, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so that the drinks could be paidRead more

Jacks, a Simple, Portable, Fun Piece of the Past

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What’s worse than steeping on a Lego? Stepping on a Jack. What’s a Jack? Something that kept me entertained for hours as a kid. A jack is a 6-pronged object which typically has four rounded ends and two pointed. It is a simple game, one that can be played alone or with a partner, andRead more

Why Do We Do These Things to Brides?

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My kids and their cousins are reaching the age where we are once again seeing a flurry of engagement announcements and all the excitement wedding planning brings. A common tradition, the bridal shower, has been updated to match the times, but there are some traditions that have held on. These traditions of course make meRead more

Why Do We Put Candles on Birthday Cake?

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  We have been celebrating birthdays lately (and have another coming up soon), so we have had our dining room “lit up” on a couple occasions. With the family getting older, the room keeps getting brighter and there is less room on the cake. (Maybe we need bigger cakes.) Having a cake with candles isRead more

Bring on the Fireworks!

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  Every July, we go and sit with thousands of others to watch our local fireworks display. Since our town’s display has the distinction of being “The Best in the ‘Burbs,” and has for as long as I can remember, everyone goes, so we go early, to make sure we have a place to sitRead more

You Know Fun Is Ahead When You Spot the Ferris Wheel

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Carnival season is upon us and soon we will be seeing pop-up amusement centers in parking lots and the strange sight of rides on trailers on highways. Most prominent of these of course is the Ferris wheel, which in most cases can be seen for miles and is the first sign of a carnival inRead more

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