Test AA Batteries Without Equipment!

This is great - I tried it and it worked!

You can watch the video for more details, but here are the basics of the method:

1. Take the battery and hold it about an inch over a hard surface with the negative (-) end down.

2. Drop it.

3. If it bounces, it's bad. If it lands on edge or falls flat, it's good.


How Do You Pronounce "Worcestershire Sauce"?

Just as I thought: you definitely have to ignore a couple of letters to pronounce this correctly. :)

She does a better pronouncing it, but for those on a time crunch, it's approximately:



Get Rid Of Sticky Labels!

My friend told me recently that anytime she needs to peel up something sticky (in that case, she was removing a peel-and-stick tile floor), she blasts it with a hairdryer first.

Today, I tried it with some product labels that have been stuck to my garbage cans for months and it worked! Easy peasy. Chemical- and liquid-free!

Works on stickers, too (in case someone in your household likes putting them everywhere...). :)

This was confirmed by apartmenttherapy.com. For their article: click here!


What Does A Dog's Tail Wag Mean?

As more scientists study dog behavior, the more they find that a wagging tail means more to a dog than "I'm happy". The dog's tail can provide a lot of insight into the dog's emotional state, both positive and negative.

Dogs in general are more sensitive to movement than they are to colors or shapes, so they communicate with each other mainly with body movement. Many dogs have distinct tails - whether bushy, white-tipped, or very long - and this may be for the purpose of having their tails more visible to other dogs. Research shows most dogs don't wag their tails when alone because there's no need.

Of course, there are different dog "dialects" based on tail shape, natural tail height, and breed, but here are some general tail meanings:


What Does The Tail's Position Mean?

Straight & Horizontal: Attentive & Alert
Angled Upwards: Dominant & Threatening
Middle: Relaxed
Lowered: Submissive, Worried, or Sick
Tucked Under Body: Scared


What Does The Wagging Type Mean?

Speed: The faster the tail wags, the more excited the dog is
Width of Wag/Sweep: The wider the wag, the more positive the dog is

Wag With A Right*-Bias: Relaxed
Wag With A Left*-Bias: Anxious
*Right & Left from the dog's perspective

Narrow, Slow Wag: Tentative, Curious
Broad Wag: Friendly, Pleased
Medium-Height, Slow Wag: Insecure
Quick "Vibrating" Wag: Ready To Act/Attack/Run
Circular Wag: Extremely Excited

Of course, there are many more combinations, but hopefully this has shed some light on your dog's behavior. If you see a dog moving its tail and are still unsure of whether s/he is excited by you or threatened by you, look for other body clues, such as a tense torso or relaxed ears to get a clue into what the dog may be feeling.

[Sources: Psychology Today, QuickandDirtyTips.com, Animal Planet]


How Pinball Became Legal Again

Did you know that pinball was illegal in major US cities from 1942 until 1976?

Early pinball machines didn't have flippers, so the player would bump and shake the machine itself to try to affect the ball's fall.  If the ball went into the right slot, the player could win free games, which some bars would redeem for cash. The game was, by and large, a game of chance and could have a cash prize, so it was considered "gambling". In the early 1940s, the United States was cracking down on gambling machines of all sorts. And lawmakers started to believe that pinball was mafia-run scam.

New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia wrote in a Supreme Court affidavit that the machines robbed the "pockets of schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes given them as lunch money". And then he outlawed the game in NYC. Police and politicians raided bars and bowling alleys smashing machines, arresting their owners, and throwing the machine's remains in the river, as public display of "morality". Many other cities followed with their own bans.

Through this time, the major pinball manufacturers continued to make games, since they were still legal for home use. During this time, the pinball companies improved the game, inventing flippers and incorporating multiple electronics into the playfield.

Then comes the best part of the story!

The Amusement & Music Operators Association lobbied to get a meeting with the City Council in a Manhattan courtroom to plead their case to get the ban overturned in May of 1976. They brought in a writer named Roger Sharpe to prove to the Council that pinball was no longer a game of chance. He was out to prove that it was undoubtedly a game of skill.

With the Council watching, Sharpe called his shot. He said that he could hit his next shot through the middle lane. He pulled the plunger, hit the ball with a flipper, and sure enough it went through the middle lane! City Council overturned the ban on the spot!

Some places still had illegal pinball on their books for years, but not many places followed through on enforcement. It was only within the past couple of years, for example, that Nashville, Tennessee, eliminated its ban on under-18-year-olds playing or standing within 10 feet of a pinball machine. It's still technically illegal on Sundays in Ocean City, Nevada.

Next time you throw a couple of quarters into a pinball machine while you're waiting for your friends at the bar, you can not only appreciate it's rich history, but you can be assured that it IS winnable! :)

[Sources: Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo]