Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why The World Needs Chocolate

Each year at Valentine's Day Americans purchase as many as 58 million pounds of chocolates. In 2008, the premium chocolate market was a $1.6 billion business. About $720 million came from small regional and local chocolatiers, many of who make their candy by hand.

What's more, to-die-for chocolate may actually help you live longer. It's rich in flavonoids-which may help lower blood pressure-and packed with other antioxidants. Eating a little bit every day could be beneficial to your health.

So what is your favorite chocolate. My favorite chocolatiers are: Jacques Torres, and Christopher Elbow.

Go ahead, eat some chocolate, it will make you feel better.

Census Spending Criticized

The Census Bureau, a month away from its 2010 population count, has already WASTED millions paying temporary employees who never did the work and others who overbilled for travel, according to excerpts of an audit obtained by the AP.

Still, federal investigators said it was appropriate for the Census Bureau to spend $133 million on its advertising campaign, including $2.5 million for Super Bowl spots that some Republicans derided as wasteful.

In response, Census Bureau spokesman Stephen BUckner attributed the excessive training costs to strong applicant interest in the temporary jobs. As a result, more recruits than expenced showed up for the paid training sessions, and many subsequently were let go without performing work.

Since then, the agency has adjusted its job recruitment to account for the changes and imposed new controls to manage expenses.

Can We Afford Web Access for All?

When you pay your phone bill each month, a small percentage goes to a federal fund that subsidizes phone service for people in remote areas and for the poor. Now the FCC is considering expanding this $7 billion Universal Service Fund to give all Americans access to high speed internet.

President Obama recently announced his plan to contribute $2 billion in stimulus funds to the effort, but creating truly universal broadboand access could cost as much as $350 billion. Next month, an FCC task force will recommend ways to pay for the expansion.

FCC Chairman claims that providing universal broadband is an essential national mission that will boost the economy by enhancing communication and commerce, improving the delivery of healthcare, and providing new educational opportunities for millions.

Rather than tack more fees on to phone bills, Consumers Union suggests applying the fee to broadband-internet users as well. With an expanded base, the burden would be on more people so the cost to individual users would be lower.

Progress and Freedom Foundation says the costs shouldn't be borne just by consumers, it would be better to support it through general tax revenues so everyone shares in the costs.

WHO is going to pay for the computers?????

The Night Before Christmas

An Ohio woman treasures a classic poem. Holly Menzie has amassed more than 250 books, tree ornaments, records, blankets, pillows, music boxes, and even a game board with The Night Before Christmas theme. Her two oldest books date to 1910. She has a recording of Louis Armstrong narrating the poem in 1971.

Clement Clarke Moore is credited with writing the peom in 1823. The story paints Santa Claus as the magical symbol of Christmas and embodies the spirit of giving.

Yo-Yo fanatic

Florida doctor prizes playthings on a string. John "Doc Lucky" Meisenheimer always has a yo-yo in his pocket. With nearly 6,000 yo-yo's he has the largest collection in the world. He has floor to ceiling glass cases encircling the loft of his home library to house his collection. He also created a yo-yo headed manequin covered with 603 yoyo's. Some of his yo-yos are antiques including a circa 1790 brass toy from England, a few are rare, like a wooden prototype-one of only six known to exist-made around 1955 by Duncan Toy Co for Coca Cola. Others blow bulles, generate sparks, and emit scents.

He has a 6' tall, 820 pound yo-yo made in 1990 by a woodworking class in Jasonville, In. He spotted to toy on eBay and bid on it. He keeps it in a backyard shed.

When he was unable to find a definitive guidebook on the subject, he spent 4 years researching and writing Lucky's Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yo's. The love affair of yo-yo's began after marketing genius Donald F. Duncan Sr. hired salesmen to demonstrate yo-yo tricks across the country. He also partnered with William Randolph Hearst to sponsor yo-yo contests. For more information go to

Sharing His Toys

Oklahoma artist amasses an action-figure army. Kevin stark has been playing with and drawing action figures ever since he got a hand me down GI Joe in 1965. He has 11,000 action figures and lives in Pauls Valley, Ok. He started designig the flexible toys 20 years ago. He got a job as a paperboy when he was 10 so he could buy GI Joes. He would make capes from old tees and glue on cardboard wings. His sketches are used to make characters in the Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, and Coneheads, along with his own 79 year old superhero, Geezer come to life.

Today the action figure ensemble is exhibited in a former department store building that community volunteers helped transform into The Toy and Action Figure Museum in 2005. Next time you are in Pauls Valley, Ok (population 6,256) stop by and see his collection. for more information go to