Tag Archives: Christmas

Friday Funny December 21, 2018 Some Not So Great Gift Ideas for the Kids

Happy Friday and Merry Christmas!  Christmas is just a few days away and I hope you have your shopping completed.  If not, there will be plenty of stores open this weekend and my guess is that you will have plenty of company from other last-minute shoppers.  However, there are some gift ideas that you probably will not find at any store this year and the world is probably a little safe for it.



AUSTIN MAGIC PISTOL – a toy gun that shoots a ping-pong ball.  These have been around for a long time and seem harmless enough.  Well this one had a twist, made in the 1950’s the Austin Magic Pistol was not your ordinary spring-loaded ping-pong gun.  This one used “magic crystals” made from calcium carbide.  The tricky part here is that calcium carbide and water make a highly flammable gas that resulted in a small explosion that would fire said ping-pong balls over 70 feet, but it did look pretty cool to shoot fiery ping-pong balls at your friends.

JARTS – These were banned sometime in the 1980s. According to reports, over 6,100 children went to the emergency room from lawn dart injuries. That same report says that a dart can come down with over 20,000 pounds of pressure. I can proudly say that I survived playing Jarts.  I can also truthfully state that I never intentionally threw a Jart at anyone.

CLACKERS – Also known as Knockers and Click Clacks.  The 70’s gave us this toy made of two heavy acrylic balls attached to a string.  The only object was to get them to fly up and down and knock into each other to make noise and to do this as fast as possible.  Of course. swinging small acrylic balls about at high-speed may seem like a safe activity to most people, but the problem with these arises when those balls reach their inevitable breaking point.  Then instead of the expected bang, they shatter and splinter.  Then parents decided it might be a good idea to keep shrapnel out of their children’s faces.  I had these but did not have the patience or coordination to use them enough to reach the breaking point.

PYROGRAPHY (WOOD BURNING) Kits – A hot metal tip that is used to burn images into wood, so what is the problem.  Well, besides the heat, there are fumes, inhaling sawdust and the ever-present threat of starting a fire.  I think I had one of these and with my natural artistic ability I was able to eventually make a black mark on a piece of wood.

EASY BAKE OVEN – Introduced in 1963 by Kenner, a Cincinnati based company, the original used an ordinary light bulb as the heat source, which could reach close to 350 degrees.  It came with packets of cake mix and small round pans. All you had to do was add water, mix, put in the pan and slide into the oven through a slot. After cooking, the cake was pushed out through a slot in the other end.  While a lot of cakes were made over the years, we may never know how little fingers were burned in the process. 

CREEPY CRAWLERS – kind of like an Easy Bake Oven marketed to boys with the added features of chemical fumes.  It was introduced by Mattel in 1964.  You could make plastic bugs by pouring “Plastigoop” into little metal molds then “baking” them using an electric hot plate oven that was hotter than an Easy Bake Oven. Not only did the unit get hot, but it made hot melted plastic, which was also toxic. But the end result was a supply of rubbery bugs toys that make any kid squeal with joy.

GILBERT GLASS BLOWING KIT – If the Easy Bake Oven and Creepy Crawlers were not hot enough for you, there was the Gilbert Glass Blowing Kit.   If you want to get glass to become malleable, you need to heat to about 1,000 degrees! Sounds fun and exciting and what could possibly go wrong? 

GILBERT ATOMIC ENERGY LAB – Why worry simply about high temperatures when you can play with radioactive materials?  The Gilbert Company managed to top the glass blowing with the introduction in 1951 of the Atomic Energy Lab kit which included a Uranium-238 Geiger counter, an electroscope, and four samples of uranium ores. Hey junior, how about some nice uranium-238, it has REAL radioactivity!

Thought for the Week

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” ~ Luke 2:10

Friday Funny December 15, 2017 More Holiday Cheer

Happy Friday!  Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!  We are closing out the last days of fall with winter and Christmas knocking on the door.  I’m pining for a Christmas tree to spruce up the place.  So bundle up for some more seasonal humor.


Would you call someone who can’t stop thinking about past Christmases Santa-mental?

Would you call a reindeer ghost a cari-boo?

Is eggnog really all that it is cracked up to be?

Should you eat broken candy canes or only the ones that are in mint condition?

Did you hear about the mall Santa who lost his job? He was fired for Claus.

Would you call an elf that runs away from Santa’s Workshop a rebel without a Claus?

Did you know that Elves are very defensive about the shape of their ears? They do have a point.

Did Santa’s helper improve his toy making skills by reading a elf-help book?

If a child does not learn to tie his shoes properly does he end up on the knotty list?

What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?  It’s Christmas, Eve

Thought for the Week

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ~ Washington Irving

My Not Quite Traditional Christmases


Another Christmas Day is almost upon us.  I imagine that I will enjoy spending the day with family and reflecting on the meaning of Christmas.  However, it has occurred to me as I ponder Christmas Days past that apparently I have been doing Christmas wrong for quite a long time.  I think about all the “traditions” we hear sung about this time of the year and I have realized that my celebrations of Christmas are not like everyone else’s.

According to the weather forecast, this year will not bring a White Christmas nor have the majority of my Christmases been white.  There will not be treetops glistening nor children listening to hear sleigh bells in the snow.  I do not roast chestnuts on an open fire nor do I ever recall doing so.  I am pretty confident that I have never demanded that someone bring me figgy pudding or refused to go until some was provided.  In fact I am not a big fan of figs, I am not sure I would eat the pudding if someone did, in fact, bring me some right now.  I have not gone wassailing among the leaves so green – all the leaves are long gone from the trees in my yard and I am not sure what a wassail is.  My halls have never been  decked with boughs of holly.

As a child I don’t remember asking for my two front teeth for Christmas nor did I ever want a hippopotamus.  I do not believe I ever saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe.  As a teenager I never went to a Christmas party or any other kind of “hop” to rock around the Christmas tree.  I have never been in a one horse open sleigh; I have never conspired while dreaming by the fire, I do not know Parson Brown.  I don’t think I have ever jingled even part of the way home and it is very seldom that I bring some corn for poppin’.  I don’t ever recall wanting to live in a marshmallow world which sounds like a very sticky situation.  I’ve never been to the feast of Stephen and I am not sure what country Good King Wenceslas was king of.

Christmas at my house was never celebrated for twelve days and my true love never gave me drummers, pipers, leaping lords, dancing ladies, milking maids, swans, geese, rings, birds, hens, doves, or even a partridge or a pair tree.  Have you ever tried returning maids a milking without a receipt?  

I guess I have it all wrong and just do not have the proper Christmas traditions.  I  was not there for that first Noel where angels were heard from on high. But like Longfellow, I have heard the bells on Christmas day and I have heard the old familiar carols play.  Also I have seen, sadly, that hate is strong and indeed mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.  Longfellow did have some optimism and did not end the poem there.  Which brings us to Christmas Day 2016 where if we listen we can still hear the bells peal loud and deep to proclaim that “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.”  I still have hope that eventually the wrong shall fail and the right will prevail, that one day there will be peace on earth, good will to men. So with Christmas just a few days away, the world will continue to revolve from night to day and if I strain my ear, I can heat a voice, a chime, a chant sublime, of peace on earth, good will to men.