A Waaaaaaay Back

I looove Baseball!!!!!  I love my logo, too.  :))))  Start counting contest friends.  So, I happened to find that photo, second from bottom. A guy’s son did this for school. (I think) He wanted to show the different insides of a softball, tee ball, Little League and Major League baseballs. Pretty cool, huh.  Lastly, I had this prototype made for the Kowalski team hat. Let me know what you think.  Happy reading!!

Isn’t it interesting how some everyday items have a “secret recipe” behind them – the colonel’s chicken, sauce for a Big Mac, Doubletree’s cookies, Heinz ketchup, Coca Cola, Bush’s Baked Beans, Hersey chocolate bar – I could go on, but getting very hungry.  One item that caught my attention recently is the Professional Baseball made by Rawlings Sporting Goods.  I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal, and just had to share.  I can remember as a kid cutting open a baseball, and unwinding it (golf balls too), and was amazed at the amount of string used – it just keeps going and going. According to Rawlings, it takes them about 10 days to make a major-league ball—but just don’t ask too many questions about the wool at its core.  Here’s some cool info, nice video courtesy of YouTube, and some fun facts.  Enjoy – and with baseball back in full swing (get it?) next time you are at the ballpark, you’ll have a better idea of what’s behind those long balls flying out of the stadium.  GO TRIBE!!
Cool video on how balls are made
Little baseball music to get in the mood

  • About 1.2 million major-league baseballs are made by Rawlings Sporting Goods that can pass inspection to achieve “pro” grade each year.  But a lot about the official ball is kept secret.  The exact color of red used for the laces? Proprietary. The kind of wool that encases the cork-and-rubber center? Confidential. The number of balls that fail to meet quality-control standards?  Don’t ask. (But if you must know, a committee appointed to study whether juiced balls led to the recent surge in home runs reported that only 55% pass inspection).
  • Here’s what Rawlings, the maker of the official balls since 1977, was willing to reveal about its product ahead of next Thursday’s Opening Day, when as many as 5,400 balls will be rubbed up for use by Major League Baseball’s 30 teams.
  • A baseball’s center is a multilayered formulation of cork and rubber that measures 1.37 inches in diameter—a little smaller than a golf ball.
  • The pill, as it’s known, is coated in a tacky adhesive and wound in three layers of wool, including one four-ply and two three-ply yarns. A fourth, and final, winding is done with a thin poly-cotton for a smooth finish to help the ball’s leather cover adhere to the fiber.
  • The factory in Costa Rica where all major-league balls are made isn’t open to the public, but Mike Thompson, Rawlings’s chief marketing officer, described portions of the operation.
  • The ball windings, he said, are done with proprietary machines Rawlings has devised over the years. After the pill is wrapped with each length of fiber, its circumference and weight are measured to ensure it falls within specifications.
  • According to MLB rules, a finished ball, including its leather cover, shall weigh not less than 5 ounces nor more than 5¼ ounces and measure not less than 9 inches nor more than 9¼ inches in circumference.
  • After the pills are fully wound with yarn and string, they’re ready for leather.
  • These days, the balls are clad in American cowhide, rather than the horsehide of the past. The leather is supplied by Tennessee Tanning Co., a Rawlings subsidiary located in Tullahoma, Tenn.
  •  Top-grain leather, the second-highest quality behind full-grain, is used to avoid blemishes and wrinkling, but not all of the hide is suitable.  “Belly leather stretches too much,” Mr. Thompson said. “The strongest is from the back area.”
  • The cover is made of two pieces of leather shaped like figure eights that fit together to make a sphere. Each panel is punched out with a hydraulic press fitted with a die that also perforates the perimeter with 108 holes to accommodate the ball’s laces.  The figure eights are weighed and cut into thin layers to meet thickness and weight requirements.
  • A single cowhide yields about 250 figure eights – meaning the hides of roughly 9,600 head of cattle are used each year to make MLB baseballs.
  • Before the final layer is attached, they’re moistened for a minimum of 20 minutes to make the leather more pliable.  The pills are tumbled in a container to lightly coat them with a tacky adhesive to hold the softened leather in place.
  • To hold the covers in place, the balls are then clamped into sewing vises in a large room where 300 to 400 workers, depending on the production schedule, hand-stitch the covers into place. The workers sew the leather panels together using pairs of 4-inch-long needles, each threaded with 110 inches of red lacing.
  • The operators sew with both hands at the same time, pulling thread through the holes and extending their arms up in the air. It’s a concert of arms.  It takes about 15 minutes to stitch each ball.
  • Afterward, the workers use a pick-like tool to align the stitches into the familiar formation of “vees,” and a final turn in a rolling machine ensures the seams are consistent.
  • The finished balls are then stamped with the MLB emblem, the commissioner’s signature and the Rawlings logo.  Start to finish, it takes about 10 days to make one ball.
  • On average, teams use seven dozen to 10 dozen balls a game, not including those used for batting or fielding practice.
  • A committee commissioned by MLB in 2020 studied the spike in home runs and concluded that small differences in the hand-sewn seams combined with the current style of hitting, which emphasizes launch angles to help lift hard-hit balls out of the park, were responsible for the rash of dingers.  To offset this trend, Rawlings confirmed it has loosened the tension of the first layer of wool wound around the pill to reduce its bounciness and shave a foot or two off the distance a long ball can travel.  While the adjustment could reduce the number of homers, so far in spring training, not much luck.

Special thanks to Jo Craven McGinty at the Wall Street Journal for the insights.

 Indians Baseball 1960’s

Wahoo Cleveland 2007

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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The glory and the promise…

 

May the glory and the promise of this joyous time of year
bring peace and happiness to you and those you hold most dear.

And may Christ, Our Risen Savior, always be there by your side
to bless you most abundantly and be your loving guide.

— Author Unknown

 

 

Hop Hop Hoppin’ Great Day

Easter is a wonderful time for family, faith and food. And plenty of all three. DOWNLOAD the coloring art above for your kids to color. Send me a picture of the results at skowalski@khtheat.com. Don’t have kids? Color it yourself.  :))

Easter – another great holiday in the Kowalski homestead, and another chance to enjoy some family traditions and amazing festive food!  It’s back-to-back eating bonanza – a big Easter brunch followed by a big dinner (with some snacking in between of course – now you know why I go on 4-5mile runs!). For us the whole day is a celebration of faith, family and food.  For most of Holy Week, various siblings are hard at work preparing incredible dishes for Easter, Jackie and I and the girls spend Tuesday or Wednesday preparing, seasoning, stuffing and cooking “Kowalski” Kielbasa!  This is a family tradition going back over 50 years.  Dad got the original recipe from his Mother, and passed it onto me when he and Mom moved to Florida. This tradition will carry down to the next generation as well.  I have to say, we did make a serious scheduling error one year by making Kielbasa on Good Friday – we had to wait until midnight to sample!   Sometimes we go to one of my brother’s or sister’s houses (have 17 to choose from – and with many of the kids grown, we have their homes to visit too!) but with COVID still around, we will be enjoying a smaller at home gathering this year!  We will be having a drive-by swapping of the wonderful traditional dishes on Saturday!    Below are a few traditional Easter dishes we enjoy that have an interesting history and symbolism behind them, along with a few dishes enjoyed with my “ski” relations.  As you plan your meals, (I published early so you could) think about incorporating some of these traditional foods. Then, when you gather around your table, share the stories about the history and symbolism of the food on your table.  And Happy Passover/Easter from your buds at KHT.  Thanks to culture.pl, huffingtonpost.ca, alchemy.com for the history, YouTube for video and womansday.com for the egg decorating ideas.

Click for some fun music to enjoy the tradition while reading.

Hot N Yummy – This currant or raisin filled yeast bun, best known as hot cross buns, is traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent, which involves 40 days of fasting.  A 12th-century monk introduced the cross to the bun in honor of Good Friday. But near the end of the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I thought these wee buns needed to be reserved only for these special occasions: Good Friday, Christmas or for burials. The English believed the buns carried medicinal or magical properties, and Elizabeth didn’t want those powers abused. To circumvent the law, more people began baking these “powerful” buns at home, increasing their popularity and making the law difficult to enforce, so it was eventually rescinded.  When the British colonized Jamaica in the 1650s, they brought their traditions with them. Today the popular Jamaican Easter bun (which is really more of a loaf) is a variation of the hot-crossed bun, which is often enjoyed with cheese.

Eggsplainin’ the significance – Eggs are a must, and of course decorating them is fun.  Mine don’t come out so good, but they all taste the same. Eggs symbolize fertility and birth. Christians perceive the egg as a resurrection of Jesus, in which the egg itself symbolizes Jesus, who rose from the tomb.  Mesopotamian Christians first adopted them as an Easter food, dying them red to represent Christ’s blood. Eastern Europeans were among the first to elaborately decorate eggs, creating delicate wax relief designs on the shells to give to loved ones. Check out some amazing designs HERE. (I like the ice cream cones, gumball machine and vegetables plate eggs).

Start Crackin’ – Eggs that were laid during the week of Lent were saved as Holy Week eggs, which were decorated and also presented to children as gifts.  Egg-shaped toys emerged in the 17 and 18 centuries, which were given to children, along with satin covered eggs and chocolates. Easter chocolate eggs were first made in the early 19th century in France and Germany. The emergence of hollow eggs like the ones we have today came as techniques for chocolate-making improved.

 Lambmenting the past – or should I say “Going out on a lamb.” – Eating lamb is not only part of many people’s Easter Sunday meals, but it is also part of those who celebrate Passover, which occurs about a week before Easter. The roots of why lamb is often served in Christian households at Easter stems from Judaism and early Passover observances before the birth of Christianity. During the biblical Exodus story, Egyptians endured a series of terrible plagues, including the death of all firstborn sons. Jewish Egyptians painted their doorposts with sacrificed lamb’s blood so that God would “pass over” their homes while carrying out the punishment. Jews who then converted to Christianity carried on the tradition of eating lamb at Easter.

– In Christian theology, lamb also symbolizes Jesus’ self-sacrifice as the “Lamb of God.” And historically, lamb also symbolizes the onset of spring when lambs would also have been the first fresh meat available after winter to slaughter.

These put me in a pretzel – Originally created by monks with leftover scraps of dough and given to students as rewards, pretzels became a popular part of Lent celebration during the Middle Ages. Pretzels do not contain eggs, milk, butter or lard; ingredients which were avoided during lent. Thus, the pretzel became associated with lent and leading up to Easter.  Pretzels are also said to represent praying arms, while the three holes represent the Holy Trinity. In some countries, pretzels used to be hidden along with the Easter eggs. (I like to hide them covered with chip dip or mustard!)

It’s Greek to me – sweet Greek Easter bread, tsoureki, is traditionally served as part of the Greek Orthodox Easter feast. Tsoureki was also traditionally given as an Easter gift from children to their godparents. Different versions many include a citrus flavored bread topped with nuts. Traditionally it’s shaped into a braid, with a red egg cooked and tucked into the braids of dough. The bread is said to represent the light given to us by Christ’s resurrection and the red egg represents Christ’s blood. Another version of Greek Easter bread is cooked as a circle with red eggs forming a cross across the top of the bread.

Hamming it up! – The tradition of eating Easter ham can be traced back to at least the sixth century in Germany.  Back in the day, pigs were one of the few meats available to eat in early spring in Europe. In early years, before refrigeration, fresh pork slaughtered in the fall that hadn’t been consumed before Lent had to be cured for preservation. Curing was a slow process, and the first hams were generally ready around Easter time, making it a common choice for Easter feasting. Today, many families still serve ham as part of their Easter celebrations.  When Christianity spread northward, it merged with the pagan spring celebration of Eostre, the goddess of the rising dawn, with ham served during the feast. Early American settlers brought pigs from Northern Europe to America.

This can’t be Beet – White borscht, a traditional Polish soup with eggs, sausages and potatoes, is enjoyed on Easter Sunday morning.  The soup is traditionally made with items in a basket of food that Polish families used take to church to have blessed on Holy Saturday in the early 15th century. These Easter baskets were filled with things that symbolized every part of life, and their blessing was considered a sign of blessing for a bountiful year ahead – learn more at HERE.

Soup’d up. Mayiritsa Easter soup (μαγειρίτσα in Greek, pronounced mah-yee-REET-sah), is also known as Easter Sunday soup, and is traditionally eaten by the Greek Orthodox, to break the fast from Lent.  As we know, lamb is often eaten at Easter, and making Mayiritsa soup helped ensure that all the parts of the lamb were used. Visit HERE 

Kowalski Polish “ious” Favorites – check out these traditional Polish favorites.  Some of my top picks are:

Babka. Some call it the gift to the world of Polish baking. The name derives from the word ‘grandmother’, which might refer to its shape: like a grandmother’s wide, pleated skirt. The tall, airy Easter no-knead yeast cake is baked in a Bundt pan. I like it laced with rum syrup and drizzled with icing (custom dictates that it has no filling).

Makowiec.  Another Polish treat you’ll find on our Easter table is makowiec (‘mah-KO-viets’), a poppy seed roll spun like a strudel. With poppy seeds as the main ingredient, it uses the same type of dough as the babka, above. The texture is crunchy and nutty, and covered with sugar icing.

Horseradish and Kielbasa. Easter is a feast of smoked meats and ham, where KOWALSKI kiełbasa (KEEW-basa’) takes center stage. This special sausage is homemade of finely ground pork butt, with the addition of special seasonings, then covered in  thin  pork casings. Whether it’s in the żurek soup or amongst the food samples carried in the Easter basket, white sausage is mostly served boiled – sometimes with horseradish (my favorite – the fresher the better), mustard, or ćwikła (horseradish-beetroot relish).

Ham and Spaetzle.  The perfect one/two combo for Easter (spaetzle or spatzle made by one of my sisters from an old family recipe) is both a German and Polish that compliments the meat, handmade with eggs, flour, water and salt.  Of course, a little gravy on top – oh, bring it on!

Kolochy. Kolaches are Czech (and Polish) pastries made of a yeast dough and usually filled with fruit, but sometimes cheese. The ultra-traditional flavors — such as poppy seed, apricot, prune and a sweet-but-simple farmer’s cheese — can be traced back to the pastry’s Eastern European origin. I think there is some secret ingredient inside, as I can never eat just one! Another of my sisters bring these to all of us!

How about you? Do you have a busy Easter day topped off by a big meal?  What do you serve for Easter/Passover meals with your family? Be sure to share your favorite traditions and recipes.  Email me at skowalski@khtheat.com.


 

Let Us Pray

 

During this season of Lent (a 40 day Christian season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday – a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter) learn more HERE. I like many of my Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, have been more prayerful (and of course have made some personal sacrifices,  along with the traditional fish on Fridays.  Raised in a Catholic household (thanks Mom and Dad!!), I was the beneficiary of catholic schooling (thanks to the nuns and brothers – go St. Ed’s Eagles!!).  Reflecting a bit more on my faith these past few weeks, I was thinking about the Rosary prayers – a traditional prayer prayed daily by many throughout the world.  Praying the Rosary is a way for me to reflect on all those things I am blessed with in my life – wife, family, friends, business, neighbors, customers, vendors, the city I live in, the technology I get to use daily, good health, safe country … I could go on!).  I did some internet digging, and found some cool Rosary history, along with links to special “pray along” videos.  Catholic or not, I guarantee, if you take a few minutes and pray a decade of the Rosary, you’ll feel it’s strength and have an amazingly great day.  Do it over time, and that strength just grows.  Give it a try!  Thanks to holyrosary.org and dynamiccatholic.com for the info, and Bishop Barron and YouTube for the video prayers.

– The rosary is an incredibly rich practice of prayer that developed slowly, evolving over the centuries. The first recorded use of the word “rosary” did not appear until 1597.

– The rosary has roots in several early Christian prayer traditions that share similar formats to the rosary with repetitive structures and prayers.  Third-century Christian hermits and monks in Egypt (known as Desert Fathers) used stones and later prayer ropes to keep track when praying the 150 Psalms.

– Various forms of “the Jesus Prayer” (such as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”) became popular. The short prayer was said over and over again in a type of mantra while counting beads.  The “Our Father” was also prayed 150 times, using a string of beads with five decades referred to as a Paternoster (Latin for “Our Father”).

– The Hail Mary prayer came together slowly, taking more than a thousand years. The earliest version simply added Mary’s name to the message delivered by the angel Gabriel to Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Luke 1:28).

– Around 1050 AD, the words Elizabeth used to greet Mary during the Visitation were added: “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42). In 1261, Pope Urban IV added the name of Jesus to the end of Elizabeth’s words.

– St. Peter Canisius published the Hail Mary in his 1555 Catechism with almost the entire final petition: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.”  Eleven years later, the Catechism of the Council of Trent included, for the first time, the entire final petition, concluding with the words “now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
– The version of the Hail Mary we pray today was given official approval in 1568.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

– Catholics were not the first to pray with beads. And while the exact origin of prayer beads is unknown, men and woman of many faiths and cultures (Hindus, Greeks, Buddhists, and more) have, and continue to, use beads to pray. The word bead in English is actually derived from an Old English word that means prayer. The use of prayer beads almost universally is to allow the person to keep track of the number of prayers that have been said, while at the same time focusing on the deeper meaning of the prayers themselves.

– While praying with beads certainly wasn’t an original idea, it’s a powerful reminder that everything before the coming of Jesus was preparing for that moment and that God yearns to transform everything into something holy, even something as ordinary as a small rope with some beads on it.

– Today, Roman Catholics use a rosary made up of 59 beads. The 6 large beads are used for praying the Our Father prayer, and the 53 smaller beads are used for praying the Hail Mary prayer. Other prayers of the rosary include the Apostles’ Creed, the Glory Be, and the Hail, Holy Queen.  There are 5 decades, or groups of 10 small beads, that make up the main portion of the rosary.

– It is widely believed that in 1214 St. Dominic had a vision of Mary. She is said to have presented him with the rosary, both the beads and the prayers to be prayed.  Dominic had a tremendous devotion to Mary and the rosary, which he promoted wherever he traveled to preach. He encouraged Catholics to gather in small groups to pray together what was an early form of the rosary together. These were quite possibly the first expressions of the prayer groups and small group communities that are still having a powerful impact today.

– The earliest form of the rosary developed when Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) popularized an earlier version of the Hail Mary prayer by asking it to be prayed on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Many individuals began praying the Hail Mary in a repetitive fashion using a string of beads to keep track of the prayers.

– After the full development of the Hail Mary prayer, the term “rosary” was finally given in 1597. For 320 years, from 1597 until 1917, the form of both the Hail Mary and the rosary remained the same.

– During those 320 years, there was much written and spoken about the rosary. Most notably, Pope Paul VI said when we pray the Rosary we can experience the key moments of the Gospel. It is a simple, beautiful, and focused meditation, especially when focusing on the mysteries of the rosary.

– On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. She told them to come back to that exact place on the 13th day of each month for the next six months. Mary promised she would appear to them each time and entrust a message to them.  Mary told the children to pray for world peace by reciting the rosary every day.

– On July 13, 1917, Mary asked the children to add a short prayer to the end of each decade of the rosary:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Today this is referred to as the Fatima prayer, and many Catholics incorporate it into the rosary as Mary requested.

– The mysteries of the Rosary were introduced by Dominic of Prussia (later St. Dominic) sometime between 1410 and 1439. This gave each decade of the rosary a unique quality. Each mystery leads us to ponder very specific events in the lives of Jesus and Mary and the lessons they hold for our own lives today.

– There were originally three sets of mysteries: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries.

  1. The Joyful Mysteries include: The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Birth of Jesus, The Presentation, The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  2. The Sorrowful Mysteries include: The Agony in the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, The Crucifixion
  3. The Glorious Mysteries include: The Resurrection, The Ascension, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption, The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth

– From the time Saint Dominic established the devotion to the holy Rosary (learn more HERE ) up to the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche reestablished it in 1460, it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Hail Marys as there are psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David. Since simple and uneducated people are not able to say the Psalms of David, the Rosary is held to be just as fruitful for them as David’s Psalter is for others.

– Ever since Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established this devotion, the voice of the people, which is the voice of God, gave it the name of the Rosary, which means “crown of roses.” That is to say that every time people say the Rosary devoutly, they place on the heads of Jesus and Mary 153 white roses and sixteen red roses. Being heavenly flowers, these roses will never fade or lose their beauty.

– Our Lady has approved and confirmed this name of the Rosary; she has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses. So the complete Rosary is a large crown of roses and each chaplet of five decades is a little wreath of flowers or a little crown of heavenly roses which we place on the heads of Jesus and Mary. The rose is the queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of devotions and the most important one.

– On October 16, 2002, almost 600 years after the original Mysteries of the Rosary were established, Pope John Paul II proposed adding a new set of mysteries called the Luminous Mysteries (the Mysteries of Light). The Luminous Mysteries include: The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, The Wedding at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration of Jesus, The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

– The rosary is an incredibly rewarding spiritual practice for the men and women of any age, and all ages. It is like an ancient treasure map that has led countless men and women from all walks of life to the treasures of peace, joy, clarity, and contentment. But don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself.

Bishop Barron explains the Rosary and Prayers to Follow HERE.

If interested, join The Rosary Crew, hosted by Keith Nester, prayed daily online.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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OUCH!

Yikes!!!!!
See how needles are made HERE.  

See how a machine pre-fills syringes HERE.
And see some historical collectables at the bottom. 

What’s the most common question these days? …. Yep, “did you get your shot(s) yet.”  Seems like it opens just about every conversation. As you know, the government, retailers and industry are racing to distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible.  Depending on your age, and health status, you may already have received your shot(s). I know “getting a shot” is not always the most enjoyable event, but it’s just part of medicine distribution these days.  Here’s some history on the syringe and needles (thanks again to the Greeks and Romans for their genius). Enjoy. Thanks to University of Queensland and omnisurge.co.za for the cool info.

How I learned to get a shot (how cool is this doc?)

Syringes are pretty basic, standard items that are used daily in the medical industry. Their design is fairly simple and straightforward, and completely effective for their purpose.  It’s not a medical tool we think about too much, it’s there, it gets used, and it’s disposed of.  But did you know that this commonplace device has a rich and varied history dating back thousands of years? It had quite the journey to get to where it is today.

A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly into a cylindrical tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside the tube, allowing the syringe to pull in or push out a liquid or gas through the opening at the end of the tube. That open end may also be fitted with a hypodermic needle, a nozzle, or tubing to help direct the flow into and out of the tube.

The word “syringe” is derived from the Greek word syrinx, meaning “tube”.

The first syringes were used in Roman times during the 1st century AD. They are mentioned in a journal called De Medicina as being used to treat medical complications. Then, in the 9th century AD, an Egyptian surgeon created a syringe using a hollow glass tube and suction.

In 1650 Blaise Pascal invented a syringe as an application of fluid mechanics that is now called Pascal’s law. He used it in testing his theory that pressure exerted anywhere in a confined fluid is transmitted equally in all directions and that the pressure variations remain the same.

An Irish physician named Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle and used it to make the first recorded subcutaneous injections in 1844. Then shortly thereafter in 1853 Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood developed a medical hypodermic syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin. Alexander Wood experimented with injected morphine to treat nerve conditions. He and his wife subsequently became addicted to morphine and his wife is recorded as the first woman to die of an injected drug overdose.

In 1899 Letitia Mumford Geer of New York was granted a patent for a syringe design that permitted the user to operate it one-handed.

However, things got more interesting and advanced in 1946 when Chance Brothers in England produced the first all-glass syringe with an interchangeable barrel and plunger. This was revolutionary because it allowed the mass-sterilization of the different components without needing to match up the individual parts.

Shortly thereafter Australian inventor Charles Rothauser created the world’s first plastic, disposable hypodermic syringe made from polyethylene at his Adelaide factory in 1949. However, because polyethylene softens with heat, the syringes had to be chemically sterilized prior to packaging, which made them expensive. Two years later he produced the first injection-molded syringes made of polypropylene, a plastic that can be heat-sterilized. Millions were made for Australian and export markets.

Then in 1956 a New Zealand pharmacist and inventor Colin Murdoch was granted patents for a disposable plastic syringe. It was closely followed by the Plastipak – a plastic disposable syringe introduced by Becton Dickinson in 1961. In 1974 African American inventor Phil Brooks received a US patent for a “Disposable Syringe”.

These days syringes are used, not only in the medical and health industry, but in various other areas too. They can be used in certain forms of cooking to inject liquids into certain foods. They are also commonly used to refill ink cartridges for printers, inject glue or lubricants into hard-to-reach places, for precision measurement when mixing liquids, and even to feed small animals when they are being hand-reared.

Indeed, there are few medical tools so commonplace, and yet so indispensable, as the plastic disposable syringe and replacement needles.

Looking to the future of the parenteral administration of medicines and vaccines, it’s likely that there will be increasing use of direct percutaneous absorption, especially for children. Micro-silicon-based needles, so small that they don’t trigger pain nerves are being developed, however, these systems cannot deliver intravenous or bolus injections so hypodermic needles, with or without syringes, are likely to be with us for a long time. They are also required for catheter-introduced surgical procedures in deep anatomical locations.

Some needles from the collection:

  • Figure 1 shows three generations of needles. The top left ones are single-use needles from the 1950s with various lengths and gauges. At the top right is small sample of needles of a currently used type, supplied in a patent wrapper in their individual protective sheathes, with colour coded plastic hubs. Below these are the 1930s screw-on double ended needles patented by Boots & Co Ltd to fit their cartridge loading syringes. The internal point pierced the rubber bung on pre-dosed cartridges which could be inserted in the patent syringe.
  • The range of needles is extensive. Each manufacturer produced a different shaped hub. Also, the taper of the nozzle was non-standard though most used were the ‘Luer’ and then the more tapered ‘Record’ but in addition to this were different locking devices to fit different syringe nozzles. The gauge and length of needles varies greatly according to their purpose. Figure 2 illustrates infusion needles in which the bulbous hub fits directly on to rubber tubing. Pneumothorax needles are for withdrawing air from the pleural cavity. The side arm allows for the attachment of a suction bottle using a two-way tap. The Hamilton Bailey type infusion canulae needles are eight from the early 20th century, made of gold for sterility, with slots through which to thread a support tape.
  • Figure 4. Shows aspiration needles. They have a bevel-pointed introducer to facilitate insertion of the needle.
  • Figure 4 below, shows two unused, ‘Gord’ type, infusion needles. Both are fitted with detachable rubber diaphragms to make repeated intravenous injection easier. With several minor variations they were used for many years until the 1960s when single use ‘Butterfly Needles’ were introduced.
  • Figure 5: This is a 1930s portable lumbar puncture set used to measure the pressure of and test the cerebrospinal fluid which flows when the spinal meninges have been punctured.
  • Figure 6: Haemorrhoid needles are characterised by a shoulder on the haft a few millimetres short of the needle tip to prevent deep penetration when injecting the haemorrhoids. A secure needle-lock ensured that the increased pressure required to inject the viscous oil did not detach the needle.
  • The needles pictured below represent the range of needles and packaging which were commonplace between 1920 and 1950. They often became blunt with multiple use, were impossible to clean and sterilise adequately and caused infections leading to cellulitis and abscesses. Sharpening needles was sometimes solved by including a suitably shaped carborundum stone in the injection set. Needle sharpening devices were needed for rapid and consistent sharpening of many needles by large institutions (Figures 7. & 8.).

Syringes and Injection Sets:

  • The Mussel Shell (Figure 9.), a pocket-sized syringe set, was patented by Burroughs Welcome, about 1910, particularly for use with tabloids, containing a standardised dose of soluble preparations to be injected after dissolving in distilled water. It was not until later that pharmaceutical manufacturers prepared sterile injections in sealed glass ampoules. Probably the oldest syringe in the collection (c1875) has a small metal barrel with a plain glass tube to contain a medication. It is crude and has a waxed linen piston with thumb-hold on the plunger. The needle has a screw fitting like another of the older syringes in the collection with its ferrous metal ends and non-sterilisable, ivory thumb piece on a plunger with a rubber piston. (Figure 11.)
  • There were a variety in syringes made from all glass to all metal, but the Rekordspritze introduced by the Berlin instrument makers Dewitt and Hertz in 1906 gained prominence through its dependability, lack of leakage and jamming, and ease of dismantling to enable sterilisation. This pattern persisted until plastic superseded it. It was manufactured by many companies with minor modification all over the world. All glass syringes retained some popularity but were more susceptible to jamming and leaking (Figure 13.). Cartridge syringes were popular with dentists, and for emergency kits (Figure 14.).
  • The collection contains several special purpose syringes and syringe sets. The anaesthetic syringe set was in common use by GPs and specialists. (Figure 10.). One that took us a while to identify is shown in Figure 15. The copper cased cannulas and the thick metal syringe with a robust screw lock retain heat to enable the injection of melted paraffin wax into hollow organs and vessels for demonstration specimens for morbid anatomy classes. Another unusual syringe is the AGLA Micrometre Syringe Outfit shown in Figure 16.This was designed for analysis of diluted concentrations of biological fluid components where accurate measurement of precise quantities is required. The enclosed booklet suggests that it was particularly used in immunology research and assessment where serial dilutions are critical, but toxicology would suggest itself as another application.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

“And She’s Buy y y y ing A ……..”

At the top: For the asking price of $5,995 you can have this Led Zeppelin IV vinyl album, 1971, signed by the whole group at reverb.com. They’ll consider offers, too. At the bottom: the very first first album, 1969. I saw it on Ebay, unsigned, for $120.

 

Music.  Such a part of my childhood.  I can remember my brothers and sisters “blasting their stereos, until Mom made us turn things down a bit. Growing up in the rock era, there are so many famous lyrics that I remember that trigger memories of friends just hanging out and dancing at fun events. Like every other rock fan worldwide, when asked “what’s one of your top songs of all time”, “Stairway to Heaven” makes my list. During a time when rock bands were recording longer, epic songs (think Deep Purple’s Child in Time, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, Genesis’s Supper’s Ready) Jimmy Page and Robert Plant set out to record a song to clearly be one of a kind. Today marks the 50th anniversary Led Zeppelin played the song live for the first time.  (If you’ve always wondered, Keith Moon of the Who Gave Led Zeppelin Their Name when a new track came out well, and they tossed around the idea of forming a new band. Moon allegedly said the band would go over like a lead balloon. Page remembered the joke two years later when he created Zeppelin.) Click on the link below, wander back in time, and enjoy.  Special thanks to Wikipedia, YouTube and The Guardian for the history and trivia.  Rock on!!

Stairway to Heaven

Jimmy Page explains the song

  • “Stairway to Heaven” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, debuted for the first time live and later released in the fall. It was composed by the band’s guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for their untitled fourth studio album (usually called Led Zeppelin IV). The song is often regarded as the most popular rock song of all time.
  • The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume, beginning in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an uptempo hard rock arrangement highlighted by Page’s guitar solo (considered by many to be one of the greatest ever) accompanying Plant’s vocals that end with the plaintive a cappella line: “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
  • “Stairway to Heaven” was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been commercially released as a single there. In November 2007, through download sales promoting Led Zeppelin’s Mothership release, “Stairway to Heaven” reached number 37 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • The song originated in 1970 when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were spending time at Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, following Led Zeppelin’s fifth American concert tour. According to Page, he wrote the music “over a long period, the first part coming at Bron-Yr-Aur one night”. Page always kept a cassette recorder around, and the idea for “Stairway to Heaven” came together from bits of taped music. The first attempts at lyrics, written by Robert Plant next to an evening log fire at Headley Grange, were partly spontaneously improvised and Page claimed, “a huge percentage of the lyrics were written there and then” while Jimmy Page was strumming the chords, and Robert Plant had a pencil and paper.
  • The complete studio recording was released on Led Zeppelin IV in November 1971. The band’s record label, Atlantic Records, wanted to issue it as a single, but the band’s manager Peter Grant refused requests to do so in both 1972 and 1973. This led many people to buy the fourth album as if it were the single.
  • The inaugural public performance of the song took place at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 5 March 1971.  Bassist John Paul Jones recalls that the crowd was unimpressed: “They were all bored to tears waiting to hear something they knew.”
  • The world radio premiere was recorded at the Paris Cinema on April 1, 1971, in front of a live studio audience, and broadcast three days later on the BBC. The song was performed at almost every subsequent Led Zeppelin concert, only being omitted on rare occasions when shows were cut short for curfews or technical issues. The band’s final performance of the song was in Berlin on 7 July 1980, which was also their last full-length concert until the 2007 reunion at London’s O2 Arena; the version was the longest, lasting almost 15 minutes, including a seven-minute guitar solo.
  • To accomplish the sound, Jimmy Page used a double-necked guitar to perform the song live, using a Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar so he would not have to pause when switching from a six to a 12-string guitar,
  • When playing the song live, the band would often extend it to over 10 minutes, with Page playing an extended guitar solo and Plant adding a number of lyrical ad-libs, such as “Does anybody remember laughter?”, “And I think you can see that”, “Does anybody remember forests?”, “wait a minute!” and “I hope so”. For performing this song live,
  • By 1975, the song had a regular place as the finale of every Led Zeppelin concert. However, after their concert tour of the United States in 1977, Plant began to tire of “Stairway to Heaven”: “There’s only so many times you can sing it and mean it … It just became sanctimonious.”
  • The song was played again by the surviving members of Led Zeppelin at the Live Aid concert in 1985 and at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988, with Jason Bonham on drums.  Plant cites the most unusual performance of the song ever as being that performed at Live Aid: “with two drummers (Phil Collins and Tony Thompson) while Duran Duran cried at the side of the stage – there was something quite surreal about that.”
  • “Stairway to Heaven” is often rated among the greatest rock songs of all time. According to music journalist Stephen Davis, although the song was released in 1971, it took until 1973 before the song’s popularity ascended to truly “anthemic” status. As Page recalled, “I knew it was good, but I didn’t know it was going to be almost like an anthem … But I knew it was the gem of the album for sure.”
  • Page told Rolling Stone in 1975, “We were careful to never release it as a single,” which forced buyers to buy the entire album. Despite pressure from Atlantic Records, the band would not authorize the editing of the song for single release, making “Stairway to Heaven” one of the most well-known and popular rock songs never to have been released as a single.
  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine put it at number 31 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. An article from 29 January 2009 Guitar World magazine rated Jimmy Page’s guitar solo at number one in the publication’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in Rock and Roll History.
  • Plant once gave $10,000 to listener-supported radio station KBOO in Portland, Oregon during a pledge drive after the disc jockey solicited donations by promising the station would never play “Stairway to Heaven”. Plant was station-surfing in a rental car he was driving to the Oregon Coast after a solo performance in Portland and was impressed with the non-mainstream music the station presented. Later asked “why?”, Plant replied that it wasn’t that he didn’t like the song, but he’d heard it before.
  • The band always envied those getting to hear Stairway for the first time. “It’s like when you get to be older and you see young couples with babies and you see how hard they’re working and how happy they are and how much fun it is and how fresh it is and how deep it goes into your soul,” she says. “That’s what Stairway is like.”

The band and albums have sold over 300 million copies.
WOW

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

Perseverance

July 30, 2020…Lift-off for Mars!!!  Touchdown on Mars February 18, 2021!!!!  People were watching from homes, offices and coffee shops across the country and around the world. The discoveries yet to be found will be used as a springboard by the next generation of space travelers. I do wonder what that next generation will be doing on Mars. Exciting stuff, my friends!

What a cool word.  We hear it often from those who just never give up.  Relentless drive. Digging for answers.  Training to become better, then the best.  It’s a word for those who seek to achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.  Been there, Done that you say? Awesome. What’s great for me here at KHT is that it’s embedded in our walls, our culture, our past and our people.  Solving your PIA (@%$) Jobs! is never easy.  We test, retest, and retest the retest.  And tweak and tinker, figure and fuss, until we get it right.  And then proudly share it with you, hoping you’ll honor us with the opportunity to do your work.  For the hundreds of people who were a part of the successful Mars Rover Landing last week, we salute you.  And then can just say, ”WOW”!  True Perseverance. Overcoming obstacles, painstaking planning, simple solutions (off the shelf cameras) and crazy solutions (electricity from decaying plutonium (what?)) It all came together in a breathtaking way.  Enjoy the trivia and videos below from the mission – they are truly amazing. Thanks to NASA.gov and YouTube/Elton for the music track.

Great Soundtrack while you read  
Backstory Video 
Amazing Landing Video
Full Video Library Access

Mission Name: Mars 2020
Rover Name: Perseverance
Main Job: The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
Launch: July 30, 2020, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Landed: Feb. 18, 2021
Landing Site: Jezero Crater, Mars
Mission Duration: At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)
Tech Demo: The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration, hitching a ride on the Perseverance rover.

Over the past two decades, missions flown by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program have shown us that Mars was once very different from the cold, dry planet it is today. Evidence discovered by landed and orbital missions point to wet conditions billions of years ago. These environments lasted long enough to potentially support the development of microbial life.

THE ROVER
The Mars 2020/Perseverance rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.

Key objectives include: Explore a geologically diverse landing site, Assess ancient habitability,
seek signs of ancient life, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time, gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by a future NASA mission, demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.

Perseverance carried seven instruments to conduct unprecedented science and test new technology on the Red Planet. They are:
Mastcam-Z, an advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability with the ability to zoom. The instrument also will determine mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations. The principal investigator is James Bell, Arizona State University in Tempe. Check out the first view

  • SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy at a distance. The principal investigator is Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (CNES/IRAP), France.
  • Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and high-resolution imager to map the fine-scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before. The principal investigator is Abigail Allwood, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
  • Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), a spectrometer that will provide fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to map mineralogy and organic compounds. SHERLOC will be the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload. SHERLOC includes a high-resolution color camera for microscopic imaging of Mars’ surface. The principal investigator is Luther Beegle, JPL.
  • The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), a technology demonstration that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. If successful, MOXIE’s technology could be used by future astronauts on Mars to burn rocket fuel for returning to Earth. The principal investigator is Michael Hecht, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that will provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, and dust size and shape. The principal investigator is Jose Rodriguez-Manfredi, Centro de Astrobiología, Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial, Spain.
  • The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimeter-scale resolution of the geologic structure of
    the subsurface. The principal investigator is Svein-Erik Hamran, the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, Norway.

Size and Dimensions – The car-sized Perseverance rover is about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall, weighing in at 2,260 pounds.
Technology – Perseverance will also test new technology for future robotic and human missions to the Red Planet. That includes an autopilot for avoiding hazards called Terrain Relative Navigation and a set of sensors for gathering data during the landing (Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2, or MEDLI2). A new autonomous navigation system will allow the rover to drive faster in challenging terrain.
Power System – is a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. It uses the heat from the natural decay of plutonium-238 to generate electricity.
Program Management – The Mars 2020 Project is managed for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C., by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California. At NASA Headquarters, George Tahu is the Mars 2020 program executive and Mitchell Schulte is program scientist. At JPL, John McNamee is the Mars 2020 project manager and Ken Farley of Caltech is project scientist.

THE HELICOPTER
The Mars Helicopter is a small, autonomous aircraft that was carried to the surface on the Red Planet attached to the belly of the Mars 2020 rover. Its mission is experimental in nature and completely independent of the Mars 2020 science mission. In the months after landing, the helicopter will be placed on the surface to test – for the first time ever – powered flight in the thin Martian air.

Its performance during these experimental test flights will help inform decisions relating to considering small helicopters for future Mars missions, where they could perform in a support role as robotic scouts, surveying terrain from above, or as full standalone science craft carrying instrument payloads. Taking to the air would give scientists a new perspective on a region’s geology and even allow them to peer into areas that are too steep or slippery to send a rover. In the distant future, they might even help astronauts explore Mars.

Key objectives include: Prove powered flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars. The Red Planet has lower gravity (about one- third that of Earth) but its atmosphere is just 1% as thick, making it much harder to generate lift, demonstrate miniaturized flying technology that requires shrinking down onboard computers, electronics and other parts so that the helicopter is light enough to take off, operate autonomously using solar power to charge its batteries and rely on internal heaters to maintain operational temperatures during the cold Martian nights.
Size and Dimensions: Weighs 4 pounds (1.8 kg), Solar-powered and recharges on its own, Wireless communication system, Two 4-foot-long (1.2- meter-long) rotor system that
spins up to 2,400 revolutions per minute, Equipped with inertial sensors, a laser altimeter and
two cameras (one color and one black-and-white)
Program Management – The Mars 2020 Project and Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstration are managed for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech in Southern California. At NASA Headquarters, David Lavery is the program executive for the Mars helicopter. At JPL, MiMi Aung is the Mars Helicopter project manager and J. (Bob) Balaram is chief engineer.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

It’s A Comin’

Ever see a snowflake really close? My microscopes and macro lensed cameras can help. Beautiful, aren’t they. So, snowy days may bring some shoveling chores (I work it into my exercise routine) but everything else about a winter snowfalls are awesome!!! Enjoy it while it’s here!!!!!! :)))

Yep, it’s here again.  After two exciting days this week of snow fall, slow roads and frustrated drivers, we got hit with another load.  No just in NE Ohio, but all the way down to Texas.  As a kid, and still to this day, I “love” the snow.  Call me crazy, but I still enjoy going for walks and high-stepping in drifts.  As kids, we used to make these enormous “forts” and have wonderful games.  Then from time to time we would make the snowballs, go behind the house and see if we could throw them over the house and hit the street), and back when there were bumpers, we’d hitch a ride every now and then (don’t tell Mom!!). Once my own girls got big enough we would all go outside and make the Kowalski snowman, that would be the one that is 10’ tall! We actually needed a ladder to put the hat on top! (see picture above, lower right)Here’s some facts and trivia about snowflakes, drifts and records we’re glad do not happen here in Ohio.  I’ll take the sunny days, even when there’s white on the ground.  Enjoy!  And thanks to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Britanica.com, weather.com and You Tube for this classic old song.

  • The snowflake might be the world’s favorite symbol of winter. These surprisingly complex and beautiful shapes are made of ice, nature’s simplest hydrogen bond crystal, and under the right conditions, can pile up to significant heights.
  • A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals – the famous six arms of the snowflake.
  • The ice crystals that make up snowflakes are symmetrical (or patterned) because they reflect the internal order of the crystal’s water molecules as they arrange themselves in predetermined spaces (known as “crystallization”) to form the six-sided snowflake.
  • Ultimately, it is the temperature at which a crystal forms — and to a lesser extent the humidity of the air — that determines the basic shape of the ice crystal. Typically, long needle-like crystals form at 23 degrees F and very flat plate-like crystals form at 5 degrees F.
  • The intricate shape of a single arm of the snowflake is determined by the atmospheric conditions experienced by entire ice crystal as it falls. A crystal might begin to grow arms in one manner, and then minutes or even seconds later, slight changes in the surrounding temperature or humidity causes the crystal to grow in another way. Although the six-sided shape is always maintained, the ice crystal may branch off in new directions. Because each arm experiences the same atmospheric conditions, the arms look identical.
  • It’s said that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.  That’s because individual snowflakes all follow slightly different paths from the sky to the ground —and thus encounter slightly different atmospheric conditions along the way. Therefore, they all tend to look unique, resembling everything from prisms and needles to the familiar lacy pattern.
  • Blowing and drifting snow are similar, but not exactly the same.  Blowing and drifting snow are often misunderstood not only among the general public, but also meteorologists who use the terms in their forecasts. While they share many similarities, blowing and drifting snow can be very different.
  • Blowing snow is defined as snow lifted from the surface by the wind, at a height of 8 feet or more, that will reduce visibility.  While blowing snow is to be expected during a snowstorm with gusty winds, you may also see it in your local forecast after the snow has stopped falling, even if it’s a sunny day. If winds remain strong enough behind a snowstorm, that fresh powder can still be picked up by the wind, reducing visibility with each gust.
  • Drifting snow, like blowing snow, is defined as snow lifted from the surface by the wind. The key difference is that the lifted snow remains below 8 feet. Once it rises to 8 feet or higher, it becomes blowing snow.
  • Drifting snow generally doesn’t reduce visibility as much as blowing snow does, since it’s not lifted as high into the air.  The blowing and drifting snow has to end up somewhere, which is how snow drifts form. If the winds are blowing in the same direction for several hours, the snow is also going to blow in that direction, allowing snow drifts to continuously grow larger.
  • When snow drifts grow higher than the windows and doors in your house, you may not be able to exit during an emergency. As the snow continuously gets blown against your home, it can be nearly impossible to get any doors open.  Should this happen, just relax pull out a good book or turn on your favorite show and enjoy the peace and quiet!
  • Ever wonder why snow melts even when it’s below freezing?  If the sun is out, the energy of the sunlight can be sufficient to raise the temperature of the parcels of snow to above freezing, despite the ambient air temperature, especially if the snow is on other objects such as pavement or roofing which readily absorb solar energy. This effect typically doesn’t occur if it is colder than about 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • And, why does the snow pack down so much, especially at the apron of my driveway?  The snow itself undergoes a settling process after it is on the ground or another object like pavement. The air pockets that are originally caught between the flakes slowly escape and the snow “compresses”… typically as much as 3 inches per foot of snow in a days’ time. When the plow goes down the street, the snow compacts, and gets stronger and heavier.  This could cause it to appear to have melted, as there isn’t as much snow there today, for instance, as there was yesterday, but actually it’s just packing down.
  • And we complain?? … The most commonly accepted figure of the most snow that fell in 24 hours is the 75.8” of snow accumulation in Silver Lake, Colorado on April 14-15, 1921. State by State records
  • And about those drifts … Tamarack in California claims the record for the deepest snow ever recorded: 11.5 metres (>37 feet)on March 11, 1911. That was clearly some year in the Sierra Nevada, as Tamarack also recorded the largest snowfall in a single month in the US: almost 10 metres (~33 feet).
  • Austria is home to the world’s tallest snowman, after entering the Guinness World Records.  The snowman, nicknamed “Riesi,” which roughly translates as “giant” in English, measures a gigantic 38.04 meters (125 feet) smashing the previous record held by a snow-woman 37.21 meters tall, named “Olympia,” in the US state of Maine in 2008.
  • And yes, catching snowflakes on your tongue still rocks!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


 

The Bard

If you’re alive, breathing, seeing, smelling & touching…you know that there’s nothing like being in love. Here’s to a purrrrfect Valentines Day!

Love stories.  As old as the hills.  Unsuspecting encounters, a first glance and then something special happens, that changes things forever.  Today marks a special anniversary – the date believed to be the first enactment of William Shakespeare’s world-renowned play Romeo and Juliet.  Written sometime between 1591 and 1595, it stands in the historical record as one of the greatest love stories ever written.  Retold many times in playhouses and theaters and a wealth of film adaptations of both traditional and modern interpretations it has become part of our culture and vernacular still today.  In pre-celebration of Valentine’s Day on Sunday, and lovers throughout the ages, here are some surprising facts and tidbits you most likely never knew.  Be sure to spoil all those in your life who you love in your own special way, and thanks Will for this amazing story.  And tons of love to my family, friends, KHT team and customers! Thx to You Tube for the videos and ancient-origins.net and howlifeunfolds.com for the insights.

Click on these links and enjoy the music while reading:
The Pointer Sisters
Bruce’s Live Version

  • For those who skipped their middle school reading assignment, here’s a recap: “An age-old vendetta between two powerful families erupts into bloodshed as a group of masked Montagues risk further conflict by gatecrashing a Capulet party. A young lovesick Romeo Montague falls instantly in love with Juliet Capulet, who is due to marry her father’s choice named Paris. With the help of Juliet’s nurse, the women arrange for Romeo and Juliet to marry the next day, but Romeo’s attempt to halt a street fight leads to the death of Juliet’s own cousin, Tybalt, for which Romeo is banished. In a desperate attempt to be reunited with Romeo, Juliet follows the Friar’s plot and fakes her own death. The message fails to reach Romeo in time, and believing his beloved Juliet dead, he takes his own life in her tomb. Juliet wakes to find Romeo’s corpse beside her and filled with anguish, kills herself. The grieving family agree to end their feud.”
  • or as some have recapped – “just a couple of sneaky, spoiled rich teenagers getting all jazzed up over each other, and then, when they can’t get their way, overdoing it in the end.”
  • Historians have researched Romeo and Juliet and believe in fact, that the play was not of William’s own creation – but rather a variation on a story told many times from the 1400s onwards.  Centered on the theme of star-crossed lovers, borrowed from poets as far back as ancient Greece, Romeo and Juliet’s tale was told at least a century before Shakespeare actually wrote it.
  • The first certain tale of the woes of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet descends from Italian author Masuccio Salernitano (1410-1475). Published a year after his death, Salernitano’s 33rd chapter of his Il Novellino tells of Mariotto and Giannoza, a pair of lovers who come from the feuding families of Maganelli and Saraceni respectively. In this account, their love affair takes place in Siena, Italy rather than in Verona and is believed to have occurred contemporary with Salernitano’s time.  Mariotto and Giannoza fall in love and marry secretly with the aid of an Augustine friar. Shortly thereafter, Mariotto has words with another noble citizen—in this case, not his love’s cousin—and kills the nobleman, resulting in his fleeing the city to avoid capital punishment. Giannoza, distraught, is comforted only by the fact that Mariotto has family in Alexandria, Egypt and makes a good home for himself there.  However, her own father—unaware of her wedding—decides it is time for her to take a husband, putting her in a terrible position. With the aid of the friar who had wed her and Mariotto, Giannoza drinks a sleeping potion to make her appear dead, so she can be smuggled out of Siena to reunite with her husband in Alexandria. Of course, this plan goes terribly awry, and her letter to explain their plan to Mariotto never reaches him, though news of her death quickly does.  While she flees to Alexandria to finally reunite with him, Mariotto returns to Siena – risking his own life to see her corpse one final time. It is then that he is captured and taken to be executed for his previous crimes, beheaded three days before Giannoza’s own return to the city. Giannoza then, heartbroken, wastes away of a broken heart, supposedly to be finally reunited with her beloved husband in heaven.  Like Shakespeare’s account of Romeo finding Juliet sleeping but believing her dead, Salernitano’s earlier story contains a scene in which Mariotto finds the sleeping body of Giannoza, and believes she has died.  Like Shakespeare’s account of Romeo finding Juliet sleeping but believing her dead, Salernitano’s earlier story contains a scene in which Mariotto finds the sleeping body of Giannoza, and believes she has died.
  • The themes of feuding families, the forbidden love, the sleeping potion, and the terrible communication mishap all lead to the parallel ending of mutual death of the star-crossed lovers. Writing only a hundred years apart, Shakespeare could well have come across Salernitano’s work, or one of the many other variations that were written before the story reached the Bard’s desk.
  • Luigi da Porta in the 1530s wrote a similar compilation, telling the tale of Romeo Montechhi and Giulietta Cappelleti, moving the setting of their lives from Siena to the Verona – the same place where Shakespeare would locate it. The pair again wed in secret with the aid of a friar, only to be torn apart by Romeo’s accidental killing of Giulietta’s cousin and their subsequent deaths—Romeo by Giulietta’s sleeping potion, and Giulietta by holding her breath so she could die with him.
  • Despite the numerous versions of Romeo and Juliet’s story that preceded William Shakespeare, it cannot be denied that it was his work that transformed their love affair into one of the greatest stories ever known. The Bard might have borrowed heavily from Salernitano, Bandello, and Brooke, but the audience which his play was presented to took the text into their hearts and spread it throughout Elizabethan England until the characters’ names became interchangeable with the mantra “meant to be”.
  • Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet’s undying affection have made the passionate story immortal, and it remains one of the foremost inspirations for modern romantic literature.

And for my trivia buffs out there:

1. William Shakespeare wasn’t the first person to write about the Montagues and the Capulets. The two families were kicking around long before William Shakespeare got a hold of them. In “Divine Comedy,” the epic poem that took Dante more than 10 years to complete, he makes the following reference, written more than 250 years before Shakespeare was even born.
“Come and see, you who are negligent, / Montagues and Capulets, Monaldi and Filippeschi: / One lot already grieving, the other in fear. / Come, you who are cruel, come and see the distress / Of your noble families, and cleanse their rottenness.”
2. It wasn’t always called Romeo and Juliet – When it was first published, Romeo and Juliet went by a much more descriptive—and much longer—title: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
3. The first publication of Romeo and Juliet is thought to be an unauthorized version of the play. Romeo and Juliet was originally published in 1597, in the First Quarto. But Shakespeare scholars have long argued that this version of the play was not only incomplete, but unauthorized. The 1599 version, published in the Second Quarto, is the version of Romeo and Juliet we all know and love today.
4. Juliet is just 13 years old – We know that Romeo and Juliet are a young couple in love—but it’s easy to miss just how young Juliet is. In Act I, Scene III, Lady Capulet says that Juliet is “not fourteen.” She is actually just about two weeks shy of her 14th birthday. Romeo’s exact age is never given.
5. The couple’s courtship was indeed a whirlwind – Talk about a whirlwind romance! Given that we know Juliet is just 13 years old, her impetuousness might seem more understandable. But from the time they meet to the time they marry Romeo and Juliet have known each other less than 24 hours.
6. There is no balcony in Romeo and Juliet’s “balcony scene.” – One of Romeo and Juliet’s most iconic moments is what has become known as “The Balcony Scene,” which occurs in Act II, Scene 2. There’s just one problem: The word balcony is never mentioned in Shakespeare’s play. There’s a good reason for that, too: according to Merriam-Webster, the earliest known usage of the term, originally spelled balcone, didn’t occur until 1618—more than 20 years after Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. According to the play, the scene takes place at Capulet’s Orchard when “Juliet appears above at a window.”
7. It wasn’t until 1662 that a woman played the role of Juliet – As anyone who has seen Shakespeare in Love knows, back in the Bard’s days and up until 1660, all stage roles were performed by men. But in 1662, actress Mary Saunderson stepped onto the stage as Juliet; she is believed to be the first woman to play the iconic role.
8. One writer dared to give Romeo and Juliet a happy ending – Irish poet and lyricist Nahum Tate, who became England’s poet laureate in 1692, had a penchant for messing around with Shakespeare’s words. In addition to rewriting Shakespeare’s King Lear as 1681’s The History of King Lear—in which he tacked on a happy ending to the tragedy (Cordelia married Edgar)—he did the same with Romeo and Juliet. Unlike his version of King Lear, which became quite popular, his alternate ending for Romeo and Juliet didn’t seem to stick.
9. Romeo has become shorthand for a male lover – Romeo and Juliet has had a lasting effect on the English language, including its popularization of words like ladybird and phrases like wild goose chase. But Romeo, too, has his own dictionary entry: in addition to being defined as “the hero of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet who dies for love of Juliet” by Merriam-Webster, Romeo has also come to mean “a male lover.”

BONUS:  Turns out, 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased in the seven days leading up to Feb. 14 and 225 million roses are grown and cultivated for Valentine’s Day.

You Can’t Say That

Controversy was never funnier. Many of you may never have heard of them, but the Smothers Brothers were so darn funny!!! They poked fun at everything and everyone. Especially the president which at the time was the 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson who wrote a letter to the brothers. (Above near the top) That letter from President Johnson was verified on snopes.com. And check this out: Tommy Smothers does a dead-on imitation of Johnny Carson (Another guy many of you may never have heard of) on Feb 20, 1992.   

Free speech. One of our American rights we cherish and challenges us to protect every today.  Over 50 years ago, television writers and producers at CBS were up against a tough adversary – a successful western show that had a secure, nationwide audience.  At that time, westerns dominated television, with shows like “Gunsmoke”, “Have Gun Will Travel”, “The Rifleman” and “Wagon Train”.  The number one show on TV in the mid 60’s was “Bonanza”, another western that ran on rival NBC.  Trying to pull away viewers – talk about a PIA (pain in the @%$) Job! – CBS, after many flops, took a chance on two “hip” and “edgy” young stars, brothers actually, to appeal to the under-30 generation. Right smack in the middle of the civil rights movement, the hippie revolution, the war, political upheaval and major shifts in music, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour debuted on this day in 1967 and took the country by storm – later becoming what some consider the most controversial show in TV history.  Starring Tommy and Dick, two folk singing brothers (‘mom always liked you best”), with amazing timing and childlike banter, they pushed the envelope with the help of some soon-to-be star writers and comedians and broke the dominance of Big Hoss and Little John.  Enjoy.  And thanks to dailykos.com, Wikipedia and mtsu.edu for the info and YouTube for the amazing videos. (be sure to watch the videos – classics!)

  1. The Smothers Brothers are Thomas (“Tom” – born February 2, 1937) and Richard (“Dick” – born November 20, 1939), American folk singers, musicians and comedians. The brothers’ trademark double act was performing folk songs (Tommy on acoustic guitar, Dick on string bass), which usually led to arguments between the siblings. Tommy’s signature line was “Mom always liked you best”.
  2. Their own television variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, became one of the most controversial American TV programs of the Vietnam War era. Despite popular success, the brothers’ penchant for material that was critical of the political mainstream and sympathetic to the emerging counterculture led to their firing by the CBS network in 1969. One show was left unaired.
  3. After a brief time in a folk group called the Casual Quintet, the brothers made their first professional appearance as a duo in February 1959 at The Purple Onion in San Francisco. They were a popular act in clubs and released several successful top 40 albums for Mercury Records, the most successful being Curb Your Tongue, Knave! in 1964. – Their first national television appearance was on The Jack Paar Show on January 28, 1961.  On Sunday night, October 4, 1963 the Smothers Brothers made an appearance on the CBS variety series The Judy Garland Show which also showcased Barbra Streisand. Tom and Dick inherited Garland’s time slot when their own variety series began in early 1967.
  4. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour started out as only a slightly “hip” version of the typical comedy-variety show of its era, but rapidly evolved into a show that extended the boundaries of what was considered permissible in television satire at that time.  While the Smothers themselves were at the forefront of these efforts, credit also goes to the roster of writers and regular performers they brought to the show, including Steve Martin, Don Novello, Rob Reiner, Presidential candidate Pat Paulsen, Bob Einstein, Albert Brooks, and resident hippie Leigh French.  Enjoy a Pat Paulson editorial.
  5. The series showcased new musical artists to whom other comedy-variety shows rarely gave airtime, due to the nature of their music or their political affiliations.  Stars included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Joan Baez, Buffalo Springfield, Cass Elliot, Harry Belafonte, Cream, Donovan, The Doors, Glen Campbell, Janis Ian, Jefferson Airplane, The Happenings, Peter, Paul and Mary, Spanky and Our Gang, Steppenwolf, Simon and Garfunkel, The Hollies, The Who and even Pete Seeger were showcased on the show, despite the advertiser-sensitive nature of their music.
  6. In 1968, the show broadcast in successive weeks “music videos” (not called that at the time) for The Beatles’ popular songs “Hey Jude” and “Revolution”. Before a rowdy crowd at the Los Angeles Forum, Jimi Hendrix dedicated “I Don’t Live Today” to the Smothers Brothers, as heard on The Jimi Hendrix Box Set.
  7. The performance by The Who in 1967 was another defining moment in the series; as the group often did during that period, The Who destroyed their instruments at the conclusion of their performance of “My Generation”, with the usual addition of mild explosives for light pyrotechnic effect. The piece would end with guitarist Pete Townshend grabbing Tommy’s guitar and smashing it. On the Smothers Brothers show that night a small amount of explosive was put into the small cannon that Keith Moon kept in his bass drum. But it did not go off during the rehearsal. Unbeknownst to Moon, a stagehand had added another explosive before the taping, and later Moon added another charge so that now there were three explosive charges in the cannon instead of one.  When Moon detonated it, the explosion was so intense that a piece of cymbal shrapnel cut into Moon’s arm; Moon is heard moaning in pain toward the end of the piece. Townshend, who had been in front of Moon’s drums at the time, had his hair singed by the blast; he is seen putting out sparks in his hair before finishing the sketch with a visibly shocked Tommy Smothers. The blast allegedly contributed heavily to Townshend’s long-term hearing loss.
  8. With its focus having evolved toward a more youth-oriented one, the show became both popular and controversial. Three specific targets of satire — racism, the President of the United States, and the Vietnam War— wound up defining the show’s content for the remainder of its run, eventually leading to its demise.
  9. The brothers soon found themselves in regular conflict with CBS’s network censors. At the start of the 1968/69 season, the network ordered that the Smothers deliver their shows finished and ready to air ten days before airdate so that the censors could edit the shows as necessary. In the season premiere, CBS deleted the entire segment of Belafonte singing “Lord, Don’t Stop the Carnival” against a backdrop of the havoc during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, along with two lines from a satire of their main competitor, Bonanza. As the year progressed, battles over content continued, including a David Steinberg sermon about Moses and the Burning Bush.
  10. With some local stations making their own deletions of controversial skits or comments, the continuing problems over the show came to a head after CBS broadcast a rerun on March 9, 1969. The network explained the decision by stating that because that week’s episode did not arrive in time to be previewed, it would not be shown. In that program, Joan Baez paid tribute to her then-husband, David Harris, who was entering jail after refusing military service, while comedian Jackie Mason made a joke about children “playing doctor”. When the show finally did air, two months later, the network allowed Baez to state that her husband was in prison but edited out the reason.
  11. After three seasons, network CEO and President William S. Paley abruptly canceled the show on April 4, 1969. The reason given by CBS was the Smothers refusal to meet the pre-air delivery dates as specified by the network in order to accommodate review by the censors. This cancellation led the brothers to file a successful breach of contract suit against the network. Despite this cancellation, the show went on to win the Emmy Award that year for best writing.
  12. The Smothers Brothers starred in several other television and Broadway shows, but with moderate success.  In 1988, Tom and Dick reunited with CBS for a special celebrating the 20th anniversary of their variety show.  The brothers used the special to pay tribute to their network and also poke fun at it for cancelling them years earlier. The success of the special led to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1988–1989).  This show began production during a 1988 Writers Guild of America strike as the WGA had agreed to settle with the show’s producer and grant the show an exemption from the strike and allow writers to go back to work for the series.
  13. The brothers have worked independently as well; Dick has appeared as an actor in films, including a rare dramatic role as a Nevada state senator in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. Tom appeared in the 2005 made-for-television movie Once Upon a Mattress.
  14. After more than 51 years of touring, the Smothers Brothers officially announced their retirement from touring during their final performance at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday May 16, 2010. The affair was kept low key with some family members and friends in attendance.

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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