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The Quarantine Fifteen

One in Three are doing it

October 6, 2020

When the whole world went in to lockdown in March of this year due to Covid-19, I started to see posts on social media with people lamenting what they called the “Quarantine 15.” It was a reference to the phenomenon that folks, now sedentary and with little else to do, had started to eat more than usual and added 15 pounds to their weight.

This has led to even more people doing the one thing which it’s estimated one out of every three Americans are doing on any given day: Dieting.

Aunty Acid by Ged Backlund

No doubt for as long as people have dealt with excess weight, the enterprising individual has sought out solutions to deal with the issue. As of 2014, according to an article in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, there have been more than 1000 published diets.

The Infallible Wikipedia tells us this:

“…the word diet comes from the Greek diaita, which represents a notion of a whole way healthy lifestyle including both mental and physical health, rather than a narrow weight-loss regimen.

One of the first dietitians was the English doctor George Cheyne. He himself was tremendously overweight and would constantly eat large quantities of rich food and drink. He began a meatless diet, taking only milk and vegetables, and soon regained his health. He began publicly recommending his diet for everyone suffering from obesity. In 1724, he wrote An Essay of Health and Long Life, in which he advises exercise and fresh air and avoiding luxury foods.

The Scottish military surgeon, John Rollo, published Notes of a Diabetic Case in 1797. It described the benefits of a meat diet for those suffering from diabetes, basing this recommendation on Matthew Dobson’s discovery of glycosuria in diabetes mellitus. By means of Dobson’s testing procedure (for glucose in the urine) Rollo worked out a diet that had success for what is now called type 2 diabetes.

The first popular diet was ‘Banting’, named after the English undertaker William Banting. In 1863, he wrote a booklet called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, which contained the particular plan for the diet he had successfully followed. His own diet was four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis was on avoiding sugar, sweet foods, starch, beer, milk and butter. Banting’s pamphlet was popular for years to come, and would be used as a model for modern diets. The pamphlet’s popularity was such that the question ‘Do you bant?’ referred to his method, and eventually to dieting in general. His booklet remains in print as of 2007.

The first weight-loss book to promote calorie counting, and the first weight-loss book to become a bestseller, was the 1918 Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories by American physician and columnist Lulu Hunt Peters.”

In today’s world, one cannot go on the internet or watch television without reading or hearing ads for whatever the latest trendy diet might be. When I typed “diet programs” into my search bar it came back with 172 MILLION results. That’s a lot of diet choices.

To cut down on calories in a home cooked egg and sausage muffin sandwich, cut a frozen sausage patty in half and break into chunks. You get the full flavor but fewer calories.

The two best known seem to be Weight Watchers and NutriSystems. Other diet programs tend to tout food intake based on a variety of factors including low carb, low fat, or high protein. There’s the Mediterranean Diet, the Keto Diet, and diet’s specific to those with Diabetes, thyroid problems, and heart disease. Truly, there’s a diet for every situation and person.

Of course, NO ONE should take the information shared here and make their health decisions based on my layman’s take or the Infallible Wikipedia. Those who are regular readers understand that the Infallible Wikipedia really is not.*

Okay, I’ve posted my consumer warning.

As pretty much the skinniest child ever, I never dreamed that at some point in my life I’d end up going on a diet.

Until I landed on a college campus and was exposed to the high carb foods endemic to such an environment, my problem was the exact opposite of most dieters. I could not gain weight. At five foot nine and only weighing 115 pounds, I struggled to maintain even that. I was not anorexic or bulimic, just genetically programmed to be skinny.

Or so I thought. While at the University of Puget Sound, I did add the ‘Freshman fifteen’ and my weight jumped up to 130 pounds. Which was, I thought, just about perfect for me.

I dropped down 10 pounds the year I got married as I had gone on the ‘strep throat’ diet. I don’t recommend it.

But then I settled in to that 130 weight and remained there until pregnancy at age 32 impacted my body. I lost most of what I gained after baby number one and even after the second child.

I was doing okay in the weight department, but by the time I hit age 40 I weighed about 140 pounds.

Mostly I blame the weight gains on slowing metabolism and having teenagers.

A funny thing happens when you are cooking for a family, especially when there’s a teenage boy present. Those creatures eat a LOT of food, heaping their plates with goodies such as Macaroni and Cheese, Spaghetti, Lasagna, Pizza…

A typical diet dinner features between two and three ounces of noodles. Yes, I weigh everything.

It’s a bit mesmerizing, really, to sit down to dinner and somehow you end up matching them bite for bite.

And soon another 10 pounds were added; and then another 10 after that. I started joking that I’d gained 10 pounds for each additional decade since I’d turned 20. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t step on scales because I didn’t like the number I saw. I convinced myself that I wasn’t eating excessively and no matter what I did I just couldn’t lose the weight.

Then the quarantine arrived. Where once I was out and about attending events on weekends and various meetings during the week, there was nothing going on. No potluck dinners or buffet lines. Restaurants were, for a time, shut down. There literally was no place to go except the grocery store and those shelves – in the first month – had large empty spaces in lieu of products.

On April 10, I decided that perhaps I might use the shutdown as an opportunity to drop a few pounds. But how did one go about it? I had zero experience with dieting. Of course I went to the one place where expert advice was to be found: the internet. It was enough to make one’s head swim. And then I remembered my Android phone and thought, perhaps, there might be a weight loss application. Bingo.

Of the several dozen available, I ended up picking the highest rated one I found which happened to be MyNetDiary.

Actual screenshot of the MyNetDiary program tracking my food on October 4

It allowed me to set a weight loss goal of up to 15 pounds (no more – I tried!) and then gave me a date, three months in the future, July 7 to lose the weight.

I became, one might say, singularly focused, and followed the program to the letter, careful to never go over the daily calorie count. I learned some interesting things about how much particular foods ‘cost’ in calories. I weighed everything. And with only a certain number of calories allowed each day I started to think about what foods I valued and wanted in my life.

Gone was my beloved Dr. Pepper (240 calories for a 16 oz can! Or 17 percent of the daily calorie allowance). Pasta, Rice, and starchy foods were seriously reduced. Instead of two pieces of toast, slathered with butter, and an egg for breakfast, I had one slice of toast (the one slice about 120 and the egg 90 calories) and I measured out a reasonable quantity of butter (.18 oz which is 37 calories).

I learned that my most favorite food is… drum roll please… white cheddar cheese Cheez-its. But just 20 of those delicious little crackers cost me 120 calories. So now, instead of eating however many I wanted, I counted out each and every one, making the conscious choice to consume them as one of my daily ‘treats’ or as part of my lunch.

My favorite food… white cheddar cheezits

By the end of April I’d lost my first five pounds and I was motivated. A month later, I was down ten pounds overall. My version of the Quarantine 15 – that is losing rather than gaining that amount – arrived a few days ahead of schedule on July 1st.

But I wasn’t done. I reset the program to lose another 15… my new date to achieve that: November 7. I expect I will have lost 30 pounds overall sometime this week… the scale tells me that I’m really, really close.

I guess it gets back to finding the good in a not great situation. Had we never ended up in ‘quarantine’ I doubt I would have taken the action I did.

Oh! Did you see the time? Only a half hour to lunch… I’m really looking forward to those 20 Cheez-its!

A couple of links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieting

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0884533614550251

https://www.mynetdiary.com/

*Before taking on any weight loss program, be sure to check with your doctor!

Oodles of Noodles

Instant Ramen

August 25, 2020

According to one Japanese poll, this food was named as the greatest invention of the 20th century.  Since a package of this costs between 50 cents and a dollar, it’s not only inexpensive, but it is easily one of the most adaptable instant foods you can purchase. Yes, I’m talking about the staple of college dorms everywhere: instant ramen noodles.

It was on August 25, 1958, when the first packages of the instant noodles were sold. But the history of ramen began much earlier.

How the first ramen was packaged, 1958

According to the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Ramen is a Japanese adaptation of Chinese wheat noodles. One theory says that ramen was first introduced to Japan during the 1660s by the Chinese neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Shunsui who served as an advisor to Tokugawa Mitsukuni after he became a refugee in Japan to escape Manchu rule and Mitsukuni became the first Japanese person to eat ramen, although most historians reject this theory as a myth created by the Japanese to embellish the origins of ramen. The more plausible theory is that ramen was introduced by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th or early 20th century at Yokohama Chinatown. According to the record of the Yokohama Ramen Museum, ramen originated in China and made its way over to Japan in 1859. Early versions were wheat noodles in broth topped with Chinese-style roast pork.”

Interestingly, it was in post WWII Japan, when the product really took off. Faced with rice shortages and a disrupted food supply line, inventive Japanese food vendors began making the noodles with cheap wheat purchased on the black market. Despite government attempts to keep vendors from making and selling the dish – they arrested thousands for doing so – it was one of the few things people could find to eat inexpensively. By 1950, the Japanese government relented, thus allowing the wheat noodles to find a place in the rice dominated culture.

In 1958,  Momofuku Ando – the founder of Nissan foods – developed a method by which the noodles were flash cooked, dried, and then sold in small blocks.

Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Instant ramen allowed anyone to make an approximation of this dish simply by adding boiling water.

Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied around the world from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names. A ramen museum opened in Yokohama in 1994.

Who wouldn’t want to visit the Ramen museum just to see this giant bowl?

Today ramen is arguably one of Japan’s most popular foods, with Tokyo alone containing around 5,000 ramen shops, and more than 24,000 ramen shops across Japan.”

I became intimately acquainted with ramen soon after setting foot on the campus at the University of Puget Sound in 1977. Every member of my sorority, it seemed, had a small kettle and a stock of ramen packages in a desk drawer. It was one of two foods that seemed to dominate evening study time, the other being popcorn.

Soon, I too owned a West Bend electric teapot and a stock of ramen packets. I found one ad from 1979 where you could purchase it for a quarter a packet, but I do recall finding the coveted 10 for a dollar sales even into the 1990’s.

I think my pot was green but it might have been this lovely yellow

In my early ramen eating years, I was a purist; I’d boil my water, then drop the dried noodles into the pot and cook until they softened, finally adding the sodium laced flavoring.

After I met the man who would become my hubby, I learned that ramen could be so much more. He elevated ramen to an art form.

In Japan, the traditional way is as a soup of ramen and pork. But in our household, ramen is a vehicle for serving every sort of leftover. All meats can be added to it; stir in an egg for poor man’s egg flower soup. Tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions? All good in ramen. Perhaps the hubby’s favorite thing to add would be canned ‘Vienna’ sausages or hot dogs.

He recalls one college incident which revolved around ramen. Senior year he and two friends rented an apartment; one evening he was making a ramen concoction for his dinner. One of his roomie’s parents arrived on the scene to take their son to dinner. The roomie’s mom – upon seeing the ramen feast being prepared – was so horrified at this being my hubby’s dinner, insisted on taking him to dinner also.

The family ramen legacy was eventually passed to the next generation. Our daughter discovered the joys of ramen when she was an always hungry pre-teen and teen. Instead of asking Mom what was to eat, she learned early that she could fix it herself and probably consumed at least one package of it daily for many years. Cooked or dry did not matter. She loved it either way.

As an adult advisor for the Rainbow Girls, there was a parade of youth who showed up at our house regularly during those years. One girl was such a fixture that she knew exactly where the ramen was kept. Her arrival often meant that her first stop was the pantry where the Costco box of ramen occupied one end of the shelf. A few minutes later, the ramen cooked, we would settle around the table to chat. To this day she claims this as one of her favorite memories of our house.

The ubiquitous Costco 48 pack

The days of teens raiding the cupboards behind us, and my husbands ramen consumption reduced, the last Costco case of the stuff (48 packets – half beef, half chicken) is now gone. In fact, for the first time in the 40 years we’ve been married, there’s not a single package of ramen in the household.

When I inquired as to why, the hubby explained that he intended to get a ‘few’ packages at the grocery store instead of the industrial size Costco case. And there’s that pesky salt thing. One package of ramen is 1600 mg, a whopping 69 percent of the recommended daily salt intake.

Even so, it doesn’t seem right for us not to have a few packets of ramen just in case. Earthquake… Wind Storm… Pandemic…all good reasons to keep some on hand. Adding it to the grocery list. Who am I to argue with those who claim it to be the greatest invention of the 20th Century?

Costco’s supply of ramen takes up almost as much space as the Ramen museum

Yes, there really is a page on Ramen on the Infallible Wikipedia.:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

Animal House

July 28, 2020

“Oh Boy! Is This Great!”

Of all the years to be a college co-ed, 1978 was the best.

Culturally, it was the height of the ‘me’ generation’s influence. Commonplace restrictions from previous decades had all but been abandoned, leaving the youth to do the one thing they wanted: have fun.

animal-house-movie-poster-1020258451On July 28, 1978, a movie hit the theaters which encapsulated precisely this attitude, capturing the imagination of a generation. That movie: Animal House.

The idea for the movie came about via National Lampoon, a wildly popular magazine with college students. In fact, the official title of the movie is “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” The plot – to sum it up in a couple sentences is this: “Loser college guys join fraternity where anything goes. Fraternity gets kicked off campus and members, in an effort to save the fraternity, wreak havoc on campus and during the homecoming parade.”

With a budget of only 3 million allocated to its production, the executives at Universal Studios almost didn’t allow it to be made. But the writers were committed to the project, effectively wearing down the studio who basically told them ‘okay, but don’t expect much.’

According to the Infallible Wikipedia:

“National Lampoon’s Animal House is a 1978 American sex comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller. It stars John Belushi, Peter Riegert, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Thomas Hulce, Stephen Furst, and Donald Sutherland. The film is about a trouble-making fraternity whose members challenge the authority of the dean of the fictional Faber College.

The film was produced by Matty Simmons of National Lampoon and Ivan Reitman for Universal Pictures. It was inspired by stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon. The stories were based on (Harold) Ramis’s experience in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, Miller’s Alpha Delta Phi experiences at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and producer Reitman’s at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.”

In many ways, the low budget contributed to the film’s success. No one had heard of any of the actors, John Belushi and Donald Sutherland excepted. Rather than turn the film into a showcase for the popular cast of Saturday Night Live as was suggested, it turned out that the ensemble of newcomers brought an element of collegiality to it that made the film unique.

One big hurdle was finding a college willing to allow the movie to be filmed on their campus. One after another turned it down since, after reading the script, determined the publicity would be detrimental to their institution. It was an act of bravery that one administrator finally agreed to it. Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

“The president of the University of Oregon in Eugene, William Beaty Boyd, had been a senior administrator at the University of California in Berkeley in 1966 when his campus was considered for a location of the film The Graduate. After he consulted with other senior administrative colleagues who advised him to turn it down due to the lack of artistic merit, the college campus scenes set at Berkeley were shot at USC in Los Angeles. The film went on to become a classic, and Boyd was determined not to make the same mistake twice when the producers inquired about filming at Oregon. After consulting with student government leaders and officers of the Pan Hellenic Council, the Director of University Relations advised the president that the script, although raunchy and often tasteless, was a very funny spoof of college life. Boyd even allowed the filmmakers to use his office as Dean Wormer’s.”

ah-party

John ‘Bluto’ Blutarksi leads the way during a Delta House Toga party

Now, I will say, if you’ve never seen the movie you should. As my now adult children know, there are some cultural references one absolutely needs to have. Animal House is such a film. The film is littered with quotable and iconic concepts many of which repeat to this day.

 

 

 

Ever hear of a toga party? You have Animal House to thank.

Double secret probation? Animal House. 

“Was It Over When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell No!” Animal House.

“Fat, Drunk, And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life, Son.” Animal House.

Food Fight? Animal House.

That summer, it went on to become the third highest grossing film of 1978 and – in the course of its run – took in a whopping 141.6 million. Not bad for a film which cost under $3 million to make and which the studio execs thought would flop.

When all was said and done, once again from the Infallible Wikipedia:

“In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’ and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Animal House is first on Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies. In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked the film No. 36 on 100 Years… 100 Laughs, a list of the 100 best American comedies. In 2006, Miller wrote a more comprehensive memoir of his experiences in Dartmouth’s AD house in a book entitled, The Real Animal House: The Awesomely Depraved Saga of the Fraternity That Inspired the Movie, in which Miller recounts hijinks that were considered too risqué for the movie. In 2008, Empire magazine selected Animal House as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. The film was also selected by The New York Times as one of The 1000 Best Movies Ever Made.”

Back to 1978 and the phenomenon which had college students donning sheets and partying to the chants of “Toga! Toga! Toga!”

When I returned to the University of Puget Sound that September, everyone was talking about Animal House. Soon the Toga parties began and there were a handful of fraternity guy’s intent on channeling their inner Bluto.

Alpha Phi Halloween event 1978

A few sorority sisters ready for a Halloween party 1978.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, my sorority was located next door to the house which fashioned itself after the Delta’s of Animal House fame. There were shenanigans and crazy antics all that fall. Parties flowed out of their house and into the common areas, empty aluminum cans smashed against heads exactly like the John Belushi character did in the film, Christmas lights tossed into our basement level patio where they would ‘pop.’ And who knows what, exactly, was going on the night that a group of them appeared on the lawn outside our windows with that blow up doll.

Around 10 pm one night I heard a commotion outside of my room and the unmistakable thump, thump, thump of a large group of people making their way in unison down the hallway. What the heck?

A moment later: the sound of running feet. The door bursts open and one of my two roomies, Sheila, rushes in, slams the door behind her and presses her back to the closed door.

I can still picture her, a wild look in her eye, dressed in her full length flannel nightgown, hands pressed hard against the door, panting.

“There’s naked Phi Delts in our hall,” she gasped.

Now, to be clear, my other roommate Cathy and I DID NOT reopen that door to confirm her report. In fact, we wanted nothing to do with the conga line of nude men mooning the members of our sorority.

A minute or two later, the group reached the end of the hall and exited the building. Their bare hineys were last seen disappearing back into what I would consider UPS’ nominee for ‘Delta’ house.

In retrospect, my two years there were a rather surreal experience, greatly amplified by the culture of the time embodied in no small part by the movie Animal House.

In the iconic words of Kent ‘Flounder’ Dorfman “Oh boy! Is this Great!”

Indeed it was.

The links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_House

180726143707-animal-house-780x439Who’s who in the Facebook Photo (left to right):

Bruce McGill – “D-Day”; Tim Matheson – “Otter”; Peter Riegart “Boon”; John Belushi – “Bluto”; Tom Hulce – “Pinto”; Stephen Furst – “Flounder”; James Widdoes – “Hoover”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda Civic

Popular for decades

July 14, 2020

1972 civic ad 2July 14, 1972 marks the date the Honda Civic was introduced. The Civic was, arguably, the beneficiary of a number of factors which catapulted it to the top of the small car class.

It was, however, the energy crisis which gripped the United States in late 1973 and into 1974 that proved to be its best marketing.

Without going down into the weeds as to the political reasons why, in 1974 the world experienced a gas shortage. The typical American of the day drove heavy, gas-guzzling automobiles. With gas costing around 50 cents a gallon, the amount of money it took to fill a tank was very affordable and not something most people considered when purchasing a car. By 1974, however, the price of gas had skyrocketed to $3 and $4 a gallon.

Enter the introduction of the compact and sub-compact car. While the big American automakers quickly rolled out such contenders as the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Vega, it was Japan’s Honda who found the winning formula.  The Civic’s cost, size, and great gas mileage marked a change in thinking in regards to the type of car a large portion of the American public wanted.

In 1973 – its first year being sold in the United States – just under 33,000 Civic’s were purchased. The following year sales were 43,000. Then in 1975, there was a 137 percent increase in sales with over 102,000 of the cars hitting the road. Since its introduction to the U.S. in 1973 until 2015, over 7.3 million have been sold.

Honda Civic’s were everywhere. Their distinctive look – sort of a tiny, boxy car – made them hard to miss. At the time, however, it was other features which made them popular. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“It was equipped with a 1,169 cc (71.3 cu in) four-cylinder water-cooled engine and featured front power disc brakes, reclining vinyl bucket seats, simulated wood trim on the dashboard, as well as optional air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. The Civic was available as a two- or four-door fastback sedan, three- and a five-door hatchback, as well as a five-door station wagon. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles was high, and due to the engine being able to run on either leaded or unleaded fuel, it gave drivers fuel choice flexibility over other vehicles.”

EPSON MFP image

On the road in July 1982 at Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana

In 1982, the hubby and I became a part of the Honda Civic family. The five-door station wagon seemed a great choice. During those years we often took off on weekends to go camping or for brief getaways. That summer, we embarked on a two week trip which took us to several National Parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the Grand Canyon. Our little brown wagon served us well, conveying us over 3600 miles. The next year it took us to Vancouver Island and the year after that to Colorado and back.

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At Mesa Verde, Colorado, in 1984. The hubby is getting something from the car we need for dinner.

It was a great commuter car also: reliable, comfortable, and the always good gas mileage. When we retired the car in 1986 it was not because the car was no longer working but because we had purchased a boat and needed a vehicle capable of towing.

I do wonder if trading in the Honda so we could buy a boat was the right decision, however. There’s a saying that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day they buy it… and the day they sell it. Our first boat quickly earned its nickname – the Boat From Hell – or BFH as it was abbreviated. But that’s a totally different story.

Our Honda was never the car from hell, but a reliable friend, always ready to travel on a new adventure, never once letting us down. No wonder there were millions of them out on the road.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Civic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis

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July 31, 1982 at the Gardiner, Montana, entrance to Yellowstone.

 

Cars featured on the Facebook post:

Opal Kadett, Honda Civic, Ford Pinto, Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin

 

 

Does She or Doesn’t She…

Only her hairdresser knows for sure

May 12, 2020

 

Miss ClairolIn the era of COVID-19 this slogan from a 1960’s home hair coloring commercial has become outdated. With the shuttering of the beauty salon in the name of public safety, women (primarily) of a certain age, are seeing their true hair color for the first time in years.

Which, of course, got me wondering about the history of coloring one’s hair. The first documented use of anything to change a person’s hair color appears to be by the Celtic people between 30 and 60 B.C. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian, described in detail how Celtic people dyed their hair blonde: ‘Their aspect is terrifying… They are very tall in stature, with rippling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse’s mane. Some of them are clean-shaven, but others—especially those of high rank—shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth…’.

The dyeing of hair is an ancient art that involves treatment of the hair with various chemical  compounds. In ancient times, the dyes were obtained from plants. Some of the most well known are henna (Lawsonia inermis), indigo, Cassia obovata, senna, turmeric and amla. Others include katam (buxus dioica), black walnut hulls, red ochre and leeks. In the 1661 book Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature, various methods of coloring hair black, gold, green, red, yellow, and white are explained. The development of synthetic dyes for hair is traced to the 1860s discovery of the reactivity of para-phenylenediamine (PPD) with air. Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, is recognized for creating the first synthetic hair dye in 1907. In 1947 the German cosmetics firm Schwarzkopf launched the first home color product, ‘Poly Color’. Hair dyeing is now a multibillion-dollar industry that involves the use of both plant-derived and synthetic dyes.”

Nowadays you will see people with a veritable rainbow of colors in their hair, sporting bright hues of red, orange, green, blue, and purple.

The more traditional application of hair dye, however, still prevails with most using it to change to a preferred color or to hide the gray.

Unfortunately the Infallible Wikipedia’s statistics were from some eight years ago, but an internet search turned up a fun webpage with all sorts of facts on hair. It was one sentence in particular from Hollee Wood, the site’s author, which was most interesting:

“In our world of ever-changing hair color, it’s no secret that nearly 85% of women color their hair at least once every eight weeks (compared to just 7% in 1950). I mean… at that rate, it’s probable that you even color your hair! *gasp*”

Her article had a whole bunch of statistics including the fact that by the time most American’s reach age 60, nearly 60 percent of us will have grey hair.

Barb the towhead

The author in all her towheaded glory at age four

I’ve had a lifelong, on again off again, relationship with hair coloring products. Born a towhead (for those who do not know it’s a term to describe, usually, an extremely blonde child) I was blonde until about fifth grade and then my hair began to turn into a mix which I would describe as dirty blonde. My personal identity, however, was as a blonde and – when I was in ninth grade – I discovered a product which would bring back the blonde: Sun-In. The year was 1972 and both girls and guys did not believe in cutting one’s hair. It was the era of the hippie.

Sun-In 3I started using Sun-In approved by and aided by my mother! Every couple of months we would apply the stuff and, due to probably allowing it to stay on my hair longer than we should, I became blonder and blonder. This continued throughout high school and my first three years of college.

In the summer of 1978, with the long haired hippie era over, I did a very radical thing: I cut my hair. That fall I quit using Sun-In and my roots began to betray me. When I went home for Thanksgiving I did the second radical thing: I dyed my hair darker to try and locate my natural color. When I arrived back at the University of Puget Sound after the break, I got more than a few snapped heads with the total change in my appearance.

1977 vs 1978With the 1980’s came the era of big hair which, for someone whose hair has zero natural curl, required a different chemical process: the permanent wave. Turns out my hair was a fairly light brown and looked even lighter due to the perm.

By the late 1980’s, however, big hair was out and shorter hair was in. With motherhood in 1990 came the need for a practical haircut with little time to fuss over it.

And then, sometime in the mid 1990’s, my sister in law got me re-hooked on hair bleach and every couple of months I’d meet up with her to get my fix. And so it continued for nearly two decades until last fall when I decided it was time to wean myself from blonde (has anyone noticed how blonde starts to look like gray on an older person?) and back to light brown with highlights.

On March 16, 2020, the unthinkable occurred. All hair salons and barbershops in many states were deemed ‘dangerous’ for the spread of the Coronavirus and shut down. You could almost hear the panicked cry of millions of women across the U.S. as their ability to hide their natural hair color came to a crashing halt.

Now, two months later, they are – as the saying goes – showing their true colors. The worst case I saw was a woman with red hair… but the top of her head was pure white for at least an inch on either side of her part.

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A speakeasy in the 1920’s

This whole thing has sparked what I call the “Speakeasy” of the 2020’s. In the 1920’s – under alcohol prohibition – secret locations where you could go to consume liquor sprang up in cities across the nation. During that time no one spoke publicly of these establishments but they did a booming business as history now tells us.

I find myself looking suspiciously at anyone with a decent haircut or obviously colored hair. “Where did you get your hair done?” I ask. They just smile and shrug their shoulders, unwilling to share their secrets.

As for me, I’m apparently part of the 40 percent who have not gone grey by age 60. Sure there are spots, but overall, I’m weathering the great graying of America okay. I am thinking of growing my hair long, buying some Sun-In, and reliving the glory days of 1974.

The question remains, however, with a twist: ‘will she or won’t she? Only her hairdresser – if she ever gets to see her again – knows for sure.

The links:

https://www.holleewoodhair.com/hair-color-statistics/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_coloring

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakeasy

1974 Olympic National Park

The author at the height of the Sun-in years, 1974, shown here with her first co-conspirator, Mom, and also Dad, who never dyed his hair and never once squeezed the magic potion on my head.

The Facebook Slogans challenge:

  1. Palmolive 2. Brylcreem 3. Scatter Perm 4. Miss Clairol

 

Nintendo Game and Watch

April 28, 2020

The First handheld Electronic Games

Decades before anyone had ever uttered the phrases Angry Bird, Temple Run, Word’s with Friends, or Candy Crush, the first wave in digital gaming had arrived in the States from Japan.

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The first Game and Watch released: Ball

On April 28, 1980, a then unknown manufacturer by the name of Nintendo, launched the first of its 4 ½ by 2 ½ handheld electronic game series in the US. And thus the Game and Watch was born, a precursor to the iPhone and Android games of today.

For less than $20 a consumer was able to buy a device which featured – usually – two different games played by pushing tiny buttons to move items around on the screen. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“The Game & Watch brand is a series of handheld electronic games produced by Nintendo from 1980 to 1991. Created by game designer Gunpei Yokoi, each Game & Watch features a single game to be played on an LCD screen in addition to a clock, an alarm, or both. It was the earliest Nintendo video game product to gain major success.

The units are based on a 4-bit CPU from the Sharp SM5xx family, that include a small ROM and RAM area and an LCD screen driver circuit, although prior to the emulation in MAME there was a misconception in that every unit used a custom ASIC  instead of a proper microcontroller.

The series sold a combined of 43.4 million units worldwide.”

Yokoi is said to have conceived the idea while on a bullet train when he observed a fellow traveler playing with his calculator. He reasoned that a small device which would also serve as a clock and alarm and allow the person to play a game could fill the desire for entertainment when unable to do other things.

In all, there were 59 different titles sold. It wasn’t until Nintendo established offices in the United States when the Game and Watch distribution became more widespread in this country.

Our family were early adopters of Game and Watch for one very good reason: The hubby went to work for Nintendo soon after they established their headquarters in Tukwila, Washington. (Yes, it’s true. Their first Washington address was there and NOT Redmond.)

I don’t know why, exactly, we bought all those Game and Watch games, except that Nintendo had an inventory and there was likely an employee discount. Regardless, soon we had friends and family asking for the games and we obliged.

The first one released was called Ball and featured a character later dubbed “Mr. Game & Watch” who juggled balls. He is according to the Infallible Wikipedia: “a generic amalgam of black, open-mouthed, big-nosed cartoonish stick figure silhouettes.” That first game – and three others released in quick succession – sold fewer than 250,000 games worldwide. Two other early games – Vermin and Fire – each sold about a million.

Which is where we enter the story. At the Nintendo warehouse in Tukwila there must have been stacks and stacks of unsold games. It is likely the first one we ever had was Fire and it was one of my favorites. We referred to the game as ‘Burning Babies.’ Yes, politically incorrect but in those days no one had ever uttered that phrase.

My description of the game Fire: On screen you see a cartoonish ambulance on the right side of the screen and a burning multi-story building on the left. Two Mr. Game and Watch characters carry what looks to be a safety net. Their job is to catch the ‘people’ who are literally leaping from the burning building. It starts out benign enough with one tiny person jumping and you must move the firefighters left and right with their net to stop the jumper from hitting the ground. You must then bounce the burning baby across three sections from the building to the ambulance. As the game progresses, a second jumper leaps soon after the first and you must now figure out which one to catch first. It’s like a bad juggling game where soon there are as many as four jumpers on the screen at once! Drop one and you get a tiny little angel icon indicating a lost life. Truly, you have not known stress until you’re frantically trying to save the tiny burning babies. Oh, and as your score increases, so does the speed with which they jump. Yes, that’s me playing the game in the short video below. Yes, it still is stressful when the babies splat on the ground!

Soon, the hubby was bringing home more Game and Watches. The titles included Parachute, Octopus, Fire Attack, Manhole, and Turtle Bridge. Each one seemed to include violent ends to the poor little electronic people or critters if you didn’t do your job. (Which is the common element for the four listed on the FB page!) These were followed by Nintendo’s own characters of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong, Jr., and Mario’s Cement Factory, as well as licensed character games featuring such cultural icons as Popeye, Mickey Mouse, and Snoopy.

We gave my mother Snoopy Tennis for Christmas in the early 1980’s. It was the perfect game for her as she was a lifelong tennis player and got a real kick out of the tiny Charlie Brown wielding his tiny tennis racket to serve balls to Snoopy who had to jump up and down tree branches to hit it. If he missed, a happily sleeping Woodstock awoke and squawked about it.  In the alarm feature, Lucy and piano player Schroeder make an appearance. The best part is that with Snoopy Tennis no tiny imaginary people died.

Snoopy Tennis

Snoopy Tennis was released on April 28, 1982, two years to the day after the first Game and Watch made its appearance.

My mother absolutely owned that game. I think her high score was in the ten thousands and, boy, did those tennis balls come fast and furious. She worked those controls like a boss. Everyone who watched her play was awed. At some point her thumbs got too overworked and she had to give up the game. It bubbled up out of a box when we were going through my parents’ house last summer so we now have two of that game. Hers is the one shown here.

I think about how far electronic games have come since then. I prefer games where when I lose, nothing dies. Which is why I love Candy Crush. Having completed over 5000 levels, I’m in rarefied territory and know of only one friend at a higher level. Like my Mom, I kinda own the game. But I think if my Mom had ever played Candy Crush, she would have given me a run for my money.

The links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Game_%26_Watch_games

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_%26_Watch_series

Giving this week’s win to Paul Roe! He did have an advantage in that he worked at Nintendo with the hubby.

The games were: Parachute, Octopus, Fire!, and Turtle Bridge. The thing these four all had in common were that the little men all would meet violent ends if they failed to complete the task. Eaten by sharks, strangled by an octopus, splat on the ground, and finally, drown by not picking the correct turtle to step on.

 

A Boy Name Archie

February 11 2020

Beloved Comic Book Character

For kids growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s reading comic books was a universal experience.  From Mickey Mouse to Marvel, there was a flavor for everyone.  While Marvel comics were not my thing, I did enjoy one comic book series immensely: Archie.

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Always a difficult choice for female obsessed Archie: Betty or Veronica?

It was on February 11, 1942, when Archie and his pals got their very own series.  From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Archie (also known as Archie Comics) is an ongoing comic book series featuring the Archie Comics character Archie Andrews. (snip)

Archie first appeared in Pep Comics #22 in 1941 and soon became the most popular character for the comic. Due to his popularity, he was given his own series which debuted in winter 1942 titled Archie Comics. Starting with issue #114, the title was shortened to simply Archie. The series ended with issue #666 (June 2015) to make way for a new series set in Archie Comics’ ‘New Riverdale’.”

Unlike the Superhero comics of the day, Archie featured a popular red-headed teenager who seemed to attract trouble. Most of that trouble was centered on the rivalry between the wholesome Betty Cooper and the privileged Veronica Lodge. Archie – the object of both their affections – is the clueless pawn in their game of romantic chess.

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Moose with Miss Grundy

With Archie’s friends: the hapless Jughead Jones, dumb jock Moose Mason, and manipulative Reggie Mantle, added to the mix, the opportunity for the comic’s writers to dream up creative teenager life story lines carried the series for decades.

An additional dozen plus characters also inhabit Riverdale – the fictional Midwest town where Archie lives – and have smaller recurring roles.

The comic book series was published for 73 consecutive years with its final issue in June 2015. It was relaunched that same year and is known as the “New Riverdale.” It sports an updated look with the characters taking on more realistic human features and also, according to the Infallible Wikipedia, “harken back to the comic’s roots by showcasing more edgy and humorous stories as well as present the origins for the character and his friends as well as how the famous love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica began.”

What’s amazing is that the comic book remained as popular as it was for over seven decades. I first discovered it in the mid-1960’s in the stacks of comic books my two older brother’s owned. They had lots of the superhero variety but probably no more than a half dozen Archie’s. But I read every single one of the redheaded hero’s adventures multiple times.

Archie was, however, soon forgotten once I became a teenager myself and then an adult. At least until one day when I was at the store with my ten year old daughter. I happened to look up as we stood in the checkout line and there were the familiar drawings of my old friends Archie, Veronica, and Betty. On a whim I purchased the comic book for my daughter.

She was hooked, often spending some of her allowance money on the magazine. Archie comics were stuffed into her Christmas stocking and purchased for her when she was home sick. I may have even given her a subscription one year for her birthday.

I discovered a dozen of them during the purge process when we moved a couple years ago. Did she want them any longer? Now an adult, the answer was the same as it had been for me: no.

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Reggie, Betty, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead

But Archie and gang had been good companions for a few short years. As for the issues we had, they were donated. I imagine some young girl and her parent finding some of those issues and enjoying the adventures of the accident prone, yet lovable, Archie, and it brings a smile to my face.

As always, a link or two:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_(comic_book)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Archie_Comics_characters

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Comics

And the official Archie website:

http://archiecomics.com/

 

Still Going…

The Energizer Bunny

October 29, 2019

In the world of advertising, this campaign was particularly brilliant. The story begins in 1983 when Duracell featured a dozen stationary, identical light pink bunnies, all battery powered, drumming on snare drums. The announcer intoned that the one with the Duracell battery would last longer. Eventually, all the batteries die with the exception of the one powered by Duracell.

On October 30, 1988, however, a new bunny emerged on the advertising scene and stole the show from Duracell.

energizer-bunnyThe Energizer Bunny was also pink but instead of being one of a crowd which outlasts the others, this rabbit had attitude. It wore hip sunglasses. It was hot pink. It moved around the room on blue flip flop sandals. And it had a big ole bass drum with the word “ENERGIZER” emblazoned across the surface. In short, it had important elements of a great advertising campaign in that it was memorable and humorous. The bunny has appeared in over 100 commercials and has been featured on TV shows and in movies.

From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Commercials after the first started out with the Bunny leaving the studio it performed the ‘Drumming Bunny’ ad in, then wandering into the sets of a couple of realistic-looking commercials for fictional products, interrupting them. As the campaign progressed, many of these ads were standalone (for fake products such as ‘Sitagin Hemorrhoid Remedy’, ‘Nasotine Sinus Relief’, ‘TresCafe Coffee’, ‘Alarm’ deodorant soap, etc.) and even a few featured celebrities (such as Lyle Alzado promoting a snack called ‘Pigskins’, and Ted Nugent doing an ad for a Mexican food chain called ‘Cucaracha’) only to have the Bunny march through, beating his drum, because he was ‘still going’ (one infamous commercial was for a fake long-distance telephone company with a couple in the United Kingdom talking to their son, who was supposedly in New York and exclaimed that he ‘sounded like he’s right next door’, and when the Bunny came in, he knocked down the divider to show they really were next to each other). Eventually real-life products and icons would do a crossover with the Energizer Bunny (Michael J. Fox doing a Pepsi ad, and the opening of TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and ABC’s Wide World of Sports). The Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 115 television commercials.”

The Energizer Bunny has come to represent something or someone which keeps going and going, seemingly without end.

In late November 2010 I was in Yakima staying to take care of my parents who were in crisis that week. My mom – who had dementia and mobility issues due to a stroke a year earlier – needed round the clock assistance. Between my Dad, a part time caregiver, plus help from both my sister and me, they had been managing okay.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, however, Dad collapsed and was discovered by the caregiver. 9-1-1 was summoned and he spent three days in the hospital. A difficult patient, he convinced the doctor to release him earlier than the Doc thought prudent, and arrived home on Friday, November 26th proclaiming he was just fine.

A little after 10 p.m, he went in to take a shower. I heard him calling for help a few minutes later and rushed in to discover him collapsed on the floor. After many struggles I was able to get him up onto the seat of my mother’s walker, but he was slumped to one side. He objected to the thought of calling 9-1-1 (again!) so I called my sister who, along with her husband, came over. Eventually we did call the medics who arrived and discovered his heart was pounding at about 200 BPM and suggested he go to the hospital.

No way was he agreeing to that and kept insisting that the medics just put him to bed. Which they did. Convinced by the EMT’s that he might not survive the night, my sister and I took turns with an all night vigil.

Around 8 a.m., and with Dad still with us, I was up and out in the kitchen contemplating how to deal with two parents in need of assistance. A noise to my left drew my attention. I looked up and here came my dad, using my mom’s smaller aluminum walker, advancing with purpose and determination and seemingly unfazed by all which had happened. That entire day he moved with frenetic energy, straightening things, switching from one thing to another, hardly sitting down all day.

I described the whole thing to my sister this way: “Dad is like the Energizer Bunny.”

For the next nine years, this has been the way we’ve described our dad. There have been countless episodes of the pounding heart which takes him down for a day or two. When he’s recovered, though, watch out! Because it was always back to Energizer Bunny mode.

Eventually, however, even the strongest, most durable batteries run out of energy. And so it was for my father on October 24. His strong heart – in spite of what I am now certain were Tachycardia events – was the battery which kept him going to the age of 96 and a half.

RIP our Energizer Bunny.

 

The links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energizer_Bunny

https://www.shawandsons.com/obituary/vincent-devore

 

 

 

Sadie Hawkins Day

November 13, 2108

Catch and Release?

sadietitleThe origin of Sadie Hawkins Day is, no doubt, an anachronism to the young people of today who would be simultaneously surprised and offended by it. But on November 13, 1937, the event was introduced in a popular comic strip and soon, in the vernacular of today, went viral.

 For those who have never heard the term, it was cartoonist Al Capp who, in his syndicated comic Lil’ Abner, wrote it as a plot-line device.

According to the Infallible Wikipedia:

“In Li’l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch’s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The ‘homeliest gal in all them hills,’ she grew frantic waiting for suitors. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was worried about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it ‘Sadie Hawkins Day’. A foot race was decreed, with Sadie pursuing the town’s eligible bachelors. She was specifically interested in a handsome boy named Adam who was already in a courtship with a cute girl, Theresa, whose father was the area’s largest potato farmer, Bill Richmand, and, unlike Sadie, had a number of courtship offers. Adam was invited to the race because Miss Theresa and Adam weren’t actually engaged. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race, the bachelors of the town were running for their freedom. Adam scored fourth place out of 10, leaving John Jonston as Sadie’s prize. It is possible that the concept’s origins are in an inversion of the myth of Atalanta, who, reluctant to marry, agreed to wed whoever could outrun her in a footrace.

            ‘When ah fires [my gun], all o’ yo’ kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin—- after givin’ yo’ a fair start—- Sadie starts a runnin’. Th’ one she ketches’ll be her husbin.’

            The town spinsters decided that this was a good idea, so they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch’s bachelors. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown, by law he had to marry her.”

sadie hawkins cartoon

The 1937 cartoon which started it all.

The idea caught on and, just two years later, an article in Time magazine claimed over 200 Sadie Hawkins dances were being held that year at colleges throughout the United States. By 1952 it was estimated that the annual November event was celebrated in 40,000 venues!

Sadie Hawkins Dance, 1949d

Some late 1940’s Sadie Hawkins costumes

Even today, Sadie Hawkins festivities remain popular in the mid-west and south and women – perhaps still shy about asking a boy out – can feel free to pursue the guy of their dreams on November 13.

When I was a teenager, Tolo was our high school version of Sadie Hawkins Day. Apparently a Tolo Dance is unique to the Pacific Northwest. It was started at the University of Washington by Mortar Board, an all women’s honorary society, known there as the Tolo Club. The first dance held by the Tolo Club was conceived as a fundraiser. Like a Sadie Hawkins Day dance, it was the girls who asked the boys.

But back to high school. There was something frightening about the concept of asking a guy to go out. What if he said ‘no’? What if he told his friends and laughed about you behind your back? What if, what if, what if…

And yet somehow I screwed up the courage to ask one my junior year. His name was Mel, he was a senior, and he was an assistant editor on the yearbook staff. We had worked together on the annual since the beginning of school. I thought he was cute, had a good sense of humor, and would be fun to ask to Tolo.

In those days people didn’t do crazy things to ask someone, you just waited until the person was alone and then swoop in. Perhaps I asked him during class one day. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried to block the incident from my memory because I don’t recall exactly how or when I asked him. All I know is that I did and that he said he would.

When the day of the big event arrived I was a wreck, obsessing over what I had chosen to wear (Don’t judge – all I can say is that double knit was a thing in 1973). And obsessing over what we would talk about all evening and if he really wanted to even go with me.

So we went to Tolo, danced, hung out with Mort (editor of the annual that year) and his date a bit, made small talk, and then Mel took me home. The evening ended with a polite ‘thanks for asking me, I had a good time’ verbal handshake and then he left.

 Afterwards I was determined to not let the less than stellar date affect our friendship in class and things went back to normal. Mel’s most famous moment in high school occurred a few months later in the spring of 1974 when he became the one and only student at Eisenhower High School to – at an after school track meet – participate in the nationwide phenomenon of … streaking! He graduated that June – in cap and gown – and I have never seen him again.

The next year there was no way I going to put myself through another awkward evening. I stayed on the sidelines and have never regretted that decision.

 What the experience of asking Mel to Tolo did for me was two things:

  • First, it made me totally appreciate the challenge for men – at least in my day – of having to read the tea leaves of a woman’s interest levels. It’s darn intimidating to figure out if she’ll say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
  • Second, from experiences such as that, I gained valuable insight which has made it easier to penetrate the heads of the fictional characters I write. If I can conjure up the way I felt  when I asked someone out or endured an awkward date, then I can imagine a character – male or female – having similar trepidation’s.

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Some Sadie Hawkins girls participating in catch and release.

So here’s to Sadie Hawkins day… hope you ladies out there looking to ask that perfect guy out on a date find a keeper. Otherwise, there’s always catch and release.

A couple of links for you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadie_Hawkins_Day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadie_Hawkins_dance

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Capp

Oktoberfest

October 2, 2018

Bavarian Beer Bacchanalia

In the category of ‘Any Excuse For A Party’ – Oktoberfest is one of the biggies.

It began in 1810 as a celebration of the wedding of Kronprinz Ludwig and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen of Bavaria. According to the Infallible Wikipedia:

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Traditional Bavarian dancers celebrate Oktoberfest

“The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (‘Theresa’s Meadow’) in honour of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the ‘Wiesn’. Horse races, in the tradition of the 15th-century Scharlachrennen (Scarlet Race at Karlstor), were held on 18 October to honor the newlyweds.”

Apparently the citizens of Munich had such a good time that everyone thought it was a splendid idea to do it again the next year… and the next… and pretty much every year for the next 208 years. Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

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“Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. (snip) The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.”

For many years the festival was held during the first half of October but was moved to the last two weeks of September and culminates the first weekend of October. But there is one caveat: if the first weekend ends on either the first or second, then the festival runs until the third.

The beer served at the Munich festival must conform to a standard known as Reinheitsgebot, and it must be brewed within the city limits of Munich in order to be served at the Munich Oktoberfest. The only breweries which can participate are:

  • Augustiner-Bräu
  • Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner
  • Spatenbräu
  • Staatliches Hofbräu-München

For more information and minutiae than you could ever hope to know, be sure to visit the Wikipedia page linked below.

This past weekend, while in Reno visiting our daughter and her boyfriend, the hubby and I agreed to attend a Lake Tahoe version of Oktoberfest. Held in Tahoe City,  the event featured beer, of course, as well as food and entertainment. There were about a half dozen breweries present. Since I’m not a beer drinker, I was happy to see Barefoot Wines have a booth. We enjoyed a lovely day along the shores of the lake although it was windy.

There was a live band – the Beer Gardeners – who played 60’s and 70’s music. There were also contests including a wiener toss. The game was exactly like a raw egg toss where partners stand across from each other and toss eggs to each other until the egg drops and breaks and the pair is eliminated from the game.

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The competition was fierce at Tahoe City Oktoberfest celebration.

But instead of eggs, they toss their wiener back and forth. About 12 pairs of wiener tossers participated and each time a wiener was successfully caught, the participants would take a step further apart. The game was won when only one pair was left who hadn’t dropped their wiener. Yes, I’ve just used the word wiener five times. Yes I took photos.

wiener toss
The Weiner winners!

But the main reason for the event was to drink beer. As the internet might tell you “Beer Is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Contrary to popular belief Ben Franklin never said that. It was probably just a marketing ploy for Oktoberfest and another excuse to have a beer.

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No beer for the author… but the wine and giant pretzel were delicious!