Saturday, February 28, 2009

Most Treasured Pop Culture Possession

Enough of my blogger block (that's writer's block for you writers)! Finally I thought of something, after visiting Monkey Muck. I came across his "Pop Culture Friday" post. Check it out!

Anyway, at the end of it, he asks "What's your most treasured pop culture possession?" Mine would have to be my Madonna "Sex" book." I got it out of it's deeply hidden secret place and began flipping through it. I had forgotten just how nasty explicit it is!
The first picture (above) shows it in it's original mylar package, made to resemble a condom packet.

The book, which was bounded in an original format involving two sheets of metal, each numbered, and sealed in a Mylar plastic sleeve is genius. Although it is a book that is highly likely to cause airport security to open your bags, Madonna must have had a reason to do something so creative, yet so risque.

Towards the back of the book is one of few full color pages, a comic book like section that is a smaller insert called "Dita in the Chelsea." Dita (Madonna) is the one in the center at the top.

This is also probably the only page I could show that doesn't contain either full nudity or sexually explicit diary entries. Madonna wrote the book as a character named Mistress Dita, inspired by the silent film actress Dita Parlo.

Now out-of-print, Madonna's "Sex," book was one of the 1990's greatest hypes due to its' graphic depiction of sex. Where else can you see Madonna strutting down Miami Beach with Vanilla Ice naked, or see her making out with such celebrities as Isabella Rossellini and Naomi Campbell?

According to Wikipedia, "Sex" is a highly designed coffee table book written by Madonna with photographs by Steven Meisel and film frames taken from film shot by Fabien Baron. No offense to Madonna, but this book was never on my coffee table!

"Sex" was released on October 21, 1992 by Warner Books. The book was released by Madonna as an accompaniment to her fifth studio album Erotica, which was released a day earlier (October 20, 1992). Only limited copies of the book were printed, so I knew it would be a collectors item.

Truly, "Sex" remains a classic due to its main goal of reopening the sexual revolution in the evangelicalism the 1990's brought. Homosexuality, lesbianism, and fetishes were all somewhat taboos to be discussed or shown in public, however nowadays attitudes have changed. In some ways, Madonna was a pioneer, and as so, she deserves credit for being the most outrageous, daring woman of the 20th century.

By the way, my daughter was nine years old, when I got this book. Although a big Madonna fan herself, she never saw the book. I kept it under lock and key. She never even knew I had the book!

Here is the back page and back cover. Notice the "X" cut out on the metal back... is that really an "x," or is it something else?! And what is your most treasured pop culture possesion?

(Some excerpts about this book were from a book review by Luis Hernandez (NYC, NY) at

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Open Mouth Insert Foot

Today on the CBS Early Show Biden forgot the name of the web site accounting for the stimulus package and how the money is spent. When asked if he knew the website, he responded, "You know, I'm embarrassed, do you know the website number?"

I know, I know! It's 1-800-dumb-ass.

Dr. Jill Biden must be so proud of him! I thought he was a smart guy! Has this guy ever even been on the internet? It seems like every time he opens his mouth, it's an embarrassment for the Obama administration.

Maybe VP Biden should have checked with former VP Al Gore first. After all, Gore once claimed on tv to have invented the internet.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Buzz

I love the Hindi song "Jai Ho," by A. R. Rahman and was happy to see it win for the best song in a motion picture. Thank you to diluthedon at YouTube for posting the video.

I wasn't going to make a blog post about the Oscars, since there are already so many great ones out there. I found my favorite review over at Monkey Muck, one of my favorite blogs. So please visit his great blog post "Suck It Lou Dobbs," which is actually his thoughts on the Oscars.

I must say, I agree with him on all of his commentary, and I left a lengthy comment there. So, if you want my thoughts on the Oscars, check under the comments over there. The only thing I forgot to add was that I did not like the choppy movie footage that was cut in and out of the clips for the Best Motion Picture nominees!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

I wore these pink tights and people still didn't know

Oh the a tween I would spend weekends with two of my favorite cousins, Wendy and David. We all loved music and would spend many hours singing and dancing like fools. Wendy was the oldest and had all the pop albums, and she absolutely loved the Bay City Rollers. She especially had a crush on Les McKeown, pictured above. We mostly played and sang along to their big hit "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night." Wendy also had the hots for Queen's (gay, but closeted back then) Freddie Mercury. If only she knew back then what is known today! It was such a taboo to be gay back then that her christian mother probably wouldn't have allowed us to play albums like these. I guess for the same reason, that's why these singers remained in the closet.

In all fairness to Wendy, whom I love dearly; she didn't just have the hots for closeted gay guys. And even if she had, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Wendy loved all those guys back then that appeared in Tiger Beat--her favorite magazine at that time.

So it's just came out recently that pop singer Les McKeown, 53, has been living a secret gay life for the past 30 years. According to reports, the lead singer for the ''70s pop sensation the Bay City Rollers has admitted it in front of cameras for a TV documentary.

(Click the title link, if you want to read the story).

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At-large Chicken Captured

It's true, I make fun of my local paper. Sometimes though, it prints some really great articles, like this one. I'm happy to report that this was not an escaped chicken from our little farm. Last year a speckled Plymouth Rock rooster ran away from our farm, and he did find his way to town! He was quickly caught and returned before causing havoc like this chicken.

If you like this article, be sure and click on the title link and scroll down and read the snarky readers comments!

JACKSONVILLE, IL --After leading police on a foot chase Thursday afternoon, Jacksonville’s marauding black chicken has been taken into custody, and the fugitive fowl would no longer be terrorizing the streets and parks of Jacksonville.

Despite repeated attempts by police, animal control and concerned citizens to subdue the chicken, it eluded capture for five days.

The chicken was spotted early Thursday evening near the High School Apartments in the 500 block of West State Street. A local chicken expert was alerted and, upon arriving at the scene, the chicken expert was able to catch the wily creature in less than five minutes.

The black chicken is now incarcerated at an undisclosed location outside of Jacksonville. It has joined the previously fugitive white chicken, which was apprehended Tuesday in a downtown parking lot by a group of citizens armed only with blankets and a pet carrier.

As reported in Tuesday’s and Friday’s Journal-Courier, the two chickens had menaced Jacksonville’s downtown area since Feb. 14, both startling and amusing residents and business patrons in the process.

The contributor of this story, Beth Racey, works in the personnel department at The Farmers State Bank and Trust Company located in downtown Jacksonville.

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You can find her up in heaven

My daily paper also has some outrageous articles in it sometimes. I'll probably be making more future blog posts occasionally of crap that ends up in print. I cut out this letter to the editor in December, but wanted to wait awhile to post it. Surely the editor would print an apology by now. But since he didn't, I decided to post this. The deceased person's name has been marked out to give the family a little privacy. The letter is both sad, but unintentionally funny in the end.

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Governor Quinn asks for federal aid for nine states

What? He has his hands full already with just one state! That was my first thought. Then I looked closer at the article, and realized it should've said nine counties, not nine states. A closer look made me notice Huckabee (a big deal there) on the front page too. This little paper almost always uses phrases like "had the pleasure of," and "a good time was enjoyed by all." It's frequently full of unintentional humor! The paper usually doesn't have errors like this issue, which was also full of typographical errors. I hope the economy hasn't caused job cuts there. If I'm not mistaken, the newspaper only has one full time employee and maybe two part timers.

This is my weekly home town newspaper--The Hardin County Independent, or "the paper" as most of us call it. It also has the nickname "Hardin County Gossip," due to the detailed court news. Well, it's not actually a home town newspaper, because it is a county wide newspaper serving the entire county (population 4,800), made up of three tiny rural towns.

It comes out every Thursday. If I am lucky, I receive mine by the following Monday. It must have been a slow mail day, since I got this issue on Friday. I subscribe to the paper, so I can keep up with the news without having to make the 278 mile trip home. I think I will make a weekly blog post about something funny, odd, or outrageous from the little eight page newspaper.

Most of my relatives live in that county shown in red on the above map. I lived there during most of my childhood. I can remember always looking forward to Thursday afternoons, so I could read the newspaper. The only daily newspaper available was the Paducah (Kentucky) Sun, or the Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Press. Neither of these newspapers had much news from rural southern Illinois, and I couldn't afford to buy one each day anyway. USA Today didn't even exist back then.

Back in the day we had to rely on one of the three television stations (ABC, NBC, and CBS) or radio stations in nearby towns for our news. We didn't even have FM radio until I was a teenager! And with the beautiful hills and hollows of southern Illinois, we were lucky to receive one or two radio stations. Of course, there was no internet yet either!

Now I live in the pistol shaped county shown in yellow. I'm glad I live in a community now that is large enough to support a daily newspaper. Like many before me, I left beautiful southern Illinois for college and employment. I can't imagine ever moving back "home." I am just too used to certain things, like a daily newspaper, 24 hour shopping, airports, etc!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Elf Help

This video and one of the Burris mausoleum pictures via:

Daughter Number Three

Another great blog I stumbled across today! She saw the video on BoingBoing! It's only 18 seconds long!

UPDATE: You must read the hilarious comments!

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HughesNet Sucks

My internet service is through HughesNet. I only subscribe to this service, because I am two miles from town and neither cable or DSL is available this far out. I have tried dial up and a local wireless service, and both of them were slow as a turtle. Am I happy with HughesNet? Hell, no! I wish it were as great as they make it sound, but believe me, if you have another source for high speed internet; take it! Beware of HughesNet and their phony high speed claims!
I don't know if it is the wind, or clouds or what, but instead of getting a page to load, I am almost daily getting this message several times a day:
Web Acceleration Client Error (506) - Suspected Recent Satellite Link Outage

The satellite link was operating properly up until the most recent web page request, but the last request could not be successfully sent across the satellite link to the Web Acceleration Server. Possible causes for this include recent changes in weather conditions or equipment problems in the Network Operations Center. Trying again at a later time may result in restored service due to either improvements in the weather conditions causing the service outage or rectification of a network problem in the Network Operations Center. If this problem persists, please contact your service provider for additional assistance.
Usually I just need to refresh, but even that is ridiculous for this expensive service!

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Kanye West, so Gay

I got my issue of Details magazine today...ok, I don't know when it actually came, since I haven't checked my mail since last week. Anyway. I had already read rumors all over the internet about Kanye West being gay, or Kanye coming out, Kanye gay this, Kaye gay that...whatever.

It appears he is not gay, but he has plenty of nice things to say to and about the gay community or at least the connotation of the word "gay." I almost feel bad now for dropping him from my myspace friends, but good Lord, anybody that sends out a thousand bulletins a day gets dropped from my myspace friends! Who wants to sort through all that crap to find bulletins from their real friends? Not me! I don't mean to single Kanye out for this; after all, I dropped Kat Deluna for the same damn reason!
Anyway back to the whole "Gay Kanye" news...

Says Kanye: "Titles are very important. I like to embody titles, y'know, or words that have negative connotations, and explain why that's good. Take the word gay—like, in hip-hop, that's a negative thing, right? But in the past two, three years, all the gay people I've encountered have been, like, really, really, extremely dope. Y'know, I haven't, like, gone to a gay bar, nor do I ever plan to. But where I would talk to a gay person—the conversation would be mostly around, like, art or design—it'd be really dope. From a design standpoint, kids'll say, 'Dude, those pants are gay.' But if it's, like, good, good, good fashion-level, design-level stuff, where it's on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it's, like, gay people that do that. I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, 'Dude, that's so good it's almost . . . gay.'"
Adds Details: "West's friends and professional adjuncts, who quietly pass in and out of his loft throughout the day, start cracking up, and he leaves his chair for a bit of stand-up: 'Dude, that's so good it's almost gay!' 'Dude, you pay real attention to detail—that's almost, like, gay!' 'You had a whole conversation with that girl without bringing up sex? That was, like, gay!'"
West also had something to say about his previous comments about being the voice of this generation:
"If not me, then who? Someone could be a better rapper, dance better. But culturally impacting? When you look back at these four and a half years, who's the icon at the end of the day? Who broke down color barriers? What other black guy would a white person use as a fashion reference?"
West may be a bit overly self loving, but he may be on to something about the 'That's So Gay' thing...
Okay, back to reality...Kanye, I quit loving your music after hearing you sing about crack in "Crack Music." Crack destroys families, you fool! I sure don't want to hear songs about it, let alone sing along to it. And your use of the "N" word (dare I say it, since I am white) does not make your music very appealing. I don't want to sing along to those kind of lyrics either!
I could care less, if you are gay or not, but I hardly think you can change the meaning of the word gay. Just like the "N" word, it will always be a slap in the face, when used to hurt people. I applaud your efforts though to make it a more positive adjective though, so thank you.
Keep on doing things like "American Boy" with Estelle, and you can't go wrong! That is one of the best songs of 2008! But if you are gay, just come out. It's okay, really! You don't have to beat around the bush.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Burris Pressured to Resign

Unlike many bloggers, who posted these pictures of the living recently appointed Illinois Senator Roland Burris's pre-carved mausoleum, I have held off....until now! Why?

Well for one, now seems like a good time, since it fits into the theme of some of my latest posts about famous tombs (Abraham Lincoln).

As if you needed another reason, how about just to poke fun at our great state's illustrious joke of a senator.

Please accept my apologies, if you have seen these pictures on numerous blogs already! If you haven't seen them by now, it's time!

It's just so over the top, but yet obviously very serious for the Burris family (whatever).

It Seems somewhat weird, if you ask me!

Just look at all his accomplishments in the above photo that he has engraved already, and pay special attention to the blank area purposely left for "future" accomplishments... such as (appointed) senator.

The photo above is from Daughter Number Three's blog , where we now see "First African-American in Illinois to become a U.S. senator appointed by a governor, who should have resigned--2009."

It seems as though Senator Burris's memory has gotten better, since he was notified that he may have been recorded on Blagojevich's wiretapped phone calls.

And so he is being pressured to resign. Yes, our Illinois Senator Roland Burris is being pressured to resign, after revelations that he tried to raise money for the disgraced governor who appointed him.

Burris testified in January that he hadn’t had contact with key staffers for then-Governor Rod Blagojevich or offered anything in return for the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

He now acknowledges, however, that he was asked to raise money for Blagojevich and tried, unsuccessfully, to do so.

Illinois Governor Quinn and several black Chicago ministers, who previously supported him are asking for his resignation.

Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in what sounded like a veiled threat, called on Sen. Roland Burris to "take some time over the weekend" to explain once and for all exactly what happened before his appointment to the Senate and to consider "his future."

What do I think Burris will/should do? Well, obviously he should resign, but I think he will sit tight. He is not budging! He wanted this job, and he got it, damnit! And after all, this is Illinois; do we really expect to find a new honest appointee?! And why even bother? He only has this seat until next year, so I say, let him have it. There is absolutely no need for a costly special election. That would only waste a lot of time and money. We in Illinois should just take our lumps and accept the cards as they have been dealt.

Let Burris have his fifteen minutes of fame. It's not worth fighting over. Let's just chill and move on. Next year we will have the opportunity to elect our junior senator and not have to worry about some corrupt governor appointing him or her.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rick Santelli's "Rant of the Year"

I'm not saying he's right or wrong, but anybody that rants like this deserves to be heard. It looks like someone needs to switch to decaf!

An instant classic...Rick captures the mood of the country...unless of course you or your neighbor is facing foreclosure!

This morning's trading floor buzz on whether the government's plan to save the economy will actually help the markets, with Jason Roney, Sharmac Capital; Wilbur Ross Jr., WL Ross & Co. and CNBC's Rick Santelli.

Santelli's Chicago Tea Party:

The government is promoting bad behavior...

Do we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages...

This is America!

How many of you want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage?

President Obama, are you listening?

How about we all stop paying our mortgage!

It's a moral hazard...

When called a "revolutionary leader," Santellis says, "Somebody needs one! If you read about our founding fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson; what we're doing right now is making them roll over in their graves."

On a personal note...maybe Rick knows a family like I do: A two income family with two kids in a small rural Illinois town; they can't keep up with their mortgage, but they just had to take that Disneyland vacation! And they did take that vacation! This family didn't even have a lavish home or an unaffordable mortage. They were just irresponsible!

So, I was glad to see Rick's rant all over tv, and more than happy to share it with anyone that missed it! Again, I don't necessarily agree with all of his rant. I feel bad for anyone facing foreclosure, and I hope people in this situation can refinance with an affordable payment at a lower interest rate.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stealing Lincoln's Body

I watched "Stealing Lincoln's Body" on the History Channel Monday night and highly recommend it. History Channel will air it again February 20th at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and again on February 21 at 4:00 p.m. (central time zone)

Here's a short synopsis: Chicago counterfeiters plot to steal Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom; after the president is assassinated in 1865, his body is moved many times until finally being laid to rest in 1901; embalming becomes popular with the death of Lincoln.
The two hour film is supplemented with digitally restored photographs and "virtual cinematography." Lincoln appears in motion-picture clips that were digitally created from historical photographs.
With all the counterfeiting going on, Lincoln established the secret service to combat the problem. The secret service is still involved in preventing and catching counterfeiters today, but most of us think of them as protecting our president. Unfortunately back then the agency had no such role in protecting the president.
I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but will say Lincoln's body was moved ten times before placed in his final resting place.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oops...forgot to use spellchecker

Olny srmat poelpe can raed this.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, ao cc drnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the first and last ltteer be in the r ghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

People Don't Even Want to Line their Bird Cage With It

After a tiring day at work, I went to my post office box to pick up my mail.
Once again I found the trash can overflowing with the new free weekly paper that is mailed to everyone.
People really hate unwanted mail! I tossed mine in the trash too.
This time I think I will email this picture to the little paper that nobody wants.

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Local Banks Closed by Regulators

This was on the front page of our daily paper today.

The left column had the bad news-- the linked article about the failed bank, two actually. The Pittsfield bank had a branch here in town (Jacksonville). We first heard about it on CNN! The bank--Corn Belt Bank & Trust Co. was the newest little bank in town.
The right column had the good news: "Love conquers all. Apparently, even economic fears. Jacksonville florists (5 shops) report sales are blooming this Valentine's Day. If they want to give flowers, money is no object for guys..."
It's true. We all had brisk sales all week long, just like every year for Valentine's Day. We sure needed it, after the last holiday, Christmas. Customers just did not spend in December as they have in previous years, so we didn't know what to expect for Valentine's Day. Usually Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year for most florists, but this year the 13th was the busiest, since most people have Saturday off from work. A lot of guys have flowers delivered to their sweetheart's work place, just so her co-workers will be envious can see that someone loves them. Whatever the reason, business deliveries are much easier than home deliveries, so we're happy to have so many.
I'm just glad it's over! Thanks to Red Bull, I made it through another Valentine's Day!

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Happy Valentine's Day Everyone, Now Go Crazy

And speaking of "crazy"...Thanks "Half Crazy" you are my first follower! I really appreciate it! Looking forward to reading more blog posts by you. You may be my only follower for awhile, as I'm not sure if too many people read my blog.

For all the couple out there...hope it's a very happy romantic day for you!

Valentine's Day is winding down at work (thank God, I'm exhausted), so I took time out for this post. I may be too tired to do this later, so taking some time now. We had our big rush day yesterday with everyone wanting their flowers delivered to work (to show off to their co-workers that they really can't stand). I sure worked some late hours the last few days though!

Well, I have been too busy with work to make a daily romantic post like I wanted! I was going to post Vanessa Williams "Dreamin" video up, and it is disabled on you tube! You can still watch it there though. I think she will let you embed the version from her greatest hits, but there is no accompanying video! I love love love Vanessa Williams, and have all her music.

Wow, there are so many "love songs" out there! I see on yahoo music, there is even a radio station called "Valentine Love Songs!"

What is your favorite love song?

Brandy has a new song out that is about being separated by distance--not sure of the name of it. It is a beautiful CURRENT song. There are so many "classic" golden oldies though!

Another one of my all time favorite love songs is "I Go Crazy." It reminds me of my "first love" at age 15! She lives in Arizona, but we have remained in touch all these years! When I told her I always think of her, when I hear this song, she surprised me and said she always thinks of me, when she hears "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman! I thought this was "our" song and she thought the other one was our song. I think we danced to them at a high school dance.

I didn't realize that Paul Davis had passed away...such a great talent lost. "gypsytwo" posted the video on youtube and said:

This is a Dedication to Paul Davis, who just this past april, passed away. He was only 60. R.I.P. 1948-2008

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Want to Know What Love Is

Hate it or love it...I'm giving you at one of my favorite love song's at least once a day through Valentine's Day. This one, "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner is from the early eighties is very dear to my heart. Hope you enjoy!

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Lincoln Bicentennial

Happy 200th, Mr. Lincoln

Springfield's favorite son, Abraham Lincoln, is the center of attention as the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of his birth today. Events are going on through the 22nd throughout central Illinois, which culminates with an appearance by President Barack Obama this evening after his much touted appearance at Caterpillar in Peoria. The President will speak briefly at a Lincoln banquet at the Crowne Plaza hotel. The banquet is of course sold out.

Having lived several years in Springfield and most of my life in nearby Jacksonville, I have had the honor job of tour guide of the Lincoln sites for many friends and family members. My favorite local Lincoln site would have to be Lincoln's Tomb. Once you are inside the burial room, it is dark and a little creepy. The large monument does not contain the 16th President. He is buried very deep below.
Along the south wall of the burial room are five crypts containing the remains of Mrs. Lincoln and three of Lincoln's four sons (his eldest, Robert Todd Lincoln, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery).

According to the State Journal-Register, “Reflections: The American Funeral,” a mobile exhibit on funeral traditions, will be at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Oak Ridge Cemetery through Sunday. A special feature is a reproduction of Abraham Lincoln’s casket with a tracing of his nearly three-week-long funeral procession. The exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sunday. Here are some great shots of Lincoln's Tomb, but there is plenty more to see.

....U.S. National Historic Landmark (left)

The model of the sculpture at the Lincoln Memorial in Lincoln’s Tomb’s rotunda.

Inside the crypt burial room.

For all the 411 on the Lincoln events, check out the Springfield's State Journal-Register's Bicentennial page ( When you get the chance, be sure and visit Springfield!

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This is the Valentine I received last year, one of my favorite's ever--short and sweet. I don't keep every single greeting card, but some I will keep forever or as long as I can. And no you can't see the inside LOL. I will tell you that it had a nice bonu$ enclosed though! Nothing says "I Love You" like cash...well for me anyway, I can't have sweets, sure don't want roses, and am always too exhausted to go out for a romantic dinner. Despite the fact that this is our 22nd Valentine's Day together, we don't have the same civil right as our straight friends to legally marry in this state. Does that seem fair to you? It doesn't to me!

I remember our first Valentine's Day, we did go out to dinner, I got a box of chocolates and flowers. We don't have to do that every year. We don't get to enjoy our holidays as much, since we work in a holiday industry. Don't forget your special Valentine! If nothing else, a card will do, just to show that you care. Happy Valentine's Day!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Roses Roses Roses!

I won't have much time to "write" in my blog for a few days, because I will be working more hours. Here's a few snapshots I took after my 10 hour work day today. It will be hectic at work until Saturday--Valentine's Day, but it is worth it. Customers have been pleasant both on the phone and in person. Our drivers will see hundreds of happy smiling recipients in the next three days! It's fun to see all the romantic and some mushy card messages, but of course, we keep that very private.

The first picture is a closeup of a large bucket of our most popular red roses. Each bunch contains 25 roses. Valentine's Day is our busiest day of the year. With the holiday falling on a Saturday this year, we are getting many orders for Friday delivery to businesses. That will help immensely with our last minute walk-in customers. Most people wait until the last minute, which can cause chaos (but nothing we can't handle).

Roses and flowers as far as the eye can see! Most of are red roses are called "Freedom." They come in lengths from 40 cm. to 70 cm. We also have an abundance of pink roses and roses of just about every color imaginable. These are just the ones that are not in the cooler that came in today and have to be conditioned or "take water" before being refrigerated. A floral preservative has been added to the water for longer lasting roses. This "floralife," as we call it, will also be added to all arrangements as they are made. These roses will all be sold by Saturday and another shipment will be in tomorrow and Friday. We have about 1,200 roses on hand now. We can only handle so many at a time due to buckets needed and floor space.

Here's a shot of one of our "specials" tightly packed into a flower cooler. I may post more flower pictures by Saturday, since I won't have much time to actually "write" much in a post, at least the blog will have some fresh content...fresh as a daisy (or in this case, a rose)!

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Love is in the air!

This John Paul Young hit, "Love is in the Air" from 1978 remains a classic love song even today. Thanks to antobilic (Alex) on youtube for putting together this slideshow of loving pairs of pets and animals. If you're as old as me (or older) then I hope hearing this song will bring back some good memories...of another time...the end of the disco era, and for me my fun filled teen age years.

Love is in the air...everywhere I look around.
Love is in the air... every sight and every sound.
And I don't know if I'm being foolish,
don't know if I'm being wise...
but it's something that I must believe in
and it's there when I look in your eyes...

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


There's a lot of passion in the air, as Valentine's Day approaches. What better time for me to show off my beautiful passion flower vine that I have grown for the last two years. I took these three pictures on different days late last summer.

My friend Randy grew it from seed and gave me the inch tall seedling two years ago. I was especially happy to receive this species, because my Mother grew them during my childhood. I remember as a little boy being so fascinated by this flower.

I am passionate about flowers; that is how I make my living. In my spare time at home, I also enjoy a little gardening. The passion flower (passiflora) is one of my favorite plants to grow.

Until I looked it up on Wikipedia (the title link), I never realized that the Passiflora are a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae.

They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous.

Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. (for more information, click the title link).

pas⋅sion (from

1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
2. strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
3. strong sexual desire; lust.
4. an instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.
5. a person toward whom one feels strong love or sexual desire.
6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.
7. the object of such a fondness or desire: Accuracy became a passion with him.
8. an outburst of strong emotion or feeling: He suddenly broke into a passion of bitter words.
9. violent anger.
10. the state of being acted upon or affected by something external, esp. something alien to one's nature or one's customary behavior (contrasted with
action ).
11. (often initial capital letter) Theology.
a. the sufferings of Christ on the cross or His sufferings subsequent to the Last Supper.
b. the narrative of Christ's sufferings as recorded in the Gospels.
12. Archaic. the sufferings of a martyr.

Origin: 1125–75; ME (<> late OE passiōn), special use of LL passiō suffering, submission, deriv. of L passus, ptp. of patī to suffer, submit; see

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Shopping Tips for Valentine's Day Flowers

I have been working in the floral industry for over twenty years. During that time I have learned a thing or two. Today I want to share some of that knowledge with you, the customer. I was really torn about this post, because certain words will generate an ad for one of these companies that I am trying to warn you about. If you do see an ad for flowers on this blog or any web page, please read this article first!

I am grateful to my friends at
Florist Detective for putting together such a comprehensive site. I urge all of you that are tempted to order flowers online to please educate yourself first. Please visit their website ( ). It will save you money!

Shopping Tips for Valentine's Day Flowers

Before you order a picture...but really get sent a puzzle,

Read this:

What you see isn't always what you'll get.

Looking for the perfect rose arrangement to send your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? Before you hit the 'buy' button, stop and read the entire product description or you may be in for a surprising disappointment.
Instead of sending an impressive, professionally designed, hand delivered vase of romantic roses that's the envy of the office, you might be buying a cardboard-wrapped grower's bunch delivered in a box - a gift that requires your own special Valentine to clean, condition, re-cut and arrange it.

When no one's home, these FedEx, UPS and DHL delivered flowers may be left at the door despite February's below-freezing temperatures in most of the US.
For the freshest presentation of roses this Valentine's Day, trust your local florist to professionally arrange and personally deliver not only roses, but a wide variety of romantic flowers like tulips, orchids and lilies to delight that very special someone.

Just how much 'WOW' do you want to send?

Website flower arrangement images can make size comparisons a challenge - especially when shopping for roses and rose arrangements. Pages display designs in the same format and image sizes, generally fill each frame with the product, and may give the impression that the overall dimensions of adjacent photos are similar in size.
While many florist sites include approximate arrangement dimensions along with the product descriptions, some do not - and leave you to guess.
For metrically-challenged US consumers, there is a simple conversion chart that displays roses in both centimeters (the way they are often sold) and inches for easy flower size comparisons. Click on the title link to see that chart. Please note that these sizes and descriptions are based on average measurements and that no floral industry-wide grades and standards exist for terms like 'medium stem' or 'long stem' roses. It pays to ask each merchant directly for specific dimensions if overall appearance and size matter.

* Bud sizes and flower heights will vary between varieties and colors. We recommend you contact the florist direct for specific details about their available varieties for the Valentine's Day holiday.

When, How and Where to order Valentine's Day Flowers

Order early. Many florists offer incentives or discounts when you book your purchase in advance of the holiday. Early ordering also means the shop has ample time to find your Valentine's special favorite variety. (Note: It is probably too late already to expect a discount...sorry)!

Buy direct from your local florist and save. Why pay on average extra $10 - $25 to a wire service broker or middle man when there are so many great professional florists ready to assist you directly and tell you about their special services and featured holiday designs? They'll be able to tell you about the real flowers they have in their real flower shops, not just show you photos of arrangements and then pass your order along to another company with the hope it can be made 'sort-of' like the picture.

For additional information about comparing prices and the benefits of buying direct from your local florist, see our section of summaries and links to national articles about buying Valentine's Day flowers.
Order online, by phone or in person but know how to tell the real florists from the weeds. We've assembled several pages of tips to help you find real local florist and avoid being fooled by fake local flower shops, fraudulent advertising, and deceptive online ads and yellow pages ads.
While your sweetheart delights with your fresh flower gift, your wallet will appreciate the savings.

If you have any Valentine's Day flower questions, any at all, please ask--just leave a comment and I will answer.
Thanks, John

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Grammy Buzz

The Grammy Awards are live on Sunday, February 8th on CBS. You don't need to know what time. Just know it will be on after the day long (yawn) red carpet fashion shows on CBS, E!, and TV Guide Channel. You may want to have your computer on during the Grammys with the web page Urban Dictionary handy. Some things you will hear and think you know the meaning, but you really don't know the true meaning.

So what can we expect this year? We might see a baby pop out on stage, as MIA is set to perform. Her baby is due tomorrow, but hey, the show must go on! Who's MIA? Don't you have a radio? No worries, it's your lucky day, here's the song AND the lyrics.

This song, "Paper Planes" is nominated for Record of the Year, and I wouldn't be surprised, if it won. If you have kids, you absolutely must watch this. It sure is a catchy tune, but OMG, the lyrics! And just think, they are embedded in your child's head for life. On a happier note, it doesn't get played as much now. Oh, and you will probably need Urban Dictionary to interpret these lyrics, as well as many of the other lyrics you will hear during the show. You're welcome!

The biggest nominees are Lil Wayne, who is up for eight awards; Coldplay, with seven nominations; and Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and Kanye West, each with six. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s album of country and rockabilly covers, “Raising Sand” (Rounder) is up for five awards.

The performers include
Paul McCartney, U2, Miley Cyrus with Taylor Swift, Kid Rock, Coldplay, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood and the Jonas Brothers. Jay-Z, T. I., Lil Wayne and Kanye West will perform their single, “Swagga Like Us,” with M.I.A. — pregnancy permitting — whose song “Paper Planes” (up for record of the year) is sampled in it. (NY Times)

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Madea Goes To Jail - I thought I was looking forward to it

I loved all the previous Tyler Perry movies! This one, "Madea Goes To Jail" has been advertised for a long time, and it debuts in a couple of weeks. In the previews it looks so funny. I thought I was looking forward to seeing it...until I went to youtube and saw the other trailers. One trailer is almost three minutes long, and it seems like Madea is only a small part of the movie. Thanks, youtube! You saved me $9.25 (plus popcorn, etc). I'll just wait and rent it or watch it on HBO, Starz, or Showtime.

If you get the curiosity bug about the Tyler Perry "movies" that are already out, just beware that some are not movies. Some are just plays, if you want to call them that. The plays aren't bad, but they are, shall we say, done on the cheap side. Ok, I admit, the plays are bad!

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Wow, I can't believe this happened in WYOMING

I knew there were a lot of wonderful people in Wyoming, because I have dozens of family members in Rock Springs that are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. I suppose after the whole Matthew Shepperd tragedy years ago, Wyoming got a bad rap. But, the winds of change of are blowing in Wyoming! Believe me, it's windy there too!

This great article appeared yesterday in the Hays Daily News by AP writer Ben Neary:

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- The Wyoming House of Representatives voted down a bill on Friday that would have allowed state voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution to deny state recognition of same-sex marriages.

Supporters of the "Defense of Marriage Act" argued that passing it was necessary to reconcile conflicting state laws. But opponents said the bill was an assault on the rights of Wyoming gays and lesbians.

The bill, House Joint Resolution 17, died by a vote of 25-35 after an emotional debate on the House floor that lasted about an hour.

Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, was the bill's main sponsor. He and his co-sponsors introduced it in the House after a similar measure stalled in the Senate last month.

Petersen said Wyoming law dating from the 1870s already specifies that marriages must be between a man and a woman. But state law also requires the recognition of marriages performed in other states, some of which allow same-sex couples, he said.

"This is a society policy decision that needs to be done," Petersen said as he urged lawmakers to put the amendment before the state's voters. Peterson said that recent polling conducted by WyWatch Family Institute, a lobbying group, found that a majority of people in the state favor a vote on the issue.

Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, urged the House to vote against the bill. He said he has a daughter in Montana who is gay. He said she isn't married to her partner because the law there doesn't allow it. "Folks, to my dying breath, there's not anybody in this country who can say that she is a terrible person, or some person who has to have her rights restricted," Childers said. "She lives a quiet life with her significant other. Most people wouldn't even know she's gay."

Childers said he grew up in Texas when it was still a segregated state. He said the marriage bill reminded him of the injustice he saw black people suffer in his youth.

Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete, said he has constituents who are gay and lesbian. He said he had asked them for their vote when he was running for office and was representing them in opposing the bill. "I look upon this state as the equality state," Goggle said, referring to Wyoming's nickname. " And I urge you to maintain this status as the equality state."

Rep. Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, co-sponsored the bill and spoke in favor of it. "If you can have same sex couples married, can you have three individuals marry?" Buchanan said.

Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, said it appeared that the anti-homosexual sentiment behind the bill was based on biblical interpretation. However, she said there are similar biblical admonitions against charging interest for a loan, sowing a field with mixed seed or eating shrimp.

Rather than calling the bill the "Defense of Marriage Act," Wallis said it should be called, "The Defense of State-Sponsored Religious Bigotry Act."

Becky Vandeberghe, chairwoman and lobbyist for WyWatch Family Institute, had lobbied in favor of the bill. Her group worked with Focus on the Family Action, a Colorado Springs-based evangelical group that made calls to Wyoming voters encouraging them to contact lawmakers to vote for it. She condemned Friday's result.

"Basically 80 percent of the registered voters just got the right to vote on an issue that's dear to their hearts taken away from them by an elite legislative group," Vandeberghe said." And I hope the citizens will rise up in the elections and pay attention to who voted for this and who didn't."

Wyoming Equality, a group that works on gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual issues in the state, lobbied against the bill. Spokesman Bob Spencer said he was pleased with the outcome.
"I was not expecting it to go like it did, but it's a good feeling," Spencer said. "I think it tells me that there are people willing to listen and learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered issues.

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Vermont Closer to Legalizing Gay Marriage

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Nine years after becoming the first state to permit civil unions, Vermont moved a step toward legalizing gay marriage Friday.

A bill that would allow same-sex unions was introduced in the Legislature, causing a crowd of about several hundred supporters to gather at the Statehouse in celebration.

"This really is a great day and a part of moving forward to a time when all Vermont couples will be treated equally under our laws," said a sponsor, Rep. Mark Larson.

Click the title link for the complete AP article by Lisa Rathke.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Turkeys enjoying the nice weather

Everyday as I come and go, the turkeys call out to me, "gobble, gobble, gobble." Let's just say, I'm not the farmer in the dell, so I usually just go about my business during the cold days. My hubby is a USDA certified poultry broker, not me. The turkeys were fun last summer and fall, when they were small and had free range of the back yard under our watchful eyes. You could pet them and hold them. Sometimes they would fly up and sit with join me and a cat on a lazy summer day. Now they are much too big for that.

Since it got up to 62 degrees today, I took time to visit and photograph our free range turkeys after work today. They love the attention and are very friendly. We have eighteen out of the original twenty that we got last summer, when they were newly hatched. The turkeys are spoiled, and not one got butchered. The hens will be laying soon, and hatching their eggs.

This is our first attempt at breeding turkeys. Year before last we raised about 75 free range turkeys only to have them processed at the Central Illinois Poultry Processing Plant in Arthur, Illinois. We sold them all to the local organic store and direct to customers.

We also raise free range chickens. We cannot keep up with the demand for farm fresh eggs! All the chickens on hand now are probably safe from the butcher. Once Spring arrives we will raise white rock chickens again, as we have for the last few years having about 50 at a time three times a year. They are raised specifically for meat and sold to the local country club, organic store and direct to the public. Hi-ho the dairy-o, the farmer in the dell!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering Dad

In Loving Memory of my Dad

This is my Dad, who passed away nine years ago today at the age of 64.

I am so disappointed that I couldn't find the picture I wanted to post, which was his Air Force picture. Dad served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He was stationed in Greenland.

Although I don't like the way his shirt glows in this picture, I do like how the photo seems to represent him. He loved the outdoors and especially like to go camping, hunting, fishing, and exploring natural monuments. He always wore a cap outdoors, and had dozens of them, which I now have.

He worked most of his life in construction as a heavy equipment operator. He would move to wherever a good long term job was located. One of his favorite jobs was during my high school years in Mississippi, where Dad was proud that he helped build the Tenn-Tom Waterway, a major canal that connected the Tennessee River and the Tombigbee River as an alternative route to the Gulf of Mexico. The waterway is stimulating economic development, providing outdoor recreational opportunities, aiding navigation, and enhancing wildlife habitat.

I had not seen my Dad since the mid eighties, probably around the time of this picture of us. I did keep in touch by phone and mail. He loved me unconditionally and was always saying "I love you, son." His death came as a complete shock and was caused by heart failure.

I am only now just getting over the guilt of not visiting him more, when he was still alive. I would've loved to have seen him again, but he lived so far down in rural Alabama, that I would need to take a week off to do that.

I was always "too busy" and kept postponing a visit, because I was working, involved in work related associations, raising my daughter, and volunteering and serving on a local non-profit board of directors. I know I should have made that thirteen hour drive or flew down, even though I would have to change planes three times and have long layovers. I thought I was just putting it off until the time was right. It's too late for me, but if you have a parent or loved one that is far away, don't make the mistake I made. Go visit them. Tomorrow may be too late.

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