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Category Archives: Shopping

Long Wait Almost Over: Twinkies Back On Shelves in 492 Hours, 34 Minutes, 42 Seconds

Twinkieaholics will be happy to know that Twinkies will be on store shelves in 21 days and best of all, on even more shelves than in the past. They should be on store shelves nationwide on July 15.

The Twinkies will now even be sold in dollar stores. Price reportedly will be $3.99 for a 10 count box of the crème filled treats, which was the price before production ended. However, they were on sale in the past as shown in this photo:

Hostess had stopped manufacturing Twinkies and a vast array of other Hostess treats like Ding Dongs And Snoballs, due to striking union workers. Some of the former workers are back in the factories, but are non-unionized workers now.

Donettes and CupCakes will also be returning to the store shelves, after Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management bought out some of the Hostess products. Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s are other products that will be offered for sale.

Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930 by James Dewar of the Continental Bakery in River Forest, Illinois. So it is only fitting that a product, with that long of a history can be purchased still 83 years later.

The spongy crème filled treat is not for the weight conscious, since one Twinkie is 13 percent of recommended fat intake on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Twinkie the Kid won’t be standing in the unemployment line much longer, since he will be back at work on July 15 and his Twinkie outfit and cowboy boots will be trendy again.

For those Twinkie fans that don’t like the standard Twinkie they can be deep-fried, for a whole new taste treat different from your standard Twinkie.

Beware of the fact that some criminals have blamed Twinkies for causing them to commit crimes, in what has come to be known as the Twinkie defense.

Twinkies have been seen in many movies, including Die Hard in which a character almost gets sick from eating a 1,000 year old Twinkie.

Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a diet of Twinkies, Doritos and Oreo cookies and lost 27 pounds in two months on the diet.

Guess that means Nutri System and Jenny Craig will be including Twinkies, in the meals sent to the homes of their clients.

More time has passed since I posted the latest countdown at the top of the page. The latest countdown now shows 492 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

It won’t be long till Twinkie lovers will be lining up outside stores to be first in line to buy the first Twinkies on shelves in several months.

 

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Memories of a Lifetime: 2006-2010

2006 – I would return to my job at Louisiana Community Care, after losing my job with Coastal Culvert. I primarily worked in a group home with seven guys at the time. It was a very demanding job as I had to assist them with their hygiene and washed and dried all their clothes. I would walk in the door at the group home at 4:30 PM and wouldn’t sit down for the first time till about 11 PM, when I had to write down the events of the day for each individual client.

One time a client who ate too fast threw up and I was mopping up the mess and he came up to me and hit me in the head and stomach with a 1-2 punch. Needless to say I was more wary around that client from then on. Another time he woke up during the night wanting chips and when I didn’t give him any he overturned a table and dumped a pitcher of Kool-Aid on the kitchen floor.

I made a point of having all the clothes washed and put away and the floors all swept and mopped, by the time the 12:30 AM relief worker came in. I worked there till around Christmas and retired, since I was now 62 and eligible for Social Security.

Andrew and Rhonda in 2006 at Matthew’s baseball game.

Wikipedia lists very few newsworthy events during 2006 in the United States, with Twitter being launched that year, which turned out to be the most newsworthy event of the year.

Gasoline was selling for $3.03 on August 11, but had dipped to $2.21 by November 17.

 

2007 – We moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2007, as we followed my daughter, son-in-law, when he was named manager of a Knoxville Domino’s store. About three weeks later, when things didn’t work out well with the job they moved back to Pineville, Louisiana.

Since we had used our savings to make the move we remained in Knoxville till December of 2010.

We had a traumatic event that August, when Rhonda was driving down a Knoxville street and was hit by a car turning out into traffic, from an apartment parking lot. Rhonda sustained a broken foot in the accident and was unable to go for a job interview, that was scheduled the next week. We moved to another apartment in the same apartment complex in September and Justin and me moved everything by ourselves, which was a day long job, since Rhonda was unable to help.

Then I went to work for Luxottica, a company that makes lenses for eyeglasses in Knoxville. It was another typical manufacturing job, with pressure to produce the most lenses in the least time. I was operating four machines at once in the fining department. After finishing the fining, we would take the lenses to the next department the polishing department, which made the lenses look even better. This was another temporary Westaff job, so the job played out soon and was without work again. We were given an eviction notice from the apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, but managed to stay there till I found work the next month.

I went to work as a caregiver with Evergreen Ministries in Knoxville, whose headquarters are located in Haughton, Louisiana in December of 2007. The job went well and I remained there till August of 2008. I was required to take a test, to be allowed to administer meds to the clients and scored 91 on the test. I wasn’t allowed to give meds, till I had passed the test, but it made it easier to work in homes, that needed a certified meds person, since some workers never were certified to give meds.

This was the year that the Va. Tech student killed 30 people. My brother lived next to the campus and was driving on campus toward work, when he saw several police cars speeding toward the site of the shootings.

The big news in technology was the introduction of the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii.

Average income was over $50,000 but doubt many of those people worked at the Alexandria Town Talk.

Price of a gallon of gas was $3.38, which is more than it is now six years later, with it being in the $3.25 range in DeRidder, Louisiana area.

An ounce of gold is $630, compared to when I was growing up, when it was $35 an ounce. Someone that had bought 100 ounces of gold at $35 an ounce for $3500 would have seen their gold raise in value to $63,000 for that 100 ounces in 2007.

 

2008 – Would continue to work for Evergreen Ministries till August of 2008, when Rhonda found a better paying job at Comcast working in their call center. We only had one vehicle, since our Ford Contour had been totaled in the wreck in August of 2007, so only one of us could work.

Would move into this house in Knoxville in 2008:

Our home in Knoxville, Tennessee from August 2008 till December 2010.

 

We joined Piney Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville and would sing special music there many times and would sometimes be a replacement song leader. The prayers of the congregation had a lot to do, with Rhonda surviving a life or death surgery in 2010.

The average income dipped $10,000 during the year to $40,000.

Gasoline had risen one cent to $3.39 in 2008, while a barrel of crude oil was selling for a record $147.

The average rent for a house was now $800 and the housing market totally collapsed as the value of houses declined precipitously.

 

2009 – Rhonda drove me to Groves, Texas to spend time with my daughter’s family in June and attended a Astros-Cubs game on June 9. Rhonda drove back to Knoxville, while to boarded a plane to Knoxville from Houston later. While I was gone a tornado hit our home in Knoxville, but luckily the only real damage was to the deck as a tree fell on it.

A tornado hit our deck in June of 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

Rhonda would experience the first signs of having a serious health problem about November of 2009, when she was sent home from work being very sick. The next year would see Rhonda have her large intestines removed and will have more on that in the 2010 post.

Monthly rent fell to $675 in 2009, while a gallon of gasoline dropped to $2.73, which is about 52 cents cheaper, than it is in 2013. A barrel of oil which had peaked at $147 in 2008 was now only $53 a barrel.

 

2010 – Westaff found me a temporary job working at a call center, which involved taking orders for Talbots a clothing company, which had an office in Knoxville. Temp job is an apt description for this job, since it lasted for about two hours. I completed one transaction and then heard the customer telling someone “If this order comes out right it will be a miracle”. My career as a call center employee came to a screeching halt about two minutes later.

March 1, 2010 was a monumental day for Rhonda, as she had her large intestines removed that day and she also smoked her last cigarette that day and hasn’t smoked since. The surgeon found out she had colon cancer that day, but the colon had already been removed and he also found out that Rhonda had diabetes.

The surgery was on Monday and it was on the Thursday night before Rhonda was to go home, that everything went terribly wrong. She went into septic shock and was moved into intensive care. The doctors were at a loss of what to do, before deciding the next day to perform an ileostomy on Rhonda. Her organs were shutting down and was having problems breathing when the surgery started. The surgery went well, but the surgeon told us, that he didn’t expect Rhonda to be alive the next Monday, after the Friday surgery was performed, but was shocked to see that she was still alive.

Rhonda and me after her second surgery in four days, while she was in a six day coma at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in March,2010.

 

Rhonda was in a coma for six days and didn’t wake up till March 11 on the 16th birthday of Justin. Her sisters had driven from Louisiana to Tennessee, but Rhonda was in the coma the whole time they were there. I did all the housework till Rhonda was feeling able to do it that next summer.

I would return to work at Evergreen Ministries in July of 2010 and would remain there till a couple of days, before we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana. I enjoyed the work and didn’t miss any days of work. Had one close call, when driving the clients home and the brakes failed. I managed to get up on the sidewalk, to avoid hitting a car and drove into a parking lot and stopped the company van.

After the hospitalization and recovery we were ready to return home to Louisiana and left Knoxville. It was 16 the morning we left Knoxville, but when we arrived in Sulphur it was 78 degrees, which is even warm for Sulphur late in December.

Our relatives helped us unload the truck in about a half hour or so. It had taken us three days to load the truck in Knoxville, so it was good to unload it fast.

2010 was a slow news year, with no major story listed at the Wikipedia site.

The Apple iPad is released in 2010.

A gallon of gasoline cost $2.73 and a barrel of crude oil was selling for $73.00 a barrel, which was $20 more than the 2009 price.

Price of gold had skyrocketed to $1237 an ounce, which was $1202 more than the price I remembered as a youngster.

 

 

 

 

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Memories of a Lifetime: 1981-1985

1981 – The Town Talk started printing a morning paper in 1981, which meant that most of us in the composing room worked the night shift. I would work nights the last 24 years of my time with the Town Talk. The page makeup department would work from 4:30 PM till 1:00 AM.

1982 – Another year in which I am drawing a blank, as to what happened during that year. Nationally, the Gannett Corporation published the first copy of USA Today, which makes it 31 years old today.

Gasoline cost 91 cents in 1982. The first CD player was sold this year. A Sony 19 inch color TV was being sold for $499. You can buy a RCA 19 inch color TV at Wal-Mart today for only $124, a savings of $375 thirty-one years later.

One of the major events for me was that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened this year in Washington, D.C. The memorial is of particular interest to me, since the soldier that replaced me in Vietnam died two months after I left and his name and the name of my cousin from Maine are both on the wall. My cousin was a warrant officer flying a helicopter when shot down and killed.

1983 – This was the year we went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and tickets only cost $18 back then. Epcot Center had opened the year before, so we also went to Epcot Center while at Disney World.

Later that summer we went to Greeneville, Tennessee to see my dad and his wife. You could walk out their back door and see the Smoky Mountains.

The Town Talk celebrated their 100th anniversary by giving each employee a coin, which can be cashed in during the year 2033. The paper will be 130 years old on March 17 of this year.

You could buy a Dodge RAM 50 truck for $5,665. You could buy a toy General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard for $5.99.

1984 – By this time the years were running together with no particular memory of this year. By 1984 the price of a gallon of gas had skyrocketed to $1.10 a gallon, compared to 91 cents only two years earlier. The same Dodge RAM 50 truck that cost $5,665 in 1983 was selling for $8,995 in 1984. Movie tickets cost only $2.50.

1985 – Another year with no personal memories of it. Looks like when I hit my 40’s my memory bank had deposits less often.

Gasoline was a cent cheaper, than in 1984 with the price now $1.09. A Tandy computer and monitor system was $999. Bacon was a $1.65 a pound in 1985.

A Rolls Royce car for kids were being sold for $500. The vehicle was motorized with a top speed of 5 MPH and featured working headlights and brakes.

 

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Stuckey’s: Roadside Landmark in America

Stuckey’s was a place where you could fill up with gasoline, go to restrooms and shop for souvenirs and the famous Stuckey’s pecan candy.

There was their famous pecan log rolls, pecan divinity and of course pecan pralines. I have to debate with myself whether my favorite was the divinity fudge or the pralines.

First Stuckey’s Physical Building Opened in 1937

The first Stuckey’s building was opened in 1937 and expanded into 350 stores. Stuckey’s merged with Pet Milk in 1967 and the 350 stores dwindled into 75, during the Pet Milk operation of the company. Most of the Stuckey’s stores sold Texaco gasoline back then.

William S. Stuckey Sr., got the idea for the company when he had a bumper crop of pecans in 1930. His wife went to work in the kitchen and experimented with different candy recipes, which were the main drawing card for Stuckey’s, when they opened their first physical store in 1937.

Box of Stuckey’s Pecan Pralines on display.

After the fortunes of the company declined during the Pet Milk ownership period, the son of Stuckey, who was U.S. congressman William S. Stuckey restored the Stuckey’s name by purchasing the company and there are now 200 Stuckey’s in the United States at the present time.

Stuckey’s are found as far north today as Connecticut, but surprisingly there are no stores in either New Jersey or New York. Most of the stores are concentrated in the southern states, but there are stores in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Stores are only located in 20 of the 50 states. I was surprised recently to see a Stuckey’s returning on a trip to Houston and the store sold gasoline, souvenirs and had a Popeye’s Fried Chicken place inside the store. There are nine Stuckey’s located in Texas, but the only Stuckey’s in Louisiana according to their website is a store in Opelousas.

It was exciting to see signs for Stuckey’s, since we knew we could get off the road for a while, while we browsed the souvenir shop and found candy to munch on as we continued on down the highway. It is great to know the company still exists 56 years after our 1957 trip from Louisiana to our eventual destination of Maine to visit my uncle and aunt and their family.

Stuckey’s has had its ups and downs since the first store was opened in 1937, but it is good to know, that the company is thriving again, now that the Stuckey family once again own the stores. We want to thank them for restoring our memories of that 1957 trip, when Stuckey’s were a mainstay on the U.S. highway system.

 

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Typical Day In Small Town America 60 Years Ago

This ten minute video shows what life was like in small town America in 1952. It is sickening to read the comments made by those who viewed this video. They turn what was a special time to those of us, who grew up in the 50’s, into a platform for hatred of races.

Even the ugly remarks can’t ruin a video that brings so many fond memories  of the past.

I was eight years old when this video was filmed so can identify with what happened during a typical day 60 years ago.

It was a simpler time, before cell phones, I-pods, laptop computers and HD television sets. The television sets back then still had the huge tubes, that made them so bulky, unlike the lightweight television sets of today.

Growing up in the 1950’s was a special time and this video captures the feeling from having grown up in that era.

 

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Evolution of Phones: From Wall Phones to iPhones That Convert Speech Into Text

This wall phone reminds me of the wall phone at my grandpa's farm in Allendale Missouri on his 80 acre farm, back in the late 50's.

This rotary phone was seen in most American homes in the 50's and 60's.

This touch tone phone was found in almost any office for many years for office workers with a phone at their desk.

The latest cell phone today is the Apple iPhone 4s which looks nothing like the phones we grew up with over 50 years ago.

I remember back in the old days, when we would have to rent our phones from Bell South, paying a monthly charge to use the phones.

Now after the evolution of the phone from a wall phone, to a rotary phone, then to a touch tone phone found in most offices and also used at home.

It seems like it was only yesterday, when we only used phones to make phone calls and receive phone calls. Nowadays cell phones not only make and receive calls, but allow you to not call at all by using texts to transmit messages back and forth.

Cell phones have become a multi-purpose electronic device that enables owners to listen to music, watch television shows, movies and videos.

They can be used to play games, pay bills, make bank transactions on the phone, take notes, take photos and shoot HD quality videos. The iPhone 4s also can browse the web and remind you of an important event, that is approaching. If you get lost, you can use a built-in GPS to find your way.

The Apple 4s also has an intelligent assistant named Siri which will let you use your voice to ask questions:

It knows what you mean.

Siri not only understands what you say, it’s smart enough to know what you mean. So when you ask “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri will reply “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Then you can say “Hmm. How about tacos?” Siri remembers that you just asked about restaurants, so it will look for Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. And Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for.

This is taking smart phones to a whole new level.

It helps you do the things you do every day.

Ask Siri to text your dad, remind you to call the dentist, or find directions, and it figures out which apps to use and who you’re talking about. It finds answers for you from the web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. Using Location Services, it looks up where you live, where you work, and where you are. Then it gives you information and the best options based on your current location. From the details in your contacts, it knows your friends, family, boss, and coworkers. So you can tell Siri things like “Text Ryan I’m on my way” or “Remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work” or “Call a taxi” and it knows exactly what you mean and what to do.

One of the best features is that the iPhone 4s takes dictation, then converts your spoken words into text. If you are sitting at a dinner table, trying to make conversation with a 4s user, it will be a futile endeavor, since they will be too busy using the features of the 4s, to even notice you are in the room.

iPhone 4S takes dictation.

Here’s another amazing way to get things done: just use your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and iPhone listens. Tap Done, and iPhone converts your words into text. Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams.

Summary: We have come a long way from the wall phones of the past, which couldn’t be used to text or send emails, shoot videos or play music, to phones that are the electronic center of what is going on in our lives.

My problem is that I don’t have a cell phone, so still use a regular home phone to make and receive calls. The new technology is astounding, but if you can’t afford it, then it becomes worthless.

We all remember the high telephone bills of the past, when making a lot of long distance calls in a month. Owning a cell phone today may actually be cheaper, if someone was having $150 worth of long distance calls, month after month.

It becomes cost prohibitive to own a iPhone, a iPod and a iPad and a laptop not to mention paying for  monthly cable and internet service.

 

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Steven Jobs Dies at 56 in Palo Alto, California

A young Steven Jobs pictured with three Apple computers.

Steven Paul Jobs was born February 24, 1955 in San Francisco. Jobs died yesterday (Oct. 5, 2011) at the age of 56. He was given up for adoption by his parents, who were two University of Wisconsin graduate students. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs and grew up in Silicone Valley.

His dad taught him how to take apart electronics and then rebuild electronics. He would spend a lot of time at Hewlett-Packard during his high school years and met his future business partner Steve Wozniak during those years.

Jobs quickly tired of the college scene, dropping out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after only six months. He then went to work as a game designer for Atari, but left that job to travel to India and dabble in psychedelic drugs.

He and Wozniak founded Apple Computers when he was 21 years old and funded their operation by him selling his Volkwagen bus and Wozniak selling his scientific computer.

They developed computers which were smaller and easier to use. Their first computers were sold for $666 each and were part of the Apple I line. They earned $774,000 from the sales of that model. Then the Apple II took off and the sales totaled $139 million three years after its release.

By 1980 the value of the company was $1.2 billion. Then came a devastating blow when Apple president John Scully phased Jobs out of Apple. He left Apple in 1985 and bought an animation company, which later would become Pixar. He then invested $50 million of his own money into Pixar. The company would make huge hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and the company has made $4 billion in sales.

Jobs would return to Apple in 1997 as CEO with a contract of $1 a year. He was discovered to have pancreatic cancer in 2003. That tumor was removed in 2004.

The year 2007 would see Apple stock worth $199 a share. The company also recorded a profit of 1.58 billion with $18 billion in the bank. Even more amazing was the fact the company didn’t owe any debt.

The iPod and the iTunes music downloading service account for half of the revenue earned by Apple. The iPhone and iPad have kept the Apple name at the forefront of technology today.

Jobs resigned from his job as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. He died about six weeks later, yesterday in Palo Alto, California.

For a more extensive biography of the life of Steven Jobs:

http://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805

 

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