random friday crap and memories

I woke up early this morning and by early, I’m talking 3:44 am.  

I must be in the throes of menopause, because sleep is NOT something I’m getting much of lately.   That, I hear along with heart palpitations, mood swings and the odd growth of facial hair, is a sure-fire sign that a woman’s child-bearing abilities are behind her.

And for those of us with a severely prolapsed uterus…the kind that we  have to haul separately in a little red  wagon…our child-bearing abilities were ALWAYS behind us.

But the insomnia aspect of this physiological change–my body’s vehement fight to keep its last vestiges of maidenhood alive, is the worst.  I need sleep. A friend who’s well aware of my battle with it recently gave me a fairly powerful Klonopin–the heavyweight kind that dissolves sublingually.   Oh, it helped me sleep alright….for four hours. 

Don’t suggest exercise.  I’ve tried it. 

Nope.  That doesn’t help either.  Until my hormones decide to settle down and give up this ridiculous and relentless hold out on being reproductive, my two-hour slumbers is what I’m relegated to dealing with each night.

And for me, insomnia is always associated with vast amounts of thinking and reflection.    This morning, the damndest things crossed my mind.  It’s all incredibly rabndom stuff.

This morning, I woke up wondering why tobacco lobbyists haven’t approached the issue of seeking more mass acceptance of this cash crop by trying to proclaim in to be a vegetable.    I mean, think about it.

Then after that,  I remembered for some reason, an old candy machine that stood in the hallway of my elementary school.  

It looked a lot like this one–the mirror; the odd greenish/turquoise color..solid metal and the hard, plastic knobs you had to pull that released this trap door thing that dropped the candy down.    We only had slots for eight varieties at a time…sometimes there would be a peice of paper in one of the slots that was hand written.  It read “Guess What?”  It was filled with random candy.  You tried that knob, you took your chances.   I always suspected that row was filled with confectionary left overs that the candy guy had at the end of his refilling rounds.

But whatever the candy was, it was cheap.   I remember it only cost a nickel.  That was it and five cents  could buy you  some great candy. 

I remember  Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, your standard issue Hershey Bar; Nestle’s Crunch;  Krackles,  the Oh Henry  Bar, a Fifth Avenue,  the Zero Bar, a Clark Bar, Mars too;.

There were M&M’s (plain and peanut),  Big Hunk and Chunkies,  Three Muskateers, the accordion packs of diabetes inducing Lik-A-Maid, gum, Life Savers,  the packet of Root Beer Kegs, Sweetarts, Fire Sticks (green apple and grape were cool flavors, too), SugarBabies, Slow Pokes, Razzles or Red Hots to fall through to the open tray below and always in a thud. 

A kid could hear and recognize that particular metalic sound for miles.

Speaking of Razzles,  they were  my first candy/gum experience.  They were all respberry in the beginning and came in white package.   Tasted like ass.

I used to love Rally bars…peanuts and caramel covered nougat with a hint of malt.  Tasty.   hear they might be released.  Hope so. 

I also LOVED Marathon Bars.   Remember them?  Milk chocolate covered caramel in this odd, braided pattern.

I remember the TV commercials for Marathon bars.  They starred Patrick Wayne (son of John..see above for rather cute mug)  who as our hero, Marathon John, regularly confront villain Quick Carl  for chandy bar supremacy.

Remember when wax was considered both edible AND a musical instrument?  These orange harmonicas actually played music but not well and tasted about the way they sounded.

We bought the harmonica’s cousin, too.  Big red wax lips.

But does anyone else remember this factoid about Red Hots? 

Once you ate all the cinammonish heart-shaped candy inside, you could close the end of the empty box and because of the cellophane window in the front….remember??????

….you could blow into it and turn it into a make-shift kazoo that only played a few notes, then the cardboard got soggy and you had to trash it.  

Why do I remember this?   I’ve not a clue.

Anybody remember this subversive, communist plot??


It came with a shaker cup, a lid and your desire to eat whatever the scientists at the Royal labs concocted.   You put powdered pudding mix in the shaker, added milk then shook.  

Your reward? 

Nice biceps and watery, tasteless “pudding”.  Nasty.

I remember going to the Ben Franlin Store (a South Texas equivlant to the Five and Dime)  to by cheap balsa wood gliders–just like this.

I remember the red paint and yes, it  looks just like I remember.  When I first saw this photo, I had to smile.

They only cost a dime…maybe 15-cents at the most and it came unassembled in this wax paper like packet. 

You slipped the wings through the body, got the occasional balsa wood splinter in your finger in the the process and once Mom removed it,  you could start gliding immediately.  It was fun….for a while.

Invariably, we’d have balsa wood glider dog fights and the wood being as delicate as it is, always meant each glider crashed an burned…and I remember one spring in ’65 in which our neighbor Ed actually crashed and burned them (thanks to a pilfered Zippo lighter).

Yep, it crashed and burned and we all got grounded.

I have a confession to make.  It involves Prell and this old 60’s commercial for the shampoo.


Remember the pearl in the bottle at the end?   It slowly descended to the bottom of the bottom to prove how rich and luxurious the shampoo was and in a typical 6o’s thought process as bought and sold to us by McMann and Tate and other advertising agencies of the era,  if the shampoo was that thick and luxurious, think what it could do to you hair?  

I remember wanting to see how thick and luxurious Prell really was, so I conducted that experiment myself….with one of my mother’s pearls…..from her necklace.

I took fingernail scissors and cut the string myself.   That pearl stayed n the bottle of that shampoo forever and went unnoticed .    Mother was outraged when she found her loose Mikimotos strewn all over the bottom of her jewelry box.   They were old (read: antique) so, she assumed the string had just rotted.  I never let her think any differently.

I think this is going to have to be one of those rare deathbed confessions…either hers or mine.

I have a brand new fridge in my kitchen.  It’s burnished aluminum with black accents–no fingerprints anywhere.  I like it; it’s sleek and makes its own ice, but I’ve turned off the ice maker.  I hate the way refrigerator ice tastes.   I know it’s convenient, but I don’t like it and never have.   I think it’s because I relate fridge ice with being so labor intensive.

When I was growing up, you only had ice if you made it yourself.  There were various ways to do this, but most people had aluminum ice trays like this:

These were bulky and cumbersome and when and if the lever on top froze along with the ice, it was impossible to pull.   You had to thaw it out by holding it under water and if you did, you often lost some of the cube integrity.   God, these were a pain in the ass.  If memory serves, the metal ice tray evolved into this plastic tray which you could twist each end to get it to release its frozen contents.  Easier and less demanding than their aluminum cousins, but still a pain. 


I remember test TV patterns.   I never understood these and I was in the business for years.


I mean, I understand it’s always better to put SOMETHING on the screen when you have no other options, but what exactly were they testing back then?  Wasn’t this just something to put up so the control room guys could go home?   In the 50’s early to mid 60’s, there were no 24-hour “superstations”.   Broadcast days had a defined beginning and end.

I guess the four circles in the corner and the center one and all the numbers mean something to cameras or broadcasting equipment, but what’s up with the T-Rex head at the top?

And speaking of the end of broadcasting days, we grew up in the San Antonio TV market and one or more of the stations ALWAYS played this video at sign off.  It’s a poem called “High Flight” put to music.  It was penned by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Remember this???? 

Interesting story behind this poem and it’s author.  And his last name was Magee…not McGee.

This British poet and aviator but was  killed in 1941, at the age of 19, while flying Spitfire VZ-H.  

He was just 19 years old.

His aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with an Airspeed Oxford. The two planes collided in cloud cover at about 400 feet over a small British village.  Magee was descending at the time.

At the inquiry afterwards a farmer testified that he saw the Spitfire pilot struggling to push back the canopy.  The pilot stood up to jump from the plane but was too close to the ground for his parachute to open, and died on impact.  ”

Magee’s posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet High Flight, started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death.  He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I, his seventh flight in a Spitfire. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem—”To touch the face of God.” He completed the poem later that day after landing. 

Magee enclosed the poem on the back of a letter to his parents.   The manuscript  copy of the poem remains at the Library of Congress.

Magee is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lincolnshire, England.  On his grave are inscribed the first and last lines from his poem High Flight:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth –
Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.
Oh yeah???
Well I’ve done that too, man…but with a hit of  Window Pane and a little Black Sabbath.



  1. I have in my vast record collection a copy of a double album William Shatner did in about ’78(?) that has
    his rendition of “High Flight” on it. Unfortunately, as this was my first exposure to the poem- now anytime
    I hear or recite Magee’s masterwork I hear/read it as the Shat did it……
    What little I could find onlinc about it:http://www.warezfox.org/f11/william-shatner-albums-273781/
    Since 1986 (Challenger Disaster), I can’t find it impossible to read/hear it without tearing up. Reagan
    should have skipped the speech he did, read Magee’s poem, and walked off. Woulda brought the house
    The usual high standard of blogship again today, LK. Keep up the good work.

  2. I love it when you do this. I remember all of them. The one I don’t remember is the “High Flight” ending but I was in the Corpus Christi Market. Those metal ice trays were a bitch. If the handle froze and you didn’t run water over it and you forced it up, the cubes would fly out and scatter in every possible direction as far as they could go. And then you never did find all of the cubes.

    I always suspected that Hillary Clinton was actually a redhead.

  3. I love these trips down Memory Lane too!

    Razzles did (and still do) taste like ass!

    We LOVED Shake a Puddin. I remember that weird shaped shaker cup vividly.

    And Reagan’s speech was brilliant, that evening of the Challenger disaster, with that poem. It made me cry too.

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