Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, March 09, 2008

March 9, 2008

Project Laundry List
Wow. The Americans know how to use fossil fuel energy (even more than we do). Did you know, it is still illegal in some US states to hang your washing out to dry in the sun. As a result, electric dryers use 5 to 10 percent of residential electricity in the USA. So, now we have Project Laundry List – a non-profit organization urging Americans to make a personal choice to save the Earth, and to start by hanging out their clothes. You’d think that self-preservation might be a strong motivation, given that electric clothes dryers currently account for 15,000 structural fires, 400 injuries and 15 deaths each year!
With good old US know-how, when it comes to protesting, the site urges visitors to agistate for action with the following appeal:
“Are you tired of not being able to hang out your clothes? Are you or your neighbours prohibited from using the clothesline? Would you like to save money and energy by using a “solar dryer”? Then encourage your state legislators to introduce a Right to Dry bill or solar rights legislation, like what exists in Florida and Utah, or register your community if your are prohibited from hanging your clothes.”
The site also links to news stories, books and energy saving tips. All of this at

Meaning and Origins of Phrases
The boffins are have compiled the meanings and origins of more than 1,200 English sayings, phrases and idioms. If ever you need to resolve an argument over how a saying or phrase originated or what it is meant to mean, this is the site to keep bookmarked. Apart from the comprehensive list, there are also some curious lists, citing phrases that have entered our language through the Bible, through Maritime lingo, or through Shakespeare. Some examples of the latter include:

  • A dish fit for the gods
  • A foregone conclusion
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • All’s well that ends well
  • Eaten out of house and home
  • Fancy free
  • Good riddance
  • Love is blind
  • Mum’s the word
  • Vanish into thin air
  • Woe is me

Another feature of the site is something you need to pay for (about $70 a year). It is the Phrase Thesaurus. You can enter in a word or a couple of words, and the site will deliver a list of phrases that use those terms or relate to those terms. And teh best thing is, it uses proper, “English” English, and not US English, which is so common on the web. Visit the site at  

Fruit and Veggie Guru
Do you get enough fruit and veggies in your daily diet?  “Fruit And Veggie Guru” is an online portal for everything you will ever need to know about healthy veggies. It is a “produce encyclopedia”, full of nutritional information, current news, articles, shopping and cooking tips, and other healthy resources. Search the site and get great recipes to have the whole family eating healthier.
There’s even a great idea for St Patrick’s Day, which is fast approaching – an Emerald Buffet. Here’s a sample of the dishes you will find.
Dips: Take Hummus and add Avocado and Coriander. Voila; you now have a healthy, green dip.
Salad: Baby Spinach, Grapes, Cucumber, Spring Onions and Prawns, in a Sesame Vinaigrette.
Deserts: Lime Sorbet or Key Lime Pie.
The site also has “fun facts” for most fruits and vegetables, including stats like apples having 7,000 varieties, the English grow six times as many Brussel Sprouts as the Americans do, and grapefruit were named that way because they grow on trees in bunches, just like grapes do. You can find a wealth of information at

Damien Scott and Bubbles
These characters are quite amusing. I won’t say too much, other than, you will never think of Michael Jackson or Monkeys in quite the same way again. This is footage of Britain’s Got Talent and is a clever take on that old and tired art of ventriloquism. Enjoy at