The Lighter Side

Those Gnarly Gnomes

March 06, 2015

Gnomes used to live deep within the interior of the earth. But now they live everywhere. Especially in gardens. And since it's almost gardening season, I thought it would be nice to take a minute to honor the knowledgeable gnome.

Gnomes take their name from the Greek work for knowledge (gnosis) because -- as the legend goes -- they knew the exact location of valuable underground metals. The gnarly old men worked hard to guard the earth's treasure, but they had a reputation for being surly and ill-tempered.

Today the service they provide is making us smile. We put them in our gardens and yards. We take them on vacation and photograph them at bars, restaurants and tourist attractions. We treat them like friends. Which is, I think, a nice payback for all their years of hard work underground. Even though all that friendly treatment hasn't improved their attitude much!

Your "Getting to Know the Gnome" Gift Guru,

Celebrating the Princely Pig

February 27, 2015

Love bacon? Ham? Pork chops? Who doesn't, right? March 1st is National Pig Day. Created back in 1972, the reason for the season is to "recognize and be thankful for pigs as intelligent domestic animals." I was surprised to learn there is a national day for pigs, but I was even more shocked by some other porky facts:

  • Pigs are very intelligent animals; they can be trained much more easily than dogs. In fact, a piglet can learn its name in just two weeks.
  • Pigs have an excellent sense of smell. They can smell food up to five feet underground.
  • Contrary to popular belief, pigs are cleaner than most animals. They do not excrete where they sleep unless they live in captivity.
  • The idiom ‘to sweat like a pig’ is totally false. Pigs don't have sweat glands.
  • Pigs roll in mud to cool their bodies, but prefer water to mud -- they're excellent swimmers.
  • Pork is the most consumed meat in the world.

So, now that you know, what will you do to celebrate National Pig Day? Wear a pink curly ribbon around your pig tails? Cook a fat roast? Have a Snort Off or a Pig Out? Join an online Pig Chat? Play a piggy game? Whatever you do, take a minute on Sunday to celebrate the princely pig in all its porky glory.

Your "Praise for Pigs" Gift Guru,

Irish for a Day

February 20, 2015

"Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day." Or so the saying goes. But some are more convincingly Irish than others. Which is why I thought I'd help you become Irish for a day with a few little-known facts about St. Patrick's Day.

  • The first non-religious celebration of St. Patrick's Day didn't take place in Ireland, but in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737.
  • Irish Coffee was actually invented in San Francisco, California.
  • A four-leaf clover1 is supposed to bring good luck, but the world record number of leaflets found on a shamrock is 14.
  • The ratio of pubs to people in Ireland is 1:350.
  • The American Heart Association says a daily Guinness could be as effective as a daily aspirin in reducing the risk of heart attacks.

Green beer and corned beef aren't the only ways you can celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Wear the green, learn a few Irish blessings and show off your new knowledge. And it wouldn't hurt to learn the lyrics to "Danny Boy."

Your "Sláinte!" Gift Guru,