Archive for February, 2017

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twelve!

February 24, 2017

Happy Friday!  Are you ready for the weekend?  Our fun fact today is in the category of quotations.  Do you know which American politician said “I was recently on a  tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people”?

If you guessed former Vice President Dan Quayle you would be incorrect.  However, the quotation was attributed to him by Representative Claudine Schneider (Rhode Island) as she was making fun of him in a joke.

Have a great weekend!

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

NatureWorks 2017!

February 23, 2017

If you love nature and you love art, then this weekend’s NatureWorks Art Show and Sale is a must see event in Tulsa.  Held annually at Tulsa’s Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, this show brings together the top wildlife, western, and landscape artists from across the United States.  Last year I was able to pick up a few new pieces (see below) from some of my favorite artists (Christopher Westfall, Jerry Ricketson, and Matthew Higginbotham) while discovering other quality artists along the way (Virginia Stroud).  Who knows what artist’s work will catch my eye this weekend . . . this show never disappoints.


Pure Strength by Virginia Stroud

Evening Calm

Evening Calm by Jerry Ricketson


Prairie Grasses by Matthew Higginbotham


Cloudburst by Christopher Westfall

One Wish Each!

February 22, 2017

Happy Wednesday!  We are half way through the work week, so here is a bit of homeland security/TSA humor to help get us through today and a bit closer to the weekend.  Enjoy!

A New York fireman, an American mother of three, and a TSA supervisor are the only survivors of a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. They all wash up on a desert island where, half drowned, the fireman spots a lamp in the sand. As soon as he touches it, a genie emerges in a cloud of smoke.

“I am the Genie of the Lamp,” he intones. “Because you have released me, I will grant you each one wish.”

The mother breaks into tears. “Oh, thank you, thank you!” she cries. “I just want to fly back home to my babies!”

“Very well,” says the genie, and a pontoon plane appears by the shore, its pilot beckoning to her. Happily she runs off and climbs aboard.

“All I want,” says the fireman, “is to return to my fire station in New York. People there rely on me to help them in times of trouble.”

“Very well,” intones the genie, and another plane pops out of nowhere to idle next to the first. The fireman runs out and climbs aboard.

“And what is your wish?” the genie asks the TSA supervisor.

“Get those people back here. They haven’t been properly searched!”

Source: unknown

Speaking of Tuesday . . .!

February 21, 2017

Happy Tuesday!  And speaking of Tuesday, one of my favorite books was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.  If you’re not familiar with the book, the gist of it is as follows (courtesy of Shmoop):

“Morrie is an extremely lovable college professor who—in his late sixties—finds out that he is dying. The story of his last few weeks on earth is told by Mitch, one of Morrie’s former students, who happens to bump into him during his final days.”

So in light of the fact that it is Tuesday, here are a few memorable quotations from the book.  Enjoy!

“Accept who you are; and revel in it.”

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long.”

“I give myself a good cry if I need it, but then I concentrate on all good things still in my life.”

Source: and

College Basketball 2017, Week Sixteen!

February 20, 2017

The inconsistencies continue for the Spartans  — they won earlier in the week (Ohio State) but lost on the weekend (Purdue).  And with just four games remaining in the regular season (two against ranked teams), this trend could continue.  The good news: both games this week are at home (which means both games next week are on the road).  Alas, a bit of a down year. The Big Ten continues to only have three (3)  teams currently in the AP top-25: Wisconsin (#11), Purdue (#16),  and Maryland (#23).  Undefeated Gonzaga (#1) continues its #1 ranking and would probably have to lose in order to get bumped out of the top position.  March Madness is right around the corner . . .  are you ready?

Next up for the Spartans: a couple of home games, against Nebraska (Thursday) then Wisconsin (Saturday).    Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Baylor (#4) losing to unranked Texas Tech by six (6) points.
Wisconsin (#11) losing to unranked Michigan by six (6) points.
Florida State (#17) losing to unranked Pittsburgh.
Creighton (#20) losing to unranked Seton Hall by six (6) points.
South Carolina (#21) losing to unranked Arkansas.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Kansas (#3) defeating West Virginia (#9) by four (4) points in overtime.
Kansas (#3) defeating Baylor (#4)  by two (2) points.
Louisville (#8) defeating unranked Syracuse by four (4) points in overtime.
Louisville (#8) defeating unranked Virginia Tech by four (4) points.
West Virginia (#9) defeating unranked Texas Tech in double overtime.
Duke (#12) defeating unranked Wake Forest by five (5) points.
Kentucky (#13) defeating unranked Georgia by five (5) points.
Florida (#15) defeating unranked Mississippi State by five (5) points.
SMU (#19) defeating unranked Tulane by five (5) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Kansas (#3) defeating West Virginia (#9) by four (4) points in overtime.
North Carolina (#10) defeating Virginia (#14).
Duke (#12) defeating Virginia (#14).

The Sutler!

February 19, 2017

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

The Sutler

It happened in Flanders, when Louis le Grand
Beat the allies each year under William’s command.
The confederates seeing they fought but in vain
Did wisely  resolve to break up the campaign;
The weather was cold, to quarters they went,
But whether to Brusssels, to Bruges, or Ghent,
Or Bergen-op-zoom, it doth not avail
A groat to the public, far less to my tale;
But, as I was saying, the tents were all struck,
Amongst them a sutler’s, who had the good luck
To have a large purse to the strings full of gold,
In return for the meat and the wine he had sold,
A large covered wagon he had of his own,
And four as good horses as ever were known:
In this he enclosed his wife and his pelf,
And, for saving expenses, he drove it himself.

I often have heard it, and I think it is right,
A purse very heavy makes a heart very light;
‘Twas so with the sutler, who whistled all day,
Till he met with a party of French by the way,
That seized on his wagon, searched him and his wife,
And put him in bodily fear of his life:
He cursed his hard fortune, and his cruel stars,
And railed at the men who delighted in wars:
His goods taken from him and stripped to the skin,
In sorrowful pickle he went to an inn,
Where he sighed and he grieved, and complained of his fate.
At last he was cheered by his kind loving mate,
Who said to him, “Robin, pray be not cast down
“In a pint of Geneva our sorrow we’ll drown.”
“Alas!” said the man, “you’re distracted, I think
“I have not a farthing to pay for the drink.”
“No matter,” she said, and looked with a smile,
“I did the damned party, in some sort, beguile;”
Then drew out a purse, twice as big as your fist,
“Thought they searched me,” said she, “this treasure they missed;”
“then, prithee, be cheerful.”  This gave him new life,
He wept, and he laughed, and he ogled his wife,
And leering upon her, said, “Tell me, my dear,
“Where was it you hid the purse I see here?”
She smiled on her spouse, then laughed in his face,
“I hit it,” said she, “in a certain place,
“With which you’re acquainted.”  He said, — “My dear life,
“I see you’re a careful and provident wife;
“You’ve done very well, but you’d had more to brag on,
“If you there had disposed of the horses and wagon.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

Stained Glass!

February 18, 2017

When I think of stained glass, one name comes to mind: Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Tiffany was born on this date back in 1848 and by profession was a painter, an Art Nouveau designer, and a world-famous glass maker.  His stained glass pieces never cease to impress.  Here is one of the Chittendon Memorial Window (at Yale University) entitled “Education.”


(Photo is in the Public Domain,

Fun Fact Friday, Number Eleven!

February 17, 2017

It may be winter, but the country’s national parks are still open.  Here are the best National Parks to visit during the winter:

  • Everglades National Park (Florida)
  • Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
  • Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)
  • Acadia National Park (Maine)
  • Saguaro National Park (Arizona)
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (California)

Did you know that the National Park Service manages over 350 parks on 80 million acres of public land? (Real Fact #695)

Did you know that over half of the world’s geyser’s can be found in the Yellowstone National Park? (Real Fact #742)

Did you know that Manhattan Island was once home to as many different species as Yellowstone National Park? (Real Fact #684)



February 16, 2017

Yes, I know that Valentine’s Day was a couple of days ago, but the Winter 2017 issue of the Michigan State University Alumni magazine (MSUAlumni, Vol. 34, No. 2) had an awesome collection of “hearts” that I just couldn’t resist sharing with the world.  A huge shout out to my niece Elizabeth Vinton who simply adores anything “hearts.”    A shout out also to Paula Davenport (editor of the MSU Alumni magazine), Derrick Turner (the photographer), and the Michigan State Alumni Association . . . you all rock . . . Go Green!



Cheesecake of the Month – February 2017!

February 15, 2017

I was perusing Pinterest the other day and ran across a recipe that sounded positively wonderful.  It is technically a pie, but a pie that incorporates a bit of cheesecake into the recipe.  I can’t wait to try it.

Upside Down Cheesecake Apple Pie

2 pie crusts
2 packages (8-ounce each) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce (garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a pie pan with a pie crust.

2.  Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until fluffy.  Add in the eggs and the milk and mix until combined.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

3.  In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Place the apples on top of the cream cheese mixture.

4. Top the apples with your second pie crust, turning the crust inward.  Cut a few small slits into the top of the pie.

5.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the apples are soft.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

6.  Place a large plate over the top of the pie and flip it upside down onto the plate.  Cool for one hour  then refrigerate at least four hours.  Serve cold with caramel sauce.

Source: Recipe by Spend with Pennies at