Monday, November 20, 2017
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When I was growing up, pistachios were red. They were dyed and your fingers and tongue were always red after you ate them. Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Why were they red? In 1912, brothers John and Frank Germack, ages 12 and 7, immigrated from Syria to New York, where they started a food wholesale business, importing foods from the Middle East to satisfy a large and growing immigrant population from Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Eventually, the company expanded to Detroit, where they set up the Germack Pistachio Company in 1924, specializing in Turkish pistachios. During the Depression,... (Read More ...)

Addition. A collection of dice (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Supplies A pair of dice Chalk Driveway, sidewalk, or other clear spot Instructions Draw 12 circles on driveway, numbering them from 1 to 12. They can be the same size or different sizes, the same shape or different shapes Roll dice Add the dice Hop the number on the two dice, either each one at a time or the sum Start over with each roll Optional: change the way you hop: step, skip, jump backwards, use one foot or two feet, use left foot, then right foot, hold a toy, raise your hands in the air Optional: in a variation of hopscotch, toss... (Read More ...)

I remember watching the Disney movie, “Mary Poppins” when it first came out. It was released August 27, 1964, the summer before my Senior year of high school. Child dressed in “Mary Poppins” costume, 1964. The Walt Disney Company had a very successful children’s toy and costume merchandising campaign in conjunction with the Julie Andrews film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I had never read the original 1933 book on which the movie is based, and, after watching the movie, it never occurred to me to read the book. That changed when I recently saw the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks.” This... (Read More ...)

U Iron your socks don’t you? Day 28 of 365 (Photo credit: DieselDemon) A soon-to-be cousin from the other side of the family, young and single, at a recent family wedding asked me if it is true that men have to be trained after they are married and if they are trainable. My husband and I looked at each other and both said, “the iron.” My husband broke the ice. “Both people train each other to what they need.” Then, I told the story. On some occasion, I no longer remember whether it was a birthday or Christmas, but let’s just say it was Christmas, my husband gave me an iron. He knows... (Read More ...)

Laugh-In was a comedy factory on television in the 1960s and 1970s the way Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show are today. Regular cast members included: Publicity photo of Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, and Judy Carne as she joins the Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In cast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Lily Tomlin Goldie Hawn Ruth Buzzi Chelsea Brown Judy Carne Henry Gibson Arte Johnson All were featured by nightclub comics and show hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Celebrity guests included: John Wayne Rita Hayworth Tiny Tim Jack Benny Johnny Carson Sammy Davis,... (Read More ...)

They read like the 1930s relics they are. They are tiny little booklets, tasseled and corded so women could tie them to their wrists, with numbered lines so dance partners could sign up for the dances they wanted when they asked permission to sign a girl’s dance card.  Photo of a dance card from a June 26, 1899 dance hosted by the Sphinx Senior Society at Dartmouth College (Photo credit: Wikipedia) These are from my Mother’s college scrapbook. None had the numbered lines filled in. All were reserved for and signed by her date of the evening. Fifth Annual University of Michigan Union Formal Friday,... (Read More ...)

Big numbers. A bowl of white granulated sugar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) How long would it take you to count to one million? Eleven and-a-half days, if you counted at the rate of one number a second. This activity helps you see how much one million of something is. Supplies White, granulated sugar Measuring cup One sheet of black construction paper Instructions Measure out one-quarter cup of sugar Pour it onto the black construction paper What Should Happen? You have just measured out one million granules of sugar. Why Is This Important? Numbers with lots of zeros, like million, billion and... (Read More ...)

Pizza Boxes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When former math teacher, David Adler, started writing math storybooks for children, he set out to explain big concepts. Shapes, word problems, fractions, algebra and Roman numerals. In his brand-new, 2013 book, “Millions, Billions & Trillions,” he tackles big numbers. Parents and teachers may care that it “meets the Common Core State Standards for fourth-grade mathematics in Number and Operations in Base Ten.” Grandparents will delight in its whimsical illustrations and real-world-based representation of how much a million, or billion, or trillion... (Read More ...)

Borge Madsen filed a patent for the slide fastener, the plastic zipper that makes plastic bags resealable, for the Ziploc® bag on January 27, 1951. The patent was issued on October 14, 1952. A Ziploc plastic bag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) He sold rights to this and a couple of related patents to the Flexigrip company, which used them to make those plastic pockets for pencils in three-ring binders you may remember from school. But, where they really hit their stride was in small, resealable bags for storing food. In 1961, Flexigrip licensed a patented plastic zipper bag from a Japanese company,... (Read More ...)

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing between 90,000 and 166,000, half on the first day. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., pilot of the ENOLA GAY, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, waves from his cockpit before the takeoff, 6 August 1945. 208-LU-13H-5. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) On August 9, 1945, we dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing 60,000 to 80,000 people. You can argue, as we did, that there would have been more than a million American casualties, including at least 400,000 deaths, if we invaded Japan, as we were preparing... (Read More ...)