stock photo : A red ketchup bottle against a white backgroundThe Heinz Company ultimately got it right.
They created a sweet, tangy tomato-based product in the late-1870s that has become a companion to some of our most beloved American foods.
It’s called ketchup.
Or at least that is the name Heinz chose.

But there was another name they could have used. It was the original name: catsup.
And ketchup and catsup are closely intertwined.

Because ketchup contained tomatoes, and tomatoes are a vegetable (according to the USDA), the ketchup Heinz created was considered a daily serving of vegetables. As soon as the school system got its hands on that, the Heinz ketchup product took off in sales.
And as ketchup took off (it is officially a vegetable product, after all), catsup fell to the shoulder.

Both ketchup and catsup are made of a tomato base. Except ketchup is sweet and tangy and catsup is ordinarily more spicy.

Ketchup apparently occurs more frequently in the north and Europe, while catsup is a southern phenomenon.

Ketchup is still made by Heinz; catsup was made by Del Monte. However, Del Monte does now make a ketchup product.

Obviously, the two are pronounced differently and every person will have his own preference.
Like tomato and tom-ah-to…..

stock photo : Sailboat near the beach at sunset.

There are a few historical facts that separate modern day ketchup from its origins:

  • The original ketchup was also a condiment, but did not contain tomatoes (tom-ah-toes) until it came to the Americas. Before that time, it was made with ingredients like mushrooms, anchovies, lemon peel, and shallots, to name only a few as detailed in the book The Compleat Housewife of 1727.
  • The original ketchup was not ketchup at all, but started in China as ketjiap, a sweet, pickled fish sauce.
  • The original ketchup was not created by Heinz; instead it traveled all over the Far East with the European traders…to Malaysia as ketchap and Indonesia as ketjap.
  • The original ketchup was first mentioned in 1690, and then again in 1711, by Charles Lockyer. The first reference appeared in The Dictionary of the Canting Crew. The second reference appeared in Accounts of Trade in India:

“Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China.”

The bottom line is that as much as ketchup is almost as American as apple pie, hamburgers, and hot dogs, our most beloved condiment is not of our design, only our revisions and enhancements.

So, next time you dress you burger in that sweet tangy sauce, whether as ketchup or as catsup, remember that every word, and every product, has a history.

But, even with that history, we can still love it.

stock photo : Cheeseburger

For further reading, check out these sites:

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).


Social Media Overload

There should be no doubt now that social media has become a critical element of society.

It fits seamlessly into many facets of our ever more mobile lives.

It is available in many options and styles, and variations of the two. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger…Tumblr, Instagram, Shutterfly…Spotify. So many ways to like and be liked.

It pervades a plethora of activities that we engage in every day: talking, sharing, pictures, stories, quips, comments, compassion.

It enables us to remain connected and relevant in a world that is quickly moving in the opposite direction.

It is almost impossible to escape it’s reach.

Almost impossible to say no. Almost like an addiction.

There are two camps of thought that I have found most interesting in helping to explain why social media is so compelling and what aspect of social media is so powerful as to impact the daily lives of so many people.

One of those camps is the one that explains the issues based on science. When speaking in scientific terms, the closed explanation is the concept of addiction.  Alcoholics Anonymous defines addiction “a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. […] It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over […], preoccupation with […], use of […] despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial .”

Basically, if one is genetically prone to addiction, it will take hold relatively easily given the proper psycho-social and environmental pre-cursors. In other words, in a genetically prone person, anything can cause addiction.

So, based on this, social media can mutate into an addiction. Just like alcohol, drugs, food, etc.

There are some who continue to argue that the use of the word addictive is unwarranted and too extreme when discussing the effects of social media. They would argue that to be addictive, the activity must pervade and negatively alter the quality of everyday life. They would argue, as well, that even the thought of the activity must be constant and injected into all facets of everyday life. They would argue that social media is not a physical thing, like alcohol or drugs.

They are all wrong. More and more over the past decade, psychology and the social sciences have found through research that addiction is not so much about what tool is being used to feed the addiction, but more about the brain chemicals generated by that tool.

Those chemicals are called endorphins.  Endorphins  are the natural “feel good” agent for the human body. A personal drug. They are produced by the pituitary gland, and other parts of the body and brain. Endorphins interact with receptors in the brain to block pain and control emotion. Endorphins can be produced from any activity, any element, that interacts with the body. As long as that activity or element, that tool, results in an endorphin-rush, there is a potential for addiction.

And, more importantly, as each body is different by God’s design, each person will get an endorphin-rush from different tools. The tool is irrelevant if it creates the endorphin-rush, and particularly if the body or person has impaired control over that choice.

Enter social media…

What social media outlet gives you your endorphin-rush? There are so many options, so many available tools.

What parts of those tools give you the greatest rush? And why?

The other camp that I found interesting is the psychological camp. Psychologists have a theory, based on Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning. In Introduction to Psychology classes in college, we all learned about B.F. Skinner’s theory, which states that behavior that can be reinforced tends to be repeated; whereas, behavior that cannot be reinforced tends not to be repeated.

Makes sense. Rats do it; monkeys do it; dogs do it. Why not us humans?

Modern day psychology has extended that understanding through research and observation. There is now a term called “intermittent variable reward”. This term also encompasses the concept of behavior repetition as a result of reinforcement. However, it indicates that behavior is more likely to be repeated based on irregular reinforcement and not constant, predictable reinforcement.

In other words, you are more likely to do something when you are not sure if you will get a reward but you know you might (based on past experience) than when you are sure that you will always get a reward.

Do you see the parallels with social media like Facebook, WordPress, and any other social media outlets? Faceless places where you put an opinion, blog post, image, or comment out there and wait to see how many people like or comment.

Sound familiar? You are not sure if anyone will acknowledge, or even care. But the curiosity and need to connect compels you to keep logging in, checking, posting.

When this compulsion impacts daily life is when the addiction label can be applied. The concept of the quality of the impact, whether negative or positive or neutral, is relative to how much the other facets in life are affected by the repetitive engagement.

A topic for another post…

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).

R-T-H: Week in Review 9.22

This week was a total bust. I did not work out once.

However, IF plans and good intentions count, I had a fabulous week. Here was my week in terms of what I had planned in my head. Forget, for a moment, what actually happened.

  • Gym on Sunday for laps in the pool, weights and resistance, and sauna
  • 15-mile cycle on Monday evening
  • Interval training on the treadmill on Tuesday
  • Yoga on Wednesday
  • Gym on Thursday for weights and resistance
  • Long slow run outside on Friday
  • Rest on Saturday

Once Life took the driver’s position, each day found a way of slipping away in favor of meeting deadlines…for work and for school.

Must do better this week.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).


You Only Live Once ~ YOLO.

I first heard this term several months ago. It was used in a cartoon and it stuck with me.

YOLO is best spoken with no emotion and a monotone voice. Any other way of speaking it ruins the effect.

Just another acronym to shorten and expedite quips and statements about life that, at their normal length, take way to0 long to say.

Remember, life is speeding up and speeding by. Everything in life is somehow being truncated for faster understanding. Like cutting up food for a baby so he can chew and digest it easier, we are moving in this direction with everything, including the way we speak with each other. If it is not fast and easy, no one has time for it.

Hence, You Only Live Once has been incorporated into our current lexicon as simply “YOLO”.

Urban Dictionary defines it as a phrase someone might use to excuse something stupid they just did. It also further “categorizes” it as one of the most annoying abbreviations ever. I don’t know about that, it’s kind of cute. Just don’t overuse it.

But, Urban Dictionary also uses YOLO as somewhat of a synonym for the phrase “Gangnam style”.

What gives with that? Does it refer to something stupid…or does it refer to living the life? Let’s make up our minds. I’m now officially confused.

I found other bizarre and twisted instances of YOLO. Did you know:

  • that there is a Yolo Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL? It looks fairly upscale. Next time I am in that part of Florida, I think I might check it out. YOLO.
  • that there has apparently been a death by car crash caused by the driver texting YOLO?
  • that Zac Efron has YOLO tattoed on his hand AND that YOLO is his personal mantra? YOLO.
  • that there are companies out there with the name YOLO…one is a boarding company (yes, you guessed it, surfboard manufacturer) and the other is a frozen yogurt company. YOLO.

It appears people have caught onto YOLO. It also appears that maybe Urban Dictionary got it wrong, or maybe the meaning is morphing into something else as the phrase takes hold.

Either way, it is cute…just don’t overuse it. Now I am wondering if Words With Friends recognizes it. I will let you know.


© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).

Image of Austin

“Focus One Point and Breathe”

Graffiti bridge, as viewed from a bridge, near Lady Bird Lake on the west side of downtown Austin.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).



Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I have a few loved ones who are struggling. Really struggling…with life. Their struggles run the gamut. Struggles of the heart, the mind, the wallet….all at the same time.

We all have to live our lives. And all of our lives at some point include struggles.

We cannot escape this reality. So we keep plodding on.

But we each have different ways of approaching life’s struggles. I believe that how we approach them has a direct relation to their resolution.

Many factors go into any person’s approach to their struggles.

  • Perspective
  • Experience
  • Resources, both perceived and real
  • Personal demeanor
  • Emotional stability
  • Problem solving ability
  • Support system, family and friends
  • Focus
  • Determination
  • Perseverance

But, the biggest factor of all is HOPE.

Anyone who experiences strife or struggle ~ and, let’s face it, that’s all of us ~ will fair better with a strong dose of hope. And, like medicine, repeat the dosage until the struggle is over.

Hope alone will not resolve the struggle. It might not even make it easier or quicker. But it can be the force, sometimes the only force, that gets one to the desired result when the struggle gets too painful and unrelenting.

So, back to my loved ones who are struggling…it occurred to me that in situations where their struggle is intense enough where there is nothing tangible I can give them or do for them, that the only thing left is to be part of their support system. What else do I have to offer?

The words don’t help anymore…and it has come down to just listening.

What is left? The only thing left is hope.

I proceeded to try to analyze this logically by asking one simple question: How can one offer hope to someone who has lost all hope?

In my research, I encountered a few blogs that were marginally helpful. But, then I ran across a great website that said it all. Check out 10 Ways to Give People Hope! Simple and intuitive.

  • Acceptance
  • Love
  • Appreciation
  • Approval
  • Connection
  • Comfort
  • Encouragement
  • Respect
  • Protection
  • Support

Even though the concept of hope is an intangible…and more so for those who have lost or misplaced it, Don Follis succeeds in quantifying it. He has tied it to actions that we can take to help our loved ones.

Thanks to Don’s ideas, I have a renewed approach to offering hope to my loved ones who are mired in their struggles at this time.

We are all interconnected in this life. God has placed us in each other’s lives for a reason. Those reasons most times are a mystery to us. If the reasons are unclear, it is difficult to understand or be clear on what to do.

Stop trying to understand and just do what Jesus would do…offer love, hope, and a little bit of your own humanity to your brother, your friend.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).