Sunday, November 5, 2017

Be Careful When You Joke About Chocolate

My favorite all-time candy bar is the Wispa, manufactured by the Cadbury company.<p>
So, naturally, when the word Wispa hits the news, I'm all ears -- or eyes.<p>
Turns out the winning joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival recently was the following: "I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa."<p>
I don't get it.<p>
A young friend speculated that the joke may be in the way the Brits pronounce the word, Wispa, or possibly confusion with the word "whisper". Even weirder was the reaction of my coffee klatch, none of whom actually know what a Wispa bar is. They thought the joke could be interpreted as a possible warning that the Chinese would be taking over the company.<p>
My favorite Wispa bars made in China? Now, that's definitely no joke.<p>

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Poetry Speaks Many Languages, Including JAZZ !

Have you had a chance yet to hear Kansas' new Poet Laureate?

Kevin Rabas, in his first year as poet laureate, will be out and about the state with a talk about "Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary".

And it's no surprise to those who know him to learn that his drum will accompany him. A friend and I heard Kevin last Saturday at the Leavenworth Library. That is, heard in more ways than one. Kevin added a drum accompaniment to several of his poetic readings.

Try to catch Kevin as he moves around the state. Follow his schedule at Kansas Humanities Council

Kevin also has plans for what he will do during the second year of his time as poet laureate. Stay tuned.

After I try to see if I can get this blog posted, I'll try to add a picture. (P.S. Kevin plays a mean drum.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Songs of Love -- But Not for Me

"They're singing songs of love . . . , but not for me . . . "

Private Eye Phillip Morris has been hired by Boss Tom Holloway to find his missing son, and Morris is working diligently, really he is, but the Boss's daughter keeps getting in his path. Will it lead to romance?

Kansas City in 1934, the end of Prohibition when the mob is fighting for control and Count Basie is beginning his jazz career.

And where has the Boss's son gone with his Stutz? Kidnapped? Murdered? Or just wandered off on a chase of his own?

Author Jack Kline has caught it all in But Not For Me, when gritty Kansas City was the fraud and corruption center of the United States, can't turn the pages fast enough.

Here's a link to how/where to order:">.

Yesterday Jack and I had the opportunity to hear a Pendergast historian, conplete with slides and pictures and newspaper clippings. Peeking over Jack's shoulder, I saw him making lots of notes. Can the sequel be far behind?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I Didn't Win the BIG Prize, Whatever It Was

Drat, it wasn't the BIG prize. I do not know what was the BIG prize, maybe it hasn't even been picked up yet, and the library staff do not know what is in the envelopes.

But at last Sunday afternoon arrived, all but the remnants of Old Settlers are gone, the library parking lot is open again. I admire my own restraint. I was not at the library doors at 12:59, I didn't get there until about 1:15. I admit to a bit of impatience, which I thought I kept well-hidden, when it took the library clerk about four minutes to identify my library card number and extract my envelope from the box.

With the envelope in my hands, I knew immediately that the prize was a gift card. The really BIG prize is probably described in a letter, not a gift card. (Kind of like hanging my regular long stockings at Christmas, and being able to tell through the fabric whether I had gotten a delicious juicy orange, or an everyday, ordinary apple.)

A Starbucks gift card, amount unknown. I read the back of the card, which I am to protect like cash, and when the designated amount is spent I can re-supply with any amount I choose. I'm grateful for the prize (and wonder if everyone who participated received an identical card), but I am not a fan of Starbucks.

Not since the winter season they advertised, well in advance, of an upcoming chestnut-flavored drink. I love anything made with chestnuts, candies, ice cream, yummy scones (which I was able to get one October in northern Spain during chestnut harvest). Unhappily, even before the concoction was available, the news came out that the flavor would not be actual chestnut, it would only be artificial chestnut. Something like the almond drinks they had advertised the winter before. only not made with almonds, created with artificial almond flavorings. I never had one of the almonds drinks, but the day Starbucks had announced they would debut the new chestnut offering, I was first in line. Didn't taste like chestnut, didn't have much of any taste to it. I never ordered another one.

Maybe their coffee is not made with real fresh-ground coffee beans, but chemical laboratory crafted artificial coffee flavor. But there is some good news -- my son wants to negotiate with me, he has a use for the card. Yuuuu Haaaa.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What Did I Win?

I was informed by the library that I have won a prize for participating in the summer reading program!

I can pick up my prize at the front desk of the library, but not until September 7, which is today. I won't know what I have won until I open the envelope, and even the library staff does not know what is inside.

Yesterday afternoon I drove past the library and noticed a sign that the parking lot would be closed at 6 pm because of Old Settlers Days. Library patrons -- the sign advised -- should use street parking or the parking garage across the street. Who are they kidding?

It's Old Settlers weekend. There will be no parking on downtown streets, it will be curb to curb venders. For blocks.

There is entertainment for everyone. A Johnson County tradition for over 100 years.

If you come, don't ask permission to park in my yard. (Unless you're willing to give me a ride to and back from the library so I can pick up my prize.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Clogging Along

I finally got my big feet into the Birkenstocks I bought six, seven years ago.

They're feeling great. It's taken only a week to convince my toes to endure the stiff, unyielding leather long enough to arrive at a stage of flexibility.

Always had a problem finding shoes wide enough. There was a time when I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Montgomery Ward catalog, because they had a selection of wide shoes. Not many, but better than none at all.

When I went into the Birkenstock store, I didn't expect there would be so much difficulty finding clogs wide enough. The clerk was not very encouraging -- had he never seen wide feet before? At the time I wasn't really committed to Birkenstocks, just wanted comfortable, bum-around clogs. Liked the ease of clogs, no shoe laces, no back straps, just slide your feet into them.

The first time I saw someone wearing a pair of clogs I thought them both ridiculous and unsafe, couldn't understand how something so . . . unsubstantial . . . would stay on the foot. I was converted to clogs while on a trip to Spain with my aunt. I bought my first pair just to please her.

We sat down in the women's section. I pointed to a pair of clogs with wooden soles, red leather topside. "I'm not sure we have those in your size," said the woman clerk. My Spanish wasn't very good, but I knew -- had known in advance -- what she was saying. She popped up suddenly, took a circuitous route through the store. I could see her head bobbing along in the men's section. Soon she was back with a pair that fit perfectly. Size 39. Seemed a bit big, even though I regularly wore 10s, but what did I know about European shoe sizes?

I absolutely wore those things out, the most mileage ever for my shoe dollar. The leather pulled through the fastenings, the wood threatened to split. They became so shabby in appearance I wore them only on my own property; they were not fit to be seen in public. One time my neighbor took them away from me long enough to make some repairs.

These new tan leather, composition sole Birkenstocks don't have near the glamour my wooden clogs had, but they are growing more comfortable day by day. Even my toes have quit complaining.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Navigating a Blog Maze

One afternoon some time back, I happened to be waiting in the parking lot of an unnamed high school.

I watched the students going to their cars. Many were carrying large pieces of plywood upon which they had constructed a maze about the size of your regular household mouse. Obviously they were biology students, with a project of timing how long it took a mouse to reach the food at the other end.

But maybe not. Maybe they were students of animal psychology. When a couple of the students walked close to my vehicle, I could see that the mazes were alterable. Hungry mouse might learn the pathway to the food, but next time the students might have changed the maze settings so that now the mouse would be confused. The old pathway to the food was now unexpectedly blocked, a new pathway had to be found by exploration. Keep making revisions to the pathway and poor mouse might die of starvation before reaching the food.

I am that poor mouse who confronts a new maze every time I try to create a blog post. It's an ever-changing maze. Don't try to learn a pathway -- the old pathway will be gone when I log on again. I'm getting weaker, I too, may die of starvation.