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Friday, January 29, 2010

FENDER SKIRTS

I know some of you will not understand this message, but I bet you know someone who might.

I came across this phrase yesterday. 'FENDER SKIRTS.'

A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers.'

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) 'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'

Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first..

Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms to them.

Remember 'Continental kits?' They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?' At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

Often times years ago, the car brakes didn't always function well because of negligent maintence, so the emergency brake would be used in its place to stop the car. During the war, many cars became what was known as a 'clunk' because it was nearly worn out or just let go due to lack of repair parts since metal was scraped for war use.

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.' Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house? Often times a hitch hiker would ride on the running board to where ever they were goind just down the road.

The running board was also a place to tie on over sized items to take to the store. Often times the egg case would be tied to the running board to take the eggs to sell.

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - 'store-bought.' Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy. We felt really special and GOOD to wear a store bought dress! Hand me downs were often the case. Home made was more often what we wore....and yes, made out of feed sacks....sometimes more than one sack was bought to have enough material for a garment. These were 100% cotton, dyed, and would fade out more quickly when hung out in the sun to dry, so Mother turned colored clothes wrong side out, plus hung them in the shade if at all possible.

'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term 'world wide' for granted. This floors me.

On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.

I was thinking of this the other day!

When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase 'in a family way?' It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant' was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and 'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.'

Those with scruples NEVER talked about being in the family way in front of the opposite sex. It was just unheard of or you were looked down on for your lack of couth.

Apparently 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it's just 'bra' now. 'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.

I always loved going to the 'picture show,' but I considered 'movie' an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.' That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with 'Coffee maker.' How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I saw a percolator for sale the other day with the comment, 'like the ones sold years ago.' I still have one given to us as a wedding present in 1961 and it works!

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like 'DynaFlow' and 'Electrolux.' Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'SpectraVision!'

Our preacher used to sell Electrolux vacuums and Mother and Dad bought one after much contemplation. They knew he was newly married and needed the money, and wanted to help him out.

Food for thought. Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most is 'supper.' Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Supper will always be what I eat for the evening meal. Dinner is the noon meal and lunch is something you take along in a paper sack to school, work or other wise while you are away.

Someone forwarded this to me. I thought some of us of a 'certain age' would remember most of these.

Just for fun, pass it along to others of 'a certain age.' :-)



IF YOU AREN'T OF A CERTAIN AGE, YOU MUST KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The years . . . they pass by so quickly

We are growing old together, this special lady and me.

She still, however, loves to cuddle up, lay her head on my shoulder, and enjoy the warmth of my body.

I stroke her hair . . . and think pleasant thoughts. How this fine, once elegant lady is moving into the final part of her life on this earth. She is not quite as elegant as she once was . . . not quite as nimble or quick on her feet, or as agile.

But, then, neither am I.

Her hair is turning a bit on the grey side. She still loves affection and whenever I sit down on the couch, she's right there next to me. I kinda think she likes me a little bit. In a matter of seconds, her head finds my shoulder and rests there.

In truth, we like each other. A lot.

We've had some good times together. We've played a bit . . . but mostly we just enjoy each other . . . we enjoy the warmth of each others body.

I fear she will leave this earth before I do . . . and I shall miss her.

It's been a good relationship. I shall hate to see her pass. But she's getting more and more frail with each passing day. Her hair is not as pretty as it once was. It doesn't have the same sheen it once did, not as dark . . . old age has set in and she'll soon be but a memory.

Oh, excuse me! Did you think I was talking about Evelyn?

Sorry. No. I was talking about Missy, our cat of about 18 years of age.

A very moving story . . .

'Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!' My father yelled at me. 'Can't you do anything right?' Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

'I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.' My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess. The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him a bout his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics Listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, 'I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.' I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. 'Can you tell me about him?' The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.

'He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him, that was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.' He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. 'You mean you're going to kill him?'

'Ma'am,' he said gently, 'that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed Dog.'

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. 'I'll take him,' I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

'Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!' I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. 'If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one.. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it' Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples..

'You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!' Dad ignored me. 'Did you hear me, Dad?' I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.'

'I've often thanked God for sending that angel,' he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article.

Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This Weather Business . . .

WEATHER REPORT:

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in
some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a
report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at
Bergen , Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers
all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto
unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions
report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees
29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf
stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by
moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many
points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals
and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals
of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north,
are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few
years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and
make most coastal cities uninhabitable.


I'm sorry, I neglected to mention that this report was from November
2, 1922 as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post ...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

TAPS, past, present & future, by a 13 year old girl

If this doesn't give you goose bumps, call the mortuary. You're dead:

This is an absolute must see, this is more of a reason why music
should not be taken from the school system there is real
talent yet to be discovered!

You may never have heard the full rendition of I Silenzioa,
otherwise known as "Taps". This is a most beautiful rendition. The girl's name is Melissa Venema and is playing with maestro Andre Rieu from
Maastricht in the Netherlands. She is 13, has been performing for years. This performance is in 2008 Maastricht where city officials sealed off the town square and closed everything down so they get perfect noise
control!



Growing Up . . .

I grew up in a place called Omaha, Nebraska. The city was named after a local Indian, Barney Omaha, in recognition of his many contributions to modern day society which included his building of, and dedication to the city, of both Fontanelle Hotel and Fontenelle Park, named after a distant cousin who had earned many merit badges for scalping.

But that was long before my time. I lived in Omaha long after the tents and wikiups and hogans of the Indian were gone. We lived in a very hoity toity part of Omaha called Benson, a northwestern suburb. Benson also had a high school which some very creative person had named Benson High School. Being in the hoity toity part of Omaha it attracted a great many rich kids.

My family and I were not rich, but middle class. My valet, for example, was not particularly well trained, not even knowing how to mix a decent martini (sniff). I only had one valet, most Benson High School students had at least two. Unlike many other of my fellow students, I did not have an entourage. Couldn't afford it, being of modest means.

I recall many a morning when my baby blue T-Bird would face the daunting challenge of climbing the steep hill on Maple Street from about 69th to 63rd, before finally reaching that lovely level stretch of land through downtown Benson. I have to compliment my chaufeurr, Nicky, for the always comfortable, sometimes very scenic drives. I always enjoyed viewing the colorful Benson Baptist Church (where I was later to marry a Countess from Scotland, the lovely Mary (sorry, don't quite recall her last name. I'm bad on names). I also recall the excitement as I passed Kremer Funeral Home, the Benson Post Office, Steve's Grill, Feierman Jewelers, and the Benson Theater (where we used to always scrape together $0.09 cents for every Saturday morning and see both cartoons as well as exciting adventure movies, including my favorite hero, Lash Larue). Those were wonderful times.

Arriving at Benson High School, I was met every morning by a smiling John "Pinky" Aronson, the Vice Principal, who would open the door to my T-Bird, shake my hand, wave at Nicky, and welcome me to the school. I remember one day I suggested to my fellow classmates that we all honor "Pinky" Aronson by dressing in completely pink clothing. I wore pink trousers, pink socks, a pink shirt, white belt and white shoes. I was a sight to behold. The entire school turned out in pink that day.

Mr. Aronson, I'm sure, was amused.

As we walked together up the sidewalk leading to the building I was often approached by other students who did not have transportation and had to walk to school. They would compliment me on my T-Bird and mention how it would be nice if, maybe sometime, I could give them a ride, seeing as how I was going in the same direction. I always made it a point to shake their hand or give them a friendly wave, show a warm smile and say, "what a perfectly grand idea. Do let me give it some thought and get back to you!" (I have always found it to be a good idea to treat those of a different social class kindly. Even though a majority of us were middle class, some of these forsaken kids didn't have so much as a valet to their name. I tried to brighten their lives by being kind to them and favoring them with, at the very least, with my wonderfully contented smile).

I soon joined the rest of those from my social class and we would tell marvelously funny stories, describe our valet's hilarious shortcomings and/or great accomplishments. Being of modest means, my valet, Nicky, had to double as my chauffeur. Several times I thought of giving Nicky notice but she was such a strikingly lovely creature that I found it hard to part with her. Besides, she was often of great comfort to me in times of sorrow, like when our cook would forget both Brie and a sufficient amount of caviar in my box lunch she had prepared for me daily. Nicky (short for Nicole) would put her arms around me and murmur soft things in my ear. I always felt so much better; sometimes, to the point of skipping school for several hours to be with Nicky, the more to enjoy her comforting.

In late morning I would always head for gym class, presided over by Art Harris, our football coach. Mr. Harris was a strapping 3' tall but he was a human dynamo, often running around in circles, clapping his hands and yelling, "Let's go! Let's go!" to no one in particular. I was very fond of Mr. Harris, however. I suppose it might have been because I went to him one day, very sad, and told him my favorite pet rabbit, which I had called "Bunny" had passed away. I suggested to Mr. Harris that we might memorialize Bunny by naming the school, and in particular, its football team, the Benson High School Bunnies.

Mr. Harris slapped his thighs, and exclaimed, "that's a wonderful idea! It shall be done!"

And so, to this day, members who attended, and who still attend, my alma mater, are known as The Benson High School Bunnies.

All good things, however, must come to an end. After four years of absolute bliss, my high school days came to an end. I graduated (flipped my tassle, as we say) and went on to a brilliantly successful career in business and also became a highly successful and adored international spy.

That, too, is all behind me now. Nicky is still with me. She stays in the spare bedroom here at the Madison Mansion, still chauffeurs me about town, still mixes me my martinis, still performs as a valet, and is always there to offer me comforting words, thoughts and deeds whenever mean ol' Evelyn says or does something to wound my sensitive ego.

Mrs. Madison recognizes that Nicky is simply my valet, nothing more, (at least, that's what she believes) someone with whom I would find living life to be particularly difficult.

Nicky was even with me during my exciting and adventuresome years as an international spy.

But that, as we say, is another story.

Buy me a drink sometime . . . maybe I'll tell you. (Some parts, however, are still classified. Those parts would take two drinks).

Brilliant commentary . . .

unless, of course, you are a California Liberal:

"Frankly, I don't know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I'm not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we're number one. There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on 'Macbeth'. The three of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of speech. You don't know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words."

--columnist Burt Prelutsky

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thought provoking . . .

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She
hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always
there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see
the world, I would marry you.'

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages
came off, she was able to see everything, including her
boyfriend.

He asked her, 'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The
girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The
sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected
that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life
led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her
saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before
they were yours, they were mine.'

This is how the human brain often works when our status changes.
Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who
was always by their side in the most painful situations.
Life Is a Gift

Today Don't judge people for a mistake made and think about when you were judged when you made one and how good you felt when you were forgiven!

Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't
speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone
who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone
who's crying out to GOD for a companion.

Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went
too early to heaven.

Before whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who
walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the
unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your
job..

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on
your face and think: you're alive and still around.

Crash Comparison

Old cars carry with them appreciable nostalgia unleavened with reality. Nice to
look at and admired for their lines...

But...

How many times have you heard: “Wish they would make cars the way they used to”.






This video dispels that myth.

Interesting video to watch. You know how we always think about what big huge
tanks the old cars of the 50's and 60's were for size?
And how we talk about how there is so much plastic on the new cars that if
one of the old tanks ever collided with a new car, the new car would be
demolished?....

Well, someone in the insurance industry put that theory to the test.

Be sure to watch toward the end to see the overhead view - and the assessment
of driver injury. Those crumple zones do work.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Suicide bombers set for strike action

Suicide bombers set for strike action

... over virgin entitlement in afterlife

Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on
Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in
the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda management have so far
failed to produce an agreement.

The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of
virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by
25% next January from 72 to only 54. The rationale for the cut was the
increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a
subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers' union, the British Organization of Occupational
Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement that this was
unacceptable to its members and immediately balloted for strike action.
General Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members are
literally working themselves to death in the cause of jihad. We don't
ask for much in return, but to be treated like this by management is a
kick in the teeth."

Mr Amir accepted the limited availability of virgins, but pointed out
that the cutbacks were expected to be borne entirely by the workforce
and not by management. "Last Christmas Abu Hamza alone was awarded an
annual bonus of 250,000 virgins," complains Amir. "And you can be sure
they'll all be pretty ones too. How can Al Qaeda afford that for members of the
management, but not 72 for the people who do the real work?"

Speaking from the shed in the West Midlands where he currently resides,
Al Qaeda chief executive Osama bin Laden explained,

"We sympathize with our workers' concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in
a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the
realities of modern-day jihad, in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western
depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife.
It's a straight choice between reducing expenditure and laying people
off. I don't like cutting wages but I'd hate to have to tell 3,000 of my
staff that they won't be able to blow themselves up." He defended
management bonuses by claiming these were necessary to attract good
fanatical clerics. "How am I supposed to attract the best people if I can't compete with
the private sector?" asked Mr. Bin-Laden.

Talks broke down this morning after management's last-ditch proposal of
a virgin-sharing scheme was rejected outright after a failure to agree
on orifice allocation quotas (OAQ). One virgin, who refused to be
named, was quoted as saying "I'll be buggered if I'm agreeing to
anything like that ... it's too much to swallow".

Unless some sort of agreement is reached over the weekend, suicide
bombers will set down explosives at midday on Monday. Most branches are
supporting the strike. Only the North London branch, which has a
different union, is likely to continue working. However, some members of
that branch will only be using waist-down explosives in order to express
solidarity with their striking brethren.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Devil Writes to Pat Robertson

By Frank James

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a letter from Satan to evangelist Pat Robertson, responding to his comment that Haiti's persistent troubles, including the earthquake, are due to a pact the nation made with Mephistopheles.

Actually, it wasn't Satan who wrote the letter but Lilly Coyle of Minneapolis writing in the persona of the hellish one.

I think she got it down pretty well. What say you?

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.

Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?

If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.

Best, Satan

The Auschwitz Album

This is a powerful photo essay! Everyone should see it.

To view, go here:

http://www1.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/album_Auschwitz/content1.html


The Auschwitz Album
About Yad Vashem | The Holocaust | Digital Collections | Education & E-learning | Exhibitions | Remembrance | Righteous | Visiting | YV Worldwide

Introduction

The Auschwitz Album is the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is a unique document and was donated to Yad Vashem by Lilly Jacob-Zelmanovic Meier.

The photos were taken at the end of May or beginning of June 1944, either by Ernst Hofmann or by Bernhard Walter, two SS men whose task was to take ID photos and fingerprints of the inmates (not of the Jews who were sent directly to the gas chambers). The photos show the arrival of Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia. Many of them came from the Berehovo Ghetto, which itself was a collecting point for Jews from several other small towns.

Early summer 1944 was the apex of the deportation of Hungarian Jewry. For this purpose a special rail line was extended from the railway station outside the camp to a ramp inside Auschwitz. Many of the photos in the album were taken on the ramp. The Jews then went through a selection process, carried out by SS doctors and wardens. Those considered fit for work were sent into the camp, where they were registered, deloused and distributed to the barracks. The rest were sent to the gas chambers. They were gassed under the guise of a harmless shower, their bodies were cremated and the ashes were strewn in a nearby swamp. The Nazis not only ruthlessly exploited the labor of those they did not kill immediately, they also looted the belongings the Jews brought with them. Even gold fillings were extracted from the mouths of the dead by a special detachment of inmates. The personal effects the Jews brought with them were sorted by inmates and stored in an area referred to by the inmates as "Canada": the ultimate land of plenty.

The photos in the album show the entire process except for the killing itself.

The purpose of the album is unclear. It was not intended for propaganda purposes, nor does it have any obvious personal use. One assumes that it was prepared as an official reference for a higher authority, as were photo albums from other concentration camps.

Lilly never hid the album and news of its existence was published many times. She was even called to present it as testimony at the Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt during the 1960s. She kept it all the years until the famous Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld visited her in 1980, and convinced her to donate the album to Yad Vashem.

In 1994 the album was restored in Yad Vashem's conservation laboratory and information on each one of the photos was typed into the computerized databank of the archive. The staff of the archive was able to compare and match the pictures with aerial photos taken by the US Army Air Force on several occasions in 1944-45. In 1999 the entire album was scanned with the highest quality digital equipment.

There are 56 pages and 193 photos in the album. Some of the original pictures, presumably those given by Lilly to survivors who had identified relatives in the photographs, are missing. One of these pictures was recently donated to Yad Vashem.
Further reference:

Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Tel-Aviv, 1990.

Gilbert, Martin, Auschwitz and the Allies, New-York, 1981.

Greif, Gideon, We Wept without Tears, Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz
Yale University Press and The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, University of Miami, 2005.

Hoess, Rudolf, Commandant of Auschwitz, Cleveland, 1959.

Klarsfeld, Serge (ed.), The Auschwitz Album, Lilly Jacob's Album, New-York, 1980.

Kraus, Ota & Kulka, Erich, The Death Factory: Document on Auschwitz, New-York, 1966.


To purchase the Auschwitz Album from Yad Vashem Publications, click here

Introduction | The Album | Multimedia | Aerial Photos

Copyright © 2009 Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority

Wrong Number

Don't Bungee Jump Naked

>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1_W0LCHwK4

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How a Butterfly Destroyed My Roof

Political Commentary received from a friend . . .

Lyle: The threat from Islam is great. Westerners try to tolerate Islam as another religion, but it's not! It's more than a religion. It is a form of government and laws(Sharia) misunderstood by Christians. Please read the comments below. Countries such as England, France Germany, Sweden, Denmark are learning about the peril confronting them, but I think its too late! - Mike

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Aleksandra Rebic [mailto:ravnagora@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 9:11 PM
To: ravnagora@hotmail.com
Subject: "Israel's Muslim Problem is Not Unique" by Daniel Greenfield Jan. 12, 2010

Found on Canada Free Press at:

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18885

and on Free Republic at:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2427092/posts


Thanks to Michael Papich for bringing this to my attention.

Sincerely,

Aleksandra
(Ravnagora)


*****


Israel’s Muslim Problem is Not Unique
By Daniel Greenfield Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The visit of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov to Israel this week is a timely reminder that Israel’s problems with Islam are not unique. Like Israel, Bulgaria was ruled over by the Ottoman Empire, which exported their population to Bulgaria, oppressed the native Bulgarians, seized their lands and attempted to become the dominant majority. And when the Ottoman Empire lost control over Bulgaria, it left behind a huge Muslim population in Bulgaria.

The key difference between Bulgaria and Israel, is that Bulgaria since the 1870’s forced much of its Turkic Muslim population to leave. As a result millions of Turkic Muslims left Bulgaria, leaving it a quieter place than neighboring Yugoslavia or Russia, or for that matter modern day France. Muslim clothing was banned, mosques were torn down and lands held by the Ottoman Muslim settlers were returned to native Bulgarians.

Today Bulgaria still has a troublesome Muslim minority of under a million, led by Ahmet Dogan, and backed by Turkish intelligence, which under Islamist PM Erdogan has branched out into promoting Jihad, much as Pakistan had. But despite Turkish attempts to intervene in Bulgaria, the country’s Prime Minister, Boiko Borissov is a staunchly anti-Muslim leader, who has challenged Turkey’s EU bid over its expulsion of Bulgarian in the 1920’s.

Bulgaria is an example and a warning not just to Israel, but to Europe, Russia, Australia, America and many other parts of the world as well. Had Bulgaria not made life uncomfortable for Muslims, its fate in the 1990’s would have probably resembled that of Yugoslavia, torn apart by foreign backed civil war and then carved up by Clinton and Albright. That same fate is now overtaking Israel and will overtake Europe as well.

That is because Israel’s Muslim problem is not unique. Israel, like so many other lands, was overrun by Muslim conquerors who repressed the native Jewish population and settled their own population in its stead. The only unique thing about Israel’s dilemma is that when the Ottoman Empire was defeated, Israel did not receive its freedom. Instead a British Mandate that was supposed to create a Jewish state, instead tried to create an Arab client state by expanding Arab immigration to Israel, while restricting Jewish immigration.

Israel’s Freedom, British Mandate, Arabs transformed into Palestinians
Had Israel received its freedom after WW1 when its Ottoman overlords departed, it would have never been overrun by Egyptian and Syrian Arabs who were magically transformed into “Palestinians” in the 70’s at the behest of the KGB. Nor would the Holocaust have claimed a fraction of the lives that it did, had Israel existed as an independent nation capable of taking in refugees, instead of having its ports shut to refugees by a British Empire more interested in appeasing Muslims and using them to establish client states under their control. And the worldwide Jihad and Oil for Terror are the aftereffects of British and American appeasement and coddling of Muslim desert sheiks then.

But the past is in the past. The challenge of the future is to learn from it. The long term effects of Muslim expansionism around the world has embedded Muslim minorities in countries across Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Those minorities have always served as a local powder keg, which is now being lit with the help of Saudi petrodollars. Now a new wave of Islamic expansionism through immigration and Jihad is spreading even into regions that had never known the tyranny of Islam such as Australia, North and South America; as well as Europe where Islam had not succeeded in taking root before.

The toxic brew of religious supremacism and nationalist racism represented by Islamic expansionism is a threat to nearly every country in the world, whether they choose to admit it or not. And while Israel’s troubles with Islam are more likely to become front page news, because its presence some 700 miles from Mecca is a perennial thumb in the eye of the Jihad—it is also the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the world.

Islamism insures that Muslims cannot co-exist with non-Muslims except under a harsh dictatorship. Which leaves free nations with a choice between tyranny and removing the Muslim minority within its borders. The absence of Islam within one’s borders does not guarantee peace, but the presence of Islam insures that conflict will come sooner or later. The examples of that are unfortunately all too numerous across the globe, across entire hemispheres where blood is being spilled in the name of Islam. From suicide bombings to honor killings, from Muslim insurgencies in the countryside to Islamist parties creeping in from within, from Sharia at the point of a sharpened knife to riots in the streets—where there is Islamism, there can be no peace.

Israel’s great mistake was its belief that it could co-exist with Muslims, and for its entire existence has bent over backward to accommodate them. From accepting the UN Partition Plan to sending troops to urge fleeing Arabs to return to Israel, to leaving the Temple Mount in Muslim hands, to the entire disastrous attempt to negotiate a peace with terror by agreeing to the creation of a terrorist state within its borders—Israel’s folly has been to seek peace with an ideology that uses the promise of peace as a lure to convince you to cut your own throat.

Where Islam exists in a nation, it will sooner or later either be suppressed or it will come to dominate. That is a scenario that every nation with a Muslim minority must understand and address, or it will become a Muslim nation with the native population reduced to an oppressed minority or butchered in the night. A totalitarian ideology cannot be made peace with. Either you will defeat it, or it will defeat you.

*****

Daniel Greenfield Most recent columns

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. “Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization. He maintains a blog at Sultanknish.blogspot.com.

Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com

An Endorsement . . .

How An Electric Fence Can Ruin a Good Day

Border Justice

IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.


IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.


IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY,
YOU GET SHOT.


IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU WILL BE JAILED.


IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.


IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.


IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY
YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.


IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET:

A JOB,
A DRIVERS LICENSE,
SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
WELFARE,
FOOD STAMPS,
CREDIT CARDS,
SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
FREE EDUCATION,
FREE HEALTH CARE,
A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON,
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE,
THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY'S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON'T GET ENOUGH RESPECT,
AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU CAN VOTE.

God Bless America

Chinese Story

Chinese family of 5, named Chu, Bu, Hu, Su and Fu decided to immigrate
To the United States.In order to get a visa, they had to adapt their
names To American standards:

Chu became Chuck
Bu became Buck
Hu became Huck.
Fu and Su decided to stay in China

The best "out of office" messages

1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Please be prepared for my mood.
2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.
3. Sorry to have missed you, but I'm at the doctor's having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.
4. I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.
5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.
6. The email server is unable to verify your server connection. Your message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try sending again.*
7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
8. Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.
9. I've run away to join a different circus.
10. I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as "Lucille" instead of Lyle.

Our Psychic Reading . . .

First time I've ever had it done.
We went to our psychic reading today, me at 10am, Evelyn at 11am. It was her Christmas present to me, and a present to herself as well.
While I tend to be something of a skeptic I found myself looking forward to this adventure. It was something I had never done before, but wondered about. I have read a great deal about Edgar Cayce and I suspect there are lots of things "out there" that we don't yet either understand or know about. I'm also aware, however, there are also a lot of charlatans about, eager to take your money on a regular basis.
I recall a local liquor store owner, a Yugoslavian immigrant, who lost about $50,000 or more to a fortune teller. I knew him fairly well and knew him to be a fairly sharp businessman. It surprised me that such a sharp guy could be taken in by a fortune teller. He has now passed on to the Great Perhaps, so maybe he's confirming all the things he was told by his fortune teller . . . or finding it was all a bunch of hooey.
So, I had my guard up . . . but also my pursuit of a possible interesting story, as well as the curiousity aroused by my readings of Cayce, all pushed me forward.
Our psychic is a British gent who lives in Harmony Grove, a spiritualist retreat just outside of Escondido, Ca., where we live. I've known about Harmony Grove for quite some time . . . but have never visited there or looking into their spiritualist activities.
He has a pleasant, unpretentious little home within the compound. A private, comfortable decorated little antechamber where you are seated in a comfortable cushioned chair, facing him. There are many artificats within the room, mostly of Asian origin, several Buddha statues. No music, no incense, no tinkling of bells, Just a nice, quiet, relaxing room.
He provides a tape recording of the session. Advises you that he may ask you a question from time to time and he desires only a yes or no answer.
He advises you that you will be subjected to a standard required (by him) opening commentary (from him) that deals with the adventure about which we are to embark upon, the philosophy behind it and a bit about the working of the spirit, and the spirit world, as he sees it. He also tells you to not take it personally but he will close his eyes during the entire reading.
He then closes his eyes, concentrates for a few moments and then begins his commentary. I noticed his voice pattern changed and he was much more British in his voice inflection than when we first met him. We could recognize his British accent upon meeting, but now it was more formal, more precise, more pronounced.
His opening narration must have consumed a good 20-30 minutes of the hearing. He then began to address me, my past, my present, and my future.
He would ask questions and I would respond.
He pretty much hit the mark on a number of areas, missed completely on several.
He established rather quickly that my dad's spirit was in the room (he died about two years ago) and that we were quite close, that dad was very proud of me, that I had accomplished so much more in life than had dad, and that dad felt badly that he had not shown and expressed more emotion and affection in his earthly life. He did care a great deal about me but found difficulty expressing that affection. (Dad was a farm kid from the old order. It wasn't manly to show affection, or to cry. I think he only told me once, maybe twice, that he loved me. He didn't really need to. I always knew. We were tight. Very tight).
He picked up on mom and I not getting along that well (we fought like cats and dogs), that I had inherited a lot from my mother (I'm stubborn as hell and have a sometimes bad temper . . . and I do not forget slights easily). My mom was in the room and she was telling, through him, that she recognized she had been difficult and had done a lot of things wrong and asked forgiveness and forgave me for any pain I might have caused her.
He then went into my health. He picked up on my diabetes right away, recognizing I had sugar problems (blood sugar). He picked up on me eating food that wasn't good for me, that I needed to get with a nutritionist, that I didn't have great will power, that he saw me living into my mid 90's, provided I get my eating/exercise habits back to the point that I was once again in shape.
He asked about kidney stones (I had one about three or four years ago) and said he was concerned I had too much calcium in my system, much of which was caused by medication that I'm on, that I should re-examine my medication; also, that I may have a re-occurence of this or similar problems. In fact, I'm currently awaiting an ultrasound exam to determine if I have a bad gall bladder (stones) which may have to be removed surgically. For almost three weeks I've had moderate, constant pain around my right-side upper chest and back, radiating from back to front and back again. MD thinks it's gall bladder, awaiting tests to confirm. The psychic had no way of knowing this.
He also recommended I explore accupuncture or accupressure and preferably with an Asian trained in the art(s). (I am open to this).
He recognized that Evelyn and I had been together for eight years (true . . . a bit closer to nine, now), that we had bonded well and that it was a good, healthy match. He later confirmed, during Evelyn's reading, that we had a good, solid match, that I was a stubborn old coot, and that we had each known one another in a prior life (also consistent with Edgar Cayce's readings).
He said he saw that I was an "old soul," that I had been here before in another life, that I had come back as a matter of karma to complete an assignment/mission that I had in a prior life (I have often and long felt this, sometimes reflecting back on a prior lifetime, sometimes having extremely strong feelings of 'deja vu,' that I had been here before in a similar circumstance. He also saw a powder blue aura surrounding me, from head to toe, which signified that I am a healer, that my hands, in particular, had great healing powers (I have never sensed this).
He said my current career was a vehicle through which I could help accomplish my goals and mission in life, and that part of my mission was to educate and spread information to people. (He did not know I edited and published a newspaper).
He missed on a couple of areas. He asked about a black labrador in my life (there is/was none that I can recall) or a German Shepherd (same . . isn't/wasn't such an animal) . . .did I know a William, or Bill, that had passed. I don't. Or a George. I don't. Not that has passed, anyway.
And the hour was over. Evelyn then went in for her reading and I ran a few errands and read while waiting for her. Not sure if she wants to share her experiences or not. That's up to her.
I may study this issue a bit more, perhaps wind up doing a story on it. Just not sure yet. This world is a difficult one in which to get accurate, reliable information. One does not know who is legitimate and who is a wandering gypsy with tales to tale and dreams to sell.
I'll take a few days to think and research, and then decide.
Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Landing on the Hudson. In 3D!

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tE_5eiYn0D0#t=109

Terrorist Threats

Terrorist Threat Level Escalations by Country ....
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.


The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels inFrance are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability. It's not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert: Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose".

The Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Canada doesn't have any alert levels.

And in the southern hemisphere .....

New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA". Due to continuing defense cutbacks (the airforce being a squadron of spotty teenagers flying paper aeroplanes and the navy some toy boats in the Prime Minister's bath), New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is "I hope Australia will come and rescue us".


Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be al'right, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!', "I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "The barbie is cancelled". So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Three Reported Missing After Animal Rights Activists Take "War on Leather" to Motorcycle Gang Rally.



Story written: 03 January 2010

image for Three Reported Missing After Animal Rights Activists Take "War on Leather" to Motorcycle Gang Rally.
Johnstown, PA: Local and state police scoured the hills outside rural Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after reports of three animal rights activists going missing after attempting to protest the wearing of leather at a large motorcycle gang rally this weekend. Two others, previously reported missing, were discovered by fast food workers "duct taped inside several fast food restaurant dumpsters," according to police officials.

"Something just went wrong," said a still visibly shaken organizer of the protest. "Something just went horribly, horribly, wrong."

The organizer said a group of concerned animal rights activist groups, "growing tired of throwing fake blood and shouting profanities at older women wearing leather or fur coats," decided to protest the annual motorcycle club event "in a hope to show them our outrage at their wanton use of leather in their clothing and motor bike seats." "In fact," said the organizer. "Motorcycle gangs are one of the biggest abusers of wearing leather, and we decided it was high time that we let them know that we disagree with them using it... Ergo, they should stop."

According to witnesses, protesters arrived at the event in a vintage 1960's era Volkswagen van and began to pelt the gang members with balloons filled with red colored water, simulating blood, and shouting "you're murderers" to passers by. This, evidently, is when the brouhaha began.

"They peed on me!!!" charged one activist. "They grabbed me, said I looked like I was French, started calling me 'La Trene', and duct taped me to a tree so they could pee on me all day!"

"I... I was trying to show my outrage at a man with a heavy leather jacket. And, he... he didn't even care. I called him a murderer, and all he said was, 'You can't prove that.' Next thing I know is he forced me to ride on the back of his motorcycle all day, and not left me off, because his girl friend was out of town and I was almost a woman."

Still others claimed they were forced to eat hamburgers and hot dogs under duress. Those who resisted were allegedly held down while several bikers "farted on their heads."

Police officials declined comments on any leads or arrests due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, however, organizers for the motorcycle club rally expressed "surprise" at the allegations.

"That's preposterous," said on high ranking member of the biker organizing committee. "We were having a party, and these people showed up and were very rude to us. They threw things at us, called us names, and tried to ruin the entire event. So, what did we do? We invited them to the party! What could be more friendly than that? You know, just because we are all members of motorcycle clubs does not mean we do not care about inclusiveness. Personally, I think it shows a lack of character for them to be saying such nasty things about us after we bent over backwards to make them feel welcome."

When confronted with the allegations of force feeding the activists meat, using them as ad hoc latrines, leaving them incapacitated in fast food restaurant dumpsters, and 'farting on their heads,' the organizer declined to comment in detail. "That's just our secret handshake," assured the organizer.

You ask me, "What is smørrebrød?"

by lyle e daviscover

For a guy who has begun following a healthy diet, begun to exercise, and is trying to lose weight . . . this assignment was a tough one.

The assignment? Describe smørrebrød. (Most of us Yanks probably call it smorgasborg).

Regular readers of The Paper will recall several weeks ago we profiled a fella named Frode Suhr, a true Danish national hero who was a member of the Danish Underground and Resistance. (See “The Making of a Spy”
http://thecommunitypaper.com/archive/2009/12_17/index.php)

Well, Frode seemed to have liked our story about him so he invited Evelyn Madison and I to join him and his lovely wife, Doris M. Suhr, for a bona fide real Danish lunch.

Now, I’m mostly Scandinavian, about 60% Norwegian, 35% Danish, and 5% Welsh (the Welsh is where the Davis comes in). I’ve been to both Norway and Denmark but I have never, ever eaten a finer meal than the smørrebrød prepared for us by Doris M. Suhr.

And nothing surprised us more than to learn the delightful tradition that is smørrebrød. What a tasty tradition!

Consider this: A traditional Danish lunch will normally last two to four hours. There will likely be about 30-40-50 sandwiches. (While that may be impressive to you, consider that a world reknown Danish restaurant and smørrebrød house, Oskar Davidsen, in Aalborg, Denmark, has a menu of 150 sandwiches, up to 180 sandwiches for special occasions.. (Yes, I said 180 sandwiches. Their menu is three feet long).

So, I’m suggesting, as we did, that you try something new and either eat . . . or better yet, make smørrebrød!

If you do, I guarantee you success, applause and praise. And a pleasantly full tummy.

And so you say: What is Smørrebrød?

Smørrebrød (or Smørrebrød) is a Danish National food that’s served at celebrations, special occasions or just about any time, any place. It is definitely the best food there is in Denmark….very pretty, a piece of art, really. And when you make Smørrebrød, you don’t have to go to a specialty store and buy special equipment like when you make sushi - or a wok for Chinese food, or a pizza pan, etc. You do have to do lots and lots of shopping, but all the ingredients may be purchased at an ordinary supermarket, And you don’t have to be of Danish heritage (or a Viking) to eat and enjoy Smørrebrød.

You are served one group of food at a time. The sequence is a seafood arrangment, followed by meat dishes and we finish with a cheese and fruit arrangement.

We start with a delicious spiced herring served with onion rings and capers on dark pumpernickel bread (the type without seeds). You are served the traditional Danish Aalborg Schnapps, ice cold in one ounce glasses. You do not sip this, you down it in one drink. That is the custom.

Evelyn and I seldom drink but we wanted to follow the proper tradition. In the process, I became a fan of Schnapps. You will also be served a dark beer, which you will likely drink with your meat dishes.

Examples of the fish part of the lunch: Mackerel in tomato sauce on rye bread. Tiny anchovies rest on slices of hard boiled egg on rye bread; caviar on egg cake on white toasted bread; shrimp with lemon slice on white bread. Real Crab salad with black olives on white bread. Smoked Norwegian Salmon with shredded celery root on white bread. Russian salad has herring, beets and macaroni, and is served on black bread.

One drinks both Schnapps and beer during the fish serving. Once you advance to the meat dishes, the Schnapps disappears and you focus on the beers (usually several different types. We had Carlsberg, imported from Denmark).

Next, let’s have some large white asparagus, rolled into ham with Italian salad, on white bread. The sun-dried Posciutto or Rosemary ham is served with canteloup or white asparagus on French white bread; jellied beef tongue with olives on white bread with sweet red beets; hot miniature sausages, which you seek out in a cauldron with tiny toothpicks, then eat with a spicy mustard.

Getting hungry? That’s the idea. Not only is the tummy and appetite pleased . . . but the eye as well.

Doris Suhr made huge platters of smørrebrød delights. Beautiful to look at, even more lovely to eat.

Oh, I learned a lesson. Frode Suhr tactfully taught me that it is not good manners to take more than one item from a smørrebrød tray at a time. Eat all you want, but just take one item as at time, then help yourself to a second and third helping as long as the food remains. That way, someone who is particularly fond of a certain type sandwich has at least a chance at it. Also, just take one sandwich at a time. That’s why the plates are small (naturally, I had taken one of each type of sandwich - before I learned the proper custom).

When the cheese and fruit section appears, it’s time for the Schnapps to reappear. Ice cold Schnapps just goes perfectly with cheeses and fruits. At the end, often after three or four hours, coffee, liquor or a brandy is served.

The important thing about Smørrebrød is to forget about the diet you were on yesterday, it can continue tomorrow.

(It is interesting to note that in Denmark the government gives a free monthly bottle to all senior citizens. Schnapps, also known as Aquavit, is said to keep the blood pressure down.)

OK. Now you say you want to learn how to make Smørrebrød? OK . . . here’s the drill:

photoThings to buy:
Foundation
• Rye bread (a pumpernickel kind of bread or Danish rye)
• White bread (French bread or sour dough bread)
• Butter (at least a pound or two)

Sliced Coldcuts
• Ham
• Salami
• Roast Beef
• Corned beef (Pastrami)
• Pork
• Cheese (Danish Havarti, Brie, etc..)

Fish
• Smoked Salmon
• Shrimp
• Pickled Herring

Meats
• Liverwurst
• Bacon
• Eggs
• Milk
• Liver (or just buy liverwurst or pate)

Canned Food (1 can each of)
•Red cabbage
•Pickled beets
•Mushrooms
•Olives (black and green)
•Asparagus
•Peas and carrots
•Green beans
•Pickles
•Capers

Produce (Vegetables)
• Boston (Butter) lettuce (lots)
• Cucumbers (English)
• Tomatoes
• Green and red pepper
• Radishes (lots)
• Onions
• Parsley
• Lemons
• Oranges
• Grapes

Drinks
• Schnapps (aquavit)
• Beer

What To Do

Do the shopping a couple of days ahead of making the sandwiches. All the items can be purchased in a supermarket except for maybe the schnapps, which is the crowning glory of Smørrebrød. The schnapps can usually be found in a well- stocked liquor store or Trader Joes or an upscale grocery store.

Try to find a nice imported liver pâté or go to a fancy delicatessen for liverwurst. Here you may also find all the cold cuts and the pickled herring. Also ahead of time you should boil a few eggs (hardboiled as well as making røregg (a form of scrambled egg).

One The Day of the Party

The trick to making smørrebrød is to work fast once you get started. You have to have all the ingredients ready - So here goes:

Open all the cans of vegetables and drain. Keep each kind separated. Wash the lettuce and spin-dry. It is important that the lettuce is crisp, clean and dry. Slice the cucumbers in thin slices; also slice tomatoes, olives, lemons, oranges and onions. (Keep onions separate). Fry the bacon and drain. Fry some onions. Make Italiensk Salat (peas and carrots in mayonnaise) and Remulade.

Now on your kitchen table have everything ready to work with quickly. Rye bread, butter (at room temperature), cold cuts, and all the vegetables. If there is not enough room on the table, use the sink and surrounding counters, just as long as everything is within reach. Now you are ready to start: The trick is speed. Work fast.

1. Butter the rye bread, slice by slice and cut each in half. Calculate about 3 or 4 pieces for each person. 10 guests x 3 = 30 half slices = 15 whole slices (add a couple more slices to be on the safe side. Distribute these evenly on the platters. Allow plenty of room around them. You may mix in a few buttered slices of white bread also on the platters. Make sure you use lots of butter and cover the whole surface of the bread lavishly.
2. Now place a small piece of lettuce on the end of each slice of bread and top it with cold cuts – each slice with its own kind: ham, salami, beef, pork, etc. The liverwurst may be sliced in the form in which it was baked so it will not break. Use the white bread for the cheese and the smoked salmon, but wait with the scrimp till later. Some slices may be with tomatoes and eggs (tomatoes first, then eggs on top).
3. Now, the fun part: You are ready to do your artwork – the finishing touch. Use the chopped vegetables to decorate with – just like you would a cake. Anything goes – really – as long as it is pretty and the flavors don’t clash. The Danes have traditional ways of decorating their smørrebrød. Here are some suggestions:

Stir your peas and carrots with a little mayonnaise and place a heaping spoonful on top of the ham topped yet with a couple of slices of twisted orange. Place some red cabbage on the pork with perhaps some orange slices. The liverwurst should be decorated with fried crisp bacon, pickled beets or cucumbers and mushrooms. All this should be arranged in a decorative manner. The salami is good with sliced onions and some black olives on top. Place some twisted fresh cucumber slices on the egg and tomato. The smoked salmon looks and tastes good with scrambled egg (røregg) and add a little green here, either basil or parsley or other fresh herb. On the cheese place some sliced green and red pepper. The other cold cuts may be decorated with olives, beets, cabbage, fried or raw onions, etc. Keep the various slices mixed on the trays. The goal is to make things look decorative, inviting and appetizing. To add a final touch: place whole radishes in between the slices of smørrebrød to cover up any open spaces. Parsley and a large "starred” tomato with parsley may also be placed on each tray – all to make it pretty.
4. When all done, quickly cover the trays loosely with plastic wrap. Be careful not to destroy your artwork. Place the trays in the refrigerator until ready to serve your guests. You may safely store the smørrebrød a couple of hours before serving.
5. The shrimp should be done separately. Here is how: Butter white bread lavishly and cut in half. Place on a pretty tray. Now top with a nice whole leaf of lettuce, preferably one that will form a little “cup.” No bread may be seen. Now pile shrimp on top of the lettuce (a handful). Decorate with a tablespoon of mayonnaise and two slices of thin twisted lemon. A little parsley here and there will add beauty. Cover the tray and place in the refrigerator.
6. The pickled herring is also usually served separately. Either the herring can be placed in a little dish surrounded by buttered small slices of rye bread or the bread may be covered with the fish topped with onion slices and capers or beets.
7. That’s all. You are done. Undoubtedly you have a big old mess to clean up. But it is easy. Whatever you didn’t use, just throw it all together and store it for a salad the next day.
Figure 2-3 slices of meat or cheese for each piece of smørrebrød (half a slice of bread). A pound of shrimp will cover about 4-5 pieces of Smørrebrød.

Smørrebrød can be taken to a potluck party in which case you may want to omit the herring. But do add a few shrimp pieces (may be mixed in on the same platter at a potluck) I guarantee it will be a success.

But the best would be to throw a Danish party. All you have to do now after making all the smørrebrød and placed the platters in the refrigerator is to have the table set – don’t forget the knives and forks and tiny glasses for the schnapps - drinks cooled – schnapps should be on ice and you are ready to go.

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Sliced Cucumber Salad (Agurke Salat)

Sliced cucumber salad is called agurke salat (a-gorka sal-at). It can be served as a side dish or on open faced sandwiches (Smørrebrød).

Smørrebrød sandwiches are as much art as they are a delicacy.

Agurke Salat

There are two important steps when preparing this cucumber salad. First, slice the cucumbers paper thin. Second, salt them to remove, “the burp” from them. Other than that, the rest is easy.

You can make a big batch at a time and eat them all week long, even using the vinegar mixture a second time and just slice and salt some more cucumbers.

Ingredients
3 large cucumbers
Table salt
1 cup of white wine vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
salt & pepper, to taste

How to Make Sliced Cucumber Salad

You can leave the peel on or you can peel them if you like. They might be too flimsy if you cut them paper-thin. You can use a food processor to slice them or a mandolin, or, if you have a lot of patience, slice them by hand but be sure they are paper thin.

Next, put them out on some paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. Let them sit there for about 10 minutes.

After they have been salted, put them in a colander and wash all the salt off with cold water. If you don’t get most of the salt off, the final result will be way too salty. Gently squeeze the sliced cucumbers in your hands to get rid of as much water as possible. You can let them drain in the colander while you make the vinegar mixture.

Prepare the Vinegar Mixture

In a medium sized bowl that you are going to serve the cucumbers in, add the vinegar with the water, then the sugar and coriander seeds. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the cucumbers and coriander seeds and mix together with your hands or spoon if you don’t like to get your hands dirty. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours so the cucumbers pick up all the flavor of the sugared vinegar.

This is really simple to make and goes especially well with pork.

A Typical Danish Day

We'll start with breakfast. The Danes seem to be very much into breakfast, with large platters of breads, pastries, cheeses, jams, meats, and fruit. That's a lot. And for those of us who are total wimps, there's always nutella, and there's sometimes just plain (thinly-sliced) chocolate to put on bread with butter! Basically, breakfast is good.

Lunch is really variable. Traditional Danish food would be smørrebrød, which is an open-faced sandwich, usually with butter, a meat (or fish,) some kind of cheese, and a vegetable. One interesting note is that the Danes tend to be quite fond of rye-bread versus wheat or (god forbid,) white bread. Other than smørrebrød, Danes eat pretty much anything for lunch. Regular sandwiches, pizza, pastas, etc. Again, its good.

Dinner is also pretty good... sometimes you can find some really strange stuff, but mostly its quite 'normal' according to Americans. The traditional Danish meat is called frikadella, and its small meatballs made usually with ground pork, some flour, chopped onions, and some other stuff. It was surprisingly good! Now we get to my favorite meal, dessert.

First off, Haribo. Is wonderful, and terrible for your teeth. There are so many kinds of Haribo here that it is difficult to figure out which kind to buy first! There's no doubt that Denmark's open sandwiches called Smørrebrød are the most famous feature of the Danish kitchen. They're also a staple of the Norwegian diet, stemming from when Denmark ruled Norway in the 19th Century. The sandwiches have hundreds of variations, with chefs coming up with new versions all the time.

While there's an endless variety of good breads used to make these open-faced sandwiches, the Danes usually make them with dark rye bread. Chefs prefer wholegrain breads for their firmness so that they can cut the slices as thin as possible. When they use white bread, they usually toast it.

(Danish open sandwich (smørrebrød) on dark rye bread (almost covered) with breaded fish, salad, cucumber, shrimps, black-colored lumpfish roe (sort stenbiderrogn) and tomato.)

Crunchy cucumber, fresh dill and gravlax top thinly sliced rye bread for a delightful Danish appetizer. Smørrebrød—which translates in Danish to "buttered bread"—are endlessly creative open-face sandwiches, meant to be eaten with a knife and fork as a light meal. Doris M. Suhr makes appetizer-size smørrebrød, perfect for entertaining.

So there . . . now we hope we have whetted your appetite and stimulated your curiousity to the point that you will read up more on the many recipes for making your own smørrebrød.

Sadly, we could find no Danish restaurants in all of San Diego County that featured smørrebrød.

We found the Danish Bakery in Carlsbad. They bake the pumpernickel bread that Danes like to use, and they also make lovely Danish pastries and cakes, but no smørrebrød.

If I were a younger man I believe I’d take Doris M. Suhr by the hand and ask her if she would be the head of a beautiful new restaurant. I betch the patrons would flock in day after day. Guess what the specialty would be?