Saturday Surprise — Kangas & Ice Cream Trucks

Hello friends and welcome to the weekend!  For most of my readers on both sides of the pond, I believe it is a three-day weekend.  Here in the U.S., there is Memorial Day on Monday, which has pretty much turned into just an excuse for picnics, beer, and a day off work.  Across the pond, I understand it is a bank holiday.  So, wherever you are, I hope you get an extra day to spend with family and doing something fun!  This picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s theme, but I came across it and just couldn’t resist …kittyI have picked up a couple of new readers … very young ones, both 4 -years-old, and they happen to really like animal videos.  So in honour of the two young men who fell in love with the wingless bee last week, I hope you will enjoy these kangaroos!


The sounds of summer began here in da hood this week.

school-out-1Wednesday was the last day of school, so we have heard the sounds of young voices laughing gleefully, the sound of balls hitting our back window, skateboards rolling down the street, and parents screeching.  But one sound in particular is welcomed by all and is nearly an institution:  the ice cream truck!  Even though it is rare that I can eat ice cream, the sound of “Turkey in the Straw” rolling down the street always makes me smile.  And seeing the kids lined up at the window, credit cards in hand.  Guess what, folks … it is no longer a dime like it was when we were kids.  Now it is more like $2.  Inflation, y’know.  Our ice cream truck is driven by a retired couple and they are perfect for the job … always have a smile and unlimited patience with the little ones.  Anyway … the ice cream truck got me to thinking and wondering a couple of things, like when did the first ice cream truck hit the streets and where, and why the heck did they pick “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Turkey in the Straw” for them all to play?  And so, as you know, when Filosofa wonders, Filosofa goes in search of answers.

ice cream truck-1

The history of ice cream street vendors dates back to the nineteenth century and is shaped by advances in technology, and fortunately, sanitation. While much has changed since peddlers first sold dishes of ice cream from carts cooled with ice blocks. ice cream truck-6In the U.S, the ice cream cart began as an urban phenomenon in which working class laborers bought a small dish of ice cream that he or she licked clean. The dish was then returned to the vendor, wiped down, and loaded with a fresh scoop for a new customer.  Blech. Customers with more money—or a healthy fear of infectious diseases—opted for ice cream sandwiches.ice cream truck-3Milk was not pasteurized in the U.S. until the 1890s, which meant any dairy product was potentially laced with the bacteria that caused scarlet fever, diphtheria, and bovine tuberculosis. Ice cream poisonings were a common event and were regularly reported in the news. Newspapers described ice cream poisoning epidemics in which dozens of fair-goers, picnic attendees, and party guests were stricken or killed. Public health officials, however, initially overlooked dairy contaminates and blamed ice cream poisoning on artificial flavors, specifically vanilla.ice cream truck-5By the turn of the century, ice cream hygiene improved dramatically and fairgoers were no longer afraid to order a cold treat. At the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis, a convenient take-away premiered— the ice cream cone. The thin, crispy waffle had long been a dessert favorite, and rolling the waffle into a cone wasn’t a new idea. The novel idea was to scoop ice cream into the cone, and several men who sold concessions at the famed fair fought for recognition as to who was the true creator.ice cream truck-4In the early 1920s, advances in refrigeration meant electric coolers replaced ice deliveries. Electric coolers were far more portable, and made it possible for a chilled ice-box to be placed on a motor car. At the same time, the early 1920s also saw the start of Prohibition and the end of easy access to the daily delight of wine, beer, or spirits. For many Americans, the comfort of fast food and sweets replaced the indulgence lost with banned spirits. The popularity of ice cream parlors and trucks soared during this era.

The first ice cream truck was credited to Harry Burt of Youngstown, Ohio, who was the creator of the Good Humor brand. Burt was already delivering ice cream from a motorized vehicle when he had the idea to place chocolate covered ice cream bars on a stick. His new Good Humor ice cream “sucker” was easy and clean to eat, which gave him the idea to sell it directly from his truck to consumers on the street.

Ice cream sold in parlors or stores became a luxury item during the Depression. But ice cream trucks such as Burt’s Good Humor brand where able to survive the Depression due to the product’s low-cost. Many consumers couldn’t afford big ticket items, but they could afford a nickel for an ice cream treat. During this time, vendors began offering economical items such as twin popsicles that parents broke in half and shared with two children.ice cream truck-7Post-war ice cream production boomed and so did the competition. Mister Softee was founded in Philadelphia in 1956 by two brothers who created a soft serve ice cream machine built specifically for a truck.

Although Good Humor sold its fleet in the 1970s to focus on grocery store sales, Mister Softee trucks are still on the streets, not to mention a host of competitors who sell original treats as well as pre-packaged favorites to a new generation of kids listening to hear the familiar jingle on a hot summer day.

I still have no idea why they choose ‘Turkey in the Straw’ and ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ for the songs to play, and I’m too tired tonight to dig any deeper, but I did find a site titled “a brief history of ice cream truck music”, so can do your own digging on that one! But here’s a tidbit for you.  In this, the world of bluetooth, GPS and a host of other apps to allow you to do nearly anything without leaving the ease of your recliner, there’s an app for the ice cream truck also.  You can track the truck by GPS in order to know precisely when he will be on your street, so that your kids don’t have to leave their video games to go outside and listen for him. 🙄  But also … ALSO … you can even place your order ahead so that you don’t have to be troubled with telling the ice cream man what your heart desires.  🙄  If that is not the epitome of laziness, I don’t know what is.  And it seems to me that it takes all the fun out of it.  Might just as well buy your ice cream at the grocery and keep it in the freezer until needed if you’re gonna do that!

ice cream truck-8So, now that I’ve made you crave an ice cream bar … get outside and enjoy the weekend — plant some flowers, lie in the hammock and read a book, wash some windows — and be sure to listen for the sounds of ♫ ♪ ♫ Pop Goes the Weasel ♪ ♫ ♪

Enjoy your weekend!!!ice cream truck-9

Saturday Surprise — Hodgepodge

Hi Friends!  It’s Saturday and the beginning of another weekend!  Now, a few readers asked me last week if I would do a post about the Significant Seven 🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱, since I mention them so often in my posts, and I agreed to do one for this week’s Saturday Surprise.  Unfortunately, as often happens, life interfered and due to circumstances largely beyond my control, I have not had time to do that post.  However, I promise that next week you will get to meet the Sig-Seven in all their glory!

Meanwhile, I’ve found a few things to get your weekend started out on a fun note …


In honour of Mother’s Day on Sunday, Jimmy Fallon set up a challenge to people to send in some of the funniest things their mothers had ever said.  A few were noteworthy …

mom-1mom-2mom-3mom-4mom-5mom-6


And just for a bit of fun, artist Fransditaa Muafidin uses Photoshop to turn cats into gargantuan kitties, and some are pretty humorous …

cat-1cat-2cat-3cat-4cat-5cat-6cat-7cat-8cat-9


And lastly, for some reason the folks over at Bored Panda became obsessed with bumblebee butts.  Yes, that’s what I said, and no, I didn’t know bumblebees had butts, either!  But they are kind of cute …


And that’s all I’ve got for today, folks!  Orange says to tell you he is really looking forward to meeting you next Saturday …

20180501_002546.jpgEnjoy your weekend … get out there and do something fun, enjoy some sunshine!

Saturday Surprise — Let’s Explore!

Hello friends, and welcome to the WEEKEND!!!  People tell me that since I am retired, every day is the weekend for me, but let me tell you … it ain’t so!  I have a fairly rigid weekday schedule that helps me stay on track with housework, cooking, laundry, then I write two daily posts for this blog, each requiring a minimum of about 3 hours, usually closer to 6.  Add to that time to pay attention to the Significant Seven, answer email, pay bills, roll smokes, chat with friends … 24 hours are simply not enough!  On the weekend, however, the girls take over cooking & cleaning duties (I refuse to let them touch the laundry), so it gives me a bit of a break.  Today, I felt like taking a bit of a journey to try to find new and unique things around the world.  Are you with me?  Good!  Strap on your imaginary seat belts, and let’s head to … Thailand!


poo park 1Specifically we are going to the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Yes, you read it right, and yes, it means exactly what it says.  It is where they make paper from elephant poop!  According to Atlas Obscura …

“Making paper from elephant poop is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional tree-based products. By not using trees, it helps reduce deforestation and makes sure the abundance of animal waste isn’t wasted. The paper is entirely sanitary and stink-free.poo park 3The process of transforming elephant poop into everyday paper is actually pretty straightforward. Once workers have scooped the poop and gathered it, they then wash the waste so that only the plant fibers remain. The fibers are then boiled and sanitized, then mixed with other non-wood pulp fibers. Finally, the intriguing mixture is screened and dried, just like typical wood-based paper has been for thousands of years.

poo park 2Visiting the Elephant Poo Poo Park gives people an up-close encounter with the whole process. You’re even invited to get involved, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. The park also has information about traditional paper making, which began in China nearly 2,000 years ago. In addition to the tour, people can check out the cafe and “poo-tique” to pick up souvenirs.”

Who knew?  I don’t think I would much enjoy working there, though.


I was planning for us to hop just a few miles north to visit the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom, where visitors can actually snuggle with the tigers, but I learned some disturbing news and decided I would pass that one up for today.  And so … on to … Wales!

Now, I have a few great friends who live in Wales, and one of them I know loves his beans, but I had no idea that beans was such a … national treasure?  Here we are, then, in Port Talbott, where we find the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.  A museum … baked beans … really?  The museum is owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany, formerly known as Barry Kirk.  Now way back when, Barry was working for British Petroleum as a computer geek at one of their chemical plants. Capn Beany bathtubThen, in September 1986, Kirk decided to try for a new world’s record, and life has never been the same since.  What record, you ask?  Sitting in a bathtub filled with beans … for 100 straight hours.  And it was then that he first got his idea for a complete transformation into Captain Beany. Capn Beany tattoo It took some time, but in 1991 he quit his job, legally changed his name, and then he began the physical transformation, painting his head and bald pate orange, and donning a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.  Since then, he has run marathons, pushed a can of beans along a beach with his nose, bathed in a bath of tomato soup, climbed a mountain, and had 60 baked beans tattooed on his head.

The museum is in the living room of his 2-bedroom apartment and is crammed full of baked bean memorabilia and orange furniture.  Since his apartment is a ‘council flat’, which I believe is similar to subsidized housing in the U.S., he is not allowed to charge admission, but he does accept donations from the 100 or so visitors he gets each year.  And Cap’n Beany is a generous man, donating all proceeds to charities such as Sport Relief, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation.


And now, I really hope you brought your jackets,  for we are headed someplace quite cold … Norway!

You know what it’s like, traveling on the interstate highway system and after a few hundred miles, you really need to stop for a potty break and perhaps a cup of coffee to help keep your eyes open.  Those rest stops, though … you never know what condition you will find them in.  But this rest area, named Uredd Rest Area, is situated along a section of the Norwegian Scenic Route. It overlooks stunning views of the fjords and the open sea, and is a popular spot for visitors and locals to watch the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer. And, it is quickly gaining fame for being home to what may be the most beautiful public toilet in the world.Norway rest areaAs part of a project to enhance Norway’s scenic highways with innovative architecture, a sleek viewing area with marble benches and amphitheater steps leading down to the water were built along the roadside. And next to them, a striking, wave-shaped public restroom.

Uredd rest areaMade of frosted glass and concrete in a minimalist design, the structure seems to glow in the dark as the glass is lit at night. In the daytime, the facility offers just about the most breathtaking view you could hope to enjoy while taking care of business.  Just look at that scenery … makes you want to sit here forever … except that I’m getting c-c-c-old.


Let’s grab a quick bite to eat … and warm us up … before we head back, shall we?  As I realize that a number of my readers are vegan, I picked a place we could all find something to love.  So let’s head over to Madrid, Spain, for some barquillos.  You guys all like barquillos, right?  What … oh, don’t worry … it’s Spanish for waffles. These particular ones are very thin, rolled into shapes like cones, and ever-so delicious.  Now here in Madrid, we will get our waffles from a street vendor, but there’s a little something you have to do first.  First, you have to play a game of roulette with the vendor!  No, not the Russian sort … just the plain ol’ sort.barquillosThere’s one now!  See that red tin canister?  That’s the roulette game, and the wheel to spin is on the top of the canister.  You can pay once to spin for either one or two barquillos or pay more and spin as many times as you want, racking up waffles until you stop or the ticker lands on one of the four golden markers, at which point you lose everything. barquillos-2You are so going to love these … you can get them dusted with cinnamon or vanilla and covered or stuffed with chocolate and other flavors.  I love them with fresh strawberries, but it’s probably a little too early in the season for those.  Enjoy your barquillo!


Well, folks, I hope you enjoyed our travel today, and I hope you all have a terrific weekend!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!!!

Saturday Surprise — Babushka of Baikal

In bed

awakened

Hey … go ‘way … leave me alone … zzz … zzz … stop … go … it’s Saturday … I get to sleep in!  What?  Oh … well, yeah, I did sleep in yesterday.  Yes, and the day before, too … so what?  Oh … you want a Saturday Surprise, huh?  Sigh.  {Yawn} … okay, fine … somebody make me a cuppa java and I’ll be down in just a minute …

Okay … teeth brushed and I’m ready for action … where’s the coffee?  Thanks … um, Hugh … did you lace this with a dash of Famous Grouse?  I thought so.  Thanks  😉.  All day yesterday I had a song going through my head.  Even though I haven’t been much in a singing mood lately, I still have music running through my head almost constantly.  Keith keeps my head filled with the occasional earworm, and sometimes I cannot stop Fool on the Hill from looping for hours in my head.  But yesterday, for some reason completely unknown to me, I found myself humming a song about a bloomin’ cockroach!!!  Why?  Who knows?  But … being the generous, giving soul that I am, I thought I’d share it with you so that you, too, can have La Cucaracha running wild through your head!


There is a lady in Siberia who puts me to shame … heck, she puts us all to shame.  Her name is Lyubov Morekhodova, she is 76 years old, and lives alone in the frozen tundra that is Siberia since her husband died in 2011.  She is known as the Babushka of Baikal, Babushka being the Russian word for ‘grandmother’, and Baikal because she lives on Lake Baikal.

Lyubov arises every morning at 5:30 … she doesn’t even get to sleep in on Saturday … for the cows must be fed.  Now, Lake Baikal is frozen for five full months out of every year, and when it is frozen, the cows sometimes wander off, walking right across the lake, and then Lyubov must go find them.  How does she cross the lake to find the cows?  Why, on skates, of course.  But not just any ol’ skates!  Lyubov still wears the skates that her father made for her back in 1943!

And then off she goes to find the wandering bovine and bring them safely home.

“I’ve always been going long distances on skates. I started skating when I was seven. My Dad made the skates by cutting a metal saw and inserting it into pieces of wood which I then tied to valenki (traditional felt boots). I don’t like modern skates, they wobble around my ankle and feet get cold. Valenki are always warm. I was even competing in these skates with my fellow factory workers.”

Lyubov worked for 42 years as a technology engineer at Kuibyshev factory in Irkutsk, and retired here – to her old family home – with her husband. He died in 2011, and since then she has been alone, resisting calls from her family to move back to the city.  Lyubov’s first name means ‘love’, and her surname means ‘the one who walks on sea’.  What could be more fitting, eh?

“I sit alone in the kitchen. I sit and look at this. It gives me happiness, a good mood, and then I always think, if anybody sat next to me, they’d say: ‘What a beauty, what incredible beauty’”.

Lyubov has four dogs, a cat, two hens, two roosters, two calves, five cows and two bulls.  Her sons, grandchildren and nephews visit during the summer, but during the long winter months, she is mostly alone … except, of course, for the menagerie!  She chops her own firewood, melts snow for water, mows, rakes hay, and takes care of the animals.  She is very talented in embroidery, she loves macrame, crocheting and weaving from beads. Some of her works, whenever she dared to take them to Irkutsk, won prizes at local competitions.

“I don’t even watch TV, perhaps only some days in the evening. I am not scared at all here, I don’t even know what I should be scared of. The only unpleasant thing here is drunk tourists on ATVs who forever manage to break something. They killed two dogs and turned my boat upside down. But I realise there is little I can do about them…. In the summer, when there are lots of people, I tell them: ‘Pick up your litter, tidy up after yourselves. Don’t leave litter, it all ends up in Baikal.’ We live a happy life here, me and my animals. In summer I get to see all my relatives, and in winters I am way too busy to get bored.”

Remember, folks, this lady is 76!!!  Ten years older than moi, but with at least ten times as much drive and energy!  My hat is definitely off to her!


And now, my dear friends, don’t you have something to do with your weekend besides hang out here?  Go enjoy the sunshine, get outside and breathe the fresh air, teach a kid how to wrap toilet paper on the neighbor’s trees!  And thanks for dropping by and sharing part of your weekend with me!  Love ‘n hugs!!!toon-1.jpg

Saturday Surprise — Cookie Monster!

After putting some fairly intense work into my 3-part series on voters who don’t vote, my mind is ready for a little lighter fare today, despite the fact that there are many serious topics beckoning and calling to me.  The serious topics will still be there tomorrow, and so I am giving my brain a bit of transition time, some free play time, if you will.  And anyway, I do still owe you a Saturday Surprise!

The timing couldn’t have better, as I just heard from my friend over at WaPo that they had a very special guest earlier this week – none other than the famous muppet, Cookie Monster!

It seems that Cookie Monster has written and published a book, and he is on book tour, during which he decided to drop in at The Washington Post for a short visit.  The book is titled The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life 

It turns out that Cookie Monster has altered his diet slightly over the years to be more ‘culinarily-correct’, and he is also somewhat more well-spoken than I remember, but then I haven’t seen him on television for … probably close to two decades.  Here is an excerpt from his interview with the Post’s deputy food editor, Bonnie Benwick:

Bonnie: When did you first notice cookies = happiness?

Cookie Monster: Back when Me was cute little baby monster. One bite, and Me knew.

Bonnie: Judging from your crumby writing, you are widely read and well versed in popular culture — referencing Shakespeare, Erich Segal, John F. Kennedy, “The Godfather.” When do you find the time?

Cookie Monster: Sometimes Me is very busy monster. Me spend time with me friends, read latest books, get some exercise in, catch up on me prestige television. But Me always make time to follow me passion: Cookies!

Bonnie: Yes, you have been a tireless promoter of cookies . . . . but, in fact, you eat everything. Correct?

Cookie Monster: Me enjoy a well-balanced diet. Cookies, meat, fish, fruit, veg-e-ta-bles, cookies . . . canoe, truck, bicycle . . . corners of very tasty book . . . did Me say cookies?

Bonnie: Ten years ago, television personality Stephen Colbert accused you of eating his Peabody Award. Care to clear that up? (We have the videotape.)

Cookie Monster: No comment. Me not recall. Me can neither confirm nor deny. Me fuzzy on whole matter. Definitely not mentioned on Page 22.

Bonnie: Cookies in bed: Yes or no?

Cookie Monster: Yes. Cookies everywhere! In bed, and on couch, and in kitchen, fresh out of oven, with lots of chocolate chippies . . . . What was question again? Me got distracted.

Bonnie: Complete the sentence: A day without cookies is like . . . .

Cookie Monster: . . . Day without cookie?! Is that new sci-fi thriller or something? Me think Me will skip

And since I am just worn-out tired today, I will leave you with a tune and I will either have a nap, or do laundry: any guesses which?

Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
Harry Belafonte
Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Stack banana ’til de mornin’ come
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
A beautiful bunch o’ ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Saturday Surprise — Oops — On Sunday — Again.

Good Morning, and welcome to Saturday Surprise on Sunday!  Time just goes too fast for me, and I keep letting Saturday sneak up on me without realizing it has done so.  But that’s okay … we can have just as much fun on a Sunday morning, yes?  I hope you are all having a lovely weekend!  Recently, I was having a discussion with one of my UK friends, and I truly do not remember why the topic even came up, but I mentioned something about them driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.  He, of course, suggested that I simply call it the ‘other side’ of the road, for who’s to say which is right and which is wrong.  So, of course, that opened the lid to my curiosity box, and I had, suddenly, a burning desire to know how it came to be that we here in the U.S. drive on the right side, and the Brits drive on the wrong left side. And it turns out to be rather a fun story, so I thought it would make a nice Saturday Sunday morning diversion.It turns out that driving on the left side dates back to the days of feudal societies.  Yes, yes, I am aware that Karl Benz and Henry Ford had not yet invented the automobile, but they rode horses (not Karl & Henry, but just people in general), and since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from  him.So that’s a fairly logical explanation for the left side, but how did some of us come to switch to the right side?

In the late 1700s teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore, he kept to the right side of the road.

Additionally, in France, until the French Revolution in 1789, the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right. Then when Napoleon began conquering other nations, the habit of driving on the right extended to other nations such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and many parts of Spain and Italy. The states that had resisted Napoleon kept left – Britain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Portugal. Although by the 1800s, the trend was leaning toward driving on the right, Britain not only repudiated it, but in 1835 made left-hand driving mandatory, and the countries that were part of the British Empire followed suit.  In the early years of the English colonization of North America, driving on the left was the norm.  But once the U.S. gained its independence, just like the child finally freed from the bonds of its parents’ rules, that quickly began to change, and Pennsylvania was the first state, in 1792, to pass a law making driving on the right mandatory.And if you really want something confusing … Spain had no traffic regulations prior to the 1930s … some drove on the left, some on the right.  In the 1960s, Great Britain also considered changing, but the country’s conservative powers did everything they could to nip the proposal in the bud. Furthermore, the fact that it would cost billions of pounds to change everything round was not much of an incentive… Eventually, Britain dropped the idea. Today, only four European countries still drive on the left: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.Currently there are 166 countries that drive on the right, compared to 74 countries that drive on the wrong left.  Which do you suppose is safer?  I rather doubt that safety has as much to do with side of the road as it does with fitness of the drivers, but world standards has put together an interesting infographic to try to tie it down.

And now, folks, your burning question about who drives on which side of the road and why, has been answered.  Go enjoy your weekend (what’s left of it), fire up the charcoal grill, invite a few friends over and relax, for tomorrow is … well, you know.

This one’s for you, Keith!

Saturday Surprise — ‘Tubby’ Johnston

Hey folks!!! It’s Saturday, a weekend, and a holiday weekend at that!  And to top it all off, it is spring!  I have been notably unmotivated this year, so as of this writing, I still have no Easter decorations up, have no idea where the Easter baskets are hiding, and don’t know what we are doing for Easter.  We made no plans with anybody, I am lethargic when it comes to the thoughts of cooking a turkey (our usual Easter fare) and for all I care, we can fire up the ol’ Weber grill and throw some hamburgers or brats on it.  (No, I am not threatening to grill the neighbor kids … not yet, at least).  I did, at least, buy some food colouring and eggs.  It’s a start, yes?

Yesterday afternoon I found myself wandering aimlessly around the ‘net, kicking at cookies and gifs, making faces at trolls, and trying to find “a good place” to settle in for a bit.  As I rounded a corner, the story of a brief interlude in the life of a child, who has since become a woman even older than I, pulled me in for a closer look, and as she shared her story with me, I knew I had my focus for this post.

The year was 1950 and the child was 13-year-old Kay Johnston of upstate New York.  1950 – women were housewives, very few worked outside the home.  Sports was a man’s game.  And real men didn’t eat quiche.  But young Kay often played baseball in the backyard with her younger brother, and when he went off to practice with his team, Kay cried, for she loved the sport as much as he, and yet … and yet she was “just” a girl, and girls didn’t play Little League.

One spring afternoon, as she sat at the kitchen table letting her mother braid her hair, after seeing her brother walk out the door with bat over his shoulder, mitt dangling from his hand, she broke into tears.

“I started crying. And I said to my mother, ‘I’m just as good as him. I wish I could play.’ “

You gotta love Kay Johnston’s mother, for instead of giving her the “now, now, girls play with dolls and learn to cook for their menfolk” talk, Kay’s mum said, “Why don’t you just go and try out?”

“And I said, ‘OK, well, cut off my braids.’ And she did.”

Kay ran upstairs, grabbed a pair of her brother’s pants and a cap, and off she went to sign up.  She chose her name carefully:  Tubby Johnston, taken from the character Tubby in the then-popular Little Lulu comics.

Kay tried out for the King’s Dairy Team and, after a series of three tryouts, made the team!  Tubby Johnston was in, and Kay Johnston was living her dream.It wasn’t long, however, before Kay realized the odds were not in favour of her keeping her gender a secret for long, so she went to the coach and ‘came clean’.

“His reaction was, ‘You’re such a good player and we’re going to use you at first base.’ I played the entire season. It was an absolutely thrilling time.”

Even with the cat out of the bag, the kids on her own team treated her well and she was truly “just one of the guys”.

“It was the other players that would push me down or call me names, and the parents initially booed when I went out to play. They could see that I was a better player than some of their sons.”

Sadly, Tubby’s Little League career last for only one season.  Before the next, Little League officials wrote a new rule, a rule stating that no girls under any circumstances, will be allowed to play Little League ball.  I know the reasons and so do you … it was all about “male superiority”, “male dominance” and is the same mentality that has enabled so many men to harass women through the decades.  But for Kay, it was a win in another way …

“And it’s known as ‘The Tubby Rule,’ because I was the reason why they put that rule in.”

The ‘Tubby Rule’ would remain in effect for almost 25 years, until being overturned in 1974.

“You know, I have to tell you, when I went out pretending to be a boy, I had no idea I was setting some sort of a record. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I just wanted to play the game.”

Kay remembers telling her father, ” ‘You know, Dad, someday I’m going to play first base on the New York Yankees.’ And he just gave me a big hug and he said, ‘I know you will, Kit Kat.’ “

Well, Kay never got the chance to play first base, but … on Sept. 27, 2006, at the age of 70, Kay Johnston Massar walked out onto the field at Yankee Stadium and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

And now you see why I stopped by when, in my internet wanderings, I heard Kay say, “psssst … over here”.

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Have a lovely weekend, friends!  Enjoy your holiday, spend time with friends, family, and above all, find something to smile about.  Love ‘n hugs.

Saturday Surprise —

Good Saturday morning, friends, and YAY – it’s the weekend!  Unfortunately, we are predicted to get what may turn out to be our biggest snow of the winter … four days into spring!  But, I’m hoping this is just winter’s last hurrah and we can then move on to a bit of warmth and sunshine.  I hope your weather is better and that you can get out and enjoy a fine Saturday!

I hope you will forgive me, but this is likely to be a short Saturday Surprise, for I find I am exhausted tonight (Friday) and just cannot do much more.  Not to mention that the Significant Seven are driving me nuts tonight!  😺 😺 😺 😺 😺 😺 😺


The Sony World Photography Awards winners have just been announced, and some of these photos are so awesome that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.  Since there are 94 of them, I couldn’t share them all, but picked out a few of my favourites.

 

Deadvlei, Namibia

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

U Bein Bridge, Myanmar


I came across this tweet today and it made me laugh


Now for your daily does of cute … if this doesn’t make you grin, then you need to go back to bed …


And what say we wrap up with a few cartoons?

Have a great weekend, friends!  Do something fun, even if it’s just helping the neighborhood kids build a snowperson!  Love ‘n hugs!

Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!~~

Good morning and Happy Weekend!  Today I considered writing a piece on St. Patrick’s Day, but somehow I just couldn’t get into it.  And, because of the religious connections, I thought perhaps it was best I leave it alone. I will, however, end with a few funny St. Patrick’s cartoons. And anyway, given that I am getting a bit fed up with my own nation of residence this week, I thought it would be fun to do some traveling, and thus I went in search of new and interesting places.  Sit back and take a few minutes, if you will, to travel with me before starting your weekend activities.


Today let us begin our journey in Villa De Leyva, Colombia, where I have found the most unique house to show you!  Remember when you were a kid and on a snowy or rainy day, stuck indoors you played with such things as Matchbox cars, plastic horses, and that all-time favourite, modelling clay?  Remember how you used to build little clay houses … what?  You didn’t?  Seriously?  Well, anyway, some of us did that.  Here in Villa De Leyva, there is a real, life-size clay house!  Atlas Obscura says …

“Casa Terracota is a fully habitable two-story cottage made entirely from clay. It’s a blend of both architecture and art; a gorgeous creation that lets visitors imagine what it would be like to live inside a giant piece of artisanal pottery—though this house goes far beyond what anyone could ever dream of making in a typical high school art class.”

The architect, Octavio Mendosa, has called the house the “world’s largest piece of pottery”.  Mendoza sculpted the entire abode from clay, using no other materials to support the two-story structure. He then let it bake and harden in the sun, which transformed the pliable clay into solid, sturdy ceramic.

Its walls slope and curve, much like the way the surrounding hills roll toward the horizon. The inside is airy and welcoming, with functioning bedrooms, sitting areas, and even bathrooms all made from clay. The furniture, too, was born from soil and water. Colorful tile mosaics add vibrant pops of color to the baked, earthy inside.I would absolutely adore living in this little house … well, not so little, really, at 5,400 square feet … about 4 times bigger  than what I have now!


I landed … phlumph … in Texas, hot on the trail of a different story, but then I happened upon this and I liked it better.  You’ve all heard about the ‘killer bees’, right?

In the 1950s, South American scientists were attempting to cross European honey bees with African stock to bolster local honey production and engineer a bee subspecies that would thrive in the subtropical climate. Problems arose when a few African queen bees escaped from the Brazilian apiary and began mating with the locals, resulting in a volatile hybrid subspecies.

The individual bees themselves aren’t deadly—the venom in their sting is actually slightly less powerful than that of a European honey bee. However, they’re far more aggressive when provoked. When the Africanized bees sense a disturbance to their hive, they swarm and sting in droves. Even the noise from a passing vehicle or the rumble of a lawnmower can trigger a defensive attack that can be fatal.

The escaped bees and their progeny spread northward throughout the Americas, killing hundreds of people and animals along the way. When a swarm of about 3,000 of the “killer bees” was found in a monitoring trap on the outskirts of Hidalgo, Texas, it proved the unwelcome immigrants had finally crossed the Mexican border. (Should have been a wall to keep them out, yes?)While most places greeted this news with angst, Hidalgo’s mayor decided to erect a monument, and the city became known as the “killer bee capital of the world”!


And while we’re here in Texas … y’know how they always say “everything is BIG in Texas”?  Well, the bee was certainly big, but here’s another … a {meep meep} roadrunner named Paisano Pete!In 1980, Fort Stockton mayor, Gene Cummings, purchased this fiberglass roadrunner to be the town’s mascot, and had it placed in the center of town at the corner of Main Street and Dickinson Boulevard. The city then held a “Name the Roadrunner” contest offering $50 to the best suggestion, and after fielding a number of suggestions, Paisano Pete was the winner.For 13 years, Pete was the world’s largest roadrunner, at 11 feet tall and 22 feet long.  But then he lost his title to a larger statue in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


I must admit that I chose this one for its virtually unpronounceable name:  Fjaðrárgljúfur.   However, even beyond the name, the scenery is unique and worthy of a look.Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon a bit off the path off Iceland’s famous Ring Road. At just over a mile long, it certainly doesn’t boast the enormous expanses of the world’s other mighty canyons. But what it may lack in size, it absolutely makes up for in beauty.The river was formed from melting glaciers some two million years ago (now just how do they know that???) and it whittled out strange geologic patterns. The walls jut in and out, swerving back and forth so the water takes the shape of a blue snake slithering across the terrain.  There is a walking trail across the tops of the crags, where it is said one feels as if he is standing atop a kingdom.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tour of some places we don’t get to see every day.  And now, as promised, a few St. Paddy ‘toons to start your weekend with a smile!  Have a terrific weekend, my friends!

St. Pat toon

Saturday Surprise — On Sunday!!!

Okay, I was trying to come up with some elaborate and convoluted reason that Saturday Surprise is happening on Sunday, one day late.  But, while I have got an imagination, it seemed to fail me here, so I am going to come clean and admit that on Friday night, as I was writing my post for Saturday morning, I completely forgot what day of the week it was.  I worked along on my post about the meeting between East and West, popped it into Word Press, proofread, fixed the pictures, scheduled it for 3:00 a.m., then went to bed, where I fell almost immediately asleep with a book on my stomach and a bottle of water in my hand.  I awakened on Saturday morning at about 7:00 a.m., and my very first thought was “Oh crap … it’s Saturday morning!!!”  Well, not much to be done at that point, so I decided to make it a Sunday morning Saturday Surprise.  Please forgive my strangeness, forgetfulness, and all my other ‘ness-es’, for it has been a strange few weeks and I am still a bit boggled.

I recently discovered a website, Tedium, that has some fun things from time to time, and when I was cruising through there yesterday evening in search of something humorous, I came across a piece about ‘sniglets’.  You all know what a sniglet is, right?  I use them all the time.  The official definition is a word that isn’t in the dictionary, but should be.  You are dying to know, of course, where the sniglet got its start, right?

Do you guys remember the HBO program, Not Necessarily The News in the 1980s?  It featured sketches, parody news items, commercial parodies, and humorous bits made from overdubbing or editing actual news footage. It was based on the British series, Not the Nine O’Clock News, and was where Conan O’Brien first got his start.  One segment by comedian Rich Hall, was called ‘Sniglets’ and quickly became one of the most popular segments of the show.  Here’s a clip …

Sniglets became so popular, in fact, that merchandise included a board game, a word-a-day calendar, mugs imprinted with especially popular sniglets, a syndicated daily comic panel, and six sniglets books, three of which were New York Times best-sellers.  You can find them on Amazon, by the way.  Here are a few of my favourites …

  • Snackmosphere: the pocket of air found inside snack and/or potato chip bags.
  • Flopcorn: the unpopped kernels left in a bag of microwave popcorn.
  • Napjerk: a sudden convulsion of the body just before falling asleep.
  • Expresshole: A person that brings more than 20 items to the express lane in the store.
  • Anticiparcellate: Waiting until the mailman is several houses down the street before picking up the mail, so as not to appear too anxious.
  • Arachnidiot: A person, who, having wandered into an “invisible” spider web begins gyrating and flailing about wildly.
  • Carperpetuation: The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up. I do this one ALL the time!!!

(Hey Herb — now you have a word for Tom!)

You can find a list of more sniglets on Google.


Miss Goose sent me this one yesterday afternoon from Bored Panda  .  The headline reads

89-Year-Old Japanese Grandma Discovers Photography, Can’t Stop Taking Hilarious Self-Portraits Now

“Most people think that technology is for young people, but nobody told Kimiko Nishimoto that. She’s an 89-year-old Japanese grandma who’s been snapping and editing her own pictures for the last 17 years, and as you can see below, her style is certainly unique!

She didn’t get into photography until she was 72 years old. Her son was teaching a beginner’s course and so she decided to enroll, unaware that she was about to awake a passion and a talent she never even knew she had. She instantly fell in love with photography and set about snapping various quirky and comical self-portraits. She had her first solo exhibition ten years later, at a local museum in her home town of Kumamoto, and now she’s about to have her work exhibited at Tokyo’s Epson epsite imaging gallery.” 

I love these pictures and think you will too!  So much better than sitting home watching Duck Dynasty, eh?

This is just wrong…. isn’t it better to hang wet grandmas by their feet?


Just one last thing before you go get started on your Saturday Sunday funday … what would Saturday Surprise be without at least one cute animal picture?

Mama and Baby

Cute Sloth

Cute Monkey

 

 

 


Okay folks … I hope I made up for missing yesterday and that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me!  Now go have a wonderful weekend … what’s left of it!