Friday, July 26, 2019

The Power of Three

Thought for the day: To thrive in life, you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone. [Reba McEntire]

[courtesy of unsplash]
Have you ever given any thought to the alleged power of the number three? Fans of the TV show Charmed know that the three witch sisters' powers were greatly magnified when they worked as a unit, but in general, threesomes kinda permeate our lives, if you think about it.

Maybe the original notion about the strength of the number three stems from the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but I don't know that for a fact. We had the three wise men, of course. And how about that much-beloved prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr that says: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

In the writing world, it's pretty much accepted that things that come in threes are somehow funnier or more effective and satisfying than other groupings. For example, there's the three little pigs, the three musketeers, the three blind mice, and Goldilocks and the three bears. Also, the majority of plays are written in three acts, and the recommended guideline for the storytelling arc is comprised of  a three-act structure.(Are you sensing a trend?)

Then there's comedy.

Think about all the jokes you've heard that begin with a grouping of three whatevers walking into a bar.

And many jokes rely on a three-part punch line, too. Like this one: I can't think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they're dead. [Laura Knightlinger]

[courtesy of wikipedia]

How about the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeys? (I wonder why there's no DO no evil...)

Many well-known phrases are more memorable because of the effective use of threesomes:
  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Of the people, by the people, and for the people
  • Friends, Romans, and countrymen
  • Veni, vidi, vici
  • Faith, hope, and charity
  • Blood, sweat, and tears
  • Location, location, location
And I bet you can name a bunch more of them.

But did you know that the power of three even extends into the animal kingdom? No? Well then, consider the following:

I wish I could acknowledge where those five photos came from, because they're what prompted me to write this post in the first place. A friend sent them to me many years ago, and I liked 'em, so I kept 'em. The following pics came courtesy of unsplash:

Okay, so technically, those last three aren't exactly animals... but they sure are cute, aren't they?

Sheesh. This turned into a kinda long post, considering I wrote it just so I could post those five pictures a friend... and I don't even remember which friend... sent me years ago. Still, I kinda like it.

                               I think maybe it may even deserve an award of some kind...

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                        Save water... take a shower with two friends...

Friday, July 19, 2019

More Fun in Charleston

Thought for the day: All good things must come to an end. (sigh)

No matter how beautiful a day may be, the sun has to eventually set, and no matter how much fun an experience may be, it, too, must end.

So I promise this'll be the last post about our 50th anniversary trip to Charleston. Then I'll find something new to bore you with.

This last post will be about two plantations in the Charleston area. Boone Hall, located in Mt. Pleasant, has been dubbed the #1 plantation by USA Today, and called a must-see destination by many, so that was our first plantation stop. But that wasn't the only reason. I'd seen pictures of the entry to that plantation... and there's a good chance you have, too, because it's a rather iconic shot. If you saw the movie North and South, you might remember the scene with Patrick Swayze riding on horseback down that entryway road. The plantation was also featured in numerous other flicks, like The Notebook. So me being me, even though we'd already visited the mighty Angel Oak, I wanted to see this impressive line-up of live oaks in person.

Boone Hall was founded in 1681 by Englishman Major John Boone, and it was his son who planted the 88 live oaks in 1743. It took nearly two centuries for the trees to become large enough to form a canopy over the road, and this Avenue of Oaks extends for 3/4 of a mile.

A view of the canopy from the car. Believe, me, it looks a lot more impressive in person than it does in this picture.

This one was taken on foot. A little better.

The Avenue of Oaks offered the most concentrated grouping of live oaks on the plantation, but they weren't the only ones in sight. They were all over the place... and they were all gorgeous.

Last shot of the trees. I (ahem) tend to get carried away...

The old cotton mill (circa O-L-D) is an impressive-looking building. As you can see, it's currently undergoing some extensive restoration. 

It's kinda funny that I took a picture of THIS, but not a single photo of the plantation house. Without a doubt, it is beautiful, but what I would've really liked to capture is its interior. The furnishings are magnificent, and the sunroom-like area is fabulous. Unfortunately, taking pictures inside was a no-no. The McRae family purchased the plantation in 1955, and a year later, the family began allowing tours. Family members still live on the upper level of the home... which was not part of the tour. Although the number of farmed acreage has shrunk over time, Boone Hall remains America's oldest continuously working plantation.

A handful of original slave cabin remain, and they're all made of bricks... which were made by the slaves themselves. In fact, millions of bricks were made on the plantation, and they were used to build many important buildings in Charleston and far beyond. Ft. Sumter was constructed of bricks that were made at Boone Hall.

Each of the remaining cabins has been converted into small museums, each one telling a different chapter in the story of  African Americans. This gal in the picture told the story of the Gullah people, and her presentation included some awesome music. Man, does she ever have some pipes! And she sang a little bit of everything...

I delighted in the music of Africa, the earliest of the slave plantation songs, the transformation into Christianity and all that Christianity brought to the lives of the Africans who were forced to come to America. [Harry Belafonte]

I'm a little sorry I didn't take more pictures. I guess I was too busy taking in the experience to bother recording much of it. Sorry... how selfish of me not to think of you guys. HA! Here... maybe this short video will make up for it. (And I don't know how the sneaky fella got away with taking a couple shots inside of the house. I wish he would've gotten the darned sunroom!)                                       

                                                                Pretty cool, huh?

The other plantation we visited was the Charleston Tea Plantation... the ONLY large-scale commercial tea plantation in America. There, we toured the area where the tea is processed, sampled all kinds of their awesome teas, took a wagon ride all around the plantation, learned a ton of stuff about tea, and... came home with a whole grocery-sized bag full of teas. (Which I'm drinking my way through quite handily. I just ordered some more of their loose leaf tea from Amazon. The peach and mint are my favorites.)

This is one of the many fields of tea. See how flat the plants are on top? That's because the process of harvesting entails skimming off a couple inches of new growth at the top of the bushes. Every plant on the plantation today is the offspring of the plants originally brought to South Carolina in the 1700s, and for hundreds of years, each plant has been grown from shoots, which are nurtured in greenhouses for four years before taking their place in the fields.

This funny-looking contraption is called the Green Machine,and it was built specifically for harvesting tea. There are only a few of them in existence in the world, and each machine can do the work of 500 people. Where people would have to carefully pick the new growth leaves from each bush by hand, one at a time, this machine gently slices off that new growth and tosses it into a bin.

Did you know the three basic types of tea all come from the same plant? The difference between black, oolong, and green tea lies not in the tea, but in how long it's processed after it's picked.


  • Tea-drinking dates back to 2700 B.C. Not sure how it was first discovered to be such a tasty beverage, but rumor has it that some tea leaves accidentally fell into a pot of water that was being boiled for his consumption, and Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was so pleased with the taste, he mandated that they be purposely added to his water every day after that. 
  • Tea became immensely popular in China and Japan, where it was considered both health-enhancing and mystical. It wasn't introduced to the Western world until the time of Marco Polo's explorations in the 1600s.
  • Tea is a member of the camellia family. Its proper name is Camellia Sinensis.
  • America provided two innovations for tea: the tea bag, and iced tea. Tea bags are now popular all over the world, but iced tea? Not so much. About 85% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced, but it has never become popular anywhere else in the world. 
  • Tea is the world's most popular beverage after water.
  • Approximately 6 billion pounds of tea are produced every year, enough to provide every man, woman, and child with 200 cups per day. (I'm doing MY part... are YOU?)
  • The boiling water you pour over your tea bag or loose tea releases the caffeine. To reduce the amount of caffeine by 65%, pour boiling water over your teabag or loose tea... and then dump it out and pour some fresh water on the bag or tea. Ta DA!

                                                         Gee... suddenly... I'm very thirsty...

                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. Many thanks to all of you who left a comment on my last post, even though I wasn't available to respond. I appreciate the heck out of it. And you. We were chilling in western North Carolina with some friends who live at the top of a mountain. Lots of fun, and after seeing bear scat up there, I won't be grumbling so much about the piles neighborhood dogs leave in our yard. And Geo? Your comment gave me cause to pause, but although your account is terrific, our Huong was most definitely trying to get a rise out of me. :)

Friday, July 12, 2019

Mixed Messages

Thought for the day:  Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slips away, but eternity remains. [Henry David Thoreau]

How is it possible that I can look at this old photo of my mother and me from so many years ago and still remember so vividly exactly how icky it felt when the lining of that bathing suit got filled with sand?

So long ago, yet so vivid. Such is time. As Thoreau said, eternity remains.

Okay, so I'm not here. (Again!) You could say I've... gone fishing. (Hey! Stop looking at my bass!)


Anyhow, I won't be around to respond to your comments or visit your blogs and all that good stuff... but I WILL be back next Friday with a brand new post. In the meantime, I'm leaving you with an updated version of an oldie but goodie, which first appeared in 2011.. before any of you were following me... as Sum Tink Wong. So in a way... it's new!


Thought for the day:  Man who stand on toilet high on pot.

Have you ever noticed how twisted up translations can become from one language to another? Sometimes, they're pretty frustrating, but they can also be inadvertently funny. Manuals for electronic gadgets can make you want to pull your hair out when the manufacturer's primary language is Japanese. And my hubby bought a box of drill bits, (made in China) only to come home and notice the box declared them to be "dill bits." We thought that was so funny, we kept the box around for a while just to show our friends.

BUT ... wouldn't you think if someone wanted to open a restaurant, a place for American people to come and EAT,  they'd check, check and DOUBLE-check how the name they've selected for that restaurant might translate before hanging their sign out front? I sincerely doubt if any of the following owners gave it a second thought:

What? You say, for some strange reason, you've decided to eat at HOME tonight?

And you have the oddest craving for Chinese food? How about this simple recipe for fried rice:

Surely you have some leftover cold rice in your fridge, right? No? Well, then you'll have to cook some, and stick it in the fridge to let it chill for a while. While it's cooling, you can chop some green onions, and gather whatever veggies and/or meat you want to add to your creation. For four cups of rice, you'll want about a cup of veggie/meat combo. Or more, if you'd like. (It's YOUR dinner.) Shrimp is good, leftover pork, beef, peas, carrots, whatever you happen to have on hand. OK, now beat two eggs and stir fry in 2 T oil (peanut, lard, sesame, or whatever your little heart desires) until the eggs are dry and separated into small pieces. Remove the eggs, put 3 more T oil into the pan, and toss in your veggies, meat and rice. Stir fry for ~5 minutes or so. Add 2 T chicken broth, 3 T soy sauce. Mix well, and then stir in your eggs, 1/2 t pepper and 2 t sesame oil. Voila! Your masterpiece!

Don't feel like rice? How about this? If you're feeling a little, um,  creative, these chicken wings are guaranteed to put a smile on your face:

I think some cross-language double entendres may be intentional. Like a while back, my hubby and I attended a function to honor Vietnam war vets. When Smarticus left the table to get some more food from the buffet, a young Vietnamese man came over to me to introduce himself. For all I know, he was born here in America, because he definitely spoke and acted like any other homegrown American fella his age. At any rate, he was very Americanized, if you know what I mean. Anyway, he looked me right in the eyes, grinned, and said... "I'm hung." Now I'm sure his name's probably spelled Huang or some such, but that's how it sounded. And he didn't say his NAME was hung; he said HE was. I kinda wondered if he wanted me to... congratulate him...? Personally, I think I deserve an Academy award for not laughing hysterically or making some inappropriate, but totally knee-slapping, response to his rather provocative declaration, but I didn't know the guy and didn't want to offend him. In retrospect, considering the way his buddies were laughing and raiding their beer bottles on high, I'm pretty sure either reaction would've been perfectly acceptable. In any language.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.