Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Funnies

Snacks are something many of us have enjoyed, even if we know better about the non-healthy aspects. In some ways, snacks are like a guilty pleasure defined as something you enjoy, even if it's embarrassing or shameful to admit liking. (We're only talking about snacks here, folks.)

Yes, I'm guilty of snack pleasures too: crunchy Cheetos and popcorn (never movie popcorn).

So, it was a surprise to see a display of these products. Does this mean, we can feel less guilty when snacking?

LesserEvil snack products
LesserEvil is a New-England company that's headquartered  in Danbury, CT. It was started in 2005 by Chares Coristine to provide better alternatives to some less healthy snacks. While the snacks lived up to their name, it was found that they weren't much healthier compared to the competitors. In 2012, the company committed to using only premium organic ingredients that were minimally processed. Except for international-sourced oils and Himalayan pink salt, the company tries to locally source within the U.S. (Full disclosure, I haven't tried any of these products.)

Here's some new-to-me things I learned about snack foods. 

What's the most popular junk food in the U.S.?
Potato chips, ice cream, candy bars, and cookies. It seems that Americans ♥️ junk food. 

Where's the snack food capital of the U.S.?
According to many sources, it's Hanover, PA, home to companies like Utz Brands Inc and Snyder's of Hanover. The town of Hanover and several counties around it are the biggest producers of potato chips worldwide. 

What city eats the most potato chips?
Detroit is known for cars and Motown. But, its third claim to fame is potato chip consumption capital of the country. Detroit folks consume an average of 7 pounds of chips a year compared to the rest of the country which eats 4 pounds.

Internet source
What's the largest selling snack food in the U.S.?
No surprise that it's Doritos. These crunchy corn tortilla chips are the top-searched snack food inover 20 states.

What's the oldest snack food?
Popcorn holds that title. Archaeological sites in Peru and Mexico recently yielded 7,000 year old maize husks said to be evidence of popcorn preparation and consumption by ancient indigenous peoples.

What's the most unhealthy snack food?
Any baked chips as these are highly processed and often lower in fat so you consume large quantities without ever feeling full.

What are the most unhealthy American snacks?
Corn based snacks, like Fritos and Cheetos, which are made of highly processed corn, contain little to no nutritional value. Once corn snacks are fried, loaded with sodium and tossed in cheese, they become some of the unhealthiest things you can eat.

And, now I know more about snacks and so do you.
Your turn —do you have a guilty snack pleasure?   (this is a no-judgment blog)

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Snack on if you like (calories don't count on weekends, right?)

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Funnies

This fellow was seen hanging around in Nashua a couple of weeks ago and is wired up to prevent a fall.
As you may have figured out, this is not a human. The realistic sculpture was created by the owner of the tailor shop that it's hanging around. He has created several other figures that are sometimes in front of the shop

Unfortunately, this building close to downtown Nashua has been affected by graffiti by those with no regard for property and no artistic talent aside from defacement. It's far from being funny. I'm not sure if this figure was meant to be seen as cleaning the brickwork.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone
The weekend will be a rainy one in Nashua, NH 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Anonymous Lately

But it's not by choice.

Internet source
Recently, if I posted a comment on your blog, my comment name might have displayed as Anonymous instead of my regular (alias) name of Beatrice.

It's annoying, but at least has only been happening when using the iPad to comment. It's not my favorite device to blog read and comment. My fingers go faster than my brain resulting in typos. Some are corrected before posting, others missed and escape to a comment, my past and future apologies.

Back to the anonymity issue, which as stated doesn't happen when using other devices, like the desktop Mac or notebook PC. This sudden turn of events was the result of trying something new and, not finding it useful, reversing the action taken— but not with total success on the iPad.
Blogger NavBar normally displays at top left of a blog
While I'm signed into my blog, the blogger Navbar (see above) no longer displays. Yet, I can access blogs, delete spam comments, and even leave comments on some blogs—not all. 

My comment name, Beatrice, shows up on some blogs. On others, it now displays as Anonymous. Some blogs don't accept Anonymous comments, so I'm directed to sign into Blogger. This doesn't work as I'm already signed into Google (only when using the iPad).

Recently, I tried what's called Private browsing (Safari and Firefox browsers), more commonly known as Incognito mode (Chrome browser)—different names, same function.

Internet source
In these modes, the browser doesn't keep a log of sites visited, cached pages, or saved information such as credit card numbers and addresses. It also prevents information from sessions from being stored in the cloud. 

As you probably know, when you're browsing online, companies and websites use tracking devices, cookies, to keep up with digital activity from site to site for the purpose of targeted advertising. Depending on the browser and personal choices, private or incognito mode is said to reduce cross-site information and tracking across websites.

Going private/incognito lets you use a shared computer or someone else's device and prevents your passwords, search records, and browsing history being saved on that device. Private browsing can also hide your searches and browsing activity from others who use your computer, but doesn't mean your activity can't be tracked. 

Private browsing doesn't completely hide your internet activity from third-parties—websites you visit, advertisers, internet service provider (ISPs), the government, or even hackers. An ISP provider can record a user’s online activity regardless of browser privacy setting. Your IP address, identity, and browsing activity are still visible to third parties. So, it's not a good choice when trying to avoid being tracked online. Private browsing won’t protect you from viruses or malware.

There's another problem. Since websites can’t modify information stored on your device, services normally available on some sites may work differently. You may have to re-enter passwords or sign-ins. That's what happened to me and why I didn't keep using it.

Even after I ditched Private mode, some sign-ins had to be re-entered and Blogger has been problematic only on the iPad. When I returned to non-Private mode on the desktop, everything, including Blogger, came back OK.

Private/incognito mode can keep your browser history private, that’s about all it does. For real privacy, experts suggest Tracking Protection or browse with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. 

Anyone else who has used Private/Incognito mode—your thoughts ?

In another annoying, and recent blogger issue, which may or not be connected—has anyone else received this message when trying to post a comment?

An error occurred while trying to publish your comment

While not consistent, it's shown up on several blog sites. My workaround is to repeatedly click Publish which finally results in the comment being published or awaiting moderation (if that feature has been set). 

Here's another message received when trying to post a comment on a couple of blogs. Despite backing out and then returning to the page, a comment wouldn't post. I'm unsure if this is related to the privacy mode issue.
So, my apologies, in advance, to those bloggers whose blogs I've read, but have been unable to post a comment. If anyone has a work around to this one, please share and thanks.

YIKES—it's U.S. Tax Day, instead of Saturday, April 15. When the deadline is on a weekend, followed by a holiday, the Internal Revenue Service pushes the due date to Monday. But, Monday, April 17, was a Washington, DC holiday celebrating Emancipation Day (anniversary of the district ending slavery in 1862) taxpayers had more time. Tax Day began in 1913, with ratification of the 16th Amendment which gave Congress the authority to tax citizens' income. It was first date, then March 15 in 1918, and became April 15 when the IRS restructured in 1954.

Double 😳 YIKES—State income taxes are due too. It's nice to be free of that tax paid when we lived in NJ and VA. As of 2022, nine states don't have a state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming. 

Anyone planning on a future move?

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday Funnies

This utility box will never travel further than its current location, but it has traveled extensively through the stickers left on it.
This one was in downtown North Conway, NH. The snow had freshly fallen during our March visit as we connected with visiting friends. We didn't add any stickers, and it would have been difficult to find an open space, many of these were double and even triple-layered.

Regardless, it was interesting to see how many people did add one. I wondered if they were the same folks who place stickers on their cars and what it does to the car's finish.

How about You—sticker fan or not?

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Weather is improving day-by-day

Thursday, April 13, 2023

NJ Easter Road Trip

We were on the road once again last week, which will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog as we are often many times on getaways, short or long. This was a family visit trip.
Siblings, Dorothy & Tony
Last week's road trip was to our home state of NJ for a two-fold celebration. My brother, Tony, had marked a birthday earlier in the week. We celebrated with him at a birthday lunch on an unseasonably warm day as you can see from our jacket-less attire. Although we ate dined indoors, the outdoor temperatures were in the 80s last Thursday in NJ.

Back to the NJ road trip and more family photos.
Great nieces, Autumn and Savannah
The only youngster at this year's Easter get together was our great niece Autumn Rose. There was a traditional egg hunt in the front yard, arranged by her grandmother (my brother's wife). Her cousin, Savannah, celebrated in FL with her mom, my brother's younger daughter. These 3-1/2 year olds were born 2 weeks apart and will reunite this coming summer when Jamie and family visit NJ.

Tony & Patrick, Autumn & parents (Julie & Michael), and Us
No holiday get together would be complete without a bit of fun which my brother's wife (Anita) always provides at the dinner table. My brother donned bunny ears, Grenville wore the new shirt he bought in NJ during our getaway. Autumn and parents and ourselves with bunny glasses.

If you're from New Jersey, pork roll, also called Taylor ham, is a breakfast staple. This processed pork product consists of spices, salt, sugar cure, and preservatives and is smoked before packaging. 
According to the manufacturer, Taylor Provisions of Trenton, NJ,  the official product name is John Taylor's Taylor Pork Roll, which at first only came in a tube-like casing. It still does, but now also comes sliced in boxes. A few years ago, my brother sent us several of these as a holiday gift which Grenville said was the best choice!

Other companies produce similar products, but Taylor Provisions is the originator. According to Grenville, and others, those others are impostors. While found in most NJ supermarkets, into Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland, it's not easily found here in Nashua, NH, aside from one local deli.

We hope that your—Easter or Passover—was celebrated with family, friends or both. In NJ, holiday dinner ended with this sweet dessert 🐰.
Yes, it was very delicious 😋. There's no such thing as calorie-counting on a holiday which is a very good thing as we are back again on the South Beach diet plan. It's been called a life style, which is more in keeping with my future eating plans. We started before the holiday (of course, not the best time, but then is there ever one?) We returned home without any gains, maintaining our pre-trip weights. 

Blog reading and commenting, which was on hold during our travels, will resume this week in between laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning. Going away is always fun, but catching up at home takes a while—until the next getaway in May for our 1st date anniversary.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Happy Easter

Happy Easter wishes to everyone from our home to yours.
Passover is celebrated from April 5 to 13 this year. Chag Pesach samech to everyone who is observing this special time.

We're traveling to our native NJ for a few days where we'll celebrate my brother's birthday and the Easter holiday with family and visit with friends.
This ↑ surprise from our moving-out neighbors had several more bunnies and contained a couple of peanut butter egg treats 😋. 

Wherever and however you're spending the Easter and Passover holidays, we hope it's a celebration with family and friends. As we're on the road, I won't be commenting on posts for a few days. Comments are off.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Celebrating the Arts

Nashua Center for the Arts (NH)
Saturday, April 1, was a dreary and very rainy day in Nashua, NH, 
but it definitely didn't dampened the spirits of those, like ourselves, who attended the opening celebration of the Nashua Center for the Arts in downtown Nashua, NH.

This sold out event at $15 per ticket was titled Nashua Celebration of the Arts, and featured a showcase of the NH performing arts community with performances from Nashua theater groups Peacock Players, Actors & Singers, also Safe Haven Ballet, Symphony NH, Ukestra, The Akwaaba Ensemble, Loce Jazz, as well as hometown singers and musicians Alan St. Louis, Ian Ethan Case, Wyn Doran, Ethan Kraus, and Fee the Evolutionist. The show was emceed by Sean McDonald of TV station WMUR in NH.
Safe Haven Ballet, Ian Ethan Case, Wyn Doran
Originally, set for 2 hours, this showcase event ran into 3 hours. But, on a dreary weather day outside, no one seemed too unhappy about the extension as they enjoyed the performances. And, as there were no restrictions on photo-taking (other than flash) I was able to capture some of the on-stage events, even with an older cell phone.
Ukestra and The Akwaaba Ensemble
Located in the heart of downtown Nashua at 201 Main St, it's anticipated that the arts center will become a community hub like buildings formerly in the same location. Its footprint holds ties to the longtime Sunlight Pharmacy and Miller’s Department Store, 
which sold everything for ladies from shoes to wedding gowns and children's clothing. A popular Nashua catch phrase from the 60s to the 80s was Meet Me At Millers. (In 1960, JFK was in Nashua at the start of his run for the Presidency and stopped there too.) Miller's closed in the early 1990s and was replaced by Alec’s Shoes, which became the footwear place to go. (This still popular store relocated in Nashua, but no longer in a downtown location.)

Looking at the front of the arts center, the most striking part of this building is the colorful yellow-framed square that sticks out from the facade. It's also been included in the design of its logo. 

In several news stories I read this square was referred to as an oculus (Latin for eye). Curious, as always, I checked online sources to learn that in architecture, this refers to an opening in the center of a dome or a wall, which was usually round, not square (go figure).

Designed by Boston-based ICON Architecture, the $25 million arts center is on four floors. The rear portion includes an 1898 structure known as the Dunbarton Building. Costs included demolition and construction, $4 million was raised in private funding, including $1.5 million in individual donations, businesses and foundations with New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority Tax Credit funds. The City of Nashua also issued a $21 million bond.
Seating Arrangement, Nashua Center for the Arts
Inside, the centerpiece auditorium is The Bank of America Theater which has a seating capacity of 750. Orchestra seating has 400 seats which retract into the wall, creating an open floor space for up to 1,000 people for standing events, or 250 for functions like banquets receptions and conventions. There's an additional 350 seats in the balcony. There's also two main concessions stands in the 2nd and 4th floor lobbies. Both were popular and crowded spots during Saturday's intermission. Prices were somewhat steep according to a fellow apt resident, who also attended the opening event last weekend, but that's generally the case at such events.
Orchestra Level View, Opening Celebration
No tours of the entire facility were provided on Saturday. In the opening remarks we heard about the back stage amenities that were included to entice performers to make return appearances. It's not the proverbial green room anymore. Touring artists would have access to spaces that included not only dressing rooms and lounges, but also kitchenettes, bathrooms, and showers.

(FYI, there is little agreement online as to why the place where performers would wait before going on stage is called the green room, but there's many idea available online. It turns out that no one really knows for sure.)

We haven't yet purchased tickets for an upcoming event, but plan to return in the future. This past weekend's event was GA (general admission). Our early arrival assured us of an orchestra seat. The seating was comfortable with good views due to angled rows and there's enough room between rows to let people pass. 

Scheduled shows this month include: Ruben & Clay (Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, American Idol alumni), singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega, and A Girl Named Tom, a sibling trio that won The Voice 2021 competitionFuture shows, May to October, include: Champions of Magic, Boz Scaggs, Recycled Percussion, BoDeans, Pat Metheny, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Menopause: the Musical and others.

Depending on how well known the performer is also determines the admission cost. A check of various shows had a price range from $69 to $129, plus a service fee, which ranged from $7 to $11.

On April 29, Symphony NH will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its first concert to the day with a centennial performance. This is also a GA seating event within the section purchased and discounts for students, youths and seniors. This may be our next event to attend there.
Symphony NH, Fee the Evolutionist & Ruby Chavez, Ethan Kraus
Actors & Singers and Peacock Players, two Nashua-based theater groups
Understandably there were audience members who wore masks, including one of the symphony musicians, but the majority did not. Hopefully everyone will be OK as there is still much concern about current and/or future outbreaks.

Personally, we enjoyed being out and about. This venue is very conveniently located downtown within walking distance of the mill apartments. Even though we're unsure of our next event, this one was very enjoyable due to to the shared talents of ALL the performers.