Tuesday, April 29, 2008

England In The 1500s

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children-last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it-hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs -- thick straw -- piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off theroof -- hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way -- hence, a "thresh hold."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while -- hence the rhyme, "peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread, which was so old and hard that they could be used for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the familygot the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust." Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eatand drink and wait and see if they would wake up -- hence the custom of holding a "wake."England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer". And that's the truth (maybe)...(and whoever said that History was boring?!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Funny Friday: "Exactly the Speed Limit"

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, "This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!" So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

Approaching the car, he notices that there are five old ladies two in the front seat and three in the back-wide eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, says to him, "Officer, I don't understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?"

"Ma'am," the officer replies, "you weren't speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers."

"Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly. Twenty-two miles an hour!" the old woman says a bit proudly.

The officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that "22" was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

"But before I let you go, Ma'am, I have to ask ... Is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven't muttered a single peep this whole time," the officer says. "Oh, they'll be all right in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kids on Dating and Marriage

(Answered by elementary school students)

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?

You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
- Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
- Kirsten, age 10

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
- Camille, age 10

No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
- Freddie, age 6

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
- Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

Both don't want any more kids.
- Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?

Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
- Lynette, age 8

On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
- Martin, age 10

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
- Craig, age 9

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?

When they're rich.
- Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
- Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
- Howard, age 8

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?

It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
- Anita, age 9

HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN'T GET MARRIED?

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
- Kelvin, age 8

HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?

Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.
- Ricky, age 10

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"My Quilt" (author unknown)

«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles.

An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was.

They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.

I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air.

I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.

«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cool, Snowy Spring Weather


My area got almost 7 inches of snow yesterday, which is VERY unusual for mid-April. We also had rain, hail, sleet and thunder! My poor pansies are wondering where Spring went, but it WILL be back.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Answers to Trivia Questions

Here are the answers I promised you for last Thursday's trivia questions:

1) Boxing.

2) Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about 2 and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3) Asparagus and rhubarb.

4) Ten times (not eleven, as most people seem to think, if you do not believe it, try it with your watch, it is only 10 times.)

5) Baseball.

6) Strawberry.

7) Dwarf, dwell, and dwindle.

8) Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

9) In Minnesota. The team was originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers, and kept the name when they moved west.

10) Batter hit by a pitch; passed ball; catcher interference; catcher drops third strike; fielder's choice; and being designated as a pinch runner.

11) Lettuce.

12) If the catcher drops a called third strike, and doesn't throw the batter out at first base, the runner is safe.

13) Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, snowshoes, stockings, and so on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wonders Wednesday Photo: Laughing Dog Cloud


Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Internet Mail List Joke

Q: How many Internet mail list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 1,331; 1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb has been changed.

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.

7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

53 to flame the spell checkers.

156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.

41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.

109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to alt.lite.bulb

203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.

111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts **are** relevant to this mail list.

306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.

27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs.

3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.

33 to concatenate all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add "Me Too."

12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.

19 to quote the "Me Too's" to say, "Me Three."

4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.

1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.

47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.

143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kids in Church: Trash Baskets

One particular four-year-old prayed, "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Family Tree! (go figure)

Many, many years ago when I was twenty-three,
I got married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
And soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse,
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became a father
Of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle,
Then that also made him brother
To the widow's grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother.

Father's wife then had a son,
Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
For he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife,
She's my grandma too.

If my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it,
It simply drives me wild.
For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother,I am my own grandpa.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trivia Questions

Here are some trivia questions to try in your leisure time. I'll post the answers next Thursday.

1) There's one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it?

2) What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3) Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4) At noon and midnight the hour and minute hands are exactly coincident with each other. How many other times between noon and midnight do the hour and minute hands cross?

5) What is the only sport in which the ball is always in the possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without ever touching the ball?

6) What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

7) Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw." They are common. Name two of them.

8) There are fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name half of them?

9) Where are the lakes that are referred to in the "Los Angeles Lakers?"

10) There are seven ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Taking a base on balls (a walk) is one way. Name the other six.

11) It's the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh. What is it?

12) How is it possible for a pitcher to make four or more strikeouts in one inning?

13) Name six or more things that you can wear on your feet, that begin with the letter "s."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Equal"

"Equal" is not always synonymous with "the same." Men and women are created equal, but boys and girls are not born the same.

1. You throw a little girl a ball, and it will hit her in the nose. You throw a little boy a ball, and he will try to catch it. Then it will hit him in the nose.

2. You dress your little girl in her Easter Sunday best, and she'll look just as pretty when you finally make it to church an hour later. You dress a boy in his Easter Sunday best, and he'll somehow find every mud puddle from your home to the church, even if you are driving there.

3. Boys' rooms are always messy. Girls' rooms are usually messy, except it's a good smelling mess.

4. A baby girl will pick up a stick and look in wonderment at what nature has made. Then she will hit a boy with it. A baby boy will pick up a stick and start drumming.

5. Boys couldn't care less if their hair is unruly. If their bangs got cut a quarter inch too short, girls would rather lock themselves in their room for two weeks than be seen in public.

6. If a girl accidentally burps, she will be embarrassed. If a boy accidentally burps, he will follow it with a dozen fake belches.

7. Girls are attracted to boys, even at an early age. At an early age, boys are attracted to dirt.

8. Most baby girls talk before boys do. Before boys talk, they learn how to make sounds like a truck.

9. Girls will cry if someone dies in a movie. Boys will cry if you turn off the TV during a movie they have already seen.

10. Girls turn into women. Boys turn into bigger boys.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Pickle Jar

The pickle jar, as far back as I can remember, sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.

As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me." We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again." He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith.

The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done. When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again -unless you want to."

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild.

Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

This truly touched my heart. I know it has yours as well. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

“The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched - they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

- Happy moments, praise God.

- Difficult moments, seek God.

- Quiet moments, worship God.

- Painful moments, trust God.

- Every moment, thank God.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

"First Kiss" poem

FIRST KISS (author unknown)

I walked up the door
I closed the stairs,
I took off my prayers
I said my shoes,
I turned off the bed
And climbed into the light,
All because he/she kissed me goodnight!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Find a Rainbow Day

Photo copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonshine Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Rainbows appear after mighty storms,

When things look their very worst,

Just when the skies are darkest grey,

Look for the rainbow first.

The rainbow is a sign of God's promise,

That He will guide us through any storm,

That He will see us through all our troubles,

No matter what their form.

When you feel battered by life's storms,

And you are filled with doubt and dismay;

Just remember God's rainbow is coming---It's only a prayer away.

~From an "Old Print Factory Inc." Card~

What does the RAINBOW mean? God put a rainbow in the sky as a covenant and promise to remind His people that He would never destroy all mankind by water again. The rainbow is also a symbol of God’s faithfulness and mercy.
~~Genesis 8:13-17~~

Cool Stuff You Really Should Know (part 2 of 2)

Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy.

The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint - no two lions have the same pattern of whiskers.

There is a seven-letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters: "therein" -- the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.

'Stewardesses' is the longest English word that is typed with only the left hand.

The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways; the following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful loughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian seal for that reason.

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead."

The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wonders Wednesday Photo: House Wren


Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools' Day!



"Fool me once,
Shame on you!
Fool me twice,
Shame on me."

--Chinese Proverb


You Know What They Say About Fools...

It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt. --Mark Twain

However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. -- Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

[Politicians] never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. -- Thomas Reed

He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks. -- François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom. -- Elizabeth Gaskell

Looking foolish does the spirit good. -- John Updike

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. -- Mark Twain

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. -- William Blake

A fool must now and then be right by chance. -- Cowper

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. -- Mark Twain

LINKS TO APRIL FOOL'S DAY INFO:

http://www3.kumc.edu/diversity/other/aprlfool.html

http://homepages.tesco.net/~derek.berger/holidays/aprilfool.html