Ask Away!

One of the newest additions on To Be Honest… is if you have any questions (about anything)  no matter how trivial, (the more trivial the better) ask away!

Just place your question in the comment area below and I will search, scour the Internet, ask friends, etc. to find an answer for you.

I started this website back in the summer of 2013 due to the idea of a question I had. And of course the question was trivial! 😉

Our family were at the Jersey shore staying in a hotel and when I opened a drawer next to the bed, low and behold there was a Bible!  Not a shocker.  But then I actually wondered why do hotels put a bible in every room?  I thought, hey this can be a great idea to interact with all of you out there on the world wide web!  Needless to say I didn’t start the blog the way I intended and I’m sorry about that.  Instead I found interesting articles, books, and other things to comment on and left out the Question part.

Now here’s what I found on the Bible Question that was the idea of To Be Honest…


“Hotel Bibles” are also called “Gideon Bibles” after Gideon International, a group of male missionaries and Christian businessmen who took it upon themselves to provide this work to hotels across the nation.

Here’s how it all started… In 1898, John H. Nicholson stayed at the crowded Central Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin. The place was so crowded that he had to share a room with another person named Samuel E. Hill. They got to talking, as you might do if you were sharing a room with a stranger, and discovered that they were both Christians. That evening, they prayed together and talked about creating an association of traveling Christian businessmen.

In 1899, they put the idea to practice. Adding another to their number—William J. Knights—the men headed a meeting at a YMCA with the purpose to create an association of men who wished to achieve “mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord.”

Initially, the three men mentioned above were the only people in the association because they were the only people who actually attended the meeting. Hills was named President, Knights Vice President, and Nicholson took on the roles of both treasurer and secretary. With that done, the men decided their new organization needed a name, and what better way to come up with one than to pray to God to lead them to the best one? The prayer apparently worked, or Knights simply had an epiphany, because not long after the prayer he directed the other two men to the Old Testament story about Gideon and declared, “We shall be called Gideons.”

Gideon’s story is recorded in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Judges, chapters 6-8. He isn’t the most obvious of namesakes for a band of Christian men—one translation of his name is “destroyer.” However, Gideon was a man who was charged by God to lead a relatively small number of men (300) against a drastically larger army, and he was able to beat them. Gideon was a fitting namesake for the tiny organization who had big dreams. Gideon International says that the organization tries to keep with Gideon’s mindset… No, not hunting down and killing a massive army of Midianites, but willing to do God’s work at any time and in any way He intends it to be done.

Over the next few years, the Gideon Association gained more members, almost all of whom were travelling Christian businessmen who spent a lot of time in hotel rooms. The topic of becoming more effective witnesses in hotels arose, and in 1908 The Bible Project was adopted. The project was proposed by one of the association’s trustees who believed that the Gideons should make it their goal to put a Bible in every hotel room in the United States because it “would be a gracious act, wholly in keeping with the divine mission of the Gideon Association.”

Though the Bible Project was adopted in Louisville, Kentucky, the first Gideon Bible was actually placed in a hotel in Superior, Montana in 1908. Since then, more than 1.8 billion Bibles have been placed in hotels throughout the United States and in over 190 other countries, written in over 90 different languages.

But how do all of these Bibles get into the hotel rooms, and who pays for them all?

The Bibles are paid for entirely by donations to the group, and donations likely stem from individuals or churches who support the Gideons’ cause. As for how the Bibles end up in the hotel rooms, the Gideons will ceremoniously present a Bible to a hotel manager upon the opening of a new hotel. They then provide more than enough Bibles for each hotel room, to be distributed by the hotel staff. The Gideons will also provide replacements for Bibles that are worn or “missing”—the Gideons don’t believe that any of their Bibles have ever been stolen from hotel rooms; they are simply taken by those in need, and that’s counted as a success in their mission to spread the word of the Lord.

Supposedly, it is estimated that about 25% of people who stay in hotel rooms actually read the Gideon Bible provided to them. As Gideon International estimates that each Bible has a lifespan of roughly six years, that means that each one is read by roughly 2300 people during its hotel room stay. The numbers are based on research conducted by Gideon through the hotel industry. The Bible Project has done so well that a number of other religions have started providing literature to hotels. As such, you may find a Koran or the Book of Mormon next to your Gideon Bible at your next hotel stay.


To be honest…this really scares me

A doctor, in full outbreak gear, works in the isolation ward at Kenema Goverment Hospital in Sierra Leone. (Simon Akam/STR New/Reuters)

This article is frightening. But unfortunately this is what’s going on in the world. Please let me know what your reaction is or how you feel about it in the comments section below
All My Best,

How to Ignore a Plague
Escaped Ebola patients, besieged hospitals, and deadly denial in West Africa

By Umaru Fofana

In the doorway of an Ebola isolation facility in Kenema, Sierra Leone, stood a group of 10 or so patients. I could see them from a distance—I’d been advised by the medics not to get too close since I was not wearing protective clothing. They were mostly women, but I also saw two children: a boy and a girl. Ebola was eating him up. I was later told that the boy’s name was Kinnie, and that he was five years old. I shouted across to him, but he was too emaciated and weak to reply.

Inside the isolation wards were dozens of people who had tested positive for the rampaging hemorrhagic fever, including at least five nurses. They had apparently been infected by patients who had not been suspected of carrying the virus. Until recently, health workers didn’t use protective gloves unless they knew they were treating a confirmed case of Ebola—even though the virus is hard to diagnose, easily transmitted through bodily fluids, and Sierra Leone is in the middle of an outbreak that has stricken more than 300 and killed 92. One of the nurses died a few days ago. Her name was Sarah, and she got married last December. She was a few weeks pregnant.

Despite the danger facing these medical workers, they are being blamed for the disease by the public—a public so poorly informed about Ebola that many didn’t know of its existence before the outbreak began.

A few yards from the isolation facility lay the main wards of the Kenema Government Hospital. Many patients there fled after one of the nurses tested positive, headed for who knows where. And a couple of days after I visited, a colleague of mine watched relatives of Ebola patients pelt the hospital itself with stones. Confirmed Ebola cases are quarantined, and the attackers accused the nurses of sorcery and demanded their sick relatives be released to them — if they were dead, they said, they wanted the bodies to bury themselves. Such is the respect and reverence people have for the dead that the way Ebola victims are laid to rest is hard for most to stomach. Medics place them into a bag, and bury them without ceremony in a mass grave. The confrontation became so violent that police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, and have remained in and around the hospital since.

It is amazing—shocking—to see the denial of so many people here. Just 500 yards from the hospital, a group of revelers stood outside a video center (as cinemas are known here), pulling on cigarettes and even sharing the same butt. Backslapping and hugging having just come from the unventilated room. Sweating profusely in the 90-degree heat. There are other such video centers throughout Kenema, all over Sierra Leone. Beneath the veneer of that excitement and camaraderie lies the acrid reality that Ebola is tearing the country apart. The next day, at the Holy Trinity Secondary School, I saw scores of high school kids playing soccer. Some had removed their white uniforms to avoid them getting dirty, and their bodies glistened. The longer they played, the more they sweated, and the more dangerous the game became for them. But they were either oblivious to the dangers of a virus that can kill nine in 10, often by internal bleeding and organ failure, or they did not care.

Kenema hosts the only Ebola-testing laboratory in the country, one of the best in the world, run by the U.S.-based Metabiota and Tulane University. And yet some people here are even questioning the existence of the disease. At a roadside store selling candies and sodas, I talked with a high school student who gave his name only as Konneh. “Ebola is unreal,” he told me. He peeled a banana and guffawed before biting into it. “I have not seen anyone who has suffered from or died of it,” he said as he munched.

There are other conspiracy theories flying fast and thick. My mother fell ill last week, while I was on a short trip abroad. She was vomiting and needed to see a medic, but some of my relatives advised her against going to hospital. They had heard rumors of a desperate attempt to stem the spread of Ebola: patients with signs of the disease, which include symptoms as broad as fever, were being injected with poison by health workers. It was only after my return that I could persuade her to seek treatment.

Three days after the hospital was attacked—and more than a month after the outbreak began—President Ernest Bai Koroma finally ended his curious silence, and addressed the nation. He said that “the national efforts of patriotic citizens from all regions, all political parties and districts must not be derailed by a misguided few.” He added: “Anyone who knowingly harbors an Ebola victim without notifying health authorities is also guilty of an offense and we will ensure that the full penalty of the law is meted out on them.” But he fell short of declaring the disease a public health emergency, which would have put the country’s resources toward the fight, and he has yet to visit any of the areas affected.

Koroma’s slow response recalls the civil war of the 1990s. Like Ebola, it started abroad, in Liberia, and snaked across the border. The army was ill-prepared; war was strange to the soldiers; many ordinary people took it lightly—I dare say, scornfully. It was not until fighting reached Freetown that the government made a serious effort to end it. By then, tens of thousands were dead. With the casualties in neighboring countries, the death toll from the current Ebola outbreak has already topped 500, and figures keep rising every day. No one knows how many more have died outside of health facilities, or are mistakenly being treated for another disease. The World Health Organization has described the situation in the region as “out of control.”

People who actually acknowledge the situation are uncertain about what to do now. At my wife’s church—she’s Catholic—the body of Christ as epitomized by bread is now dipped into wine by a glove-wearing priest. Handshakes have been minimized in mosques in this Muslim-dominated country. “It is the hard tradition-breaking sacrifices we have been forced to make,” a Friday worshiper told me. At one restaurant I visited, the owner had placed a bottle of chlorinated water at the door; everyone who entered was asked to wash their hands with it. But the chemical has become hard to find, and the owner of the restaurant told me that the price of chlorine has tripled.

Meanwhile, suspected Ebola patients are doing exactly what public health workers would like them not to do, which is to move around and potentially infect others. Almost 60 have disappeared after testing positive, officials say. “They may have died somewhere after infecting others,” one doctor told me, looking worried. One of the escapees was a man named Mohamed Swarray, who fled Kenema last month for Freetown, the capital, where he went into hiding. Police found him a week or so later, after he was spotted by someone who knew him in Kenema, and who had heard the announcements on local radio calling for information on his whereabouts. By then Swarray had visited a hospital in the capital, and may have infected the nurse who treated him. (The authorities are also on the lookout for his mother with whom he is believed to have escaped.)

I was standing outside the Kenema hospital when a new-looking ambulance raced into the hospital compound, sirens blaring. The driver wound down his window and asked shakily in a local language where the Ebola ward was. I pointed it out, and the driver meandered toward it, dodging the potholes made muddy by the country’s rainy season. I was curious as to how an ambulance in this part of the country could not know where the Ebola ward was, and suspected they must have come from Freetown. Moments later I saw Mohamed Swarray being guided to the isolation ward by a nurse in protective clothing. He looked hopeless and forlorn, as if he were being led to the gallows.

To be honest…I love the words to the Star-Spangled Banner (All of them)


The Forgotten Verses of“The Star-Spangled Banner”

In 1814, the poet and lyricist Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” originally known as “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” During the War of 1812, Key witnessed the burning of Washington and wrote the words based on his experiences this night. These lyrics were printed in local newspapers and set to the tune of an existing song called “Anacreon in Heaven,” and then officially arranged by John Philip Sousa. Key’s famous lyrics entered the world as a broadside ballad, or a song written on a topical subject, and printed for wide distribution.

More than a century later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, and in 1931, the US Congress confirmed the decision. The tune has kicked off ceremonies of national importance and athletic events ever since.

While the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is widely known by the American public, the last three verses are generally omitted in performances. Here are all the four versers, as they were written 200 years ago by Key:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

To be honest…enuf or enough? Why is English spelling so random?

Enuf or Enough? Why Is English Spelling So Random?

Have you had enough (or enuf) trouble spelling to make you want to scream (or skreem?) You are not alone. Since the 17th century, scholars have been protesting the irregularities that occur in English spelling. Reform movements can boast such iconic English-speaking figures Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and Theodore Roosevelt. English is currently the most widely-spoken language on the planet, yet it is the only language among the top ten most spoken that lacks an official regulatory academy to approve spelling.

One of the problems that spellers face is the diverse origin of English words. German, Latin, French, and Greek are all common sources, and each follows a different set of rules for spelling. Even within any one of these languages, it’s impossible to guarantee internal consistency; when these systems mix together helter skelter, one ends up with English orthography.

Students of the SAT know that memorizing the Latin roots of English words is a great way to expand vocabulary, but most Latin-rooted words entered English usage from French after the Norman Conquest of the 11th century. The British English spelling of colour and centre are vestiges of this relationship. The Normans replaced French as the language of the court, throwing Old English, a Germanic language, out of official usage for 300 years.

By the time English was again allowed at court, it was a French-infused Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer is a great example of English spelling and pronunciation at this awkward phase. In fact, there was no set form for spelling – there are sentences in The Canterbury Tales in which the same word is spelled differently. This was no fault of Chaucer’s; he was simply following the spelling of the moment.

Our current spelling of words dates to the typical pronunciation of the 15th century, when technology effectively froze English orthography (writing.) The use of the printing press and mass distribution of books for the first time standardized the spelling of words through repetition. Taking into account the variant spelling of Anglo-Saxon words and the French-influenced Latin, English orthography did not respond to contemporary pronunciation, but to the word’s country of origin.

Now the story gets a little tricky. Between 1450 and 1750, English pronunciation went through what linguists call the Great Vowel Shift. How English speakers spoke evolved, yet the letters used to represent the words they spoke remained static.

Some advocates of English spelling reform argue that replacing words with more phonetically accurate letter combinations will enhance literacy. However readers often experience difficulty in fluency when they first approach works written in dialect, such as Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. While the dialect rounds out the characters of the stories, the difficulty reinforces arguments against spelling reform – whose pronunciation is chosen as the “correct” pronunciation that spelling should be modeled for?

Others argue that, while it may at first be difficult, English spelling leaves plenty of keys to unlocking the history and etymology of words, helping readers understand not only the phonetic foundation but also semantic heritage of a word. What do you think? Should English try to “fix” the spelling of words?

12 of the most misinterpreted quotes


Wordsmiths like Shakespeare and Robert Frost loved their sarcasm. But when you take comments like that out of context, they can mean the exact opposite of the author’s intention.
That hasn’t stopped us from spouting famous lines, many from classic literature, however we see fit.
We created a list of some frequently used quotes that people just don’t understand. Some came from this Quora post. Others, were added from bits and pieces of high school lit classes.

1. “I took the road less traveled.” In Robert Frost’s culturally omnipresent poem, “The Road Not Taken,” he tries to decide which of two paths he should take. He looks down one but chooses the second, “just as fair” and “worn really about the same.”
If you read the entire poem, the last stanza regales how he’ll say “with a sigh” that his decision “made all the difference.”
In reality, Frost arbitrarily chose his path, which didn’t matter in the long run. He just wants to hide his pessimism.
Of course everyone today uses the quote as evidence of “forging your own path,” “going your own way” and all those other tautologies about fate and individualism.

2. “Money is the root of all evil.” Not really. The love of money is the root of all evil, according to Timothy 6:10 from the King James Bible. 

3. “Nice guys finish last.” Nice guys actually finish seventh. Leo Durocher, nicknamed Leo the Lip, served as the field manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the height of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. He made some comment about Mel Ott, right-fielder for the Giants, being too nice, which made the team finish in seventh place. “Baseball Digest” later reprinted the column in which his quote appeared but changed “seventh” to “last place,” according to Freakonomics blog.
Leo’s misquoted words soon became a credo for over-aggressive coaches and guys with no romantic game everywhere.

4. Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? In most high school adaptations of Shakespeare’s well-known play, Juliet raises a hand to her furrowed brow, searching for her lover from a balcony. But “wherefore art” doesn’t mean “where.” It means “why.” Juliet questions why fate made Romeo a Montague, her family’s sworn enemy.

5. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Most attribute this insight to Voltaire. In reality, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a writer born two hundred years later, paraphrased a quote from Voltaire’s “Treatise on Tolerance,” which begged for understanding between religions.
Still, some report the original reads, “Think for yourselves and let other enjoy the privilege to do so too.” But those words never appear in Voltaire’s essay either.

6. “Love makes the world go ’round.” The Duchess, a hideous character in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” makes this comment in passing right after she advocates beating her baby for sneezing. In context, the author meant the sweet quip sarcastically. But that didn’t stop Ashlee Simpson from making a terrible song. 

7. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” In Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” Maria writes a letter to Malvolio, trying to convince him that another character, Olivia, loves him — dramatic, right? Maria uses the quote to appeal to Malvolio’s ego, that Olivia (the false author) cannot deny his greatness. Thanks, Sparknotes.

8. “Oh East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Talking heads in foreign policy sometimes use this quote as evidence that opposite sides of the globe will never see eye-to-eye. But if they read just a little farther in Rudyard Kipling’s ballad, the next lines read, “But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth/When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth.”
Essentially, world colonization will happen regardless of geo-political borders, and we should all just get along. 

9. “The Devil is in the details.” Lazy people somehow bastardized a brilliant German architect’s words to mean the exact opposite. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe really said, “God is in the details.” He’s also credited with another famous aphorism: “Less is more.” 

10. “Good fences make good neighbors.” Once again, Bobby Frost wrote a widely misunderstood poem. In “Mending Wall,” a fence separates two neighbors’ yards. Every spring, they collaborate and fix it. But in the process, they disagree on whether they need a barrier at all. Frost makes the last line of the poem ironic. These two curmudgeons simply keep their fence out of tradition, even though it means more work for them.

11. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” More than one slick love letter has included this phrase. But arguably Shakespeare’s most famous sonnet praised a man, not a woman. He actually wrote hundreds of sonnets about this guy, his dearest friend.

12. “Blood is thicker than water.” This gets uttered around awkward family photos on the mantel of nearly every home in the country. The original phrase, however, meant the opposite. An earlier proverb preached, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” In this case, “water of the womb” refers to family while “blood of the covenant” means blood shed by soldiers. So really, military bonds trump your siblings and parents.

Too be honest… I didn’t think this feature was foolproof

The iPhone’s Fingerprint Sensor Has Already Been Hacked

A quick answer to the biggest question about TouchID.
By John Herrman
BuzzFeed Staff

A European hacker group has announced a simple, replicable method for spoofing Apple’s TouchID fingerprint authentication system. “A fingerprint of the phone user, photographed from a glass surface, was enough to create a fake finger that could unlock an iPhone 5s secured with TouchID,” claims the Chaos Computer Club, which demonstrated the hack in a video.
The technique is based on previous methods for spoofing fingerprint authentication systems, and needed only minor adaptation to be applied to the iPhone’s unusually high-resolution scanner. According to the CCC:
First, the fingerprint of the enrolled user is photographed with 2400 dpi resolution. The resulting image is then cleaned up, inverted and laser printed with 1200 dpi onto transparent sheet with a thick toner setting. Finally, pink latex milk or white woodglue is smeared into the pattern created by the toner onto the transparent sheet. After it cures, the thin latex sheet is lifted from the sheet, breathed on to make it a tiny bit moist and then placed onto the sensor to unlock the phone.
Apple has marketed TouchID both as a convenience and as a security feature. “Your fingerprint is one of the best passwords in the world,” says an Apple promotional video. “The technology within TouchID is some of the most advanced hardware or software we’ve put in any device.”
This method, while objectively fairly simple, will not be a practical threat for most users; it’s hard to imagine a situation in which photographing someone’s fingerprint in high resolution is easier than finding out their four-digit PIN.
But it’s still a clear way to gain unauthorized access to a device the user assumes is secure — and this is just the first successful method. The iPhone has fingerprint spoofing into a bigger target than ever; it’s reasonable to assume that more people will be able to hit it.
Whether or not this can be fixed with a software update is unclear.