World Water Week

Each year a conference focusing on world water needs is held in Stockholm. This year it happens to be the last week of August, through the first couple of days in September. Their official Website says, “World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI.” (Stockholm International Water Institute) The theme this year is Water for Sustainable Growth.”

Access to clean water is a major problem for too many people. I know there are many groups taking on this issue, but let me highlight just one, Friendly Water for the World. What they do is build BioSand Water Filters. From their site: “BioSand Filters stand 40 inches tall, and 12 inches wide on each side. The Filter container is made of concrete and filled with layers of specially selected and washed sand and gravel. BioSand Filters remove pathogens and suspended solids from contaminated water using biological and mechanical processes that take place on the surface of and in the sand column.” In areas where these are used, water-borne diseases are practically wiped out. The filters remove:

  • Up to 98.5% of bacteria
  • Up to 100% of worms
  • Up to 100% of protozoa and amoebae
  • Up to 99% of viruses

Even better, the group teaches the indigenous people to create the filters, so the project multiplies naturally. Full disclosure – I support this group as I can. They work in developing countries, but as the Flint Water Crisis has shown, we still have much work to do here in the States as well. So I urge you to get involved in some way in water issues. It’s such a fundamental thing!


Quotes about drinking water

When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.–Benjamin Franklin

Rain is a blessing when it falls gently on parched fields, turning the earth green, causing the birds to sing.–Donald Worster

We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this. What are we waiting for? This is the commitment we need to make to the world, now.–Jean-Michel Cousteau

Water links us to our neighbor in a way more profound and complex than any other.–John Thorson

Globalization was supposed to break down barriers between continents and bring all peoples together. But what kind of globalization do we have with over one billion people on the planet not having safe water to drink?–Mikhail Gorbachev

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.–W. H. Auden

Clean water, the essence of life and a birthright for everyone, must become available to all people now.–Jean-Michel Cousteau

We need a new global culture that finds the existence of millions of thirsty people thoroughly and immediately unacceptable.–Jean-Michel Cousteau

Water is critical for sustainable development, including environmental integrity and the alleviation of poverty and hunger, and is indispensable for human health and well-being.–United Nations

We’ve poisoned the air, the water, and the land. In our passion to control nature, things have gone out of control. Progress from now on has to mean something different. We’re running out of resources and we are running out of time.–Robert Redford

Water is one of the most basic of all needs — we cannot live for more than a few days without it. And yet, most people take water for granted. … Over 2 million people die each year because of unsafe water – and most of them are children!–Robert Alan Silverstein

Water is the most basic of all resources. Civilizations grew or withered depending on its availability.–Dr. Nathan W. Snyder

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.–Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National More Herbs Less Salt Day

Most of us have been trying to cut down on salt in our diets, though that can be hard when processed foods are so full of it. Well, here comes More herbs, Less Salt Day on August 29, to help us think about alternatives. The best thing to do about salt in processed food is not to buy it, but I do understand the convenience after a long day of work. There are still things you can do to cut down the use of salt. As the name of this holiday suggests, you can start by substituting herbs for salt in your own cooking. Don’t know which herbs to use? There’s a nice chart at of all places the Bowflex Website – yes that contraption you see on late night TV to grow big muscles. It gives you an idea what herbs go with what kind of food.

Fresh herbs are best, of course. Many are not that difficult to grow. I have two kinds of mint that would take over my little herb garden if I let them. I’ve also had good luck with basil and oregano and dill. Rosemary is a little harder to get started, but once growing, it is pretty hardy. You can often find fresh herbs in the produce department of your local grocery store, or even better at the farmers market. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The results will be tasty and much better for you and your family.

More Herbs Less Salt Day

Quotes about herbs

There’s rosemary and rue. These keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you.
–William Shakespeare (Winter’s Tale)

Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.–Benjamin Franklin

As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language.–Sir Thomas More

Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.–Helen Morgenthau Fox

Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled.–Traditional Saying

As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul.–Unknown

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.–Shakespeare (Hamlet)

As for the garden of mint, the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes our spirits.–Pliny the Elder

How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?”
–Andrew Marvel

I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass.–Gertrude Jekyll

Parsley – the jewel of herbs, both in the pot and on the plate.–Albert Stockli

Oh, better no doubt is a dinner of herbs,
When season’d with love, which no rancour disturbs
And sweeten’d by all that is sweetest in life
Than turbot, bisque, ortolans, eaten in strife!
–Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Pounding fragrant things – particularly garlic, basil, parsley – is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one’s being — from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated.–Patience Gray

If one consults enough herbals … every sickness known to humanity will be listed as being cured by sage.–Varro Taylor

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Just Because Day

August 27 is National Just Because Day. For many of us, we do what we do each day because we have to, such as going to work or school, or whatever you must do. Well, today is a day to stand that all on its head. You can do whatever you want – just because!

Apparently, this was once a family holiday of the Goodwins of Los Gatos, CA, but it has spread to become a national, if unofficial, holiday. You are free to celebrate this holiday any way you want, as long as you do something just because you can. Feel free to do crazy things, like singing aloud in public (or in a committee meeting at work). Or skip work and go fishing. Take a walk in the park. Buy yourself flowers. Go for a long drive with no destination. Do something to feed your soul and not your boss’s pocketbook.

But there’s another side to this too. The holiday’s original creation was to give a gift to another for no special reason. That makes it a good day to do the same, or to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or help a neighbor, or do something nice for a shut-in. If you’re like me, you have garden produce coming on. It’s a good day to share some with a friend or neighbor. Get something fixed that will make your spouse happy. Bake up something yummy that will please a family member. But whatever you decide to do today, do it just because!


For the quotes today, here is a list of truly terrible “because” jokes – just because! By the way, I found these on the Funology Website. They do have some jokes there which are actually funny. 🙂

Q: Why did the banana go to the hospital?
A: Because he wasn’t peeling well!

Q: Why can’t you say a joke while standing on ice?
A: Because it might crack up!

Q: Why is tennis such a loud game?
A: Because each player raises a racquet.

Q: Why did the calendar write its will?
A: Because its days were numbered.

Q: Why did the computer squeak?
A: Because someone stepped on its mouse.

Q: Why did the thief take a shower?
A: Because he wanted to make a clean getaway!

Q: Why did the melon jump into the lake?
A: Because it wanted to be a watermelon.

Q: Why was the boy sitting on his watch?
A: Because he wanted to be on time.

Q: Why did the scientist take out his doorbell?
A: Because he wanted to win the no-bell prize!

Q:Why did the opera singer go sailing?
A: Because she wanted to hit the high C’s.

Q: Why did the gardener plant his money?
A: Because he wanted his soil to be rich!

Q: Why did the sea monster eat five ships that were carrying potatoes?
A: Because no one can eat just one potato ship.

Q: Why did the cookie go to the Doctor?
A: Because he was feeling crumby.

Q: Why did the surfer think the sea was his friend?
A: Because it gave him a big wave!

Q: Why did the spy stay in bed?
A: Because he was under cover.

Q: Why should you never tell a secret in a corn field?
A: Because there are too many ears.

Q: Why did the TV cross the road?
A: Because it wanted to be a flat screen.

Q: Why did the news reporter go to the ice cream parlor?
A: Because she wanted to get a good scoop.

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Banana Split Day

August 25 is National Banana Split Day. Did you know there is an official way to make a banana split? The National Day Calendar says: “Traditionally served in a long dish, called a boat, a banana is cut in half lengthwise and laid in the dish with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream placed in between. The strawberry ice cream is complimented with pineapple topping. Chocolate syrup is poured on the vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping covers the chocolate ice cream. Crushed nuts, whipped cream and maraschino cherries garnish the entire boat.” So now you know!

A banana split was first created in 1904 in Tassel’s Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, by David Evans Strickler. He called it a “banana-based triple ice cream sundae” and it sold for 10 cents, double the cost of all the other sundaes. There is now an official marker at the site of the pharmacy where Strickler created this ice cream treat. Latrobe and the banana split were also honored with a forever stamp by the USPS, this very year. You can take a look, and purchase the Soda Fountain Favorites stamps here or at your local post office.

So be sure to celebrate today with at least a dish of ice cream, or hopefully a banana split. Don’t forget the cherry!


Quotes about banana splits, about bananas, and about ice cream. (And one really bad banana joke)

I blow up fireworks all the time, and I love making milkshakes and banana splits.–Chris Isaak

I belonged in Idle Valley like a pearl onion on a banana split.–Raymond Chandler

Only the smell of his place is familiar, syrupy with old delights, as if the ghost of my first banana split had come close to breathe on me.–Wallace Stegner

With no pretensions of art, Viva Las Vegas, the new Elvis Presley vehicle, is about as pleasant and unimportant as a Banana Split.–Howard Thompson

I believe in holistic medicine, yoga, Pilates and so on. But I also believe in banana split sundaes once in a while.–Gwyneth Paltrow

Always take a banana to a party.–Steven Moffat

I’m getting so old, I don’t even buy green bananas anymore.–Chi Chi Rodriguez

Democrats always like to brag that their guys are smarter than the opponents and Republicans always like to brag that their guys are more moral than the opponents. But if you’re looking for morals in politics you’re looking for bananas in the cheese department.–Harry Shearer

Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.–Bill Gates

The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.–Clifton Fadiman

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.–Groucho Marx

Summer would not be summer without Ice-cream. Ice-cream is the favorite currency of love.–“A Few Casual Remarks on Ice-Cream,” Puck, 1881 June 8th

I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream.–Heywood Broun

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.–Don Kardong

Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt.–Judith Olney

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.–Jim Fiebig

Ice cream is happiness condensed.–Terri Guillemets

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate. That’s my philosophy.–Thornton Wilder

Never trust a skinny ice cream man.–Ben Cohen

Besides being a useful adjunct to courtship, Ice-cream is often employed to feed poets upon.–“A Few Casual Remarks on Ice-Cream,” Puck, 1881 June 8th

Q: Why did the man lose his job in a fruit packing firm?
A: He kept throwing the bent bananas away.

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

Gene Kelly

Eugene Curran Kelly was born August 23, 1912. Though very well-known fifty or so years ago, if anyone younger than a Boomer knows him now, it is probably because of Singing in the Rain, or perhaps An American in Paris  However, he was not only a dancer/actor but also a teacher, singer, film director, producer and choreographer.

Gene Kelly was born in Pittsburgh to an Irish/German family. He and his brother Fred were both given dance lessons, though he went reluctantly. Naturally enough, they were teased by the other boys in the neighborhood. One of the things Kelly pushed when he became older was the idea that dance was no more feminine than sports were. Indeed, the best athletes are graceful in the same way the best dancers are.

In his early adulthood, Gene taught dancing. It was a while before he made his way to Broadway, and finally to Hollywood, where he both directed and starred in many musicals, with Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Lucille Ball, and Rita Hayworth, among others. He also worked with Fred Astaire, and Frank Sinatra.

Gene Kelly’s style was entirely different than Fred Astaire’s, however. Instead of the rather formal, tuxedoed dancing of the latter, Kelly’s dancing was more athletic, evoking the common man. Of himself, he says, “I don’t have a name for my style of dancing… I’ve borrowed from the modern dance, from the classical, and certainly from the American folk dance – tap-dancing, jitterbugging… But I have tried to develop a style which is indigenous to the environment in which I was reared.”

In 1952, he received an academy award “in appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.”


Quotes by Gene Kelly or about musical theatre

You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams. And I know if I can make you smile by jumping over a couple of couches or running through a rainstorm, then I’ll be very glad to be a song and dance man.–Gene Kelly

You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams.–Gene Kelly

I didn’t want to move or act like a rich man. I wanted to dance in a pair of jeans. I wanted to dance like the man in the streets.–Gene Kelly

Any man who looks like a sissy while dancing is just a lousy dancer.–Gene Kelly

I wanted to invent some kind of American dance that was danced to the music that I grew up on: Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart and Irving Berlin. So I evolved a style that certainly didn’t catch on right away – but I had some good mentors in New York who encouraged me.–Gene Kelly

I wanted to do new things with dance, adapt it to the motion picture medium.–Gene Kelly

I didn’t want to be a dancer… I just did it to work my way through college. But I was always an athlete and gymnast, so it came naturally.–Gene Kelly

How can we know the dancer from the dance?–William Butler Yeats

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.–Dave Barry

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.–Agnes de Mille

Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?–Friedrich Nietzsche

Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays.–George Balanchine

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.–Agnes De Mille

Dancing is the poetry of the foot.–John Dryden

Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.–Maya Angelou

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Senior Citizens Day

National Senior Citizens Day was first declared to be August 21 in 1988 by Ronald Reagan. The proclamation read in part, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”

I must admit I feel a little ambivalent about this. As someone who is officially in that category, I’m glad to be treated nicely at any time, but I don’t feel the need to set aside a special day for that. It makes me feel old! When I think of people to be nice to on Senior Citizens Day, I think of my 91-year-old mother in assisted living. I’m still dreaming and writing and baking and gardening and doing most of what I did twenty or thirty years ago – a bit slower, perhaps, but I don’t feel old, at least not most of the time. I guess it’s true what a wonderful older woman said to me once: “I don’t know how old old is, but it’s older than I am!”

While part of me is beginning to accept the mantel of “crone” (not derogatorily, but as in the three ages of a woman – maiden, mother, crone) I’m not ready to hang up my walking shoes or sit in the sunshine just yet.

So be kind to us older folks today, but don’t treat us as washed up!


Quotes about aging

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.–Jim Fiebig

Age has extremely little to do with anything that matters. The difference between one age and other is, as a rule, enormously exaggerated.–Rose McCaulay

Age puzzles me. I thought it was a quiet time. My seventies were interesting and fairly serene, but my eighties are passionate. I grow more intense as I age.–Florida Scott-Maxwell

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or eight. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable regardless of physical capacity.–Harvey Ullman

The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts and we grow happier as we grow older.–William Lyon Phelps

A friend of Oliver Wendell Holmes asked him why he had taken up the study of Greek at the age of ninety-four. Holmes replied, “Well, my good sir, it’s now or never.”

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.–Madeleine L’Engle

The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions; you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge.—-Howard Thurman

I suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward.–Mary Sarton

In my old age there is a coming into flower. My body wanes; my mind waxes.–Victor Hugo

It annoys me when people say “Even if you’re old, you can be young at heart!” Hiding inside this well-meaning phrase is a deep cultural assumption that old is bad and young is good. What’s wrong with being old at heart, I’d like to know? Wouldn’t you like to be loved by people whose hearts have practiced loving for a long time?– Susan Moon

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Panini Month

Among its other interesting holidays, August is National Panini Month. For those who have never had this treat, a Panini is a toasted sandwich, usually made in a special grill not surprisingly called a Panini press, which usually presses grooves into the sandwich. Some people consider these special sandwiches nothing more than glorified toasted cheese, but to my mind, a Panini is far superior. In fact, just reading about this monthly holiday inspired me to change my boring old egg salad sandwich this noon into an egg salad Panini with onions, turkey, and melted cheese. Yum! By the way, I don’t have an official Panini press, so I use my tiny George Foreman grill, changing the sandwich around several times to get it heated equally top and bottom and front and back, in order to get those Panini grooves.

This seems to be a fairly recent holiday, perhaps created by Sargento Cheese in 2011. You can find some of their Panini recipes on their website. The Harvest Turkey and Apple Panini sounds particularly good. There are more Panini recipes here. The main ingredient is your creativity.

As a little background, the word panino is Italian for “small bread roll”; its plural form is panini. The word is the diminutive form of pane (bread). In some English – and French – speaking countries, panini is sometimes used as a singular word and sometimes pluralized as paninis.

So if you’ve never had a Panini, I urge you to check out the recipes and give them a try. For you old hands, celebrate with your favorite Panini sometime this month. Have fun!

As you might expect, there aren’t really any quotes about Paninis specifically, so here are some about sandwiches in general. Did you know the first time the word sandwich appears in the English language is in Edward Gibbons journal in 1762?


Too few people understand a really good sandwich.–James Beard

There are sandwich shops in New York which offer the nobility and gentry a choice of no less than 100 different sandwiches, all of them alluring and some of them downright masterpieces.–H. L. Mencken

It has been well said that a hungry man is more interested in four sandwiches than four freedoms.–Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

My favorite sandwich is peanut butter, baloney, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise on toasted bread with catsup on the side.–Hubert H. Humphrey

There’s no better way to start your morning than with the delectable taste of our breakfast sandwiches. Our customers crave our breakfast sandwiches for one reason – they taste great.–John Gilbert

Call me All-American, but I love Ham and Cheese sandwiches. And not just any old ham and cheese sandwich… My mother’s is the best. I’ve tried many times to make these sandwiches on my own, but it’s never the same.–Andy Roddick

I used to have a jazz club, and I made the cocktails and I made the sandwiches. I didn’t want to become a writer – it just happened.–Haruki Murakami

I make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich.–Jack Black

When I was a boy there were only three kinds of sandwiches in common use – the ham, the chicken and the Swiss cheese. Others, to be sure, existed, but it was only as oddities.  Even the club sandwich was a rarity, and in most eating-houses it was unobtainable. The great majority of people stuck to the ham and the Swiss cheese, with the chicken for feast days and the anniversaries of historic battles.–H. L. Mencken

So the perfect sandwich has to be toasted. It has to have Emmenthal Swiss cheese and a combination of sweet and savory – some cranberry or fig thing happening – with different kinds of meats like Black Forest ham and roast beef.–Kyle MacLachlan

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at