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Jan 23

ChocolateWith Valentines Day just around the corner, I can’t think of a single woman out there who isn’t hoping to get at least a tiny box of their sinful salvation: Chocolate. It comes in all shapes and colors, covers just about anything you can imagine, and is never an unwelcome gift. So this Valentines Day when you are trying to pick out sweets for your sweet, consider these little-known facts about chocolate.

1). The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the Cocoa Beans originated from Paradise and would bring wisdom and power to anyone consuming them.

2). Emperor Montezuma of Mexico partook a Chocolate drink before entering his harem. This gave rise to the notion of Chocolate having aphrodisiac properties. The Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova was another fellow who subscribed to this notion. There is some truth to the idea though, since Chocolate contains hundreds of chemicals including the feel-good stimulants – Caffeine, Theobromine, and Phenyethylamine.

3). Even though Chocolate is high in fat, it does not appear to raise blood cholesterol.

4). Chocolate is a great economy booster. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 600,000 tons per year. Consumers worldwide spend more than $20 billion a year on Chocolate.

5). Chocolate was such as a prestigious luxury that the French Ruler, Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King”, established a court position entitled Royal Chocolate Maker to the King.
6). In 1907, the iconic Milk Chocolate Hershey’s Kisses were introduced. They are one of the most successful chocolates and Hershey produces approximately 20-25 million per day in a variety of flavors.

7). Chocolate has long been heralded for its value as an energy source. Think of it this way: a single chocolate chip provides sufficient food energy for an adult to walk 150 feet; hence, it would take about 35 chocolate chips to go a mile, or 875,000 for an around-the-world hike.

8). The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.

9). Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood while the flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.

10). Placebo-controlled trials suggest chocolate consumption may subtly enhance cognitive performance. As reported by Dr Bryan Raudenbush (2006), scores for verbal and visual memory are raised by eating chocolate. Impulse-control and reaction-time are also improved.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this adorable quote: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!” – Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)

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Apr 01

April Fools!The internet is a powerful thing. It allows us real-time access to the latest news, shopping, gossip, entertainment and resources. As a professional blogger of many things, the first thing I do every day is sit down in front of the wonderful glow of my monitors, and allow the internet to feed me my breakfast of vitamin-enriched content and de-caf news. I apply each morning’s lesson as I type out my stories for the day, inserting little bits of current events and tasty morsels into the content that I create. So this morning, like any other, I check my newsfeeds and find an abundance of inspiration and thought to myself “wow, there’s so much going on today that I’ll never be able to review it all!”. Then I started researching the stories I was penning and found out I’ve been punked. I completely forgot today was April Fool’s Day and found myself believing the following pieces of “breaking news”. Good job guys.

One of my favorite funny sites, Stuff White People Like, claimed to have been purchased by the consumer mega-power Target, who planned to use the site as a marketing tool for a new line of organic foods. Apparently us white folks love our organics enough to believe that one.

I’m a strong advocate of the convenience, ease of use, and overall awesomeness of Gmail, but I actually got 2 paragraphs into writing a terribly negative review of their announcement of Gmail Custom Time. The feature is supposed to allow you to alter the timestamp on your emails to make them appear like they were sent in the past. You could even mark them as already read. Touche Mr Pussycat, I am fooled again!!3

AzPunk is deadEven my favorite local punk rock music site AZPunk has gone the way of the April 1st disappearing trend by replacing their landing page with a simple “dead” image and redirecting users to a shopping page for AZPunk products. After checking the source code of the landing page I get the friendly message that the site is not in fact dead, simply cacooning. I wonder if they will emerge as a beautiful butterfly after this unexpected hiatus? Either way, much fun and trickery is left to be had. If you’re looking for a good prank to pull, check out my favorite computer pranks site “I am better than you” for a few ideas!