Thursday, July 23, 2015

A New Innovation--The Cardinal Alarm

You know how they tell you to make sure you get up from your computer at regular intervals to walk around when you’re working? I’ve discovered a neat alternative to using a timer. It’s called “Cardinal Alarm.”

I’ve written before about the cardinals who visit my balcony each day.  Well, these birds have discovered that I can sometimes be found at my computer during the day, which is right next to the window in our bedroom that faces the side of our balcony. When they show up and don’t find any peanuts, they have started checking to see if I’m at the computer. If they spot me or hear my voice, they jump up and down and let me know in their own language that they think I’m wonderful for supplying them with peanuts and could they please have some more? Well, that’s what I like to think they’re saying. Actually, I think their impatience has something to do with the screeching baby bird noises coming from across the street.

Stretch of course has found his own alternative to feeding his cardinal friends, one that doesn’t interrupt his morning snack.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Postcard Is Alive and Well!

Recently, after reading an article in National Geographic questioning whether the postcard was becoming obsolete, Stretch and I have been waging a “Save the Postcard” campaign and gratefully receiving a lot of support from family and friends. Well, today we’re happy to report that the postcard has been taken off the Endangered Species list.  The latest issue of Nat Geo says that since they printed that story they have received hundreds of postcards from readers, assuring them that the postcard is not going anywhere just yet, except to its addressed destination!

So we’re offering a big thank you to all our friends who also assured us that we can continue to look forward to finding postcards from them in our mailbox. In our blog post today, we’re sharing some of the “interesting” contributions we received.

Our new friend Judy Bowlin sent us a vintage postcard of the statue of Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama. And in one of those weird coincidences, she didn’t know about my mania for world’s fair history when she picked out this card for me. (Vulcan was originally displayed at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.)  And Stretch approves because this statue is fully clothed.

Our friend Wanda sent us two postcards during a recent trek she took to Kentucky and Ohio. And how appropriate to get a postcard from the Christmas Story house during the annual “Christmas in July” mania. It’s almost as much fun as receiving a Red Ryder BB gun.

Stretch is still trying to figure out the postcard from our friends Paul and Mitzi. It sends greetings from the airport bar but they claim to have found the card at their local supermarket. It also bears a sketch of a strange looking bird claiming to be an “Extinct Nevada Eagle.” Stretch wants to know what’s in those drinks at the airport bar, he wants to try one.
Cousin Melanie contributed another card from her home state of Tennessee. It’s a nice card with a lot of the highlights of the state on it, but they left out the biggest highlights that Tenn. offers us—fried catfish, hush puppies and banana pudding.

We really love all these cards and appreciate the thoughts that went behind sending them to us.
And I think you will agree a certain cousin has gone above and beyond in her efforts to save the postcard for us. Anne-Marie, we are designating you the Patron Saint of the Postcard!

And Stretch would like to thank his relatives for all the cards they sent . . .

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Bowdler's Day!

This is one of Stretch’s favorite holidays. As you know, Stretch is easily appalled by things like nude statues in museums and “colorful” language. Thomas Bowdler was an English doctor who censored the works of Shakespeare by removing or changing all the words and expressions he considered to be indecent or impious.  Back in the last century there was even a phrase in honor of Bowdler: “to bowdlerize” (to edit something by omitting or modifying any parts considered vulgar).

Stretch: “Well, this is one bit of your last century history I think is great. I’m toasting Thomas Bowdler with my Saturday morning Frappuccino. I wish he was here today to edit these reality tv shows!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Good News for Chocaholics!

With all the bad news being blasted at us these days, Stretch and I are happy to have some wonderful news to report today. We found an article in our local paper (NY Newsday)  yesterday that not only gave us permission to indulge our chocolate cravings, it told us that the latest research shows chocolate is phenomenally good for us! Check out these excerpts:

“A new study published last month in the journal Heart looked at the effect of diet on long-term health. It found that the answer to how much chocolate can be good for you is—a lot. Study participants in the high-consumption group—those who ate 15 to 100 grams of chocolate a day (about 2 classic Hershey’s bars or 5 Godiva truffles)—had lower heart disease and stroke risk than those who did not consume the confection.

Higher levels of consumption were associated with a large number of other positives: lower BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins. So what’s the theory behind how this works? Chocolate is full of flavonoid anti-oxidants and the intake of chocolate results in improved function of the endothelium, or inner lining of the blood vessels. Chocolate also has been shown to increase HDL or “good” cholesterol and decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol. “

Now they did point out that some study participants actually had the opposite results, and this was just a small sampling and more studies need to be done. So we’ll wait for those further studies to be done . . . while we’re munching on some chocolate.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all our blog readers! Stretch and Tiny are setting up for a real Fourth of July "blast" with some of their friends, while we're enjoying our local hometown parade with the best Grand Marshal--Teddy Roosevelt! 

 A big thank you to Stretch's special friends Mitzi and Paul Van Dort for "catering" his barbecue!