Monday, November 29, 2010

The Wizard of Oz

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for family and feasting. A time for football and fun. A time for "The Wizard of Oz." (Okay, so that one didn't start with an "F." Oh, well.)

Since childhood, the television screening of "The Wizard of Oz" has coincided with the Thanksgiving period, and sure enough, last night, it was on. Of course, we watched it, and my eldest child, having read the book, was able to tell us some of the backstory. The little one, like many little ones, did not like the flying monkeys. But I digress.

In honor of this annual whimsical journey into the land created by L. Frank Baum, here are a few randoms:

1. Dorothy was named for a niece of Frank Baum's who died in infancy.

2. Frank Baum came up with the name "Oz" when he was looking at his filing cabinet and saw the letters "A-N" and "O-Z."

3. In the movie, the Professor is wearing a coat of Frank Baum's that the wardrobe department found in a second-hand thrift store.

Sigh, back to reality.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah, today is Thanksgiving, and I have much to be thankful for as I sit in my in-laws house waiting for today's hubbub to begin. My mother-in-law is hosting this year, so pies are in the fridge, the turkey has been prepped for baking, the cornbread for the stuffing has been drying for two days . Soon, the smells of cooking will fill the air. Then, more family and a few stray friends will be at the door to share a feast and probably watch a little football. In short, it will be a very blessed gathering.

In honor of this wonderful time, here are a few Thanksgiving randoms:

1. The Plymouth Pilgrims shared the first Thanksgiving with members of two Wampanoag tribes in 1621.

2. In 1941, Congress declared the fourth Thursday in November as the official Thanksgiving holiday. Before that, several U.S. presidents had issued proclamations setting aside different days for the celebration.

3. The first Thanksgiving lasted for three days. It included games as well as a feast.

4. Out of the United States, Minnesota raises the most turkeys. Californians eat the most turkeys.

5. It takes 28 days for a turkey egg to hatch.

6. A baby turkey is called a "poult."

7. The flap of skin on a turkey's chin is called a "wattle."

Well, that's all for now. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

An Irish Blessing

Take time to work,
It is the price of success.

Take time to meditate,
It is the source of power.

Take time to play,
It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to read,
It is the way to knowledge.

Take time to be friendly,
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to laugh,
It is the music of the soul.

And take time to love and be loved,
It is what matters most!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Polar Bears

The temperature in my area has dipped for several days of a raw 50 degrees (okay, so we're not much into cold weather, but that's what passes for cold around here), and we're pulling out our long-sleeved shirts and light jackets. In some idle hope that we might have snow again this winter, my thoughts turned to polar bears, and I learned some interesting things:

1. Polar bear fur is not white. It's colorless, but the bear's skin is black.

2. The polar bear is considered to be a marine mammal. It's feet are partially webbed, and it's fur is oily so that it can repel water.

3. "Ursulus maritimus" is the scientific name for the polar bear, which in Greek means "Sea Bear."

4. To tell how old a polar bear is, you have to do tree-ring testing on its teeth. The polar bear grows a new layer of cementum every year. (I'm not volunteering for that job.)

5. When a polar bear swims under water, it's nose closes so that water won't get in.

Well, I'll keep dreaming of a white winter -- just not so white that I'll actually see any polar bears.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Passengers on the stranded Carnival Cruise Splendor are currently receiving supplies brought in by U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopters including crab meat, croissants, Pop Tarts, and SPAM. SPAM? I wonder how humble SPAM made the list with crab meat and croissants.

In honor of the timeless processed meat, here are a few SPAM randoms:

1. SPAM was invented in 1937 by Jay Hormel.

2. Over 100 million cans of SPAM are sold in the United States each year.

3. There's a SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota.

Have you SPAMMED lately? Recipes are available on the SPAM website at


Monday, November 8, 2010

Would you like a straw?

Every morning, I have an iced tea, consumed with a drinking straw. I am grateful for those straws. So, in honor of the little helpers, here are a few drinking straw randoms:

1. Nature first invented the drinking straw. Some folks used rye straws, but they were breakable and often unclean.

2. The first manufactured straw was invented by Chester Stone, who wrapped parafinned manila paper around a pencil and received a patent for his invention on January 3, 1888.

3. In 1908, the first machine-made straws were successfully manufactured by the Marvin C. Stone Estate.

4. In 1938, Joseph B. Friedman obtained a patent for the first flexible straw after watching his daughter become frustrated bending her straw over the rim of her glass of soda.

5. Mr. Friedman also invented a straw that could be used with either hot or cold liquids and be bent to any angle.

Whew knew?