Sunday, December 19, 2010


Though this is over 100 years old, I like in this
modern World. May all my readers have a
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

--T N McCoy

Why do bells for Christmas Ring?
Why do little children sing?
Once a lovely, shining star,
Seen by shepherds from afar,
Gently moved until its light
Made a manger-cradle bright.
There a darling baby lay
Pillowed soft upon the hay.
And his mother sang and smiled,
“This is Christ, the holy child.”
So the bells for Christmas ring,
So the little children sing.

-- Lydia A C Ward c1907

And then I came across this strange combination:



New Haven, CT…December 19, 2010…Unsigned


Poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Steven P. Turi today published their first collaborative effort, Christmas 2010, amidst mixed shock and threats.

“How rare indeed,” mused a renowned literary critic found fishing at a local watering hole. “Such an effort fascinates the imagination and attests to the concept of concise circumlocution with charming meet her…err…---especially from that new fellow, Turi. Beertender! Pease mix me for another dree martiny!”

Mr. Turi was on the floor by his computer stack looking for a transmission, but we did listen to the lengthy message on his rarely used answering machine. Mr. Longfellow, on the other hand, has been dead for the past hundred and twenty-eight years.

Copies of Christmas 2010 were fortunately limited in number and are no longer available. Consequently, this news item has not been written or released---and therefore does not exist.


Christmas 2010

By Steven P. Turi and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Introduction: by the New Fellow

My Christmas now as Christmas then
Is filled with color bright of hue.
But all my green be numbers low,
Hence humble words result for you.

Two poets, though far their years apart,
Join palettes brushing words of taste,
To speak of past or now to be,
Brought forth in peace and hope encased.

Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!

Till, ringing, swinging on its way,
The World revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on Earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!

And I despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on Earth,” I said.
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!”

Then peeled the bells more loud and deep,
“God is not dead; nor doth He sleep”
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on Earth, good will to men!

Postscript by the New Fellow again

Alas! I mourn this year of scanty fare
Which brought no sign nor proof of wealth.
Yet, heart still beats the meter strong
To wish long life, peace, hope, good health.

Merry Christmas to you with whom I share
Email and voice, rare use of pen.
To join the he and she we are
For peace on Earth, good will to men!

The real end.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Easy Feet and the Fushigi Ball

These are the days that try our souls, for we're torn between the commercial and the religious aspects of Christmas. I'm not going to give a dissertation on the religious meanings here, but I can tackle some strange 'deals' in the market place.

*First though, I'll make a casting call. I think a movie producer [probably MGM] should quickly sign Connie Talbot or Jackie Evancho for a remake of the Wizard of Oz---since they're closer in age to the storybook Dorothy. And let's hope they'll make more movies of the same type. To go further, let's also hope they keep there heads about them and don't turn into more Lindsay Lohans. And when they grow up, we don't need more stars who want to shed their 'good girl' images and pose nude to make them acceptable to the Hollywood community.

*It's the mad mad mad mad Christmas buying season again. And the advertisers are on TV in force. My ears are getting tired from the bombastic claims of these guys. As a public service, then, I'll share some thoughts on advertising with you. These admen are overselling products at high prices. So, be careful with what you buy. Do you really need two of an item? It'll cost you. These two-for-one deals are tricky, especially since you have to go searching for the actual shipping and handling [processing] fees. And I wish you'd have the opportunity to reject the second, doubling offer.

*'Get Easy Feet.' Only $14.99! [Plus S/H $7.99.] And get another for only the handling fee [$7.99] Actually, they call it a 'processing' fee when advertising. So, your purchase of two 'Easy Feet' will cost $30.97 [plus applicable tax.] Well now, the foot object may do a cleaning job if you're really lazy---though it only cleans the bottom with any assurance. But notice the advertisement, where the women is constantly pouring some liquid soap on the foot piece for cleaning? By the time the shower is over, you've used up half a bottle of the stuff. So, add that cost to your foot cleaning. Another thing is that the 'Easy Feet' people say it will attach to the tub bottom just like other anti-skid items for the tub. But, modern tubs and shower already have that sort of thing built into them. So how are the feet supposed to attach? These are good only for the older tubs and showers. But then, they'll probably slide like the anti-skid feet you can buy at most stores making a foot cleaning hazard at best.

My suggestion is to buy a bathtub brush for $1.99, and use it to clean your feet. You can stand up and lean on the wall, thus minimize your leg bending. And the versatile brush allows you to wash the sides and tops of your feet as well. And you can continue using your soap in bars or on strings or what have you. They'll soap up your brush nice and easy.

*'Fushigi Ball' goes for $19.99. The company doesn't double the order, but it does send you a DVD with examples of how to use the ball. [Just pay the processing.] Total cost for the mandatory package? $19.99 + $6.99 + $6.99 = $33.97. While the ball appears fascinating, I'm not sure the cost is. Why isn't the DVD included with the ball automatically. That extra $6.99 is unnecessary.

*'Total Pillow' asks for $19.99. Shipping and Handling? $7.95 Total cost for the mandatory package of two pillows? $19.99 + $7.95 + $7.95 = $35.89. Pleasant sleeping. At least it's better than the Ancient Egyptian stone head rest for sleeping.

'My Free Smoothie' is an interesting offer. 'Feed your body right!' 'The weight falls right off!' You get two flavors for your 21 day free trial. But you can only open one container. The other can be opened only after you purchase the products---including the one in the free offer. If you're tempted [and that's why it was sent to you], you might sample the second one. And then you can't return it. You bought everything! Go to to see what the nutrition is, though you still aren't told whether the mix goes with milk or water. Individually, the mixes go for about $55---or buy a case for $464! Or you can buy thirty bottles of flavored water for $42 [$1.40 each] Your choice!

You know, it's not like you can go down to the corner store and buy these things for $1 or $2 as you want them. But for those of you attracted to Jennie Craig or one of the other organizations of weight loss heaven, the Free Smoothie totals above compare closely to the usual $300 to $400 you have to shell out for them---though you don't get food only smoothies.

Here it is in their own words at the bottom of the web page:

Legal Disclaimer:
Terms of 21 day trial: Please read terms and conditions for complete details. Your 21 day trial starts at delivery. The two cans you select represents a full order. One can is to open and try as often as you like for 21 days. The other can is to remain sealed until you are satisfied with the product. If we do not hear from you by the end of the 21 day trial period, we will complete your order for $119.80 using todays payment method. If you wish to cancel the trial call 1-888-xxx-xxxx for a return authorization code to return the sealed can. You are free to keep your trial can with our thanks for trying RightSize. Shipping and handling is non-refundable and product returns are at customer expense.

I have no idea whether or not this stuff helps you to lose weight, but I judge advertisers and their products by what they hide and don't tell me.

*'Depilsilk' depilatory; spray no size indicated, facial pen; cotton towel; bathrobe; hair cap -- no sizes given for anything.
$10 = 6.99 + 6.99 = 23.98 plus $3 for Canada = $26.98 less $5 if you order online. Hair today, gone tomorrow. [Sorry. I just had to get that in this paragraph!]

Or you could buy products like these: VEET online: supreme essence; easy spray; hair removal cream; 5.1 oz; $7.99; EPYLLIS depilatory gel; 16oz; $18.99; NAIR; 6.1 oz; pomegranate; lotion; $7.99; SPRING ESSENCE; 5.4oz;$7.99; gel cream; SPRING ESSENCE; 9oz;cocoa buffer;$5.79.

*'Cami Secret', a type of camisole; 6 pieces; light weight breathable fabric [what kind of fabric is that?] $10. + $6.99 + $6.99 + $2.99 for some states and territories; total $23.98 to $26.97. I'm not totally familiar with the problem these things solve, so you'll have to decide this one. The website mentions a camisole---an item worn underneath a sheer bodice to conceal the underwear; a straight jacket with long sleeves. They may do the job, but you should know the cost.

*'The Little Red Chef' is selling for $10, maybe. Add two s/h of $6.95, and you have a total of $23.90. On TV it seems to work, but if it's so great, why would a cook need two of them? Besides, I would expect one or two turns around the chop container would give me carpal tunnel syndrome. I find a chopping block with a good knife and a mini food processor do the jobs well and are more satisfying. The knife and block have been around forever, and the processor cost me about $10.

*'Yoshei Blade' is a ceramic knife for $19.99. But your shipping is $9.99 and $6.99, or $36.97 plus $3 if you're in Canada. Although not very clear in the ads, the blade is about 5" long, the same as a boning knife---only you can't use a ceramic blade for boning. It's too brittle.

Ceramic knives are interesting. They are hard, sharp, and they stay sharp for a long time. They are lightweight and don't give food a taste. [Though I've never had that problem with metal knives.] They are brittle, and if struck with or on hard objects, they'll break. [Don't drop them on the floor!] They have to be handled very carefully and with a special type of sharpener when they lose their edges. If they have plastic handles [as is most likely in this offer], they won't last as long as wooden ones. Plastic is cheaper as well.

I'd rather pick one good, wooden-handled ceramic knife from a reputable kitchen store with my $37.

*My baby can read, so how about yours? 'Your Baby Can Read' too? Just pay $14.95 for a 30 day risk-free trial. Free shipping and handling. It's hard to find, but the total cost of the program is $199.95. Per the small print "Upon shipment [of your risk-free trial] [note that it's not a free trial], your credit card account will be charged $199.95 plus tax. If you are not completely satisfied within 30 days of receipt, contact our customer service at 888-xxx-xxxx to arrange for a return authentication and a refund. Your return must be post-marked within 7 days of receiving return authorization...Processing and return shipping charges are non-refundable."

So friends, make sure you have a lot more credit on your credit card than $14.95 for your "risk-free" trial.

I don't know about all this. My parents taught me to read before I went to school and quizzed me occasionally about what was in the local newspapers. It didn't cost them anything. But, I think toddlers should be let alone to toddle. We take too much away from childhood as it is. Give them a break.

*'Park Bills' provide you two $2 bills with printed, color details on them, one of the Grand Canyon and the other of Yellowstone National Park. For this, you'll be charged $21.95. Imagine that? Take some $2 bills, run them through an overprinter, and charge the public $11 for each one. That's some deal. If you want pictures of the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone National Park, you can find some great ones on the Internet. You can buy $2 bills at the bank for $2 each. You'll have fewer problems if you need to spend them.

Remember, whenever an offer includes a free doubling, don't believe it; you're going to pay for it. The ubiquitous 'shipping and handling' or 'processing fee' are simply going to pay for the item. I mean, how much trouble is it to take an item off the shelf and throw it in a box with packing material? I've seen these fees range from $6.95 to $11.80---the latter fee for a bottle of pills. Merry and Careful Christmas!