Sunday, February 26, 2006

What's in a name? Psycho Path wins; Farfrompoopen shows

Farfrompoopen Road, the only road to Constipation Ridge, lost to Divorce Court and Psycho Path, which placed No. 1 in an online poll of the nation's wildest, weirdest and wackiest street names.

Mitsubishi Motors sponsored the poll and more than 2,500 voters cast their ballots.

In first place was Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich., followed by Heather Highlands, Pa.'s, Divorce Court in second and Tennessee's Farfrompoopen Road in third. Eisenstein said all the roads were verified, although some are private and hard to find.

The complete top 10 list included:

10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Tenn.

9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.

8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.

7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.

6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.

5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston

4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.

3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)

2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.

1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.

(From the Associated Press)

Not my change, but Ted's!

Congrats to friend and fellow blogger Teditor, who has posted big news at his blog, Teditor's blog.

The big guy popped the question and his honey said "YES!" Both done in a big way. It's a good story, so go read it.

Teditor's been through some major life changes in recent months and looks like there's some bigger ones on the way!

Teditor, here's my advice. Learn and use these two words every day: "Yes, dear." More often, say "I love you." Repeat every day for 50 years or so and you'll have this marriage thing down pat.

It's nice to see a good woman finally got the paperwork on our pal. He's been running around without a license for far too long. Cheers!!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Changes coming. Be prepared.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is what the Internet was made for!

You've got to see this. I promise it will make you feel so much better about your own life, just because it's so weird. Click this link, sit back and enjoy (Your computer sound has to be on.)

David Hasselhoff -- it's not a joke.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Do your Oreos taste different?

Another message board buddy said she thought her Oreos didn't taste as good as they did when we were little. Well, she's right, they have changed the recipe.

But first, a little cookie history:

In 1898, several baking companies merged to form the National Biscuit Company (NaBisCo), the maker of Oreo cookies.

By 1902, Nabisco created Barnum's Animal cookies and made them famous by selling them in a little box designed like a cage with a string attached (to hang on Christmas trees).

In 1912, Nabisco had a new idea for a cookie - two chocolate disks with a creme filling in between. The first Oreo cookie looked very similar to the Oreo cookie of today, with only a slight difference in the design on the chocolate disks.

The shape and design of the Oreo cookie didn't change much until Nabisco began selling various versions of the cookie. In 1975, Nabisco released their DOUBLE STUF Oreos. Nabisco continued to create variations:

1987 -- Fudge covered Oreos introduced
1991 -- Halloween Oreos introduced
1995 -- Christmas Oreos introduced

But do they taste different now?

Probably. The company changed the recipe in the past couple of years after a 2003 lawsuit tried to stop Nabisco from selling Oreos to children in California because they contained a high level of trans fat.

Kraft agreed to remove partially hydrogenated oil from the Oreo. Two months later, Kraft said that it would reduce or eliminate trans fat in all its cookies and crackers across the board. Kraft also agreed to stop all in-school marketing. Now that companies are required to include trans fat info on the nutrition label (since January 2006), Nabisco is saying:

"A serving of our regular Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies--which is three cookies--contains 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of which is saturated fat and 0 grams of which is trans fat.

"A comparable serving of our Reduced Fat Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies contains 4.5 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat."

Well, they still aren't exactly "health food," but props to Kraft and Nabisco for trying.

Tell you what, I still miss the Oreos of my childhood. But the new ones are still far superior to Sunshine's Hydrox brand. I always thought it took a lot of nerve for adults to try passing them off as my beloved Oreos!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cheez Whiz!

Here's what can happen to a person when it's too cold and icy to go to church.

I've been involved with some online friends in a message board discussion about aerosol cheese. This has gone on for a few days now; it started with some consternation when someone realized that Kraft now calls their spray cheese (cheez) "Easy Cheese." Many of us were thinking (and writing) that it used to be called Cheez Whiz. Others chimed in to say no, Cheez Whiz is the orange stuff in the jar that you put on nachos.

Some of us remembered that in the early days of spray cheese there was another name.

Now, I know you are thinking "Why doesn't someone just Google this and find the answer?"

Ha. That was my thought, too, and so I did. I spent probably an hour or more chasing this down. Once I'm curious about something, I'll waste a lot of time on it!

Anyway, Kraft seems to want to pretend like this product has no history. Ah, but I kept looking! And it paid off.

Short story:
Kraft invented Cheez Whiz in 1952 -- the stuff we know as the taco cheese sauce. It's also a longtime ingredient in Philadelphia cheese steak sandwiches. (More on that later.)

Aerosol cheese was first developed by Nabisco in 1966. It was called "Snack Mate" -- do you remember???

Anyway, at some point Nabisco's aerosol cheese married Ritz Crackers, which made for some tense conversation at the family Thanksgiving dinner each year.

Through a series of corporate mergers and product buy-outs and high-power executive meetings and memos, Kraft started selling Cheez Whiz in a can. I could not find an exact date or any history, but there is a cookbook pamphlet dated 1981 that still mentions "Snack Mate" from Nabisco.

In 2000, Kraft bought Nabisco. Alas, that was about the time people decided they didn't think eating chemicals was a good idea. So all the baby boomers who grew up eating fake orange cheez stopped feeding it to their kids. ("We like our kids better than our parents liked us," they said.) They toyed with the idea of developing "organic processed foods." The organic farmers said "Do what? Not with our crops you don't, you conglomerate!"

Kraft rebranded Cheez Whiz spray cheese and called it "Easy Cheese." All of the goo, none of the history or nostalgia of our pre-obesity days in this country.

By the way, the parent company for Kraft is RJ Reynolds, the tobacco company. So they really, really are out to get us, one way or the other.

I think the novelty of "cheese in a spray can" may be one of the leading factors in the slow food movement, actually. There's a backlash effect.

Go back and watch some Ed Sullivan reruns. He was around just before spray cheese hit the markets. Look at how thin everyone on his shows were -- and believe me, it wasn't from anorexia. We didn't see people like Dan and Roseanne Conner until we got squirt cheese and all the other processed convenience foods. (See how I worked that in? We can do research and STILL be couch potatoes.)

Go eat a vegetable now. Plain, no spray cheese.

*Oh, about the Philly cheese steaks. A couple of years back there was a HUGE increase in the price of Cheez Whiz (55 percent), Philly sandwich makers were in a big crunch. Even Pat King, king of the cheese steaks, was affected.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good Saturday morning, friends!

Alas, the world outside is white, and it's that "bad" white -- sleet and ice. It's bad enough that it's canceled my plans for the day. My singles group was going to go to some galleries in The Paseo District of Oklahoma City, have lunch at Gallileo's, then spend the afternoon at the Oklahoma History Center. It's a trip I've been planning for a month and a half.

Alas, we're frail folks. Rather, we're too smart to risk property damage and injuries going outside today. So we are all staying home, trying to stay warm and finding other things to amuse ourselves.

I'll sit here and pity anyone who has to go outside and I know there are plenty of folks who have to. I'm doing you a favor by staying out of your way today. This will make your life safer, trust me. I've never, ever been afraid of going out in any kind of weather -- until this year. I have an 11-year-old car that I can't afford to replace, so I've become ferociously protective of it. And if I can get out of driving in bad weather, I will.

It'll be an adventure here at home. Since I also don't want to get out to go to the grocery store, I'll be using my pantry to create whatever meals I have this weekend. I have several options but we'll see what I come up with. Stay tuned!

The dress code today is thick socks, sweat pants, a thermal undershirt and a heavy fleece top.

If it's like this tomorrow, I'll skip church. I hate that, but sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do.

I've got my knitting and several books to keep me company. My office is clean, so I can move to another room if the Tidy Bug strikes. (Vietnam Veterans will be picking up a load of cast-offs on Tuesday. They come regularly every 6 weeks.)

And so there's the report from the home front today. I hope you are staying warm and safe. Make it a great weekend for yourself!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Are you normal??

Are You Normal?

I don't know, but here's my rating:

Your Normalcy Quotient is: 62 out of 100.

Your quiz results make you a Quirky Character

You've found yourself mostly in the middle of the road, but you have enough quirky habits to not be entirely normal. You're probably glad to be more than ordinary, but you're normal enough to fit in. Sounds like a perfect balance.

Take this free personality test by going to Chatterbean

*Note: Chatterbean quizzes are non-scientific, non-fat and pretty much just non-sense. They are meant solely for entertainment purposes and are not intended to provide an accurate evaluation of anything.

And now, the evil side...

Yesterday was johari time, with rather good traits exposed. Today's your chance to show me the bad traits you see in me. Don't worry, I won't let you know if you make me cry...

At Home Trixie's Nohari Site

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here's an interesting thing I picked up at E.R.'s place (as usual -- seems like a lot of interesting things start over there).

Anyway, you can help me see myself as you see me by going to this link and choosing six words that you would use to describe me. At Home Trixie's Johari Window.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

From the olden days

Here's a photo of me circa 1978, working on the first computer system at the newspaper where I was working. Up until this time, we were using hot lead type, manual typewriters, half-sheets of copy paper to write headlines on (remember counting headlines?) and pencils. There were teletype machines which ran constantly in a glass room right out of camera shot. Oh the noise! No wonder journalists drank in those days.

Moving up to the computer age was a huge step forward in newspaper production (as in most industries). I count myself lucky to have bridged those worlds in my career. It's quite a feat, considering I'm only 21 now... *cough*

Oh, notice the brown glue pot on the desk. That was always good entertainment. When we weren't busy as all get-out, we would make glue balls. Oh sure, there was that contact high from actually being hit with the vapors, but it was also fun to see who could create the largest glue ball over time. Ah, good times...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Platte County, MO

Over on E.R.'s blog, we were talking about different kinds of gin, which brought to mind McCormick's Distillery in Weston, Mo. This is an area right in the midst of my family's stomping grounds, since Civil War days. So I thought I'd share some of these photos again.

What we've got here:

The hamlet for which I was named; the store at Vaughn's Orchard (which may have to close after this season because of a terrible pruning job on the orchard's trees); Father Christmas, who strolls the streets of Weston through December; and the sign at the entrance of McCormick Distillery.

Odd thing about McCormick's -- you can't buy their products at the distillery, but they do have McCormick's Country Store in downtown Weston. But you'll be a lucky duck to find it open. They were closed on Christmas Eve and the sign said they would also be closed on New Year's Eve. Now what kind of sales strategy is that, I ask you?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A new challenge

We've done various memes to answer questions so people get to know us a little better. Here's a new challenge -- go to your "Paint" program and do a self-portrait. Save it in jpg format so it will upload to Blogger, then share it with us! (Therapists should refrain from analyzing any portraits!)

Another place I'd rather be

Image hosting by Photobucket

The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. I'm planning to go there next month again with my singles group. If you live in Oklahoma, or near Oklahoma, y'oughta go. It's a great thing!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Let's discuss the insensitivity issue

This has been a horrible week, compounded by the continuing attacks of another blogger. This morning he posted an "apology." I will give him some credit for his effort, but he still entirely misses the point. And even within that apology, he's continued to make me a target of his attack.

He is completely misguided and yes, INSENSITIVE.

Here's the deal, folks. On Saturday my friend Jim died. I posted about it (you can see it in the Feb. 4 post.) I mentioned the mother of a dear friend was ill, also. And yes, in passing I mentioned TWO other women -- Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan -- who also happened to die in recent days.

Well, this other blogger took my grief and turned it into a forum for HIS beliefs on abortion (and never let the facts stand in the way of a good tirade.) I was, and continue to be, offended by this. Believe what you want to, write what you believe, stand for your beliefs, but DO IT IN YOUR OWN BLOG. How dare anyone come to a post about the death of a close friend and turn it into a political rant?

And see, that's the part this other poster does not get, even today. He's turned this into an attack, now, on me. Because I am "a horrible liberal." Therefore, he reasons, I must agree with the "murder" of "innocent babies killed by abortion."

This because I won't let him use my post about my friend as an anti-abortion forum.

Insensitive? You bet.

Go ahead, in your own place, and write all you want about that. THAT is where you need to put it.

But when I am telling you, my friends, about the death of a man I sat with, comforted, cared for, read to, prayed over and mourn, keep your issues out of MY blog. This is NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU.

I sat with Jim for hours into the night, keeping his lips moisturized, keeping his mouth wet with water in a sponge. I helped reposition him; I turned his pillow to the cool side when he was too warm. I read John 3 and Psalms to him and I helped keep him from trying to pull off his oxygen mask. All this time he was not lucid.

These were private matters, which I did not want to share, but perhaps they will help one Boneheaded man understand a little more clearly why I am still so angry at his empty apology.

This, THIS man, Jim, was a man of value as surely as any of the "murdered innocent babies" you want to focus on. THIS man's life deserves honor and respect. Your comments worked to diminish that and to deepen the pain I've gone through this week.

Since Jim's passing, two more friends have died as well. Two more have been hospitalized with extremely serious conditions.

So, to the Bonehead Blogger, any comments you want to make of a political nature can be made ON YOUR BLOG. Do you get it yet? I am not your target. I do not advocate abortion, although I do believe it is a woman's right to choose, along with her doctor, family and support system, not your right to dictate. But the abortion issue is not why I mentioned Friedan. There is so much more to her work over the decades that you have completely disregarded because of your blind obsession with one issue.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh the irony!

And the delicious part is that it completely is lost on the author!

A certain bone-headed blogger has been lamenting over the moral decline of our country for a while now. He likes to compare teen-age girls to prostitutes and rails against sex education because, well, you know, it will just make kids want to "do it." (An aside: Does anyone really believe that the current generation is the first to discover and fall to the pleasures of sex?)

And he attacks all manner of sinners -- the media, the schools, liberals especially.

However, isn't there more than just a LITTLE hypocrisy when this same poster has a photo of Gabrielle Reilly on his blog, talking about what a "babe" she is and really drooling over her politics? Oh, no, it's not a photo of Ms. Reilly meeting with officials or politicians. It's a photo of Reilly wearing a very, very deep-cut bathing suit. Who is it feeding in to the "moral decline of America" now? Isn't it funny that while touting this woman's conservative politics that he chose such a suggestive photo?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Let's set the record straight

I removed a political comment from the previous post because it was inappropriate and insensitive, considering the topic of the post I had made.

However, there are some matters that need to be set straight, raised in the now-gone comment.

There are still many people who are trying to continue the ranting that we're going to hell in a handbasket. And to make their case, they like to lump in a whole slew of problems to make them sound like it's one big thing, immorality, that's going to get us.

See, they like to make a stew of women's rights, internet sexual predators, sex education, teenage promiscuity and "increasing birth rates." They want us to believe these are all exactly the same thing. And they are not.

Listen to a common catch phrase: They like to talk about the olden days, "when the air was clean and sex was dirty."

Yeah, besides being hackneyed, it's just a stupid phrase. Kind of reminiscent of the 1970s non sequitur: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

Let's look at the truth:

Teenage childbearing has been on a long-term decline in the United States since the late 1950s, except for a brief, but steep, upward climb in the late 1980s through 1991. The 2003 rate (41.7 births per 1,000 for teens ages 15–19) is 3% lower than in 2002 and 33% lower than the most recent peak in 1991 (61.8). The declining teenage birth rate has had an impressive impact on the number of babies born to teenagers. If the birth rates by age had remained at 1991 levels throughout the 1990s instead of declining as they did, there would have been an additional 546,000 births to teenagers over the decade. Possible factors accounting for the decline include decreased sexual activity reflecting changing attitudes toward premarital sex, an increase in condom use, and the adoption of newly available hormonal contraception, implants, and injectables.

Despite the rates' reaching record lows in 2003, U.S. teenage birth rates remain substantially higher than rates for other developed countries.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports, vol. 53, no. 9, Nov. 23, 2004.)

Even more interesting is this chart showing how drastically the teen birth rate has dropped:

Teen childbearing
Year Total number of births to women 15–19 years
1940 300,747
1950 419,535
1960 586,966
1970 644,708
1980 552,161
1990 521,826
2000 468,990
2002 425,493
2003 414,961

Year Birth rate per 1,000 women 15–19 years
1940 54.1
1950 81.6
1960 89.1
1970 68.3
1980 53.0
1990 59.9
2000 48.5
2002 43.0
2003 41.7

Why lookie there ... the highest birth rate decade for women 15-19 was ... the "good old days" of the 1960s. The current birth rate to this age group is less than HALF now.

This "hell in a handbasket" faction also is strongly anti-abortion. They also like to play with the numbers to make the U.S. sound like a murderous lot. Personally, I don't know of anyone who actively seeks out unborn children to kill. There probably have been plenty of cases of infanticide in history -- King Herrod being the main one I can call to mind at the moment. But those who support a woman's right to choose are NOT (and let me re-emphasize the word "NOT") on a mission to kill unborn babies. They are for the woman's right to chose. There are as many reasons for making that choice as there are women. They, along with their doctors, families and support systems make those choices.

Many people who are for choice are also working diligently to find ways of making the choice unnecessary. This is not something anyone WANTS to do. And there are even fewer voices advocating abortion as a method of birth control. Yes, it does happen, but let's again look at the real numbers:

Here are the abortion rates (legal abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44. Note, this is not just teenagers.)

1972 - 13
1980 - 25
1985 - 24
1990 - 24
1995 - 20
1997 - 20
1999 - 17
2000 - 16
2001 - 16

See the peak? It was back "in the good old days" of 1980.

Many of us are old enough to remember when abortion was not legal. That is not to say that abortions did not happen, because they certainly did -- in back-alley clinics under unsanitary conditions. Women died. Women were permanently damaged. Too many were never able to have families. Many of these women medically needed to terminate a pregnancy, a terribly heart-breaking situation. Too many of my friends have been in such circumstances. They desperately wanted to deliver a live baby but that was not going to happen. And without medical intervention, they too would be at risk of death or terrible complications.

Let's consider some other facts about our changing society. Many years ago, women (and men) married at a much younger age. Here is the MEDIAN age at first marriage as supplied by the U.S. Census. REMEMBER THIS: Median means half were married before this age, half after. Keep that in mind -- it means an awful lot of people were getting married before they were this old:

Year Males Females
1890 26.1 22.0
1900 25.9 21.9
1910 25.1 21.6
1920 24.6 21.2
1930 24.3 21.3
1940 24.3 21.5
1950 22.8 20.3
1960 22.8 20.3
1970 23.2 20.8
1980 24.7 22.0
1990 26.1 23.9
1993 26.5 24.5
1994 26.7 24.5
1995 26.9 24.5
1996 27.1 24.8
1997 26.8 25.0
1998 26.7 25.0
1999 26.9 25.1
2000 26.8 25.1
2001 26.9 25.1
2002 26.9 25.3
2003 27.1 25.3

So let's review, shall we? Teen birth rates are down, sharply. Legal abortion rates are down, sharply. Age at first marriage continues to rise.

Here's another important statistic: the Gender Gap for full-time, year-round work. We'll hit every few years from the 1950s to now, to see the trend (you can look up all years from 1951 to 2003 yourself.)

Year Women's earnings as a percentage of men's
1951 63.9
1955 63.9
1960 60.7
1965 59.9
1970 59.4
1975 58.8
1980 60.2
1985 64.6
1990 71.6
1995 71.4
2000 73.3
2001 76.3
2002 76.6
2003 75.5

As women are treated with respect, as equals, the earning gap will continue to narrow. We'll see more positive changes: Continuing declines in teen births; a drop in the rate of abortions; an increase in age at first marriage.

All of these things require education -- sex education included. As women become more empowered, especially young women, they will seek their own bright futures. They will make wiser decisions to protect their own bodies from early pregnancies and disease. They will postpone marriage until they are stable, equally contributing partners.

Marriages will be stronger from the beginning -- they will be true partnerships of two equal adults, not weak partners looking for a chance to escape unhealthy situations through marriage.

Child abuse, internet predators and the like? Well, those are whole separate issues. And they should be dealt with separately, as they usually involve sick adult men.

The present, and the future, is not nearly as glum as some would have us believe. The truth is there in the numbers. Education works. Sex education work. Birth control education works.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

An update

My friend Jim (see post below) died this morning. His memorial service will be next Saturday to allow plenty of time for friends and family from all over the country to arrive.
I continue to work with his wife Barbara on a slide show of his life. It is going very well. I spent much of the day with her. What an honor to learn more about Jim and their life together!

Tonight I learned that J.T.'s mother has been hospitalized. I would ask for your prayers on her behalf and for their family. She is an amazing, wonderful woman whose health has started declining recently.

Please also remember Tech's niece, whom he mentioned on his blog.

Also of note: the passing of Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan -- two women who did amazing things with their lives to make the lives of countless others richer and more significant, bringing hope to classes of people who, at the time, didn't enjoy all the benefits of our society. We've come a long way because of these women; it would be a tribute to them and all our heros to continue the work.