Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twinkies Return, and David Letterman Jokes

Have you had a new Twinkie yet? They are back on the shelves and ready to eat, after being on hiatus for eight months when its original owners went bankrupt.  Of course I won’t be having any, since I follow the controlled-carb program Somersize. My grandkids don’t even know what Twinkies are, but my toddler grandson seems mesmerized by the word; he heard Grandpa say Twinkie and then repeated it clear as a bell. “Twinkie!” he says with a grin. Grandpa says he’s going to buy just one and share it with the kids. It is, after all, an American tradition. I used to eat Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes, and Ding Dongs by the boxful as a kid, and never thought anything of it!  

I laughed at Letterman’s jokes last night about the return of the Twinkie. He said that they are healthier now. 

“I found that disappointing—I mean, you’re not eating them because they’re good for you,” he said. “But they are healthy. The version you can buy now are free-range Twinkies.”

He also said that you can get the Twinkies at your favorite supermarket “or wherever you buy sponge rubber and foam insulation products.”

And finally he noted that Twinkies are supposed to last longer these days. Letterman doesn’t think that’s a problem, though, adding “Heck, I had one in the 60’s I’m still trying to digest!”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The 2014 Wilton Yearbook: Cake Decorating Fun!

The new 2014 Wilton Yearbook is out! Yay! This issue is special because Wilton is celebrating 85 years as a company, along with 50 years of The Wilton Yearbook!

I really like this edition of the annual publication. Not only is it the largest collection of designs ever, but they have also made some nice changes, including larger images, and numbering the steps for the instructions so that you can find your place as you decorate. There is also an expanded step-by-step decorating guide which I love to read. Call me a nerd, but I find it fun to gaze through the selection of frosting tips while marveling at the designs they can make, read frosting recipes and study instructions on how to stack cake tiers.

I have collected Wilton yearbooks for many years. The picture above shows just a sample of some of my later issues, but I have the earlier editions as well—most of them from garage sales and eBay. Dewey McKinley Wilton developed The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating in 1929, and the first yearbook was published in 1964 under the name of Cake and Food Decorating Ideas. In 1972 it was officially renamed the Yearbook, and in 1976 it became an annual publication. The 2014 edition has several pages of the history of the Wilton company and the Yearbook—another reason to pick up a copy of this issue.

And as always, now that I follow low-carb eating the Somersize way, I can still bake and decorate cakes and sweet treats and not be tempted to take one single bite. But they sure are fun to make and pretty to look at!

For more information, visit

Cindybin’s Video Picks of the Week: The Brady Bunch

When I found out that my little granddaughter had been watching clips of The Brady Bunch on YouTube, I was pleasantly surprised. I was a mere adolescent when it premiered in 1969, and certainly not thinking about how someday I’d be enjoying this show with grandchildren. But a granny I am, and I knew how much she liked this show, so I got on the Internet and looked into finding some DVD’s. At first I thought I’d buy only one or two seasons, but then decided what the heck, and ended up purchasing the whole bloomin’ Brady set. I mean, how could I narrow it down to just a portion of the show’s five-year run? Would I choose the younger Brady’s when they were all little kids, or the later years with the groovy teenage Marcia and Greg, or somewhere in between? It had to be the entire set or nothing.

Luckily I found a good price, and I don’t regret my purchase. It provides hours of good, wholesome entertainment (and has cute packaging as well!). And it wasn’t until I had grandkids that I realized there just are no shows like that on TV anymore. Some might consider that a GOOD thing, but when you are looking for themes, storylines and characters suitable for preschoolers, the choices are few—other than shows like Sesame Street. ABC’s “The Middle” comes close, and features the kids a lot, but I still don’t think it’s quite age-appropriate for very young children. The parents on that show can be less than good role models sometimes (for example, I have seen the mom come home from a hard day’s work and grab a beer from the fridge—something Carol Brady would NEVER do).

When the Brady Bunch was in prime time, I mirrored oldest girl Marcia, since we are almost the same age in real life. Although I was never as cool and popular as she was, and certainly never dated a guy like Doug Simpson, big man on campus. I never dated ANY guys, for that matter. (And I certainly never became a teen model!)

I even looked a bit like Marcia as an adolescent. Below is the only picture of me that exists from junior high, taken as part of a class photo for the school newspaper when I was 14 (the black and white photo where I’m standing). You can some resemblance to Maureen McCormick as Marcia at the same age in her black and white photo where it looks like she is reading fan mail. I’m also including one of me at age 11 in a plaid jumper, and one of Marcia at around the same age.  If I didn’t have those bangs we would have looked even more alike. Also pictured is Maureen from a few years ago, in her early 50s. She still looks great!

Even though my granddaughter is much closer in age to little Cindy, for some reason she identifies more with Marcia as well. I have found myself re-enacting scenes with her where I have to gently hit her face with a ball so that she can say “Oh, my nose!” Other times she has made me portray mom Carol marrying dad Mike (played by a stuffed Garfield the cat, who I even had to kiss), and then she as Marcia accompanies us and the other kids (played by various stuffed animals) on their honeymoon. For awhile there, all we heard was “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” She can even sing the entire theme song to the Brady Bunch.
Recently we watched the “Get Davy Jones” episode, which I must have seen at least 10 times already over the years. But, sandwiched between my grandchildren all snuggled up next to me, I’ll watch it another 10 times just to be with them. And now they know who Davy Jones is (may he R.I.P.). I explained to my granddaughter that the other Monkees were Mike, Mickey and Peter. “Peter??” she exclaimed. “No, not THAT Peter,” I replied.

Christopher Knight, the real man who actually played Peter, said in an interview a few years ago that the Brady Bunch is popular with young kids “because they’re only simple themes that have to do with family.”

“More kids are aware of it since it’s not relegated to TV Land but being syndicated,” he said. “Kids are finding it more easily.”

Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy, agreed that the show depicts “universal problems that happen to kids.”

“I think that all kids relate to the fact that the parents respected the kids, as well as the kids respected the parents.”

Mike Lookinland, who played little Bobby, acknowledged that people are seeking wholesome entertainment. “People say more often than any other thing, ‘There’s nothing to show our children on TV anymore—except for, you know, garbage!’”

And Robbie Rist, or “Cousin Oliver” summed it up nicely when he said, “There’s always a new generation.”

Here are some fun Brady Bunch-related videos. They aren’t the usual clips from the actual TV show, but things you may not have seen before. I hope you enjoy them!

Cindybin’s Video Pick of the Week: Carole King Pleasant Valley Sunday Demo

“The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song…”

I heard an interview with Carole King recently on NPR, talking about her new album, “The Legendary Demos.” This compilation, released in April 2012, features 13 working demonstrational tapes King made in her early days as a songwriter. During the interview they played the demo of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” which has always been one of my favorite songs, of course most famous for The Monkees version recorded in 1967. Co-written with partner Gerry Goffin, I had never heard King’s version, and was surprised at just how “pleasant” it was! Here is the YouTube video with the song, so you can give it a listen.

In the interview, King talked said she was impressed with the riff that The Monkees added to her song. She also said something about how many people said The Monkees were fluff and wouldn’t last, but that their music has endured.

I have always loved the Monkees AND Carole King. I remember a family vacation when I was in high school in the 70s, where we traveled throughout the western United States. My parents allowed us kids to get one souvenir, and rather than buying something representative of our sight-seeing, I chose a Carole King piano songbook (which I still have!).

I spent hours listening to her albums and practicing the piano from that songbook. Besides Pleasant Valley Sunday, another song I learned to play fairly well was “Been to Canaan”. Here is a video of King performing this in the 80s.

“This is talent,” said YouTube viewer JohnMifsud2010 after viewing the Canaan video. “She wrote the song, both music and lyrics, arranged it and sings it while she is playing the piano. Makes you wonder about all of the hype for folks who speak in rhythm and grab their crotches and call it art.”

Peggy Sweigard said that this was her favorite song 15 years ago “and it still is now.”

“It takes me to a place that is warm and wonderful—even for just a few minutes,” she said. “I could listen to this song again and again. What an artist and musician to be able to reach people the way she does. She is great great great!”

Indeed, King has a loyal fan base. YouTube viewer Brook Perkins, commenting on the Pleasant Valley Sunday demo, said that the singer is “so far ahead of her time and so gifted.”

“I never realized Carole King had written this song,” said Pete Piper. “I guess it only makes sense. If it’s a great song, there’s a really good chance she wrote it.”

Sivvybee added, “I like her version the best and this is the first time I have heard it.”

I think YouTuber VinbuscusC said it all by commenting, “This woman’s talent is just off the chart! There will never be another like her!”

For more information on how to purchase songs from this album as MP3’s, you can visit Amazon. 

Pot Question of the Week: Smoking Weed and Watching TV, What’s the Difference?

A reader asks: “What's the difference between someone watching TV for 3 hours and someone getting high on weed for a couple hours?”

This was an actual email I received today. (I can use it without editing, because, believe it or not, it contains no profanity!) But I can’t tell you how many times a week I get asked this question or something similar. Pot smokers are always trying to compare activities such as watching TV, going to an amusement park, eating, dreaming, sex, reading and anything else to using drugs.

Well let me tell you the obvious, Mr. Internet Person. Getting high on “weed” involves purposely ingesting a mind-altering drug into your system. It is also illegal and you can get into serious trouble with the law, at least where I live. Is that really so hard to understand? (And people actually want marijuana legalized so people like this can use it?)

I get so many emails regarding marijuana (especially over at YouTube), I really need to do a weekly feature about them—something like “Pot Question of the Week” or “Ridiculous Pot Email of the Week”, etc. I really want to address the ones I get from MEDICAL users. Those are unbelievable.

It’s hard to find the time, though! I literally have thousands of emails on my YouTube account that I haven’t even opened. I skim through the list, and you know that anyone with a user name like HerbToker69, HighAllDayGuy, FreetheWeed, Smokey McBongwater, StonerDude420, or ANYTHING with a “420” in it is a pot smoker. And I have so many blogs and videos I want to do on other subjects, not to mention auctions to list, doll videos to watch, etc. Sigh. Maybe one day I’ll get my act together. And maybe I’ll even do a blog just on “Ridiculous Pot Screen Names”, haha…

Two Reborn Baby Doll Tu-Tus, And a Ladybug Headband!

I hit the jackpot at a garage sale this weekend, and found not one but two tu-tus. Or is it tu two-twos? Whatever, they are cute little dresses! Here are Becky and Chelsea modeling them, along with the ladybug headband I bought from a reborn collector on Etsy. As you can see, the wings even open and close! How fun!