Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doom and Gloom or Time to Say Goodbye?

Have you been following the reports of the recent swarm of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park lately? Over 250 in the last several days, some barely a tremor, others up to a magnitude of 3.9. Now it’s not unusual for there to be quakes in this region. There are roughly 2000 a year. They’re normally more spread out than they have been recently.

What does it mean? Ah, that’s the thing. The experts don’t exactly know at the present time. It could develop into something big. Or not. They’re monitoring it for public safety but a park ranger that was interviewed said, “There doesn’t seem to be anything to be alarmed about.” Were it me I would have added a yet at the end of it, just to cover my ass.

Why? Because another article I read suggests this seismic activity could eventually result in a supervolcano. If that happened, life as we know it around here would cease to exist. Within weeks, all living, breathing things to the east of the eruption would be smothered.

Keep in mind that Yellowstone is located in the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago and that the area remains a hotbed of geothermal activity. The park itself has over 10, 000 geysers and hot springs which serve as a constant reminder that there is a pool of magna a mere five to ten miles underground.

So you tell me? Should I cross it off my list of places to see and start packing to move in with Amarinda now since she's about as far from here as I can get or do I have some time before I have to worry?

Okay I know I said this last week too but it bears repeating. Whatever you do tonight, be safe, be happy and be good to yourself. Happy New Year everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where Did It Come From?

The music used in porn movies, I mean. Have you ever heard anything like it anywhere else? Who writes this stuff? Even if it’s one guy with an electric keyboard in his basement somewhere in New Jersey, don’t you think he could manage just a bit of variety? Maybe toss in something resembling sultry blues now and then? You know, something that actually coincides with the action?

Seriously, if the music were better maybe I’d watch one on occasion. Okay, so maybe not but I’m just saying. It’s bad enough they contract the same breathy babe to do all the moaning in every movie ever made. Does all the music have to sound the exactly the same too? Is there some law that says all porno flicks need to have the same chicka chicka boom boom soundtrack and nothing else ever? If so, how can we go about getting it amended?

I’m sorry, but I get so distracted being annoyed with the music that I lose track of the whole purpose of watching the movie in the first place. Yes, I do know I could just turn off the sound but that makes it even worse somehow. To me, it then resembles watching an old movie where the sound and action are out of sync and just makes me silly.

Ha, bet I have you all wondering now, don’t I? Mission accomplished!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today's History Lesson

Brigadier General William Irvine

Born in Fermanaugh, Ireland on November 3, 1741, William Irvine first studied to become a physician at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He was a ship’s surgeon in the British Navy during the Seven Years War. After the war, he resigned his commission and emigrated to America, settling in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he practiced medicine.

When the Revolutionary war broke out he formed the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment and helped to invade Canada. He was captured and later exchanged and went on to participate in the battle of Monmouth.

An extra bit of history – If you’ve ever heard the tale of Molly Pitcher it stems from the same battle of Monmouth. Molly was actually Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, a servant of Irvine’s from Carlisle. She followed her husband, John Hays, into battle and earned her nickname, Molly Pitcher when she carried water to the exhausted, thirsty soldiers under Irvine’s command as they were fighting. When John was mortally wounded, Molly abandoned her pitcher and took up his canon ramrod in order to continue the fight. If you’re ever in Carlisle be sure to stop by the statue and pay your respects to this determined woman.

Back to the General. He served out the war at Fort Pitt after being promoted to Brigadier General by George Washington, commanding the western frontier. When the war was over and the new government formed he served many different posts, among them public land agent during which time he recommended buying the triangle of land where Erie now is which would give Pennsylvania a second international port city and Congressman representing Cumberland County which is where Carlisle is located. He led the Pennsylvania troops in the Whiskey Rebellion and died in Philadelphia on July 29, 1804 where he held his final post as superintendant of military stores.

Okay so why am I rambling about this man? Because while he was in Carlisle he married and had eleven children, one of whom was my great, great, great grandmother. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Laugh

Back on her birthday, I ordered a snuggie for my mom. It finally came last week and of course I kept the free one for myself. Yes, I know what you're thinking. But what you must keep in mind is that I rarely turn my heat up above 60. When it's cold, I sit here with so many layers on I can barely move. It's very hard to type with my hands in my pockets.

You can make as much fun of me as want but I'm warm now. The sleeves are long enough that I can keep my fingers covered but they're loose so they don't interfere with what I'm doing. The thing itself is long enough that I can tuck it under my toes and don't have to wrap an extra blanket around my feet as I have been doing.

Okay so it's not as convenient to get up and walk around in as they show on TV but that could be my lack of coordination. I step on the bottom of it. Other than that it's a good idea.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Due to circumstances I won’t go into I ended up not going to Blind Hartman’s after all. Maybe next time…

Friday, December 26, 2008


Don't forget to come out to Blind Hartman's with me tomorrow night if you're in town. I'll be there around 8 if you want to join me for dinner. Music starts at 9:30. If you come you can meet Neeley and Riley.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From The Kitchen Of My Friend Sherry baby

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves a sheet.
Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.

Cherry Mistmas !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have a Happy

I’ve got some obligations over the next week plus so I probably won’t be here. I’d like to wish you all my best for the season.

One thing I’m doing is going to Blind Hartman’s Tavern on Saturaday December 27th. There’s a band, the Skidmarks, playing from 9:30 to 12:30 that one of my coworkers is a part of so a bunch of friends are joining me to have him croon at us. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi.

I’m also off to visit my sweet and wonderful great aunt. Wish you could all come along to meet her. She really is the best and you’re missing out.

Whatever you’re doing, be safe, be happy and most of all, be good to yourself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

To Bake Or Not To Bake

I ordered some cookie dough, chocolate chunk, from a school fundraiser. Yes, how nice I am.

It just got here. Now I'm faced with a dilemma. Normally I would get out a spoon and have a taste whenever I felt like it. However, when I stated my intentions, I was told I couldn't do that. Supposedly raw cookie dough isn't good for you. Huh? Never had any trouble with it before.

My thought is this. It has to be so loaded with preservatives anyway to last as long as it does that it's not going to hurt me. And it's not like I eat much at one time. No, eating the dough raw takes a lot longer to finish the container than it would to eat the cookies if I baked them.

Besides, this way I don't ever have to wash a cookie sheet, nor do I need to figure out where to store the cookies. If I use a plastic spoon I can even store it right in the container since it's not like anyone else is going to have any. I don't know about you but to me, it seems much easier my way and they taste just as good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Give It Back!

The one part of this season I truly enjoy is the music. I have a collection of over 40 cds of every sort of Christmas music imaginable. The thing is however, I rarely listen to any of them at this time of year.

For some odd reason I thought I might break tradition and play a few songs this morning. All my Christmas cds are stored together in a brown bag. I thought it was with the upstairs stereo. I know that’s where it was. I distinctly remember serenading the neighborhood one hot summer day. But when I went up to retrieve it, the bag wasn’t there.

I looked with the downstairs cds. Nope, not there either. Those are the only two places it’s ever been. Seriously, I would never put it anywhere else. Never ever.

Panic, hyperventilating setting in here. I’ve decided whoever it is that’s leaving all that odd food in my kitchen must have taken it. Give it back! Now! Just slip the bag back upstairs where it belongs. No questions asked. No one gets hurt. I’ll pretend I lost my mind and overlooked it the eighteen times I searched the area where I last saw it. Please?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Maybe, Maybe Not

By now you all know I get migraines. In fact you're probably as sick of hearing about them as I am having them. Well, maybe not. With one little click you can move on and be done with it. I, on the other hand, am stuck with them indefinitely.

I've been having a very rough few weeks here. Changing meds again. The topamax that was working so well to prevent the pain was messing up my mind, big time. In very bad ways. Sigh. I had such hopes for it but nope, it's better to be alive and in pain than the alternative. Yes, it was getting to that point.

So I'm back on what I had before that was only somewhat effective. Better than nothing, right? The problem is that it is something that has to build up in my system before it takes hold which means I've had a week's worth of headaches again. I try to save the very big powerful meds for the worst times when I can't stand it because they do very strange things to me. It's also something that loses effectiveness the more I use it.

Last night was extremely bad so I broke down and took some. This stuff doesn't knock me out. Instead it makes everything hazy and unreal. I can't ever tell if things are really happening or if I'm imagining them. I think Neeley may have stopped by at some point. Or maybe I just wanted her to because she should be home for her winter break visit soon. If she was here I don't think I let her in because she had an odd assortment of people with her among them some of my ex's family and a few other individuals I don't particularly care for. I can't understand why she would bring them with her. She knows better. Of course she may not have been here at all. Like I said, I really don't know. If nothing else, this stuff makes life interesting. Now if only it didn't hurt so much.

My head still hurts today. I've had just about enough of this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

So Wrong

Warning: This contains information that might upset you if you’re a pet lover.

I read an article yesterday about animal lovers in Beijing protesting cat now being on the menu in many restaurants China. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you my opinion on this one. Besides the obvious, I was astounded that only about 40 people showed up to protest. Forty people in all of Beijing. That horrifies me.

Supposedly, according to the butcher who was interviewed, the cat meat comes from legitimate farms, just like the beef they offer does. However the article went on to say that there are cat dealers who round up every cat they can find to the extent of nabbing people’s pets. There are roughly 1000 cats transported to Guangdong, the main region for Cantonese food, every day. In other words, if you ever move to China and have a cat you better plan on it being strictly a house cat.

Pet rescuers have tried to intervene however they run into governmental red tape because the traders list the reason for transport as animals to be raised as pets. There are no animals protection laws in China and the article went on to imply that few really care.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, it also said that cat tastes more like lamb than chicken. It’s expensive and needs to be pre-ordered at the butcher’s because it doesn’t sell as well as dog does so they generally don’t stock up on it.

Um, yeah. I’m damn close to being a vegetarian these days anyway. This could be the thing that does it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Forgive Me

Historically I’ve had a lot of trouble with this season and this year is no exception. Nope, not about to go into details. TMI and all that. Besides, the why isn’t all that important. I know I’m far from unique with this one. Lots of people feel down around the holidays. Doesn’t make me feel any better, being one of a crowd here. No, it just makes me sadder.

I was wondering if you could do me a favor. Well, not just me, everyone who feels like I do at the moment. It’s not a big deal and really won’t take any effort on your part. What is it I’m asking you for?

Be a little nicer to everyone whose path you cross. That’s it. Just be kind. Have a bit more patience than you might normally. Smile at strangers. It costs you nothing and might make their day a little brighter. Not that hard, is it? No, it isn’t and you really could make a difference in someone’s life just by doing something so simple. Trust me on that one because I promise it’s true.

Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by. And again, I’m sorry for not being more entertaining lately. Stick around and I’ll hopefully do better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gotta Love 'Em

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not Good

Nope, not a good day at all. Back when I'm capable of being civil. Or not, if my head expodes in the mean time.

Until then, go visit Amarinda's blog for some never before revealed holiday information. She's doing interviews again.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I grew up in an old stone farm house. Every fall when it started getting cold, the field mice would come in, seeking warmth. Happens all the time, all over the world.

What also happened in my house was the annual setting of the mousetraps in the pantry. Back then the only choice was the spring-loaded ones. You know, the kind with the little platform for bait and the bar that would then hopefully snap the poor mouse’s neck instantly.

My dad’s bait of choice was always peanut butter. Worked well too. He’d set out traps on the shelves, they’d do their thing, he’d go back and dispose of them. Only problem was there would inevitably be the one that didn’t do the job quite as well as it should have. The trapped mouse would still be alive enough to struggle, finally falling off the shelf into the bottom of the closet, dragging the trap with it as it sought to escape.

Oh it would die eventually. And then it would start to rot. With a glob of peanut butter left along with it. Yeah, real appetizing smell, rancid peanut butter and moldy mice.

There, now you know why I dislike peanut butter so much. The smell of a freshly opened jar takes me back to searching the closet for the one that tried to get away.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last night when I wasn’t sleeping I heard something curious on the radio. There aren’t any acorns or hickory nuts this year. None at all. Anywhere. The trees simply didn’t produce them. And no one knows exactly why.

One theory is there was such a bumper crop last year that the trees are too stressed. Another is that it was a wet spring and the rain washed all the pollen out of the air. Some suggest that it’s due to climactic changes. The experts can’t agree but it seems they’re not going to overreact since it’s just one year. A fluke if you will. But, as I see it, the problem with all their theories is that they would apply to specific regions only, not all of North America.

The other problem with this is that last year the trees were so bountiful that wildlife was abundant too. Now, with the total lack of food this year, many creatures are going to starve. I know it’s nature but that doesn’t make much sense to me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

They're Back

Thirty-four years later and they haven't aged one bit. Who am I talking about? Why, the Miser Brothers of course. Heat and Snow. Only this time, they're working together to save Christmas. Or that's what the previews indicate.

This continuation was made in the same stop-motion animation, playing with puppets very slowly, in keeping with the original. Unfortunatley the puppets from 1974 didn't hold up and had to be recreated but the article I read reports that they were designed to emulate the first set. The new version even has some of the original voices, Mickey Rooney as Santa and George Irving as Heat Miser. Dick Shawn, Snow Miser, died in 1987 and has been replaced by Juan Chioran. Don't worry. In the previews you'd never know it. Good thing too, because Snow Miser was my favorite.

Anyway the new special airs tonight for the first time on ABC Family at 8 EST. It's preceeded by the original which I'm sure you'll all want to catch too. If you miss it today I'm positive you'll have another chance. Isn't it fun to stop thinking and be a kid again, if only for a few hours?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Or does the world seem particularly grouchy today?

I’m not really sure. All I know is I’m staying out of it. All of it. Been saying that all day long to anyone who’s tried to drag me into the middle of whatever it was that was going on. Sorry, but I’m in a good mood and I’d really like to stay that way.

Yep, going into hiding now. I’ll be back when things calm down. If I’m not here tomorrow you’ll know they haven’t so have a nice weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Midnight Meander

Sometimes it’s not a good thing to be up wandering around in the middle of the night. It’s okay now that I’m older but as a kid, not so much.

My earliest memory of prowling and seeing something I shouldn’t have was the Christmas Eve I was four. I stumbled across my parents building my brother’s train set, the one from Santa. They assembled the whole thing, tracks, buildings, trees and all without noticing that I was sitting behind them, watching the entire time.

I’ll never forget them backpedalling, trying to convince me they were Santa’s helpers and they were just setting it up for him because he was so busy. Nope, didn’t fall for that one. I don’t remember how long it took for them to give up and admit there really was no Santa but when they finally did it was only with a promise that I wouldn’t reveal that little tidbit to anyone. Not my brother, not my grandparents, not my friends or theirs, no one.

I promised. And then I spent the next three years pretending. Yeah, imagine that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have a release date! January 16 which is much earlier than I expected. How cool is that? Don't worry, I'll remind you again when it gets here. In the mean time, here's the blurb and a tame excerpt. I'll give you a spicy one next time.


Tori Banks has suffered nightmares of the same two murderers for years. When she hears reports of another killing, she questions whether the others were also real or just macabre dreams. Can she trust the tall, dark detective who makes her forget about cold-blooded killers and think only of hot, screaming sex?

Detective Guy Breauchard is skeptical when he sets out to meet the woman who sees serial killers in her sleep. But one look is all it takes to stir his blood and have him yearning to fuck her. He’ll have to keep his hands off of the sexy psychic if he has any hope of keeping her safe and out of the hands of the chilling predators who have plans of their own for her.

Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of extreme violence.


“Ms. Banks.” Guy forced a thin smile.
“Yes.” She took a step backward.
“I’m Detective Breauchard, Barry’s partner.” He extended his hand and noted both her hesitation and the slight tremble when she finally accepted. “Shall we?” He indicated a nearby table.
“Oh. All right.” Tori looked disturbed by his choice.
Guy let the silence stretch beyond the comfort zone. “I understand you believe you have knowledge of a homicide?”
“I think I might.”
“You might? As in you’re not sure?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Maybe. I don’t know.”
Fighting for patience, Guy made the mistake of glancing at Lana. When he refocused on the woman next to him, he knew she’d seen his date’s annoyed gesture. “Perhaps you could begin by telling me how you got this information that you may or may not have.”
Tori flinched. “I had a nightmare.”
“Pardon me. I don’t think I heard you correctly.”
“I said I had a nightmare. Of that poor woman getting killed.”
Guy snorted. “I see.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
“Of course I do, Ms. Banks,” he sneered. “We employ a full staff of sleeping witnesses. How else would we ever catch the bad guys?”
“This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have come.” Tori’s shoulders slumped.
“No, Ms. Banks what you shouldn’t have done was take advantage of the good woman who befriended you and her family.”
“What?” His words startled her into looking at him.
“What’s wrong? Are you so bored with our little community that you decided to play the psychic and stir things up?”
“I never…”
“Cut the bullshit, princess. This is New Hampshire, not California. Your Beverly Hills drama queen act may do it for you there but here, we have values. We respect honesty, not hyped up hysterics.”
“Beverly Hills drama queen,” Tori sputtered. “Since that’s where I’m from, that’s what I must be?”
“Hey, if the shoe fits.” Guy watched her features sharpen with anger and saw something in her eyes that made him question his opinion.
“Then that would make you an asshole, Detective Breauchard,” Tori emphasized the French pronunciation of his name. “Since everyone knows the French are all assholes.”
“My distant family is from Quebec, Ms. Banks but I assure you, I am as American as you are.”
“That may be.” Tori stood and leaned over the table toward him. “But roots count tremendously and Quebec is the next best thing to France. Forgive me for interfering with you evening. I’ll go now and let you get back to your date.”
Guy watched as she mustered her dignity and swept out the door. Anyone watching would see only her grand exit. If Guy hadn’t seen how her hands were shaking and the hurt and sadness in her eyes when she leaned closer to him, he would have believed it too. But he had seen and that made him wonder if her regal behavior as she left wasn’t the true act. If it was then that meant his assumption that she was an attention-seeking lunatic was wrong too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In A Pinch

I was speaking with Neeley a little bit ago and she had me laughing so damn hard with her resourcefulness that I can’t keep it to myself. She started out telling me it’s time for her to drop off her Secret Santa gift. Only problem is she has no wrapping paper or tape. Her solution…newspaper and a glue stick. Great! I would have come up with the newspaper. Yep, done that many times already. But the glue stick? I doubt it, perhaps because I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

Her other helpful fix-it hint was what I thought was so funny. It seems she ripped her jacket while helping someone move. Her down jacket. Of course it was cold so she couldn’t just take it off. And there was no needle and thread available. So did she leave a trail of feathers behind her all day? Nope, not Neeley. For some unknown reason the tape had already been packed up but the stapler wasn’t. Ah sure, makes sense to me. I always save my stapler for last, don’t you? You got it. She rolled the edges of the rip together and stapled them closed.

Don’t you love it? I do. But then I know Neeley and can picture her swearing and then going in search of a viable solution. I can also picture the expressions on the faces of the guys she was helping.

Surely you all have some unorthodox tip you’re just dying to share. Come on, fess up. What have you done lately that will make me laugh too?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Today's Tidbits

Types of Communicators
1. Passive – 60 % of the population
2. Aggressive – 20 % of the population
3. Assertive – 20 % of the population

Listening Styles
1. Passive
2. Selective
3. Active

Types of Learning
1. Visual
2. Audible
3. Kinesthetic

Three Steps to Mastering Anything
1. Practice
2. Explore
3. Have proper resources

If you read seven minutes a day you will finish twelve books in a year.

Two out of three Americans have low self-esteem.

Einstein’s Definition of Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Some states are now requiring students to be certified in the entire Office suite in order to graduate.

The youngest person certified in Excel is seven years old.

The cost to ask one question on the Microsoft help line is $79. Hold times of an hour and a half are not unusual.

One Excel worksheet can have up to 256 columns and 65,536 rows which allows almost 16.8 million cells of information. A workbook can have up to 255 worksheets which is over 4.2 billion cells. Yep, I’m sure I need that many. How about you?

If you haven’t guessed yet, yes, I went to a seminar today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Need This

Yep, one of those days.

Shoulda stayed in bed.

Back tomorrow.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Last Night

I had this dream. I was being suffocated, smothered by a pillow. Not an unusual dream for me. Someone’s always killing me. But what was a bit of out the ordinary is that I wasn’t struggling. Not at all. How odd is that? I always fight back.

Then I woke up enough to realize that I was having trouble breathing. There really was something on my face. And I still wasn’t struggling. I wondered why the house alarm hadn’t gone off. I know I set it. You had gotten in without me knowing it?

That’s when it finally sank in that the pillow pressed to my face was furry and purring. No wonder I wasn’t panicked. It was just Harry, coming to sleep on me as he’s taken to doing. Only he missed and landed on my nose instead of my forehead.

I reached up and petted him. Then I drew my hand away and wiggled my fingers. Good kitty, he followed them as hoped. Yay! I could breathe again. After a few attempts, he snuggled in beside my head, which is where I prefer he sleeps.

But can’t you just see the article in the paper now? Woman found smothered in her own bed with the alarm system still activated. No signs of struggle. Cause unknown. I wonder how long it would take them to figure out that the overly affectionate cat did it?

Friday, December 5, 2008

The 411

First I want to thank you for all the hugs. You guys are the best! Now I’ll tell you why I needed them.

When I had the flat spare the other week a good friend reminded me that I really need to pay more attention to routine car stuff. So, being the good girl I am, I made an appointment to have my oil changed. It was just a little overdue. I’ve only had the car for a few months over a year. No need to rush into it.

When I got to the garage, my mechanic was waiting so it took no time at all. Great, right? Well, the oil change part was. However he informed me that I’m about to need an exhaust system and it’s going to be VERY expensive. Foreign parts. The labor will be reasonable. I wondered if it would last until summer figuring I’d have some time to save up. He laughed at me like he always does when I ask my typical girl questions.

I hate dealing with car things, especially costly car things that are not in my budget. To me, cars are like computers. I want to turn the key or push the button and have them work. I don’t want to worry about all the background stuff. I don’t want to figure out the right moment to go and have this replaced since I’m sure waiting until it falls off completely is probably not the correct answer. Hm, I wonder how I can convince my friend who knows about these things to take over all this stuff for me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Did You Know?

The Slinky was invented in 1943 by Richard and Betty James, somewhat by accident. Richard was a naval engineer stationed at the Cramp shipyards in Philadelphia. While working on a way to make a ship’s instruments easier to read, a torsion spring fell off a table. Watching, Richard decided it might make a fun toy so he took it home to show his wife.

Betty searched the dictionary for a suitable name and finally found the Swedish word “Slinky” which means smooth, flowing, stealthy, sleek and sinuous. The couple spent the next two years experimenting with different wires and perfecting the idea.

In 1945, Betty and Richard convinced Gimbels to let them set up a ramp in the toy department in order to demonstrate the walking abilities of their invention. They had 400 Slinkys with them and were afraid they wouldn’t sell at the asking price of $1.00. Ninety minutes later, the Slinkys were sold out. Over 300 million Slinkys have been sold since then and the cost for a standard metal model is still under $5.00.

With an initial investment of $500, the James Spring & Wire Company was formed. Made from 80 feet of wire the only design change since the beginning has to crimp the ends as a safety measure.

In 1960, Richard had a mid-life crisis. He ran off to join a “religious” order in Bolivia, leaving Betty and their six children. At the time, the company was in serious debt due to Richard’s excessive generosity with his religion. Betty saved the day with the Slinky dog. She moved the company, James Industries by then, to Hollidaysburg where Slinkys have been made ever since using the machine originally designed by Richard.

On November 4, 2001 Slinky became the Official State Toy of Pennsylvania. Also in 2001, Betty James and the Slinky were inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Betty was the president of James Industries from 1960 until 1998 when she merged the company with Poof Products. She died earlier this year at the age of 90.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mustard Anyone?

I read a new catalog today, Raye’s Mustard. All they sell is mustard. Twelve pages of every flavor imaginable. Things you’d never expect like blueberry and maple horseradish.

Each blurb contains a serving suggestion ranging from the standard pretzels to seafood and chicken salad to the atypical apples. There’s a winter garden variety that boasts dill, garlic, celery and winter herbs. Um, what are winter herbs exactly? Flavors like garlic honey wine are recommended as a base for salad dressing. Okay, that I can see.

One mustard that these people have been making since they began back in 1900 is Down East Schooner. It’s the winner of the Napa Valley World-Wide Mustard Competition’s gold medal for world’s best classic yellow mustard. Wow, now I’m impressed. Did you know about this shindig? Perhaps we should attend next year.

Raye’s also makes select series mustards for various locals around Maine. In this line you’ll find Sea Dog Beer mustard, made with Sea Dog Brewery’s Windjammer Blonde Ale and Moose-a-maquoody Molasses, a must for New England’s traditional Saturday night beans and franks.

Mustards are available in small jars from 4 ounces all the way up to full gallon containers. Keep in mind I was reading the gift catalog. There’s not one person I’ve ever met who individually needs a gallon of mustard no matter what flavor it is.

Oh one last thing of note and then I’ll leave you to your day. Mustard Truffles. Need I say more?

Monday, December 1, 2008


The baby orangutan living within my head is very active today. He’s rapidly outgrowing the confines of my skull. Any minute now I expect his heel to push my left eye right out of its socket. Maybe I should set up the camera and record this so I could then sell it to one of those reality shows as the real cause behind migraines finally uncovered. I wonder if they make tranquilizer darts for wild animals that would work through my head. Have to investigate that tomorrow when I can see again.

Hope your day is better than mine.