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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 Snopes.com. 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.

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

 

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A brisket for Nephrology . . .

This is a letter to my wife, one of the purest and sweetest beings that God has ever created. Her immortal soul returned to its Creator on Thursday, the eighteenth of November, 2010 at 9:15 in the evening. Immediately after joining Him she left His presence, and anointed with the divine influence of His grace she returned to our mortal world for a few brief moments. Her return is documented and discussed here.

Hi, sweetheart,

I know you’re watching and I’m sure you were part of the annual get-together in the Nephrology Clinic at Brooke Army Medical Center, but I’ll recap the luncheon for you just in case you overlooked some of the folks that attended. It was held on Thursday, December 16, the day that would have been your day for dialysis. You’ll remember that Thursday is the least busy day for the unit. There was only one patient that morning, and I believe that was an in-hospital patient.

All the nurses were there: Gracie, Linda, Irene, Gloria, Jackie, Tammie, Jim, Carver, Henderson and Patti, the Head Nurse, along with Kathy, the dietitian, and Dr. Reynolds, the officer-in-charge of the Clinic. Many of the dialysis patients were there, including the Big Colonel and the Little Colonel. The Big Colonel expressed his sadness at learning of your death, and offered his condolences to me and to our daughters, saying that we and you would always remain in his thoughts and prayers.

Dr. Reynolds welcomed us to the event and asked that we never forget those that are longer with us, specifically naming you and Mrs. Kirk, that beautiful little lady with the short gray hair and the ever-present smile, always commandeering a wheelchair and chauffeured by her husband. She followed you from this realm just a few days after you left us.

Dr. Reynolds introduced the chaplain, and following the chaplain’s brief prayer with blessings on those present and those not present, we lined up at the trough for lunch, and what a spectacular trough it was. The tables stretched at least thirty or forty feet along one wall and each table was loaded—the staff should be enjoying leftovers for several days, probably through the weekend and into next week.

You should be very proud of me because with you beside me, coaching me at every step, I prepared a seven-pound brisket, from HEB of course, and brought it still hot on my arrival at the clinic, along with sauce, chips, bread and four gallons of sweet tea from Bush’s Chicken in Converse—incidentally, there has apparently been a complete change of personnel at that location—I recognized none of the staff there.

Rita met me at the entrance of the hospital with a handcart to help carry everything. I also brought another large framed piece of art to add to our gallery in the clinic. That makes a total of fourteen pieces lining each side of the hallway from the entrance all the way to the dialysis section. I’m told that your “art gallery” is an attraction for other hospital staff and patients and visitors. I know that you and I did not make the donations as a memorial, but it doesn’t hurt that it serves as a memorial to you.

Cindy helped me create gold foil stickers for the pieces, and I placed one on the lower right corner of the glass of each, and I also placed a label on the flat-screen television you donated to the Nephrology Clinic to replace that little dinky tube television that was there. Each of the gold stickers reads, Donated to Nephrology by Janie and Mike Dyer. And just in case you are wondering, Rita still watches The View every morning with religious fervor.

I wish the hallway were a bit longer so I could expand the gallery in your name. I also wish that I could create another Taj Mahal to honor your name and your life, but I’ll have to be satisfied with the Taj Mahal that resides in my heart and in my memories of you and of my life with you. Just as is the original Taj Mahal in India, the Taj Mahal in my heart and memories is a symbol of our eternal love.

I helped the nurses set up the banquet tables (Irene made me don plastic gloves before I could help sanitize the tables). When the signal was given to Come and get it! I joined the long line, loading far more on my plate than necessary, but I admit shamefully that very little was left when I finished. I shared a table with Ernie, his wife and his daughter. You’ll remember Ernie as the camera-bug transplanted to San Antonio from El Paso so his severely handicapped wheel-chair-bound daughter could receive treatment here. He is still following Cindy’s blog and working on his photographic skills.

Unless you were preoccupied in another area, you probably noticed that I visited you in the cemetery that Thursday afternoon. There were few visitors that day, but the machines and their operators were present as always, hard at work maintaining and enhancing the grounds, watering and grooming and planting and preparing new communities for military wives and husbands and for the orphaned children of military families. The perpetual care provided by our government for those families ensures the beauty and the future of one of the largest such cemeteries in the nation.

My visit with you that Thursday afternoon was bitter sweet, as all future visits will be. I accept the sadness that cloaks and permeates each visit, but I exult in the knowledge that the sadness is temporary, because I know that at some time in the future I will join you and our immortal souls will be reunited.

And I know that, in the glorious morning of the Resurrection our bodies will be raised, and become as incorruptible as our souls.

Sleep well in heaven, my darling. I love you more today than yesterday, but less than tomorrow.

Mike

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in death, Family, flowers, health, marriage, television, Writing

 

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Listen up, Dumbo, if you want to win in November . . .

Listen up, Dumbo, if you want to win in November!

A special note to all Republicans seeking to retain or attain a seat in the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming November elections:

When you start your campaigns, whether for election or reelection in November of 2010, begin by submitting a deposition duly sworn before a properly licensed notary, a deposition in which you swear that you will govern by the will of the people, that will as determined by current polls conducted by reputable pollsters, a deposition in which you swear that should you fail to acknowledge and conform to the people’s voices you will resign your seat immediately following your failure to conform to the will of the people, and finally in that deposition you will swear that you will forfeit the sum of $50,000, that sum having been deposited in escrow in a secure location, said sum to be immediately applied to the national debt. If you’re a bit short on the cash, the nation’s capital has lots of lenders.

Listen up, Dumbo! You certainly have the ears for listening—you need only use them to listen to the voice of the people instead of flapping those ears as Disney’s creation, the flying elephant Dumbo did, flying to the upper branches of a tall tree and just sitting there, doing nothing other than maintaining that smug complacency that has characterized the Republican party for the past ten years, beginning with the elections of 2008 but especially noticeable over the past 18 months.

Former president George W. Bush proudly and emphatically told the people that he did not govern by polls. That remark reminds me of an afternoon many years ago when I was being babysitter to my young granddaughter after kindergarten. In a grandfatherly attempt to engage her in conversation I asked her what she did in school that day. She was eating cereal, and she chewed thoughtfully for a long moment before answering and then said, I don’t have to tell you that.

As one might expect I saw red, and I replied forcefully, Okay, smart-ass, I didn’t want to know anyway. And also as one might expect I froze, terrified, fearing that should her mother—my daughter—learn what I had said I would never again be trusted to serve as her babysitter—actually that really would not have been such a bad thing, unless my response was judged predatory in nature.

The little girl took another spoonful of cereal, chewed thoughtfully again for another moment, and after what felt like an eternity to me she said, Then why did you ask me?

My point, Dumbo, is that if you aren’t going to act on the poll results, then why do you ask us the questions? What do you do with those results? Substitute them for Charmin?

I’ll bet you would be quite pleased had our current president governed on the poll results of health reform, financial reform and other items forced through both houses of Congress, items that the masses strongly opposed according to all the polls—none would have passed, not one, and the nation would be far better off than it is now.

Our current president promised change and he definitely gave us change. He has saddled the nation with a projected deficit of some 14 trillion dollars—that’s 14 followed by 12 zeros—projected to come about in the near future. He has definitely changed the character and the landscape of the United States and has jeopardized our nation’s future, but his promise of transparency in government has never materialized.

We are no longer looked up to by the nations of the world—they instead look down on us. We have bowed in obsequiousness to the leaders of several nations, including some that would destroy us. Our country is riddled with terrorists, both foreign and home-grown, and our national debt is in the stratosphere. We are descending into a second-rate nation and a second-rate power, and nothing can stop our descent except a major change in our government.

Listen up, Dumbo—you can do it. You can reverse our downward slide by listening to the people. All you need do is to follow the bouncing ball indicated by the polls and it can happen, and it must be soon. On a day much too close in the future, we will have reached the point of no return. Act now, before that point is reached.

Plagiarize Obama’s campaign slogan if necessary—just say YES, WE CAN! and YES, WE WILL! It worked for him and it can work for you. The voters, particularly the independents, believed him, but now they are disillusioned and they want change—they want to change back to the country we had before Obama changed it. They will believe you only if you offer something that will hold your feet to the fire if you renege on your campaign promises, namely the deposition I have outlined for you.

With it, you can do it—without it the people won’t believe you. Obama suckered them this time, but they won’t allow you to do it now—perhaps some years in the future, but not now—their wounds are too fresh.

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

 
 

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