“The Thrill of Victory. And the…”

Agony of 768 blog

Top four rows: Stills from the most famous epic fail ever.
Bottom row: Vinko Bogota (the agony of defeat guy) received a standing ovation at the ABC Wide World of Sports 20th Anniversary event April 21, 1981. Little known fact: Mohamed Ali was the first (among an army of other famous athletes) to get his autograph. Catch this cool video tribute HERE


Do you know the rest? Etched in most of our minds is the classic theme song, stunning ski jumper crash visuals and announcer’s voice of the Wide World of Sports, which debuted on this day in 1961. What began as a simple idea – television coverage blended with human interest stories, all wrapped around small sporting events, has grown into a trillion-dollar world wide industry. Sports coverage and sports celebrities today saturate television, the web, radio, newspapers, magazines and more, popularized over 50 years ago when a small group of reporters at ABC contracted to cover little-known AAU college track meets.

The Wide World of Sports was the brainchild of Edger Scherick, who hired a young Roone Arledge to produce the show (Roone, went on to a fantastic career at ABC producing the breakthrough shows WWoS, Monday Night Football, ABC News Tonight, Primetime, Nightline and 20/20). The debut telecast featured both the Penn and Drake Track Relays, broadcast from Drake Stadium. Hosting the show was Jim McKay with field reporting from Jesse Abramson, Bob Richards, Jim Simpson and Bill Flemming, all who went on to great broadcast careers.

Using videotape to capture each event, along with personal interviews with the coaches and athletes, the group would “jet” back to NY, assemble and edit the shows and then air them on Saturday afternoons. The segment ran in the spring and summer, filling a low ratings slot on Saturday afternoons. Due to slower reporting back then (no internet of course), they were able to present the show in a “near live” framework, injecting athlete stories and real emotions (to also attract more women viewers), something never before done on television.

As a kid, I loved tuning into the WWoS, and watching the events. Didn’t matter what it was – bowling, racing, skiing, climbing – I was intrigued by the grit and determination of the athletes. Looking back, it probably taught me the importance of hard work and determination, the thrill of winning and the reality of defeat. It also reminds me what a pioneer my Dad was, walking away from a good job, to start his own business, focused on engaging and delighting his audience. In his own way, he set out with a simple idea, and with the help of his family and team, guided KHT forward – kind of our “Roone”.

So next time you have the remote in your hand and you are searching for Derbyshire World Toe Wrestling, European Military Bed Racing, Wife Carrying in Finland, Bossaball in Spain, or Naked Bike Racing in the Alps (painful!), remember the early days of sports coverage and the “agony of defeat.” We are all better as a result!



Happy Earth Day

Senior man and baby holding the Earth in hands against a rainbow in spring. Ecology concepttulips 768 blog

We have hundreds of red tulips coming up around the buildings!


Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement known as Earth Day. At KHT, we’re proud of our environmental record and actions we take every day to respect and protect our environment. Like most, we are constantly learning, not only what we can do as a company, but every day as individuals. Here’s some history on this incredible movement, started by an individual with a concern. It’s a bit long for my post, but a great read. Enjoy, and be sure to stop by the plant to see our early spring plantings and winter clean up.

Setting the Stage
The height of counterculture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” War raged in Vietnam and students nationwide overwhelmingly opposed it. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, a watershed moment emerged with the heightened awareness of the 1962 book Silent Spring, raising public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health.

The Idea
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.

When it all Began
On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

Going Global
By 1990, the Earth Day celebration had gone global, mobilizing over 200 million people in nearly 150 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder. By 2010, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism. Despite these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and grew to include a 250,000-person National Mall rally and the “Billion Acres of Green” global tree planting initiative (now called the Canopy Project), connecting 22,000 partner organizations in 192 countries.

Earth Day Today
Earth Day has reached its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes. Much like the early days, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. Strong voices shout on both sides as to what we should, or should not do next. It’s up to each of us to decide what’s right and act.

Special thanks to earthday.org for much of this content. To learn more, visit http://www.earthday.org/about/the-history-of-earth-day/#sthash.K2XJxoG3.dpuf




Happy 564th Birthday Leonardo

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Here’s to a life well lived.


Long before he became famous, before he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, invented the helicopter, and before he drew the most famous image of man, Leonardo da Vinci was an armorer and a maker of things – and most likely the world’s foremost genius heat treater. In 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote a letter to the Duke of Milan, describing his capabilities and vision to solve what we would refer to as “Ludovico il Moro’s PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs!” The translation of his letter is quite remarkable.

“Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.

3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.

5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.

6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.

9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may. Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency — to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”

Let me see – strong, light bridges, trench pumps, mortar casings, strong vessels, safe chariots, light ordnance, catapults & mangonels, AND a pretty talented painter/artist – sounds like a guy who’d fit right in here at KHT solving problems and delivering great solutions to all our clients. So whether you are bogged down on the production line, stuck on parts that aren’t performing, or just needs some “great artistic and scientific minds” to solve your PIA Jobs, give us a call. I’ll get my “Leonardo’s” right on it.



Before the Shot, there was The Pass


Kris Jenkins sinks a game-winning three-point buzzer beater to lead Villanova over North Carolina in the 2016 National Championship game and give the Wildcats their second national title.


What a beautiful thing to watch. Like most fans, I really enjoyed NC’s comeback last Monday night highlighted by North Carolina’s Marcus Paige double-clutch, off-balance three-pointer tying the game with 4.7 seconds left. It was miraculously followed by Ryan “Arch” Arcidiacono’s unselfish set up pass to Kris Jenkins on his winning NCAA Championship three pointer. Instant classic. (even his Mom said it was gonna go in when she saw his release).

As kids, we used to play this same thing over and over in the backyard (let me know if you did too).  We had a big court that would then change into a hockey rink in the winter – “three seconds on the clock, bounce pass to Kowalski in the corner… he dribbles, shoots at the buzzer “aaaaahhhhhh” – it’s good! We had so many versions – “falling out of bounds, he shoots one handed, off the backboard – good!” And my favorite – “hand in his face, eyes closed, left handed hook shot from the trees over the backboard – with the clock ticking down – swish!”

Boy I miss those days just playing outside with my brothers and sisters.

Having fun like that makes me think of our awesome gang here at KHT. Like so many well-oiled teams, we work together everyday drawing up plans, calling plays and setting picks for one another, just having a blast working on your PIA (Pain in the @#$) Jobs. We are putting up our own hoop out back too, and with the weather changing, it’s just natural that we’ll be out there on sunny days during lunch pumping jumpers and acting like Jenkins.

So next time you’re in a fix or need some last minute miracles, (or just feel like playing PIG), call us in “when the games on the line” and let us work our magic.





Got the itch?

golfer lying on grass and blowing in the ball, just need to give it a little help.

With the weather starting to warm here in NE Ohio, I’m getting the “itch” to go out to hit some balls and play some golf, yearning for bluer skies, bright sun and warm breezes. Like many of you, I’ve watched the pros on the west coast, and make their “southern swing” through Florida’s snake pit and blue monster. And every year about this time I do a mental inventory of my gear, weighing clubs I should replace and new gadgets I should consider putting in my bag. So for all my “golf geeks”, here are some fun and crazy things I found online to help us enjoy the game a bit more and shave a few strokes off our scores. Special thanks to PC Magazine for this find.

Ball Finder Scout – This handheld device ($179) helps you hunt for your stray shots. As long as a ball is one percent visible, it can search up to 600 square feet in just one second with a 3.2-megapixel hi-res digital camera to locate balls up to 35 feet away. A red cursor brackets the ball on a LCD screen and a blue light guides you right to it…unless of course it’s in the water hazard or Mrs. Johnson’s “do not enter” backyard. – AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Solar Power Golf Bag – Have a lot of business to do while on the course? No worry – now you can charge your cell phone, laptop or iPod via the solar panels located on the side of this solar golf bag ($349). Constructed of heavy duty nylon, the bag features a mini USB cable, two interchangeable iPod adapters, and five interchangeable mobile phone adapters. You’ll also find a rain hood, tee holder strap, umbrella holder, and a mobile device charging compartment. – OR –  JUST TAKE SOME TIME TO ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF THE COURSE AND FRIENDS!

Twilight Light-Up Golf Balls – Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean you have to stop swinging. The Twilight Tracer Light-Up Golf Ball ($13.95/one pack) from Sun Products is a regulation golf ball with an inner core that contains proprietary circuitry, a lithium battery, and two red LED lights programmed to flash at a rate of 7.2 flashes per second. The ball is also motion activated, so once you swing at it, it will stay lit for about five to six minutes until you find it in the dark. – Great for those holes 37-44!

Shot Making Laptop Simulator – Always in the rough and never in the fairway? Practice your strokes with The Dancin’ Dogg Shot Making Simulator ($399.95) a golf simulation game that lets you practice and create your own shots. Use the included swing pad, balls, and tees to practice your chip, swing and bumps by choosing on your computer where you want to hit the ball and then see your performance results, including distance traveled, yards off target, and swing speed. Even comes with Tiger Woods matching performance software. – Just what everyone wants to see …me dancing!

Harmony Performance Bracelet – The latest product from Q-Link is the Performance Bracelet ($79.95), which features SRT-3 programming to resonate a supporting frequency in response to stress for better performance on the course. You’ll golf more calmly and put your mind to ease as you “tune up your biofield through a resonant effect that harmonizes your energy and helps you to navigate smoothly through a stressful round of golf.” (Won’t help your aim at all!) – Golfing and no stress, that’s no fun!

Voice Advisor Golf Caps & Visors – Leave your rangefinders at home with the Advisor Golf Caps & Visors from SkyKap ($??). Each hat is equipped with a voice-activated, high-quality microphone. It utilizes real-time GPS against a detailed course map so that when you want to get yardage to the green, just say “advisor distance” into the microphone and the automated voice will respond with the information. Afterwards you’ll also be able to download your round and view every shot to improve your game. Perfect for when you are so far left, you can’t see the green. – I am hoping for my hat to burst into song! – “ How do you know…!”

Laser Putting Trainer – This device uses laser beams! The Laser Putting Trainer LPT from OptoSmart ($39.95) allows you to position your putter for the best shot using the laser as a guideline. It mounts to your putter shaft with a battery-operated remote power button on the grip. Available for both right- and left-handed putters, you can just tap, tap, tap and watch it track your ball. Great for indoor practice or on the putting green. Fun at night! – Not sure me and a laser is a good combination!

Clubs, Clubs and More Clubs – Each year all the manufacturers pump out new and better equipment – drivers, irons, hybrids, wedges, putters, shafts, balls, tees, gloves – just too many to list. Industry experts predict ’16 could be a rainmaker year for new sales. Go visit your local pro shop or golf store and try things out – I’m itchin’ for a new putter (thinking titanium v-fang with improved alignment elastomer insert oval, tour-proven model with audio feedback impact response feel and oversized super shot grip) – actually, for me just more practice!

Bonus – Let’s tee ‘em up – send me a shout out email or call me and let’s pick a date to play – I’m good to play any day of the week that ends in “y” – first beverage is on me!!  REMEMBER- If the sun is up, I’m there, 5 AM is always more fun!




“Top of the Mornin’ to Ya”

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Happy St. Patty’s Day (a Bit Early) from O’Kowalski


Next week we’ll all be wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage and celebrating with green beer, parades and fun. In KHT fashion, here’s some trivia to get you ready for the day – be safe and enjoy!

Erin go Bragh – translates to “Ireland forever.”

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland – It was in Boston in 1737. And the largest parade in the United States, held since 1762, is in New York City, and draws more than one million spectators each year, joining over 100 cities who hold parades.

Chicago celebrates the day by dying their river green – Green is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because it is the color of spring, of Ireland, and of the shamrock – even thought St Patrick is associated with blue. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. Green was associated with Ireland, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside.

There are about 34 million U.S. residents who are of Irish ancestry – that number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself.

1 in 161 Americans is named Patrick – two million more people than the population of Ireland. And 19 Presidents of the US proudly claim Irish heritage — including our first President, George Washington.

St. Patrick is a hero in Ireland – there are about 60 churches and cathedrals named for him in Ireland alone. One of the most famous cathedrals is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. These grounds bear the mark of the place where St. Patrick baptized his converts.

St. Patrick is actually not Irish – He wasn’t born in Ireland. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

The Guinness Book of World Records – was created by Hugh Beaver, a managing director of the Guinness Brewery to help settle arguments and bets made inside bars over random trivia.

St. Patrick was a slave – At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape and made his way to a monastery in England.

St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity – Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same.

Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland – According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, “toads,” out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians.

The Shamrock (or Leprechaun) is not the symbol of Ireland – These are popular Irish symbols, but not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts.

St. Patrick’s was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970 – Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick’s Day is drinking. Irish law had declared St. Patrick’s Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. Overturned in 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was reclassified as a national holiday – allowing the taps to flow freely once again.

Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.




Takin’ A Leap

Summer fun, Friends cliff jumping into the ocean.

This past week we all celebrated an extra leap year day – it was fun for me in three ways – it added a work/sales day to our month-end calendar (hope to see a tiny blip in my comparables), it  gave me a great excuse for a night out with my golf pals (since our wives let us go out on a school night, we boldly decided we’d make it an “every-four-year event).  And it also made me think how lucky I am to be running KHT.

When I got back in on Tuesday, I was sort of energized by the leap day.  I walked around the plants and thought about all the times in our company history when we took a risk and “made the leap” to build a bigger, better operation for our customers. So many milestone events came to mind – my first sale, problem-solving with Dad, hiring talented people, adding new furnaces, new land acquisitions, new building additions, new treatment service offerings, new delivery trucks, new investments in technology for our lab, new employee training programs, new financing partners and more. I’m sure just like you in your business, we did it much the same – “dreaming”, then due diligence, second guessing, then securing financing,  battling with design/development and finally waiting anxiously for things to get completed.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d lie in bed at night and wonder – did we do the right thing?

My marketing guy tells me he built his company around “the thrill of the leap”. He refers to that feeling you got when you were a kid standing on the high board at the pool. You had the guts to slowly climb the ladder – each step filled with trepidation. Slowly as the wind blew, you finally got to the top, and it was your turn to walk out to the edge. Once there, you looked down and realized “whoa, It’s “way” higher than I thought it would be”, and you got that little belly flutter of “I’m not so sure of this now”. Then your courage inside says “go” and you are all at once in midair, kicking and yelling and falling until you hit the water, scrambling to hold your breath and paddle endlessly looking up to the surface. You pop out of the water, take a big gasp of air, then look around to see if anyone noticed.

As you pull yourself up the deep end ladder, you look up again at the high board filled with a gentle strength and confidence and ponder “was it worth the leap” as a smile curls across your face. And then your buddy “Mikey” runs by, slaps you on the back and says – “come on, let’s do it again” and you race to see who can get to the base of the stairs first as the lifeguard whistles and yells – “no running boys.”

If this makes sense to you, give me a buzz and let’s compare notes. 216-631-4411 ext. 2211




“Hi! Steve Kowalski…”

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                                                                                                                                                                  Our old phone system.

One of the projects we’ve recently completed here at Kowalski Heat Treating is updating our phone system. Like many of you have likely discovered at your place, our phone system and actual phones themselves were dated and not performing very well. So we met with a bunch of vendors, talked about options, features and cost savings, installation, and a whole host of options: IOP, VolP, cloud-based mobile integration, 3rd generation this, A2DP that, HSCSD’s, Multi-Touch, USB ports WAP, call forwarding, and more. Eventually, somehow working through all the options, we “pulled the trigger” on our new system.

And boy, I’m glad we did. We now have an integrated system, with more “do-dads” and buttons than I care to understand (still working on that “interoffice instant messaging” thingie).

But with all the new features, something that hasn’t changed is me answering my phone when it rings. Since I’ve been in business, I’ve always enjoyed picking up the phone and talking with customers, vendors, and friends. It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but I never want to stop doing this.

Unlike emails, calls for me are immediate, “real-time”, more personal and most often center around helping customers solve their PIA (Pain in The @%$) Jobs! I love it. Phone calls allow me to focus, listen, advise, problem solve, chit chat and best of all, just let out a good laugh.

So next time you want to talk, have a heat treating problem, need to connect with someone here at KHT, or just wanna catch up, do the old fashioned thing and give me a call. I’ll make sure I set aside what’s on my desk, and spend some good old-fashioned phone time with you.

216-631-4411 ext. 2211




A Prize in Every Box

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One of the driving forces here at Kowalski Heat Treating is “working to delight our customers”. It’s woven into the fabric of the company Dad started over 40 years ago, and it’s still around today. More than just processing your work, treating metal and delivering goods, we like to add a little extra to what we do – whether that’s nailing a delivery promise, finding a new and better way to finish products, or just treating you with fun and respect. We think of it as “our little prize”.

When I was a kid, I loved Cracker Jack. Not just the tasty snack, but digging in and “discovering” the prize inside. I always got a kick out of finding the card, ring, tattoo, or little plastic figurines. I enjoyed the feeling I got when I found it and like to share the same with you.

I did some internet digging, and discovered today (Feb 19th) is the anniversary of “the first little prize inside” (thanks Wikipedia!). So, for all my trivia buffs out there, here’s some facts and tidbits to share:

  • Cracker Jack is an American brand of snack food, consisting of molasses flavored caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts, first registered in 1896, considered by some as “the first junk food”
  • Frederick William Rueckheim (Fritz), a German born immigrant sold hand-made steamed popcorn on the streets of Chicago beginning in 1871. Later joined by his brother Louis, (family business YEAH!) they first presented a popcorn confection to the public at the 1893 World’s Expo/Fair.
  • After adding a small quantity of oil to his mixture to separate the “chunks”, Louis created his first batch of what they called “Cracker Jack”, after a sampler said “that’s a cracker jack” (meaning of excellent quality) and the name was born.
  • In 1899, Henry Eckstein developed the famous waxed sealed packaging to retain freshness and moisture protection.
  • “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, a song written by lyricist Jack Norworth and composer Albert Von Tilzer, gave Cracker Jack free publicity when it was released in 1908 with the line: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!” – and we still sing it today.
  • Cracker Jack’s Mascots Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo were introduced as early as 1916 – (modeled after grandson Robert and a stray dog named Russell).
  • The Cracker Jack Company began advertising on television in 1955. appearing on CBS-Television’s On Your Account. The actor who appeared in many commercials was Jack Gilford – Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop were Cracker Jack spokespersons in the 60’s.
  • The prizes attained pop-culture status with the catch phrase “came in a cracker jack box” applied sarcastically to engagement and wedding rings of dubious investment.
  • Many attempts were made to extend the line, including a caffeine infused product called Cracker Jack’D.
  • Statisticians say if you stacked all the Cracker Jack product that’s been manufactured, it would circle the globe over 65 times – (that’s a lot of Jack!)
  • Now – can you sing the jingle?? “Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize – that’s what you get from Cracker Jack.” (great – now it’s stuck in your head too!!)




A Day Just for Love

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I love my family
I love my business
I love my life
But most of all
(if you couldn’t guess)
I love my wife.


Sunday is Valentine’s Day (don’t panic) – a time for
us to show our loved ones just how much they mean to us. For
those stuck for ideas, here’s just a few to get you started.

Gifts – just go traditional – visit a candy store and pick up a nice box of chocolates (Dark) – don’t go overboard, as you’ll loose points if you buy too much. Swing by grocery store or flower shop and pick up some roses/flowers. Then, visit a dept. store and get cologne or lotion. Top it all off with a nice card and candle! Have it all ready come Sunday morning.

Cook – spend the day pampering your spouse. Start out making breakfast, and include some fun Valentine’s Day foods. Make pancakes, trim sausage patties and cut bread in heart shapes, serve strawberries dipped in chocolate, and add a little cinnamon to the coffee for an extra touch. For fun, add some food coloring to scrambled eggs to turn them pink, or make a healthy smoothie shake using red fruits. When lunch arrives, try a simple salad of greens and strawberries and tomato soup and trim the sandwich bread into heart shapes. For dinner, just make his/her favorite – or better yet try a new recipe or a new restaurant and splurge a bit on dessert or a bottle of wine.

Get Out – so much to do in town, so hit the streets – art shows, concerts, shopping venues, or just a ride in the country. Find a nice antique shop an hour or so away and combine it with lunch. Angie’s List is a great resource. Buy something silly to remember the day. If you are movie buffs, hit the matinee, and then get into the city and find a corner shop for tea or coffee.

Family – make it a day to get the family together. Stir up a big pot of chili or spaghetti sauce and invite the gang. Don’t go nuts on the details, just make it casual and fun. Keep the TV off and put away the cell phones – break out the cards and board games and enjoy the company. Surprise everyone with small, simple Valentines Day gift bags from the thrift store. Serve red velvet cake with cream cheese icing or heart shaped brownies – YUM! Cinnamon ice cream too!

Community – after church, swing by the retirement home or senior center and drop off Valentines Day goodies – small chocolates and cards. If you have time, walk the halls and visit the residents. Visit the food kitchen in town, spend some time serving meals and pass out little candies too. Get the kids involved and make it a fun outing.

Overboard – nothing like BIG surprises – airline tickets, cruise bookings, weekend getaway – if you have the means, and want to do something special …. Go for it!!