Humor

Autumn already?

Happy Autumn Equinox, everyone! Today marks the “official” start of fall in the Northern hemisphere, with exactly 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness, and it’s all downhill from there as far as daylight goes, LOL, until December 21st. I hear it’s the only day where you can balance a pumpkin on its stem. Oh wait, that’s an egg…no, that’s a myth, right?

It doesn’t feel like fall in Virginia yet, and it probably won’t in places like Texas until the winter solstice.

Moving on….

Of course, there are plenty of “unofficial” occasions that mark the start of fall for some folks. The end of Labor Day weekend. The first day back to school for the kiddos. The very tops of the sugar maples starting to turn red and gold. Ah, bliss. I love fall.

But I’m not here to talk about those particular signs. I’m here to talk about September 1st, aka the start of Pumpkin Spice Latte season in the Starbucks world. That’s what fall is really all about, Charlie Brown. *wink*

Pumpkin Spice…the source of delight and mockery. 

 

It’s all a matter of perspective.

You may have seen “a few” things on the internet about the pumpkin spice phenomenon. Seems like there’s a pumpkin spice for every occasion (at least hypothetically, haha).

For the horror movie fans:

For the second amendment folks:

 

Even the automotive DIYers can get in on the pumpkin spice craze, LOL:

As for me, I used to be a PSL fan, but I switched to mochas – a year-round, good-ol’ reliable flavor. But hey, you PSL enthusiasts out there, rock on. The world can use all the comfort it can get right now. Wave your flag proudly.

While I don’t drink PSLs anymore, I’m still a fan of pumpkin flavored desserts and treats. In fact, after checking my list of recipes on my iPad (I love the Recipe Tin app!), I was a bit startled to discover that I have 21 pumpkin recipes. Only one ingredient category has a larger number: chicken, at 24. Beef trailed in at third, tied with chocolate, at 20 each.

(Chocolate is tied for third? It’s a world gone mad. *sob*).

I’ve already shared my pumpkin fudge and pumpkin tiramisu recipes in earlier posts (listed below), but I figured ’tis the season for pumpkin, so why not another? So here’s my recipe for pumpkin creme brulee, a dessert featured in at least one of my Concordia books. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crème Brulee (4 servings)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
For sugar shell top: 4 tsp granulated white sugar.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit). In a saucepan, whisk cream, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, until bubbles form around edges of saucepan and steam rises from the surface. DO NOT BOIL. Take pan off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and sugars (except that reserved for sugar top) in a large bowl until ingredients are fully incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and whisk the somewhat-cooled cream mixture into the strained mixture. Divide into four ramekins (8oz size).

What the bath looks like. Be sure to cover w/foil before putting in the oven.

Hot water bath: place ramekins in a large baking pan, and pour boiling water into the pan (around the ramekins) until water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until set. It may still be a little jiggly in the middle, but that should set as it cools.

Once they have cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (don’t touch the wrap to the surface of the custard) and chill in the fridge.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp of white sugar over top of each custard and either use a small kitchen torch to carmelize the surface, or put ramekins on a baking sheet and set it under the boiler for a minute or two, until the sugar is melted and the top is browned. Let cool briefly, and serve.

What do you enjoy about the fall? Do you have a favorite food this time of year? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

Want more pumpkin recipes? Check out these posts:

for pumpkin fudge:

Start your Halloween with a Pumpkin Mashup!

Taste of Fall: Pumpkin Tiramisu

 

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My funny Valentine

Hubby and I have been married a while now (27 years and counting), so we’ve seen a lot of Valentine’s Days come and go. For us, the occasion is usually marked by wine, chocolate, and me not cooking. Winning!

It’s also a great occasion to reflect on relationships. With that in mind, I’m re-posting a piece that Paul and I co-wrote 5 years ago when, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we commented upon one another’s “eccentricities.” (My updates/new commentary in RED).  Enjoy!

Foibles

“Foible” is defined as “a minor weakness or eccentricity in one’s character.”  Sometimes foibles can be the death of relationships; however, in other instances, they are what lend interest and individuality.

To celebrate foibles “up close” in all their quirky glory, we’re approaching today’s blog post a little differently:  hubby and I are going to discuss each other’s foibles.  Yep, I’m going to point out his “eccentricities” and he’s going to point out mine!  Let’s hope we make it to Valentine’s Day next year, LOL.

But I get to go first (hey, it’s my blog).

My description of Paul:

My hubby. He’s smiling now; just wait until he reads this…

Paul enjoys what he himself terms “geeky” pursuits.  He loves boardgaming and math – whether it’s Age of Renaissance or Fractals, he shows equal enthusiasm.  He has me playing a lot of these boardgames now, too, and he designed one of his own that was published last year by BlueSquare Games – squee! – called Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. It’s a cool game, although I know I’m biased.  By the way, fractals look nice, but I’ll never get it.

He’s a former Naval Academy grad and submariner who now works in the computer software/project management field (and that’s all I can tell you without having the free world fall to pieces and being required to shoot myself or something), has played classical piano since elementary school (never mind how long ago that was), and is a fab father to our three boys, who also like to tease dad about his little eccentricities.

 

On to…Paul’s foibles:

Here are a few that stem from his Yankee frugality:

  • He saves everything, especially boxes.  We have a gazillion cardboard shipping boxes, of all different shapes and sizes.  It’s sort of an archaeological dig of nearly everything we’ve ever ordered or been gifted with in the past decade.  Amazon seems to be our biggest supplier. I’ve nested them as best I can so they don’t take up too much space.  Now it’s a long row of big boxes at the top of the laundry room rafters, with “MORE BOXES INSIDE” scrawled across the fronts in sharpie.
  • He puts scrap paper back in the printer tray.  The rest of us keep forgetting he does this, and when we click “print”  and pull out the sheet – arghh!!  Dad put scrap paper in the printer again! It’s like a little ambush, every time.  Bwahaha. One of these days, I’m going to remember to swap out the paper.
  • He disassembles and saves wooden planks/parts from broken Ikea furniture.  It starts to build up after a while (although I’ll admit, it came in handy a couple of times).  Spiders and stinkbugs seem to like hanging out there, so whenever we need wood for a project, he has to go get it.

And then there are the times when we’re in the car, and he’s the one driving:  he waits until what feels like the last blessed moment to get into the turn lane. Meanwhile, I’m dying to say something, like “Um, the turn’s coming up, honey, are you going to change lanes now?”  My knuckles turn white, clenching the arm rest, willing myself to stay quiet, but all the while, thinking:  “we’re going to miss the turn, we’re not going to make it, no one will let us in the lane….”  I have to admit, it gives each trip a little zing! of uncertainty.

If he’s feeling particularly generous that day, he’ll give me a little look, and change lanes early.  Happy Birthday, dear. (Maybe he’ll take pity on me this Valentine’s Day).

Speaking of driving, the kids crack up when Paul is backing up the car; he turns his head toward the rear window (where they can see him at ground zero), and makes his “pirate back-up face.”   It’s totally unconscious, but he bares his teeth and scrunches his cheeks in a sort of “Arrr” pirate grimace. (He got new glasses since then, and doesn’t need to scrunch his face anymore. I miss pirate back-up face….)

The boys also like to tease dad about the following:

  • the way he eats corn on the cob (indescribable)
  • laughing (big, belly-laughing guffaws.  No one hearing him can keep from laughing, too)
  • His pet phrase of exasperation: “Oh, for crying out loud.”  I seem to be picking up that one nowadays, LOL. (Yes, it is definitely now part of my vocabulary. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a “for crying out loud.”)

So that is my dear-heart, frugal, laugh-out-loud man, whom I love with all my being.  I wouldn’t trade a single foible.  And it would be really easy to tell if aliens ever kidnap him and switch him out for a pod growing in the basement.

…Your turn, honey!

Hello, this is Paul, husband of K.B. Owen. I should start by making absolutely clear that I love my wife with all my heart, and nothing she can do will sway me from my eternal devotion to her, heart and soul. (K: Isn’t he just the cutest thing?) 

That said, I understand that I am free to share with the Internet World a few observations that I have made regarding the customary behavior of my Beloved that some might consider … idiosyncratic.  Only a few things come to mind.

image via clker.com

First, my darling Sweetheart has a propensity for always finding a better way to arrange and store things that we as a family all need to be able to find every day.  The best example is the kitchen.  Whenever I go to look for, say, a coffee cup, I go to the cupboard where I remember that we said we would put them … “oh, wait, that was where they were last fall.  I remember now, she moved them over here by the refrigerator. … No, wait, that was around Christmas time.  I think they’re … Kathy, where are the coffee cups now?”  I kid you not, this happens several times a week.  “Don’t you remember, Paul?  I told you two weeks ago that I moved the coffee cups over by the microwave.”  “Oh, yes, you moved them [with a certain pained emphasis to imply, ‘for no earthly reason that I can imagine’].  Of course you told me.  Of course I remember.”  The problem is that’s not the first thing I remember when I think of where to look for a coffee cup.  Truth is, it’s about the eighth candidate on the list of possible places the coffee cups could be today. (K: Hmm…I haven’t rearranged anything in a while. That gives me an idea….)

Second, the delight of my heart bakes Christmas cookies, dozens upon dozens, in a major evolution that spans weeks and dominates the kitchen and dining room and fills the house with the irresistable aroma of baking, only to forbid upon penalty of death and severed fingers that anybody should so much as touch one of them.  “They’re for the neighbors/friends / homeless people / strangers in the bayou.  You can’t touch them.  Here, have this one; it’s burnt/broken/ otherwise defective and therefore unpresentable outside the family whom I don’t have to impress.”  So we all, our three sons and myself, swoon over the odors of Christmas cookies, drool over the sight of them on their cooling racks, and console ourselves with the notion that at some point on Christmas day, after all the neighbors, friends, and vagrants have been satisfied, we’ll have our crack at whatever small fraction of the baked manifestation of our wife and mother’s love remains in the house in the form of leftover Christmas cookies.

(K: I now bake “decoy” cookies to keep the hungry horde away from the more time-intensive Christmas cookies…hey, I’m not without a heart….)

Sanders and Snowball. RIP.

Third, I have learned never to maintain hope that our home will be rodent-free.  For as long as I can remember, our house has had some kind of terrarium or cage (or two or three), and within them some form of cute, fuzzy hamster, gerbil, Guinea pig, or even rabbit running on its wheel or in its ball or around its cage.  Over the years, I found that no sooner would I have buried some poor beastie (K: after it has languished in a paper bag in the freezer for a few months) in the woods behind our house than the next day I would come home from work greeted by my darling wife’s latest find at the pet store, some new little creature twitching its whiskers at me as if to say, “Aren’t I cute?  Don’t you just love me?  Won’t you feed me for the rest of my fuzzy little captive life?” Oh, for crying out loud. (No more rodents…we now have a cat. Hubby pretends he grudgingly accepts her. Yeah, right–he’s not fooling anyone. *wink*)

 

So, there you have it – wife and hubby, dishing on each other’s “foibles.”

What foibles do you live with on behalf of your beloved?  We’d love to hear from you!  Come on, give us the good stuff!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Kathy and Paul

Paul tweets at @paulowengames

Blog: paulowengames.blogspot.com

(Here’s a pic of us celebrating our 26th anniversary in Bermuda!)

 

 

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You can’t fix stupid, 19th century style

You can’t fix stupid, 19th century style
I need this mug. Image via Amazon.

I need this mug. Image via Amazon.

As my regular readers know, I run across some strange, funny stuff in the course of my research. Most of the time it has nothing to do with what I’m actually looking for. *sigh* On the bright side, that means I can tuck it away to share with you guys!

In an age where nearly everyone’s pocket holds a camera and information can be shared instantly across the globe, we are confronted with a daily barrage of stupidity (especially in an election year, but let’s not go there). It’s easy at times to believe that we (collectively speaking) are just about as stupid as is possible without killing ourselves.

 

Double_Facepalm_Meme

 

Ah, not so fast. The 1890s had its share of boneheads, too. Check out the story of this doctor, as recounted in The Iola Register (Dec 24, 1897). The text can be a bit tough to read, so I highlighted some of the interesting bits:

 

1897stupid doctor composite3

Read the full article here, via Chronicling America’s archive.

 

Wow. Sounds like the opening scene of a low-budget sci-fi movie, or the origin story for a Spiderman super-villain. What if Dr. Connors had injected himself with cocaine instead of reptile DNA? Feel free to let loose in the comments. Maybe Stan Lee is looking for alternate timelines.

lizard

I also wonder…did Dr. Glynn’s patient list decline after the incident? (The bright side: more free time to poison himself). Did he ever write that treatise on poisoning, or did a subsequent “experiment” do him in? I guess we’ll never know.

So, what do you think? Have we grown more collectively idiotic, have we improved, or are we about equal with the past? What’s the funniest (non-lethal…hey, it’s almost the weekend, we want to kick back) story of stupidity you’ve run across lately? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

Concordia logo FINAL small

 

 

 

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See you in…17 years?

See you in…17 years?

 

Here at K.B. Owen Mysteries, we typically talk about historical culture and the mystery genre, though I do get off-topic from time to time, as life and interesting tidbits of pop culture creep in. Even so, I hardly ever blog about bugs.

My post about pollinators comes close: http://kbowenmysteries.com/posts/its-national-pollinator-week/

But there’s a first for everything, and the 17-year cicada is sort of historical, if you think about it.

Cicada molting. Image from USDA.gov

Cicada molting. I know…eww. Image from USDA.gov

According to the news reports, the “periodical” cicadas will emerge from the ground this spring. Everything about the bug demands notice, from its appearance – buggy red eyes and big, bulgy, two-inch-long winged body – to the loud, collective buzzing of the swarm. The first time I heard them, I thought an alien spaceship had landed. The sound is actually a chorus of males trying to attract females. Sort of the insect version of cat-calling.

Hey, baby, I see you over there on that hydrangea. You are looking mighty FINE today. Why don’t you fly on over here and we’ll have a good time.

Then there is the sheer number of them. Billions, covering areas across Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. Fortunately, they don’t bite/sting people or destroy crops. (Though dogs can get sick tummies when they snack on too many of them).

But the part of this that really intrigues me is the length of their life cycle. 17 years? Wow. The parents of this emerging brood of cicadas (Brood V) mated in 1999. Their offspring have been underground all this time, living off of root sap. When the top 8″ of soil warms to 64 degrees, they synchronously emerge to shed their nymph shells then swarm and mate.

hourglass

17 years is a long time. Do you remember 1999? A lot has happened since then. Here are some things that occurred to me. Back in 1999:

  • This blog didn’t exist (nor did its host, WordPress).
  • My first two sons were 6 and 3 years old, and the youngest hadn’t been born yet.
  • No Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any sort of online social media existed; online interactions were facilitated through CompuServe and AOL, and primarily in email form. Not even the now-defunct MySpace was around yet (officially launched in 2003), nor was Friendster (2002).
  • Everyone was worried about Y2K.
  • We partied like it was “1999.”
  • Amazon was primarily an online book supplier and was just starting to expand into other merchandise.
  • There were no e-readers or e-books; the Kindle was first offered for sale in 2007.
  • There were no USB flashdrives (commercially available in 2000).
  • PayPal was just getting started (1998).
  • Google had just been founded (1998).
  • The online music-sharing site Napster was launched.
  • The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and impeachment proceedings were top stories in American newspapers.
  • The Twin Towers were still standing.

This generation of Brood V cicadas will be waking up to a different world. Many more items could be included in this list – feel free to add them in the comments! I would also love to hear about your experiences with the critters.

owl readingWant to read more about the 17-year cicadas?

Cicada Mania

Periodical Cicadas (wikipedia)

Billions of cicadas will descend upon the northeastern United States (Washington Post)

Cicadas Prepare to Emerge (CNN)

 

Until next time…keep your car windows rolled up! *wink*

~Kathy

 

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I’ll have a helping of spring, hold the allergies

I’ll have a helping of spring, hold the allergies

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love spring?  The Northern Hemisphere is slipping off her shroud of brown and gray and picking out her bright party dress:  hues of pink, white, yellow, and soft green.  It’s a welcome sight to the winter-weary.  We turn our faces up to the warmth of extended sunlight and feel renewed.
Ah, but many of us pay a price for all this beauty and joie de vie:  Allergies.

The term “allergy” has only been around for about a century (you knew you wouldn’t escape this post without a little history lesson, right?).  Two pediatricians, Clemens von Pirquet and Bela Schick, came up with the term in 1906.  They combined the Greek words Allos (“other”) and Ergon (“reaction”) to create a term that would describe the hypersensitive response of the body’s immune system to something other than a bacteria or virus.

Charles Harrison Blackley, date and photographer unknown. Via wikimedia commons.

Charles Harrison Blackley, date and photographer unknown. Via wikimedia commons.

As recently as the mid-19th century, doctors and scientists considered heat the cause of these symptoms (hence the term “hay fever”).  Allergies were also widely viewed as a “nervous disease” during this time.  In 1859, however, Dr. Charles Blackley made the connection between pollen and hay fever.  Most of the experimenting he did was upon himself, including a crude form of today’s “scratch tests” now commonly done for allergy screenings.  Other physicians were using anecdotal evidence to come to similar conclusions about several other common types of allergies, including cats and feathers.  To read more about Blackley and others, check this site.

Unless you live in Antartica (and they just found 12 million year-old pollen fossils there, so look out), you’re dealing with pollen.  Lots of it.  Tree pollen in the spring, grass pollen in the summer, ragweed pollen in the fall.

Around here, the tree pollen is the worst.  Every morning, cars, sidewalks, and slow-moving mammals all have that greenish-yellow coating.  Pollen is boss.  People vs. pollen couldn’t be any less mismatched than the 300 Spartans facing down the 100,000 Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae.  Our noses are running for dear life.

In the spirit of “know thy enemy” (and perhaps morbid curiosity), I looked up what U.S. cities were the worst for allergies in 2015. Here’s the top ten “countdown”:

10. Buffalo, NY

9. Knoxville, TN

8. Providence, RI

7. Oklahoma City, OK

6. Wichita, KS (ever watch The Dick Van Dyke Show? The episode “Big Max Calvada” makes this city particularly ironic)

5. McAllen, TX

4. Louisville, KY

3.  Syracuse, NY

2. Memphis, TN

…and the #1 worst U.S. city for allergies: Jackson, MI.

 

Want to read more?

Top 25 worst cities for spring allergies

U.S. allergy forecast map (updated daily)

 

So, why am I writing about allergies today?  Oh, I don’t know – **sniff** – it seemed to resonate with me, somehow.

At least we can take solace in the view. Here are some of my favorite pollen-laden pics from my yard and neighborhood:

pollen composite

Hydrangeas from my garden. More a summer flower, but so lovely!

Hydrangeas from my garden. More of a summer flower, but so lovely!

 

 

 

Do you suffer from allergies? Do you consider the beauty of spring a fair trade for your suffering? I’d love to hear from you.

Someone pass me a Kleenex!

~Kathy

 

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Where my research takes me: arrest of the bloomers

Where my research takes me: arrest of the bloomers
"The Bicycle Suit," Punch Magazine, 1895.

“The Bicycle Suit,” Punch Magazine, 1895.

Those of you who’ve followed my posts are very familiar with the serendipitous nature of my research. I go looking for one thing and find five other fascinating, though completely unrelated, historical tidbits. (The original item I was looking for? Well, tomorrow is another day). Good thing I have a website and fab readers who like reading about this stuff!

The incident described in the following article takes place 44 years after bloomers first emerged in the U.S. Over those ensuing decades, they were adopted by some women as an act of rebellion, but in broader society they were primarily for active wear: bicycling costumes, gymnastic uniforms, and so on. (Incidentally, the bicycling outfit my protagonist, Concordia Wells, wears is comprised of similar leggings, but includes a shortened over-skirt for modesty).

But wearing bloomers in a gymnasium is one thing; strolling around wearing them out on the public street is entirely different. The lady named “Trixy” finds this out:

 

From the Saint Paul Daily Globe, December 1, 1895.

From the Saint Paul Daily Globe, December 1, 1895.

Apparently the Superintendent of Police was made of sterner stuff than the mayor.

Are there any outfits that would make you run screaming out of a room? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

Concordia logo FINAL small

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Barber Pole Pranksters

Barber Pole Pranksters

Hello! Six weeks ago, I announced a flash fiction giveaway offer (described in the link below), based on the last line of an 1891 newspaper article:

If you meet a party of eight young men with a barber pole, don’t arrest them. They own it.

You tell the story!

barber poleThe challenge was to write a short-short account of what you think may have led up to that last line. As a thank-you, story-posters had their choice of an audio version of books 1 or 2, or an ebook of books 1, 2, 3, or 4.

We had a fair number of comments, and one intrepid soul posted a story (thank you, Kassandra Lamb!).  Check it out using the original post link above – it’s a fun read!

In the meantime, I thought you would enjoy the original newspaper story. How DID eight young men come to own a barber shop pole in 1891? Here it is, cleaned up from an OCR of the original for ease of reading:

A COLLEGE BOY’S PRANK.

Some Harvard Students Have Lots of Fun with Boston Policemen.

“There isn’t so much deviltry in private among the students today as there was a few years ago,” said a graduate of Harvard, “but their pranks in public are getting bolder as time advances. I will tell you a good story illustrative of this. During my sophomore year there was a party of eight young fellows belonging
to my class who were all the time looking for a chance to create a sensation. They had become involved in several little scrapes with the Boston police on account of their practical jokes, and were thirsting for revenge. One Saturday night they went to Boston, and on their arrival got shaved in a West End barbershop.

“While paying their checks an idea struck one of the fellows, and after a short conference with his companions he offered the barber $10 for his red, white and blue pole, which stood about
twelve feet high in front of the door. The offer was accepted on the spot, and the young men took it away with them, insisting, however, on taking a receipt, in which both the pole and the amount paid was mentioned. Then they started off for a parade of the Third police precinct, in which nearly all their trouble with the ‘coppers’ had been experienced.

“They had not gone far before they were stopped by one of their old blue coated foes, who demanded an explanation of their possession of the pole. The boys replied that it belonged to them and that they were taking it home. The officer, believing that they bad stolen it, arrested the -whole party and took them to the police station, where he charged them with the theft.

“At this juncture one of the students produced the receipt, and they were allowed to depart, much to the discomfiture of the arresting officer. Then the boys went to another policeman’s beat, and were soon stopped by the guardian of that precinct, and, after a short parley, which proved very unsatisfactory to the officer, the students were again arrested, and, with the pole, were marched
back to the station house. This time they got their release from the lieutenant in charge without having to produce their receipt.

“The boys started off for another officer’s beat, taking care to keep within the same precinct, and within less than half an hour were brought back to the station for a third time on suspicion of having stolen that pole. The lieutenant had to send an officer over the precinct with these orders to all policemen: ‘If you meet a party of eight young men with a barber’s pole don’t arrest them. They own it.’ “

 

Click here for the original article.

Crazy college kids…they certainly went to a lot of trouble to pull off the stunt, didn’t they? How hard was it to carry around a 12-foot pole? By the way, the reason the barber accepted their offer on the spot: according to this inflation calculator, $10 in 1891 would be worth $263.16 today.

Unseemly Giveaway:

I still have audiobook retrieval codes and ebooks burning a hole in my pocket, as they say. So, if you want a freebie, simply comment on this post with three pieces of info:

  1. audio or ebook?
  2. which title? (books 1 or 2 for audio, books 1,2,3, or 4 for ebook)
  3. which format? (epub for Nook or iPad, mobi for Kindle)

Concordia series 1to4

I already have your email address if you are leaving a comment, so I would send the file or retrieval code to that address. I’ll be giving away up to 30 freebies.

What’s the best prank you’ve ever seen or been a part of? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

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State of the Union as spectator sport

State of the Union as spectator sport

Tomorrow night’s State of the Union address will be President Barack Obama’s last, during an election year already rife with divisive and derisive rhetoric. So, how about we have some fun instead? Below is a post from 2015 that surveyed social media responses to that year’s SOTU. It reaffirms my faith in mankind’s intrinsic smart-a$$ery, an important self-preservation skill in any election year.

What’s new this year? Looks like the White House is trying to sit at the cool kids’ table by joining SnapChat.

POTUS snapchat

For you political wonks out there, here are a couple of links to help you get ready:

5 Things to Watch for in Obama’s Final State of the Union (NPR)

From this article, I learned that the following phrases would make great SOTU Bingo spaces (or key words for a drinking game), for those so inclined:

shared prosperity

inclusive growth

gun control

immigration reform

initiatives

long way to go

let’s not let the Republicans take us backward

Everything you need to know about the 2016 State of the Union address (Politico)

My favorite paragraph from this source is the explanation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nap last year:

politico Ginsburg

Wow, I never knew Ruth was a party girl! Makes you wonder who else isn’t “100 percent sober” at the event. A tweet of Justice Ginsburg’s sleeping pic is included in the original post below.

Will you be watching the State of the Union address? Will you be tweeting, bingo-ing, or drinking? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

P.S. – don’t forget to submit your flash fiction tale about the barber shop pole for a free audiobook or ebook! End of January is the deadline. Details here: You Tell the Story!

—————–

Originally posted 21 January 2015:

Today’s post is a bit different from our usual historical and mystery-based themes, and is just for fun. No policies or partisanship here. We want to talk about the stuff that people really care about.

Preparing for the event:

SOTU32

After all, what State of the Union address is complete without a fog machine?

We viewers at home had some preparations to make as well. Bring on the drinking games and Bingo!

Here’s a drinking game that DebateDrinking.com devised for the occasion:

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For the rest of the rules, click here. I would add “veto,” “children,” and “community college.”

Vox.com posted this Bingo card:

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Not sure how you win when everyone’s card is the same, but at least you won’t be falling asleep:

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Although some appreciated the Supreme Court Justice’s approach:

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Okay, so now we’re ready. Let the pageantry begin.

 

The President Makes an Entrance:

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Face-Off: the Men Behind the Man

There were tons of tweets about Biden and Boehner.

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You know, I can see it….

Boehner’s tan drew a lot of attention:

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And what was that silver thing on Boehner’s desk? A couple of theories:

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Biden got his share of tweets, too:

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I’d missed Biden’s facial expression during Obama’s off-the-teleprompt zinger. Thank goodness for social media, LOL.

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The Quaker Oats Guy, or Mad-Eye Moody?

Someone else caught the eye of the Twitterverse last night:

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When generations collide: the astronaut on instagram

The President to astronaut Scott Kelly: “Good luck, and post pictures on instagram!”

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Do they have wifi in space?

Wrapping it up:

There seemed to be a lot of standing ovations. Here’s one reporter’s tally at the end:

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At least the Democrats got their aerobic workout for the night.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems strange to see the President signing autographs after the address. To add to the weirdness, he signed a tie last night.

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Maybe it will start a trend. But what’s next? Groupies throwing their underthings at the President to sign? *shudder*

 

If you skipped the State of the Union address altogether, here’s one guy’s strategy for catching up:

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Hope he’s not part of this teacher’s class today. There may be a quiz:

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Did you see the State of the Union address last night? Were any naps or drinking games involved? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Kathy

 

P.S. – 10 more days until the end of the Unseemly Ambition giveaway!

Unseemly Ambition Giveaway

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To celebrate the release of my most recent Concordia Wells mystery, Unseemly Ambition, I’m holding a prize giveaway. There’s still time to get your name in!

Click here for easy ways to get your name in the drawing, and a list of prizes!

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