Thank goodness April Fool’s Day is coming up. I really need some diversion from the news these days. So, some innocent pranking is in order. At work (if you’re still working like we are) or at home. Let’s get started:  (top) If you have time and a budget for aluminum foil, this one is amazing. (row two left)Super Glue coins on the sidewalk where you can keep an eye out for people walking by. (row two right) Tape an air horn below a co-worker’s seat. Make sure others near her/him are aware of the potential for noise. (row three) The room full of balloons fake-out. (row four) Place a sheet of bubble wrap under a throw rug. (row five – three photos) The chicken soup shower. Probably don’t do this to your wife but one of your kids or a room mate works. They’ll eventually get over it. (row six) Another air horn trick. Securely tape it to the wall so the door handle will set it off. Again, warn people nearby. (row seven) Put a “sold” sign in front of your house. The kids or wife or husband as well as the neighbors will certainly be amused by this. (row eight left) Tetris fans—cover a wall with colored post-it notes! (row eight right) Tear off a corner of a dollar bill, attached to an April Fool note and let the fun begin. (row nine left)  Paint clear nail polish all over a bar of soap and let dry. (row nine right) The old “Kick Me” sign slapped on someone’s back never gets old and always works. (row 10 left) Not so much a prank as it is a fun surprise. (row 10 left) Soak an empty TP roll and mold it into the shape of a poopie. (row 11 left) Stretch plastic wrap across the toilet bowl and put the seat down. (row 11 right) Top off an older toothpaste tube with Mayonnaise…yuck!! (row 12, three images) Mess with your kids…freeze their favorite cereal overnight for your morning delight. (row 13 left) Replace the chocolate in those foil wrappers with grapes. (row 13 right) Make a pan of brown “Es” to share with the family. (row 14) Back to messing with your kids… suff some TP into the toe of their shoes. See if they think their feet grew overnight. (row 15) Cut some translucent paper in the shape of a milk spill, close the lid and wait for the owner to open the lid. It should work to startle them for an instant. I could go on and on with these but I’ve probably gone on to much already. Have a little fun! We all could use some about now.

Hope you are faring ok with your family during these unprecedented times.  As a “designated essential supplier” to many businesses and industries, we remain open and quite busy, doing our part working on your PIA (@%$) JOBS! and following all the proper guidelines for safety, distancing and cleanliness.  With April Fools’ Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share a little history, and some really fun pranks pulled from over the decades.  I remember years ago when the girls were very little, Jackie and I switched their rooms around while they were sleeping! (very fun to watch them wake up!) The girls in turn buttoned every one of our shirts together in our closets! Special thanks to, wikipedia and for the trivia. Enjoy, and be sure to send me some of your favorite pranks.

Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.  People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes – hence the name “fools”.  These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises.  There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.  Here are a couple of classics:

  1. – In January of 1749, London newspapers advertised that in an upcoming show, a man would squeeze his entire body into a wine bottle and then sing while inside of it. The ad promised that, “during his stay in the bottle, any Person may handle it, and see plainly that it does not exceed a common Tavern Bottle.” The ad promised the show would feature other tricks as well, including communicating with the dead.  Legend has it that the ad was the result of a bet between the Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield. Reportedly, the duke bet that he could advertise something impossible and still “find fools enough in London to fill a playhouse and pay handsomely for the privilege of being there.” And apparently, he was right. The night of the show, every seat in the house was filled, but no performer ever showed up. Realizing they had been duped, the audience rioted.
  2. – On April 1, 1905, a German newspaper called the Berliner Tageblatt announced that thieves had dug a tunnel underneath the U.S. Federal Treasury in Washington, D.C., and stolen America’s silver and gold (this was before the U.S. built its Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky).  The newspaper said the heist was organized by American robber barons, whose burglars dug the tunnel over three years and made away with over $268 million; and that U.S. authorities were trying to hunt down the thieves while publicly covering up the fact that the country had been robbed. The story spread quickly through European newspapers before people realized that it was an April Fools’ Day prank by Louis Viereck, a New York correspondent for the Berliner Tageblatt who published the joke article under a fake name.
  3. – On April 1, 1957, a news broadcaster told his British audience that Ticino, a Swiss region near the Italian border, had had “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop” that year. The camera cut to footage of people picking spaghetti off of trees and bushes, then sitting down at a table to eat some of their “real, home-grown spaghetti.”  At the time, spaghetti wasn’t necessarily a dish that British people would’ve known about. That doesn’t mean that no one realized the segment was a prank—some viewers were upset the BBC had aired a fictional segment during a serious news program. But other viewers reportedly asked about how they could grow their own spaghetti at home.
  4. – In 1959, students in São Paulo, Brazil, who were tired of the city’s overflowing sewers and inflated prices launched a campaign to elect a rhinoceros to the city council.  The rhino’s name was Cacareco (Portuguese for “rubbish”), and she was already a popular figure in São Paulo when the students launched her campaign. The four-year-old had moved to the city from Rio de Janeiro when São Paulo’s zoo opened and was scheduled to return to Rio soon. When the students looked at the 540 candidates vying for São Paulo’s 45 city council seats and feared that none of them would address the city’s problems, they decided to make a point by asking people to vote for the popular rhino instead.  Cacareco won a city council seat with a whopping 100,000 votes, far more than any other candidate (the closest runner-up got about 10,000). Of course, she didn’t end up serving on the city council because the election board disqualified her. But she remains one of the most famous protest votes in Brazilian history.
  5. – Caltech has a long history of pranking other schools. One of its most famous pranks happened during the 1961 Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, where Caltech is located.  The game was between the University of Washington’s Huskies and the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers. During the game, Washington cheerleaders handed out colored cards to the Huskies’ side and told them that if they held the cards up at halftime, the cards would spell “Huskies.” But when halftime came and the fans held the cards up, they ended up spelling “Caltech.” It was so weird and unexpected (Caltech wasn’t even playing in the game!) that the band on the field stopped mid-song.  It later came out that fourteen Caltech students had orchestrated the prank by breaking into the cheerleaders’ hotel rooms and switching the instruction sheets for the card stunt.
  6. – In 1969, Rolling Stone music critic Greil Marcus published a piece spoofing the trend of big name rock stars forming “supergroups.” One of the most popular supergroups in the ‘60s was Cream: its guitarist Eric Clapton was already famous for playing with the Yardbirds, while drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce were already known for playing in the Graham Bond Organisation.  Marcus penned a gushing review to a nonexistent bootleg album by the “Masked Marauders,” a secret supergroup he said was made up of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The fake review garnered real interest in the album, and Marcus ended up writing and recording the songs he’d made up; then Warner Brothers bought the songs and released the album. Two decades after the “Masked Marauders” review, Bob Dylan and George Harrison actually did join a supergroup with Tom Petty called the Traveling Wilburys.
  7. – In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.
  8.  – Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, has a well-documented love of April Fools’ Day. In 1989, on the evening before April Fool’s Day, residents outside of London spotted a flying saucer that appeared to land in a nearby field in Surrey. Police officers went to the field to investigate the supposed UFO and were probably surprised when they actually found one. As they approached the flying saucer, a door opened, and a silver-clad figure walked out. The cops promptly ran away.  Little did they know, Branson was hiding out in the UFO behind his silver-clad companion, whose name was Don Cameron. The two of them had taken off in the flying saucer—which was actually a hot-air balloon—and planned to land in Hyde Park on April 1 as a prank. However, changing winds forced them to land a little earlier in Surrey.
  9. – In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
  10. – and now for something very timely – In 2015, Cottonelle tweeted that it was introducing left-handed toilet paper for all those southpaws out there. The joke followed a 1998 stunt by Burger King about its new “left handed” Whopper.



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!




Just Lucky I Guess

The four-leaf clover represents luck, Irish and… more luck. If you find one in the wild it’s actually exciting! So, since we live in this wonderful land of opportunity, there’s no shortage of things to buy with shamrocks and 4-leaf clovers on them. Take that nifty pair of socks (my favorite funky thing to wear) can be had for 12 bucks HERE. And then there’s that cool antique broach for $7,950.00 HERE. Or that Enamel Diamond Four-leaf clover with the ladybug for a mere $3,997 HERE. And of course there are tons of t-shirts out there, Google for them yourself. As you know food is right up there with breathing for me so I found recipes for those shakes, pastries and Irish coffee drinks. You can find them at the end of this article. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Stay safe.

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, your old pal Stephen O’Shannessy O’Brien McMurphy Patrick Michael O’Kowalski is back, thinking about the upcoming celebration, the great Cleveland Parade and the legends about the four-leaf clover and “the luck of the Irish”.  I for one, feel extremely lucky, and blessed. My short list includes: my amazing wife (many say Angel!) and daughters, fantastic son’s in law, a God to love, granddaughter to hug and spoil, good health, great friends, a nice community to live in, a business started by Dad to love, grow, and blessed with committed employees dedicated to solving your PIA (Pain in the %#$) Jobs!  I could go on and on. I am continually telling Jackie and my girls that I am by far the luckiest man in the world! Being soooooo Irish, I thought I’d share a bit about the four-leaf clovers (never knew there are more than four out there). Remember to stay safe next week on St. Patty’s Day – a friend told me: “Safe Driving Is No Accident”.  Special thanks to Wikipedia, Better Homes and Gardens and the links to fun recipes below.  Enjoy!

  1. Some folk traditions assign a different attribute to each leaf of a clover. The first leaf represents hope, the second stands for faith, the third is for love and the fourth leaf brings luck to the finder.
  2. When found, a fifth leaf represents money. Some reports claim six to be fame and seven to be longevity, though the notions’ origination is unknown.
  3. Four-leaf clovers were considered Celtic charms and were believed to offer magical protection and ward off bad luck.
  4. Abraham Lincoln carried a four-leaf clover with him everywhere for good luck. However, on the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth he was not carrying it.
  5. Unlike most plants, clover, three-leaved or four, can take nitrogen from the air and fix it to use for growth with the help of special rhizomes in their roots.
  6. Children in the Middle Ages believed they would be able to see fairies if they carried a four-leaf clover in their pockets.
  7. In 1620 Sir John Melton made the first literary reference to their ability to provide good fortunate. He said, “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.”
  8. For every “lucky” four-leaf clover there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers, as there are no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves.  The fourth leaf can be smaller or a different shade of green than the other three leaves.
  9. This probability has not deterred collectors who have reached records as high as 160,000 four-leaf clovers in a lifetime.  The world record for number collected in one hour is 166, set by American Katie Borka on June 23, 2018. (These folks have way too much time on their hands!)
  10. Clovers can have more than four leaves. Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers, however, they, too, have been successfully cultivated. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize. In exceptionally rare cases, clovers are able to grow with six leaves and more in nature. The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 56 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009.
  11. It is believed that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than any other place, hence the phrase “the luck of the Irish.”
  12. Italian automobile maker Alfa Romeo used to paint a four-leaf clover, or quadrifoglio, on the side of their racing cars. This tradition started in the 1923 Targa Florio race, when driver Ugo Sivocci decorated his car with a green clover on a white background.
  13. Los Angeles-based space exploration company SpaceX includes a four-leaf clover on each space mission embroidered patch as a good luck charm. Inclusion of the clover has become a regular icon on SpaceX’s flight patches ever since the company’s first successful Falcon 1 rocket launch in 2008, which was the first mission to feature a clover “for luck” on its patch.
  14. Celtic Football Club, an association football team from Glasgow, Scotland, have used the four leaf clover as the club’s official badge for over 40 years.
  15. Several businesses and organizations use a four-leaf clover in their logos to signify Celtic origins.
  16. The global network of youth organizations 4-H uses a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each leaf
  17. The English-speaking imageboard 4chan has as its logo the four-leaf clover, deriving from the character Yotsuba Koiwai and her pigtails and the similar pronunciation between 4chan and ‘fortune’.
  18. If you give someone a four-leaf clover that you just found it is believed that your luck will double.
  19. Shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are not the same thing; the word ‘shamrock’ refers only to a clover with three leaves.

Have some food fun for St. Patty’s Day – here’s some delightful recipes:
> Shamrock Shakes –
> Shamrock Cookies –
> Shamrock Cupcakes –
> Irish Coffee –






The trampoline is really, really fun!! Professionals and the rest of us can have a ball with it. There’s that cool Nike Zoom Vaporfly. Read on, friends. And check out the amazing video links in this week’s story.


I was reading an article the other day about recent marathon results, and specifically about the new Nike running shoe, called the Zoom Vaporfly. The popular pink shoe features carbon plates and springy midsole foam and has become an explosive battle among runners (get it?).  The biggest issue for professional and amateur racers alike is the debate whether the shoes save so much energy that they amount to an unfair advantage, granted every time I read or see a news clip about these shoes I immediately think of Disney’s FLUBBER!   A study by the NYTimes found that a runner wearing the most popular versions of these shoes (available to the public) – the Zoom Vaporfly% or ZoomX Vaporfly Next% – ran 4 to 5 percent faster than a runner wearing an average shoe, and 2 to 3 percent faster than runners in the next-fastest popular shoe. The shoes, which retail for $250, (out of my price range) confer an advantage on all kinds of runners: men and women, fast runners and slower ones, hobbyists and frequent racers.  Since its release in 2017, Nike’s Vaporfly racing shoe has rewritten the record books – the five fastest men’s marathons ever, four of the 10 fastest women’s marathons, and 31 of 36 podium spots in the 2019 World Marathon Majors have all been won using the shoes.  It got me to thinking about energy and bounce, and of course led me to Mr. Charles Nissen, an inventor and gymnast from Cedar Rapids Iowa who invented the first modern trampoline – patented on this day of March 1945. (bet you didn’t expect this story to bounce this way (get it again?).  So, for all my exercise buds basement bouncers and back yard flippers, here’s some fun history.  Special thanks to the NYTimes and Wikipedia for the insights and info.  Enjoy!


A trampoline is a device consisting of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched between a steel frame using many coiled springs. Not all trampolines have springs, as the Springfree Trampoline uses glass-reinforced plastic rods. Most people bounce on trampolines for recreational and competitive purpose.

The fabric that users bounce on, commonly known as the “bounce mat” or “trampoline bed”, is not elastic itself; the elasticity is provided by the springs that connect it to the frame, which store potential energy.

A game similar to trampolining was developed by the Inuit, who would toss blanket dancers high into the air on a walrus skin one at a time during a spring celebration of whale harvest.  (not sure, but for some reason, this makes sense to me). There is also some evidence of people in Europe having been tossed into the air by a number of people holding a blanket – known as “blanketing”. My guess is lots of beir was involved at the time!

The trampoline-like life nets once used by firefighters to catch people jumping out of burning buildings were invented in 1887 by Thomas F Browder from Greene County, OH. A life net, also known as a Browder Life Safety Net, is a type of rescue equipment formerly used by firefighters. When used in the proper conditions, it allowed people on upper floors of burning buildings an opportunity to jump to safety, usually to ground level. The device was used with varying degrees of success during several notable fires in the 20th century but became obsolete by the 1980s.

According to circus folklore, the trampoline was supposedly first developed by an artiste named du Trampolin, who saw the possibility of using the trapeze safety net as a form of propulsion and landing device and experimented with different systems of suspension, eventually reducing the net to a practical size. While trampoline-like devices were used for shows and in the circus, the story of du Trampolin is almost certainly apocryphal as no documentary evidence has been found to support it. (the circus is famous for making things up).

The first modern trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold in 1936. Nissen was a gymnastics and diving competitor and Griswold was a tumbler on the gymnastics team, both at the University of Iowa. They had observed trapeze artists using a tight net to add entertainment value to their performance and experimented by stretching a piece of canvas, in which they had inserted grommets along each side, to an angle iron frame by means of coiled springs.

Nissen explained that the name came from the Spanish trampolín, meaning a diving board, saying he had heard the word on a demonstration tour in Mexico in the late 1930s and decided to use an anglicized form as the trademark for the apparatus.

In 1942, Griswold and Nissen created the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company, and began making trampolines commercially in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The generic term for the trademarked trampoline was a rebound tumbler and the sport began as rebound tumbling. It has since lost its trademark and has become a generic trademark.

Early in their development Nissen anticipated trampolines being used in a number of recreational areas, including those involving more than one participant on the same trampoline. One such game was Spaceball—a game of two teams of two on a single trampoline with specially constructed end “walls” and a middle “wall” through which a ball could be propelled to hit a target on the other side’s end wall.

During World War II, the US Navy Flight School developed the use of the trampoline in its training of pilots and navigators, giving them concentrated practice in spatial orientation that had not been possible before. After the war, the development of the space flight program again brought the trampoline into use to help train both American and Soviet astronauts, giving them experience of variable body positions in flight.

The first Trampoline World Championships were organized by Ted Blake of Nissen and held in London in 1964. The first World Champions were both American, Dan Millman and Judy Wills Cline. Cline went on to dominate and become the most highly decorated trampoline champion of all time.

One of the earliest pioneers of trampoline as a competitive sport was Jeff Hennessy, a coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Hennessy also coached the US trampoline team, producing more world champions than any other person. Among his world champions was his daughter, Leigh Hennessy. Both Jeff and Leigh Hennessy are in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

The competitive gymnastic sport of trampolining has been part of the Olympic Games since 2000. On a modern competitive trampoline, a skilled athlete can bounce to a height of up to 33 ft, (think three stories high) performing multiple somersaults and twists. Trampolines also feature in the competitive sport of Slamball, a variant of basketball, and Bossaball, a variant of volleyball. check out this Olympian


Recreational trampolines, also known as bounce mats, are for home use and are less sturdily constructed than competitive ones and their springs are weaker. They may be of various shapes, though most are circular, octagonal or rectangular. The fabric is usually a waterproof canvas or woven polypropylene material. As with competitive trampolines, recreational trampolines are usually made using coiled steel springs to provide the rebounding force, but spring-free trampolines also exist.  check out this amazing video 


In 1959 and 1960 it became very popular to have outdoor commercial “jump centres” or “trampoline parks” in many places in North America where people could enjoy recreational trampolining. Here are some amazing guys having fun outside


In the early 21st century, indoor commercial trampoline parks have made a comeback, with a number of franchises operating across the United States and Canada. ABC News reported in 2014 there were at least 345 trampoline parks operating in the US.  These commercial parks are located indoors and have wall-to wall-trampolines to prevent people falling off the trampolines on to hard surfaces. Padded or spring walls protect people from impact injuries.

Wall running is a sport where the participant uses a wall and platforms placed next to the trampoline bed to do tricks. The basic movement is a backdrop on the trampoline and then the feet touching the wall at the top of the bounce. From there, there is no limit to the acrobatic movements that are possible, similar to regular trampolining.



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!



1 in 1,461th

Guess what! This is a leap year and tomorrow is “Leap Day 2020”!! It’s an extra day that comes every four years. (more about that below) So what are you going to do with your extra day? Well, you could sleep in. Or you could… play a game of chess, attack that impossible jigsaw puzzle, play a cross word puzzle, take up knitting, take up painting, photography, dancing, guitar or pottery making. You could go fishing, go for a long drive, go sky diving or binge watch that Netflix series you’ve been wanting to see. Or, like I said, you could sleep-in. Happy leap day!!!


Tomorrow marks a special day every four years – “Leap Day”.  A leap year is any year with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. Therefore, leap day in 2020 falls on Saturday, February 29th.
So… why the extra day?  It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the calendar year didn’t always match up.  That’s because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.  Therefore, as hours accumulated over the centuries, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official. Now my baby sister, who is a leap year baby, loves this anomaly as she gets two birthdays 3 out of every 4 years! Here is some great trivia on the origins, and some fun trivia on the day itself – enjoy, and special thanks to MIT, Google, Hackaday, Readers Digest and

This connection between the stars and the keeping of time as well as the search for more accurate clocks has continued even until today.  In fact, even today, the most accurate clocks in the universe are not built here on earth but are found in pulsars that inhabit regions of space beyond our own solar system.

Familiar objects in the sky that change their positions over time, specifically the sun, moon, planets, and stars have provided mankind with a reference for measuring the passage of time throughout our existence.  There were three natural clocks that ancient man could discern when he looked up at the sky.  First, the rising and setting of the sun and stars measures the day and night (diurnal motion).  Second, the phase cycle of the moon was used for the month.  Third, the apparent motion of the sun amongst the unmoving background of the stars gave rise to the concept of the year.  Unlike the day, month, and year, we can see that there is no celestial basis for the days of the week.  These seven days seem to have been named after the seven bright heavenly bodies that ancient man saw move across the sky.

Ancient civilizations relied upon the apparent motion of these “sky objects” through the heavens to determine seasons, months, and years.  The ancient Babylonians had a lunisolar calendar of 12 lunar months of 30 days each, adding extra months when necessary to keep the calendar in line with the seasons of the year. The ancient Egyptians were the first to replace the lunar calendar with a calendar based on the solar year.  The earliest Egyptian calendar was based on the moon’s cycles, but later the Egyptians realized that the “Dog Star” in Canis Major, which we call Sirius, rose next to the sun every 365 days, about when the annual inundation of the Nile began.  Based on this knowledge, they devised a 365-day calendar that seems to have begun in 4236 B.C., the earliest recorded year in history.  They measured the solar year as 365 days, divided into 12 months of 30 days each, with 5 extra days at the end.  About 238 BC King Ptolemy III ordered that an extra day be added to every fourth year, similar to the modern leap year.

In Babylonia, again in Iraq, a year of 12 alternating 29-day and 30-day lunar months was observed before 2000 B.C., giving a 354-day year.  In contrast, the Mayans of Central America relied not only on the sun and moon, but most importantly to them, the planet Venus, to establish 260-day and 365-day calendars.

This culture flourished from around 2000 B.C. until about 1500 A.D.  They left celestial-cycle records indicating their belief that the creation of the world occurred in 3113 B.C.  Their calendars later became portions of the great Aztec calendar stones.  In ancient Greece, a lunisolar calendar was in use, with a year of 354 days. The Greeks were the first to insert extra months into the calendar on a scientific basis, adding months at specific intervals in a cycle of solar years.

Other civilizations, such as our own, have adopted a 365-day solar calendar with a leap year occurring every fourth year. When Julius Caesar came to power in Rome, he discovered that the alignment of the seasons with the months was all “wrong”.  In 46 B.C., he extended the year to include 445 days to correctly align the months and seasons.  He then established the Julian calendar on the advice from the Alexandrian astronomer, Sosigenes who determined the length of the year as 365 ¼ days.  To account for the extra quarter day each year, an extra day was added every fourth year and thus the leap year was born.

Although the new Julian calendar had a length of 365.2500 days, this differed enough from the actual astronomical year of 365.2422 days that by the time 1,600 years had passed, Pope Gregory XIII had to subtract 11 days from the calendar to align it with astronomical observations.  In 1582 on the advice of the astronomer Calvius, Pope Gregory issued a papal bull ordering the day after Thursday, October 4 to be Friday, October 15.  Thus, the Gregorian calendar that we employ today was born.  To keep the Gregorian calendar from running “fast” like the Julian one did, the Gregorian calendar drops the leap year day from any multiple of 100 years that is not evenly divisible by 400.  This change gives the year an average length of 365.2425 days which is so close to the astronomical one that the error is only 3 days in 10,000 years.

The concept of keeping track of the passage of time within a given day seems to have originated 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in the civilizations of the Middle East and North Africa.  The oldest clocks that have survived were Egyptian obelisks that divided the day into a first and second half.  Later, flat sundials divided the day into partitions similar to hours and then, in an attempt at greater accuracy, curved sundials, called hemicycles were developed about 300 B.C.  By 30 B.C., at least 13 different sundial styles were in use in Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy.  Actual clocks that used a repetitive process to mark off equal increments of time and employed some means of keeping track of the increments of time and displaying the result have been discovered in tombs from around 1500 B.C.

In 2020, leap year lines happen to perfectly line up the major holidays so that Valentine’s Day lands on date night Friday and Cinco de Mayo lands on traditional “Taco” Tuesday – (did I ever tell you how much I love tacos??).  Christmas 2020 and New Year’s Day 2021 are also on a Friday, meaning a leisurely 3-day weekend to kick off both holidays!

Anyone born on a leap day is known as a “leapling”, according to astrologers, you were born under the sign of Pisces on February 29 – very confusing for 1/1,461th of the population. Owing to the unique day on which you arrived into the world, like other leap day babies you are more apt to go your own way and exhibit an independent streak and optimistic spirit.  While they have to wait every four years to “officially” observe their birthdays, leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate in years that aren’t leap years.

Leap Day traditions – no man is safe!  While leap day helped official timekeepers, it also resulted in social customs turned upside down when February 29 became a “no man’s land” without legal jurisdiction.   As the story goes, the tradition of women romantically pursuing men in leap years began in 5th century Ireland, when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the fair sex having to wait for men to propose. Patrick finally relented and set February 29 aside as the day set aside allowing women the right to ask for a man’s hand in marriage.

The tradition continued in Scotland, when Queen Margaret declared in 1288 that on February 29 a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she fancied. Menfolk who refused were faced with a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves that were given to the rejected lady fair.

A leap year poem to remember it by (best to read it aloud):  
     Thirty days hath September,
     April, June and November;  
     All the rest have thirty-one
     Save February, she alone
     Hath eight days and a score
     Til leap year gives her one day more.

If we’re looking at history a bit closer to home in the United States, then we should focus on Massachusetts. The Salem witchcraft trials weren’t a fun time in colonial America. There was a particularly negative connection with Leap Day. The first warrants for arrest went out on February 29th, 1692 for the Salem witchcraft trials.

Rarer still is the possibility that three children in the same family would be born on three consecutive Leap Days, but that’s exactly what happened with the Henriksen family of Norway. Heidi Henriksen was born on 2/29/1960, her brother Olav four years later on 2/29/64, and baby Leif-Martin four years after that on 2/29/68. According to many government agencies, the siblings would not legally be considered a year older until March 1st on non-leap years, but in 2020, we can officially say, “Happy Actual Birthday, leaplings!”

There is, however, one race of people who celebrate February 30th every year: Hobbits. The wee folk of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe observe twelve 30-day months every year—including Solmath (translated in the text to February). (That’s definitely one of the things I missed when reading Lord of the Rings for the first time).

The official Leap Day Cocktail is a colorful cousin of the martini, Invented by pioneering bartender Harry Craddock at London’s Savoy Hotel in 1928. According to the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, “It is said to have been responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail ever mixed” Whether or not you’re in the market for a freshly soused spouse, you can make your own Leap Day cocktail with Craddock’s original recipe of lemon juice, gin, grand marnier and sweet vermouth. RECIPE HERE


Anthony, Texas, is known as the Leap Year Capital of the World. The town’s chamber of commerce administers the Worldwide Leap Year Birthday Club and sponsors a multi-day Worldwide Leap Year Festival – which the town claims is the only such festival in the world. Former chamber member Mary Ann Brown, a Leap Day baby, proposed the club and festival in 1988 when she learned that her neighbor was also a Leap Day baby.

“Leap Day” is the name of a band. The Netherlands-based progressive rock group was founded on Feb. 29, 2008. And “Leap Year” is the name of a movie. Released in 2010, the romantic comedy is about a woman who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Feb. 29. (we actually own this one!)












Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!




Static electricity. We’ve all experienced it, especially in the dry air of winter. You may have even had an interesting hair day because of static electricity. (You may have noticed I don’t ever have that problem.)  Static will let you stick a balloon to the wall and make socks disappear. In the middle above you can get that cool TV Static t-shirt HERE. And you can decorate your car window with that cute dog face static cling. Get it HERE. One of the fun things about working in an office is access to copy machines. You might even have a printer at home. Well, that guy above wondered what would happen if he copied his face. See his video HERE. Give it a try. Apparently everyone else in the world has. Be creative!


Over the weekend while enjoying time together, Jackie and I and the girls had a real belly laugh when out of the blue my eldest daughters’ hair just stood straight out. For those that know me, that is not something that I will ever be able to experience for myself!!  It got me to thinking about the phenomenon and static electricity – what causes it and if there are any good outcomes from it – other than touching and shocking someone with it.  I went to my trusty search engine and found this great article from (thanks guys) and You Tube for the videos.  Enjoy, and be sure to count the logos for my game players!

“Electric charge is a fundamental property of matter,” according to Michael Richmond, a physics professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Nearly all electric charge in the universe is carried by protons and electrons. Protons are said to have a charge of +1 electron unit, while electrons have a charge of −1, although these signs are completely arbitrary. Because protons are generally confined to atomic nuclei, which are in turn imbedded inside atoms, they are not nearly as free to move as are electrons. Therefore, when we talk about electric current, we nearly always mean the flow of electrons, and when we talk about static electricity, we generally mean an imbalance between negative and positive charges in objects.

So, what causes static charge buildup?  One common cause of static charge buildup is contact between solid materials. According to the University of Hawaii, “When two objects are rubbed together to create static electricity, one object gives up electrons and becomes more positively charged while the other material collects electrons and becomes more negatively charged.” This is because one material has weakly bound electrons, and the other has many vacancies in its outer electron shells, so electrons can move from the former to the latter creating a charge imbalance after the materials are separated. Materials that can lose or gain electrons in this way are called triboelectric, according to Northwestern University. One common example of this would be shuffling your feet across carpet, particularly in low humidity which makes the air less conductive and increases the effect.

Because “like” charges repel each other (think magnetic push), they tend to migrate to the extremities of the charged object in order to get away from each other. This is what causes your hair to stand on end when your body takes on a static charge, according to the Library of Congress. When you then touch a grounded piece of metal such as a screw on a light switch plate, this provides a path to ground for the charge that has built up in your body. This sudden discharge creates a visible and audible spark through the air between your finger and the screw. This is due to the high potential difference between your body and the ground which can be as much as 25,000 volts.

Another source of static charge is the motion of fluids through a pipe or hose. If that fluid is flammable — such as gasoline — a spark from a sudden discharge could result in a fire or explosion. People who handle liquid fuels take great care to avoid charge buildup and sudden discharge. In an interview, Daniel Marsh, professor of physics at Missouri Southern State University, warned that when putting gasoline in your car, you should always touch a metal part of the car after getting out to dissipate any charge that might have developed by sliding across the seat.

Lightning strikes are quite common for tall buildings.  For example, the iconic CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, as 1,814-foot tower, is struck about 80 times a year.  To protect it, long copper strips run from the top of its antennae down to 52 buried grounding rods in the ground that channel the charges.  This technique controls the charge and dissipates it into the ground.  The Empire State Building in NYC get hit about 25 times each year – nice video here

Static electricity can be a nuisance or even a danger. The energy that makes your hair to stand on end can also damage electronics and cause explosions. However, properly controlled and manipulated, it can also be a tremendous boon to modern life.

Moving gas and vapor can also generate static charge. The most familiar case of this is lightning. According to Martin A. Uman, author of “All About Lightning” (Dover, 1987), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning was a form of static electricity when he and his son flew a kite during a thunderstorm. They attached a key to the kite string, and the wet string conducted charge from the cloud to the key which gave off sparks when he touched it. (Contrary to some versions of the legend, the kite was not struck by lightning. If it had been, the results could have been disastrous.)

Franklin in fact shaped the way we think about electricity. He became interested in studying electricity in 1742. Until then, most people thought that electrical effects were the result of mixing of two different electrical fluids. However, Franklin became convinced that there was only one single electric fluid and that objects could have an excess or deficiency of this fluid. He invented the terms “positive” and “negative,” referring to an excess or deficiency, according to the University of Arizona. Today, we know that the “fluid” was actually electrons, but those weren’t discovered for about 150 years.

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, clouds develop zones of static charge due to warm water droplets in updrafts exchanging electrons cold ice crystals in downdrafts. According to NASA, the potential between these atmospheric charges and the ground can exceed 300,000 volts, so the consequences of being struck by lightning can be deadly.

In a lightning strike, the current tends to move over the surface of the body in a process called “external flashover,” which can cause severe burns, particularly at the initial point of contact. Some of the current, though, can travel through the body and damage the nervous system, according to the National Weather Service. Additionally, the concussion from the blast can cause traumatic internal injuries and permanent hearing loss, and the bright flash can cause temporary or permanent vision damage. Check out this top 10 video on lightning strikes

While static electricity can be a nuisance or even a danger, as in the case of static cling or static shock, in other cases it can be quite useful. For instance, static charges can be induced by electrical current. One example of this is a capacitor, so named because it has the capacity to store electric charge, analogous to how a spring stores mechanical energy. A voltage applied to capacitor creates a charge difference between the plates. If the capacitor is charged and the voltage is switched off, it can retain the charge for some time.

Another way to create a useful static charge is with mechanical strain. In piezoelectric materials, electrons can literally be squeezed out of place and forced to move from the region that is under strain. The voltage due to the resulting charge imbalance can then be harnessed to do work. One application is energy harvesting, whereby low-power devices can operate on energy produced by environmental vibrations.

Localized static charges can also be affected by an intense light. This is the principle behind photocopiers and laser printers. In photocopiers, the light may come from a projected image of a sheet of paper; in laser printers, the image is traced onto the drum by a scanning laser beam. The entire drum is initially charged by a coronal discharge wire that gives off free electrons through the air, exploiting the same principle that causes St. Elmo’s fire. (St. Elmo’s fire is a persistent blue glow that occasionally appears near pointy objects during storms. The name is something of a misnomer, as the electric phenomenon has more in common with lightning or the northern lights than it does with flame).  In copiers, the electrons from the wire are then attracted to a positively charged drum. An image is then projected onto the photoconductive drum, and the charge is dissipated from the illuminated areas, while the dark areas of the image remain charged. The charged areas on the drum can then attract oppositely charged toner particles which are then rolled onto the paper, which is backed by a positively charged roller, and fused in place by an electric heating element. (I’d love to meet the team that figured this out … after all these years, I still marvel at the efficiency of office printers).

Captains of the seas and skies know St. Elmo’s fire best, as the ethereal light has long been sighted clinging to the masts of ships and more recently the wings of planes. Mariners have noted the spectacle for thousands of years, but only in the last century and a half have scientists learned enough about the structure of matter to understand why the phenomenon takes place. It’s not gods or saints that kindle the enigmatic fire, but one of the five states of matter: plasma. Here’s a cool video



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!










Simply Delicious

There’s nothing wrong with chocolate. Absolutely nothing. It smells good. Looks good. Tastes good. It can be made into endless shapes and will bring smiles to the faces of those who partake. And now real chocolate fans can even wear it. Like that yummy chocolate cake dripping with chocolate t-shirt eight rows down. BUY HERE. And that cool red m&m’s face t-shirt next to it. BUY HERE. Or that awesome m&m’s t-shirt on the next line. BUY HERE. And my geeky chocolate loving friends might like the chocolate molecule shirt. BUY HERE. I might buy this chocolate chip cookie mouse pad but I’m afraid of putting on 10 pounds just looking at it. BUY HERE.  And there’s nothing like hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day in a Kowalski mug that you could win—see details at the end of this email. I do like m&m’s, which might be the greatest invention of all time. I’m especially partial to the red ones.  :)))

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.  Like most holidays that involve food, fun and good tidings, VD is at the top of my list – (until St. Patty’s Day rolls around).  It’s such a nice tradition, started back in the year 496 – a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime.  For me, spending time with Jackie and sending love to my girls, son’s in law, and granddaughter,  is the best.  Of course, Valentines Day is not so much without CHOCOLATE!  Milk, dark, white, bars, kisses, syrup, ice cream, cake – all good. Below is a little history, fun facts and trivia you’re sure to delight your loved ones.  Enjoy, and thanks to Google and for the info.

The first people to harvest chocolate were the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec peoples who lived in southeast Mexico around 1000 B.C. The word “chocolate” is derived from the Mayan word xocolatl, or “bitter water.”

Although cacao originated in Central and South America more than 4,000 years ago, today approximately 70% of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa. Cote d’lvoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40% of the world’s supply.

The cacao tree’s botanical name is Theobroma Cacao, which means “food of the gods” (they sure go this one right!!) in Greek.  From the beginning, chocolate has traditionally been associated with magical, medicinal, and mythical properties.  Cacao has been around for millions of years and is probably one of the oldest of nature’s foods.

Nearly all cacao trees grow within 20 degrees of the equator, and 75% grow within 8 degrees of either side of it. Cacao trees grow in three main regions: West Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia/Oceania.

Each cacao tree can produce approximately 2,500 beans. It takes a cacao tree four to five years to produce its first beans and it takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.  The trees can live to be 200 years old, but they produce marketable cocoa beans for only 25 years.

Ninety percent of modern cacao is made from a type of cacao called forastero (foreigner). However, before the 1800s, cacao was made from a type of bean called criollo. Even though forastero does not taste as good as criollo, it is easier to grow.

The English chocolate company Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842. George Cadbury, a Quaker, amassed a great fortune producing drinking chocolate as an alternative to alcohol. Cadbury hoped chocolate would tempt people away from alcohol.

In 1875, Swiss Daniel Peter discovered a way of mixing condensed milk, manufactured by his friend Henri Nestlé, with chocolate to create the first milk chocolate.

In 1879, Swiss Rodolphe Lindt discovered conching, an essential process in refining chocolate. He discovered it by accident when his assistant left a machine running all night.

Hershey Kisses were first introduced in 1907 and, Hershey’s produces over 70 million chocolate Kisses–every day. The largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S. is Hershey’s. Hershey’s produces over one billion pounds of chocolate product annually.

The first chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Wakefield who ran the “Toll House Inn.” The term “Toll House” is now legally a generic word for chocolate chip cookie. It is the most popular cookie worldwide and is the official cookie of Massachusetts.

Red wine typically compliments chocolate the best (try it!) Champagne and sparkling wine are too acidic to go well with dark chocolate, but not so bad with white chocolate.

Reports predict that the global chocolate market will grow to over $100 billion from $83.2 billion in 2010.

German chocolate cake was named after Sam German, an American, and did not originate in Germany

Dark chocolate has been shown to be beneficial to human health, SEE I KNEW IT WAS A HEALTH FOOD!

The largest cuckoo clock made of chocolate can be found in Germany.

Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity.  AGAIN WITH ALL OF THESE HEALTH BENEFITS!

Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Montezuma II), the 9th emperor of the Aztecs, was one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the world. He was also known as The Chocolate King. At the height of his power, he had a stash of nearly a billion cacao beans.

The country whose people eat the most chocolate is Switzerland, with 22 pounds eaten per person each year. Australia and Ireland follow with 20 pounds and 19 pounds per person, respectively. The United States comes in at 11th place, with approximately 12 pounds of chocolate eaten by each person every year.

U.S. chocolate manufacturers use about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make milk chocolate.

Americans collectively eat 100 pounds of chocolate every second.

In 2008, Thorntons in London created the world’s largest box of chocolates at 16.5 feet tall and 11.5 feet wide. The box contained over 220,000 chocolates and weighed 4,805 pounds. Previously, the record was held by Marshall Field’s in Chicago with a box containing 90,090 Frango mint chocolates and weighing a whopping 3,326 pounds.

The most expensive chocolate in the world is the “Madeleine” and was created by Fritz Knipschildt of Knipschildt Chocolatier in Connecticut.

Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year. Over 2,000 chocolate shops are found throughout the country, many located in Brussels where Godiva chocolate originated.

Owing to the nature of cacao butter, chocolate is the only edible substance that melts at around 93° F, just below body temperature. This means that after placing a piece of chocolate on your tongue, it will begin to melt.  Left in the car during the summer … well, you know!

In some parts of Latin America, the beans were used as a currency as late as the 19th century.

The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona, Spain, in 1780.

According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who do not. They also had higher levels of desire, arousal, and satisfaction from sex.

One chocolate chip can give a person enough energy to walk 150 feet. (This makes total sense to me – one package of Toll House cookies helps me run around the block!)

A Hershey’s bar was dug up after 60 years from Admiral Richard Byrd’s cache at the South Pole. Having been frozen all those years, it was still edible.

Chocolate melting in a person’s mouth can cause a more intense and longer-lasting “buzz” than kissing. Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 and were shaped like a square. A new machine in 1921 gave them their current shape.  Putting a Hershey’s kiss in your mouth, and then kissing, we’ll – buzz, buzz, buzz.

A lethal dose of chocolate for humans is about 22 pounds, which is about 40 Hershey bars.  (good tip, as I usually stop at about 35).





Waste is a big deal, everywhere. What are you going to do about it? No matter what your relationship is with waste, going as green as you can is just a pretty darn good idea.


One of my favorite weekends of the year is when two tv events come together – the Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl.  Now, I’m sure you’ve had enough about the Super Bowl (nice comeback), so I thought I’d focus my thoughts on the Open.  As a golf enthusiast, I LOVE watching this event – the weather is typically perfect, huge crowds, and the crazy antics of the 16th hole stadium “pit”.  The vent sponsor, The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – again broke another record eclipsing the $14 million mark for money raised from this year’s tournament, breaking the record of charitable dollars raised in a single year on tour and almost $100 million since 2010. The Thunderbirds, founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sport, consist of 55 “active” members and more than 280 “life” members.  Seeing all the WM commercials, I got to thinking about waste in America, and hit the internet.  It’s simply amazing how much each of use produce.  Here’s some interesting facts, a few fun video’s and some great trivia. Special thanks to Waste Management and for the fun info.  Enjoy!  And thanks to all who take the time to recycle and help make things just a bit cleaner.

– If you divide total trash by the population, the average American produces over 2000 pounds of trash per year.

– Collectively, out of the 254 million tons of trash Americans produce in one year, we recycle about 34.3 percent of it. That means, for the average individual, 710.6 pounds are recycled and 1,361.4 pounds of trash are tossed out every year — about the weight of an average grizzly bear.

– Breakdown of the average American:

•    90 pounds of tossed-out clothes and shoes

•    77 pounds of plastic bottles and jars

•    77 pounds of cardboard boxes

•    48 pounds of books

•    38 pounds of newspapers

•    28 pounds of aluminum beer and soda cans

•    25 pounds of office papers

•    22 pounds of paper plates or cups

– And of course, there’s much more. For instance, you might wonder how many pounds of food does the average American waste. The answer is a bit upsetting – each year, each person tosses out roughly 220.96 pounds of food waste. (Steve, finish your beans!)

– It may not seem all that astonishing on the surface, but with 323.7 million people living in the United States, that is roughly 728,000 tons of daily garbage – enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. That is 22 billion plastic bottles every year in the U.S.

– Waste Management has 346 strategically-located transfer stations to consolidate, compact and load waste from collection vehicles into long-haul trailers or rail cars for transport to landfills.

– According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills. Wow!

– On a worldwide scale, we humans produce approx. 2.6 trillion pounds of trash per year.  No country produces quite as much waste as America, but Russian isn’t far behind. Brazil, Japan, China, India, and Germany are all big wasters as well.

– It is estimated that as much as 91 percent of plastics aren’t recycled, which is a problem since many forms of plastic take between ten years and a few hundred years to degrade properly in sunlight, with many plastics not degrading because they’re hidden in landfills.

– In water bottles alone, 57.3 billion sold in 2014, up from 3.8 billion plastic water bottles sold in 1996, the earliest year for available data. (today It’s easily over 60 billion).

– The process of producing bottled water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container!

– Amazon alone ships an average of 608 million packages each year, which equates to (an estimated) 1,600,000 packages a day. That’s a lot of cardboard boxes, even when we consider some of the packaging used may be padded envelopes.  Assuming that 85% of this is physical shipped goods from Amazon itself, the rest is e-Books, Amazon Web Services, third-party-fulfilled products, Marketplace products, etc. That’s like ~$51 billion in shipments.

– So, when we apply the math – at peak, Amazon sold 306 items per second, which is about 26 million per day – equaling a whole bunch of padded envelopes, plastic bags and cardboard boxes.

– Now do some more math – if a box is about 8 square feet of cardboard, one tree can produce 151.6 boxes for our use.  (that’s about 171 thousand trees … just for that “free shipping you love so much!

– The average fast food restaurant generates 200,000 pounds of food waste per year (Statistic Brain, 2013). Multiply 200,000 pounds by 160,000 and that is 32 billion pounds of food waste generated in American fast food restaurants alone.

Alas, there are many ways each of us can cut down on our personal waste:

  • Bring reusable bags and containers when shopping, traveling or packing lunches or leftovers.
  • Choose products that are returnable, reusable or refillable over single-use items.
  • Avoid individually wrapped items, snack packs and single-serve containers. Buy large containers of items or from bulk bins whenever practical.
  • Do not buy or use plastic water bottles.  Use containers of your own.
  • Be aware of double-packaging — some “bulk packages” are just individually wrapped items packaged yet again and sold as a bulk item.
  • Purchase items such as dish soap and laundry detergents in concentrate forms.
  • Compost food scraps and yard waste. Food and yard waste accounts for about 11 percent of the garbage thrown away in metro areas. Many types of food scraps, along with leaves and yard trimmings, can be combined in your backyard compost bin.
  • Try to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive. The average resident in America receives over 30 pounds of junk mail per year.
  • Shop at second-hand stores. You can find great used and unused clothes at low cost to you and the environment. Buy quality clothing that won’t wear out and can be handed down to people you know or to a thrift store.
  • Buy items made of recycled content and reuse them as much as you can. Use both sides of every page of a notebook and use printed-on printer paper for a scratch pad.
  • Also, remember that buying in bulk rather than individual packages will save you lots of money and reduce waste. Packaging makes up 30 percent of the weight and 50 percent of trash by volume.
  • Buy juice, snacks and other lunch items in bulk and use the reusable containers each day.


Here are a couple of videos on the subject of garbage:
CLICK. This clip shows how household trash are recycled and processed.
CLICK. What a Waste 2.0: Everything You Should Know About Solid Waste Management




Ding Dong

It’s my favorite time of year! Girl Scout Cookie time. Time to stock-up. It’s for a good cause And they’re just plain GOOD!! You’ll see them at the grocery store, malls, and more. These kids seem to really have fun competing with other troops for prizes and funding for their projects, trips and patches for their vests and sashes. That third image from the bottom features some interesting patches, including the coveted Kowalski Heat Treating patch.  

It’s so seldom these days that the doorbell rings at the house.  When it does, I’m wondering if my latest on line purchase has arrived or if it’s someone canvasing the neighborhood for the latest social injustice signature or a young person selling a different cable provider.  I was quite surprised recently, and delighted, when I opened the door and found two adorable Girl Scouts, in uniform, politely asking me if I’d like to buy some cookies. (Let’s be honest, how can I possibly say no… given my love for food and love for cookies) Inside I had to laugh – “you’re asking “me” if I’d like some delicious food?  I of course said “sure”, followed by completing my name and address … but then the tough part – which ones to buy???  Do si dos. Peanut butter, Chocolate, Shortbread, Thin Mints (yep, I dance when I eat these – my favorites next to the peanut butter ones!)  I would love to tell you that I just said “give me one of each please”, but it doesn’t work that way for me.  After too many picks, I unloaded my wallet and thanked the girls for their efforts, as their bright eyes and smiles brought instant flashback to when my girls were in Brownies. My girls would go out and canvas the neighborhood and after coming home they would compare their results – from there they would then call their various aunts and uncles of which there are many! They soon learned that the uncles invariably bought more!  I sat back in my chair to reflect on such a wonderful tradition.  So, I jumped online and found some history on the Girl Scout cookies, recipes, and a few fun facts.  For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts and their enthusiastic supporters have helped ensure the success of the iconic annual cookie sale—filled with challenge and fun while developing valuable life skills and making their communities a better place every step of the way.  Enjoy!  And thanks to for the info.

– Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in 1910 in the kitchens and ovens of girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers, preserving fruits and vegetables in response to food shortages The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities beginning as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

– In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.  Throughout the decade, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers and with help from the community. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.  Check out the Original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe from 1922 HERE.

– In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows. The price was just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24! Girls developed their marketing and business skills and raised funds for their local Girl Scout council. A year later, Greater Philadelphia took cookie sales to the next level, becoming the first council to sell commercially baked cookies in a box.  In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies. Buying its own die in the shape of a trefoil, the group used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on the box. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process of licensing the first commercial bakers to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils.  By 1937, more than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales.

– In the 40’s, Girl Scout Cookies were sold by local councils around the country until World War II, when sugar, flour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to pivot, selling the first Girl Scout calendars in 1944 as an alternative to raise money for activities.  After the war, cookie sales increased, and by 1948, a total of 29 bakers were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.

– In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints. With the advent of the suburbs, girls at tables in shopping malls began selling Girl Scout Cookies.  Five years later, flavors had evolved. Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint.

– During the 1960s, when Baby Boomers expanded Girl Scout membership, cookie sales increased significantly. Fourteen licensed bakers were mixing batter for thousands upon thousands of Girl Scout Cookies annually. And those bakers began wrapping Girl Scout Cookie boxes in printed aluminum foil or cellophane to protect the cookies and preserve their freshness.  By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.

– In 1978, the number of bakers was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging, and distribution. For the first time in history, all cookie boxes—regardless of the baker—featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing. And in 1979, the brand-new, Saul Bass–created Girl Scout logo appeared on cookie boxes, which became even more creative and began promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

– In 1982, four bakers still produced a maximum of seven varieties of cookies—three mandatory (Thin Mint®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®) and four optional. Cookie boxes continued to depict scenes of Girl Scouts in action.

– In the early 1990’s two licensed bakers supplied local Girl Scout councils with cookies for girls to sell, and by 1998, this number had grown again to three. Eight cookie varieties were available, including low-fat and sugar-free selections.

– Early in the twenty-first century, every Girl Scout Cookie had a mission. New cookie box designs, introduced in fall of 2000, were bold and bright, capturing the spirit of Girl Scouting. Two licensed bakers produced a maximum of eight varieties, including three that were mandatory (Thin Mints®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®). All cookies were kosher. And, much to the excitement of our youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies started selling cookies!

– With the announcement of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend and the introduction of the very first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie, the decade was off to a big start.

– Ever since Girl Scouts first published the recipe for s’mores in 1925, the tasty campfire treat has been an iconic part of camping in the outdoors. In 2017, s’mores became the inspiration for a highly popular new cookie variety.  Who can forget the amazing moment in 2016 when Girl Scouts took the stage at the Academy Awards to sell cookies to Hollywood’s A-list? It was a stellar beginning to the nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies.

– In 2020, the already iconic cookies reached a new level of awesome with incredible, brand-new packaging that puts goal-crushing Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneurs front and center and also showcases all of the amazing things girls learn and do through the Girl Scout Cookie Program and as Girl Scouts.

– It’s estimated annual cookie sales now reach over $750 million per year.  In 2011, thin mints account for $175 million of the profits. It could be the glorious mix between chocolate and mint, or maybe it’s because they have the most cookies per box. The next popular cookies, in order of profitability, are Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos and Savannahs and Trefoils.

Find your favorite recipe HERE.

And watch a little “Doorbell Comedy” HERE!!!




Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!






(top) This is a penny; (row 2) This is a trillion dollars! More explanation below. Read on; (row 3) Money things you can buy with…well, money: Sheets of money like this sheet of two dollar bills HERE; (row 4) The Dollar Bills A-Line Dress HERE; Dollar Money Pattern Print Dress HERE; (row 5) Hundred Dollar Bills Round Neck Short Sleeve T-shirt HERE; The “I Need Money” T-shirt HERE; (row 6) Mad Money with Jim Cramer Logo Men’s Short Sleeve T-Shirt HERE; Men and Women’s “MONEY TALKS (PINK LIPS)” T-Shirt HERE; (row 7) Million Dollar Fleece Throw Blanket HERE; Money Luxury 4 Piece Bedding Set HERE; And the current trillion dollar companies. You could own a piece of each of them HERE.

What does it mean to have a market cap of a Trillion dollars?
The internet search giant Google became the fourth tech company — after Apple, Amazon and Microsoft — to reach the market milestone – one trillion in value. According to a NY Times article, “Numbers have long held a special significance at Google. When the internet company was founded in 1998, it based it’s name on the mathematical term “googol,” which refers to the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. When it filed to go public in 2004, it said it planned to raise $2,718,281,828, which was the sum of multiplying $1 billion with the mathematical constant “e.”  And in 2015 when it reorganized under a parent entity called Alphabet, it announced it would buy back shares worth $5,099,019,513.59, a figure derived from the square root of 26 — the number of letters in the alphabet.  Last Thursday, Google hit another eye-popping number. The market cap of Alphabet vaulted above $1 trillion for the first time. That made it the fourth technology company to hit this milestone.”

I decided to see if I could find a way to visualize just what this looks like.  Here is a great story sequence to put it into context for us common folk.  Enjoy!  Special thanks to – and be sure to view the videos – crazy fun.


We’re going to use $100 dollar bills, not $1 bills, and the following definitions of millionbillion and trillion

MILLION = 1,000,000
BILLION = 1,000,000,000
TRILLION = 1,000,000,000,000

We’ll start with one packet of one hundred dollar bills – It’s about 6″ by 2-1/2″ by 0.43″ high equaling $10,000 – a number we can imagine.

100 x $100 = $10,000

Next we’ll arrange 10 packets on the ground like so…equaling $100,000.  Think we can still comprehend this.

10 x $10,000 = $100,000

If we increase it to 10 layers high, we get $1,000,000 (one million dollars). I like this little pile – you can put it on my desk if you like!!

10 x $100,000 = $1,000,000
The pile is 12″ wide (2 x 6″), 12.5″ deep (5 x 2.5″) and 4.3″ high (10 x .43″).

Now we’ll look at a pallet, something we use all the time here at KHT.  For us, moving your parts around our plants and solving you PIA (@#$) Jobs, is much like driving around with “your parts = your money” – we take it very seriously!!.
If we start with one layer (7 packets wide by 16 packets deep) with each packet being $10,000 – a million, one hundred twenty thousand per layer.

7 x 16 = 112 packets per layer
112 x $10,000 = $1,120,000 per layer

Increase that to 90 layers and you have a stack 38.7″ tall (plus 4″ for the pallet) that is worth a little over $100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars).

90 x $1,120,000 = $100,800,000
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll round this down and consider a pallet to be exactly $100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars). We’ll just put the extra $800,000 aside and have ourselves a party. (with all this money sloshing around, who’s really gonna miss $800K?)

Next, ten pallets of $100 million are $1 billion…

10 x $100,000,000 = $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars)
Here is where we may start run into problems. In some parts of the world, this may be referred to as a “thousand million” (or “milliard”) rather than a billion. At any rate, for our purposes here, we’re comfortably at one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000).

Next, a row of 50 double-stacked pallets (50 x 2 = 100 pallets total) – don’t get excited…we’re only at ten billion.

100 x $100,000,000/pallet = $10,000,000,000 (ten billion dollars)

And now just multiply that by 100 rows…. bingo – one trillion! Be sure to notice the little guy at the bottom left corner – that’s me, examining my inventory.

100 rows x $10,000,000,000 = $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars)

Here’s another view oriented a little more to the front…

So, one hundred rows x 100 pallets per row is 10,000 pallets.  That’s a LOT of $100 bills! You know, it occurs to me…. if you were the guy stacking all those pallets and you “borrowed” one single bill from the top of each pallet, after you were done, you’d have yourself a cool $million. Nice.

Each individual pallet is 42″ wide by 40″ deep. The height of the bills is 38.7″. Add 4″ for a pallet and the total height of one pallet of bills is 42.7″. In the field of pallets above, the pallets are spaced 12″ apart.
The field is 50 pallets x 100 pallets by 2 pallets high, so…
width = (50 x 42″) + (49 x 12″) = 2100″ + 588″ = 2688″ = 224 ft
depth = (100 x 40″) + (99 x 12″) = 4000″ + 1188″ = 5188″ = 432.33ft
height = 2 x 42.7″ = 85.4″ = just a little over 7ft high
So our field of pallets is roughly 224ft x 432ft x 7ft high.  At 96,768 square feet, it’s about 2.2 acres and well over the size of a football field.  With the new buildings we’ve added to our production, assembly and distribution campus, this would fit nicely here at KHT!  (don’t worry – I discussed this with Jackie, and she’s fine with this!!).
And that gets us to better understand Goggle’s remarkable accomplishment.
With this in mind, in a small way – a million (billion and trillion) thank you’s to all my customers for allowing KHT to do your work – we are grateful.

Check Out This Video:  A trillion using ones.


Monkey Fist or Sheepshank?

Knots are so cool! And they’re everywhere you look. Shoes, hair (good knots and bad knots), clothes, presents, trees, food, clothing and more. 

Getting ready for my morning run today, I paused for a minute as I tied my running shoes.  Who came up with this knot and how come I can rely in it to perform while running?  And why do we use the same approach to hold things 1000’s of years after the first caveman laced up his Nike’s?  Think about it.  With so many different ways to fasten an item – buttons, Velcro, snaps, elastic, clamps, clips and more, we still use the simple shoelace knot, often referred to as a bow knot, for shoes, sneakers, boots and bow ties.
I think as a kid Mom called the loops “bunny ears” to help me master the technique. Jackie and I certainly used the same technique when teaching our girls how to tie their shoes, and it worked great!  As I love to do, I dove into the internet, and found some great references and stories about knots – one recently published in Smithsonian, where engineers used heat sensitive rope and microscopes to test the strength points of rope.  Of course, being the head “thermal distortion” geek here at KHT, working on your PIA (Pain in the @%$) Jobs! I gobbled up the article.  Take a stroll through the info below and enjoy a visit with Des Pawson, a remarkable keeper of all things knots in England.  Special thanks to Wikipedia, Smithsonian, and the New York Times for the info/articles and You Tube for the videos – great stuff.  And be sure to include the Knot Tyers Guild annual convention in your travel plans. Enjoy!

  • Knot enthusiasts like to say that civilization is held together by knots. (learn more at HERE.  Your shoes are undoubtedly tied with the first knot that you ever learned, the famous shoelace knot, the shoelace knot is: a doubly slipped reef knot formed by joining the ends of whatever is being tied with a half hitch, folding each of the exposed ends into a loop (bight) and joining the loops with a second half hitch. The size of the loops and the length of the exposed ends are adjusted when the knot is tied. It has the stability of the reef knot but is significantly easier to untie, simply by pulling the ends away from the center of the knot.
  • Glance in the mirror and you may find more knots: the one in your necktie, perhaps, or the one made by the elastic band that is wound around to hold your hair in place. Your hair itself might be plaited into a braid: another knot. Over the years I have successfully completed numerous French braids for my daughters!
  • Now consider the clothing you’re wearing. Your cable-knit sweater is a whole lot of knotting, as is your shirt, your pants, your socks, your underwear: These sewn or knitted or woven garments are likely held together by knots, and what’s more, the materials from which they’re made — cotton or wool or acrylic or what have you — are themselves glorified knots, fibers that have been twisted together to form stronger tensile strands.
  • How about the knot in the cinnamon bun on your breakfast table. There were definitely knots in the fishing net that caught the halibut on your dinner plate. Did everyone see how I was able to “TIE” this back to food!  Doctors staunch the bleeding in an open wound with tourniquets bound by knots, and they employ knots when stitching up a body after surgery.
  • Knots are used in the construction of houses and skyscrapers; the cables supporting suspension bridges extend time-honored principles of cordage and knotting to “ropes” of galvanized steel wire.
  • Knots are an ancient technology. They predate the axe and the wheel, quite possibly the use of fire and maybe even man himself: Some scientists have speculated that the first knotters were animals, gorillas who tied simple “granny knots,” interlacing branches to construct nests. But in a century of digital tech and robotics, knots remain indispensable, with an Englishman Des Pawson, committed to celebrating the history of knots. From his house that sits along a well-trafficked residential through street a couple of hundred yards from the River Orwell in the town of Ipswich, in Suffolk, southeast England. Use that door knocker and you will be greeted by Des Pawson, a vibrant 67-year-old man with large round eyeglasses, a white beard worthy of a biblical patriarch and hair that stretches down nearly to his shoulders.
  • Pawson’s mane is partially concealed beneath a red Kangol cap – (hope you read our KHT hats post from last week) Pawson says. “I want the rope makers, I want the riggers, I want the sailmakers to be recognized for their contributions. They are a huge part of the story of knots.”
    Pawson is one of the world’s foremost knot experts, a co-founder of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, and a prolific author of knotting books. His home, which he shares with his wife, Liz, is a shrine to knots. (see the video HERE ) (check out some of his books on this website too) Pawson opened the place in 1996; in 2007, he was awarded an M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth “for services to the rope industry.”
    The museum also holds mementos of Empire — the glorious and sordid age when Britannia ruled the waves. Pawson points out an improbably chunky piece of age-blackened rope, more than two feet in circumference, as thick and gnarled as a tree trunk. It is a part of the anchor cable from the H.M.S. Victory, the ship that Lord Nelson commanded, and died aboard, in the Battle of Trafalagar. Another display case is filled with slim wooden sticks, handles wrapped in threaded rope. These nightsticks, or “coshes,” were sailors’ weapons. Pawson says: “If you’re in the stews of Liverpool or San Francisco, you want a bit of protection, don’t you?”

Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot (Donato Creti, 1671-1749)

  • There are knots of legend, like the Gordian knot that Alexander the Great sliced open with a swing of his sword to become the leader of Europe – read the legend HERE
  • There are knots reputed to have magical properties: the knots tied by Laplander shamans in handkerchiefs, which, when loosed, would raise a mighty wind and knots used by witches to cast spells.
  • The Elizabethan poet Philip Sidney wrote. We speak of marriage as “tying the knot,” a figurative knot that is likely derived from literal ones — from so-called true lovers’ knots, various knot forms, found everywhere from Scandinavia to East Asia to Mexico, that symbolize affection, commitment and betrothal. Watch these crazy marriage proposals HERE  making plans to tie the knot.
  • Fibers that change color under pressure helped researchers predict knot performance
  • The new study, published in the journal Science, paired mathematical knot theory with a color-changing fiber developed in 2013. Because the fiber changes color under pressure, the researchers were able to measure physical properties and add data to their computational knot models. They came up with three rules that determine a knot’s stability.
  • The researchers identified three characteristics that allow a knot to put up with more strain:  1) knots are more stable with each additional crossing point, where one length of rope comes in contact with another. 2) if strands at neighboring crossing points rotate in opposite directions, it will create opposing friction and also increase stability. 3) friction from strands sliding against each other in opposite directions provides the final contribution.  In the future, this type of research could be used to choose or create the right knot for any application.
  • So, just how many knots are there, and what is the strongest knot ever? It appears mathematicians and scientists have created an amazing array of knots.  Click HERE to visit the Rolfsen Knot Tables, and click on any knot image to learn more about each one … (we’ll check back in with you in a few hours as this will tie you up for a bit – couldn’t resist)  And HERE is a link to one of the strongest molecular knots ever created. Which could make more comfortable surgical sutures and even more protective bulletproof vests.