Tag Archives: ditty

Carnation Milk & Swanson Turkey . . .

The company that makes Carnation Evaporated Milk did not offer $5000 for the best slogan beginning with Carnation Milk is best of all . . . , nor did the company ever make such an offer, neither in the 1940s nor at any time before or after the 1940s. The company also did not award a woman $1000 for a submission that they loved but could not use for advertising. Snopes gives many examples of doggerel supposedly submitted to Carnation for the contest. Click here for the story as told by The simple—and I really do mean simple—verse that I learned sometime in the decade of the 1940s is:

No tits to pull,
No hay to pitch,

Just punch a hole
In the son-of-a-bitch.

Now I would like to share with my legions of readers a tale entitled, What I had for breakfast this morning. This may seem to be a stretch from the Carnation ditty, but please trust me—the stories are related, so read on.

I enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast this morning. I dined, alone of course, on roasted carved turkey with stuffing, carrots, whipped potatoes and brown gravy at 5:00 AM on this chilly December morning in south central Texas. My meal was beautifully displayed in a plastic shell with dividers between each of the various components, then covered with clear plastic sheathing and enclosed in a nicely decorated sealed cardboard box.

The box included the information that, if kept frozen, the meal could safely be consumed up to December 25, 1911 and I assumed that included Christmas day. Speaking strictly for myself, I believe that such items can safely be consumed centuries later—if kept frozen. However, pay no attention to anything that I say when speaking strictly for myself—I could be wrong.

In addition to the graphics the box gave directions for cooking, either in a conventional oven or a microwave oven, along with a plethora of nutrition facts including the fact that the meal constituted fully one-third of my daily value of sodium—bummer!

It also gave a brief but concise history of the Swanson Classics, entitled A Menu of Mouthwatering Memories, from its beginnings in 1954 through the year 2007. Swanson claims the title of The Original TV Dinner—based on my limited one-time experience with Swanson Dinners, I have no reason to doubt that claim, nor do I doubt its  claim for palatability and safe consumption if kept frozen—so far.

Thanks to Swanson’s turkey, my breakfast was a resounding success—a piece of cake so to speak, and I penned the piece of doggerel below to commemorate that success. I apologize in advance for any misery that may be caused by exposure to it, whether from the ode per se or by any consumption of any Swanson product by one or more of my readers related to their having read this posting. In fine, I am not recommending this product to anyone. I’m simply recounting my experience of a Swanson turkey breakfast on a chilly day in south central Texas—and simply is the operative word.

Ode To Swanson’s Frozen Turkey Dinner

No turkey to kill,
No gravy to make,
No ‘taters to peel,
No bread to bake.

No table to clear,
Nothing to freeze,
No dishes to wash,
I’m free as a breeze.

A fine turkey breakfast
And I’m on my knees,
Giving thanks to Swanson,
For meals such as these.

I have already apologized for foisting off the burden of my Ode To Swanson’s Frozen Turkey Dinner to my legions of unsuspecting readers, but I feel compelled to reinforce that apology through repetition—mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Family, Humor, kitchen appliances, television


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Betty and Super Suds . . .

Betty lived with her mother and father in a Carry Homes duplex in Suitland, Maryland, the same duplex in which I lived with my brother and his family. The units were identical with living room, combination kitchen and dining, two bedrooms and one bath. I was an underdeveloped lad of barely fourteen years, and she was an overdeveloped lass of twelve, but well on the way to thirteen. She had black hair and blue eyes, with a face and figure that—well, let’s just say that she was twelve going on twenty-one.

She spoke with a pronounced lisp, and I teased her unmercifully about it. She seemed to tolerate the teasing, but at some point I went too far with it—that is the subject of this posting.

A fateful day came to pass in my relationship—make that my friendship—with Betty, a day during which I learned an important lesson, namely that if one pushes another too often and too hard something bad may happen, similar to the adage that tells us that even a rat will fight when cornered.

My sister-in-law asked me to go next door and see if our neighbor, Betty’s mother, could spare a cup of laundry powder. I dutifully went next door, rang the bell, stepped back and sat down on the hip-height railing of the small covered porch. Betty came out, slammed the door behind her and told me forcefully in an angry tone, “My teacher thed I do not lithp, tho there!”

I was taken aback by her tone and the words but I recovered nicely, and mindful of my assignment to borrow washing powder I said, “My thister-in-law wanth to borrow thum Thuper Thudth,” and Betty hit me. I never knew whether she slapped me or used her fist, but it made no difference. I flipped over the railing and landed on the ground, shaken but unhurt, extremely remorseful and mortified knowing what a spectacle I made. I looked around carefully but my discomfiture had apparently gone unnoticed. I told my sister-in-law that nobody was home next door.

It took some time to restore my friendship with Betty, with me making all the overtures, but after awhile she forgave me. Her forgiveness was based on my cross my heart and hope to die statement that I would never again mention her lisp, the one that she did not have. We even managed to tolerate each other through a full-length black-and-white movie starring a Hollywood cowboy that many years later would become president of the United States. This would be our one and only sojourn away from the watchful eyes of her mother and father.

Yep, we saw Ronald Reagan in one of his better appearances on-screen—King’s Row, a film in which Reagan is crushed by a boxcar and loses both his legs, amputated needlessly by a surgeon that hated him. Cutting the legs from under Ronald Reagan was quite an accomplishment, something that the Democrats could not accomplish in the eight years that Reagan was president, and they tried very hard over those eight years.

But I digress—Betty wanted to see a certain movie, and my brother allowed me to use his Chevrolet two-ton dump truck to take her to the theater in downtown Washington, D.C. A full-grown dump truck—a really romantic touch, huh?

Thinking back on that evening I am reminded of a little ditty my brother used to sing—I have forgotten the last line of that little ditty, and I can’t think of a word that rhymes with front, and that’s probably a good thing. This is just one stanza of a very long string of stanzas of the same ilk—I’ll share others whenever the opportunity arises. One of them involves an elephant at the circus—that’s one of my favorites.

I took my girl to the movies,
We sat away down in front,
And every time the lights went out,
I’d grab her by the (I’ve forgotten the last word).

Tickets for children under thirteen were half price. I bought two half-price tickets, gave Betty hers and we entered the theater. The old grouch taking tickets inside asked me how old I was, and I said twelve. He sneered and said something on the order of, Yeah, right, twelve years old with a voice like that, sure you are. However, he halved my ticket and returned the stub. He obviously had no problem with Betty’s age, although he lingered long in looking at her, then took her ticket and halved it without comment. The old fellow was obviously biased in favor of young females.

Over the years I have come to suspect that Betty was born to her parents out of wedlock, at least three years before they married—well at least two years and nine months—so they waited almost three years before they started counting her age. Given that supposition, that would make Betty at least fifteen years old when I knew her.

Hey, it sounds plausible to me—I have not seen another twelve year old girl in the ensuing sixty-four years that could hold a candle to Betty in grown-up looks. Evidently the years between twelve and fifteen are quite favorable to the female of the species—the same span of years did very little for me.

More on Betty in a later posting, a rousing tale—so to speak—of the monthly physical exams to which she was required to submit, examinations performed by her father—I’ll bet that got your attention!

Stay tuned—I’ll get back to you later with more details, but just as a teaser, had there been a child protective service in those days the family would be broken up, leaving Betty with her mother and her father in jail.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Childhood, Family, friends, Humor


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Wylie, Texas possum saga, cont’d . . .

This posting was prompted by an e-mail from my son-in-law in Wylie, Texas concerning his running battle with possums in the attic. Other postings related to that saga can be found here, and here and also here.

Here is his e-mail:

The possum saga, continued:

Possum returns to attic after fraternizing with rabid possums and skunks recently highlighted in the news.

It takes even better food to entice possum into trap because he now knows what it is. More fruit and peanuts fail—bait escalation includes pizza, fried chicken, mahi-mahi and rack of lamb with mint sauce—still no possum in trap.

Finally $150 Chateaubriand meal from Three Forks and glass of Baron de Rothschild ’57 claret does the trick. Possum decides he is ready for another trip to visit his country cousins and enters the trap for the meal.

Brantley shoots possum while still in trap, rolls same in plastic bag and places in the trash.

I just received your e-mail concerning the demise of a possum in your attic, and I feel compelled to tell you that it was not the same possum you released into the wild “a mile away” from your house. This was definitely a different animal, obviously a female, and obviously accustomed to the finer things in life, particularly gustatory delights. Given her appetite for fine wine and Chateaubriand, she was probably a procreating Parisian possum in Plano’s possum population (I just love alliteration!).

This lady (?) possum was very likely a one-time companion—well, perhaps more than one time—to the one you captured and released. That teenage possum was in a blue funk, trying desperately to understand the loss of his one true love. That’s why he paced your attic—he couldn’t sleep for thinking of what had been, and what could again be if they could only be reunited.

Other than mere physical attraction, he had little interest in the one you summarily shot, placed in a plastic bag and consigned to the trash. She was just a temporary diversion while he continued his quest for the one trapped by your next door neighbor some time prior. The fate of that possum is unknown, but your neighbor took a snapshot of her (pictured at right). She is gorgeous, and one can readily understand why the teenager you released into the wild had such strong feelings for her!

And I’m sure he was fed up with the Parisian possum’s constant whining and complaining about his inability to satisfy her materialistic needs, such as a bigger house, better food, etc. Otherwise, he was probably doing okay for himself in their relationship. Through an intensive online search, I found an image of a female Parisian possum, pictured at right (there goes that alliteration again!). Judging by this image, it’s likely that a friendly relationship with a lady Parisian possum would be exciting and memorable.

Congratulations on your latest feat, and I assure you that it detracts in no way from your “bring ’em back alive” status. Even Frank Buck, when faced with death or injury to himself or to others, dispatched elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers and other such wildlife to another world, far away from zoos and their natural habitat—and he probably also sometimes shot them simply because he was—well, in such instances, he was referred to as Frank “just got pissed off at ’em” Buck.

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Posted by on March 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Possum in the attic . . . got ‘im!

My favorite attorney son-in-law and his adventures with wildlife—specifically with possums— prompted this posting. I have two other sons-in-law, one of which is my favorite computer whiz son-in-law and the other is my favorite truck broker son-in-law).  My favoritism fluctuates among sons-in-law depending on my needs—whether legal matters, computer related matters, or matters related to the international transportation of goods (I also depend on the truck broker son-in-law and his son—my grandson—to assist in moving weighty goods to and from my home).

A related posting, Ode to a Possum, a must–read, can be found here.

More possum info here.

And even more here.

This is the e-mail I received from the son-in-law that luxuriates in marriage with my princess daughter in Wylie, Texas:

Here is the update on our “Possum in the Attic”:

Night 1:

Trap is carefully set; loaded with peanut butter, peanuts and an old banana.

Next day trap check:

Banana is mysteriously missing, trap was not sprung, peanut butter and peanuts untouched. Trap is adjusted for sensitivity, as it is suspected the possum is very cleverly eating the banana from outside the trap or tip toeing into the trap and slyly leaving the peanuts and peanut butter to confuse the trapper (which has had considerable success).

Night 2:

After trap is adjusted, it’s re-baited with a nice bunch of canned peaches. Peanut butter and peanuts from night before are left in place.

1:00 AM:

Kelley hears a rustling in attic and suspects the possum is up and about. Brantley stays fast asleep, hearing nothing.

7:00 AM:

Kelley checks the trap and THE POSSUM IS NABBED!  Curiously, the peaches and peanut butter and peanuts are gone completely. He’s rather large but seemingly docile and even appears friendly. Kelley demands that he be set free unharmed.

7:15 AM:

Brantley sets possum free a mile or so away in the woods. Possum seems pleased and in a good mood—Brantley wonders whether a mile is far enough.

Thus ends the possum hunt.

Or does it?

I think I’ll keep the trap for a few weeks—just in case!

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Posted by on March 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Ode to a possum . . .

Please note: There are several other postings related to this literary examination and elimination of possums in attics. Such problems are commonplace in our state, in fact in most states, and perhaps these postings will enable others to handle such problems more effectively and efficiently. The other postings can be found here, and here.

Oh, and also here.

Following in the footsteps of Keats, Shelley, Robert Frost and other exalted poets, I have penned Ode to a Possum. An ode is defined as, A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure. My Ode to a Possum conforms to that definition perfectly.

As with many similar lyric odes, this one is meant to be sung. My list of preferred singers would include Toby Keith and Diana Ross—perhaps even George Jones or Whitney Houston, depending on their current medical status.

My first choice would have been Tiny Tim and his ukulele, but that worthy is long gone, both from the music scene and from this world—may he forever happily and gracefully tiptoe through the tulips.

A perceptive reader of this posting will note the absence of an O, as in Opossum, and will undoubtedly wonder why it was omitted. That’s because the prefix O is not used in our southern regions, and especially not in the sovereign state of  Texas, neither in writing nor in speaking.

A similar spelling may be noted in the name of our Irish president, Barack O’bama—the O is present with an apostrophe added, as in O’Reilly, O’Brien and other Irish names. (Thanks, and a tip of the kingly crown to Kinky Friedman, our perennial candidate for political office in Texas, for defining the president’s heritage by adding the apostrophe and for saying he would vote for him).

And here is my lyric poem:

Ode to a Possum

In Wiley lived a possum named Fred,
That used Brantley’s insulation for his bed.
He rambled ’round the attic
Till the family grew frantic,
And wished that ol’ Fred was dead.

Brantley baited a trap with wine,
And chateaubriand quite fine.
Of each did Fred partake,
His death then did fake,
And Brantley told Kelley “It’s time.”

“Don’t kill him,” Kelley then cried,
But Brantley took Fred for a ride.
No mercy would he show,
Cause ol’ Fred had to go.
In the attic he could not abide.

Just past the limits of the city,
Brantley’s heart overflowed with pity.
Though his eye shed a tear,
Fred had nothing to fear,
And I’m nearing the end of this ditty.

Fred did Brantley return to the wild,
By handling him gently and mild.
But when Fred was free,
He climbed a tall tree,
And at Brantley thumbed his nose like a child.

The saga of Fred will be told,
By Kelley’s children when old,
How a possum so bold,
Came in from the cold,
But succumbed to a trap that would hold.

That’s my Ode to a Possum and I’m sticking to it.


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