Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holiday Season

For the holiday season, there's a nice break given my wife by her school and that means heading home for the holidays:

A flurry of shoppers, wrapped packages in arms, jostling, bumping and careening off each other in crowded aisles.

The kiosks that pop up in the malls offering those last minute stocking stuffers and unique products.

Other "Christmas" special kiosks with tons of decorations, much of which you wonder how the ideas for something new just keep coming and coming.

Christmas season music in the background, especially over and over and over hearing "Rudolph" and "I Dream Of A White Christmas".

Street trees turned into light shows all aglisten with every shape of lightbulb imaginable.

Store clerks wearing their best Santa hat and festooning themselves with garland, and glitter in their hair.

Kids getting their picture taken with Santa Claus lined up and waiting to whisper that special gift only the jolly old elf can deliver.

Oh you thought all of that is in Oregon? NOPE...this is what I saw last night in downtown Shanghai and I'm still shaking my head in wonderment. What an unexpected early Christmas present I got.

Now if it would only snow in Shanghai before I head home.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Photos by Ellen Levenhangen and Andy Marks cuz Dumb Joe left his camera home.

On the "FRASTTBITV" ride (oh..that's the "Friday After School To The Bar In The Village") we came across a guy in front of a mini fire on the sidewalk. Lou, one of the leaders says "Stop. You gotta see this." We said "What?" Sitting on the sidewalk was a guy rotating a huge blackened object that looked like an urn. Attached to the bottom of the urn is a wheel that he turns with a gloved hand while the other hand pours coals into a small furnace area and alternately stokes a mini bellows.

The crowd looked to be as interested in us as we were in this street vendor. There were quite a number pointing and smiling at us good naturedly as we tried to talk to them about what was going on.
Lou says "Okay..get ready for a big bang". He takes the blackened urn off the fire, drapes a long heavy fabric sleeve over it, turns a couple of levers and BLAM!!. Smoke surrounds him as he reaps his wares: Puffed Rice!!!

That blam and seeing him gather his rice reminded me as a kid of an advertising slogan I remembered for Quaker Oats Puffed Rice and Wheat: "Shot from Guns".

I asked a couple of the teachers on our ride if they had heard the slogan and well let's just say there is such a thing as a generation gap...chasm?
A bit of a google and here's the history of "Shot From Guns" according to the Minnesota Historical Society. The following is an ad from about 1930 where Quaker Oats urged people to buy Anderson's puffed cereals.
Food Shot From Guns Of Peace

Over 125 million explosions in each grain of wheat and rice make Puffed Grains virtually as nourishing as hot cooked cereals.

Grains of wheat and rice, as completely digestible, as nourishing as though they had been cooked for hours... yet crisp...... flaky... alluringly crunchy!
This is what the discovery of "food shot from guns" brings to your breakfast table.
Professor A.P. Anderson, their inventor, knew that wheat and rice grains contain millions of tiny food cells. He knew that even prolonged Lengthy. overcooking sometimes fails to open all these cells. Hence these finest of cereal grains are often not completely digestible.

Discovers way to explode food cells.

So he seals the grains in huge guns. Revolves them for hours in fiery ovens. When the guns are fired, 125 million explosions occur in each grain. Every food cell is broken open. The grains become more perfectly cooked than hot cooked cereals. And virtually as nourishing. These 125 million explosions not only make wheat and rice more assimilated, but also easier to digest. They are made flaky, crunchy, flavory...utterly delicious. All their natural nut-sweet flavor is developed. When the guns pour forth their shower of Puffed Grains it smells like an old-time kitchen on baking day. It smells so good you can hardly wait to lift a handful of these grains to your mouth. No wonder Quaker Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice have been found to be the children's favorite cereal!

Puffed Rice is a creamy rich dainty treat. It digests readily. Turns to energy in a hurry. Puffed Wheat is made of whole wheat. It offers rich minerals. Plus 25% bran.
The Quaker Oats Company.