Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Illinois’s Quad Cities: Belgian Influence = Fun, F...

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Illinois’s Quad Cities: Belgian Influence = Fun, F...: The first Belgian sleuth since Hercule Poirot—Ava Oosterling, is the main character in my new Fudge Shop Mystery Series. My series ...

Relay For Life sponsors needed





 




March 24, 2014


RELAY FOR LIFE OF NOBLE COUNTY
SPONSORS NEEDED

            Sponsorship is needed for the 2014 Relay For Life of Noble County. This year’s American Cancer Society event will begin with an Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17th, at the West Noble High School track and field south of Ligonier. The theme chosen is “Racing For A Cure”.

            Fourteen teams have already registered—and this year, if team members recruit a sponsor, the donations for that sponsor can go toward the team’s total goals. Sponsors can be any kind of business, organization, volunteer group, church, and any other group or individual who wants to get involved in the fight against cancer. But the deadline for sponsorship is April 4th, which is coming up fast.

            For more information about the Noble County Relay For Life and how you can get involved, contact Mike White at (260) 302-2052 or mjw_2013@hotmail.com



            The Noble County Relay website is here:

            And the Facebook page is here:



Relay For Life participants and visitors  have a chance to celebrate the victory of local cancer survivors during the Survivors Lap; remember those who are fighting cancer or those who have lost their battle to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony; and participate in the Fight Back Ceremony, which gives everyone a chance to proclaim his or her own way of taking action against the disease.

Bobbing For Fire

Bob Beckley and Ligonier Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Sprague debate which of them is closest to being as old as Bob Brownell.
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


            After three decades as a volunteer firefighter, I … hurt. A lot, especially when it’s cold. Recently I’ve been seen wearing a sling, to let my arm heal after I bent an elbow the wrong way. (I don’t really need the sling—it’s to keep me from reaching for stuff with my bad arm.)

            Bob Beckley was already an old timer (or so my 18-year-old self thought) when I joined. He just hit his 40th year.

            Bob Brownell was just given his fifty year pin.

            Fifty years.

            And that was because they missed the actual anniversary: He’s been a firefighter for 53 years. He was already doing the job for two decades before I walked into the firehouse for the first time, sucking on a bottle and wetting my pants. (Just kidding … I wasn’t sucking on a bottle. I left it in the car.)

            Now, what else happened around 53 years ago? Hm. Well, 52 years ago, although I don’t actually remember it …

            Holy cow. Bob Brownell has been fighting fires since before I was born.

            And the rest of us still have to fight him for the friggin’ fire nozzle.

            Maybe it’s a Bob thing. Maybe being a Bob gives you more energy somehow; maybe it’s one of those mystical names that keeps you young even longer than sleeping under a pyramid, or marrying Playboy 
bunnies.

            Brownell would have started around 1961 or so. Kennedy was President. In Albion, our newest truck was a 1952 fire engine, the first engine I rode to a fire almost two decades later. It had a manual transmission with about 42 speeds on it.

            And I’m tired?

            Now, Brownell is a transfer, which means he didn’t start with our department. What happened was, he started on a different fire department, wore all of them out, then moved to another one. Then all the young guys on that department got tired of him making them look bad, so he left there and came to us. You know those stories about immortal people who moved every few decades so people wouldn’t notice they aren’t aging? That’s Brownell.

            The truth is, Bob didn’t learn to be a firefighter: He invented firefighting. Yep. He was just sitting around with Ben Franklin one day, sipping on a Sam Adams (the beer, I mean—he’s not a vampire. I think.)

            Then Ben, who later died because he’s not Bob, used his well known powers of observation: “Say … Bob, you don’t appear to have aged a day since I met you during the Frenching Indian War.” (No, that’s not a typo: Ben was quite a party animal.)

            Bob had to think fast, because he’d already been kicked out of Rome after organizing slaves into the first fire brigade (which gives a certain irony to the term “volunteer”). Later he had to leave London, after he helped fight the Great Fire of the unfortunately numbered year 1666. With no buildings left to burn he couldn’t get any firefighting action, so he went over to the Colonies and met an expert at getting action, Ben Franklin.

            Together, Franklin and Bob invented false teeth—sadly not perfected for George Washington—along with an early version of the Walkman, and the disco ball. These last two were not successful, as it was only afterward that they discovered electricity.

            Anyone, Bob wasn’t ready to move on just yet, so he had to distract Franklin. Seeing no woman nearby, he said, “Say, Ben, you know what we should do? Form a volunteer fire department.”

            “Oh, I don’t know … I’m a little leery of flames ever since we flew that kite and the lightning set my wig on fire.”

            “You look fine bald. Besides, the chicks love firefighters.”

            “Oh! Why didn’t you say so?”

            So they formed the Union Fire Company, and both men were happy to learn the chicks did, indeed, love firefighters, and things went just great until Bob started not getting old. He moved to Cincinnati and helped develop the first steam powered fire engine, which the firefighters wanted to name the “Bob Brownell” but was instead named the "Uncle Joe Ross", after a City Council member. Politics! But it’s just as well, because 150 years later Bob would have some explaining to do.

            So we’re lucky to have Bobs on our fire department. You know, something just occurred to me: Maybe Bob Beckley isn’t one of a line of Beckleys on the AFD. Maybe it was the same Bob all along—Chief in 1959, and Chief in 1994. Maybe firefighting Bobs really are immortal …

            Just like the spirit of volunteerism. See what I did there?

            Now, I’m off to change my name.



“Give me my service pin, you whipper-snapper; I’ve been doing this so long that we had to invent fire, just so we could put it out.”

Speak of the Devil: When Lars Ulrich Met Lars Ulrich

Speak of the Devil: When Lars Ulrich Met Lars Ulrich: Before we get ourselves started today, links to be seen to. Norma has  revamped the look of her blog , so go on over and see what it looks ...

Relay For Life at Showcase Ligonier





RELAY FOR LIFE OF NOBLE COUNTY
COMING TO SHOWCASE LIGONIER MARCH 29

            The Relay For Life of Noble County will have a booth this year at Showcase Ligonier, which will be held at the Cross Walk at Ligonier United Methodist Church, 466 Townline Road on Saturday, March 29th.
            Showcase Ligonier, sponsored by the Ligonier Chamber Of Commerce, offers a day of family fun, information, food and door prizes. It’s all designed to put the spotlight on the greater West Noble area. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free, with many door prizes available including a flat-screen TV. Those attending are asked to bring nonperishable food items for the West Noble Food Pantry.
In addition to the Relay, more than 35 exhibitors have booths. Food concessions will be sold, and events include Bingo operated by West Noble American Legion Post 243. The Ligonier Police department will be there to offer Operation KidPrint ID, which provides parents with photo identification cards for their children.

            The 2014 Relay For Life of Noble County will be held May 17-18 at the West Noble High School track and field, south of Ligonier. The theme chosen is “Racing For A Cure”.


            For more information about the Relay and how you can get involved, contact Mike White at (260) 302-2052 or mjw_2013@hotmail.com



            The Noble County Relay website is here:

            And the Facebook page is here:
https://www.facebook.com/RFLofNobleCounty

A chocolate lover's worst nightmare



SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


            There are a lot of things in the world we like, but could live without. Our favorite TV shows, for instance. Sports teams, coffee (!), videos of cute kittens, even the internet.

            Okay, maybe not the internet, now that we’re hooked.

            But there’s one thing most of us really can’t do without, even if other people think otherwise. Something that makes the world go around (metaphorically … who knows, maybe literally). Something that, if lost, would cause more withdrawal than caffeine-laced crack.

            But now, horribly, there’s a shortage of chocolate.

            I’ll pause now until the horrified screams die down.

            The world, according to experts, is facing its worst cocoa deficit in 50 years. Not to go on a tangent, but how does one become a cocoa expert? Do I not qualify as one, after half a century as a connoisseur? I mean, come on: I’ve eaten more chocolate than Obama’s hit golf balls. I’ve popped more M&M’s than Charlie Sheen has popped pills, including aspirin. I’ve bought more chocolate bars than Fort Knox has gold bars, but now it seems the chocolate bars may be more valuable.

            Not that I wouldn’t eat them anyway.

            The International Cocoa Organization says cocoa demand exceeds output, a gap they predict will spread to 70,000 metric tons – not up to Federal deficit standards, but any time chocolate combines with red it’s a bad thing (except for chocolate velvet cake).

            (By the way, the ICCO should not be confused with the ICO, International Cuckoo Organization. Go to the convention of one and you get chocolate treats; go to the convention of the other and you get a straightjacket. At least, that’s what Lindsay Lohan says.)

            The ICCO thinks the shortfall might go on for six years, which would be the longest running shortage since record keeping began in 1960. It could increase prices by 14%, making it $3,200 a ton.

            What? I buy cocoa by the ton—don’t you?

            The good news is that chocolate isn’t made of just cocoa. Ingredients include chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla.

            The bad news is, two of those five items come from cocoa.

            (You don’t want to know what lecithin is, but rest assured: Having the word “thin” in its name means nothing.)

            To turn chocolate into milk chocolate—and please do, thanyouverymuch—requires … are you ready for this? Milk.

            But it takes about 400 cocoa beans to make a pound of any kind of chocolate, so we can’t depend on the other ingredients to save us. The problem stems partly from where cocoa is grown, according to commodities manager Ashmead Pringle. I threw his name in because “Pringle” in relation to an article on cocoa made me giggle. I assume Pringles already has a chocolate dipped chip.

            Pringle (Hee!) says cocoa is produced in African countries that tend to be politically and meteorologically unstable. To make matters worse, farmers have no incentive to produce more, because when the price goes up their pay doesn’t. I guess farming is the same all over.

            Meanwhile, the demand for cocoa is predicted to hit 7.3 million tons next year, a pace that hasn’t slowed despite my appeals for everyone except me to decrease their consumption. I certainly didn’t help the matter by experimenting with  double chocolate-dipped Snickers bars.

            Here’s one answer: Grow your own. Unfortunately, cocoa needs tropical climates—it originated in Central and South America, after all, areas that were a paradise before the Spanish showed up and forced the Natives to eat a more balanced diet. In addition to there, cocoa is now grown in a few small areas of Asia, but most still comes from West Africa. It can’t just be planted in a person’s back yard, and don’t think I didn’t try. Maybe I should have taken the wrapper off, first.

            What we need, then, are greenhouses, or some kind of large area with special lights that will allow cocoa to grow-grow. I considering building one of my own, and thus never having to depend on anyone else for my supply and … oh, boy. I guess I am addicted, huh?

            So I checked on the cost and how much work it would be, and I’m not doing it.

            Then I came up with another brilliant idea. (The first was in 1993.) What about all those marijuana dealers who get busted for growing pot? The police confiscate vehicles involved in drug distribution—why not confiscate their growing places, too?

            I know, brilliant. Granted, it’s swapping one addiction for another, but no one ever suffered from secondhand chocolate … just from a lack of it.

            So there you have it, problem solved. Also, by busting the pot growers you’re cutting down on people baking pot into brownies, and thus saving extra cocoa even as you’re growing new. In no time at all, the cocoa supply will be replenished.

            Unless someone figures out a way to smoke it.

Speak of the Devil: There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Snow

Winter is like an election year: The only good thing about it is its ending.



Speak of the Devil: There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Snow: Some links to see to first off.  Grace has had mermaids  in her photoblog the last couple of days. Parsnip has a rather dramatic shot  at h...

It's Relay For Life time





 



RELAY FOR LIFE OF NOBLE COUNTY
TEAMS MEETING MARCH 20TH

            This year’s Noble County Relay For Life is ramping up, with committee and team captain meetings scheduled for Thursday, March 20th, in Albion.

            Everyone is welcome, especially if you’re ready to sign up a team. The Relay Committee meeting is from 6-7 p.m. at the Cole Room, in the Noble County Public Library main branch in Albion. A team captain meeting will follow, at 7 p.m.

            The 2014 Relay For Life of Noble County will take place on May 17-18th at West Noble High School beginning at 10:00 a.m. that Saturday.  For more information about the kickoff event or on how you can get involved, contact Mike White at (260) 302-2052 or mjw_2013@hotmail.com

            The Noble County Relay website is here:

            And the Facebook page is here:

Thursday, March 20, 2014
         Noble County Public Library                     
 813 E. Main St. Albion, IN

Relay For Life participants and visitors  have a chance to celebrate the victory of local cancer survivors during the Survivors Lap; remember those who are fighting cancer or those who have lost their battle to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony; and participate in the Fight Back Ceremony, which gives everyone a chance to proclaim his or her own way of taking action against the disease.

# # #

About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. After marking our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.