We’ve all read that chocolate can be healthy, but most of the ways we consume the stuff are loaded with sugar. So, how do you get the health benefits without the downside?
The benefits come in the form of flavanols and antioxidants. That good stuff is found in cacao. If you find a chocolate bar that’s, say, 85% cacao, that leaves much less room for sugar. Do we even have to say that you’ll find that sort of proportion in dark, not milk, chocolate?
Or How “the Most Brutal, Ugly, Degenerate, Vicious Form of Expression” Beat Frank Sinatra
Nearly 60 years ago, Frank Sinatra announced the launch of his own record label, Reprise Records. In fact, it was his position as CEO of Reprise that earned him his enduring nickname as “Chairman of the Board.” Now Ol’ Blue Eyes was no fan of rock music back in the day. He told a French magazine: “My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear—naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Not content to stop there, Frank added, “It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false. It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd—in plain fact dirty—lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth.”
So when Frank launched his record label in 1960, he promised Reprise Records would never ever sign any rock & rollers to record deals. Instead, he signed his Rat Pack pals like Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin as well as Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford and even comedian Redd Foxx.
As the sixties rolled on, those kind of artists sold less and less while rock ‘n’ roll sold more and more. By 1963, Reprise Records was bleeding cash and Frank sold 80% of the label to Warner Brothers. Warners promptly fired most of the older acts; and as the British invasion got underway, Reprise began signing rock bands - beginning with those early head-banging classics by the Kinks. Imagine what Frank thought the first time he heard “You Really Got Me!”
By the end of the decade, Reprise had evolved into a very important and successful rock label with acts like the Electric Prunes, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
During the early 70’s, the label added other highly successful acts like Emmylou Harris, Jethro Tull, Gordon Lightfoot and Fleetwood Mac.
For some strange reasons, Warners deactivated the label in the late 70’s, releasing only Frank Sinatra and Neil Young records under the Reprise name. Then in late 1985, the label was reactivated for the Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town.” The label continues to this day with acts such as Stevie Nicks, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and more.
Just call it “Revenge of the Cretinous Goons!”
Before A Christmas Story, before the Grinch and Charlie Brown, most Baby Boomers’ holiday tradition was watching the movie White Christmas, the 1954 musical starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. We saw it so often, we probably knew almost every line by heart.
But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the movie:
1. The Danny Kaye part was intended for Fred Astaire. The movie began as a quasi-remake of Holiday Inn, the black & white film that first teamed Bing Crosby and Astaire and the movie debut of the Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas.” But Astaire had announced his retirement (it wouldn’t stick) and turned the part down. It was then offered to Donald O’Connor, who accepted. Then he became ill and had to bow out. So, Kaye was the producers' third choice.
2. The musical number “Sisters” wasn’t in the original script. Crosby and Kaye were horsing around with the girls’ costume on the set. It cracked up director Michael Curtiz so much that he had the number worked up and included in the film.
3. Try and see Vera Ellen’s neck. Throughout the film, Vera is always wearing a turtleneck, scarf or other covering around her neck. No one knows why. Some theorize that there was some flaw in her neck that she was covering up. Others think it was Vera Ellen’s attempt to create a trademark look for herself.
4. While Rosemary Clooney plays Vera Ellen’s older sister, she was actually 7 years younger than her co-star. Also, Bing Crosby was a bit older than Dean Jagger, who plays “the old general” in the film. By the way, Bing was nearly twice Clooney’s age (51 to her 26!).
5. If you look closely, you’ll see future West Side Story star George Chakiris as a chorus boy in the production numbers.
6. The photo of “Benny the Dog-Faced Boy” who was brother to Rosemary & Vera is a photo of a grown-up Alfalfa Switzer of Little Rascals fame.
7. Bob Fosse worked on the film as an uncredited choreographer. It was early in the legendary dancer/choreographer/director’s career and Vera Ellen brought him on to choreograph her numbers, but without screen credit.
We’ve all heard about “skimming.” That’s when you use your ATM card and some scam artist has inserted an additional piece of card-reading hardware that will steal you ATM card information. The people that monitor this sort of thing say incidents of skimming were up 500% in 2015 over the previous year.
Here’s how you can reduce the risk of someone getting you valuable information:
- Stick with the Chip – Digital chips are harder to hack (not impossible, but harder). Try to avoid using card readers where you still have to swipe the card's magnetic strip.
- Use a Bank Machine – While not perfect, bank ATMs are more secure. They are better maintained and have 24/7 surveillance cameras. Machines at gas stations and convenience stores account for the majority of card information theft.
- Inspect Before Swiping – If the machine doesn’t accept your card smoothly, walk away. Newer machines also have a flashing light in the card slot. If you don’t see one or it’s partially obscured, you might want to find another machine.
- Always Check Your Card Statements – Make there are no unusual or unfamiliar charges.
- Talk with Your Bank about Alternative Solutions – You might open a separate account with a smaller amount of money just for ATM purchases or you can lower the daily limit for ATM withdrawals.