Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Early last week the snow was piling up and so we decided to head for warmer weather weather. Las Vegas seemed like the perfect place. Only a couple of ours away and plenty of fun things to do, but more importantly, warmer. S. and I headed out with L. and L. for a weekend of fun.

Along the way we decided to name our tour. So we came up with, “The Seven Deadly Sins Tour.” Remember those list of sins from the Old Testament? Things God doesn’t like. There have been many versions of the list over the last two millennium. We settled on the Pope Gregory I revision. Dante’s list would have worked well also, but he manages to come up with ways to punish the extravagant, as the wasteful are punished in the fourth circle of hell.

So how did we do?

  • Lust
  • Most people think of this as sexual, but it can be almost anything. Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body. I suppose going to the the gym everyday would qualify.

  • Gluttony
  • We managed this one with flying colors. Way too much food.

  • Greed
  • It was Vegas right?

  • Sloth
  • I think we can get a passing grade on this one as well. Perhaps, sleeping in late? Oh wait, the whole trip was an avoidance of of physical or spiritual work.

  • Wrath
  • There was a host that we were unhappy with. Oh, and those annoying guys flapping their smut fliers on the sidewalk on the strip. Definitely not happy with them.

  • Envy
  • I really wanted to eat all of L.’s doughnut holes.

  • Pride
  • Thinking you can predict the future.

All in all not a bad attempt on such a short notice. I guess next weekend we’ll have to go for the Seven virtues contrition and misdeeds plan. Good times.

Post Turkey Day Recap


We had a great Thanksgiving meal. The turkey brining really made a difference and I’ll definitely do it next year. One thing we changed at the last minute was to put the ham in the oven and the turkey in a roaster. This reduced the cooking time by about ninety minutes which we had not planned on. So we had to keep the turkey from drying out while we had did the side dish mad dash. All the potatoes turned out very well especially the mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. And for the record true yams are botanically distinct from the sweet potato, though in the U.S. the names are commonly interchanged. Apologies for not getting around to eating the sugar free apple pie. Both gravies from the turkey and the ham turned out very tasty as well. Good times.

I found some interesting facts from the National Turkey Federation.

  • This year the average American will consume 17 pounds of turkey most of it around Thanksgiving time.
  • Turkey production has increased nearly 300 percent since 1970 – the total value of turkey processors’ production in 2007 reached $14 billion and U.S. growers raised 273 million turkeys in 2008.

Top 10 Turkey Producing States in 2008 (in order)

  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Virginia
  • California
  • Indiana
  • South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Iowa
  1. Turkeys can fly
    Wild turkeys feed on the ground, which might explain the myth of their flightlessness. They can in fact soar for short bursts at up to 55 mph. But their tendency to stay on or near the ground contributed to successful hunting that brought the wild population of turkeys down to about 30,000 in the 1930s. There are now 7 million of them.
  2. Dark meat is rare because …
    Meat is muscle. And muscle is fed by blood. In the blood is myoglobin, which binds with oxygen and stores it in muscles for when it’s needed. Myoglobin also makes meat dark. Muscles that are used most, like those in drumsticks (legs), have more myoglobin. Domestic turkeys are too fat to fly, so they don’t use their breast muscles much, which is why breast meat is white. The breast of a wild turkey is entirely different, darker (and far tastier for those who are game).
  3. Turkey eggs wouldn’t sell
    Few humans would disagree that a good chuckle every now and again feels good. Well, monkeys, dogs, fish and other animials get a kick out of life as well. Chickens are champion egg-producers. Turkeys, not so good. Turkey eggs are bigger, so their nests tie up coop space. And farmers have learned that they make more raising turkeys for meat rather than eggs. Oh, and some turkeys are protective of their eggs, making the gathering more challenging.
  4. It’s not the turkey that makes you sleepy
    Turkey contains a natural chemical called tryptophan, which we need to build proteins for our bodies. Indeed, tryptophan is also related to the production of serotonin, which helps us sleep. But all meat has about the same amount of tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has a lot more. What really makes you sleepier after a Thanksgiving meal compared to other meals is eating too many carbohydrates, from potatoes to pies. Alcohol can contribute, too.
  5. Dinosaurs had wishbones, too
    The wishbone, called a furcula, is the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. It’s where a bird’s flying muscles hook up. It’s elastic and great for flapping. Turns out T. Rex and the Velociraptor had wishbones, too. While they didn’t fly, this fairly recent discovery is one of the many bits of evidence that shows birds evolved from dinosaurs.


Pigeon: Impossible

by Lucas Martell

“A rookie secret agent is faced with a problem seldom covered in basic training: what to do when a curious pigeon gets trapped inside your multi-million dollar, government-issued nuclear briefcase”