A Special Edition: Penny Power

The PenniesWhen was the last time you considered a penny’s power and influence?

“Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.”

When was the last time you bent over to pick up a penny?

Without looking, which way is Lincoln facing?

Would you think twice before saying “a penny for your thoughts”, before putting a penny in your loafers, before tossing a penny for a wish? If your wish came true, would you consider it a penny well spent?

Or the title of one of Ogden Nash’s poems sums it up, “A Penny Saved is a Penny Well Spent.”

We are nostalgic about our pennies.

Or we would be more “penny wise than pound foolish” and join our Canadian friends who retired their pennies because it cost more to mint them than they are worth.

What if we took a trip back in time. Not via the DeLorean or the Tardis or the Time Machine, but through a book I picked up at a used bookstore.

1987. A time before the internet. Going viral meant sickness or disease. And landlines were all the rage—well pretty much your only option.

Nationally syndicated columnist, Bob Greene, Chicago Tribune, received an interesting letter from Mike Hayes, a freshman enrolled at the University of Illinois. His parents put four older siblings through school and could not fund Mike beyond his first quarter.

Mike proposed an intriguing idea.

He asked Bob how many people read his column. Mike figured there must be millions of readers. He asked Bob to pitch his readers the idea of sending Mike one penny. If a couple million people sent him one penny—dug it out of the sofa cushions, the floor of their car, off the sidewalk—it would pay for his entire education.

No one thought the idea would work—except Mike.

The cost of a stamp in 1987: 22 cents. More than the cost of the penny.

Intrigued, Bob wrote the column.

In less than four weeks, the “Many Pennies for Mike” fund reached close to 2.3 million pennies. But not everyone sent pennies, some sent nickels, dimes, quarters or more.

In the end, he received enough to pay for his degree and gifted the residual to another deserving student at his university in the form of a scholarship.

Crowd funding before crowd funding.

And in case you want to know, Mike Hayes became a food scientist. And Abe Lincoln’s profile faces right.

Since we’re on the topic of the power and influence of pennies, how about the Beatles lead us out with Penny Lane.

Until next week.



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A Special Edition: Boy Squirrel VS. Girl Squirrel Underpants

Greetings from the land winter forgot.

While the rest of the United States enjoys a real winter, my little corner enjoys never ending spring. I expect a summer scorcher. And lots of bugs.

Now for this week’s post.

Open season on rose hips. Spicy!

Open season on rose hips. Hot stuff baby.

One of my kitty carnivores alerted me to a resident squirrel calling open season on the “Fragrant Wave” rose hip salad bar. Clearly vitamin C cravings. Spicy!

I think this is my best side.

I think this is my best side.

My presence did not affect its dining habits one iota.

Go ahead, make my day!

I’m a diva, darling.

Other than it faced me and posed for more pictures.

Does it not realize the moral implications of running around the neighborhood naked?

Leaving the question of squirrel decency up in the air or in this case on a stick.

Leaving one to ponder, boy squirrel or girl squirrel underpants.

Leaving room for debate. You decided.

Tighty whities?

Tighty whities?



Pretty in Pink?

Pretty in pink?








Available on Amazon or a local joke shop near you! Click it to view it.

Since my neighborhood squirrel diva mugged for the camera, let’s wrap up this special edition with a real diva. Donna Summers and Hot Stuff. Since this IS such a hot topic. ;-)

And remember today is the last day for New Year’s Resolutions to be kept. Tomorrow the gym will be empty.

Until next week!



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A Special Edition: The Rainbow

Life travels roads to many unexpected destinations. Like my fellow bloggers, I enjoy writing. Like my fellow bloggers, I sometimes struggle to find topics. Like my fellow bloggers, I want to provide some entertainment.

One of the things I hear people saying, “in your lifetime memorize at least one poem.”

In another life, I worked in occupational safety and health. One of my many duties involved respirator fit testing for asbestos abatement workers. One of the requirements for quantitative fit testing: Reading the first paragraph of the Rainbow Passage out loud.

The first paragraph of the Rainbow Passage is not a poem, but it sticks in my mind to this day as though it were a poem.

Imagine writing something, publishing it, time passes and it becomes part of the public domain—written into law (1910.134 App A). Wow.

Page 127 of the second edition of Grant Fairbanks’ “Voice and Articulation Drillbook” contains the following:


When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky. Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun’s rays by the rain.

Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows. Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the colored band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light, when mixed, form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue. . . .

*  *  *

I mention this because someone commented on my blog they enjoyed “All About That Bass” being stuck in their head. My response “better than the Rainbow Connection”. Which stuck in my head. Which reminded me of the Rainbow Passage.

Which leads me to this:

Write your passion. Your passion, your writing, once birthed, may travel roads to unexpected destinations.  Enjoy the journey.

In special edition tradition, here’s Kermit the Frog with “The Rainbow Connection”.

What—you thought it would be the Carpenters? ;-)



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A Special Edition: The Eyes

In 2005 I visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center worked to re-introduce the Wood Bison to Alaska. A small herd wondered the park. With the help of the Canadian Government and through a careful breeding program, this spring they will be reintroducing the animals into the wild.

My photographs did not do the animals justice, so I promised myself I would learn to draw.

For me, the human face is the most difficult to capture. In honor of those bison, and my Eyvind Earl post over at the BoFN, I thought I would share one of my partially completed Study in Eyes drawings.

What do my eyes say to you?

What do my eyes say to you?

And a little secret to my learning to draw. I use curves. Which leads me to the musical portion of our special edition tradition. While driving cross country last fall, every popular radio station played “All About That Bass”.

From Washington State to Wisconsin it filled the air waves. We pulled over to watch the bison outside of Buffalo Jump, South Dakota. They moved with the bass—and treble.

Take it away Meghan Trainor with “All About That Bass”.

Perceive, believe, achieve. Or in this case boogie with the bison . . . .

Until next week.



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Eyvind Earle

Fannie Cranium:

This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names.

Originally posted on The Blog of Funny Names:

“Starting from nothing to where we are Is farther than the farthest star And farther than the farthest star Is where we are going from where we are.” ~ Eyvind Earle “Starting from nothing to where we are
Is farther than the farthest star
And farther than the farthest star
Is where we are going from where we are.”
~ Eyvind Earle

Artist, author, illustrator. Someone with a marvelously alliterative name.

Born April 26, 1916 in New York City to wealth and privilege.

His father, Ferdinand Earle, a movie producer, moved the family to Hollywood in 1918. Eyvind’s mom, Charlotte Herman—concert pianist, and fourth wife to Ferdinand.

Eyvind’s older brother, Ferdi (named for his father), contracted polio at the age of ten and passed away. The day after the burial, Eyvind, age eight, contracted polio, which left his face partially paralyzed.

He spent the rest of his life avoiding smiling and laughing. He compensated for his crooked smile by painting every day.

Two years later his mother divorced his father and received custody of Eyvind.

Ferdinand got permission from Charlotte to…

View original 427 more words

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A Special Edition: Food

The sense of smell is a power stimulus. We remember up to 10,000 separate smells, each triggering a specific memory.

What if food cooked in the oven and perfumed your home. What would it be? Would you love the smell of roasted beets in an orange glaze? Or the smell of old fashioned pot roast. Or sugar cookies? Or roasting yams?

Or caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes?

Saturday afternoon, heavy rains drench our area. It inspired me to spend some time cleaning out a closet. I discovered a poem I’d written back in 1982 entitled FOOD.

The first stanza of the poem became a time machine—living with my parents in our postage stamp house. My mom prepared Stroganoff and heated up an apple pie in the oven.

My stomach growled so loud my little sister blamed the dog. The poor dog looked mystified.

I borrowed one of my mom’s canary yellow legal pads and one of her black and silver rotary dial telephone pens, and jotted down this poem in the space of ten minutes.

Slowly spinning, slowly turning,
Food gives me quite a yearning.
Round and round the room it spins,
I can’t hear above the din.

A steak gets up and crosses the table,
Holding back, I was barely able.
Then the ice cream came running by,
If I don’t get food, I’m going to die!

Hersey bars fly through the air,
Then a chocolate truffle—none can compare.
Spaghetti noodles wriggle like a snake,
Right onto someone else’s plate.

The hot dogs were barking up a tree,
Oh how I wish that tree were me.
Just to take a single bite,
To me would be a pure delight.

A chocolate cake spins round the room,
It’s being chased by a…waiter?!
English muffins fill the sea,
Oh how good it would look inside of me!

Tacos and burritos are on the shelf,
Just to eat them I’d give my health.
Here they come, there they go,
Ten dozen sno-cones in a row.

A Jello salad comes jiggling by,
All the marshmallows begin to fly.
The sausages tie themselves in a knot,
For $100 I’d buy the lot.

Slowly spinning, slowly turning,
Now my stomach’s really churning!
For just one bite I’d sell my soul,
I’d take a cow and eat it whole.

Here it comes, this one’s for me!
A giant tray! With just one pea?
I stood up and demanded more,
The waiter told me there’s more in store.

So then it came, a great big plate!
But all that was on it was one small date?!
Now I was angry, they’d gotten my goat,
Then the waiter gave me a note.

I’d eaten everything in sight,
They’d not feed me another bite!
This is crazy, I was not able,
But to show them I ate the table!

Now I was full and beginning to bloat,
I’d eaten so much I shouldn’t gloat.
Slowly spinning, slowly turning,
Now I have no more yearning.

*  *  *


What smells take you back to a fond memory?

In special edition tradition, here is “Food Glorious Food” from Oliver! Take it away gentlemen.

Until next week.



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A Special Edition: February 20th, Mark It On Your Calendar

I live in a small town. We support a YMCA. I befriended one of the janitors who works there. She fed me a gym secret.

I’m going to share . . .

We’ve all done it, made a resolution.

January 1st, we put our resolution into action. Feeling the enthusiasm, joy, trepidation of a kindergartener on the first day of school.

January 22nd hits. Some of us fell off the resolution joy ride, while others continue strong.

The staff at your local gym are marking off the days on their calendar. That special day when the last of the irresolute “resolutioners” fall off the resolution joy ride.

It’s the same day every year.

There are only 28 days left until that special day when the gym staff can take a coffee break. And the janitors no longer pull double duty cleaning the locker rooms.

February 19th.

Let’s mess with their heads. Let’s make it a strong finish. Let’s all show up on the 20th!

To finish is to win.



For those of you who make it to February 20th, how about a little Queen with “We Are The Champions.” Freddie Mercury’s choice of outfit. . . well, it was the transition from the seventies to the eighties.

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