Kids copping candy for Halloween or Easter? Check ’em for nut allergies, first!

Peanut and tree nut anaphylaxis in children spikes at Halloween and Easter…Most were previously unknown allergies, according to the Canadian study, which compares Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Eid al-Adha.

“Identifying certain times associated with an increased risk of anaphylaxis—a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction—could help to raise community awareness, support, and vigilance…”…“This information would identify the best timing for public awareness campaigns to prevent allergic reactions.”

For peanut-triggered anaphylaxis, there was an 85% increase in daily average cases during Halloween and a 60% increase during Easter compared with the rest of the year. For anaphylaxis triggered by unknown nuts, there was a 70% increase during Halloween and Easter compared with the rest of the year. However, the researchers did not find an increase at Christmas, Diwali, Chinese New Year, or Eid al-Adha.

Sound reasoning for the differences between holidays in the article make sense. Parents or not, a worthwhile, brief read.

What do you celebrate?

In our geek household, we celebrate holidays when We get days off from work. That’s irrelevant for me since I’m retired; but, all the more important because my honey and I get an extra weekday together – instead of only the evening through to morning. Make sense?

We celebrate New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day because the first is my wife’s birthday, the second is mine. We celebrate MLK Day. Memorial Day in its original form – remembering the Civil War. Independence Day, Labor Day. Veterans Day is Armistice Day in our home. Again, we’re celebrating the original.

Thanksgiving is a perfectly reasonable holiday; but, remember to reflect on the lot of First Nation folks who didn’t exactly invite us in – and were brutally shoved aside. I used to belong to a sport club named for Metacomet who damned near wiped out all those original English colonists.

Lots of folks get their knickers bunched over what should be a special December event – whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus. Essentially, we celebrate the winter solstice. There are Druids on both sides of our relationship and neither of us is religious. My wife is a student of Buddhist philosophy [among others] and I’m a philosophical materialist, dialectician, existential and atheist. Wandering the roadways and footpaths of our small bosque community with Sheila the dog – is plenty of celebration.

What are we thankful for? Well, today we celebrated our 254th Lunaversary. We take time to express our thanks to each other for another wonderful month since we were married here in the courtyard at Lot 4. We celebrate the regular anniversaries, too. Of course. But, we consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have found each other…and celebrate that every month.

Have a mellow holiday, folks. We send you our love and respect.

Pic of the day

santa gondola
Click to enlargeReuters/Manuel Silvestri

Santa arrives by gondola through the fog on the Venice canals. Santa arrives by gondola through the fog on the Venice canals. Santa arrives by gondola through the fog on the Venice canals. Santa arrives by gondola through the fog on the Venice canals. Santa arrives by gondola through the fog…

Give your garage door a new look for the holiday season

This “Winter Road” garage door cover by makes it look like a long road stretches through a snow-covered landscape behind your garage. The brainchild of Thomas Sassenbach, “” has updated its collection of designs for the holiday season. This is the first time that the German firm has produced a Christmas collection to add to its popular tromp l’oeil garage coverings.

Near and dear to my heart.

Garage doors more so than the winter solstice holidays.

Nicolas Sarkozy orders hacks to holiday at home

Next one caught, i’ll squeeze your head till it pops!

Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered his ministers to stay in France on holiday to avoid diplomatic gaffes after two scandals over hospitality from authoritarian North African leaders.

Mr Sarkozy bowed to criticism from rivals after embarrassing revelations that his prime minister and foreign minister accepted free holiday flights in Egypt and Tunisia, shortly before popular uprisings in both countries.

From now on, members of the government must prefer France for their holidays,” Mr Sarkozy told a cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.

“Invitations accepted abroad will be authorised by the prime minister and the presidential diplomatic unit … to see whether they are compatible with France’s foreign policy.”

Francois Fillon, the prime minister, on Tuesday admitted that he had a New Year family holiday on the Nile paid for by Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s under fire president.

“What was common a few years ago can shock nowadays. So it must be strictly monitored,” Mr Sarkozy said. “Only by being above reproach will people holding high office strengthen their citizens’ trust in the state institutions”.

Mr Sarkozy and his pop singer wife Carla Bruni spent their end-of year holiday in Morocco at the Jnane Lekbir royal residence belonging to King Mohammed VI.

Not much difference from golf trips to Scotland paid for with lobbyist money or some congress-creep retiring and waiting a week or two before showing up back on the street with a foreign flag in his lapel and a fat wallet.

Keep the “X” in Xmas!

“No god? … No problem!” reads the advertisement featuring the smiling faces of people wearing Santa Claus hats. “Be good for goodness’ sake.”

Over the next two weeks, 270 of the ads will go up on city buses and trains in the Washington area as part of the holiday kickoff to campaigns sponsored by secular groups in cities around the country and abroad. If last year was any indication, the signs are likely to spark a theological war of words.

“We don’t intend to rain on anyone’s parade, but secular people celebrate the holidays, too, and we’re just trying to reach out to our people,” said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association. “To the degree that we are reaching out to the godly, it’s just to say that you can be good without god…”

Elsewhere, this year’s secular signs vary in tone.

In Seattle, this year’s signs say “Millions are good without God.” In Las Vegas, signs to be put up this week will say “Reasons Greetings” and “Yes, Virginia … there is no God…”

The campaigns come against a backdrop of a growing number of nonbelievers. Fifteen percent of Americans identified themselves as having “no religion” in a 2008, up from 8 percent in 1990, according to a study by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford.

Overdue. But, don’t get your shorts in a bunch over discovering Americans are more ignorant than the rest of the industrial West. That’s true in almost every aspect of life – whether it be politics, social structure, interpersonal relationships, knowledge of science.

You name it – we can figger out how to lag behind.

Free holiday wi-fi added to 47 airports – by Google

Even our shiny new Railrunner has free wi-fi

Google’s gift of free holiday Internet access at 47 U.S. airports only points out how backward those airports are. Don’t they understand Internet access in public places is supposed to be free?

This time of year, however, people…live in airports. And there, Google is beating the Grinch that charges for Wi-Fi.

Folks who spend part of their holiday snowed in at a distant airport will all have nice memories of Google, provided its free Internet actually works pretty well. Google’s announcement did not say, but I hope they have invested in enough infrastructure to support the number of users the free offer will generate…

Google said its gift currently includes 47 airports, including Las Vegas, San Jose, Boston, Baltimore, Burbank, Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Louis, and Charlotte. Additionally, as a result of the project, Burbank and Seattle airports will begin offering airport-wide free Wi-Fi indefinitely.

Not included, however, are some major airports, including all three that serve New York City, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago O’Hare, LAX, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Having to pay for Internet access in airports and other public places is simply stupid and is part of the nickel-and-diming that has become the post-9/11 travel industry. Except that airport Wi-Fi usually costs dollars, not dimes.

Airports and airlines should offer free Internet because keeping customers happy, productive, and occupied is a good thing while they wait for their planes. Don’t we already pay enough for everything else at airports..?

I am, hopefully, not spending time at any airports over the holidays (the promotion ends Jan. 15), but if I were, Google would be my new best friend.

Airports are managed by the inbred cousins of people from the MPAA and RIAA.