Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. But now it just seems to irritate me!
My biggest gripe: 2nd hand stores like Goodwill and St. Vinnies are so crammed with Halloween stuff that anything that might interest me is probably sitting in a back roomo somewhere. Not to mention all the thrift store newbies that are getting in my way!
I wasn't always this way. When I was in my late teens early 20's, I was all about Halloween, and actually put a lot of thought into my costumes. They didn't always work out the greatest, but I had fun. When I dressed up as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, no one quite got it. "Seasick elf?" some one inquired. The ghost of John Lennon didn't turn out that great either, with somebody rudely saying "you are the ugliest woman I've ever seen!"
My favorite costume had to be the Cat from Outer Space.
It was based on a character from the musical "Cats," and it got the outer space theme when my mom and I found some insulated drapery material which we turned inside out, and my mom made me some kind of frock type thing.Â The shirt was an old 70's polyester shirt that my older brother seriously wore..with the collars cut off and stuffed, then used for ears.
One thing I know for sure--you're not going to find a costume like that at Goodwill!
There's a report out today that Mick Jagger is getting together with Martin Scorsese to produce a new TV show that will air on HBO.
It reportedly will track the exploits of a "cocaine-fueled record executive in New York City circa 1977," at a time "when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided."
Okay, I guess he might have some experience in that area, although his buddy Keith Richards may be a bit more qualified.
Now before they settled on that premise for the show, my sources tell me there were others that were rejected. Here are a few of them.
1. "Three's Company: The Next Generation" Mick Jagger would star as the new Mr. Roper.
2. "Ego Wars" This would pit Mick's ego against others who also think a whole lot of themselves. Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin and Brett Favre were all being considered as possible guest stars.
3. "Let's Rob Mick Jagger." Some down and out New Yorkers conspire to rob Mick Jagger's apartment.
4. "Extreme Makeover: Lips Edition" Mick would host a behind the scenes reality program involving the best and the worst from the world of collagen.
5. "Moves Like Jagger" Inspired by the Maroon-5 song, celebrities would try their best to dance like Mick Jagger without falling over laughing.
I was reading the Sunday paper yesterday and being the frugal queen that I am, I was perusing the coupons. One that caught my eye was a coupon to save a dollar on Halloween Play-Doh. Play-Doh for trick or treat? All I can say to that is...BOOO!
While I have nothing against Play-Doh in general, I don't think this is an appropriate surprise to drop in some one's trick or treat bag. First of all, you'll probably only get one (or maybe two), and the amount is so small you probably can't make anything out of it. Ooh..here's an awesome one-color Play-Doh snake!Â Now where the heck are those Snickers bars?
I suppose there are are other things that are even worse as Halloween gifts. These include fruit, pennies, pencils..or from the completely ironic file..toothbrushes!
Unless of course the toothbrush played the tune to Monster Mash. That would be cool.
So this year the rabbits stayed away from my flowers.Â I was so happy I finally found some plants that rabbits weren't hungry for.Â My green thumb was twitching with joy.
Note that I say "was twitching."Â
That's because my flowers and I have a new enemy. The colorful, yet feisty, Japanese beetle.
They've all but obliterated a bush in our backyard, andÂ are making swift work of my marigolds.
Apparently there are no good ways to get rid of these pests. I made an attempt to read a brochure on the topic from our friends at the US government, and it made my head spin. The only things I managed to process were that there's no good pesticide to kill them..but I could try to introduce parasites into the equation.
Where do I go? Parasites 'R' Us?
I guess I'll stick to my current method. Muttering under my breath, and plucking them off the plant and squishing them (with a paper towel), or knocking them off and crushing them with a rock.
I figured I've killed around 17 of them so far. That's a good start, right?
If you'd like to read the exciting government booklet on the topic, click here.
Elvis week wrapped up today in Memphis, with thousands of people coming in from all over the world to pay respects...some dressed in full Elvis regalia.
When I was reading about this year's tribute, I got to thinking about the folks that are REALLY into Elvis, but don't necessarily make it to Graceland for his death anniversary.
They just collect a bunch of tacky Elvis crap, and put it on youtube.
Like this guy, Ron.
He seems like a swell person. I'd love to meet him for lunch and a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Would some one dare remake Wizard of Oz? How about Casablanca or Shawshank Redemption?
Of course not.
Some classics should not be remade. Remember what happened with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I died a little inside when I saw Johnny Depp's warped take on Willy Wonka.
That's why I'm so concerned about another project that Hollywood is destined to ruin. This time it's a small screen classic, a program that made such a positive impression on so many youthful minds. A program that is beloved to so many..
That's right, it's Hong Kong Phooey. Hollywood is remaking the classic 70's cartoon for an animated big screen feature, tapping none other than Eddie Murphy to play the #1 Super Guy.
Here's a quote from the producers:
“We could not be happier that Eddie Murphy will star as Phooey. There is no overstating his contributions to cinema, and to such enduring stars of family entertainments such as ‘Shrek’ and ‘Dr. Doolittle.’ We look forward to watching him re-imagine yet another classic character.”
This could not be farther from the truth. Eddie Murphy is no Scatman Cruthers, I can tell you that.
Now if they had Will Smith do the voice, that would be something else entirely.
Have you seen the A&E show Storage Wars? It's a lot like Pawn Stars and American Pickers, except in this case, treasure hunting entrepreneurs bid on the contents of abandoned storage lockers, without knowing what's in them. Sometimes they find something cool, but mostly it's a lot of crap...old shoes, sporting equipment, hangers. But sometimes it's pay dirt...antiques, vintage guitars, or baseball cards.
Now all those shows like that have several things in common: ridicule, drama, and surprise.
I have an idea for a new show that I think will be a huge hit. It has all of those elements...and more.
DRY CLEANER WARS!
First off, this show will offer the viewer a chance to ridicule and feel better than the person on the show.
VEWER: "They're paying money to get THAT cleaned? That is the most hideous dress I've ever seen....He spilled yellow mustard on that shirt!Â Any discriminating person knows the only appropriate condiment is grey poupon."
The element of drama could be demonstrated in several ways.
For example, this scenario:
CUSTOMER: "Look at this nasty wine stain on my grandma's wedding dress. Can you get it out?"
DRY CLEANER: "Ooh, that looks like it's really set in there. I don't know if there's anything we can do with that..."
CUSTOMER: "Oh, you've got to help me...I'm desperate."
ANNOUNCER: "Will that wine stain come out? Will Rebecca be able to face her family ever again? Find out, right after this."
You can feel the tension, I know you can.
But what about surprise? How can we be surprised at the dry cleaner?
That's easy..all we have to do is dump out the pockets.Â "Eww, what the heck is that? I've never seen anything like it!Â What is it? We'll tell you, right after this."
And once this show takes off, which I'm sure it will, I've already got a spin-off idea.
CELEBRITY DRY CLEANER WARS.Dry Cleaner Wars, Celebrity Dry Cleaner Wars, copyright 2011, Kitty Dunn Enterprises.
Pip pip, cheerio!
Cheerios Cereal turns 70 this year, so they're getting some free birthday publicity. I figure I might as well add to that.
I wasn't real surprised when I learned that one out of every 8 cereal boxes sold contains Cheerios, because there are just so many different flavors of Cheerios to choose from these days. I was never a fan of the original Cheerios, because they didn't have nearly enough sugar. But now I'm a fan..especially of the chocolate, fruity, multi-grain, and apple cinnamon varieties.
Some of the old Cheerios commercials were great. One that sticks in my mind had a jingle that went like this:
"Gonna start the day the bright way, the bold way, the get up and go way, gotta get a bowl of them oats. Get a pow, pow, powerful good, good feelin' with with Cheer-cheer-cheerios."
I was hoping to find that commercial on youtube so I could share it with you, but to no avail. But I did find this one which is humorous, although before my time. Enjoy.
Summer was a different when I was a kid.
I wasn't shuttled from one organized activity to the next. I wasn't imprisoned in some kind of certified summer program that promised me enrichment in any way.
I did take a few classes..the random art program, guitar lesson, or swimming lesson.Â But for the most part the kids in my neighborhood were allowed to go where we pleased, just as long as we checked in for meals and came home when the street lights came on.
We were allowed to walk to the pool (called the Munici-pool) in Stevens Point, with no adults present. Sometimes there would be a group of 6 or 7 of us, with the oldest kid probably no older than 11 or 12.
A couple of times a week we'd wander over to a nearby grade school for what we called "Playground School" run by the local recreation department, where college age kids taught us crafts or organized a game of Duck Duck Goose or Monkey in the Middle. There was no signing up for playground school. No fees, no permission slips, no forms indicating emergency contact numbers.Â That' s where I learned to play Nok-Hockey and Caroms. It was a blast!
Sometimes my friends and I would just ride our bikes somewhere far away (okay a mile or two) like the "underpass," and we'd eat a lunch we packed on Reserve Street, under Highway 51.
I understand that it's a different world these days and that kids can't just roam free. But that makes me sad.
I'll admit I don't understand the intricacies of the court ruling made yesterday that allowed that union-busting bill to move forward and become law. But here's what it seems like to me..there is a law that says that governments must give adequate notice when they're going to make laws or set public policy..but that the state legislature doesn't have to follow that law.
That seems like dangerous territory to me, and I'm concerned this could lead to even more power grabs by the state legislature.
Here are some of the things we can look forward to in the not-so-distant future.
1. All Democratic lawmakers will be required to wear monitoring bracelets so they can easily be located and be brought to the capitol at any time. That way they can be ignored by Republicans who are "doing what's best for the state of Wisconsin."
2. Any one caught rolling their eyes during a legislative hearing or floor session will be immediately shot.
3. Gov. Walker will ask for federal money to build a playground outside the capitol. That way when lawmakers are on recess..they're actually experiencing recess. Democrats will never be allowed to use the teeter totter or the tether ball.
4. In order to save money needed to implement the Voter ID law, henceforth all elections will be canceled, and the current lawmakers will be lawmakers-for-life.
5. The state motto will be changed to "Suck It, Middle Class."
I had a great time at Ride the Drive on Sunday. Not only was it especially good for the spirit to wheel down roadways that are usually filled with cars, it was also fun to see all the different types of bikes..from all different eras..that were tooling around.
Not only did I see a bicycle that seemed to have bowling balls for tires... I also saw a lot of cool old vintage bikes...including Schwinn Sting Rays. Now maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I don't think I saw any one doing wheelies. Maybe that's because they didn't have an official Wham-O Wheelie bar!
Check out this video to see a great old school commercial, and some pretty awesome bikes.
I was watching TV the other night when I saw a commercial for a new type of makeup being offered by L'Oreal. It's called Magic Smooth Souffle.
Makes you kind of hungry, doesn't it? Now I've heard of pancake makeup, which according to Wikipedia was developed by Max Factor to deal with the harsh lighting used in Technicolor movies. (It was actually called Pan-Cake makeup, and had nothing to do with flapjacks).
Back to souffle makeup. I imagine that the marketing geniuses who work at L'Oreal were sitting around brainstorming ideas when somebody said.."every one knows about pancake makeup..if we made it lighter and smoother it could be Souffle Makeup." And some one said "You've got it!" And the rest is history.
The L'Oreal website says this particular foundation is "versatile enough to beautify any skin type!" Impressive, isn't it?
This is so fascinating to me that I've come up with some more ideas for the folks at L'Oreal.
Waffle Makeup: "what you wear when you can't make up your mind."Chocolate Chip Pancake Makeup: "to bring back the youthful feeling of adolescent blemishes."Three Cheese Omelet Makeup: "for those days when you literally want to have egg on your face."
It seems PBS is always running specials about cool roadside attractions..like a bakery that's shaped like a giant donut, or motels in cabins that look like teepees.
Since it's almost time for summer vacation, I thought I'd look into what Wisconsin has to offer..and I found there's a lot out there worth exploring.
I could head up to theÂ Duluth area to meet a man who works at a landfill and has made a really huge ball of twine. (Lake Negagamon to be exact).
Birnamwood, Wisconsin boasts the World's Largest Badger. Actually, it's just a badger head and it's outside a strip club, The Northern Exposure Gentlemen's Club. What? They couldn't find a beaver?
But I think they first place I'll venture is Delavan, where a lot of circus troupes used to spend the winter back in days gone by. Not only do they have a giant fiberglass giraffe..they also have a huge rampaging animal. According to legend, Romeo The Killer Elephant knocked off five people within 15 years, including one he impaled on his tusk. And he once escaped his barn and terrorized the countryside for three days!
Actually, no one knows for sure if this really happened, but it does sound like a good excuse for a road trip.
My car gets pretty good gas mileage..who wants to join me?
Find out more about Wisconsin roadside attractions here.
With Oprah signing off from her daytime show today, I feel a little like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. "Where shall I go? WhatÂ shall I do?" But instead, I'll say "What shall I read?"
I never really could afford to buy any of "Oprah's favorite things." Jeans for $400? AÂ $200 towel? I don't think so.
But I did read a lot of the Oprah book selections. She (or her staff) really seemed toÂ like the same kind of books.
I just looked atÂ The Complete List ofÂ Oprah's Book Selections, and found I didÂ read quite a few of them in the early years..before she switched to classics by Tolstoy and Faulkner. I managed to avoid having to read themÂ in school, I wasn't about to start now.
IÂ thought it was great that writers with Wisconsin connections got to be Oprah picks (Jane Hamilton, Jackie Mitchard, David Wroblewski). But the booksÂ I loved the most were the onesÂ that wereÂ about people who were a little twisted.
My favorites were the two by Wally Lamb--I KnowÂ This Much Is True, and She's Come Undone, but I also really liked The Poisonwood Bible, White Oleander, Where the Heart Is, Back Roads, and Gap Creek. Â
So now I have one thing to ask you. Read any good books lately?
It will be just like Lord of the Rings, but with candy!
And, no, I'm not making this up. Universal is developing a movieÂ based on the Candyland kids' board game, to be written by Ethan Cohen, who wrote Tropic Thunder and Sherlock Holmes.
I can see it now..Betty White as Gramma Nutt and Johnny Depp as the Duke of Swirl.
Most adults really hate this board game because, well, it's stupid, and it takes forever to play.
I hope those qualities don't transfer over to the movie. Because for one thing, you'd get almost to the end, and then it would start over at the beginning! Aargh!
I hope this is not a new trend in movies, with more and more being made based on board games.
I really don't need to see a 3-D version of Operation with a real-life Cavity Sam splayed out for examination. "Take out wrenched ankle." Ewww.
Battling Tops would just make my head spin. And Trouble or Headache could be interesting. But who would they get to play the Pop-o-matic Dice?
I think maybe the powesr at be in Hollywood should go back to what they're so good at doing. Making movies out of old TV shows. You know, they still haven't made "F-Troop: The Movie."
Did you hear about Mick Jagger's new supergroup? He says he's been in the recording studio making an album with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, and some guy from India who does film scores. Their name? Super Heavy.
Mick says they did a lot of improvising and jamming, and that he plays a lot of harmonica.
Can't say I'm super-excited about this idea.
A lot of supergroups aren't all that super. RememberAsia? Blind Faith had some good moments, but never was as great as the sum of their parts. The only one that I can really say is deserving of that title is Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
With that in mind, I decided to do a little brainstorming and come up with some more supergroups that will be at least on the level of Mick's new band.
Justin Bieber (vocals),Â Alejandro Escovedo (guitar), Jermaine Jackson (bass) and Lars Ulrich (drums).
Sheena Easton (vocals), Elliot Easton (guitar), Geddy Lee (bass)Â and Sheila E., (drums).
Jon Anderson (vocals), Ian Anderson (flute), Tommy Shaw (guitar), Noel Gallagher (bass), and Ringo (drums).
My next task? Coming up with names for these awesome combos I have created. Here's what I have so far..Super Crazy, Super Stupid, and Super Awesome. Feel free to mix and match.
More about Mick's supergroup here.
So tomorrow's the so-called Rapture, when all the good people that God loves will be taken away and the rest of us will be left here to deal with a nightmarish world of plague and pestilence.
For some reason the song "Eve of Destruction" popped into my head, so I thought I'd stick it into yours as well!
This song was a hit for Barry McGuire in the 60's and is about the Vietnam war. The guy who wrote it, PF Sloane, also wrote "Secret Agent Man" for Johnny Rivers and "A Must to Avoid" for Herman's Hermits.
Which reminds me...wouldn't it be hell on earth if Herman's Hermits were the fab gear band that brought us the British Invasion? Imagine for a moment "Hermit-Mania."
I know I'm digressing, but I wanted to get that point in here, in case this is my LAST BLOG EVER.
Here's a recent video of Barry McGuire doing his hit song. It may be the last song you ever hear.
Happy Birthday to Bluesman extraordinaire Taj Mahal!
Henry St. Clair Fredericks was born on today's date in 1942..so I guess that would make him 69 years old. I've had the opportunity to see him many times..probably the best performance was at Summerfest in the late '90s, when the Potawatomi Stage was still a big old tent.
One of the first Taj Mahal songs I remember hearing was "Take A Giant Step," which was on a Taj Mahal album that came out in 1969. Admittedly, I don't think I heard it until somewhere in the 1980s when I was exposed to radio a bit more adventurous than they had in Stevens Point.
I liked the slow blues deliver on that song, and it took me quite a few listens before I realized that it was same song the Monkees included on their debut album, and album I listened to over and over and over again as a child. It's a song that was written by Jerry Goffin and Carole King, and the two versions are very different.
I thought you might appreciate a chance to listen to both versions back to back.
Homeland security officials and other U.S. government types have been combing through lots of documentsÂ seized from Osama Bin Laden's compound, including his personal journals. Now a lot of this is really important classified information. But some of it'sÂ kind of mundane.
Here are some excerpts which were released to me by a super top secret source at the Pentagon.
Dear Diary:Hot and muggy today. Stayed inside. Watched LaVerne and Shirley on the VCR. That Squiggy is so funny.Hello again diary,How are you today? My day was pretty dull. Hung out with the wives, did the Sudoku. Got to keep the mind fresh you know.Dear Diary,What's up? Today I did some plotting against evil Americans. Then I had a bowl of pudding.Dear Diary,Tried to tape another message to America today. But you'll never guess what happened? We did the whole thing before we realized we were out of videotape! Every one thought I would be mad but I just laughed and laughed. Guess we'll try again tomorrow.
With Mother's Day coming up I thought I'd come up with a nice little list of the best mom songs out there. Funny, it sure seems like there are a lot more mom songs that would NOT be appropriate in one of those Hallmark singing greeting cards.
Here are the top 5:
1. Mother by Pink Floyd. Any song that starts out "Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls" should not be included in a musical card and opened at brunch with the family.
2. Mother by John Lennon. "I wanted you, you didn't want me." This song came from Lennon's primal scream period and let's just say he had some issues.
3. Mother's Little Helper by the Rolling Stones. It's got a good beat and it's easy to dance to...but it doesn't paint the best picture of traditional housewives and moms...or the pharmaceutical industry.
4. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama by Frank Zappa. No further explanation necessary.
5. Motorcycle Mama by Sailcat. Actually this song is just stupid (but it may bring back memories)."We'll see the world through my Harley." This is a true one-hit wonder from 1972. As in, "wonder why this was ever a hit."
I've been known to lament the fact that I was born too late to be a hippie during the 1960's and early 1970's. I liked flashing the peace sign, protesting wars, and keeping the man off my back.
Too bad nobody really pays attention to you when you're 10.
I'm trying to show off my hippie mystique in this photograph, with a vest crocheted by my mom. Check out those fringes! And I was trying so hard to be cool with that bottle of beer in my hand and cigarette in my mouth.
It was hard enough to look hip with those snazzy plaid pants..and then my brother John jumps in with a photo bomb!
And no matter how much I would have liked it, the family dining room was no Haight Ashbury.
My co-host Jonathan is giddy with excitement about the royal wedding. Some people think he's making that up when he oozes with exuberance, or that he's at least exaggerating for the purposes of our little radio show.
If anything, he is toning it down!
If I'm interested at all in the wedding of William & Kate, it's from a sociological perspective. I'm fascinated by all the CRAP, I mean souvenirs, you can buy to commemorate the occasion.
And I'm really surprised that even the canine world is getting caught up in the frenzy.
You've got to be kidding me. I don't think any self-respecting pooch would be caught dead in this collar!
Rummage sale season is upon us once more, and I've got that itch to get back out there and find some bargains.
Hopefully the bargains I find won't take up too much space. Over the years I've found a lot of great stuff to add to my collection of toys and games and other retro nonsense, and I'm already running out room.
Several years ago I gathered a representative sample of my treasures and set them up on the kitchen table for a photo opp. As you can see there's quite a bit of stuff..and most of it is pretty darn awesome.
So what do you think? Should I go out and look for more, or quit while I've still got space to move?
If you'd like to see this picture in more glorious detail, click on it!
Back in the day, my dad and I used to enjoy going out for fish fries when I'd head up to Stevens Point for a visit.
Now my love for fish, folded up slices of buttered rye bread, french fries and coleslaw was so great that I put aside the potential embarrassment of going out to a business establishment with a dad who liked to tell it like it is, and also liked to shamelessly flirt with the waitresses.
One Good Friday we headed out to the Moose lodge for a cheap tasty dinner. What's this? Entertainment? At no extra charge? It was a little old lady playing Easter songs on a Wurlitzer organ.
Now keep in mind, there really aren't a lot of Easter songs. How many can you think of?
That's okay. I'll wait.
Okay..there's Easter Parade, and Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Yup. Those are the only two songs this lady knew. And she played them over and over.
So that's the backdrop of the really amusing part of this. There was another elderly lady walking around selling chances on an Easter basket full of goodies. And she couldn't seem to remember which people she'd asked and which she hadn't. So that meant she kept coming back around.
"Would you like to buy a raffle ticket for this wonderful Easter basket?"Â We'd politely say "no thank you."
Probably the fourth or fifth time around my dad couldn't take it any more.
"I'M DIABETIC!" he screamed at the woman.
She remembered him the next time she passed by her table.
When Earth Day rolls around each year, it always reminds me of that 1970's public service announcement featuring the crying Indian.
It also reminds me of the movie Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, but that's another point entirely.
I was watching this PSA and listening to the voice-over at the end, when I decided it needed a revision. It says "people start pollution, people can stop it."
Here's what I prefer. "Corporations stop pollution, corporations should stop it."
What do you think?
I did it! I got my new car...and I love it. It's the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
Jonathan Suttin drove me over the Zimbrick Eastside to pick it up, and he said it was too nice of a car for me! I beg to differ.
I want to tell you I loved this car the first time I took a test drive. The brochure says "It's a shape inspired by nature, and refined by science." I just say it's a SWEET lookin' car, which also happened to get fantastic mileage, is fun to drive and was right in my price range. And every one I met at Zimbrick Eastside was incredibly nice, and were great at giving me the information I need. I have high praise for Gerald Ayers, who really made sure this was the car I wanted, answered all my questions, and really made the whole process fun. Car buying fun? At Zimbrick Eastside it sure is!
Admittedly, I was a little sad to see my old car go (we'd been together for 12 years!) But it didn't take long for me to get over the heartbreak.
I love the way it handles..how quiet it is..and I really like the color. It's kind of like a chameleon car...it changes color depending on the lighting. Sometime's it's silver, other times it's a purple color that's almost periwinkle. (Officially, it's called sky blue metallic).
I wonder if it's kind of like a mood ring..changing with my moods? I'll keep you posted on that.
A new study suggests that if you hurt yourself, you'll feel less pain if you swear a blue streak.
Here's the kicker..the study done at Keele University in the UK says this pain- killing method works best if you aren't a potty mouth on a regular basis.
Here's how they did the study--volunteers were told to plunge their arm into icy water..and the ones that were told to swear were able to keep their arm submerged longer than those were told to say a more innocuous word. And the volunteers who didn't regularly swear were able to keep their arm in the longest.
While this story is interesting to me on its own, it also brings up the first time I ever swore. I don't think I actually remember this happening, but my mom liked to tell the story. I had a lower drawer in the kitchen where I kept a variety of small toys..mostly prizes from cereal boxes. One day I accidentally slammed my finger in the drawer and shouted.. not one bad word but a string of them. "G.D...son of a bitch!"
My mom's reaction? She laughed hysterically and said "at least you used it in proper context."
And now I know that since I wasn't a regular swearer...at least back then...my pain probably went away instantly!
As you may have heard, I'm getting a new car very soon. So that meant I had to clean out my old one. Jonathan was very shocked at how much crap...I mean valuable treasures...I had in my vehicle.
So I thought I would show you! I threw it all on the kitchen floor and took a picture.
Some of the things I found included
17 pens and pencils (only 4 of them didn't work)
17 cassette tapes (including The Big Chill Soundtrack, Cracker Kerosene Hat, The Refreshments Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy,Â and some that I accidentally erased with a magnet)
X-Files Promotional mirror
Assorted Triple M Stickers
4 Triple M Sampler CD"s
One Triple M nametag
One St. Patrick's Day hat
Two strings of mardi gras beads
One ice scraper and one snow brush
Two car wash tokens for a place that's out of business
Three bottle openers (never can be too prepared)
One pizza cutter (brand new)
One first aid kit
and last but not least....one marble.
Did you hear about the new reality show on TLC? It's called "Extreme Couponing"?
I am not making that up. It's a 12 week series focusing on people who go over the top when it comes to clipping coupons and saving money.Â Like a woman who got 646 dollars worth of groceries for 6 bucks.
Am I jealous of these people? Yes, yes I am. I am a bit of a coupon queen myself. I love the Bucky Book, www.mymadisonperks.com, and clipping coupons from the Sunday paper.Â If the coupons are particularly good, I have been known to go buy an extra paper.
But I think the most I've ever saved was about 6 bucks on a $30 order. And most of my coupons wind up expiring on my purse or in some pile on the kitchen counter before I ever get the chance to use them.
I am a believer in "Coupon Karma." That's when I realize I have a coupon that's about to expire and know I'm not going to use it. I'll leave the coupon on the store shelf next to the item to surprise another shopper.
Hey...I've got it. How about a new show called "Coupon Karma"? It would be kind of like "My Name is Earl," but instead of trying to right past wrongs to improve karma, people have to go into stores and stealthily hide coupons.Â Imagine the joy on the unsuspecting customer's face when they get to unexpectedly save 50 cents on Suave shampoo!
I think that show would be perfect for the Oprah's new network, don't you?
Have you ever heard of a sugar glider?
I hadn't heard of one until I saw that some one is looking for one on Madison freecycle.com website.
They're tiny little marsupials that are native to Australia and supposedly they're the next hot pet.Â But after reading up on them a bit, I have no idea why any one would want them.
They're nocturnal, and noisy all night long. You can't feed them typical pet food..they love grubs and mealworms. (Don't you want a Tupperware container full of mealworms next to the parmesan in your fridge?)
Plus, they're smelly. If you have them outside the cage so you can enjoy them gliding from couch to chair to table they will probably leave their mark, so to speak. And they bite.
Oh by the way..the Madison guy who wants oneÂ says it's because he says he and his girlfriend are looking to acquire one.Â Now that's a strange way to show you care.
Here's the text of the news release we received regarding proposed changes at the Farmer's Market.
For immediate release
April 1, 2011
The Dane County Farmers Market opens its outdoor season April 16th, and a local group is announcing an effort to make sure it's as peaceful as it has been for the past three decades.
Concerned about possible conflicts due to the ongoing budget crisis, The Coalition for a Fair and Balanced Market is proposing dividing the Capitol Square, with half the market designated for supporters of the Governor's proposal, the other half for opponents.
According to coalition president Greta Johnson, "this will assure that citizens of this state can buy locally made goods and produce without having to be concerned about getting into any heated conflict."
To make it easy for everyone, Johnson is proposing that as you approach the capitol from State Street, the left hand side will be for liberals, and the right hand side will be where the conservatives will do their shopping.
For more information, click here.
Now I know Fab Four merchandising goes way back to the early days of Beatlemania.Â And I own my share of Beatle ephemera and doo-dads.
But I had to shrug when I saw the latest item meant to caught the eye of fans like me.
A Yellow Submarine diaper bag? Is that really necessary? Actually there are several different styles of the Yellow Submarine Diaperdude bags.Â By virtue of the manly name, I guess they are marketing them to dads.
But since most new dads weren't even born when the Beatles were still together..maybe it's Grandma and Grandpa that they're trying to entice...who'll buy these snazzy bags for their kids.Â Because I don't know too many parents who have the disposable cash to spend $88 bucks to hold their disposable diapers.
Check out all the styles here.
I have to admit, I was really getting into all the hype about the Super Moon. Armchair astronomers were getting starry-eyed about the Super Perigee Moon Saturday night. With the moon the closest to Earth in nearly 20 years it was supposed to be big and bright and spectacular.
Now I'm already a fan of what I like to call "Big Ass Moons," so I was pretty psyched.Â Mike and I looked for the perfect spot to watch for it to rise in the east.
"There it is!" he shouted. And it was...okay. Really no big deal. Nothing to go over the moon about. I know I've seen bigger brighter moons than that in the last few years. It did make a cute little reflection in the water though.
Apparently it looked better in other places on the globe.
Here are the fine photos I shot with my 8.1 megapixel Kodak Easy Share camera. Don't look directly at them or you might go blind.
I like to call this one "Long Exposure, No Tripod."
Random thoughts for March 17th
*The Guiness Extra Stout we get in the United States is brewed in Canada
*Elvis Costello is not Irish, but should be. His real name is Declan Patrick McManus
*Not all Irish luck is good.
*Shamrocks do not have four leaves. A 4-leaf clover and a shamrock are NOT the same thing.
*If you're going to serve green beer, adding a drop of food coloring to a glass of beer does not have the same festive spirit as coloring the whole barrel.
*May the road rise up to meet you, and may you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead. I don't know if daylight saving time somehow interferes with this, but I'm suspicious.
*The little marshmallows in Lucky Charms are known as marbits.
You never know what you'll find at the Dollar Tree. That's part of the intrigue and excitement of shopping at a store where everything's $1. If you're just a casual shopper who's picking up off-brand lotion or party favors, you'll miss some truly interesting items.
Like the confection I picked up just the other day. A 2.5 ounce chocolate ballerina.
I've heard of chocolate bunnies, Santas, and even the occasional Halloween pumpkin. But why in the world would any one dream of creating a chocolate ballerina?
How did that meeting go at the chocolate factory?
BOSS: "We need to think of a way to sell our chocolate during months that don't have a holiday."
EMPLOYEE: (remembering her daughter's dance recital later that evening) I know, why not make a chocolate ballerina?"
BOSS: "THAT'S IT! And we'll sell them at the Dollar Tree! You're an absolute genius."
Well, they certainly hooked me. It was such a bargain!
But now I have a problem. Which end do I eat first..the toe shoes or the head?
Charlie Sheen has been saying some pretty crazy stuff lately, but I thought we could make boost the insanity with a little game I like to call Charlie Sheen Mad Libs.
I've taken some quotes from Mr. Sheen's recent interview with Piers Morgan and removed some of the words. Here's what you have to do:Â ask some one else for the corresponding parts of speech and then fill in the blanks. When you read the new sentence, hilarity will possibly ensue!
CHARLIE SHEEN MAD LIBS
âItâs been a (NOUN_______) of media. And Iâve been riding it on a (ADJECTIVE) surfboard.
âThat doesnât matter. That was an (ADJECTIVE________) brain. I have a new brain. I have a 10,000-year-old brain and the (PLURAL NOUN________) of a seven-year-old."
âIn their opinion, in their (ADJECTIVE___________) research, pink (_______PLURAL NOUN) have to go away. Canât you spin on a (ADJECTIVE_________) cloud your whole life, and just be super (ADJECTIVE___________) and focused?â
You know what..the real quotes are probably funnier. Here they are, in all their messed up glory.
âItâs been a tsunami of media. And Iâve been riding it on a mercury surfboard.
âThat doesnât matter. That was an old brain. I have a new brain. I have a 10,000-year-old brain and the boogers of a seven-year-old."
âIn their opinion, in their vast research, pink clouds have to go away. Canât you spin on a pink cloud your whole life, and just be super bitching and focused?â
With everything that's going on in Madison, you might be tempted to go all Charlie Sheen on us...but I hope we can all somehow manage to maintain our grip on reality.
So in that spirit, I've got some things that we can be happy about.
1. Shamrock shakes at McDonalds. Even though they are not made from shamrocks.
2. Spring is coming. I'm pretty sure the governor can't cancel that.
3. Puppies. Click here to check out The Puppy Channel!
5. Music...whether it's a protest song or a favorite tune that just helps you want to go on living, music can be a great healer.
With crank phone calls in the news this week, I've been reflecting on some of the excellent calls I made back in my younger days.
Most kids resort to calling and asking for Prince Albert in a can..or come up with something worn out like "is your refrigerator running?"
Mine may have been even more stupid.
"Excuse me, but what kind of peanut butter do you use?" (The response was "the same kind the Dunns use." My friend dialed his own house and his sister answered the phone and recognized my voice.)
Another time a friend and I called a house where we knew a bunch of the children. When a boy answered we sang "we'll have a blue Christmas without you."
And we even called a really old guy named Henry Winkler whose name we found in the phone book... and imitated the Fonz.
I guess we weren't really ready to be political commandos.
Time Magazine has come out with a list of the most influential toys, by decade, dating back to the 1920's. I'm not sure what they mean by "influential," but the list is fun to look at.
It does say that fake vomit was one of the most influential toys of the 1950's. I can't say I was influenced by this item, but do remember admiring it in the glass case next to the fake dog poop at the Moon Fun Shop in downtown Stevens Point.
Here's the list from the 1960's.
* Etch A Sketch
* Slip 'n Slide
* Chatter Telephone
* G.I. Joe
* Easy-Bake Oven
* Creepy Crawlers
* Rock'em Sock'em Robots
* Johnny Seven O.M.A.
* See 'n Say
* Barrel of Monkeys
* Radio-Controlled Car
* Hot Wheels
* Flatsy Doll
* Barbie's Dream House
(See the whole list here.)
I don't think I was influenced by any of those toys, but do know I coveted many of them. While I never had an Easy-Bake oven or Creepy Crawlers, IÂ wasn't that deprived..I did have some Hot Wheels, Barrel of Monkeys, SuperBalls and Flatsy dolls.
But there is one glaring omission from that list. If you are girl who was a kid in the 1960's...you've probably spent the rest of you life looking for your Mystery Date. Is he a dream, or a dud?
I always said I liked the duds better..just to be edgy.
With the circus coming to town this weekend, I thought I'd do a little searching of my memory banks to determine when I started getting creeped out by clowns.
On a 1-10 scale of clown aversion (10 being an all-out panic attack with possible fainting), I'd say I fall at around a 3.
When I was young, I actually thought clowns were a different race of people that were born that way. I got this idea from a children's book that featured all kinds of clowns..including babies and children.Â So I wasn't afraid of them then.
I also liked to watch Bozo's Circus, and was a big fan of Bozo and his friend Cooky.
I don't think it was until that dreaded Poltergeist movie that I started getting the heebie jeebies from them..and I think that's also around the time the pop culture world starting talking more and more about the fear of clowns.
I'm also afraid of new housing developments that are built on top of cemeteries, but maybe that's just me.
For some reason, most people can name at least one celebrity they share a birthday with, and they take pride in that.
Like they must also share some characteristics with that person by virtue of the day they were born.
For example, my boyfriend Mike shares a birthday with Thomas Jefferson. He was pretty cool aside from all that slavery stuff. Another friend shares a birthday with Duane Allman. Now that's impressive.
If you were born today, you share a birthday with Sheryl Crow, which is kinda neat.Â But you probably don't want any one to know you also share a birthday with Jeb Bush.
My birthday is Sunday. I've always felt a little ripped off in the shared birthday department. I've got Peter Gabriel (okay, he's not so bad), and another Peter--Peter Tork of the Monkees.
But do I share my birthday with any one that's not named Peter? So I did a little online research.
I also share a birthday with Chuck Yeager and football bad boy Randy Moss. (Oh no!)
What's this? I share a birthday with Tennessee Ernie Ford? That's awesome! I think that means I should get 16 Tons of birthday cake....
Did you hear Bristol Palin's penning her memoirs? Unbelievable, right?
What took her so long?Â She's lived two decades already, with more than two of them in the public eye. The world has been clamoring to know more about Bristol Palin's life, and now it looks like we'll get our wish this summer.
You may have not been aware of this fact, but I have some connections in the publishing world. I made some calls,Â and I got a little sneak peak at the outline for Bristol's book. She hasn't finished it yet, but is said to be furiously scribbling.
Working Title: Mama Grizzly's Baby Bares AllChapter One:Â My parents almost name me Myers-Squibb. Chapter Four:Â Show and tell goes horribly wrong
Chapter Seven:Â Boys are so DREAMY! X O X OChapter Eight:Â Shopping for Two! To Baby Gap and Beyond
Chapter Nine: Leave Me Alone. Now Look at Me!
I know that a lot of people are reporting wild adventures and close calls following the Snowmageddon we just went through over the past couple of days.
But I thought I would share my harrowing tale anyway.
Mike has a Jeep and in the past has had no trouble making it through anything the Abominable Snowman could throw at us. But this time it wasn't easy for him to get across the Great Wall of China that plow crews left at the bottom of our driveway. Finally he was successful and we were on our way. The two miles to the radio station were spent in silence, as we worried if would ever make it to our destination on Ganser Way. I must admit, thoughts of the Donner party came to mind.
When we got to Mineral Point Road, things were looking up, but the turn at D'Onofrio had not seen a plow. "No worries," I said to Mike, as I jumped out of the Jeep to walk the marathon distance of a block and a half to the station.
I managed to walk in the tire trails of some other brave soul, and thought I would soon arrive at the station. Then my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw a barrier much higher than the Great Wall in our driveway. The snow was too soft to walk on, so I had no choice but to roll over the mountain onto the area that had been plowed by the crew digging out our parking lot.
Though my fall wasn't graceful, it was successful. I was covered head to toe in snow, and for the most part unscathed, except for the SNOW IN MY PURSE.
I'll give you a moment to contemplate the gravity of this situation.
Okay, now my story resumes.
Though disheartened, I managed to make my way through the parking lot and up the snowy stepsÂ into the station to begin another broadcast day.
And then I lost my voice.
Sometimes life just isn't fair.
I'm a Packer fan, but my love for the Packers is apparently miniscule compared to some of you folks. For example, I would never paint my house green and gold.
I've seen numerous "Packer houses" over the years, and I believe even some Packer barns. Just doing a quick google images search brought up quite a few, including one right here in Madison! This house is so outlandish...I mean..awesome... it's featured on the website roadsideamerica.com.
Then there's a guy with way too much money who bought a house in Green Bay right across from Lambeau Field. He gutted the place so he has a wall of windows overlooking the stadium. It also has a lot of Packer accessories that put your little bobblehead collection to shame. (Read more about it here).
I bet you don't have a urinal like this at your house. Or do you?
Packer fans sure have come a long way since the days of "The Pack Is Back" bumper stickers and those little green and gold styrofoam balls you put on your car's antenna.
Oh and one more thing.
An Apollo 12 astronaut is in need of some cash..so he's selling an item that illegally made a space flight.Â It's a picture of a Playboy playmate that was tacked inside a locker and crew member Richard Gordon has held onto it all these years, and is now putting it on the auction block.
Some other items that made it onto space craft illegally include a corned beef sandwich and a harmonica.
So that got me to thinking--what would I smuggle onto a spaceship if I had the chance. Here are a few of my ideas.
1) Mork from Ork. It's time to get my vintage doll from the 70s show Mork & Mindy a little closer to his home planet. Nanu Nanu!
2)Pop Rocks. What this fizzin' poppin' candy might do at zero gravity boggles the mind!
3)Woody from Toy Story. He'd be a "Space Cowboy."
4)Pigs in a blanket. Then it would be "Pigs in a blanket in space!!!!!" (Muppet show reference.)
5)Diet Mountain Dew. Because I'm no good if I don't get my caffeine in the morning. Besides, Tang sucks.
Snowy days make me think if of warming up with a nice cup of hot cocoa.Â Nowadays every one seem to call it hot chocolate, but cocoa seems, well, cocoa-cozier!
When I was a kid my mom would warm milk on the stove and mix in chocolate and sugar..or a few teaspoons of Nestle's Quik. This is back in the olden days when "just add water" was a new and frightening concept.
Frightening? Yes. For a couple of reasons. First--it's easier to be tempted to drink the stuff too soon after adding the boiling water, and that'll burn off your taste buds faster than you can say "mini-marshmallow."
Secondly,Â Swiss Miss was a little bit creepy. Not quite Mrs. Butterworth-creepy, but creepy just the same.
Enjoy your hot cocoa everybody. And I won't tell any one if you add a shot of Kahlua.
"How are you so perky and wide awake every morning?"
I have been asked that quite a few times over the years. (I've been waking you up on Triple M for 18 years this week..that's right..when the first George Bush was wrapping up his presidency!)
So how am I so damn perky? First of all I don't like to think of myself as "perky," but I really don't know what the secret is. I'm usually dead tired, but when the microphone goes on, something clicks in my head..and "it's showtime, blah blah blah."
Even I am irritated at over-the-top perkiness. Like the insanity that's featured in this Pop Tarts commercial I have seen every morning this week.
If you don't mind PERKINESS..that is covered with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, watch it once or twice. Sorry if it gets stuck in your head. "Pop Tarts are the bomb!"
A lot of excitement has been generated about the launch of Oprah Winfrey's new TV network (OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network). She's got a bunch of new shows and some look interesting..I'm always a sucker for shows about miracles (The Miracle Detectives), shows about kids (Kidnapped by the Kids), and of course, Dr. Phil.
Oprah loves to inspire people, and even though I haven't watched OWN yet, I have already been inspired. I am going to create my own TV network. Unfortunately, my initials aren't as perfectly suited for this purpose, but that's not stopping me.
Over the next few weeks, I will be unveiling some of the original programming that will appear on my network. I'm really excited about the first show on the docket.
Sponge: this is a one hour science/social experiment show. On each episode a different sponge will be featured. Sometimes it will be a kitchen sponge, other times it might be one that's used elsewhere in the home, or for industrial purposes. Top scientists will analyze the bacteria content, which also be shown to the viewer, CSI style.
I know, I know. You say "that's been done."Â But here's where it gets really exciting.Â We compare and contrast the germy sponge with actual living sponges, such as grown men who won't move out of their mother's home and just spend all day playing video games.
If you know some one who we should feature on this program, please comment on this blog, and I'll follow up with you shortly.
Most of us make New Year's resolutions, and most of us don't keep them. In fact, 97 percent of us know damn well we won't keep them before we even make them. (Like cutting down on non-essential swearing...$*#! I already blew that one).
Okay, time to get down to it. Here are my New Year's resolutions, which I'm fairly certain I will keep.
1. Cut down on television watching, especially soap operas like As The World Turns and Guiding Light.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Do marshmallows count?
3. Cut down on processed foods and eat more whole grains. Where can I get me some whole wheat donuts? (And sprinkles are good for you, right?)
4. Walk more steps each day, not just the 20 steps between the couch and the fridge.
5. Move couch to other side of living room.
I think these resolutions are all realistic and do-able. What do you think?
It suddenly occurred to me. I must have slept through 2010. An entire year has gone by and I missed it?
It may have appeared that I was awake....I know the alarm went off really early most days and I managed to make it into work and talk on the radio.
But there's some pretty convincing evidence that leads me to believe otherwise, especially as I look at some of the end of the year lists that have been coming out in recent days.
EVIDENCE THAT KITTY IS REALLY RIP VAN WINKLE and slept through 2010.
1. She can not name a single Justin Bieber song.
2. She did not see Avatar, and when she thinks of blue creatures, she pictures the Smurfs.
3. She thinks that Gilligan was somehow involved in the series finale of Lost.
4. Want to buy a vuvuzela? Kitty sends to you Red Letter News.
5. She still thinks Barack Obama is popular.
She does have a vague memory of something really bad happening in the Gulf of Mexico and some elections with confounding results, but is pretty sure those were just really bad dreams. They were just bad dreams...weren't they?
It's been a year since Bob Dylan came out with a Christmas record. A year since we all first wondered what he was thinking, as he's gone back to his Jewish roots.
It's also been a year since we heard this great holiday tune, and got to watch this completely bizarre video.
The song's actually been stuck in my head since then. And just in case you finally got your brain cells to release it...here it is again.
I have a few problems with holiday shopping. One is that I never really know what to get people and worry that they won't like what I do wind up choosing.
But that's not the problem I'd like to comment on today.Â A lot of times when browsing in a store or online I find something that I think is just perfect...for me. I'm not sure if this fits into that category though.
Headphones that also double as earmuffs! Now I'm not an iPod person, so I wouldn't be using these outside. I was thinking they might be good to use while I'm broadcasting on the air. Sometimes it gets very chilly in the Triple M studio! And think of how styling I would look at live remotes!
I did a little web search and found them for sale from various companies, in quite a few different knit designs. They range in price from $35.99 to $44.00. I know they look amazing...but do you think they will sound like crap?
What do you think, should I invest in some?
I don't know how I let this piece of news slip through my grasp...but apparently we can look forward to Family Circus: The Movie at some point in the future.
No, I'm not making that up. Apparently there was a bidding war among studios for the rights to the Bil Keane "classic" comic, and Fox and Walden Media were the winners.
Family Circus is not a funny comic strip and as far as I can remember has never been funny. There are two basic concepts...Billy or Jeffy or Dolly does something wrong and when Mom or Dad asks "who did it?" it turns out it was an imaginary individual named "Not Me" or "Ida Know." Unless one of those characters is played by Michael Keaton in his Beetlejuice costume I just can't see it working on the big screen.
Of course the other Family Circus standby is one of the kids has to bring his parent something and then runs all around the house and outside and to the neighbors and to the liquor store and there's a dotted line showing the path. (Did I say liquor store?)
There are cartoons I would possibly like to see on the big screen...maybe Bizarro or The Far Side, but Family Circus? That I'll only watch if the script was written by Billy, because it's Father's Day and dad needs a break.
The Charlie Brown Halloween special is on tonight--and I watch it almost every year to get me into the spirit of the holiday.
With all this talk about childhood bullying, don't you think it'sÂ time they re-edit it so Charlie Brown gets something other than a rock?
I remember trick or treating as a kid...and envy those kids whose parents actually plan a costume for their children ahead of time. Most years we just threw something together last minute, like "bum," which just demanded raggedy clothes (no shortage of them around our house) and burnt up cork to make a dirty face or 5:00 shadow. Sometimes I went as a hippy, and that wasn't very demanding either.
I do remember the year that I was fascinated with bats, and my mom sewed me a costume. She sewed black wings onto a red shirt, and crocheted a black hat and sewed little bat ears into it. Why the red shirt? She was afraid I would get hit by a car if I were dressed all in black.
Safety? Who wants to be safe on Halloween? My mother was really into safety and was also not a fan of plastic masks because she wanted me to be able to see where I was going. What? That's craziness!
And yes, I wore a winter coat on the outside of my costume more years than not.
I guess I should quit the bitching. Because we all know Halloween really is just all about the candy.
Most people who buy pumpkins use them for jack o' lanterns.Â A few reject the canned variety and make pumpkin pies from scratch.
But I'm here to present a few other ideas for those orange gourds.
You could use a pumpkin for housing, even though they don't generally have much square footage.Â Now I must make a disclaimer that I don't endorse what Peter Peter did, because I'm not sure his wife enjoyed being put and kept in a pumpkin shell. But if some one voluntarily lives in a pumpkin, that's their own business.
You could use a pumpkin for a boat. Every year UW-Madison students brave the chilly waters of Lake Mendota in the annual Pumpkin Regatta. This year's event was a couple weeks ago..so you'll have to make plans to attend next year if you'd like to see it in person.
Or you could just do what these folks did. Just don't use your own car.
So what are the hot costumes for Halloween? I'm sure that kids are all going as some character from Toy Story 3, or Dora the Explorer. But when it comes to adult costumes, it's a little trickier.
I came across a list of the top costumes, and quite of them are pop culture inspired. There's the Jet Blue flight attendant (the guy who grabbed two beers and made his escape on the inflatable slide). Wear a snappy jacket with a nametag and carry around a couple beers.
If you want to go the bimbo route, you could be Snooki or the Situation from The Jersey Shore. (Yawn). Or Lady Gaga with a dress made out of meat (beware of flies).
I can't believe I didn't see any of the Tea Party candidates on the list, but I think Ms. Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell (R-Delaware) could be an amusing costume. All you need is a wig and a pocket constitution.
I did go for a political themed costume once back in the 80s...I was Gary Hart's mistress Donna Rice. I came up with that idea when I saw my dad had a Gary Hart for President T-shirt....and with a little blonde spray hair coloring...I was good to go.Â And that's my friend Kelly..who was a pretty hot fairy godmother if you ask me.
I decided last night which team I'd like to win the World Series. I knew I didn't want the Yankees to win, because...well, they're the Yankee$$. The Texas Rangers? They used to be owned by George W. Bush. I know--they've never won a World Series, but I'm still bitter about the first eight years of this century.
So it was down to the Phillies and San Francisco. Last night I realized that the Phillies were in the series last year...because I recognized some of the players..in particular Chase Utley. I think Chase Utley is a very cool, very baseball name. They just had their chance last year, so I'm not rooting for them.
I decided I'm cheering for the San Francisco Giants after seeing who they brought out to sing the National Anthem-- the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Bob Weir (along with Jeff Perhson who's in the band Further with Weir and Lesh). Their arrangement was excellent, and they nailed the harmonies. It was very cool to see those two old hippies in Giants jerseys.
I couldn't find video of last night's anthem online...but I did find this one from Jerry Garcia Night at Giants Stadium in August (where you could get a Jerry Garcia bobblehead!) They had a Jerry Garcia night--with bobbleheads? Now I think they're even cooler.
Now I know Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is a much beloved food. I've probably eaten more than my share during my life, and most recently have become a fan of the Easy Mac, which prevents me from eating an entire box full of the cheesy good stuff in one sitting.
That's why I'm a bit afraid of a new product I saw at the grocery store yesterday. It's Kraft Macaroni and Cheese For The Grill. Apparently the idea for it did not come from the Kraft kitchens, but from an ad agency...and it's being tested in a very limited release right now.
It comes in an aluminum tray and looks like it could provide real hearty portions, and a guy from the ad agency says grilling adds a nice "smoky flavor." I don't know if it would ever replace burgers and brats, but it might be an easy way to please finicky kids without turning on the stove or microwave. (And we all know how difficult that can be).
I am concerned that this is the start of a disturbing trend. What's next--Spaghettios For the Grill? Or how about Swedish Meatballs for the Grill? Or, providing equal time for the Norwegians..Lutefisk for the Grill?
What a great fall weekend! This past weekend was Autumn Harvest Fest in the Dells...with tons of fun for the kids...and even grown-ups like me.
Of course I was beside myself with excitement at Dells on Tap, tasting micro-brews from around the state. Admittedly, I had sampled a lot of the varieties before, but did find some new tasty treats. Moosejaw Brewing Company in the Dells has a new pumpkin brew that I thought was delicious. Mike thought it was too sweet...but I thought it tasted like pumpkin pie in a glass. Believe it or not, I had never tried Point's 2012 Black Ale, which is said to be "inspired by the mystery of the Ancient Mayan round count calendar." It didn't taste too mysterious to me...but it was good, and if you enjoy a malty ale that's not bitter, I recommend it.
Another fun part of the day was getting to judge a scarecrow stuffing contest. Kids of all ages get to pick through old clothes that are provided and create interesting scarecrow characters. As always, there were some great ones!
Thanks to every one at the Wisconsin Dells Visitors Bureau for showing us such a great time!
Want to see more Autumn Harvest Fest photos? Click here!
A musician and songwriter I almost got to see this summer turns 69 today. Paul Simon is almost 70!
Yeah I'm bummed that I didn't get to see Simon and Garfunkel..but I'm glad I didn't pay more than 100 bucks to hear Artie NOT hit the high notes.
I was searching through Youtube to find an appropriate video to post, and was trying to find a clip of Paul singing "Still Crazy After All These Years" while dressed in a turkey suit on Saturday Night Live, but was unsuccessful.
I did find this video of the student section at a UW football game singing "Cecelia." I don't know why they're singing it, but I do find it to be evidence of the enduring impact of a classic songwriter.
On today's date in 1975, a new TV show called Saturday Night Live debuted on ABC.Â It was a variety show hosted by Howard Cosell.
What? Saturday Night Live was on NBC..and the host changed every week!
You're right, and you're wrong. A couple of weeks before the real Saturday Night Live debuted (just titled Saturday Night back then), Howard Cosell hosted a variety show called Saturday Night Live. It only lasted 18 weeks..and I don't remember it at all. And that's probably a good thing.
The first episode had three guests--the Bay City Rollers, Billy Crystal, and Frank Sinatra. With Howard Cosell thrown in? How could that not be entertainment gold?
I did a little research..and found out another episode featured Chita Rivera and Ted Kennedy. How awesome is that?
The director of the show Don Mischer called it "one of the greatest disasters in the history of television."Â And get this..he was offered a chance to work on the other Saturday Night show on NBC..and thought the Howard Cosell show had more of a chance!Â Oops...
I searched and searched youtube to try and find a clip to share with you..but all the tapes have probably been burned and buried under Giants Stadium.
*One more notable fact--the current SNL was just called Saturday Night until 1977 when it changed its name to Saturday Night Live.
On today's date in 1965, two classic TV shows premiered...Lost in Space and Green Acres. I started quite a lively argument about which show was better on Facebook...and thanks to that I found out about an episode of Lost In Space that I was suddenly dying to see.
Thanks to my sister-in-law Donna for turning me on to The Carrot Episode. Enjoy these clips and then go make yourself a delicious salad.
I have become a cynical person, and I blame it all on Oprah Winfrey. (I use her last name with a bit of contempt, in case you don't know of which Oprah I speak).
I'm pretty sure Oprah has made you a bit cynical too. Not sure? Take this little quiz:
How did you feel when Oprah announced she was giving everyone in her audience a trip to Australia?
A)Jealous of those lucky ducks
B)Inspired. You paid it forward and renewed your subscription to O Magazine.
C)You felt sorry for the Australians
If you answered C, you too have become cynical about Oprah, and perhaps other elements of your life as well.
For cynical people like us, it's hard to see the bright side..but there is one to this story.
She only has around 200 shows left.
I'm still out on medical leave following my August 18th spine surgery at UW-Hospital. I've been ordered to take it easy--no bending, lifting, or twisting.Â (I didn't ask but I think twist-off caps on beer are off limits too).
It's been a week since I got out of the hospital, so I've had some time toÂ contemplate my experience. And I learned a few things!
*Every one at UW Hospital was extremely nice. From the nurses, the nursing assistants, docs, residents, food service, and maintenance people, everybody was quite pleasant. But then again, I was on narcotics.
*Having small veins may look sexy, but can be problematic when it comes to I-V's. I've been scouring the internet for a vein exercises tape, to no avail. Apparently, Suzanne Somers' "Vein Masters" is long out of print.
*You don't have to tip for hospital room service. And the food is actually very good. I recommend the grilled salmon.
*I keep finding new surgical tape residue every day. And I'm convinced it will be on the planet longer than I will.
*While I was there, I did not hear Brett Favre's name mentioned once!
I'd like to thank every one who's been helping me out during this "rough patch," including my boyfriend Mike who's been doing a lot of lifting, bending, and twisting for me (and washed my hair!), all the friends who stopped by,gave me rides, brought food, gave me a call, said prayers or sent me good vibes.
And I'd also like to thank George Clooney for giving me that sponge bath. That was awesome.
Another Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival has come and gone.
Once again Mike and I had a great time...saw a lot of friends and tasted a lot of great beer. Unfortunately, we didn't take notes so we really don't have any new beers to recommend.
I did find a cool shirt (see photo) from the Point Brewery. I wonder how long it will be before Yoko finds out about it and sends a friendly little cease and desist letter.Â (I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the Beatles faces have been photoshopped out and replaced with Point Beer Conehead guys).
I also came across some beers with clever or funny names..including the following:
U.S. of Awesome (Bluegrass Brewing Company, Louisville, Kentucky)
The Bride of Frankenshandy (Brewery Creek, Mineral Point, WI)
Goggle Fogger Hefe Weizen (Fat Heads, Olmsted, OH)
Hoppy Hoppy Joy Joy (Flossmoor Station Brewery, Flossmoor, IL)
I'll Be Bock (Stonefly Brewery, Milwaukee, WI)
Mark your calendars--the next Great Taste is Saturday, August 13th, 2011.
Today is the 71st anniversary of the release of the best movie ever, The Wizard of Oz.
Okay, that designation may be subject to opinion, but if you ask my sister-in-law Donna and me, it certainly is the case.
I could go on and on about my favorite parts of the movie, share my favorite quotes, and tell you how excited I was to watch when it was on TV once a year.
But I think I've done that before. So instead I'll tell you about my Wizard of Oz puppets. When I was around 5 or 6, Spic and Span (the cleaning powder), gave away free Wizard of Oz puppets. Since they were attached to the box (and not hidden inside), my mom bought a whole bunch of boxes of the stuff so I could have a complete collection, featuring all major cast members. Toto, too? Yes, Toto, too. I thought they were awesome.
So awesome in fact that one day I thought it would be a fun idea to bury them in the back yard under the tire swing. I gave them a little funeral. (All except the Cowardly Lion who was lost in the house somewhere.) Then sometime later I decided I wanted them back. So I went to dig them up...and couldn't remember exactly where I had put them. I dug all over the place in the bare dirt under the tire swing, to no avail.
I always meant to make another try of it, but never got around to it. Now another family lives in that house..and they've fenced off the backyard, so it would require me to trespass to make another attempt.
Who's with me?
All hail the mighty Ritz cracker! A new survey suggests that the Ritz cracker is the most popular brand name snack in allÂ the land. Number two on the list? Wheat Thins.
Most popular snack among the ladies in my mom's sewing club...in the 1970's?Â That I would believe.
The study was conducted a brand research company called YouGov BrandIndex.Â Otherwise known (by me) as Nabisco, which owns both Ritz and Wheat Thins.Â Â I suspect a conspiracy!
Okay..so the rest of the list isn't all Nabisco products..the rest of the Top 10 were, in descending order: Snyder's pretzels, Rold Gold pretzels, Triscuit crackers, Doritos tortilla chips, Fritos corn chips, Sunchips multigrain chips and Cheetos cheese puffs. (Read the full story here.)
Not a single potato chip on the list! Ruffles have rrrrridges for crying out loud. And they're not on the list?Â And where are Bugles?Â And Fun-yuns and Screaming Yellow Zonkers? What about the Porkies pork rinds (made right here in Wisconsin)?
This is just not a good way to start a Monday. If that weren't bad enough, I'm going to suggest you watch this video and get this annoying jingle stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The commercial starts on a heartwarming note and then it gets you!
According to a new study, women find men sexier if they're wearing red. That's according to researchers at the University of Rochester in the most recent issue of the Journal of American Psychology. (Read the story here).
The scientists say the same thing happens in other primates, noting that chimpanzees turn red when they're trying to be Top Chimp, and that gets the lady chimps all horny.
At first I wasn't sure if I agreed..but then I remembered these hotties:
It's about frickin' time! Pac-Man is finally being inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame!
What? There's a hall of fame for video games? I had no idea. Actually, it's brand new, and it's just kind of imaginary. It's not actually a structure...it's just more of an idea. They're hoping someday to create a real building where they'll put the more than 100-thousand coin-operated and home video games.
Where are they putting it? Of course the obvious choice is Ottumwa, Iowa, a town which is apparently not satisfied with having the distinction of being the hometown of Radar O'Reilly from the TV show M*A*S*H.
Pac-Man is the first game to be inducted..at a big bash this weekend in Ottumwa, where there will also be tournaments and other geeky stuff going on.
I've never been good at video games so I probably wouldn't plan a visit there, unless of course I could get a tour from Radar (or his Uncle Ed).
More about the video game hall of fame here.
You may not be aware of this..but Brett Favre actually went to a career counselor to get help making his latest decision about retiring from football.
They asked him to fill out a little questionnaire so they could learn more about his past experience and interests. I was lucky enough to get my hands on it.
Name: Brett Lorenzo Favre
Current address: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
1. Are you satisfied with your current job?
b. Some of the time
c. Is training camp over?Â X2. Which of these best describes your current job skills?
a.Â like to use my hands
b. I like to use my head
c. I like to rely on dumb luck and hope for the bestÂ X3. How would you describe your loyalty to your current employer?
a. I can take 'em or leave 'em
b. My blood is purple through and through
c. The Chicago Bears are my favorite team!Â X
So what was Favre's career match? Either politician, vacuum cleaner salesman, or smoothie maker.
When I think of the song "Brandy" by the New Jersey band Looking Glass, I don't think of the barmaid who longs for a sailor who's first love is the sea.
I think of a dog. A golden retriever named Brandy, more specifically. There was a sweet little old lady in my neighborhood in Stevens Point who liked to take her dog Brandy for walks. She'd always approach our gang of kids hanging out at the playground and would say "Brandy just loves children."Â I think she did too!
Funny, because of the song Brandy that was out during the summer of 1972,Â I will always remember that dog's name, but I have no idea what the lovely little old lady's name was!
I didÂ little research on the song Brandy..and found it went to Number One in August of 1972...and following its release, the name Brandy went up in popularity. In 1971 it was the 353rd most popular name..and by 1973 it was the 82nd most popular name for girls in the United States. (Not sure how popular it was for dogs).
You know I had to be a little jealous when I heard about the guy who bought a bunch of Ansel Adams negatives at a yard sale for $45 and now finds out they're worth $200 million.
I've been going to yard/rummage/garage/thrift sales for years..and my problem is that I buy stuff thinking that it's worth money and then I do one of two things: 1)put it on a shelf to gather dust; or 2)put it in a box on a shelf in the basement and never look at it again.
Quite often I buy something just because I think it's a good deal and have seen similar items at antique stores for much higher prices. Sometimes these are not even things I necessarily like.
Here's a list of just some of the items...I think I still have all of these somewhere..but I'm too lazy to go through the boxes.
1. Adam-12 thermos. I don't have the matching lunchbox, but if I ever find it, then I will put them both in a box somewhere and boy will they be worth a lot of money if and when I would ever sell it.
2. Dawn dolls with carrying case. Dawn dolls came out in the early 70's and were smaller, skinnier Barbie type dolls. I spent $4 for a couple of dolls, clothes, and the case. Steal of a deal. Would you like to buy them?
3. Patty Duke Board Game. I am actually too young to remember this TV show, but can sing you the theme song. I do have this game on display in my living room, and yes, it' s dusty.
4. Box of straws. This was actually from an estate sale. A vintage box of paper flexy straws, with a clown on the box. This is on display on a high cupboard in my kitchen. It's got to be worth more than the 75 cents I paid.
5. Charlie the Tuna Doll. Probably the showpiece of my collection. It's a talking Charlie the Tuna from 1968, in the original packaging. Problem is, it doesn't talk.Â I paid 50 cents for it, andÂ actually had it appraised by Gary Sohmers from Antiques Roadshow at $85. It's in a box in the closet of my spare bedroom. I can find it quickly if you'd like to make me an offer.
Does any one else lament the loss of the old fashioned jukebox? It doesn't have to be a Fonzie Happy Days jukebox that plays 45's. All I'm asking for is a jukebox with a limited number of CD's, handpicked by somebody.
Mike and I explored a few new bars over the weekend, and I was increasingly irritated about the number of bars with internet jukeboxes. First of all, it's too many choices (any song you'd ever want..except for the Beatles). Secondly, you don't learn anything about a new place from an internet jukebox.
I like to go into a bar and check out the jukebox...it gives you an idea of the mindset of the clientele. A lot of bars in Stevens Point had tons of the polkas on the jukebox (some of them in Polish). I could tell right away I wasn't going to hang out in those places very long!
I haven't been in the Harmony Bar lately...but I always loved that the jukebox included CD's from bands who played the Harmony. So you might hear a Robbie Fulks tune followed up by something from Honor Among Thieves. You're probably not going to hear that combination on any internet jukebox.
One of the bars we tried for the first time this weekend was was the Jade Monkey, at the corner of Cottage Grove Road and Monona Drive. They still had a jukebox that included CD's...and when I told the bartender that I was happy to see it, he told me that he works at another bar that has an internet jukebox. Because there's an option that lets you pay more to hear your song next, he's seen fights break out because people pay their money and think they're never going to hear their song!
I don't think I'd ever resort to fisticuffs over this issue...but I do hope that internet jukeboxes are just a passing fad.
What is a septuagenarian?
That might be one of the questions on Jeopardy as Alex Trebek turns 70 today. He's been hosting that game show since the 1980's, and despite the fact that he can be a smug know it all and he goes overboard with the accent on French words, I mostly approve of him. (He'd be glad to know that I'm sure!)
In honor of his birthday I get to post this picture again.Â It's my dad with Alex, posing at some sort of senior citizen convention in Stevens Point.
And here's a pretty funny Jeopardy moment, featuring Ken Jennings, that guy who won for weeks in a row a few years ago.
Were you one of the kids who ran home from school each day to watch Dark Shadows? Then you might be interested in the news that a screenwriter has finally been picked to write a big screen version of the story of Barnabas (the vampire), Quentin (the werewolf), and other ghoulish characters in that gothic soap opera from the 1960's.
Johnny Depp will play Barnabas, and the movie will be directed by Tim Burton. So either it will be really really cool or it will suck. It's going to be written by Seth Grahame-Smith, the guy who wrote books including Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies..so at least it's some one who understands the material.
I was pretty young when the Dark Shadows big bit (pun intended), but I do recall dashing home from first grade to watch the show with my older brother and his high school buddies. (They all came over to our house to smoke cigarettes and drink Cokes).
The only Dark Shadows memorabilia I got during the time the show was on was a View-master reel..which I still have...but unfortunately not the the picture sleeve.
I have made an attempt though to create the collection I didn't have as a kid...here are a couple of my Dark Shadows items.
(photos by Mike O'Connor..thanks for getting rid of the glare!)
Remember this old commercial jingle? It went something like this..."summer summer fruit...it wouldn't be summer without it."
The fine folks at Kimberly Clark have a new angle on that same idea. Kleenex in a box shaped like a wedge of fruit!
I saw it for sale in a recent ShopKo flyer, and said to myself--"what in the hell?'
Especially when I saw the sale price--$2.99. It doesn't look like the nifty new packaging holds a lot of tissues, so I'm imagining people who are snapping these things up just think they're an absolutely darling addition to their summer decor.
A blogger on a packaging website called the new design "a marvel."
I wouldn't go quite that far. But I will say it's nothing to sneeze at.
I predict there will be much confusion, possible bedlam and perhaps even rioting in the streets in Northern Wisconsin starting this Saturday. That's when everybody who currently lives in the 715 area code will have to start dialing 10-digits to make a local call.
Instead of carving up the 715 area and creating a new geographic area code, they're introducing a new one because 715Â is plum out of numbers. The new area code is 534.
According to the press release from the Public Service Commission,all residents and businesses in the 715 area code that the mandatory 10-digit dialing for all local calls originating from the 715 area code will begin on Saturday, July 17, 2010, when the permissive dialing period comes to an end.
Apparently the permissive dialing period will continue beyond that here in southern Wisconsin. I had no idea there was such a thing as the "permissive dialing period," or that there was a name for it.Â But now that I know about it, I want to tell you--I like it!
Every time I make a local call here in Madison I will let out a little internal "woo-hoo" as I celebrate permissive dialing.Â I want to enjoy it while it lasts, because I'm sure we'll run out of numbers down here in 608 Land in the not-too-distant future.
And when I go up north the next time and have to place a local call, I might just riot in the streets.
It seems crazy to me that it's been 20 years since the movie Ghost came out. It seems like it was...well...only 15 years ago.
I used to go to movies all the time by myself..and remember going to see Ghost and driving home from the Eastgate Cinema. I was crying my eyes out because I'd lost a few family members in the years previous, and it brought out all kinds of emotions.
So I was bawling my eyes out while driving on East Washington Avenue, and when I got to the intersection of East Wash and Highway 51 all the stoplights were on flash. So I remember I stopped crying and took my best shot and made it through the intersection safely! Whew.
I don't know if there's any kind of lesson to be learned from that story, but I just thought I'd share.
I've always liked the movie..even if the ghostly images at the end now seem kind of low tech and cheesy.
There was a brief heavy downpour during La Fete de Marquette yesterday-- but that didn't ruin any of the fun.
If you haven't caught this fun community event...mark it on your calendar for next year. It's a French themed festival..with Cajun and Louisiana music mixed in with more traditional French and Acadian tunes.
I was really looking forward to seeing Sonny Landreth again..even though I just saw him two weeks ago at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. Of course he did not disappoint. He even got a little wild to get the crowd fired up.. "I wanna hear ya yell! I wanna hear you holler!" He's usually so mild-manner that seemed a little odd to me. I saw a lot of Madison musicians in the crowd..so maybe they were picking up some pointers from Sonny. And Trombone Shorty was amazing as well.
Earlier Sunday morning, Jonathan and I hosted the Acoustic Cafe breakfast at La Fete. We enjoyed music from two groups--Vishten, from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and the Red Stick Ramblers from LaFayette, Louisiana.
You may have heard that Ringo Starr turned 70 yesterday..and his birthday wish was to have every one in the world flash the peace sign at noon and say "Peace and love."
I'm sure a lot of people did that (including me)...but I really wish I could have been in the audience for Ringo's birthday concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
A special guest...and old pal..showed up to sing a little ditty called "Birthday" to him.
Yup...it was Paul McCartney, for a reunion of the Beatles' rhythm section.Â Watch the video and you'll see the guitar player is none other than Tom Petty!
Peace and loveÂ is great...but this is music history.
Since Father's Day is coming up on Sunday..I thought I'd share some of the more poignant lessons I learned from my dad over the years.
Okay, maybe they're not poignant, but these are things he was known to say over, and over, and over again. And then once again for good measure in case you didn't hear it the first 73 times.
1. "If it's in the paper, it must be true." Now when I say that, I'm being sarcastic. But when my dad said it, I think he really believed it.
2. "Plenty of water in the tap." This is the automatic response you'd get if you requested an icy cold beverage like a Coke or Kool-Aid. (Last year when I wrote about this topic I forgot that one..so thank you, Donna!)3. "This house is lit up like a Polish cathedral!" I'm sure this was said with nothing but love for all our Stevens Point neighbors, as he showed concern for our carbon footprint when too many lights were left on in the house.
4. "What are you, a cop?"This was the usual response when I asked him where he was going. I'm sure he loved it when I used that phrase on him back in my teenager days.
5. "For free take, for pay ask questions." Unfortunately I think I took this a bit too literally. If you don't believe me, come take a look at my house. (No, I'm not quite ready for hoarders.)
Who remembers the Seven Up Candy Bar? That old chocolate treat popped into my head for some reason, as I was remembering how much candy I used to eat as a kid.
I didn't think I had seen a Seven Up bar for a long time, so I did some research. (I googled it). I found out that it was discontinued back in the 1970's, after the 7-Up soda company bought the brand and killed it, so there could be no consumer confusion on the issue.
Now what was cool about this particular candy bar is that it was 7 different candy bars in one! There were seven distinct flavors-- orange jelly, maple, caramel, Brazil Nut, fudge, coconut, and cherry.
Now right off the bat, two of those flavors seem HORRIBLE (maple and coconut..yecchh). So I probably didn't really even like this particular candy bar that much..because I probably ended up giving the offensive sections away (likely to my mom).
I probably just miss it because I can't have one. Speaking of that, has any one seen Zero or Milk Shake bars recently? I'm in the mood for a snack.
It seems kids these days have a lot less free time than back in the days when I was roaming around Stevens Point, virtually unsupervised.
I wonder if the children of today find joy in some of the ridiculous stuff we used to do to occupy our time.
Here are some of my random memories:
1) Pick weird little berries off bushes in the backyard (and neighbors' yards), mush them up into a strange concoction with water and twigs and pretend to eat them. Or let it sit in the sun awhile and proclaim it the best parfum since Chanel No. 5.
2)Write and perform a play in a basement "theatre." Ours was called "Curse of the Two Twins." It closed after two performances.
3)Hold a backyard carnival with prizes consisting of stuff you found around the house. Most prizes came free inside cereal boxes. Now all you get in cereal is cereal, which I think is highly over-rated.
4)Make up new games. One of ours was played on the church steps and was called "Red-White-Blue-I-Love-You-Yes-No-Water." I don't recall the rules.
5)Find dead birds or other critters and bury them in the backyard, but not before holding an elaborate funeral for them. I also did this with my Wizard of Oz puppets, but that's a story for another time.
So Tom Petty says he really let guitar player Mike Campbell show his stuff on the new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, "Mojo." He wasn't kidding.
To use descriptions my guitar-playing boyfriend Mike uses for tasty playing...he's got the chops, and tone to the bone.
That's evident throughout the album. On the first single "I Should Have Known It," it sounds like it might be Jimmy Page throwing in some of his classic licks. Other songs harken back to old school Chicago blues, like the song "U.S. 41" which seems decidedly lo-fi, and in a good way.
Another bluesy number, "Candy" has lyrics that almost poke fun at the genre..."I sure like that candy, I don't go for them turnip greens," sings Petty, over Campbell's smooth blues riffs that almost make you forget the silly lyrics.
"First Flash of Freedom" is a meandering song with a message you might expect from Crosby Stills Nash and Young, with subdued vocals and moody, atmospheric guitar that reminds me of early work from the Allman Brothers Band.
There's a bit of Mark Knopfler in "The Running Man's Bible," some excellent pedal steel in "No Reason To Cry," and an a reggae saunter in "Don't Pull Me Over." This song contains the excellent lyric "When the red light, turns to blue light, makes me feel afraid," and a guitar solo filled with some wailing wah pedal that makes you feel Petty's angst at getting a traffic ticket.
From hard rockers to country tinged ballads, the album has a little bit of everything. It was recorded "live" with minimal overdubs, and the result is an album that Tom Petty fans should embrace...and guitar players will try to emulate.
"Mojo" went on sale Tuesday, June 15, on CD, blu-ray audio DVD, and 2 album set on 180 gram vinyl.
As we get to the end of the school year, I find myself flashing back to a time when the last day of school meant freedom..and going back to my free range childhood ways..roaming the neighborhood on my purple banana seat Schwinn, going to the pool, and playing rousing games of wiffle ball in my neighbor's driveway.
I also spent a lot of time sitting around watching TV (The Gong Show any one?) and going to the public library to get books to read.
And I did a lot of listening to the radio as well....lying out in the back yard working on my tan.
So come with me, if you will, back to those halcyon days of 1975....
One song I heard a heck of a lot that summer was this one. My friends and I even worked out a little dance routine to it. I'd love to re-enact it for you, but it can't be done until and unless the trio of the 3 Barebacks is re-united.
Feel free to do your own dance if you'd like.
If you were alive in 1977, then chances are you heard an awful lot of the Debby Boone song "You Light Up My Life." At the time, it was the longest running number 1 single in history..at a record ten weeks. Not even the Beatles could beat that.
I really really hated the song. And while I should have had nothing personal against ol' Pat Boone's daughter, I admit I hated her too. If I never heard that song again, it would be too soon. If I ran into Debby Boone at the mall, I'd hide behind my Orange Julius.
Then today my pal Matt Solomon posted this video on facebook. None other than Patti Smith for some reason left her punk roots at home in the basement or dungeon or somewhere..and gave us her rendition of that hit song.
I miss Debby.
Somebody, please help me.
So I picked up an old magazine at a flea market recently, and was shocked by some of the bizarre foods that people used to eat. The July, 1964 issue of Family Circle Magazine contains a treasure trove of Ripley's Believe-it-or-not type creations that I hope no one was really eating.
It seems at the same time kids were running out and buying the new Beatles 45's, their moms were making lots of gelatin based foods. How about Chicken Indienne? That'sÂ a molded gelatin filled with chicken breast, curry, celery tops and chutney.
Or, as pictured below, the Ribboned Vegetable Relish mold, made with beets, carrots, finely chopped spinach, Italian dressing and lemon-flavor gelatin.
Now my dad used to make a delicious jello creation that include lime Jello, shredded cucumber, and pineapple...which even his grandkids loved. But I don't think you're ever going to get kids to eat Jello filled with beets or spinach.
Here's one that might not be too disgusting. It's called Ship-a-Heroes, made with cold cut sails and bread filled with egg salad. At least if you didn't want to eat it you could launch it in the bathtub and see if it floats.
Finally, a national holiday I can believe in. Today is National Donut Day, and lest you surmise that it's just a holiday made up by the Donut Syndicate and those who profit from filling us with lard and sugar, it actually has rather noble origins.
The first Doughnut Day was back in 1938 to honor the women who served the tasty treat to soldiers back in World War I. It was also a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.
And in honor of all that, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are giving away free donuts today.Â A lot of good that does me, as Madison has no Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme shops. The closest Dunkin Donuts is in Janesville, and while I do love free things, and donuts, that's a little far too drive.
Now all of this donut talk has me thinking about the long gone Point Bakery in Stevens Point that served the most delicious donuts of all time. I probably had my first Point Bakery donut before the age of 2 and ate a heckuva lot more over time.
Growing up, my dad got us a big bag of donuts every Saturday morning and they were the perfect accompaniment to Saturday morning cartoons. I loved the chocolate ones with white cream filling..and have never found anotherÂ that tasted quite the same. (Although the ones at Copps are pretty close.)
I also loved the eclairs (even though they were more expensive), the French style donuts and the ponzckas (but the ones with jelly, not prunes.)
You know just thinking about this is likely to put me into a sugar coma.
Big news in the fast food world! Subway is going to start tessellating its cheese.
I thought this had something to do with the raw milk movement, but I was incorrect.
Here's the definition, from dictionary.com:
tesÂ·selÂ·lateÂ Â Â (tÄs'É-lÄt')
tr.v.Â Â tesÂ·selÂ·latÂ·ed, tesÂ·selÂ·latÂ·ing, tesÂ·selÂ·lates
To form into a mosaic pattern, as by using small squares of stone or glass.
Or in this case, cheese.
Apparently there was an internet campaign demanding this change from Subway. There was even a T-shirt.Â And now, it seems, victory.
According to a document leaked to various sources, Subway says: âtriangles or half moons of cheese will be placed on the sandwich in an offset, or staggered pattern. This will improve the cheese coverage on the sandwich.â
Can't wait to bite into more cheesy goodness in my next Subway sandwich..and to try using the word tessellate in lots of sentences.
Bet you didn't know there were lyrics to that theme song for The Andy Griffith Show. That's just one of the things I was reminded of as I got ready to write this blog about the star of that show, who celebrates birthday number 84 today.
The song was called "Down By The Fishing Hole," and the whistling was done by Earle Hagen, who was one of the theme song's co-writers.
Sing it everybody:
"Well, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.Whether it's hot, whether it's cool, oh what a spot for whistlin' like a fool."
I also discovered that a lot of people have birds that can whistle the theme song. And their owners are so proud of that fact that they videotaped them and put the video on youtube. Here's the best one I found. A fitting tribute to old Sheriff Taylor. (What-- you were hoping for a Matlock tribute?)
Sarah Palin is a pretty popular keynote speaker these days, but if your organization can't afford her hefty price tag, there's always her daughter Bristol.
What does it cost to get the daughter of the former Alaska governor to share her words of wisdom? According to the Palin family attorney, between 15 and 30 grand, depending on which group she's addressing and what she must do to prepare.
I did a little digging, and came across Bristol Palin's menu of services. Here's an excerpt:
$15,000: Russia: The View From Mom's Porch. Bristol gets folksy as she shares her insights into post-Cold War politics, perestroika, glasnost, and Russian dressing. Power-point presentation requires an extra fee.$20,000: Abstinence Education. This speech starts out strong: "I was absent the day this subject was covered at Wasilla Junior High, and look where it got me...." Bristol often breaks into tears during this presentation, so she requires two boxes of Kleenex to be located within arm's reach of the podium.
$25,000: The Merits of Accidental Fame. Bristol tells the poignant story of how her mother's political career put her in the limelight. She compares and contrasts her experiences to those of William Hung, the guy who sang "She Bangs"Â during Season 3 of American Idol.
$30,000: Hypocrisy in American Political Campaigns. This speech is currently in development. No details are currently available for this topic.
I was thumbing through the Target flyer on Sunday when I came across an item that certainly never existed when I was a kid.
It's a water park. For your backyard. For a mere $449 (the lowest price of the season), you can get your very own Banzai Wave Breaker inflatable water park, featuring a lagoon pool and a 9 foot slide. It inflates in just 2 minutes!
What the heck's wrong with a $9.99 sprinkler from Menards? Or for that matter, a bag of water balloons from the dollar store?
Are kids really going to get their parents' money's worth of enjoyment out of this thing? Heck that's more expensive than a trip to the Dells and a real water park (with a box of fudge thrown in).
Okay....maybe I'm just bitter. My folks never even got me a Slip-n-Slide.
I've never been asked to give a commencement address, but if I was asked, I've got the speech ready to go.
--Greetings, graduates, faculty, staff, and family.
Like Vice President Joe Biden once said, this is a Big F*#&(ing Deal.
You've managed to accomplish something, by getting a degree. And that's a pretty big deal. An actual accomplishment. That means either you've taken advantage of the opportunities that this fine institution has offered you. Or it means you've learned how to work the system.
Maybe ten years from now you'll remember the symbolism in the novels of Joseph Conrad, the diameter of interstellar dust, or how to conjugate ser and estar. But you probably won't.
There's a pretty good chance ten years from now you will remember your first room-mate from your freshman year, and the name of that girl who threw up and passed out under your porch.
But if you're like a lot of college graduates, the most important thing you will have learned is how to do is to work the system. To get the most credits for the least possible work. You don't want your parents to know it...but you avoided some classes because the prof was too tough. You stayed away from others because they were too early in the morning, or they met on Friday. Who takes classes on Friday anyway?
This works great in the Real World...bosses don't care if you arrive late and leave early. If you pass off other people's work as your own. Or if you do everything last minute.
You're looking at me like I don't know what I'm talking about. But I do. All that does work well, if you're a member of Congress.
So that's my advice to you, Graduates. After you leave here today, go file your papers to run for Congress. Hopefully you know somebody really rich to finance your campaign.
Good luck. And Godspeed.
I probably watch TV news with a more critical eye than some other people. Not that I'm judging the journalistic quality, I just like to look for screw-ups. (I also count seconds of dead air when I listen to the radio!)
So I was quite amused when I came across these screen shots from TV stations across the country. They're almost as good as the Channel 7 in Wausau report from the 1980's that included a reporter interviewing Mosinee's mayor, with the graphic below him saying "World's Ugliest Man."
I don't want those recipes!
Is the anchor even a little nervous?
I loves me some edumacation!
A lot of people are excited about Betty White's upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live, including me. I just hope the writers do her justice!
Here are some sketch ideas I came up with:
1) Killer Bees and Betty2)Samurai Golden Girls3)Deep Thoughts With Betty White4)The Coneheads Play Password (with Betty White)5)Betty White, you ignorant slut
Okay, since I've just catapulted us back to the 1970's, I thought you might appreciate this video (especially with this weekend's weather!)
I'm not making this up:Â Paramount Pictures is working on making a movie based on the Magic 8 Ball. Yup...that little round fortune teller is getting a movie of his (or her) own. Apparently GI Joe was so successful they want to keep working with Mattel, and the Magic 8 Ball is the first thing that came to mind. (Read about it here.)
Apparently they want it to be an action movie. Huh?
I can't really imagine that. Instead I pondered what would happen if you remade some old movies, and included a Magic 8 Ball element.
Wizard of Oz
Dorothy and Toto have just been sent on their merry way, when they come to a fork in the yellow brick road.
Dorothy: "Follow the yellow brick road... Well now which way do we go?"
Scarecrow: That way is a very nice way..but that one is pleasant too. Perhaps we should consult the Magic 8 ball you have in your basket."
Dorothy: Good idea! (Shakes ball, looks at it). "Reply hazy. Ask again later."
Gone With The Wind
Scarlett: (upon hearing Rhett is leaving her) "Where shall I go? What shall I do? Will you ever come back?"
Rhett: "Frankly my dear, "Â shaking Magic 8 ball, "Don't count on it."
Benjamin: Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"
Mrs. Robinson: (puts down her glass of vodka and grabs the Magic 8 Ball) "Signs point to yes."
Coming soon: Classic Movie Remakes, the Rubik's Cube versions.
When I was in Home Ec. in junior high, I learned to cook and bake some basic items. I remember there was something called "Crazy Cake" which was mixed and baked in the same 8 inch pan.
For some reason I was recently thinking about the first time I actually cooked a meal for my family, and I can't for the life of me figure out why they didn't tease me about it.Â It's not that I messed it up, it's just that it was so bland, and quite frankly, ridiculous.
When my mom was cooking something like chili or a hamburger hot dish, I always loved to snitch a piece of the freshly browned hamburger...before anything else was added. Maybe a little salt or pepper, but that was it.
I also loved hot buttered noodles.
So that's what I made. Browned hamburger, with buttered noodles on the side.Â And my family ate it, with no commentary. That includedÂ my younger brother, my mom, and my dad, who sometimes had less than kind reviews of my mom's cooking.
I know why my mom didn't say anything--she was just so gosh darned glad to have some one else cook. My brother probably thought it was weird but less objectionable than something strange and crazy with onions in it. But even my dad just ate it! All these years later, I still don't get it.
Unless of course there's an untapped market for browned hamburger and hot buttered noodles. Who wants to invest in my new restaurant?
You may have already heard that Jeff Beck will be on American Idol tonight, peforming with Joss Stone on the Idol Gives Back telethon. Also scheduled to appear--Nadya Suleman. That's right, the tabloid superstar, the Octomom.
What you may not have known, is that Jeff Beck bumped into Ms. Octomom backstage during rehearsals. Here's a bit of their AWKWARD conversation.
Octomom: So I've heard a lot about you. Well actually my kids are big fans. And I do have a lot of them. Kids, that is.
Jeff Beck: Your kids are fans. That's a bit of a surprise. Usually my demographic is a bit older. You know, British invasion and all that.
Octomom: I thought your show was Canadian. You do produce the Backyardigans, don't you?
Jeff Beck: I was in the Yardbirds, is that what you mean?
Octomom: The Yardbirds..is that another cartoon show? Is it on Nickelodeon?
Jeff Beck: No. It was a band, in the 60's. Maybe you've heard of some ofÂ our songs. For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul...they were pretty popular.Â You know, Over Under Sideways Down.
Octo-mom. Over Under Sideways Down!Â Yes!Â I've been there, at the fertility clinic. You can imagine.
Jeff Beck: Sorry, mum. Can't quite. I've no children.
Octomom: No children? Then what do you do? How do you spend your time?
Jeff Beck: Well I live in an English castle, with my wife and plenty of guitars. Got garages full of cars too. Hot rods, vintage stuff.
Octomom: That's awesome. Do you have a mini-van? Mini-vans are excellent, if you ask me. Because if you have to haul around...
Jeff Beck(interrupting, desperate): This hummus dip is really good. Hey can some one get me some more hummus? And some tea and biscuits? Somebody? Seacrest?Â Simon? Help.....
A new survey suggests that 20 percent of us belive there are aliens among us. Only 20 percent?
The poll taken of more than 23-thousand adults in 22 countries shows 1 in 5 believe aliens exist and they live among us disguised as humans. (Link to the news story here). Â
Now is where you'd probably expect me to make some kind of joke about Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich, but I'm choosing to go in a different direction.
I guess I don't understand the 80 percent who don't believe that aliens are among us. There's plenty of concrete evidence, dating back thousands of years. And I'm not just talking about all those cool cave paintings that look like they're depicting men in spacesuits.
I'mreferring to a certain Stone-age family and their little two foot tall green friend. Don't knowÂ what I'm talking about? Watch the video.
Why can't things just stay the same?
S-A-M-E.Â 7 points. Unless it's on a Triple Word Score. Then it's 21.
The Scrabble people are changing the classic board game to allow proper nouns--including brand names, place names and people. Even more of an outrage to Scrabble purists, the allowing of words unconnected to other words. So Oprah or Beyonce would be acceptable words! Or even... Miley! Â The horror! (Horror=9 points)
Okay, they're really only changing it in England, where they're coming out with Scrabble Trickster, but not in the United States, at least not at this time. (Mattel owns the game in England, here it's owned by Hasbro, so they do things differently).
I'mÂ very concerned there's a slippery slope involved here.Â Â What's next? I've got some suggestions for future editions.
1. SLANG Scrabble: allow all coolest newfangled words. Except you'd have to add an extra "z"Â to use the word "shizzle."
2. Baby Talk Scrabble: Googoo gaga and baw would be allowed. (Don't speak baby talk? Baw = ball).
3. Strip Scrabble: take too much time to find a word, something comes off.
4. The Scrabble Drinking Game: Do a shot every time you get a double word score. Okay, go ahead, make it a double.
5.Â Drunk-off-your-a#* Scrabble: slurred words would be allowed.
Â And my personal favorite--6.Â Surrealistic Scrabble: the letters don't have to spell anything; they just have to look weird.
Here's a linkto the story about what's happening to Scrabble in England.
Jonathan and I always have fun on April Fool's Day, and are proud to have duped some of you yet again on Thursday. But I wanted to give some props to some other great media pranks from over the years.
Back in the early 1900,'s the Capital Times wrote that theÂ dome blew off of the State Capitol due to all the hot air from politicians. They included an illustration, so people believed it!
Columnist Doug Moe, who's now with the Wisconsin State Journal, did a great one when he worked over at the Capital Times. He wrote that Madison was banning the Friday Fish Fry...not only because eating them was bad for you, but also because of the greasy air quality problem that goes along with them. He did write April Fool at the bottom of the column..but not every one read that far.
Some radio guys at a MilwaukeeÂ station had a good one back when Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage. They told people to go outside County Stadium and flash their credit cards..and that the dolls would be dropped from a helicopter. Needless to say, it was Milwaukee, so people showed up. Lots of them!
Of course I've never been tricked by any April Fool's jokes. Except for that one where I was told "gullible" wasn't in the dictionary.
Love 'em or loathe 'em, Marshmallow Peeps are a part of our lives this time of year. Some people LOVE to eat them..fresh, frozen or super-stale... they're a taste treat meant to be savored.
Other people gag at the mere thought of them.
I, on the other hand, get all Martha Stewart when Peeps season comes around.
Enjoy this video. Share it with your friends. And if you've created any Peeps masterpieces of your own, I'd love to see them.
Or should I say "adios"?
Normally I like to pretend that Rush Limbaugh doesn't exist, but now that there's a chance we can actually get him to leave the United States, I'm pretty stoked.
As you may recall, the guy Al Franken likes to call "a big fat idiot" said that if health care reform passed, he would move to Costa Rica. Apparently, he says he never said that, and is not rushing to leave...but some folks are giving him a little extra push. They're buying him a plane ticket. A website called "A Ticket For Rush" is encouraging folks to pitch in a dollar (via Paypal) to buy him a one-way first-classÂ ticket.
In the event he doesn't accept the money andÂ actually GO AWAY, the money will go to something that will likely irritate Mr. Limbaugh immensely. It's going to Planned Parenthood.
Apparently the guys who are behind this effort are Mike and Patrick, two dudes from Brooklyn who don't have health insurance.
I'm glad they have a sense of humor. It's just too bad more Republicans didn't share that same quality.
Usually when you get past the age of around 13, dares are usually accompanied by alcohol. I'm assuming alcohol was involved in this story...
A 20 year old Wisconsin Rapids man had to be rescued over the weekend after he got stuck in a laundry chute..something he had done on a dare! Crews couldn't pull him either up or down..so they had to cut out part of the wall.
This makes me wonder about a couple things...how long was he wedged in there before they called in the fire department? Did they try greasing him down with vegetable oil first? Did he have to go to the bathroom? Did his friends take pictures before they called authorities?
I will tell you that I was tempted to crawl into the laundry chute we had in our house growing up, but was never up to the challenge. For one thing, I knew there were various nails sticking out of the wood (socks and underwear would always get caught on them), so I was not really interested in getting cut up that way.
What was cool about our laundry chute is that there were was one opening in an upstairs closet, and another in the kitchen..so if you were in the kitchen you could see stuff being thrown down. (Fascinating!) But, you could also pass stuff up and down..with a makeshift dumbwaiter made out of a cigar box and jump rope.
You know I was going to make some snippy comment at the beginning about people in Wisconsin Rapids having nothing to do. But it appears the same may have been true about Stevens Point back in the day!
I'm not sure what to think of this. I've seen prom dresses made out of duct tape, Elvis statues made of cheese, wedding dresses made from toilet paper.
But what in the heck do you think this is?
If you guessed chandelier made out of tampons, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!Â It's on display in a museum in Portugal. 14-thousand tampons were used to create this masterpiece. It's apparently a fairly popular exhibit, despite the fact that visitors feel bloated and crampy after they view it.
Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! While I may not have the most Irish sounding name on the Triple M Staff (curse you Pat Gallagher), I am Irish from both my mother's and father's sides.
So I do love celebrating this particular holiday...however there are a few things I should get off my chest.
1. I do not like corned beef and cabbage.
2. Speaking of Irish food, I was never a real fan of potatoes until the last few years. (Prompting many astonished people to say, "you're Irish and you don't like potatoes? What's wrong with you?")
3.Â As a young lassie, I spent one St. Patrick's Day drinking all the green alcoholic beverages I could think of...including green beer and Â lime vodka. That did not end well.
I'm not sure how many Hail Mary's St. Patrick would give me for those sins..but I'd better get started. And what better place to say a little prayer than my favorite Irish pub? I'll see ya later!
Since Alice in Wonderland's been bringing in so much money at the box office, Hollywood is thinking there's big money to be made by re-making the classic 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.
And no..I'm not talking about the big screen version of the Broadway musical Wicked. Two studios, New Line and Warner Brothers, have Oz projects in the works. You can read aboutÂ them here.
I did some checking of my own, and came across some pre-production notes from one of the planned Wizard of Oz remakes. Here are some of the highlights.
*Use a real lion for Cowardly Lion. Idea rejected on advice of attorneys Siegfried and Roy.
*Flying Monkeys Casting: Get Peter Tork, Davy Jones,Â Michael Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz.Â Nesmith has already turned down the offer, the other 3 are in negotiations.
*Tin Man revamping: dialog requesting "oil can" must be revised. Replace with renewable energy technology. Perhaps solar?
*Possible product placement: Yellow Brick Road to be made of Cheez-its. Ruby Slippers available at Payless?
*Post-cyclone setting: Dorothy wakes up in a FEMA trailer. Too political?
*Scarecrow Casting: Hey it's a no-brainer. Somebody call George W. Bush.
The Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday night, and it seems a lot of folks are betting on The Hurt Locker to win. That could very well be. I really have no opinion, because I've only seen on of the nominated pictures (and it wasn't even Avatar).Â But I can tell you which were the three worst pictures to win that coveted Best Picture Oscar trophy.
At least in my opinion.
#3: The English Patient (1996). I tried watching this movie on DVD, and while it has some beautiful cinematography, it is BORING. In case you missed this movie, it stars Juliette Binoche as a nurse taking care of a critically burned man in an abandoned monastery. As I recall it had a bunch of soap opera type stuff about affairs...and..what am I saying? I fast forwarded through a bunch of it and then followed what the little sticker said, "be kind, rewind."
#2 Out of Africa (1985)This is another scenery plus boring dialog soap opera movie. I went to this in the theatre and could not wait to leave. It tells the story of author Isak Dineson. And while I have nothing against authors, I have a lot against this movie. It did star two great actors--Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, but even they could not help this thing. I also remember that Redford got paid $6 million dollars for this movie and he was hardly even in it, and Streep got $1 million and was in every scene and had to do an accent. I guess I can hate this movie on the grounds of equal rights for women (even overpaid actors).
#1 Chariots of Fire (1981). This is my all time most hated Best Oscar Winning Movie of All Time. I hate hate hate this movie. First of all, there are no chariots. There is also no fire. FALSE ADVERTISING!Â The big excitement is a bunch of guys running on a beach with that Vangelis song playing in the background. Then there's a bunch of talking in English accents. I went to this movie with my friend Karla, and she also hated it. (So if that's not evidence I don't know what is!)
All you ever have to see of Chariots of Fire:
CONCLUSION: When a movie is all about pretty scenery and stunning cinematography, it is not a movie. It is a window. If you like that you should travel and experience it...maybe send some postcards to your friends (or better yet, SLIDES!). If you want to make a movie, please have a story in mind first. Thank you.
I'm feeling better now, thanks for asking. This morning I had to come to work and do my show without the benefit of the white crystalline xanthine alkaloid known as caffeine.Â And I didn't like it one bit.
I'm not trying to give up caffeine or anything sensible like that--I just had to fast for 12 hours before getting a cholesterol test. I must admit, I geared myself up all weekend to be a little off-kilter today, and that may have played a role in my groggy, fuzzy state of mind.
Now that I've partaken in a long tall glass of McDonalds Coke, I feel a little closer to normal...and thought I'd do a little research into this chemical that has become my most beloved morning friend.
Turns out caffeine is actually a psychoactive stimulant drug (which for some reason makes it seem more dangerous, and therefore, more appealing). 90 percent of Americans consume caffeineÂ every day. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include headache, irritability, an inability to concentrate, drowsiness, insomnia, and pains in the stomach, upper body, and joints. (I'm glad I didn't read this list BEFORE I had the glass of soda).
I've composed a little song to illustrate my feelings about the substance. It has the same tune as the Kiss song "Christine Sixteen." and features my real first name.
Kathleen, Kathleen, Caffeine, Caffeine
Caffeine, yeah yeah
So mean, Caffeine, Kathleen
Caffeine, yeah yeah!
Okay...I guess it's a workÂ in progress. Maybe I'll add to it after a slam another can of Coke.
Newsrooms across the country have been all abuzz since earlier in the week when we found out his Exaltedness Tiger Woods was preparing to speak!
Just how un-interested am I in this topic? This oughta give you an idea.
Things Kitty's more interested in than Tiger Woods' apologies and excuses
1. The back of the cereal box. Any cereal box.
2. Jello salad
4. Macaroni art projects
5. The Pythagorean Theorem
6. My Little Pony dolls
7. Stamp collecting
8. Sock darning
10. Brett Favre (but only a smidge more).
Chocolate is a traditional Valentine's gift, and for a chocolate lover like me, there's probably no way you could go wrong with that (especially if it's good chocolate and not that good-for-you dark stuff).Â
Actually, you can go wrong with chocolate. A few years ago I bought chocolate in a heart shaped box at 90 percent off after Valentine's Day. It was Jeff Foxworthy "You Might BeÂ A Redneck" chocolate.
Then I found some other ideas that sounded pretty awful.
How about chocolate bullets (for when Cupid's arrow is not heavy enough artillery?) (Buy 'em here.)
Chocolate covered pork rinds sound tasty. (Snap 'em up here.)
And then for the realist, or the cardiologist in your life, there's this chocolate heart. (It's a heartbeat, it's a lovebeat!) (Buy here)
Tired of the same old same old for Valentine's Day? Every one knows handmade Valentines are the best...and they're even better when they're made from recycled materials. Get some fantastic ideas, yes I said FANTASTIC... in Kitty's Craft Corner. Watch out, Martha Stewart.
How can we possibly enjoy Sunday's big football game, without the pleasure of watching either Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre? Bring this checklist to your football party, and we guarantee your experience will be at least 30 percent more exciting (plus or minus 30 percent).
In hour 3 of the pre-game show, you lose interest in the interview of Drew Brees' pee wee coachÂ +100 points
You realize that's much more compelling than Uncle Phil's gallstone surgery recapÂ -50 points
One of the announcers mentions the balmy temperature in MiamiÂ +200 points
Your spouse complains the beer is not quite cold enoughÂ -100 points
Carrie Underwood's National Anthem rocks!Â + 300 points
Aunt Carol's 7 layer salad contains a layer of rock salt -75 points
Peyton Manning's overachieving family members smile down from the skyboxÂ +100 points
Your overachieving brother beats you to the best spot on the couchÂ -200 points
Reggie Bush blows a kiss to gal pal Kim Cardashian in the standsÂ +250 points
You blew 50 bucks with rotten numbers in that football pool!Â -50 pointsÂ
Your air guitar rivals Pete Townshend's during the Who's halftime showÂ +500 points
You just now realize John Entwistle and Keith Moon are no longer in the bandÂ -500 points
You get a warm feeling when you see cute puppies on a commercialÂ +200 points
You get another warm feeling when you realize you should excused yourself after that last beerÂ -150 points
Â How did you do?500+ points: You're this close to having the expressed written permission of that one major football league
200-499 points: Mark your calendars..pitchers and catchers report for spring training Feb. 18
0-199 points: That hummus was talking to you again, wasn't it?
Groundhog Day is coming up next Tuesday, and all eyes will be on Sun Prairie as Jimmy the Groundhog makes his weather prediction.
Okay, not all eyes. Not hardly.Â Jimmy doesn't get a much publicity as say, Punxsutawney Phil out east in Pennsylvania. Old Phil has been around a lot longer than Jimmy, and there was that whole Bill Murray movie that gave him extra cred, so it is tough to compete.
But did you know there are other weather prognosticating animals vying for your attention as well?
There's Furby the Wonder Chicken in Vancouver, British Columbia. Spike the Porcupine hails from Duluth, MN. In Cottage Grove, a pot-bellied pig named Hamlet would go shadow-seeking, but alas he died last year.
Did you hear about the cold-blooded alternative in the fine metropolis of Snohomish, Washington?Â There, they celebrate "GroundFrog Day," with a big old bullfrog named Snohomish Slew. He lives in a 75 gallon tank at the Just Frog Amphibian Center in Snohomish.Â
If you think all that is kind of silly..I wonder what you'll think of this.Â PETA Â is now asking the folks in Punxsutawney to replace their groundhog with a robotic version. William Deeley, who'sÂ president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says hogwash to the group's claims that Phil is being mistreated. He says says the animal is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania."
HAPPY GROUNDHOG, GROUNDFROG, ROBOT DAY EVERYBODY!
More about Sun Prairie's Groundhog festivities here.
Some people probably wonder why I haven't been on an episode of Hoarders, with all the stuff I collect. I collect old board games from several different eras, old toys, soda pop signs and glassware (Coca-Cola, Squirt, and Madison prohibition sodas), Wizard of Oz and Beatles stuff, and what ever else I see that happens to be cool and cheap.
One of the cheaper items I collect is hotel glassware. No, not the plastic ones you get today..but the old fashioned ones (which are too small for an Old Fashioned).
Too bad Jonathan doesn't share my fascination...
I wasn't aware of this..but did you know Barbie has had 120 jobs since she was created 50 years ago or so? Now the folks who make the iconic fashion doll want to change it up again, and are giving youÂ a chance to pick her new career.
Barbie can be an environmentalist, surgeon, architect, news anchor, or computer engineer. Now when you make big important decisions like this--yo have to think about all the angles. Like what kinds of outfits and extras does each come with?Â A news anchor would just wear nicely coordinated suits, and would probablyÂ get to have a TV camera, newsdesk, and microphone asÂ accessories. Sounds a little dull to me. Plus it might inspire little girls to go into the news business and we know from my experience that that is a terrible idea.
I think my choice would be environmentalist. Not only would Barbie get to wear funky clothes--made out of organic hemp, she could also get some other cool stuff as well..like a Hybrid Barbie car, and maybe her own Greenpeace boat. I'd also recommend she have her own Barbie Rainforest..but the problem with that is it would keep getting smaller every year.
Want to vote on this important issue? Click here.
DidÂ you hear about this? Police in Atlanta say somebody broke into the SUV of R & B star Usher last month and made off with a MILLION DOLLARS worth of jewelry, laptops, cameras and other stuff. I can't even imagine a million dollars worth of stuff, much less picture how I'd fit it into my car.
That prompted me to take a little inventory of what's in my car right now. It's a small station wagon, but has plenty of room.
-Collapsible snow shovel
-Extra hat and gloves
-Triple M Fresh New Music Sampler from 2005 (3 copies)
-4 pairs of sunglasses
-August issue of Ladies Home Journal
-Around a dozen cassette tapes
-Postcard from the Leinenkugel Brewery
Wow! Put that all together, add a million dollars, and I've got just as much as Usher!
This isÂ alarming. A study done by researchers in Australia says that watching TV can be harmful to your health. More specifically, it says every hour spent watching TV was associated with an 11 percent higher risk of death from all causes.
By all rights, I should already be dead!
When I was growing up, I hardly remember the TV ever being turned off. When I got up in the morning, there was the Today Show or Ray Rayner and cartoons. After I went to bed, it was Johnny Carson. Perhaps somewhere between midnight and 6am we gave the thing a rest, but I doubt it.
I guess it's not a real surprise that having a sendentary lifestyle can be harmful to your health, but the study doesn't give any weight to the quality of life enhancing benefits of television watching. I've learned so much from the old boob tube..I'm not sure I would want to go on living if I didn't know stuff like this:
--When the Mosquitoes visit Gilligan's Island, the group the ladies form is called the Honeybees, and Mrs. Howell is the lead singer.
--There really was a Dialing for Dollars program..like the one mentioned in "Mercedes Benz" Â by Janis Joplin.
--Dr. Johnny Fever got fired from a radio job for saying "booger" on the air.
--The statues on Easter Island were put there by ancient astronauts.
--Don't say "Sock it to me" unless you want some one to sock it to you.
--Irish Spring is manly yes, but it's okay for me to like it too.
--The ancient Chinese secret is Calgon.
And that's just stuff I learned before I graduated from high school!
I'm not worried about dying right now. I figure my never-ending quest for knowledge will keep me going for a while.
The King was born 75 years ago today in Tupelo, Mississippi. This milestone anniversary inspires a lot of us to contemplate what Elvis wouldÂ be doing today if he were still alive. (Or if he hadn't escaped the limelight in 1977 to run a 7-11 in Saginaw).
I suppose there's a chance he could still have a lucrative night club show in Vegas, butÂ I figure there are better odds that he'd be a fixture on late night infomercials.
And I've got some ideas about what he might be promoting.
The Elvis Presley Online School of Karate, Judo, and Hip Shakin' Goodness:Â Learn to defend yourself and look cool at the same time! All in the privacy of your own home. Study program includes 12 How-To DVD's, plus the bonus DVD, "A Change of Habit," starring Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore.
The Elvis Presley Home Drug Detection Kit: Think your kids are doing drugs? Find out for sure with this kit, endorsed by Elvis, who was an official narcotics task force member, appointed by President Nixon!
The Elvis Presley Peanut Butter and Banana Panini Press: Who cares if it has 50 grams of fat and more than 2,000 calories? It's Elvis baby! Plus "panini" sounds so much more impressive than "sandwich."
When I looked at the birthday list for today, January 4, 2010, I discovered something pretty amazing. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, and noted Madison street performer (and recording artist) Art Paul Schlosser bothÂ turn 50 today.
Coincidence? I'm not so sure. Could they be twins separated at birth?
Both have a pretty offbeat view of the world, and are prolific songwriters. When you take a look at some of the song titles, it gets downright eerie.
Art Paul wrote "Purple Bananas (On The Moon)." R.E.M. scored a hit with "Man on the Moon." Art Paul has a song called "The Worst Restaurant," while R.E.M. had what could have been the record's flip side, "Finest Worksong." And Art Paul's song "Weird Radio," could have been a follow up to "Radio Free Europe."
I can only chalk it up to their very different environmentalÂ experiences that some of the Art Paul Schlosser tunes have no corresponding R.E.M. song. But maybe Michael will have a tune to similar to "Kermit the Frog Aftershave," "I Ate the Poppin' Fresh Doughboy," or "Have a Peanut Butter Sandwich" some time in the future.
Want good luck in the new year? Ringing in 2010 with a glass of bubbly is delicious, but if you want to assure good luck, you need to eat some herring.
At least that's what the deal was at my house growing up. My dad always bought a jar of pickled herring to eat (apparently the kind in horseradish sauce would not have the same effect.) I'd always wondered about that..so I did a little research on the internet and found out that's a German tradition. Makes sense, since my dad was German, Irish and French (and maybe Native American).
While perusing the internet for the herring Â information, I discovered some other New Year's Eve traditions that aren't quite as "fishy."
In Spain and many Latin American countries, you eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each month, to bring good luck.
In the south, you're supposed to eat black-eyed peas. Apparently they resemble coins, and thus bring you prosperity in the next year.
But here's the tradition I like the best. I'm not really sure where it originated, but at midnight, Â you're supposed to eat anything shaped like a circle, like doughnuts,Â to bring you good luck in the next year.
I figure if it brings you luck at midnight, why not eat them every day for a little added assurance?
As 2009 draws to a close, we're all wondering..what's ahead for 2010? Lucky for you, I have a clairvoyant streak. And a crystal ball.
Here are some of my predictions for the New Year:-Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz makes up for snow plowing mistakes by agreeing to mow every one's lawn this summer. Outlying neighborhoods first.
-After the statewide smoking ban goes into effect in July, all bars cease to exist. Business flourishes however at lemonade stands.
-Octo-mom, tired of taking care of so many children, sets several of them aloft in an experimental weather balloon, but doesn't tell anybody.
-Coldplay releases a new album, and is sued by Flock of Seagulls for ripping off one of their songs. The songs sound nothing alike..they just wanted their name mentioned in the same breath as Coldplay.
-The president and first lady are embarassed when they show up uninvited to a soiree at the home of Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The Obamas insist they had an invitation.
-Hoping for more international publicity, Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger lands a part time job at Denny's.
-NBC announces Jay Leno will be getting an even earlier timeslot, anchoring the 5th hour of the Today Show.
-Taylor Swift turns 21, cuts off her hair and gets married in Vegas. For some reason, Britney Spears is really jealous.
-For the first time,Ticketmaster fees surpass the price of concert tickets. The company does not feel your outrage.
-Scientists find cures for swine flu, the common cold, and premature hair loss. But since the health care bill was never passed, no one can afford them.
Ten years of stuff spilled on the highway, rampaging animals, and iconic holy images appearing in unlikely places. How do I pick a favorite?
Actually, it's not even difficult! It was January, 2005, when reports of a wayward kangaroo starting coming in from west of Madison. A kangaroo? Hopping around in the snow? You betcha. I live for this stuff.
It didn't create the media frenzy of, let's say, a little boy flying away in a balloon, but this was HUGE. For a day or so, people who live in the Dodgeville-Mineral Point area were reporting sightings.
Were they sure it wasn't just a big mouse or maybe a jackrabbit? Nope, it was a real live kangaroo, which law enforcement authorities finally coaxed into a barn, and peacefully took it into custody after offeringÂ it some apples.
It's still an unsolved mystery: where did the kangaroo come from, and how did it wind up in wintry Wisconsin? Â We may never know.Â
I guessÂ youÂ could always go to the Henry Vilas Zoo and ask her. But so far, she hasn't been talking.
If you click here, you can watch an old report on the story from Joel DeSpain, a former reporter from Channel 3 in Madison.
Listen to the audio from the morning show where we discussed this
Who would have thought 2009 would be such a big year for news? I never really thought we could top the epic status of the Balloon Boy story from early this fall, but it appears we have.
The well-seasoned journalist that I am, even I was unprepared for the frenzy surrounding Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the alleged White House party crashers. For their part, they said today that they did NOT crash that state dinner last week, that they were invited, and that the truth will come out.
The truth will come out!Â I'm tingling with excitement, and I bet you are too. I can't wait until Woodward and Bernstein, if they're still alive, uncover the real story.
In the meantime, however, here are the most likely excuses we'll be hearing from the Salahi's.
1. They were there at the request of the C.I.A., as part of an internal investigation of covert operations in the White House Kitchen, Hors D'oeuvres Faction.
2. Their limo driver dropped them off at the wrong party. They were actually invited to the Waffle House State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India.
3. Tiger Woods sent them.
Next week is a big travel week..not only will folks be riding in the one horse open sleigh and automobiles to Grandma's house....they'll also be flying. And God Bless the Transportation Security Administration, which has includedÂ on its website a list of Thanksgiving Â items that you're not allowed to carry onto the plane. These include gravy, cranberry sauce, and creamy dips and spreads.
Who's going to get a doggie bag of gravy and take it on the plane? Seriously!Â
You know, the last time I was on an airplane and they gave me that tiny bag of peanuts, I thought to myself, "you know what would go good with these? Gravy!"
Here's the complete list, which includes some non-Thanksgiving items as well.
Creamy dips and spreads
(cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
Gift baskets with food items
(salsa, jams and salad dressings)
Oils and vinegars
Wine, liquor and beer
The website also contains this note: "You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening."Â Good to know.
And in case you think I'm making this up, here's a link to the official TSA site.
Today is Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day in Wisconsin.Â I've got to admit--it sure is a whole lot easier to appreciate them whenÂ the temperature is in the 60's!
According toÂ Governor Doyle, whoÂ declared today's special day for drivers of snow plows, we need to beÂ more careful around snow plows while they clear the roads of ice and snow so we can get where we need to be. The proclamation also notes that there are 400 crashes involving snow plows every year in Wisconsin.
All right, I guess I agree that we should use extra caution around snow plows, and that we should be thankful that the government pays people to clear the roads so we don't have to wait until spring to leave our houses. That does merit some appreciation.Â
I know it's been a while since the last snowstorm, butÂ it hasn't been so long that I've forgotten the chore of re-shoveling a clear driveway that a snowplow has just refilled. Whoever does my street goes so fast and flings that stuff so far that I've also had to re-shovel the entire sidewalk in front of my house!
Appreciate them, yes. Run out and buy them a card? I don't think so.
Here's somebody else who's probably not a fan:
It seems just about everybody was outside yesterday, enjoying the gorgeous weather and doing a little yardwork. (Better that than being inside watching the Packer game!)
Mike and I did some raking and mulching, and I hate to admit it..but I really enjoyed myself. I got to breathe in some fresh air..mixed with that fantastic smell of dead leaves. There's nothing like kicking leaves and getting a good whiff! I got to wondering..what exactly causes dead leaves to smell so great? I have no idea why I want a scientific explanation, but I do!
Aside from contemplating that great question, I also was almost inspired to rake the leaves into a leaf house. Mike had raked some leaves into a nice straight line..and it looked like he was making one. I was overjoyed and excited to relive a little of my childhood by raking the leaves into a floor plan and let my imagination go wild.
So I asked Mike, "Are you making a leaf house?" And he answered. "You bet! I thought we'd make a leaf mansion..with 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, and a rec room."
And if you believe that I have a house I'd like to sell ya...affordably priced, Â not well insulated, but comes with the aromatic scent of dying leaves at no extra charge.
Three new toys have just been inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame: the Gameboy, the Big Wheel, and the ball.
And this makes me feel old. Why? The ball is the only one of the three that I was young enough to play with when it came out!Â The Gameboy came out in 1989. That's the year I moved to Madison and started working at the state capitol.Â The Big Wheel came out in 1969. I was already riding around the block on a 2-wheeler by that year.
Okay wise-achers--the ball was invented when I was a kid. Am I a fan of the ball, you might ask? Oh sure--what could possibly be wrong with a ball?
It has caused me a bit of trauma over the years. I have nightmares about certain neighborhood Dodgeball games. Even the innocent seeming keep-away game Monkey in the Middle can turn ugly when one of the players (me) is decidedly shorter than the other two.
I even unwittingly caused my younger brother to require stitches as an infant..because of the now famed ball. I taught him how to roll around on it on his stomach when he was under a year old and somehow he cracked his chin open. Next time you see him ask to see the scar.
You know I think last year's big inductee into the Toy Hall of Fame was a much safer choice: the stick. Unless you take into account that whole poking an eye outÂ possibility.
See the whole list of Hall of Fame toys here.
One of my favorite things about this time of the year is that you can get so many yummy pumpkin flavored things.Â Yeah, I love pumpkin pie...but there's so much more! So far this year, I've had pumpkin muffins, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cake, and new this year...pumpkin ice cream! All super tasty!
Then I got to thinking--would there be any pumpkin flavored item that I would never eat?Â I don't know if any of these things exist...but I'm pretty sure I don't want to try them.
*Burgers with pumpkin filling
*Pumpkin tater tot casserole
*Pumpkin Krispies or Pumpkin Flakes(cereal)
*Eggs Benedict with Pumpkin Sauce
If all this is making you hungry--you've got a serious problem. But you can click here if you'd like toÂ check outÂ someÂ pumpkin recipes. Sorry though..no pumpkin filled burgers are included.
It's back to the 1980's again for a trip down Halloween memory lane. This time I got my best Â friend Gale in on the fun..with cool space age costumes created out of garbage bags. We had a great time hitting the bars in Stevens Point..although one person did say "Gee I wish I could have a costume made out of a Hefty bag," in a not-so-complimentary voice.
You may have wondered where I got the inspiration for these high fashion costumes. Did you guess A Flock of Seagulls? Watch this video and prepare to be amazed! (I can't say for sure where I got the idea for the alien make-up...but you can tell I was more into it than Gale!)
When I was in my 20's, I really got into Halloween. I guess you could call them my Roaring 20's!
In 1983, I came up with this great idea. I wanted to dress as one of the characters from the musical "Cats," but didn't want to spend the money on fake fur..plus my mom said it was hard material to work with. So...
The obvious answer was to makeÂ my costumeÂ a "Cat" from outer space!Â My mom made the silvery part of the costume...the leopard print shirt was a 70's leftover from my older brother.Â I even created the ears out of the shirt's collar.
This gives me an idea for the next Broadway revival!Â "Cats"..but with a retro modern feel. I bet Jane and Judy Jetson could do a heckuva version of "Memories."
It's become a hot topic of debate. When Brett Favre returns to Lambeau on Sunday, will the crowd cheer him, or boo him?
Green Bay's mayor is taking suggestions on the city's website. They've included creating the world's largest waffle in the shape of the number4 (where do you buy that waffle iron?), and announcing that his number will be retired, then changing their mind. They might even change the name of Green Bay's Minnesota Street to Aaron Rodgers Way or something like that.
While some columnists have urged fans to cheer Favre,Â LeRoy Butler feels otherwise. He says if you're going to cheer Favre, wear a bag on your head. (Click here for more).
I'm not going to the game so I guess it doesn't matter what I think...but I'm really having trouble with this! What would I do if I was going to Lambeau?
I decided to look to some great philosophical minds for help. Could Gandhi help? He said "Hate the sin. Love the sinner."Â So we cheer him, right?
I decided to get a second opinion, from that great old philosopher Vince Lombardi, who once said, "Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another."Â Â Â Favre isn't known as the best team player..so I guess that means we boo him.
This is what I'd really do if I were at LambeauÂ this Sunday.Â Right before they introduce the team lineups, I'd head for the bathroom. I bet the lines would be really short.
In the immortal words of Charlie Brown: "I didn't know you were gonna kill it!"
Before you can carve a pumpkin, you have to whack off the top and dig out all those seeds and messy goo. And there is really no dignified way to do that. If I ever had a chance to run my hands through greasy grimy gopher guts, it would probably be pretty similar.
That's why I was excited to find a place on the internet where I could carve a virtual pumpkin!Â Not only is it less messy--there's now way for those proverbialÂ rotten kids next door to smash it into a million pieces.
I found a place on Amazon where you can buy a virtual pumpkin to carve, but I'm a firm believer that free is better.
Check it out here.
One of the great parts of the Halloween season is the increased availability of those really scary breakfast cereals, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Booberry. But what about their long forgotten relatives?
Â Earlier today I did a very scientific research study (on Facebook) Â on the relative popularity of those three pitch-spooks, and while the results are still out on that, I was alerted to the fact that there used to be two more where they came from: Fruit Brute, and Yummy Mummy.
I was embarassed to admit I had no recollection of the two, so I did some additional research (on wikipedia), and found that Count Chocula and Frankeberry were introduced first, followed by Booberry. Then in 1974, Fruit Brute was brought into the mix, before being discontinued in 1983. Yummy Mummy, also known as Fruity Yummy Mummy was around from 1987-1993.
Fruit Brute doesn't sound appealing at all..frosted fruit flavored cereal with LIME flavored marshmallows. And Yummy Mummy was fruit flavored cereal with giant vanilla marshmallows.
While I'm not scared at all by any of those characters, I am kinda scared by the sugar content of the cereal. In fact, I'm getting a sugar buzz just thinking about it.
Now I don't mean to be a Halloween Scrooge, but I really won't mind when the whole Halloween season is over.
I should have known it was bad news when I saw the sign for a Halloween Express store go up at the old east side Circuit City the week of the 4th of July. For crying out loud, Halloween plans in July?
Here's the main reason for my gripe. I love to shop in thrift stores. You might say it's one of my top five hobbies. I love to browse the aisles and stumble upon unexpected treasure. What I don't expect to stumble on is a misplaced feather boa that some kid left in the housewares department.
I'm sure Halloween is big business for places like St. Vinnie's and Goodwill. Not only do they haul out all the odd clothing that people have donated, they also help people who couldn't put together an improvised ensemble if they had a toy imitation black and orange gun to their head. They bring out TONS and TONS of pre-packaged costumes..from perky French maid costumes to pirates to hippies (if hippies wore plastic bell bottoms and synthetic long haired wigs).
That means there's no room for actual stuff that a normal person might want. I can't tell you exactly what that would be, since I never know until I see it.
What I do know is that I don't need a Wilma Flintstone costume or a long furry tail.Â However those extra large "rock star" sunglasses do look kind of cool.
It's only October, but Toyland opens this weekend at a certain big box store. I do love toys, so I was excited to flip through the store's flyer that was in the paper this morning. But there was one toy that threw me for a loop.
It's called Tickle Hands Elmo, and looks like a big furry mitten. Or like that Hamburger Helper hand got a little crazy with the Manic Panic hair dye.
I guess the idea is to put on the "tickle hands" and tickle other people, while Elmo vibrates, Â says "tickle hand groove"Â and giggles that super-annoying Elmo giggle. There's a dance that goes along with it as well!
I thought Tickle Me Elmo was stupid, and didn't really understand how it became the "gotta have it" toy a decade ago.Â But this doesn't seem like it would have any play value at all.
There is some good news about this one though. If the stores sell out and your kid really, really wants a set, you could just spray paint some oven mitts and hope for the best.
When I stumbled across this video of an Austrian "oom-pah" band covering the Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody," I was expecting something akin to the polka music I heard so much of when I was young.
But this is very different from those clever numbers that included lyrics like "I'm looking under the skirts and wonder, why I never looked before."
This is the most dramatic (read: overacted) interpretation you will likely ever see. I know it's a bit long..but give it a few minutes. It's worth it.
So what do Hugh Jackman and Adam Rich have in common?Â You wouldn't think much. One is a hot Australian actor who played Wolverine in the X-Men movies, and recently hosted the Oscars.Â The other played Nicholas on Eight is Enough.
This is the part that hurts my head. They were born on the exact same date. Both turn 41 today!
It's the same kind of feeling I get when I find out the little neighbor boy..who's around 5 years old in my head...just got married. (Even though he's now in his 30's...these people don't age in my mind!)
I remember the first time I ran into a kid I used to babysit for, in a bar! No, no Becky...it was just the other day I took the training wheels off your bike!
Lessons learned: time flies, whether you're having fun or not. And I'm pretty sure Hugh Jackman and Adam Rich are twins separated at birth.
It's fire prevention week! That probably doesn't mean much to you if you're A) not a firefighter, or B)don't hang out in schools much anymore.
So the first thing I'd like all of you to do is conduct a fire drill. Right now. When you get back, I'll share with you my Top5 Fire Prevention Week Memories.
1. When I was in 2nd grade, Smokey Bear came to my grade school on a fire truck to teach us all about not starting forest fires. One kindergartener went into absolute hysterics when he saw that iconic bear. For some reason I still remember his name. Donald Davis. Wonder whatever happened to him.
2. In high school, I singed my bangs lighting a cigarette on a gas stove. I'm not sure if this happened during Fire Prevention Week, but I think it did.
3. I hate it when people called Smokey Bear "Smokey THE Bear." There's no "the." Really. You could look it up.
4. Should you do Chinese fire drills during Fire Prevention Week? No, probably not. Besides, it's politically incorrect.
5. Don't play with matches.
I found a news story today that says kids who eat a lot of candy are more likely to turn outÂ to beÂ violent adults. Some researcher in the United Kingdom kept track of some 17-thousand subjects, and found of those who ate candy every day as 10 year olds, 69 percent wound up being convicted of some sort of violent crime by the time they were 34.
And I thought eating candy would just rot your teeth!
I've actually done some research of my own, linking different personal traits to the types of candy eaten as a child.
I came across a news item today that some people are still so mad at Brett Favre that they would like to burn him in effigy..okay..maybe not him necessarily..but at least their old Brett jerseys. (This story was about a restaurant in Eau Claire).
I don't have any Brett jerseys to burn, so I've decided to make some changes to protest the situation in other ways.
1. Will no longer eat purple grapes, no matter how many anti-oxidants they contain.
2. Removed all purple-hued crayons from my box of 64 crayolas. This includes blue violet, violet blue, periwinkle, and lavendar.
3. WillÂ never again play One-Eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater on Triple M.
Don't ever say I'mÂ a woman who won't stand by her convictions.
By the way.. I do kinda like that Sears commercial featuring Brett. If you like it too..you might enjoy watching some out-takes from it.
The World Dairy Expo is in town this week, and that got me to pondering, do I have what it takes to be a farmer?
Let's review my agricultural resume:
1. As a reporter in Stevens Point, I got to ride around on a flatbed trailer at the Hancock Experimental Station, Â learning about innovations in potato farming.
2. Once interviewed Alice in Dairyland.
3. Sold concessions at a square dance convention. Farmers square dance, don't they? Isn't what the barns are for?
4. Bumper crop in my garden this year! 16 tomatoes and 3 green peppers. Let's not talk about the peas, which are crack to rabbits and inspired them to eat through my plastic fence.
5. I know that Alfalfa is more than just one of the Little Rascals.
Pretty impressive...I know. That's why I was quite confident I would fare quite well in a farming challenge posed by Rock-n-Roll Farmer Jimmy Voegeli. My opponent? City kid Jonathan Suttin!Â No problem!
We paid a visit to the Voegeli Farms area at the Expo today, and got to know some Brown Swiss cows. A little too well. How did everything work out? The video is in post-production, and will be up soon for you to watch. You know that painting American Gothic? It's kinda like that.
The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. I can imitate the Wicked Witch, Dorothy, and Glinda, and can quote dialog from memory. You should see my sister-in-law Donna and me when we really get going!
So it's only natural that I'd be excited about the reissue of the movie in Blu-ray. It comes out tomorrow in a couple of different formats..remastered DVD, Blu-ray, and the Ultimate Collectors Edition which includes the Blu-ray and a whole bunch of other stuff, including a coffee table book, and a collectible 70th anniversary watch.
As I leafed through the flyers in the paper yesterday, I noticed that Target was offering an exclusive Blu-ray (without all the bells and whistles) for around 34 bucks, but Best Buy had a collectors box in the $50 range.
I'm a little muddled about which of the versions I'm going to buy (do I need the Wizard of Oz watch?), but must admit I've got a pretty bad case of Oz fever right now.
Can't wait 'til tomorrow? Check out this video preview!
Another Willy Street Fair has come and gone. It's one of my favorite parties of the year, and this one did not disappoint.
Mike and I wore almost matching tie-dyes, which bordered on geeky, but we didn't care.
Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials closed out the show on the Rock Stage, and they did not disappoint!
These people are dancing to Lil Ed, and it is pouring rain. Check out the guy in the red shirt. He's getting soaked!
Hope you enjoy the pics. Now I have to go home and take a nap.
Until yesterday, I had never been stung by a bee. I've been harassed by bees before, but never before had one inflicted such horrible pain!
Okay, it wasn't that bad, but it did freak me out. Here's how it went down:
I'm riding my bike on a path west of Madison. I see a small blurry projectile heading toward me. Before I can react, the determined insect makes an irritated buzzing sound..and gets me, right in the eyebrow.
Despite my overdramatic tendencies, I did not go into anaphelectic (spelling?) shock, and it stopped hurting after five or ten minutes.
Now I'm just grateful it didn't happen while I was at work. Check out what happened to a news reporter in Syracuse...
I hope for this guy's sake that wasn't on the air live!
Why is everybody so freaked out about roundabouts? (And no, not that song from Yes that starts "in and around the lake..")
Apparently there's a legislator from Green Bay who doesn't want them anywhere near Lambeau Field.
In a letter to Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi,Â State Representative Jim Soletski says "While we would hope no one will be driving impaired, the reality is that with thousands of people leaving a football game or other event, the odds are that some drivers may be less than alert after spending three to six hours at the stadium."Â (Link to the news story here).
This brings to mind three things.
1) What's so hard about about navigating roundabouts? Apparently a lot of people just can't get the concept, so the DMV is sending out a two page flyer with auto registration stickers, explaining all the intricacies of navigating through them. Need to brush up your skills? Check it out here.
2) Is changing highway design to aid drunk Packer fans a new form of government sponsored co-dependency?
3) "Less than alert" is a great new euphemism for drunk. Use it the next time you want to say some one is wasted, smashed, blasted, bombed, or three sheets to the wind.
If you have any problems with this blog, don't blame me. I'm less than alert right now.
It's a big day for celebration at my house, because at long last we finally got our new dishwasher, and it's installed and ready for dirty dishes.
This saga started around a month ago when our old dishwasher just stopped. In the middle of a cycle. Apparently it decided that 17 years of service was long enough and it just stopped working (with a bunch of grayish dishwater in the bottom).
Thus began the search for a new dishwasher, followed by some delivery scheduling trauma, a defective machine being installed..and hopefully now..success.
This is a big deal because I HATE WASHING DISHES. I still remember when I told my mom I was ready to upgrade from the job of just clearing the table and sweeping the floor, and that I wanted to wash the dishes. Big mistake. I hated it, and there was no going back.Â Here are a few more moments in my dishwashing history.
*hid from my family, inside my house, to avoid helping with Thanksgiving dinner dishes (I won't tell you how old I was..it's kind of embarassing).
*broke a glass pitcher after it fell from a Jenga like pile of dirty dishes. It was no fun picking up the shattered pieces that were coated with sticky lemonade remnants
*helped a boyfriend throw away a box-full of his room-mate's dishes that were beginning to fossilize in the sink
*have been known to say I'd prefer a dishwasher to an engagement ring any day
Don't go getting any ideas now. I'm not engaged. I'm holding out for a new refrigerator. With ice and water in the door.
Mike and I were on vacation last week, and as we often do, we checked out brewpubs. A couple of years ago we hit 13 in one week, and while we didn't break that record..we set a new geographic personal best, hitting brewpubs in four different states--Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
This time we added a couple of new ones, including Old Man River Brewing Companyin Marquette, Iowa. It's really a charming tiny little town on the Mississippi River with a great old downtown. That's where you'll find the brewpub--in a beautifully restored old building. The beer was quite delicious..the bartender cordial and friendly, and we also met a nice couple who'd recently moved to Wisconsin from Missouri. (And from the way they tell it, Missouri has a lot of great breweries we need to check out sometime!)
We also finally made it to the Potosi Brewery, way down in the southwest corner of the state. The original Potosi Brewery closed in 1972, and has now been restored, and is part of the National Breweriana Museum. Tiny little Potosi beat out St. Louis (think Budweiser), and Milwaukee (think Miller and all those other great breweries of the past.) If you're a beer fan or aÂ history fan, you'd definitely be fascinated with all the memorabilia from all over the country, but with an emphasis on Wisconsin breweries. Back around the turn of the century, almost every little town had its own brewery. I think Galena,Illinois had three or four! Many of them survived until the 60's or 70's when they just couldn't keep up with the big boys.
We got to Potosi on the last leg of our journey on the Great River Road, along the Mississippi River. The views were gorgeous, and yes, the beer was tasty. I can't wait to go back..and think a fall excursion is definitely in order.
It's Labor Day Weekend. It is not Memorial Day Weekend. It drives me crazy that people always mix it up. It's not that hard. Really.
If you need a litle mnemonic device to help you remember--Memorial Day is in May. Both start with M. I guess it would be easier to recall if September were Leptember..or if the holiday were called Sabre Day, but that sounds a little violent.
Labor Day is supposed to be a day for recognizing all that organized labor has done for workers in this country. At one time, being guaranteed a safe place to work was not a reality. And working long ridiculous hours was the rule, rather than the exception.
I've never had the opportunity to work for a union..but luckily I'm in a profession where I don't get abused...too much.
If you need a little boost to get you into solidarity with labor unions, watch this video. And feel free to sing along.
As kids went back to school this week, I found myself getting a little jealous. While I loved hanging out with my friends and terrorizing the neighbors all summer, I was usually ready to go back to school by the time September rolled around.Â I considered the start of the school year as a new opportunity, and always thought "this is the year I'll finally be popular!"
Other great things about the start of school:
1. That new crayon smell.
2. New sweaters!
3. A desk and locker that I hadn't messed up yet.
4. Pristine workbooks and unsharpened pencils.
5. Wondering which kids would throw up in the hallway this year.
6. Folders with plenty of room for doodling.
7. Teachers that hadn't seen my sarcastic side yet.
8. Visiting last year's teacher just to say "hi."
9. Hot lunch!Â (Only on Pizza Day.)
10. I was that much closer to graduation!
I was in emotional turmoil last night after hearing the news that Brett Favre was going to don the shirt of evil..the purple Vikings uniform. I was afraid I might not be able to get to sleep...so I did what I often do to work out my emotional angst. I got out my journal and wrote a poem.
A sweetÂ love story
Like some wine has now gone sour
I still remember
Our love in its finest hour
And how you cried
When you said you had to go
I died inside
And felt my tears overflow.
This new betrayal hurts
Yes, it really sucks.
Now I really
Don't give a flying...Lambeau Leap.
It's almost time for college to start up again..and I know that because I was at Target yesterday and every one was shopping for cool dorm stuff. And because Beloit College is out with its annual College Mindset List.
Kids starting college this fall were born in 1991. And according to Beloit College--they've never used a card catalog at the library, CD's have never come in cardboard packaging, and they have been preparing for digital TV all their lives.Â Does this make me feel old?
Yeah, a little.
But that doesn't stop me from making up my own list, showing the difference between the new College Mindset, and my own..from back in 1950. (Okay, not QUITE that long ago.)
Today's college freshmen:
1. Never got to ride in the front seat between mom and dad, and then jump into the back seat while the car was moving.
2. Never had a science teacher let them play with mercury.
3. Always thought Andy Rooney was old.
4. Always thought Michael Jackson was downright crazy, or at least eccentric.
5. Never had to tune in a station on an analog radio.
6. Don't know what typing paper is. Or Wite Out.
7. Only remember Ed McMahon from that Super Bowl commercial. And he was never rich.
8. Never bought a piece of penny candy.
9.Â TV commercials never featured women wearing bras on the outside of their sweaters.
10. Brett Favre has always been a professional football player.
So last week I was obsessed with hitting the curbsides of Madison looking for treasures dumped by students moving from apartment to apartment. My new obsession: colored bubbles!
It's not that I'm Lawrence Welk or anything, but I've always loved bubbles. I love when kids chase them and lose their minds giggling. I was very said that the bubble lawn mower had not been invented when I was a toddler.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about this St. Paul inventor who created something called Zubbles. Unlike ordinary transparent bubbles, these hold their color! And when they land on something they stain it..but only for 15 minutes and then the color fades away.
The inventor spent ten years and 3 million dollars on research for this project, which is probably why these bubbles are not cheap, they're $14.95 for four ounces.
I e-mailed the company and asked them for free samples..I'm hoping to get some in time for the Roots Festival Saturday so we can play with them!
More info about zubbles here.
You probably know I love to go to yard sales, flea markets and second hand stores. I really need to narrow down my collecting...because I collect lots of stuff in lots of different categories. For some reason, I thought you might like to see some of it. Watch and enjoy. And there's more where this came from. A lot more.
Great news for fans of Led Zeppelin!
With the June 3 release of deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III , the band will launch an extensive reissue program of all nine of its studio albums in chronological order, each...
This Saturday, March 15th, will mark the 15th anniversary of Jonathan and me trying desperately to wake up Madison on 105.5 Triple M.
We'll celebrate Friday on our show, with some highlights from over the years. And by highlights, we mean moments...
Today's World's Worst iPod came from the category of "80s sap." Jack Wagner's "All I Need" was number two for a couple of weeks in early 1985 (it would have been #1 if not for that pesky Madonna and her "Like a Virgin" song).
Oh, spring, you dirty little flirt. You gave us a taste of your sunshine and warmth yesterday, but now you are gone, faster than doughnuts in the breakroom of a radio station.
Are you as ready for spring as I am? Take my little test and see.
I am addicted to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy," and I didn't think I could like it any more than I already did.
Until I saw this video. Yeah, it's pretty shallow humor, but it put a smile on my face! Andthat's not something...
Critics have been saying some good things about the new biographical Jimi Hendrix movie that's debuting at SXSW later this month.
For one thing, Jimi: All Is By My Side comes from film-maker John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for the much...
Great news for fans of Led Zeppelin!
With the June 3 release of deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III , the band will launch an extensive reissue program of all nine of its studio albums in chronological order, each...
This Saturday, March 15th, will mark the 15th anniversary of Jonathan and me trying desperately to wake up Madison on 105.5 Triple M.
We'll celebrate Friday on our show, with some highlights from over the years. And by highlights, we mean moments...
Today's World's Worst iPod came from the category of "80s sap." Jack Wagner's "All I Need" was number two for a couple of weeks in early 1985 (it would have been #1 if not for that pesky Madonna and her "Like a Virgin" song).
Oh, spring, you dirty little flirt. You gave us a taste of your sunshine and warmth yesterday, but now you are gone, faster than doughnuts in the breakroom of a radio station.
Are you as ready for spring as I am? Take my little test and see.
I am addicted to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy," and I didn't think I could like it any more than I already did.
Until I saw this video. Yeah, it's pretty shallow humor, but it put a smile on my face! Andthat's not something...
Critics have been saying some good things about the new biographical Jimi Hendrix movie that's debuting at SXSW later this month.
For one thing, Jimi: All Is By My Side comes from film-maker John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for the much...