National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

I am a huge fan of peanut butter. For me it’s right up there with chocolate as one of the major food groups, so I’m glad to have a month to celebrate this delicious fare. Besides being tasty, peanuts are also good for you. Peanuts have a high percentage of protein, and peanut butter provides protection against cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and resveratrol.

As far as the history of this celebration, the Website has this to say: “Southern Peanut Growers, representing southeastern peanut farmers, started the celebration as Peanut Butter Lovers Day on November 4, 1990. November 4 marks the anniversary of the first patent for peanut butter, applied for by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg on November 4, 1895. It grew to a month-long celebration in 1995 when peanut butter celebrated its 100th birthday!”

We, of course, use peanut butter in a variety of ways. It’s unmatched as a sandwich spread, especially when paired with your choice of jelly. It makes for great candy, as peanut butter cups. It is used extensively in baking, such as peanut butter cookies. You can also make peanut butter soup, which is very good. I have a spicy recipe, but you can get a milder version at Mount Vernon near Washington DC.

Peanut butter is always needed by your local food bank, so this is the perfect month to buy a jar (or more) to donate to them.

It’s also easy to make. I saw a rather elaborate recipe online, which made me laugh. When I make peanut butter, I take a sixteen-ounce jar of dry roasted peanuts – choose how salty you want them – and toss them in a food processer. I whizz them around until they are small pieces, then add a little peanut oil – just enough to hold them together. From first to last, it takes perhaps five minutes, and is much better than what you buy in a store.

And don’t forget that one of our recent Presidents, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer.


Quotes about peanut butter

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

I mostly eat peanut butter sandwiches. Peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and potato chips, peanut butter and olives, and peanut butter and marshmallow goo. So sue me, I like peanut butter.–Janet Evanovich

When I’m in the mood for room service, my favorite order is a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.–Pharrell Williams

Do you want to make a tamale with peanut butter and jelly? Go Ahead! Somebody will eat it.–Bobby Flay

Everyone has the talent to some degree: even making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you know whether it tastes better to you with raspberry jam or grape jelly; on chewy pumpernickel or white toast.–Anna D. Shapiro

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a great example of a perfect snack. They can go a long way.–Jozy Altidore

The best thing I can make is a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.–Mario Diaz-Balart

We didn’t have any money and lived on peanut butter and jelly, and I loved it.–Ronnie Van Zant

If you don’t mind smelling like peanut butter for two or three days, peanut butter is darn good shaving cream.–Barry Goldwater

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.–Charles M. Schulz

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

Who would guess that a peanut butter and bacon sandwich is so good it will bring tears to your eyes? It does. Add lettuce, and you have a complete meal, with every known daily nutrient needed by the average 200 pound man.–Roger Welsch

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World Communication Week

The first week in November is World Communication Week. If you look online, this seems to be mainly directed at businesses, with suggestions about how to better communicate to customers. But I would like to think smaller, that is, how we communicate with each other.

The 2016 presidential election in the United States has been a textbook case of how not to communicate, or rather how to twist the truth so it says what you want it to say. Even how to lie to potential voters with impunity. Sometimes it seems that people can no longer tell the difference between truth and lies, but can only hear the propaganda from their own side of the political spectrum. In fact, if we were looking for a word opposite of communication it might be propaganda, which keeps people from discerning the truth.

There may not be any way to communicate effectively at this point, with emotions running so high, but we must learn how to do so after the election, whoever wins, so that we can talk to and more importantly, listen to, each other. If we are going to survive as a country, we must facilitate communication. The rich must learn to hear the poor, whites must learn to hear non-whites, men must learn to hear women, old and young, Democrats and Republications (and Independents) must come to hear each other. If we cannot learn to understand where each other is coming from, we will break apart into even more factions than we already have. So I urge all the readers of this blog to listen before speaking and to practice empathy with others, especially this emotion-fraught week.


Quotes about communication.

Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence.–Deborah Tannen

The goal of effective communication should be for listeners to say, “Me, too!” versus “So what?”–Jim Rohn

I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention And especially if it’s given from the heart. When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. Most of us don’t value ourselves or our love enough to know this.–Rachel Naomi Remen

It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners.–Erma Bombeck

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.-–Peter Drucker

My favorite single line from the Qur’an is from Surah 49:13, which says that God made us different nations and tribes that we may come to know one another, in the sense that diversity is holy and it was created by God. What we humans are meant to do with that diversity is engage in positive interaction with each other and come to know one another – because knowledge is holy and pluralism or positive engagement is holy.–Eboo Patel

Our most common way of talking is telling: asserting the truth about the way things are and must be, not allowing that there might be other truths and possibilities. And our most common way of listening is not listening: listening only to our own talking, not to others.–Adam Kahane

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together we have to talk.–Eleanor Roosevelt

When we clearly understand that there is no superior sex or superior race, we will have opened the door of communication and laid the foundation for building winning relationships with all people in this global world of ours.–Zig Ziglar

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at Also visit us on Facebook at and on Twitter: (@kloberst)

Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Though not so much known in the States, November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day in England. In 1605, a group of conspirators, angry at King James I for continuing his mother Elizabeth I’s intolerance of Catholics, decided to take matter into their own hands. They stored 36 kegs of gunpowder underneath the houses of Parliament hoping to kill the king and those members of Parliament who were making life difficult for Catholics.

Their plans were foiled, largely due to some members of the conspiracy having second thoughts and sending a warning letter which reached the king. Unfortunately for Guy Fawkes, he was the one caught with the gunpowder. He was arrested, tortured and executed.

It all may seem like it happened a long time ago, but even today, when the Queen comes to address Parliament on “the State Opening of Parliament” which happens once a year, guards search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster.

Back in 1605, bonfires were lit celebrating the safety of the king. Ever since, bonfires are lit on the night of November 5, effigies of Guy are burnt on them, and there are firework displays to commemorate the foiling of the plot.

Today Guy Fawkes masks (made famous by the film V for Vendetta) may be worn by those protesting many things, such as the widespread Occupy protests in the US a few years ago. I guess whether you see him as a hero or a villain depends on where you stand in the political spectrum.


Quotes about protests

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.–William Faulkner

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.–Elie Wiesel

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.–Henry David Thoreau

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.–Desmond Tutu

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.–Leonardo da Vinci

One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.–Martin Luther King Jr.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.–John F. Kennedy

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.–Mahatma Gandhi

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.–Howard Zinn

If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.–Albert Einstein

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.–Barbara Ehrenreich

It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.–Tariq Ali

The strongest bulwark of authority is uniformity; the least divergence from it is the greatest crime.–Emma Goldman

If you try to silence dissent, then something is very, very wrong.–G. R. Reader

Justice has a right to protest against injustice.–Kristian Goldmund Aumann

The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. That’s all.–Martin Luther King Jr.

I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.–Joan Baez

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Sandwich Day (Or National Sandwich Day)

November 3 is Sandwich Day. No one seems to know why this date was chosen. I read a couple of different sites that claimed it is the anniversary of the birth of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, after whom the sandwich is named, but more reputable sources, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica say that he was born on November 13. But whether or not we know why, November 3 is definitely Sandwich Day.

I’m sure by now most have heard the story (possibly apocryphal) of how the sandwich was invented. The Earl didn’t want to stop playing cards (or work, according to some) to eat, so he ordered his meat brought to him between two slices of bread, which was both portable and wouldn’t get grease on the cards. According to some sources, this is perhaps the most noteworthy thing he did during his lifetime. At any rate, people liked the idea, and began ordering their food “The Same as Sandwich,” and eventually just “a sandwich.” By the way, Sandwich originally meant “Market Town with Sandy Soil.”

So today is a day to have your favorite sandwich (in America, it’s the hamburger, or for purists who don’t consider that a proper sandwich, the chicken sandwich) or for trying a new one. You might find good deals at your local eatery on sandwiches this day. Subway, combining the celebrating of the day with good deeds, is offering a free sub with the purchase of a sub and a drink, and a donated meal for Feeding America.

Happy eating!


Quotes about sandwiches

I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.–Jim Butcher

“You alarm me!” said the King. “I feel faint—Give me a ham sandwich!”–Lewis Carroll

The idea of a sandwich as a snack goes back to Roman times. Scandinavians perfected the technique with the Danish open-faced sandwich, or smorroebrod, consisting of thinly sliced, buttered bread and many delectable toppings.–DeeDee Stovel

Perhaps getting something you want is never a coincidence. If you want a cheese sandwich and you get a cheese sandwich, that can’t be a coincidence, can it?–Nick Hornby

Jane stood beside silver platters of cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon sandwiches and savory-sweet ham sandwiches and open-faced sandwiches with thickly spread butter and fresh mint.–Jessic Lawson

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

Do not make a stingy sandwich; Pile the cold cuts high. Customers should see salami coming through the rye.–Alan Sherman

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

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

Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.—George Carlin

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

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On November 1, All Saints Day, 1512, the Sistine chapel ceiling as painted by Michelangelo was first opened to the public, so today we celebrate that great Renaissance artist.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, was born in the small village of Caprese in 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. A great sculpture, he created such works as the Pieta (see an image here) and David (view image here) Both of these are magnificent works, especially when seen in person. I was only 19 when I saw these, and I can still remember how they made me feel.

But it is his fresco painting of the Sistine chapel that we emphasize today. Here’s a link to the entire ceiling, though it’s nearly impossible to take in the entire thing. Even better, you can take a 3D tour here. Painting the ceiling took four years, between 1508 and 1512; the ceiling eventually comprised some three hundred figures. It was painted at the commission of Pope Julius II. Central to the ceiling decoration are nine scenes from the Book of Genesis of which The Creation of Adam is the best known, and is the illustration I have chosen to feature as part of this blog.


Quotes by Michelangelo

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.

It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand.

There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.

I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible.

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

Good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture.

What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?

Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.

The best artist has that thought alone Which is contained within the marble shell; The sculptor’s hand can only break the spell To free the figures slumbering in the stone.

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.

What do you despise? By this you are truly known.

Genius is eternal patience.

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.

It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at Also visit us on Facebook at and on Twitter: (@kloberst)