Chicken and Egg

Chick-Fil-A is taking on the role of Sam-I-Am. They want us to believe that it is okay to eat chicken and eggs for breakfast.

Together.

When they opened a new store in the area near my work, they brought us samples of their chicken biscuit breakfast sandwich. I’d never considered eating fried chicken for breakfast, but it tasted pretty good.

Then they went and added the egg. And I gasped.

How can you eat the entire life cycle of an animal in one product ?

There is a reason why you will never see a “chicken omelet” on a diner menu.

Ham, bacon, vegetables of all sort, seafood, dried beef or sausage gravy all seem to blend well with eggs and have been enjoyed forever.

But chicken ? That’s where I draw the line. It just seems like culinary sacrilege.

They are airing a new commercial that features the famous Chick-Fil-A cow doing rooster impressions on the front lawn.

Very cute, even clever.

But I still won’t eat the featured breakfast, a bowl of scrambled egg, hashbrowns and fried chicken nuggets.

Is this just so wrong ???

“I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.
I will not eat them in the rain.
I will not eat them on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I will not eat them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!”

With much respect and love for Theodor Seuss Geisel and his 1960 “Green Eggs and Ham”, which has sold over 8 million copies.

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Entertainment, Food, Humor, Nature, News | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

One Minute

“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”  Vincent VanGogh

 

Posted in Art, Education, Entertainment, Music, Nature, News, Writing | Tagged , ,

Toys “Were” Us

Cabbage Patch Doll. 1983.

Teddy Ruxpin. 1995.

Tickle Me Elmo. 1996.

Furby. 1998.

Pokemon. 1999.

Nintendo, XBox, Playstation. Forever.

These are just a few of the toys that made us lose our mind.

Marketing strategies stirred up popularity, kids begged for their favorites from Santa. Manufacturing shortages led to holiday shopping riots.

It brought out the “ugly” in parents on a global basis.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is reduced to tears, caught up in the Christmas Eve frenzied search for a fictional hot toy in the 1996 film “Jingle All the Way.”

This past September, retail giant Toys “R” Us  announced that it had filed for bankruptcy. Weeks later, it issued its Christmas wish catalog, saying the brick and mortar stores will be open for holiday shopping.

It seems like the writing was on the wall when they announced the closure of their flagship store in Times Square at the end of the 2015 holiday season.

NYC. Times Square 2015

The mammoth store, that featured a working Ferris wheel, a life-size Barbie house, and a 10 ft. animatronic T- Rex, closed just months after F.A.O. Schwarz, the palace of unique, traditional toys featured in Tom Hanks’ movie “Big.”

It seems like toy stores are going the way of the mall in 2017 America.

And that’s too bad. Or is it ?

Parents won’t be lined up at midnight on a cold Black Friday night to get this year’s hottest toy, electronic baby monkeys called Fingerlings.

They’ll be stationed at their computer, waiting to connect to Amazon.

And if you find yourself in the city that never sleeps, you can shop from 8 am to 2 am at the Gap/Old Navy store that just opened in that choice location on Times Square.

October 2017.

 

 

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Entertainment, Fashion, Movies, News, Technology | Tagged , , | 77 Comments

Nevermore

I had a Halloween encounter today.

With a raven.

Photo. Julian Robinson.

A pair of these huge beauties have been hanging around my neighborhood all summer.

I thought they were crows.

Until today.

Crows have a different shaped tail, and travel in larger groups.

Getting ready for the time change this weekend, I’ve moved the morning dog walk back to about 10 a.m.

It is really quiet here at that hour. No morning commuters or school buses, too early for the lunch break at the local convenience store.

Quiet.

This guy caught our attention with a deep- throated whistle as he perched on a fence post. We stopped, exchanged a glance, moved on.

As we rounded the block, he showed up again, this time on a front lawn, making a very different guttural sound, seemingly aimed at us.

Just then, a black hearse came up the street. No real surprise, since there is a funeral director who lives nearby.

And then, a pickup truck, towing a black sedan. The raven flew over, flapping his huge wings, joining his partner on a nearby rooftop.

Curious and curiouser.

Happy Halloween.

********************************************

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken!

quit the bust above my door!

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Edgar Allen Poe. 1845

Posted in Beauty, Books, Education, Entertainment, Nature, News, Photography | Tagged , , | 80 Comments

The Million Dollar Tip

He didn’t have change to tip the courier who brought a message to his Tokyo hotel room.

So Albert Einstein wrote him a brief note on hotel stationery, telling him it might be of some value later.

M. Kahana.  2017 photo. Getty Images.

The 1922 message has been called Einstein’s “Theory of Happiness”, and yesterday sold at a Jerusalem auction for a reported $1.5 million.

Translated from the original German text, it reads…

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”

The bidding war quickly escalated, by phone and online, for an item having a pre-auction estimate of $5000 to $8000. The European buyer chose to remain anonymous.

There is no mention of how this Japanese bellboy’s treasure got into the hands of the seller, a Hamburg resident who also remained anonymous.

Note: There was a second handwritten note penned by the Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist which read “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. It is not getting the same attention, nor the same value, as the happiness quote.

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Entertainment, History, News, Technology, Writing | Tagged , , | 61 Comments

Trick or Treat

If you contribute to the estimated $3. billion in Halloween candy sales in the US, you might be interested to know what is most popular in your state.

The surprising winner was candy corn, selected by at least 6 states.

Huh ??

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Garden

For me, it has to have chocolate, and maybe nuts and or peanut butter. So, for sure Reese Cup, Snickers, Butterfinger, M & M peanut.

We’ve never been a fan of “Fun Size”, and since we average only 30 to 40 visitors, have turned to salty snack bags and cookies for the past few years.

Chips, pretzels, popcorn, and this year, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies will be on tap.

Candystore.com has collected sales data for the past 10 years, and provides the interactive map.

https://www.candystore.com/blog/facts-trivia/halloween-candy-map-popular/

Including costumes, decorations and other festivities, the National Retail Federation estimates that $9.1 billion will be spent on Halloween this year, and not just on humans.

For the past 27 years, a dog parade and costume contest has been held in New York City, drawing a national crowd. This past weekend, the Tompkins Square event awarded its first prize to this NYC double-decker bus full of French bulldog tourists.

Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Posted in Art, Beauty, Entertainment, Food, Movies, News, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

Me Too ?

There is a form of collective PTSD that has emerged from the Twitter campaign started by actress Alyssa Milano, #Me Too.

Millions of women and many men have responded. It is not just about Hollywood’s casting couch culture.

My Facebook feed has blown up with the two word admission by friends, family, internet acquaintances.

Image. Getty/Salon.com

It has stirred up a lot of unresolved pain, memories long buried but not forgotten.

It is not something we were comfortable talking about, not decades past, not today.

But if we are being honest, in some form, we have all experienced this.

Many are still not ready to admit it, few are willing to deal with the consequences.

For me, it happened in the most conservative of work environments, a community of professionals, an office of engineers and architects. Harassment led to rejection, loss of opportunity, work transfers. I moved on, but never forgot.

Milano’s campaign was not the first. Tarana Burke founded the “Me Too” movement in 2006 to help women and girls who had survived sexual violence. She’s working on a documentary, called “Me Too,” to be released in 2018.

“It made my heart swell to see women using this idea — one that we call ‘empowerment through empathy’,” she tweeted, “to not only show the world how widespread and pervasive sexual violence is, but also to let other survivors know they are not alone.”

For those who are caught up in a wave of responses today… empowerment, exhaustion, solidarity, trauma, Burke offers advice.

“If you are a survivor who is feeling activated by this, there are organizations across the country that are doing this. Small organizations, local organizations,” she said. ” If you’re compelled to do a thing, just do something,” she said.

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Education, Entertainment, News, Technology, Writing | Tagged , , | 57 Comments

The Lady in the Van

“And what I’ve learned, and maybe she taught me, is that you don’t put yourself into what you write. You find yourself there.” Alan Bennett .

This brilliant insight comes from the British playwright, author, actor as he recounts the mostly true tale of Mary Shepherd, who lived in a van on his driveway in North London for 15 years.

Mary Shepherd. Photo by Alan Bennett.

The book, stage play and 2015 film, starring Dame Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings, documents the friendship of the author with Shepherd, a woman he met as she sold pencils on a street corner.

This cantankerous 60 year old vagrant, former music prodigy, nun,  victim of institutionalization and blackmail was an inspiration to Bennett until her death in 1989.

The quote stopped me in my tracks, forced me to rewind.

It spoke to the truth of self discovery, all from the exercise of writing.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Entertainment, Humor, Inspiration, Movies, News, Writing | Tagged , | 70 Comments

Shells

We’ve all done it. You break an egg, pieces of shell end up in your bowl.

You reach in to retrieve it, with a spoon, knife, or mostly, your finger.

Photo. TheKitchn.com

All you really need is the rest of the shell.

When dipped into the bowl, it acts like a magnet, drawing out the slippery pieces.

The shell has the ability to reunite its broken parts.

I didn’t know this, and I’ve been baking since 9th grade Home Economics class.

It reminds me of how many times in life that we dip our finger into an issue instead of allowing a situation to naturally correct itself.

The message is clear.

It is never too late to learn something new.

 

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Family, Food, Nature, News | Tagged , , , | 92 Comments

Storm Puppies

The winds came, the fence was down. I wandered away, hiding in a shed from something called “Irma”.

So much pressure, the puppies would not wait. When they found me, I was holding up a large board, protecting my clan.

They gave me a new name. Atlas.

*************************************

Photo courtesy. Orlando Sentinel.

These pups were born in a shelter in Orlando, Florida days after Hurricane Irma. Experts note that the force of the wind in these events will erase scent markers, leaving pets unable to find their way home.

Thanks to Sarah Brentyn for her 50 word challenge for hurricane relief.

https://sarahbrentyn.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/flash-fiction-prompt-for-hurricane-relief-flash4storms/

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Flash Fiction, Nature, News, Photography, Writing Challenge | Tagged , , | 64 Comments