Silver Threads  Jan-Feb 1997

Silver Threads is the publication of an informal group of
netizens interested in how the net serves the three score plus
internet user and vice-versa.

The newsletter is mailed to subscribers via e-mail and posted at

The current issue WWW edition is at http://www.freenet.mb.ca/sthreads

There is no charge. To subscribe e-mail olsonjam@uwec.edu

 e-mail edition:   Jim Olson, olsonjam@uwec.edu 
 Web page edition: Tom Kyle, tom_kyle@mbnet.mb.ca
Boulder Community Net Archivist: Art Rifkin,  



   Editorial Bits and Bytes

   Features and Gleanings from the Net  

   Notices and Reviews 
   The Cup of Memory
   Senior Smiles 
           EDITORIAL BITS AND BYTES          

One of our resolutions this year is to maintain our monthly
publication schedule. So much for New Years resolutions. So it

Several of our items this edition come from the SeniorNet web
site Roundtables forums. http://www.seniornet.org (link to
roundtables from there.)

Some are from the new listserv "Agesmart" out of St. Johns
University. Send e-mail to LISTSERV@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU with the
one line message subscribe agesmart.

Our "Cup of Memory" reserve is running on empty. We would
appreciate submissions- Perhaps a return to the 1930's is in

One of our major concerns from the time we started was to be able
to reach seniors in senior centers (now increasingly getting on
the net) and in various care facilities (much more slowly
becoming connected.)

Any help or suggestions here would also be appreciated.


A Ride Through Detroit

Gunter Vogel, Langlois, Oregon.  micasa@harborside.com 

My wife and I drive past the mansions many of which can put those
of Beverly Hills to shame. To the left, the warm air shimmers
above the gentle swells of the huge lake. Soon we arrive in
downtown and the black glass facades of hotel and business towers
reach into the skies as I try to take in the greenery of the
center city park. I just have to see one of these buildings from
the inside and we manage to park our car a block away. The foyer
is like an enormous black and white marble cathedral and there is
coming and going from many directions of elegantly dressed
businessmen and -women. Expecting my ears to be met by typical
Musak, piped from the top of the slender columns holding up the
50 or so floors above us, I am surprised by a beautiful harpist
sitting in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the noon-time
crowd. Mozart! Not far from the young woman there is a marble
bench and we sit down, almost in awe. I search the faces of the
few who are not too blase to enjoy the strains of her strings so
oddly in contrast with the traffic gliding by outside, silenced
by thick crystal walls.

We remain sitting in silence as she prepares to take a break and
now we hear the gentle splashing of water as it tumbles down a
wall at the end of this hall. We decide to cross the street and
take the elevated electric train several stories above the
roadway. It rides silently on rubber wheels - almost as if by
levitation. I stand in the forward spot usually reserved for the
motorman or some other uniformed official and admire the passing
scenery in three directions. We get to see enormous buildings,
some still under construction and some we appear to drive right
through. Stations are announced electronically as we roll high
above city streets - we can even see our car from here - and
before we realize it, we are at the end of our ride. We make it
the beginning of the next one and this time move over to the
other side to enjoy the sight of the INSIDE of this huge circle.
We get out in Greek Town and join the crowd lined up to get a
chance to have an authentic "gyro". Half an hour later we are
leaving the city center. Just a few blocks from the opulence,
we're driving down a wide boulevard. On one side, large mansions
sit behind their ornate iron fences in the midst of the splendor
of carefully tended lawns and botanical garden-like foliage. On
the other, almost identical, unoccupied structures in sad
disrepair give an air of the surreal.

I park in disbelief, grab my camcorder and walk to the corner. It
is the intersection of three thoroughfares and thus there are six
instead of the usual four corners. In the middle of this plaza
sits an abandoned gas station, vandalized and barren of
everything but the islands which in better times had gasoline
pumps on them. Three beautiful churches on three opposite
corners, in very different architectural styles, once invited the
faithful. Now they are boarded up, the sidewalks full of trash
and shoulder-high weeds. On the steps of one of them a drunk sips
from a paper bag, his head tilted back as if inspecting the
bottom. There is a ghostly quiet. I stand in the middle of this
desolate place not knowing which of the churches to zoom in on. I
wave at my wife to lock the car but she motions me with some
alarm to come back and leave this desert. I point to my camera to
tell her that I'll not miss this opportunity.

I cross the street and above the beautifully curved portal of a
Methodist Church, neatly carved into a board attached to the
archway it says: Condemned forever by neglect, God help us! I
make a fade-out and get back to the car. We drive on and my wife
motions me to make a left turn. "The YMCA building was somewhere
on this street, go slow.." she urges me. All I see are piles of
rubble, no buildings, just an abandoned high rise here and there,
one of them ten stories high. I wonder why there are large holes
under each of the garish openings which once were picture
windows. Then I see finely chiseled gargoyles near the corners of
the building all the way to the top floor. Vandals had not been
able to reach these while leaning out of the windows and thus
they were spared to fall victim - some day in the future - to the
wrecking ball. After a few empty blocks of what could have been
Hamburg, July 1943, I turn the car around opposite an unnumbered,
non-descript eight-story brick house. It's the only one for
several blocks in all directions. Its neighbors have long since
been demolished but this structure is at least an assurance that
the town had NOT been savaged by the misfortunes of war. A lady
has just stopped her car and waves at me. She is well-dressed,
not the car-jacking type. I feel like apologizing because during
my U-turn among the piles of debris and bricks I almost hit her
vehicle. She glances at our out-of-state license plates.

"You must be looking for the YMCA, right?" Taken by surprise I
answer, "hm, yes, we are...". "You've found it, follow me!" She
beckons with a smile, tip-toes through the rubble and climbs the
few steps to a massive, green steel door. Quickly locking the
car, we follow as she peers through the Brinks truck-like armour
plated peep-hole. It swings silently open to the inside. Finally,
it's my wife's turn to do the visiting, asking questions and
reminiscing, surrounded by a number of the surprisingly friendly
people who inhabit this strange world of destruction, abandoned
houses of worship and dichotomy of yesterday's riches and today's
homelessness and neglect. It's the visitor's turn to tell her
hosts of how things were in this neighborhood during the fifties
when she lived at this YMCA hotel while working for the telephone
company at the first job she had after graduating from high

I have seen the so-called misery villages of Tijuana and Buenos
Aires, with their third-world excuses for not being able to do
better. For me it was Berlin, 1945 all over again, but this place
had HELPED to win that war with its truck and tank factories. How
could a city be allowed to sink this low? You have just seen
Detroit - only blocks from the famous Renaissance Center - as I
saw it a few years ago. How many other cities are such a stain on
the flag of the richest country in the world?



Riding with Norm

   Norm Tock    NormT@concentric.net

          -from SeniorNet Roundtables Cafe Posting

ed note- Norm is recovering from a stroke

I have been relegated to an amigo for the past few months and the
ego has had a difficult time with it. My first trip to the
grocery store with Dot  went as such..... .

My doctor has told me my feet and legs will last much longer if I
just ride the little cart that looks like a golf cart. It has
taken me months to lower my ego to ride one. You must try this
some time. Just tell them you are having trouble and they will
approve you after taking your drivers test. At first I was very
skeptical ---- I drove around at about 1 MPH per hour. Dot
informed me we would not have dinner if I didn't hurry a bit.

Going down thru the produce I found there were wider aisles and
not so many people. Here I could really let the thing go !! It
really cools you off at 30 miles an hour.Nice Breeze. I had to
slow down when I noticed the butcher watching me. I wish he had
just stayed in his own department. I cruised around some until I
found my wife again and she suggested I get some milk and oleo,
both located some distance away. I took off fast as possible,
enduring another dirty look from the butcher, and found the milk
and ice cream were in the same area. Some little kid wanted to
get ahead of me at the ice cream but I cut him off at the pass
and told him to get his own cart ! When you are riding one of
these things, everyone looks down at you so it's OK to have a
chip on your shoulder.

I saw Dot at the far end of the aisle and was headed her way when
this women pulled out in front of me with her cart.I waited what
I thought was a reasonable amount of time, and then tried ease in
behind her behind. Oh Oh ...it was either hit her cart or knock
down the display of canned peas.I put my foot out and stopped the
electric cart just inches from the canned peas and cream of corn.
Phew, Boy did she give me a dirty look. Lucky me I didn't run
into her behind.

After the nice lady ( bah Humbug) let me thru I headed to find my
wife once more. This time the butcher wasn't looking and I had
smooth sailing all the way to the toilet paper (almost wiped out
here) and hung a left to find my wife waiting for me at the
checkout. I took off my Harley Davidson Goggles and helmet and
turned the key in at the desk. Dot says if I like we can go again
this week.


A Mess of Potage
       - Kathrynne Holden, MS,RD 

The Bible says that Esau sold his birthright to his brother
Jacob. He was hungry, and Jacob had some food he wanted. In some
versions of the Bible, the food Esau got was called a  "mess of
pottage"--a thick, delicious lentil soup. This high-protein food
is our recipe of the month. It's high in fiber, iron, and zinc,
and has lots of valuable vitamins and trace minerals, too. Pour a
glass of low-fat milk, add some crackers and a piece of fruit,
for a well-balanced meal that will help toughen up your immune
system and lower your risk of cancer and other diseases.

	A "mess of pottage"
1 pound lentils (2 cups), rinsed and picked over
  About 2 quarts water
1 cup barley
2 TB oil (like canola or peanut oil)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 large ribs celery with leaves, chopped coarse
1 large carrot, sliced in 1/4" slices
3 TB dried parsley
1 bay leaf
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in large 5-quart kettle. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour or till lentils and barley
are tender, stirring occasionally. Add more water if too thick.
Makes about 3 quarts (8 servings, 1-1/2 cup each).


Donna (Joan) Swanson <2doubled@3rivers.net>

Joan introduces herself with a modern adventure story.

Last summer I left Seattle where I had lived for 10 yrs teaching
teachers, counseling and did radio - as a talk show hostess. I'm
now in Wolf point, Montana, for the year doing contract work with
one of the Native schools (10 hrs a week) teach 2 college classes
and am also doing a weekly program on Public TV called LIFE HAS
OPTIONS.  As a counselor I have often counseled inmates in jail
and on the way to my current job, I got a view from the inside of
a Wyoming jail

I  left Denver in the morning, had just gassed up in Douglas,
Wyoming, and headed for Wolf Point, Montana, I was pulling an 8
by 10 trailer weighing 1100 pounds - plus the load - and having
difficulty  maintaining my speed.  I was aware that  a police car
had passed me from the other direction.   When I saw his lights I
pulled over, totally confused since I had  been fighting to
maintain speed.

He told me that I had  been going 72 in a 65 mile an hour speed
zone and asked to see my driver's license. I started rummaging
through my purse, feeling very uneasy when I couldn't find it.
His manner was gruff as he stood so far back from my open window
that  I could not see his face. I had just moved from Seattle to
Montana and thoughts of repeated newscasts I had heard in Seattle
came to mind along with my rising anxiety.  They had had a rash
of fake police cars and men in police uniforms that had been
stopping woman and robbing or raping them.

Police were telling woman to drive to the nearest police station
before stopping if possible or at least pull into a gas station.
I felt silly about my rising fear, but the more I tried to see
him, the more he seemed to step back. He then threatened arrest
and said I would have to post bond, I remembered the news casts
again. . . "Do not give an officer money. Go to the nearest
police station or at least to an area where there are other

I put my car in gear and pulled away. He ran  back to his car,
and soon he was driving down the middle of the road and started
both his lights and siren.  I could tell from the way he was
driving that he was very angry.  I looked ahead and saw only
prairie: there was no sign of  either town, gas station or even
house so I knew I had no choice; I pulled over and stopped.  I
was afraid.  I hesitated a minute then decided to get out of the
car and go to him.  I carried nothing.

He and told me I was arrested and should stand up against my
trailer where he frisked me then pulled my arms back to put hand
cuffs on me. I have some lack of motion in my shoulders at my age
and my arms did not readily bend back for what I swear were child
size handcuffs!  The pain was terrible!  I kept saying you don't
have to do this!  But he kept angrily telling me that I had
resisted an officer and I was going to be handcuffed and taken to
jail. He half pushed half guided me into the car.

My shoulders and soon chest were really hurting.  I have had some
problem with angina and usually carry nitroglycerin with me. By
now I was in tears as well as in pain. I told him my chest was
hurting and I needed my medication which was in my purse.  We
went to my car for my purse and then back to his car where he did
take the right cuff off so I could get in my purse.  I could not
find it and remembered the bottle was in a small tray on the
floor of the front seat.  He went back to the car to get the tray
and I quickly checked my purse again praying I would find my
license and found it!   He called an ambulance.

Finally the ambulance drove up and one of the men stooped down at
the car window and asked if I was OK.  This delightful person
looked me in the eye and  I immediately had a feeling of safety.
I told him that with the one handcuff off I was doing better and
didn't feel I needed his medical help. He repeated the
policeman's words.   I got out and they helped me up the high
step into their rig.  My blood pressure and pulse were high but I
started to relax. It was a weird feeling to walk into the
emergency room knowing they knew I had been arrested.

When the officer came in and told me that he would be taking me
to the jail to spend the night, I asked to see the doctor, hoping
at this point that they would keep me overnight in the hospital
instead.  He said they could tell from my electrocardiogram that
I had angina but felt I was in no immediate danger so could not
keep me. The officer was nice to me both in the hospital and then
when we went to the jail -  when others were around.

The jail people fingerprinted me, took mug shots, made note of
everything I had in my possession and then had me undress, take a
shower and put on the official, green jail garb.  I was told I
had to wash my hair.  I could not take my chapstick with me nor
my medications.  I would have to be brought back later to get my
usual three pills.  I was given an 'oilcloth' covered pillow, an
itchy wool blanket and a sheet that turned out to be like a huge
pillow case to cover the oilcloth mattress on the cot. I was then
taken to the cell.  There was of course no privacy.  Beside the
cot stood my own private stainless steel toilet the top of which
formed a small sink.  Above that was a stainless steel 'mirror.'
At least I found that the Wyoming citizens did not have to worry
that their prisoners are living in posh situations.

The girls watched a late horror movie. I was living my own.  I
read a while then tried to sleep. My wrists were hurting and I
noticed a small, red break in the skin on my left hand.  My right
 wrist was starting to turn black and blue and my right shoulder
which I have had problems with in the past was really aching.

We were awakened at 6:30 a.m. for breakfast and then we all went
back to bed.  I had no idea what time it was later when I woke up
again.  The matron came in and insisted I come now!  I asked for
a few minutes to finish getting ready but she said they give her
no warning and she could give me none.  A policeman led  me into
the court room and up to the front table.  I was in my jail garb,
my hair barely combed and no makeup. 

The judge explained my rights and what the different pleas meant.
I chose "no contest."  I was fined $50.00 for speeding and put on
probation for  6 months.  My son had explained to the county
attorney that I had overreacted. The Judge made it clear that
there are no concerns in Wyoming about 'unauthorized' policeman!

I noticed at the time that some things had been moved in my car.
I realize now maybe they thought I was delivering drugs.  But I
am still very angry.

Joan Swanson, Wolf Point, Mt.

John Flister 

John introduces himself with an account of his volunteer work
playing organ concerts at long term care facilities.

It all began back in 1987 when we were forced to place my wife's
mother in a nursing home.  After she had settled in, we asked the
nursing home director if I could bring in my keyboard, to play
for her.

The staff gave their consent enthusiastically.

One elderly gentleman was wheeled into the room, and he just sat
there, with his head down.  I began to play "oldies" with no
effect on him, but by the time I did "Roll Out the Barrel" in
Polka rhythm, I noticed his one finger keeping time with the
music.  As the songs continued, he began to smile, and before we
knew it, he was waving his arms to the beat.  While some of the
residents were dancing around him, a nurse swung his wheelchair
about so that he was "dancing", too, and having a wonderful time.

As we were packing up to leave, this new friend stopped me to
shake my hand and said "I LOVE YOU" - Suddenly I had created an
vocation that I could not let go.  Not only did the residents
feel good, but so did I.  We, my wife and I, were hooked.  We
began going over once a week, and soon we were going to other
nursing homes and retirement residences as well.

One of our very favorite new friends was the late Vince Hamlin,
creator or the "Alley Oop" cartoon and a resident at a nearby
Adult Care Living Facility.  Despite his health problems and
frailty, Vince always wanted to dance and his feet started
tapping the moment he heard the first chords which announced our
arrivals on Wednesday afternoons.

When we started I was only 69 years old, and now I'm 79.  We had
to give up our visits since I could no longer load and unload the
equipment, even though I had built a shallow box on wheels for
the organ, which allowed us to move it easily, in and out of the
trailer via a ramp, but even that chore became too much for me.

However, we have just purchased a keyboard which is portable with
a suitcase-type dolly.  Along with a pair of speakers, we are set
to go once again.  It will be a week or two before I am actually
prepared, though, since I must master all the intricate
innovations on the new keyboard - much more complicated than the
previous organ - but, with the prospect of once again having the
pleasure of entertaining other Seniors, it will be a "labor of
love". 30


          Notices and Reviews     

Our reviews this month concentrate on some selected  World Wide Web



This is the site of a young woman suffering from cancer and
coping by sharing her thoughts with others on the internet.
This is one of the poems she has posted at the site:

                                  My Sky

                       I've gazed out at this same sky
                         a million different nights
                              from what seemed
                         a million different rooms.
                         I've cried a million tears
                      and had the same amount of smiles
                        underneath this midnight sky
                  and once or twice I've had a hand to hold
                          that made it even bigger
                                even brighter
                        in a million different ways.

                  I've launched a million questions upward
                       spent a million minutes silent
                             waiting for replies
                  and wished a million wishes on it's stars
                  and still I know a million years from now
                      when I'm long gone and forgotten
                           a million other people
                         will gaze and cry and wish
                         upon my million-dollar sky.

  - Missy
Surfing with Pat

This month Pat  shares five of  her net  net surfing experiences.

1.  http://www.ageofreason.com/

This site is especially interesting as you can travel the world
and view cities all over the globe.  From Chester, England to
Moscow to the United Nations.  There is information on Duty Free
Shopping, train travel and much, much more.

2.  http://www.epicurious.com/a_home/a00_home/home.html

Do you know what the word "dacquoise" means?  Or what it is? 
Click on this URL if you want to have the most wonderful "food
experience".  There is a dictionary that has so many words that
IÕve never heard of, recipes of everything under the sun.  Enjoy!

3.  http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/rdixon/scotland.htm

This is a very interesting site to surf if you are interested in
anything Scottish.  What tartan do you like or what one can you
"legally" wear?  Find out here.  Maybe you would like to visit  a
"Non Smoking Pub", well, they are all listed here as well as
where to fish for what kind of fish.  You can even hear
traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Canada,
and the USA!  What fun I had at this site.

4.  http://www.legion.org/

Welcome to The American Legion  "The World's Largest Veterans
Organization" Here you can find out everything you ever wanted to
know about the LegionÉBecoming a member, Support of U.S. Troops
in Bosnia, etc.

5.  http://www.gospelcom.net/

ThereÕs something for everyone at this URL.  Forty-six different
ministries have joined and are available from this one site.  I
regularly post on SeniorNet, the daily devotional from "Renewing
Your Mind by R.C. Sproul published by Ligonier Ministries.  IÕve
had a lot of email from people saying how much they enjoy this
information.  On this site is also a very interesting place for
children called "ChildrenÕs Bible Hour" and the kids can actually
hear (if you have Real Audio in your computer) a story being
read.  My grandchildren listened to the story on this site each
day over the Christmas season.

Well, folks, that's it for this month.  I do hope you have
enjoyed this short travel through the Internet.  So, until next
month, Happy Surfing!!

 Pat Scott

reviewed by  Lotte Evans 

 Most of the listings at the A&E site are cross-referenced
 directly to other biographies, so you can easily learn about
 the lives of a complete circle of of people who were involved
 in some way with your first subject.

 Learning about the events that influenced these influential
 people is a great way to gain a better understanding of their
 accomplishments. The above website is a start although it
 does not provide great quantities of detail.

 Finally, if you have all the bells and whistles running in
 the most recent version of your browser, you might want to
 look at biographical video clips or play a biography quiz at:



-reviewed by Jim Olson

Agescape is a new commercial site aimed at whatever it is we old
folks call ourselves: seniors, retired people, older citizens-
whatever.The commercial aspects of the site are evident but not

It is a very well done site technically, easy to access, quick
downloads, user friendly, and changes every day.

It features three areas:

Un-retirement- ÊÊDiscover second careers and volunteer
ÊÊopportunities that fit the bill

Carry On- ÊÊTravel destinations for the young at heart

Silver Salute -ÊÊProfiles of peers who are redefining retirement

It has a nice pleasant tone and should prove a welcome addition
to the web sites that now serve seniors.

           The Cup Of Memory

ed. note
Our memories in this issue follow up the Dec. memories of 1940's.


Hickam Field

Helen Ormsby	heleno@alaska.net	Eagle River, Alaska

I didn't respond the first time around when Silver Threads  asked
for memories of where we were on December 7th, 1941, but after
reading the responses you received and since you didn't hear from
anyone who was there, I thought I'd drop a line with my story.

I was 10 years old on December 7th, 1941, living with my parents
and my two brothers at Hickam Field on the island of Oahu.  My
father was a Chief Warrant Officer in the Signal Corps stationed
at Hickam Field, and my mother was a secretary at the base.

My most vivid memory is of the noise and the smoke.  When I look
at film of the bombing now, the little planes (they seem so small
these days) look like little model airplanes and the bombs are so
tiny compared to what we have today.  But the noise was
deafening. We had gotten behind steamer trunks packed with
clothes in the garage that was attached to the side of the house.

There was a lull between the two raids and we went back into the
house to get dressed -- we were still in our pajamas.  When we
heard the planes coming again, my older brother started pounding
on the piano, playing "Under the Double Eagle".  And though I was
standing right next to the piano, I could not hear a note when
the bombing resumed.  All the war movies and live footage of
combat I have seen has never been able to replicate that
maddening incessant noise of bombs, ships, planes, and guns --
exploding, firing, falling -- all into an insane mixture of noise
and smoke.

But all of this was so isolated.  That's the other strange
memory.  We received a phone call from friends who lived in
Honolulu asking how we were -- like people on a space ship
watching the insanity of the mortals below. My father returned
home during the 2nd raid and urged my mother to leave and get to
Honolulu to our friends' house.  And somehow she did just that.
The house was located so that they could see Pearl Harbor, and
they were sitting on the roof of the garage watching the show.

Other memories:  We expected the Japanese to return, so bomb
shelters were dug throughout the base -- they were slit trenches
with a dirt bench to sit on and a tin roof with sand bags on it.
They also issued everyone gas masks that we carried on us in
canvas shoulder bags.  But still being children, we played war
with the older kids throwing big rocks at the younger kids who
were crouching in metal barrels.

And we waited our turn as each of the families -- mothers and
children -- were evacuated back to the states.  We finally left
in early February.  We sat in port for two days and slipped out
with no notice to join a convoy of about 7 ships back to San
Francisco.  We were on a transport with all mothers and children,
there was another transport with wounded from somewhere, and the
rest were destroyers and cruisers.  It took us nine days because
they kept changing routes and watching for submarines and mine
fields.  We heard lots of rumors about being in mine fields, but
I don't know if they were true.

I had lived in Hawaii for 5 years so I didn't have any memories
of the mainland.  When we first could see the coast of
California, I turned to my mother in wonder and asked, "Is all of
that the United States?"  My mother replied, "That isn't even all
of California."

I'd love to hear from others who were children in Hawaii at the
time, and I'd especially like to hear from anyone who was at
Hickam.  And if anyone knows whatever happened to Joan and Jean
Sheffield -- twins, who were my best friends -- please let me

Helen Ormsby


Bernice Brown remembers Ration Books 


I remember the ration books and going to the meat market to get
meat and butter, and if there was a difference in the value of
the stamp and the amount needed for the purchase we received
change in the form of red tokens which could be used later.
Mother had a red "strawberry" dish that she kept the tokens in. I
think my sister has that jar now.

We were not hard pressed for sugar because my father worked for
the railroad and when a freight car came through carrying sugar
to the stores, for some reason there was usually a 100 lb bag
that would be torn and the stores would not accept them.

Lucky us. Shoes seemed to be the hardest item to keep up with
because of having to use stamps. Seems that our feet grew faster
than ever and what saved our family was being able to pass the
shoes down to a younger sibling. There were five girls in our
family and no boys so we really hated to get those hand me down
clothes and shoes. I do remember that we went to a lot of movies
for 10 cents and saw newsreels of the war. There were some great
movies such as "Mrs Miniver". I saw that and cried through it
about 10 times. On Sundays, during the summer, I would go to the
afternoon matinee and stay through all three or four showings of
the movie being shown that day. It was the only place that was
cool in the summer time. Well, I could go on and on but that
would be boring for you so I'll just stop by later and read what
your memories have conjured up.

            Senior Smiles

  Winning entries in a contest for sign sequences
in the Burma-Shave tradition...

First Prize:

        His Problem
        Finally Dawned on Tim
        When his shoes
        Stuck out their tongues
        At him

                ODOR EATERS

And the runners-up:

        To be a King
        Is not so fine
        You cannot make
        A throne

        She's a Sioux
        Her Ma is tioux
        They both
        Are blioux bloods
        Thrioux and thrioux

                HOOKED ON PHONICS

Breaking into  an international market is a goal of most growing
corporations.  It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big
multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and cultural
differences.  For example...

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la.
Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after
thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite
the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on
the dialect.  

Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan
"finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America,
it was apparently unaware that "nova" means "it won't go."  After
the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it
renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped.  The
company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male
genitals."  Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted
Corcel, which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were
supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you."
However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word
"embarazar" meant embarrass.  Instead the ads said that "It won't
leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as
before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big
breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a
noticeable effect on sales.

Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it
entered English- speaking markets and began receiving requests
for unusual sex tours.  Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki
Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

In an effort to boost orange juice sales in predominantly
continental breakfast eating England, a campaign was devised to
extol the drink's eye-opening, pick-me-up qualities.  Hence the
slogan, "Orange juice. It gets your pecker up."

When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used
the same packaging as here in the USA--with the cute baby on the
label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely
put pictures on the label of what is inside since most people can
not read.


A young couple met with their pastor to set a date for their
wedding. When he asked whether they preferred a contemporary or a
traditional service, they opted for the contemporary.

On the big day, a major storm forced the groom to take an
alternate route to the church.  The streets were flooded, so he
rolled up his pants legs to keep his trousers dry.

When he finally reached the church, his best man rushed him into
the sanctuary and up to the altar, just as the ceremony was

"Pull down your pants," whispered the pastor.

"Uh, Reverend, I've changed my mind," the groom responded. "I
think I want the traditional service."


  The Old Violin

The old violin hangs on the wall,
It played for the dancing of others.....

It's there all alone.. not needed for now,
Sort of like first wives and mothers...

The dancing was fun and the singing as well,
and the time has gone by all too fast...

But don't shed a tear or worry at all,
it's so nice to be resting at last...

For one day quite soon a bow will come by,
and ask "will you play one more tune"..

And down I will come with stars in my eyes
to play for the man in the moon.....

          - Patricia


        Tale Spinners Corner       

Material in this section comes from The Tale Spinners, 
a weekly e-mail neswletter published by Jean Sansum
 and reprinted here as the WWW
outreach of that publication. To subscribe to Tale Spinners
contact Jean.

John Charlton (aa360@freenet.durham.org) sends this slice of
technical history: TRANSATLANTIC TV: 1930'S STYLE

(Except from 1960's Electronics Magazine article by Thomas

The idea of television programmes flowing back and forth across
the Atlantic between America and Europe via the Telstar and relay
satellites has caught the public's fancy in recent months. But
transatlantic TV is much older than that, more than 39 years
older, in fact. In 1929 and 1930 the General Electric Co. in
Schenecady, N.Y., built a pioneer television transmitter and
attempted to send video images to England, Germany, and
Australia. The tests were mildly successful to GE, but to one
English radio hobbyist they were little short of astounding.

Douglas Walters was living at Godalming, Surrey, England. At the
time he was an engineer for the J.L.Baird Co. which ran daily
30-minute television transmission experiments for the BBC.

Walters, as a hobby, put together a home-brew TV receiver which
had a mechanical scanning disc containing 30 holes.

On September 16th, 1930, Walters was tuning around 15 megacycles
with a radio receiver when he picked up a signal which he
recognized as video. Quickly switching on his television set, he
saw on his screen the image of a man. A little later came a voice
which announced that this had been an experimental television
transmission from the GE station W2XAF in New York. The thrilled
Briton sent off a cable to the company and two days later
received a wire confirming his report. The message added that
this was believed to be a distance record for amateurs.

Walters still has the original cable, written in longhand.

*  *  *

Jean Sterling (sterlij@freenet.scri.fsu.edu) addresses a problem
we have all encountered - usually at dinnertime:


In the latest Sunday paper, a local cartoon featured three women
getting the best of a telephone solicitor by just kind of passing
him around - "Oh, you don't want me - you want to talk to my
mom," then mom passes off to grandma, who then passes back to
granddaughter. The punch line was the son/husband/father walking
through and asking if they had been "having fun with a telephone
solicitor again."

I read somewhere on the net about a man who gives telephone
solicitors a detailed description of his hemorrhoids and then
asks for advice. The solicitor can't wait to hang up!

Whenever a caller greets you as Mrs. or Mr. and inquires about
your health, it may be best to moan and groan and deliver an
organ recital they will not soon forget.

I don't have as much fun as the man with the hemorrhoids - I just
say, "I never buy anything over the phone," and hang up.
Solicitors are trained to handle any objections and arguments you
may have, so the best defense is to not let them get started in
the first place.

*  *  *

Lotte Evans (rylcae@minyos.its.rmit.EDU.AU) writes about the
weather down under:

I have read quite a few accounts of the cold weather you are all
experiencing. Well, living in Melbourne, it is, of course, a
different story as it is the middle of summer. By now some of you
might think what a sadist I am, boasting about my basking in the
glorious Australian sunshine.

Let me tell you at present we are getting too much of that %*($
sunshine! Last week we had several days of 40 degrees (102-105)
which is not the greatest but bearable during the day (we are a
tough lot out here), but when it doesn't drop below 30 degrees, (
which I guess is somewhere in the nineties) during the night, it
is totally ghastly.

I take innumerable trips to the fridge and drink gallons of
water. Sleep won't come, and my mind, although somewhat foggy
because of the heat, is crystal clear when I ponder the
imponderable like WHY, OH WHY, and when is that darn cool change
coming those %$#* from the weather bureau have promised?

After a night of this you think there is a tiny ray of light in
sight. Namely, the airconditioning at work. On the bus and train,
everyone you look at has that vacant heat-affected look. And
then, when you finally get to work, you find out that THERE IS NO
AIRCONDITIONING, because of building renovations.

I had a simply marvellous time giving a talk on research methods
to sixty students in a room with no windows in that temperature.
It was OK for me, well sort off, as I was talking. But those poor
students, can you imagine the sweat that room generated?

Well, the cool change finally came at 7 p.m. that evening. I
opened all the windows and my happy home filled up with cool air
and a lot of smoke as some 250 bush fires had been raging with
forty homes and three lives lost within a few kilometres of the
area where I live.

The rain which followed that cool change luckily put out the
fires and the previous couple of days have been quite pleasant
BUT the temperature is rising again.

*  *  *
Dick Monaghan (richardm@worldaccess.com) concludes his story of


THE WEDDING - What is it with women and weddings? It must go back
to the cave days. I can picture a cave mother clasping her hands
and crying with joy as a caveboy smacks her daughter upside the
head and carts her off over his shoulder. "He's studying to be a
medicine man! He's got his first mask and rattle, and  he's done
the chicken-pox dance while the doctor was out on an emergency!"
she tells her husband, who is simply glad to have a voracious
teen-ager off his hands.

Later when the head-bashing had given way to more elaborate and
less physical ceremonies, the old man's problem really began.
"I've got to provide how many jaguar skins for the bridesmaids?"
he would splutter. "A sit-down dinner for how many guests? -
that'll be at least one whole mammoth!" Not to mention new
nose-bones for everyone.

Guys just never get into weddings the way women do. Older women,
anyway. Miss Kate and I agreed we'd just pledge our troth in
front of her folk's fireplace, and maybe split a pitcher or two
with some close friends at the Steelhead Tavern later. That was
before the mothers got into it. By the time they got through, the
wedding was second in size to the annual Loggers' Jubilee, only
with less fighting and fewer big trucks.

We were married by a Presbyterian minister in the Morton
Methodist Church. The Catholic Ladies catered the reception, so I
guess you could say the whole thing was ecumenical.

A guy's wedding day is not the happiest day of his life, no
matter what he says later in his wife's presence. For one thing,
he's not getting any support from his male friends, while the
bride's buddies, no matter how hypocritically, are cheering her
on. A bridegroom's pals are either whistling "The Prisoner's
Song," asking if they can have his fly-rod, since he won't get to
use it any more, or saying things like this:

"Bet you're going to miss those breakfasts."


"No wife is going to fix you peanut butter, fried onions and
bacon on fried bread with a can of Budweiser for breakfast. She
won't even let you fix it."

"Why not?"

"Against union rules."

"What union?"

"Amalgamated Housewives. Rule 7C, `A Wife's Prerogatives,' says
wives have the absolute right to decide what you eat, how it's
cooked and when you get it. Better get used to things like
broccoli and cauliflower, and other strange vegetables. Not to
mention sweetbreads, tongue, and those overgrown robins they call
Cornish game hens."

"Vegetables are edible?" The idea had never occurred to me.

You can imagine the state I was in, standing at the altar; clammy
hands and feet, a slushy snowball behind my navel. Then a truly
horrible thought nearly paralyzed me: what if she was like Sven's
wife? She no sooner set up housekeeping than she said she was
allergic to his dog. It's true old Torvald smelled bad, drooled,
snored, and wasn't extra-particular about his house training, but
getting rid of him couldn't have been easy. I thought Sven was
never quite the same, after that. Then, just as "Slop" Boczkiewcz
hit the first doom-sounding chords of "The Wedding March," a vast
wave of relief swept over me: I didn't own a dog.

Miss Kate swept down the aisle exuding waves of psychic triumph,
and the knot was tied.

The church reception provided one of those insoluble mysteries
that bug you the rest of your life. There were two people taking
picture after picture with 35mm. cameras. I assumed Miss Kate
knew them, but it turned out she didn't and we never found out
who they were, or saw any of the pictures.

As we left Miss Kate's folks' place, a 40-acre stump ranch a
couple of miles from town, my father-in-law, Howard, stood in the
tractor shed and nipped on a fifth of whisky, the only time I saw
him drink fire-water in all the time I knew him.

"She's marrying a combination newspaper reporter and musician -
that's the worst thing I can think of," he intoned, mournfully.
After more than 20 years on the Los Angeles police force, he had
no doubt become a skeptic. Anyway, the "musician" part was a
little overstated. My meager talents never carried me beyond the
Cougar Flats Grange Hall and a couple of small Army bands.

"Woo Hoo! That's the last time I wear that thing!" Miss Kate
gasped as we drove away, loosening her waist-cincher.

end Silver Threads Jan-Feb 1997