Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Heinz and Kraft Brands-- Part 2: Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kool-Aid


The famous cracker and bagel spread was created in 1872, not in Philadelphia, but about 140 miles north in Chester, NY.  The "Philadelphia" part of the name was a marketing move about 1880 to tie the product with the city at that time known for its quality cream cheese.


The powdered fruit drink (which I sure drank a lot growing up) grew out of an experiment by Edwin Perkins in 1927 when he was looking for ways to reduce shipping costs for a liquid concentrate fruit drink.

The mascot for the brand, that liquid-filled, smiley-faced pitcher with arms and legs, started in the 1950s.  His catch-phrase, "Oh, Yeah!" is now embedded in pop culture.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Look at Heinz and Kraft Brand History-- Part 1: Ketchup and Jell-O

From the Narch 26, 2015, Chicago tribune "Amid a new chapter, a look at brands' history" by AP.


The company's name is synonymous with the ketchup it began selling since 1876.  Before that, ketchup was not necessarily made from tomatoes.  Some early recipes were based on mushrooms and seafood.  Heinz needed to point out theirs was made with tomatoes.


The base ingredient has been used in desserts as far back as the Middle Ages, but it was a cough syrup-maker in 1897 who made it what it is today.

Pearle Bixby Wait started mixing powdered gelatin with fruit flavors and sugar.  The result was Genesee Pure Food Co. in 1899, and within a few years was advertising in the Ladies Home Journal.

there is even a whole museum dedicated to Jell-O in Leroy, New York, where it was created.

It Squiggles and Wiggles.  Always Love to see Babies Tasting It For the First Time.  --CooterSqiggle

Monday, March 30, 2015

Heinz Thinking Kraft

From the March 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

Big news here in the Chicago area concerning H.J. Heinz buying Kraft Foods to make the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and fifth largest in the world.

HEINZ in 2014 had more than $10 billion in sales.  They listed 9 name brands of which I only recognized two: Heinz and  Ore-Ida.  They also have Classico, Complan, ABC, Quero, Plasmon, Master and Wattie's.

KRAFT in 2014 had more than $18 billion in sales and I recognized all nine of the brands listed: Kraft, Philadelphia Cheese, Oscar Meyer, Lunchables, Planters, Velveeta, Kool-Aid, Maxwell House Coffee and Kraft Cheese.


PepsiCo--  $37.2 billion
Nestle--  27.9 billion
KraftHeinz--  $22.2 billion
Coca-Cola--  $21.5 billion
General Mills--  $13.7 billion
Kellogg--  $9.5 billion
Mondelez--  $6.9 billion
Campbell Soup--  $6.4 billion
Dr. Pepper Snapple--  $5.6 billion
J.M. Smucker--  $5.5 billion
McCormick--  $2.4 billion

Eating Good in the Neighborhood.  --DaCoot

Burger Wars

From the Feb, 23, 2015, Time Magazine "Small Business Fast Food."

Chains and their Main Burgers.

WENDY'S--  Founded 1969 in Columbus, Ohio.  Signature Burger: Dave's Hot 'N Juicy 1/4-lb single.  fresh, never-frozen beef.

SMASHBURGER--  Founded 2007 in Denver.  Signature Burger: Classic Small Smash.  Burgers are packed loosley and then "smashed" on a grill.

McDONALD'S--  Founded 1948 in San Bernardino, Cal.  Signature Burger: Big Mac.  You know what it has.  Sing it.

SHAKE SHACK--  Founded 2004 in New York City.  Signature Burger: Single Shackburger.  Its mission-- "stand for something good."  63 stores today and opening 10 a year.

BURGER KING--  Founded 1954 in Miami.  Signature Burger: Whopper.  has changed hands several times before merging with Tim Horton's in 2014.  Tout their flame-grilled burgers.

FIVE GUYS--  Founded in 1986 in Arlington, Virginia.  Signature Burger: Little Cheeseburger.  More than 250,000 ways to top it  Each order of fries is heaped with lots of extras.

I've never had a Smashburger, Shake Shack or Five Guys.

Gettin' Migty Hongry!  --Cooter

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Veterans Day McHenry, Illinois, 2014: Dedication of Vietnam War Memorial

On Nov. 11, 2014, i was outside at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown McHenry, Illinois, on a blustery, rainy day, paying homage to four young McHenry men who never got the chance to grow old.  They were killed in Vietnam.

Two of the dead were twins.

It was a cold, gray day.

The McHenry High School Class of 2014 donated $900 to the memorial and the school's chorus sang in the gazebo.: "America the Beautiful," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and closed with "God Bless America."

McHenry's mayor remarked, "It's a beautiful day in McHenry," which it surely, despite the weather, was.  Any time you can honor those who have given the last full measure, it is a beautiful day indeed.

After the ceremony, we all moved across the park to the memorial itself, which was a project on the McHenry Class of 1964. The names of the four McHenry men is listed and then the site of their deaths was marked on a map of Vietnam.  Facts and pictures of the war are engraved on the back of it.

One was killed just eight days after his arrival.  One was a Marine who served one tour and was killed in his second.

We were back in the park on March 14, 2015, while enjoying the St. Patrick's celebration and paid our respects.

Young Lives Cut Way Short.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five Myths About Daylight Saving Time-- Part 2

3.  IT HELPS US CONSERVE ENERGY:  In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act which extended DST by a month to save four weeks of energy.  With a little more daylight available when pwople are awake, we can keep energy use down.

But the California Energy Commission had run studies that indicate energy saving at .18 percent at best.  Of course, this might lead to more air conditioning use.

4.  DST BENEFITS BUSINESSES:  Businesses lobbied for the 2005 act.  The Chamber of Commerce was definitely for it.  The grill and charcoal industries were behind it and say they gain $200 million in sales with the extra month.  The National Association of Convenience Stores probably lobbied most.  More time for kids to stock up and eat snacks and candy.  Even better around Halloween.

But, TV says its ratings suffer during DST.  hey, folks are outside.  The 8 o'clock hour (7 p.m. Central) is particularly hard hit.  Airlines are not happy either because of the cost of keeping domestic and international travel.  Amtrack is known to halt their trains for an hour in November so they don't show up early or leave before their 3 a.m. times.

5.  STANDARD TIME IS STANDARD:  We are actually on DST for eight months.  That kind of makes it THE STANDARD TIME, doesn't it.

Still getting used to the time change.

I Say Keep It Year Round.  --DaCoot

Five Myths About Daylight Savings Time-- Part 1

From the March 9, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Rachel Feltman.

Daylight Savings Time struck Sunday at 2 a.m. in every state but Hawaii and Arizona.  We've had it since World War I, but there are things about it that most people still don't know.

1.  DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME WAS MEANT TO HELP FARMERS:  The idea that more daylight means more time in the field is commonly held.  Actually, farmers were against it and that is a big reason that until 1966 we never had a peacetime daylight saving time.  Farmers had a powerful lobby.  The lost hour in the morning meant they had to rush to get their crops to the market.  And cows apparently adjust to the new time very poorly.

2.  THE EXTRA DAYLIGHT MAKES US HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER:  We get the additional vitamin D.  Fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity.  It help clear away the winter blues a little earlier.  "We all just feel sunnier."

However, experts have indicated spikes in workplace accidents, suicide, and headaches when the change occurs.

Well, I Like It.  --CooterSunShine

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Big & Loud, Big Ten B-Ball Fans-- Part 3

6.  MARYLAND--  (Xfinity Center)  West end seats 2,600 students known as "The Wall."  First ten rows reserved for the most animated students.

5.  PURDUE--  (Mackey Arena)  Paint Crew student section.

4.  ILLINOIS--  (State Farm Center)  Invented in the 1970s, the Orange Krush is one of the more intense student sections.

3.  INDIANA--  (Assembly Hall)  With 6,800 seats reserved for students, the Crimson Guard dubs itself the largest student section in the nation.

2.  WISCONSIN--  (Kohl Center)  The Grateful red section on the south end of the arena can push the limits of decency sometimes.

1.  MICHIGAN STATE--  (Breslin Center)  The Izzone, named for coach Tom izzo surrounds almost the entire lower and upper bowl.  Three thousand student seats with the "up-close, rowdy crowd in the 1,500 seats in the lower bowl provides the Spartans one of the country's greatest home-court advantages.

Rah-Rah ras, Kick Him in the ....  (Other Knee).  --Cooter

Big & Loud: Rating the Big Ten College B-Ball Fans-- Part 2

12.  RUTGERS--  (Louis Brown Athletic Center)  Riot Squad still getting acquainted with its new conference.

11.  OHIO STATE--  (Value City Arena)  Nuthouse student section, but passion compared to football still lacking.

10.  IOWA--  (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)    Student section seems more removed and has less impact.

9.  MINNESOTA--  (Williams Arena)  Aptly-named Barnyard always has some students dressed as cows and chickens.

8.  NEBRASKA-- (Pinnacle Bank Arena)  Opposing players rank it as among league's loudest.

7.  MICHIGAN--  (Crisler Arena)  The Maize Craze section of 2,600 fans is known for its intimidating taunts of opposition.

Rah-Rah Ree, Kick Him in the Knee.  --DaCoot

Big & Loud: Big 10, 11,12,13, 14 B-Ball Cheering-- Part 1

From the March 1, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Shannon Ryan and Fred Mitchell.


"Face-painted, costume-wearing, vocal-chord-shredding 18-to 22-year-olds make Big Ten games an event.  They create atmosphere."

And to think of all that money Mommy and Daddy are sending to their schools so their offspring can act like idiots.

"Can student sections win games?  No.
But they make a difference.
Here are the best and worst in the Big Ten."

Well, actually the Big 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and whatever that new logo is B1O, or whatever that is. and especially since it no longer is a Midwest conference.

14.  Penn State  Too busy counting down the days until Spring Football. (Bryce Jordan Center)

13.  NORTHWESTERN--  Wildside started in 2010 and has potential, but still playing in smallest Big 10,11,12,13,14 arena.  (Welsh-Ryan Arena)

Who?  Me?  Foolish?  --Cooter

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Maybe It Was Gerbils Spreading Black Death

From the Feb. 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Oh, rats!  Study cites gerbils for Black Death" by Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post.

Scientists now say that it was not the much-maligned black rat that spread that horrible disease across Europe eight centuries ago.  They have identified a new culprit, that favorite little pet, the gerbil.

A climate study of 14th-century Europe contradicts the notion that the plague outbreaks were caused by disease-carrying fleas hosted by the continent's rats.  In order for the rats to have spread it, you would have needed warm summers with little precipitation..  But, there is no relationship between them.

"Instead, the Black death, as the epidemic was known, seemed to be tied to the climate in Asia.  Analysis of 15 tree-ring records, which document yearly weather conditions, shows that Europe always experienced plague outbreaks after central Asia had a wet spring followed by a warm summer -- terrible conditions for black rats, but ideal for Asia's gerbil population."

Numbers of gerbils increased and they carried their bacteria-laden fleas to Europe along the Silk Road arriving a few years later to clobber Europe's population.  Over 100 million died in the "Second Plague pandemic" in the mid-14th century.  It continued to recur until the 1800s.

Beware the Horrible Gerbil.  --DaCoot

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 6: Still Looking, "Do You Know What Films He Was In?"

Christopher Borrelli then went to Elm Street in Wheaton and found there was no historical marker at the home the Belushi brothers grew up in.  They attended Lincoln Elementary School a short distance away.  There he found only a picture of Jim Belushi.

There was a video store not far from the homestead so he stopped to ask if they had any John Belushi movies for rent.  The clerk replied, "Do you know what films he was in?"

Across the street was the Seven Dwarfs Family Restaurant which turns out was started in the 1950s and asked if John ever ate there.  The waitress replied, "Oh! He worked here.  Jim too."

Well. A little's Better Than Nothing.  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 5: College of DuPage and Wheaton Central High School

Christopher Borrelli drove to John Belushi's hometown of Wheaton to see if they had anything in his honor.  They did.  The McAnich Art center at the College of DuPage (all sorts of problems with its president these days) has recently rededicated  its 800-seat theater as the Belushi Performance Hall, but that is actually for both John and his brother Jim (both are CoD alumni).  Jim has raised $330,000 for the college's John Belushi Scholarship Fund.

From there, Borrelli drove to Wheaton Warrenville South High School.  John Belushi graduated from Wheaton Central, but a Mariano's sits where Central once stood.

Belushi gets a modest tribute in the lobby of Wheaton Warrenville in a glass case which has a "Blues Brothers" CD, a picture of Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and a photo of Belushi as Wheaton Central's homecoming king (Class of 1967).  

In an additional case, there is a similar tribute to Wheaton alum Bob Woodward includes a copy of :"Wired," the man who wrote the often reviled John Belushi biography.  A nearby stairwell has a mural of Belushi, football legend Red Grange and astronomer Edwin Hubble, also alumni.

"Seven Good Years of College Down the Drain.  --Cooter

Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 4: Where Is He Buried?

"On Martha's Vineyard, off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, where Belushi has a home, there are two gravesites, a small stone that reads 'Belushi' (where he is said to be buried) and a newer, less solemn stone with a questionable epitaph: 'I may be gone but rock and roll lives on.'

"The last time I visited, this second stone, a kind of tourist decoy, was complemented by whiskey bottles, dark sunglasses and an 'Animal House' photo with an illegible thank-you note.

"At the Elmwood  Cemetery in River grove, where Belushi's parents are buried, the scene is far classier, an honorary tombstone to their son reads 'He Made Us Laugh.'"

He Sure Did Make Us Laugh.  --Cooter

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 2: Still No Fries, Just Cheeps

Well, Christopher Borrelli, a John Belushi fan on par with me, was in Chicago and determined to set out to  retrace or find Belushi's past in town.

The hotel clerk did not know of any Belushi statue, but maybe he should go over to Second City.  Surely they would have something about one of their most famous alums.  The had only a painting of him on a mural of other second City stars.

They told him to go over and check out the Billy Goat Tavern near the Tribune building.  Of course, that was was the skit where Belushi did his famous "Ceezbooger, Cheezbooger" imitation of its Greek cooks which has made the place such a tourist attraction.  They did have some stuff, but no statue and, "no fries, no Coke!  Just cheeps."

"Many years later, there are no Belushi memorials or honorary whatevers in Chicago."

He did say there were fiberglass Blues Brothers statues until recently at the A Concourse at Chicago's Midway Airport and at Celebrity Salon in Evanston.  (There are also a fiberglass Blues brothers at the Polka Dot Inn in Braidwood, Illinois, on the famous Route 66.)

At Calumet Fisheries on East 95th Street, beside the bridge that the Blues Brothers leaped in the film, there is a shrine to the movie.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking for John Belushi-- Part 1: "I Would Like to Feed Your Fingertips to the Wolverines"

From the Feb. 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Searching for signs of John Belushi" by Christopher Borrelli.

Like Mr. Borrelli, if I had to pick an all-time favorite comic actor, it would be John Belushi.  I am still mad that he took his life and kept me from all those great movies I'm sure he would have made.  That guy could do more with just an eyebrow than most comedians can do full body.

"The first time I visited Chicago, about 25 years ago, i asked the clerk at the front desk of my hotel if he would point me in the direction of the John Belushi statue, the John Belushi memorial, the John Belushi honorary whatever.

"Because I had always assumed there was one.  Alongside 'Star Wars,' K-Tel records and Steve Martin, this Albanian-American from Wheaton played such an outsized role in so many '70s childhoods, there had to be something.

"Those dancing eyebrows, that coiled Tasmanian Devil caricature of a presence, that cheerfully rampaging personality behind a sweet smile -- Belushi was the unshackled id of the Carter administration, the rebel you wanted to be before you knew any better."

He even remembers the first line spoken by Belushi on his first episode.  That was in this article's title.

I couldn't have summed up John Belushi any better.

John belushi, One Really Funny Guy.  --DaCoot

Saturday Night Live: The Chicago Connection-- Part 3: Dunn, Farley, Fey and Poehler

NORA DUNN (1985-1990)--  One of the smartest cast members best known for her Pat Stevens character.

CHRIS FARLEY  (1990-1995)--  Best-known for Matt Foley character.  He was a bit too over-the-top for me.  Too much trying to be John Belushi.

TINA FEY  (2000-2006)--  has become a writer, comedian, awards show host and entertainment mogul.  I really got to know her through the "30 Rock" sitcom.

AMY POEHLER--  Lively and gregarious.  I first got to know her through her sitcom "Parks and Recreation."