I grew up reading comic books wanting to be a superhero. Comics taught me that those who speak the truth are heroes, all the rest are liars.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Route 66: Illinois and Twinkies

Currently I'm traveling down Route 66 with the odd side trip here and there...I'm blogging about my Mother Road adventure at The Grateful Muses blog but side trips and odd things that don't quite fit the travel log will get posted up here...like this one about Twinkies...

Old Twinkies advertisement tin

As Route 66 is America's Main Street, so are Twinkies America's snack cake. And guess what? Twinkies were invented in Illinois...

Schiller Park in the 1930's. The inventor James Dewar realized that several machines used to make cream filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when the berries weren't in season. That's when he conceived a snack cake filled with a banana cream filling. He came up with the name Twinkies when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for 'Twinkle Toe Shoes....giving birth to 'Twinkies'.

Due to the rationing of bananas during WWII, the company was forced to change the filling to vanilla cream...making them even more popular. Twinkies also did limited time promotions with other fillings including hot dog like meats...vanilla cream however dominated the market even today.

On May 4, 2012 Hostess Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and ceased making Twinkies...fortunately Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.  A reduced sized Twinkies was returned to US shelves on July 15, 2013. They now contain 135 calories and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 calories and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies. So Twinkies junkies can rejoice...as their fix remains available...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Route 66 Roadside: Pets

As most know, we are traveling historic Route 66 from Chicago to California. Currently we are in New Mexico...with us are our dogs who are the best travelers...
Dot and Burrito

Dot and Burrito on Route 66
When we started down Route 66, we had our two mixed Boston-Rat Terriers (Brats!). They are siblings, brother and sister, who we've had for the last ten years so this isn't their first trip. They love going to new places and staying in hotel rooms...seemingly without emotional issues.

Naturally we bring their most favorite toys, treats, and bedding with us. We also make sure they get water and food regularly as well as exercise. Basically the same we do for ourselves. They should feel comfortable, safe and secure... with theirs needs being met just like when they are at home.

Dogs will surprise you in that they are very adaptable, curious and when they feel secure will make the best explorers.

CoCo holding Tiki Man,,,Latest family dog!
A couple of days ago, a week into our trip... in Erich OK, we found a starved, dirty, flea ridden and scared little puppy in a dumpster...We fed him, cleaned him up, gave him medicine...and now he's part of the family...so there's three of us...and three little dogs...now traveling down Route 66...

Along the way, there's lots of motels and hotels, rest stops, RV parks and campsites that are pet friendly...also stores that carry food, medicine, and dog items...so by all means take the family pet with you..they deserve a vacation too! I've even seem a 'horse friendly' motel along the route!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Route 66 Roadside: Mother Jones

Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones) was like every one's mother...teaching us what's correct, moral and ethical. Her story is still teaching the power of speaking the truth, standing up for others and working for everyone.

The kids and I are traveling down Route 66 (read more of our Rt66 adventures at The Grateful Muses). We made it to Mount Olive, Illinois when we noticed a marker for Mother Jones at the Union Miner's Cemetery on the outskirts of town...another side trip to take a look at another bit of history that shaped American labor, mining conditions, child labor, and unions.

Mary was a schoolteacher and dressmaker. She lost her husband and four children to yellow fever and then her dress shop was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Speaking for myself, I'm not sure I could continue on but at 60 years of age...Mary took on a new roll as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union

Mary become know as 'Mother Jones d coordinate major strikes demanding better conditions for miners. Her organizing skills demanding
better conditions for miners and better laws and stronger enforcement of those laws regarding child labor.  She was so successful that in 1903she was dubbed 'the most dangerous women in America"

Mother Jones gave no apology for speaking the truth. She demanded that workers and families be treated fairly, humanly, and with respect. She stood for all the values that mothers everywhere stand for...a better life for their children...and her story teaches us that one person regardless of age can make a huge difference when we act for those in need. Her impact on workers, families, unions, laws and organizing shows how dynamic one women can be even amiss lost, suffering, and adversity. RIP Mother...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Moving Into Summer

Working on getting the house in shape to sell...and of course gardening...always...lots of rain this spring...the garden never looked better...posted up the garden pics on my facebook page...

look up at deck in backyard

Hope to have the house ready to sell in about two weeks...will post finishing pics then. Enjoy.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rep John Kline's dubious achievement -- tops "Flip a District"

Wish granted.... over this last weekend..DFL candidate Mike Obermueller was endorse in CD2 to run against Congressman John Kline (R-MN)...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Living Wage in Minnesota

When did it become acceptable to work all day and still not earn a basic living wage?

A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their needs that are considered basic (housing/food)

Go here to see the living wage calculator for your state/county

Finally Minnesota is looking to raise the minimum pay to $9.50 by the end of this week but that's still doesn't cover most rents. we fall behind the majority of other states... Many advocates believe that $10.58 an hour is a better wage rate, but it appears that progressive Minnesota does not...Currently half a million jobs in Minnesota are below $10 an hour...
Our current minimum wage is below what the federal government has set for the minimum wage...needless to say

The current legislation would make exceptions for anyone under 18 years old, or small companies earning less than half a million a year. If the business has gross sales less than $500,000 a year, then they can pay a $7.75 minimum wage. Higher wages would be phased in annually for the next three years. The bill is expected to pass in both the House and Senate this week.

A living wage is a moral value!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Is Spring?!

Finally the first day of Spring has come to....well not in Minnesota...

It's 23 degrees out...and snowed yesterday...but expected to warm up into the forties...thankful for that...before dipping again this weekend. After twenty years here, I've had enough...too cold for too long. Time to bail...Got back last week from the gulf area *Texas, Alabama, Mississippi.." where it's actually warm with sunshine!

There's a hill of snow from shoveling the driveway that still about 5 feet tall, the dogs are in sweaters, and for flowers to bloom, the snow needs to melt...this is not spring! Maybe next month...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chronic Illness

Like many people my age I suffer from a chronic health condition which got me to thinking about how a lot of Americans suffer from chronic conditions but they aren't all physical health related...for example:


  • The world evolves around me and my beliefs. Perhaps this isn't specific to Americans but having lived just about everywhere including overseas...we have more than our share of these self centered clods. Most likely symptoms include inability to learn from mistakes, history, minorities, schooling or to understand common sense...
  • Although I'm a member of a large well-off group, I am a victim. This group seems to have more than it's share of 1%ers, those who believe they will become a 1%er, and white males. (read my lips not all fit this group but it is a sub group with a chronic victim issue)...But the good news is this group has their own support group called 'wall street', 'NRA' "teabaggers' although I don't think it helps

  • Greed, hate, envy, fear, anger, laziness, lack of empathy...

The Cure...
  • Learn by doing, join others in real life settings like volunteering at a women's shelter, soup kitchen, hospital, food bank...
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Growth is possible only if you recognize change.
  • Be positive. Instead of always blaming, complaining, pointing a finger, learn to laugh, compliment strangers, see the world through their eyes, interact, smile. We all have dark moments but we can make efforts to let the light shine in...flip that switch and allow yourself to be happy.
  • Don't ever mistake material wealth for success...spend time doing things without expecting a return on investment...tip your toes into the Mississippi river, eat cotton candy, ride a camel, climb/plant/study/draw a tree...

BTW...Ignoring warning signs will lead to death ...the difference is how you want to die...I suffer from chronic calculus of the kidneys caused by enteric hyperoxaluria...(yeah say that ten times fast!). By treatment and diet, I can avoid most pain and live a productive and longer life...isn't that the goal for all of us? To create, learn, expand, imagine, and love...ignoring is never the solution.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Learning It As I Go

It's taking me a long time...and I'm still learning but let me share a little of what I know...

  • Follow your heart...always
  • Everyone is equal 
  • The journey is more important than the reward
  • Live your values
  • Accept that you really only can change yourself
  • Embrace change
  • Stop trying to control your outcome
  • Life happens so learn to smile and laugh
  • Trust in good
  • Listen, sing and dance
And approach everyone as important...as they are...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I'm Back

Well after a long and length stay at the happy haven rest home, I'm back to blogging...Once or twice a week I'll starting posting again about topics of interest to me...But I'm remiss...let me bring you up to date with my personal life...After working (it seems like forever) I will be retiring within the next year, selling the house and taking the show to the road...literally...I'm getting an RV packing up or selling off everything and going to travel the road for awhile...

Yes it's very similar to that time I followed the grateful dead around for a year (or was that several years?) and yes I plan to figure out how to raise a few coins to support my misadventure but no...instead of the old school bus...I'll have a newer RV and yes the dogs and some of the kids will be coming with...

So fasten your seat beats, we're about to pull into the fast lane!