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Etch A Sketch


picture of Etch A Sketch

Did you know that the Etch A Sketch is 50 years old? It was invented by a Frenchman in the late 1950's. It was licensed to the Ohio Art Company and debuted as Etch A Sketch in July 1960. I had one as a child and spent many happy, frustrating hours playing with it, but I could never produce anything astounding. If you have ever had one, were you ever able to draw amazing things or even write legibly?

According to Wikipedia:

An Etch A Sketch is a thick, flat gray screen in a plastic frame. There are two knobs on the front of the frame in the lower corners. Twisting the knobs moves a stylus that displaces aluminum powder on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line. The knobs create lineographic images. The left control moves the stylus horizontally, and the right one moves it vertically.

As I researched for this blog post, I was surprised that there are actual Etch A Sketch artists out there. Here are some pictures I found online of the creations I could never have done. I was unable to find attribution for some of them. If I've posted yours and you would like credit and a link, let me know.

I read that a young child did this map of the United States!

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

Someone was able to do an optical illusion with the Etch A Sketch.

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

Here's the Golden Gate Bridge.

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

Here's some ancient Egyptian artistry done by Etch A Sketch artist Kevin Davis.

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

Here's the Mona Lisa by Etch A Sketch artist Jeff Gagliardi.

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

Here's "Starry Night" by VanGogh, and Jeff Gagliardi.

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

This one was done by Etch A Sketch artist George Vlosich. The drawing looks too perfect to be real! This guy takes Etch A Sketch art to a whole new level!

picture of Etch A Sketch artwork

There are different products that are spin-offs of the Etch A Sketch. Here's a pocket Etch A Sketch.

picture of a pocket Etch A Sketch

Here's an Etch A Sketch pen that might offer some competition for students' attention.

picture of Etch A Sketch pen

There's an app for it...?

picture of Etch A Sketch for iPod

Now here's one I have a hard time believing.

picture of an Etch A Sketch with Windows

I'm a little nostalgic since my 40 year high school reunion was this past weekend up in Ohio. I was not able to attend, but I have heard that those who did enjoyed it. Since I'm on this nostalgia kick, I'm remembering that 10 years ago there was a lot of hype about the y2k bug. Below is a solution proposed by one company (in jest, of course).

Our goal is to remove all computers from the desktop by Jan 1, 1999. In place of the current computer, everyone will be provided with an Etch A Sketch. There are several benefits to this move:

1. No y2k problems

2. No technical glitches keeping work from being done.

3. No more wasted time reading and writing e-mails.

4. Better development of upper body strength.

In anticipation of your questions, an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) has been provided:

Q: My Etch A Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I turn my Etch A Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create a New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch A Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch A Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I save my Etch A Sketch document?
A: Don't shake it.

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If this has got you itching to try your hand at an Etch A Sketch, Ohio Arts offers an online virtual Etch A Sketch.

What are your memories of Etch A Sketches? Are they good ones?

I'll end this post with a comic I found online that is reminiscent of the Far Side.

picture of an Etch A Sketch comic

quotation...

"At salvation your spiritual DNA changes" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The future will be sketched with what we've drawn from the past.

More Funny Signs


It's been a while since I've posted funny signs, and pictures have been accumulating in my folder. I'll start off with some that readers have sent me from Europe.

Here are several from Switzerland. Each one has varying degrees of comprehensibility.

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

A former student who now lives in Germany said that she and her family stayed at Ice Hotel in Sweden. She took this picture of the bathroom in the woods there and wondered if I had ever seen a "P-Tree" before.

picture of a sign

The following isn't really a sign, but it somehow seems to fit in this post. This is from a menu at a Mexican restaurant.

picture of a menu

I know "parts are parts," as the old advertisement stated. But I think I'd prefer to order a thigh instead of a thing.

The next five pictures are variations on a theme — all are signs in front of the administration building of a Lutheran retirement community in Pennsylvania where a reader's Aunt Dot lives.

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

picture of a sign

This sign is one that a reader saw in the somewhere in the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'm not quite sure what it's warning us about.

picture of a sign

Here's one that I took at the hotel where we stayed on our visit to St. Louis. We were surprised that they would have a guest at the register.

picture of a sign

If you'd like to know more about our visit in St. Louis last month, check out my wife's post called St. Louis.

For those of you who don't have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts near by, I'll need to explain something. The very best time to go to Krispy Kreme is when they have hot, fresh doughnuts coming off the conveyor belt. Those plain, glazed doughnuts called "hot ones" are worth every calorie and fat gram with which they are laden!!! You know they have "hot ones" if their neon sign is lighted. There are several different styles, but here's how they look in our part of the country.

picture of a sign

If you look carefully, you can see that the neon sign above actual has two neon bulbs — each one lights up approximately half of the sign. Well, I noticed that one of the local shops had one of the two bulbs burned out, and I captured the picture below on my trusty cell phone.

picture of a sign

Being the basically unbashful jokester that I am, I went inside to buy a hot one and to ask if many women had been inquiring about what they were advertising on their sign outside. One girl behind the counter was puzzled, but the other one cracked up and said that she had actually had several inquiries about their hot employee "Doug" and had to explain regretfully that no one by that name worked there. The burned out bulb has been replaced since my visit....

Thanks to those who help keep me supplied with funny signs! I'm always watching for them myself. Keep 'em coming!

quotation...

"We are privileged dirt. God has blessed us with privileges dirt doesn't deserve." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

I have not yet begun to procrastinate.

Tupperware and Obamacare


picture of Tupperware banana storage

Do you like Tupperware? We do, and we're still using most of the Tupperware we received as shower gifts over 30 years ago! Several months ago when we had German house guests, for some reason we talked about Tupperware. They told us about some of the items available through Tupperware in Germany that we don't see here. This week they sent us a package through a mutual friend coming back from Europe. In addition to some German coffee (mmm!), there was a German Tupperware catalog. I looked online to see if it were also available there. If you'd like to check it out, you can go to tupperware.de One of the items available is called Banana Joe (picture above). I don't think it would keep a banana fresh. Is it for protecting the banana from bruises in your lunch bag?

Here's a little Tupperware story from my files:

What's A Tupperware Party? (author unknown)

One evening after dinner, my five-year-old son Eli noticed that his mother had gone out. In answer to his questions, I told him, "Mommy is at a Tupperware party." This explanation satisfied him for only a moment.

Puzzled, he asked, "What's a Tupperware party, Dad?"

I figured a simple explanation would be the best approach. "Well, Eli, " I said, "at a Tupperware party, a bunch of ladies sit around and sell plastic bowls to each other." Eli nodded, indicating that he understood this curious pastime. Then he burst into laughter.

"Come on, Dad," he said. "What is it really?"

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Tupperware is known for "locking in freshness." To me, much of what has been happening in our nation's capital this year is anything but "fresh," and instead our leaders are locking out freshness, in favor of old ideas (ideologies) that have failed for others. For some reason they believe they can make these ideas work for them, and that the others failed simply because they didn't run things right. The French have a saying, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." = The more things change, the more they stay the same. It reminds me of the following:

The evolution of medicine...

What doctors through history have said in reply to "Doctor, I'm in pain":

2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen; say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition; drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil; swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective; take this antibiotic."
2009 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"

The redistribution of wealth that is happening fast and furiously is nothing new. It's the ancient rob Peter to pay Paul thing ... especially knowing that it's a pretty sure way to get Paul to vote for you.

picture of bailouts

Our leaders' answer to economic hard times is to spend money we don't have, at unthinkable rates and in incomprehensible amounts. Being a language guy, I readily admit that economics is not my strong suit. But I know better than to borrow exorbitant sums of money that I would not be able to pay off in three lifetimes. Duh, you don't get out of debt by spending! Our government's answer to everything is to throw money we don't have at whatever problem and non-problem that comes along. My mind goes to the Stimulus Package(s), the Cash for Clunkers debacle, etc. We are seeing only half of the campaign promises fulfilled — we're seeing massive change, but little to no hope.

picture of flow chart

The push to get the Health Care Plan (a.k.a. Obamacare) through as quickly as possible, without even knowing what all is in it seems to me unwise at best. It's kind of like the definition of Tupperware party up above, but in this case our lawmakers aren't sitting around trying to sell bowls to each other, but rather trying to sell each other on a plan that could move our nation one giant step closer to bankruptcy. Come on, Congress-critters, do you really know what Obamacare is?! A reader sent me one version of the 1,000+ page Health Care Plan. If you'd like to read it, click on this link - HR320.pdf If you do read it, you will be light years ahead the vast majority of our Congressmen who are poised to vote in favor of it. I found a flow chart online that explains how things will work. You can see a larger version by clicking on the thumbnail picture of it above.

The textbook we use in our first three semesters of French here at the university tells us that France has an excellent health care system. But I've heard otherwise from some people. My dentist here in Greenville has quite a few patients who are Michelin employees living in the US for several years. Some of these patients have come in in great pain. When the dentist checked them out, he discovered that they have decay under their fillings. Upon further investigation he learned in each case that the dentists in France don't use novocaine to numb people up before drilling. They drill until the person can stand it no longer, and then put in the filling, sometimes on top of decay.

Friends who lived in France for a while told us that their four-year-old daughter fell in their yard one day and had a huge gash in her chin. When they couldn't get it to stop bleeding, they took her to the emergency room. The personnel cleaned it up and said that she would need stitches. The gave the mother a bed sheet, told her to wrap it around her little girl and to hold her still while they stitched it up. Apparently novocaine is something that socialized medicine can't waste money on. Barbaric, huh?

I have heard some say that if Obamacare goes through, we will end up with a system with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the US Postal System. We've been reminded in the past two weeks by the Cash for Clunkers program that people still flock in hoards to freebies. Won't they do the same with "free" health care? How is the government in charge of Medicare and Medicaid on the verge of collapse going to manage an even bigger system?

Just this week a reader told me about her recent visit to her doctor here in USA. I asked her if she'd write it up for me to include in this post. She wrote it out and included a humorous side note to me, which I left intact with her permission:

I recently had my annual physical. As a part of the yearly aches-and-pains discussion, my doctor and I talked about my arthritic knees and how much pain is too much pain. The doctor said that if I am ready to discuss joint replacement, I'd better do it now because under Mr. Obama's new health plan, knee replacement coverage would be denied, if not seriously curtailed.

Note to Rob: I wonder if there will be a quota system, e.g.

Me: "Doctor, I'm ready for that right knee surgery."
Doctor: "Rats, you just missed the cutoff for right knees this decade. What about a left hip? Most folks your age learn to adjust to the unusual gait."

It was interesting to me to hear what her doctor had to say about Obamacare. She currently has excellent health care, but that could/would all change. Our government leaders seem to subscribe to Red Green's oft-repeated principle — "If it ain't broke, you're not trying!" They seem to be bent on breaking a health care system that, while not perfect, is the envy of many other countries.

I did a web search to see what other doctors are saying. Here are links to several interesting articles:

Obama Care: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Angry Docs Say Proposed Government-Run Health-Care Plan Will Drive Physicians out of Medicine

I usually steer clear of political issues on my blog, but this is such a big issue right now that I wanted to express myself and hear what my readers have to say. I know that the issues are huge and varied and cannot possibly be covered in this blog post. What do you know about and think of Obamacare? Some of you live in countries that have socialized medicine. What are your thoughts about your national health care? Is socialized medicine a fresh idea, or is it something less than fresh, something that's going to get us locked into a big container called Obamacare Tupperware, that we will never be able to get out of? I would love to see a lively, civil discussion of this issue in the comments.

quotation...

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service exam." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Anything free is usually worth what you pay for it.

Amish Baseball


picture of baseball

Baseball fans know that the season is in full swing, so to speak. This is "Baseball Week" over at The History Bluff (THB). Dave is having a contest this week and the winner will get a free THB t-shirt and two tickets to a Greenville Drive game. His contest consists of coming up with the best caption for the picture in that post. Based on readers' comments to my "toast post" last week, I have no doubts about what creative writers some of you are. So I hope you'll try your hand at Dave's contest and explore his fun site. You can learn more about it by going to his post called Shoeless Joe Caption Contest: Ticket and T-shirt Giveaway or by clicking on the picture below.

When Dave sent me the info about his contest and asked me to post it, I started thinking about baseball and remembered something I had in my files.

Religious Persuasions and Baseball

Lutherans believe they can't win, but they still trust the scorekeeper.

Puritans won't swing.

Quakers won't strike.

Unitarians can catch anything.

Calvinists believe the game is fixed.

The pope claims never to have committed an error.

Fundamentalists balk.

Pre-Millennialists believe the game will be called on account of darkness.

Atheists don't believe anyone created the game.

Deists don't believe in an umpire.

Adventists won't play the 7th inning.

Amish do a lot of walking.

picture of Amish sign

Speaking of the Amish, while we were in Ohio we saw some Amish people in their horse-drawn buggies on side roads as we crossed the state on US Route 30. On a past trip we were able to visit a neat store in Kidron, OH, called Lehman's. This store carries many products that cater to the special needs of the Amish. While we were in the store that time, we saw missionaries supported by our church in Greenville. They were preparing to leave for Papua New Guinea and were looking for a gas-powered refrigerator to take with them, since they would not have electricity. They found what they needed at Lehman's.

As we drove along US Route 30, we didn't see any Amish people playing baseball, but I was able to find several pictures on line that show that at least some sects do enjoy the game.

picture of Amish baseball

picture of Amish baseball

Here are several bits of Amish humor to finish off this post.

Two young men were in desperate need of cash, but admittedly were a bit cowardly. So the one suggested that they break into the Amish market. The logic being that, since the Amish were nonresistant, even if the young men were caught, no harm could befall them. Thus they carried out their plot. However, just as they were breaking into the cash register, the owner lit the lantern and confronted them, pointing a shotgun directly at them. Calmly, the Amishman said, "Boys, I would never do thee any harm, yet thou art standing where I am about to shoot."

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A newcomer to the political scene was campaigning in Amish country for the office of assemblyman. Outside an Amish homestead, he saw a young man milking a cow. He approached the young man, ready to make his pitch for a vote.

Just as he was getting started, an old man called from inside the house. "Luke, get thee into the house. And who is that man thou art talking to?"

"Says he's a politician, father."

"In that case, bring the cow inside with thee."

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While driving in Pennsylvania, a family came up behind an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign: "Energy efficient vehicle. Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."

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An Amish boy and his father were visiting a shopping mall. They were simply amazed by almost everything that they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The wide-eyed boy asked his father, "What is that thing, father?"

The father responded, "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life. To be honest, I don't know what it is!"

While the boy and his father were watching in amazement, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed, and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch as the circles then lit up in the reverse direction. The walls opened up again and a remarkably beautiful 24 year old woman stepped out.

The father said, "Son, go get thy mother."

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Can you think of any puns summing up other religion persuasions with baseball terminology? Do you have any experiences with the Amish?

quotation...

"The more zealously a man is focused on external triviality, the more likely it is that he is hiding inward corruption." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Did you hear about the Amish flu? There are only two symptoms — first you get a little hoarse, then you get a little buggy.

Kind of reminds me of the man who married an Amish girl so he could drive her buggy!

Toasters


picture of D-12 toaster

Did you know that this year is the 100th anniversary of the invention of the first commercially-successful electric toaster? (You just never know what you're going to find on my blog, do you?!) :-D A man named Frank Shailor developed his electric toaster, the "D-12," at General Electric. On the right is a picture of the D-12.

In a blog post last week called Recent Inventions I posted a picture of a Star Wars toaster that would toast the image of Darth Vader on the bread. A commenter posted a link to a Hello Kitty toaster available at Target. Here's a picture of that toaster:

picture of hello kitty toaster

That comment got my wheels turning about what other kinds of toasters that might be available out there. I did some web searches for images and found way more than I wanted to use in this post. Here are a couple of the ones I enjoyed in particular:

Here's a Volkswagen toaster that reminds me of the hippie vans of my teen years and early 20s:

picture of VW toaster

I found this contraption that allows you to write on bread through the use of a mounted hot-air gun.

picture of printing toaster

Imagine finding messages from your spouse on your morning toast — Take Out the Trash!

Among the many designs possible on toast — from objects to cartoon characters to real people — I found this one interesting:

picture of Obama toast

I know that to some, he's the "toast of the town," but others would like him to be "toast." Time will tell....

Speaking of time, I found a toast clock that might fit in with someone's décor....

picture of toast clock

How about a game of Tic Tac Toast? Two people, armed with peanut butter and jelly could have a battle of early morning wits....

picture of Tic Tac Toast

I would love this transparent toaster — I would know just how dark my toast is getting without having to keep popping it up.

picture of transparent toaster

The following picture made me think about what toasters might be like if various companies made them.

picture of Microsoft toaster

What if various companies made toasters ... what would they be like?

If Microsoft made toasters ...
Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a toaster. You wouldn't have to take the toaster, but you'd have to pay for it anyway. Toaster XP would secretly interrogate your other appliances to find out who made them. Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but would buy them nonetheless since most of the good bread works only with their toasters. Of course, if Microsoft really did make toasters, they would likely require an upgrade to your bread.

If Apple made toasters...
They would do everything Microsoft toaster does, but 5 years earlier, and the bread would be non-removable.

If Linux made toasters...
You'd have to hack into it to make it toast both sides. Plus the Linux toaster would only come in parts, user have to assemble the toaster themselves, but the bread would be free!

If Google made such a toaster, it would likely be in Beta for the next 5 years…

If Xerox made toasters...
You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would get lighter and lighter. The toaster would "jam" your bread for you.

If Fisher-Price made toasters ...
"Baby's First Toaster" would have a hand-crank that you turn to toast the bread that pops up like a Jack-in-the-box.

If Sony made toasters ...
Their "Personal Toasting Device" would be called ToastMan, which would be barely larger than the single piece of bread it is meant to toast, can be conveniently attached to your belt.

If The Franklin Mint made toasters ...
Every month you would receive another lovely hand-crafted piece of your authentic Civil War pewter toaster.

If Timex made toasters ...
They would be cheap, quartz-crystal wrist toasters that take a licking and keep on toasting.

If CostCo made toasters...
They'd be really inexpensive, as long as you bought a case of them.

If Radio Shack made toasters ...
The staff would sell you a toaster, but not know anything about it. Or you could by all the parts to build your own toaster.

If K-Tel sold toaster ...
They would not be available in stores, and you would get a free set of Ginsu knives with each one for slicing the bread, and all for only $19.95. Call them today at 1-800-URADUMMY. That number again, 1-800....

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I know that there are many creative minds and great senses of humor out there among my readership. What would the toasters of some company that you know of be like? Do these pictures make you hungry for some toast? :-)

quotation...

"Light is custom made for darkness." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Why do toasters even have a setting that burns the toast to such a horrible crisp that no one would eat?