George Rucker's Newsletter for February 21, 2017

 Goeie môre vriend,   Afrikaans for Good Morning Friend,

A tidbit on this language,  Why is there no c in Afrikaans?

The Latin alphabet C is used in Afrikaans, but for very limited words that are derived from English and French. Afrikaans is mainly derived from Dutch in which C is not often used. The Dutch words that contain C have been replaced by alphabets like K in most instances. The alphabet Z has also been replaced by S in many cases.

I doubt if that would be a question asked in a trivia contest.


I bet you wondered why the above titbit, probably not.  I will tell you anyway as one of my college classes was “Medical Terminology.”  I took the class at then was called Southern Massachusetts University and now called University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.  My reason for the class was simple as I was working in a hospital and I wanted to be able to better converse with and understand people communicating around me.  Many of my friends were Doctors, Nurses, and other hospital staff.  One thing I could not understand is why ECG and EKG tests are the same thing.  Note again the only difference is the C and the K.

That leads to this weeks invention the “Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)

The human heart operates as a two-stage electrical pump and produces electrical currents.  This groundbreaking information was originally revealed in 1889 by British scientist August Waller, who demonstrated by recording the electrical activity of his dog’s heart.

Dutch doctor Willem Einthoven (Ah ha, I knew the Dutch were in here someplace) witnessed the demonstration and, expanding upon Waller’s premise, began further research to capture and record the electrical currents of the heart.  He wanted to measure the electrical activity as the small current, or “shock,” moved rapidly down the heart, then back up again, making the muscle contract and pump blood.

In 1901, Einthoven constructed a string galvanometer that was sensitive enough to measure the heart’s electrical signals from outside the body.  By 1903 he had perfected what we now recognize as the electrocardiograph (ECG, or EKG, from the German Elektrokardiogramm) machine.

Einthoven’s invention used thin pieces of wire that were connected to the patients chest with electrodes and attached to electromagnets.  In order for the machine to work, the patient’s hands had to be submerged in saltwater bath to conduct the necessary electrical impulses.  The resulting electromagnetic field made the wire vibrate almost imperceptibly in response to the heartbeat, but it was enough.  Using film and a light directed on the wire, the machine accurately recorded the strength and rate of the heartbeat in millivolts and graphed the positive and negative deflections of the EKG curve.  The printed results – an electrocardiogram – are now standard documents in hospitals worldwide.

The first EKG machine weighed 600 pounds and required five technicians to operate.  However, in spite of its mass and labor-intensive processes, the invention was a triumph.  Considered extremely precise, the technology enable doctors to proactively diagnose cardiac abnormalities and disease, thus preventing heart attacks.

The medical breakthrough earned Einthoven a Nobel Prize in 1924.  Two years later, he was awarded a patent for the wireless signal he developed as the foundation for his EKG monitoring technology.


A man with a winking problem is applying for a position as a sales representative for a large firm. The interviewer looks over his papers and says, "This is phenomenal. You've graduated from the best schools; your recommendations are wonderful, and your experience is unparalleled. Normally, we'd hire you without a second thought. However, a sales representative has a highly visible position, and we're afraid that your constant winking will scare off potential customers. I'm sorry....we can't hire you."

"But wait," he said. "If I take two aspirin, I'll stop winking!"

"Really? Great! Show me!"

So the applicant reaches into his jacket pocket and begins pulling out all sorts of condoms: red condoms, blue condoms, ribbed condoms, flavored condoms; finally, at the bottom, he finds a packet of aspirin. He tears it open, swallows the pills, and stops winking.

"Well," said the interviewer, "that's all well and good, but this is a respectable company, and we will not have our employees womanizing all over the country!"

"Womanizing? What do you mean? I'm a happily married man!"

"Well then, how do you explain all these condoms?"

"Oh, that," he sighed. "Have you ever walked into a pharmacy, winking, and asked for aspirin?"


The following is more for research for myself, but may have some value to some of my readers.  I am a timeshare owner.  I bought a week in the early 1980s and have now owned it for over 30 years.  The unit is located on Cape Cod, and is the 5th week of the year.  After interest from the loan added with my purchase price, it cost me roughly $8 thousand dollars.  Now 30 years later my week is worth about $1 thousand dollars.  Just from that information you can see that is one poor investment.  It does however give me a place to swim year round, along with an exercise room and two handball courts and four tennis courts.  These units came in three classes, red time - warm weather, white time - school vacations and late Spring and early Fall, and last my time Blue, which is all the cold months.  You can see my time is the worst.  I do however have a deeded week and it comes with tax deductions for my unit.  The deduction is less than $100.

Wait, there is more bad news.  In the 1980s my share of the upkeep was about $80.00 per year and stayed at that level until the units were sold.  As soon as the marketeers pulled out, the annual upkeep fee jumped to about $350 per year and that was in the early 1990s.  My upkeep fee for this year, week 5 on Cape Cod was $760.00.  Totally ridiculous, considering I am in another club that lets me rent a unit at this same resort for $350.  I know that somebody paid $760 and was not using it that year.  It could also be somebody just stopped paying the maintenance fee and the resort, now the reprocessed owner was just trying to recoup the loss of a maintenance fee while trying to resell it.

I found that being an owner, I could join a vacation club named Interval International, The fee for this privilege is about $75 per year and renewable every three years.  I could bank my week at a cost of $60 and trade it for another.  Using this system Patty and I have stayed at some excellent resorts during great times of the year.  This also includes some areas outside of the United States.  The only drawback is we had to sit through a sales pitch at the resort we had traded for and this takes about 1.5 hours.  This process usually comes with some awards like free Disney pass or meals from restaurants in the area of our vacation, many times $100.00 cash etc.  We have become very good at saying, “No,” and we take our rewards and just go our merry way.
What have we noticed over the past years is that resorts/developers have been coming up with other ways to appeal to the masses.  I have the simplest to understand, fixed week ownership (week 5 each year).  Next is “Floating-week,” you take weeks 22 to 36 when you want to stay you might not always the same unit.  Rotating or flex-week,  an attempt to give all owners a chance for the best weeks, the weeks are rotated forward or backward through the calendar (example is this year you have week 25, next year 26, then 27 etc.  Some even return the purchased price back after 20 years.  Some are sold as available every other year so the maintenance fee is only ½ the annual amount.

Now for the newest pitch and one that I call a ploy.  Probably because I do not totally understand it.  It is called the points programs, the units are no longer sold as deeded but as right to use   I also see hotel chains, like Hilton, Wyndham using this program, you can get points added to your vacation points if during the year you stay in one of their hotels.  In the past I could trade my week for Disney resorts but since they have gone to points, these units are no longer available to me.  For the two of us this was always a great place to stay.  As you drive in, leave your car, and use the park. transportation all week that was hard to beat.   A points program member may often request fractional weeks as well as full or multiple week stays. The number of points required to stay at the resort in question will vary based on a points chart. The points chart will allow for factors such as:
    Popularity of the resort
    Size of the accommodations
    Number of nights
    Desirability of the season

Each year people just buy new points that they can save or use that year.  I would think the maintenance fee is included in the point charges.

Always ask what the annual maintenance fee is for that year if they do not use the point system.  It is usually a huge turn-off as not only are you making payments for the unit but must pay the annual Maintenance Fee.  So far the highest maintenance I have seen was at Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, $1200 and that was about 5 years ago.  At that time we were next door at the Riu, an all inclusive resort.  The cost for our week was only slightly more than that and could use most of the Atlantis Paradise Island resort.  I have looked for the lowest maintenance fee cost and found one in Ohio that was $250/year about 3 years ago but today found one in Mesquite, NV in the $300 range called the Casa Blanca resort, casino, golf, spa.

That should be enough to let you know to stay away from any and all offers of this sort of vacation.  I have one funny story.

We arrived at our resort about 5 miles from Disney and were heading to our unwanted sale’s pitch.  In the parking lot an angry couple parked beside us to get their money back.  They told us that the unit they purchased was swallowed in a sink hole and the resort did not want to refund their money.  It was a great reason not to buy and we just took our goodies from one irate saleswoman who felt we were unreasonable.   If interested and want to see some interesting data, look up sinkholes and the state of Florida.  I am amazed people live there.   Most of the sinkholes are not reported as much of the interior of the state is a swamp and nobody lives there.


The urologist said: "The good news is I can cure your headaches.  You have a very rare condition which causes your testicles to press up against the base of your spine and the pressure creates one hell of the headache. The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles."

Joe was shocked and depressed.

He wondered if he had anything to live for. He couldn't concentrate long enough to answer, but decided he had no choice but to go under the knife.

When he left the hospital, Joe was headache free for the first time in over 20 years, but he felt as if he was missing an important part of himself.

As he walked down the street he realized he felt like a different person. He could make a new beginning and live a new life.

He saw a men's clothing store and thought, "That's what I need, a new suit."

The elderly salesman eyed him quickly and said, "Let's see, you're a size 44 tall."

Joe laughed and said, "That's right, how did you know?"

"Been in the business 60 years!"

Joe tried on the suit. It fit perfectly.

As Joe admired himself in the mirror, the tailor asked, "How about a new shirt?"

Joe thought for a moment and then said, "Sure."

"Let's see, 16 and a half neck, 34 sleeve."

Joe was surprised. "How did you know?"

"Been in the business 60 years." The shirt fit perfectly.

As Joe looked at himself in the mirror, the salesman said, "You could use new shoes." Since Joe was on a roll, he said, "Sure."

The man eyed Joe's feet and said, "9-1/2E."

Joe was astonished. "That's right. How did you know?"

"Been in the business 60 years." Joe tried on the shoes and they also fit perfectly.

As Joe walked comfortably around the shop, the salesman asked,"How about new underwear?"

Joe thought for a second and said, "Why not."

The man stepped back, eyed Joe's waist and said, "Let's see, size 36."

Joe laughed. "Finally I've got you! I've worn size 32 since I was 18 years old."

The tailor shook his head. "You can't wear a size 32. Size 32 underwear would press your testicles against the base of your spine and give you one hell of a headache".


 (I hope you love this as much as I did)

An old geezer became very bored in retirement and decided to open a medical clinic.

He put a sign up outside that said: "Dr. Geezer's clinic. Get your treatment for $500, if    not cured, get back $1,000."

Doctor "Young," who was positive that this old geezer didn't know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1,000. So he went to Dr. Geezer's clinic.

Dr. Young: "Dr. Geezer, I have lost all taste in my mouth. Can you please help me ??"

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dr. Young's mouth."

Dr. Young: Aaagh !! -- "This is Gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations!  You've got your taste back. That will be $500.

Dr. Young gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days figuring to recover his money.

Dr. Young: "I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything."

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient's mouth."

Dr. Young: "Oh, no you don't, -- that is Gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You've got your memory back . That will be $500."

Dr. Young (after having lost $1000) leaves angrily and comes back after several more days.

Dr. Young: "My eyesight has become weak --- I can hardly see anything!!!!"

Dr. Geezer: "Well, I don't have any medicine for that so, " Here's your $1000 back." (giving him a $10 bill)

Dr. Young: "But this is only $10!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You got your vision back! That will be $500."

Moral of story -- Just because you're "Young" doesn't mean that you can outsmart an "old Geezer"

Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to tick us off.



The first time, years ago I had a Caprese salad, and discovered Balsamic vinegar.  It has a taste I particularly like.  I tried a few times to make Balsamic glaze but always failed, now a few brands are sold in glaze (thick) form that are actually better than most of the chefs in the area can make.  When tomatoes are in season, a few times a week I will make this salad with locally grown, vine ripened  tomatoes, with fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze.  There are no measurements for this recipe as everything works, even if one ingredient is omitted or salt and pepper is added.

Most of the time the vinegar is very dark but lately I see they have made white Balsamic vinegar.  I have not bought any as I have not seen a recipe that uses it.

I am leading up to a chicken recipe, cooked with balsamic vinegar but first a little on chicken breast meat, particularly the small white stripe you see on the top of the breast and what it really means.  Just a tidbit from my younger days on the farm.  We rarely cooked young chickens unless they were male.  Most of the males were made into capons (neutered) and shipped to market, while the hens would be kept a few years laying eggs until their egg  production would slow down and they would be marketed as stewing hens.

You might have noticed white striping in your meat aisle already. The condition looks like white striations running parallel to the regular muscle. According to a 2016 study by University of Arkansas and Texas A&M, "the severity of white striping has increased in recent years," identifying it in 96% of the 285 birds they tested. More importantly, the condition "negatively impacts meat quality" by affecting marinade uptake and cook loss.

The poultry scientists believe that a simple case of supply and demand is at play: The average American eats more than 90 pounds of chicken every year, and that number is only going up. The market for cheap protein encourages farmers to produce bigger birds in less time. According to the National Chicken Council, the average bird sent to market in 1950 was 3.08 pounds and 70-days-old. In 2015, the average weight had doubled — clocking in at 6.24 pounds — but the average age dipped to 47-days-old.

However, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council told Buzzfeed white striping affects only a "small percentage of chicken meat," and "does not create any health or food safety concerns for people."

Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, agrees that chicken is still a healthy choice."Chicken — so long as it's not breaded and deep-fried — is a great source of lean protein (that also happens to be rich in B-vitamins, iron and vitamin B12)," she says. "Look for labels with a 'No Antibiotics Ever' seal; remember to properly cook, store and keep poultry at correct temperatures in the fridge or freezer; and avoid cross contamination during meal prep."

Research published in Poultry Science the same year came to a similar conclusion: Fat increased and muscle decreased based on the amount of white striping.  Therefore if you can see the white stripe on the top of the breast, less is best.

Balsamic Glazed Chicken (From

This sweet, tangy chicken is the perfect weeknight dinner.


    ½  c. balsamic vinegar
    2 tbsp. honey
    1  ½   tbsp. whole-grain mustard
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    2 c. baby red potatoes, halved (quartered if large)
    1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
    2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    3-4 rosemary sprigs, for skillet


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine balsamic, honey, mustard, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Add chicken thighs and toss until fully coated, then transfer to the fridge to marinate at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, prep potatoes: In a medium bowl, add potatoes and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until combined. Set aside.

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add chicken and marinade and sear, skin side down, 2 minutes, then flip and sear 2 minutes more. Add potatoes to skillet, nestling them between chicken, and rosemary sprigs.

    Transfer to the oven and bake until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes. (If potatoes need longer to cook, transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest and continue cooking until tender.)

    Serve chicken and potatoes with pan drippings.


Another letter finished, as usual I will have a few copies for those without computer access during exercise class.  For those who want a weekly copy just put letter in the subject line and email

Back newsletters are found at

Have a nice day.