New book takes look at 'Bizarre Botanicals'
There's a reason we love circuses and haunted houses. We're inexplicably drawn to the weird and the macabre.
Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross are no different, except their focus is on the plant world. The two horticulturists explore the curiosities of nature in their book "Bizarre Botanicals."
The book profiles plants that are menacing, strangely shaped or just plain creepy -- bug-eating carnivorous plants, primordial-looking ferns, fleshy succulents and a host of other botanical oddities.
Among the plants they explore are the Venus fly trap, with leaves that snap shut to trap its prey; the Titan arum, which can go eight to 12 years between blooms but produces a flower that stretches up to 9 feet tall when it does; and the artillery plant, with its exploding flower buds that send bursts of pollen into the air.
The authors tell you how to grow those plants at home.
"Bizarre Botanicals" is published by Timber Press and sells for $24.95 in hardcover.
Blog debunks some common beliefs
In her blog "Nutrition Data," Monica Reinagel often surprises readers by debunking common beliefs (www.self.com/fooddiet/blogs/nutritiondata).
1. Cholesterol-watchers will be shocked to find out this fact:
a) A salmon fillet has more saturated fat than three Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks.
b) Chicken with skin has more cholesterol than skinless chicken.
c) A medium-size baked potato contains more fat than 1 cup of mashed potatoes.
2. Brown and white rice have the same number of calories (200 per cup), but white rice is healthier in what respect:
a) It's enriched with iron and folate.
b) It contains 3 grams more fiber.
c) It promotes a "feeling of fullness" for dieters.
3. Egg yolks are not evil because they ...
a) Are lower in cholesterol than egg whites
b) Contain as much protein and more omega-3 acids than whites
c) Sop up nicely with your toast
4. In another bashing of brown rice, the blog posits that a medium baked potato with the skin has more of what than the rice?
a) Vitamin C and B6
b) Folate and iron
c) All of the above
Answers: 1: b (without skin, 85 milligrams; with skin, 84 milligrams -- but skinless chicken has less fat); 2: a; 3: b; 4: c
People, don't put hands in snowblower!
There are about 4,500 hand injuries related to snow blower use reported in the United States each year, according to Carlos Martinez, assistant medical director for Adventist Bolingbrook (Ill.) Hospital.
Snow blower injuries can be particularly brutal, Martinez says, because the blades of most of the machines don't make a straight cut like a knife would; rather their rough edges can mutilate fingers, making it harder to reattach an amputated finger.
"The classic scenario is wet, heavy snow gets stuck ... and people put their hand in the collector," he said.
Most blowers come with warning stickers; and the larger ones come with a scoop-out tool for use when snow gets clogged.
-- Standard-Examiner wire services