Tag Archives: Humor

Howdy from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas

Eiffel Tower, Paris, Texas Post Card
Eiffel Tower, Paris, Texas
Photograph by Catherine Sherman

On a recent drive home to Kansas City from a wedding in northeast Texas, we detoured to gawk at the Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Texas.  Ok, I’m the only one of the three of us to gawk…I have this thing for oddball roadside attractions.

This Eiffel Tower isn’t the tallest replica in the world, but it’s the only one sporting a cowboy hat. Following a tradition of American cities named “Paris”, Paris, Texas constructed a 65-foot (20 m) replica of the Eiffel Tower in 1993.  Paris, Tennessee, dedicated an Eiffel Tower replica in the same year that was 60 feet tall.  (The Tennessee version was moved from Memphis and refurbished in its new Paris location in 1993.) The cowboy hat insures that the Paris, Texas, tower stands taller.

Both replicas are dwarfed by the 540-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica along the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, built in 1999. The original in Paris, France, is 984 feet tall.

Paris, Texas, calls itself the “Second Largest Paris in the World.” The town boasts 25,171 residents, as of the 2010 census.

Last year, we visited Paris, Arkansas, which doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower replica, but it does have a mural that depicts the Eiffel Tower, which you can read about and see in my blog post here: Every Paris Needs an Eiffel Tower  The post also lists other states with Eiffel Tower replicas and other states with a town named Paris.

Eiffel Tower Replicas Around The World

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Shattered

My shattered phone screen.

My shattered phone screen.

My luck ran out.  My Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone fell out of my pocket and hit the floor of my garage.  The screen shattered. I never put my phone in my pocket, but we were having a garage sale and it seemed like a good idea at the time. (Yes, I swore I’d never have another garage sale. When will I ever learn?)

At first I thought the lines on the screen were a real cobweb, not a web of cracks. I was in disbelief and then angry with myself. I’ve gotten very attached to that phone. It sleeps next to me (actually it never sleeps) charging on my bedside table.

This is a re-enactment the next morning of where I found my phone at a Taos, New Mexico, motel.  My phone had fallen out of my handbag as I ran to escape the rain.   I didn't miss my phone until I decided to charge it an hour later. Then I couldn't find it. My friend Lynn and I looked for hours, not sure where I had lost it.  Later, I found it here, on the railing to the stairs.  It was wet, but it still worked.

This is a re-enactment the next morning of where I found my phone at a Taos, New Mexico, motel. My phone had fallen out of my handbag as I ran to escape the rain. I didn’t miss my phone until I decided to charge it an hour later. Then I couldn’t find it. My friend Lynn and I looked for hours, not sure where I had lost it. Later, I found it here, on the railing to the stairs. It was wet, but it still worked.

This is not my cell phone’s first escape attempt. It leaped from my purse in Taos, New Mexico, as my friend Lynn and I were rushing from the car to the covered portico of our hotel in the rain after dinner at a lovely restaurant on Easter.

It was our last night in New Mexico of our week-long trip. I wondered aloud what I would leave behind on this trip. There’s always something that goes astray. A toothbrush, some shoes, hat, gloves, scarf, jacket, a nightgown, a book. I didn’t realize that I’d already lost something — my phone! I discovered that the little dickens had gotten away when I looked for it so I could charge it. Lynn and I searched everywhere in the room, the parking lot, the car, the streets, even went back to the restaurant — twice — just before closing. Lynn called my phone five or more times, and we never heard it ringing. (Thanks, Lynn!) I roamed the parking lot in the rain, I talked to the desk clerk.

Finally, we gave up. I was already on the fourth stage of grief, when I decided to give the search one more effort. I remembered that I’d found a couple of phones in the past, one I had given to the desk clerk of our motel (it turned out to be hers), and the other I had picked up from the street and set on the curb. Maybe someone had placed my phone in a safer place? Minutes later I saw it, sitting on a stair post, sprinkled with rain drops but still in working order. I was so relieved.   How quickly we get dependent on these devices.  My grandparents had a party line phone, which was shared with several neighbors.

I was able to get my screen replaced locally.  It wasn’t cheap. I obviously need a case for it.  A friend demonstrated the protective qualities of his case by dropping his phone on the floor. No damage.

As I looked at my shattered screen, this song came to mind. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

Here a cell phone takes the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.  I can confirm from personal experience that it’s darned cold! Writing the check was much easier. Paying for the phone screen repair is also going to be a shock.

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UFO Cattle Crossing Sign in New Mexico

Pranksters have placed UFO stickers on cattle crossing signs on US Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

Pranksters have placed UFO stickers on cattle crossing signs on US Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

My friend and fellow photographer Lynn and I recently returned from a thousand-mile (probably more) photography road trip, starting from Kansas City and making a round trip through New Mexico. I took about 4,000 photos, some great, some lousy, most were fun, especially this one of a UFO sign on a cattle crossing sign on Highway 68 from Santa Fe to Taos.

Pranksters placed the stickers on signs, which officials remove and then more stickers re-appear.   Click the link if you want to know the less humorous history behind the stickers… (I don’t recommend it.) Cattle Abductions.

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Holiday Dinner Party Humor

Now that all of the holiday events are behind us, including that long stretch of food-eating extravaganzas from Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties through New Year’s Day buffets, we can now reflect on 2013 and resolve for 2014. Here’s a funny video about guests and their many eating quirks. Lucky me, I can eat almost anything!

I’m tacking on this 2013 annual report from WordPress.  The kindly people at WordPress noted that many of my top posts were not written this past year.  Rather than saying that I was lazy in 2013, they said this:  “Some of your most popular posts were written before 2013. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”    Hope to see you all in 2014.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under Diet, Food, Humor, Life

Every Paris Needs An Eiffel Tower

The Logan County Courthouse stands to the left of this Eiffel Tower Mural in Paris, Arkansas.  Travels pass through town on their way to Magazine Mountain State Park to the south. I hope some stop to enjoy this Parisian view.

The Logan County Courthouse stands to the left of this Eiffel Tower Mural in Paris, Arkansas. Travelers pass through town on their way to Mount Magazine State Park to the south. I hope some stop to enjoy this Parisian view.

On our way to Mount Magazine State Park in northeastern Arkansas in May, we drove through the charming town of Paris, Arkansas. I’m glad I wanted to take a photo of the court house, or I would have missed the Eiffel Tower mural. (My husband, who was driving, has so much patience.)

There are more than 20 cities and towns in the United States named Paris. Most sites list the number as 23, but others credit Paris towns that have been re-named, such Beresford, South Dakota, which was known as Paris, Dakota Territory until 1884. The only other Paris that I’ve visited, other than Paris, France, is Paris, Texas. According to Wikipedia, there’s a 70-foot Eiffel Tower replica in the Texas Paris with a red cowboy hat on top, but I haven’t seen it in person — yet.

About Paris, Arkansas.

Here's a view of the Eiffel Tower Mural in Paris, Arkansas.  Every Paris needs an Eiffel Tower.

Here’s a view of the Eiffel Tower Mural in Paris, Arkansas. Every Paris needs an Eiffel Tower.

Click on the thumbnails to get a full-size view.

A list of Paris towns and cities in the United States.
New Paris, Indiana
New Paris, Ohio
New Paris, Pennsylvania
New Paris, Wisconsin
Paris, Arkansas
Paris, Dakota Territory
Paris, Georgia
Paris, Idaho
Paris, Illinois
Paris, Kentucky
Paris, Maine (including South Paris)
Paris, Michigan
Paris, Missouri
Paris, New York
Paris, Ohio
Paris, Pennsylvania
Paris, Tennessee
Paris, Texas
Paris, Virginia
Paris, Grant County, Wisconsin
Paris, Kenosha County, Wisconsin
Paris Township, Michigan
St. Paris, Ohio
West Paris, Maine

I took this photo on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2007, of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas. I'm adding it at the request of a commenter, even though it's not in a  town named Paris.

I took this photo on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2007, of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas. I’m adding it at the request of a commenter, even though it’s not in a town named Paris.

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Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy, Comes to Kansas City

Jackson Galaxy Signing my Book Bag

Jackson Galaxy is signing the book bag I won in a drawing at his talk in Kansas City on May 8, 2013.  The first book I put inside was Galaxy’s Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, which he also signed.

Is your cat mojo working? I got my mojo revved up last night when Jackson Galaxy came to town in a Rainy Day Books event.

Jackson Galaxy’s “cat mojo” approach to cat behavior helps people to understand why their cats act the way they do. Galaxy, a cat behaviorist, spoke to a large, very enthusiastic crowd at Unity Temple on the Kansas City Plaza on Wednesday, May 8, as his first stop on a book tour for his book “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.”Signed Jackson Galaxy Book and Book Bag

Galaxy, known as the Cat Daddy, is the star of Animal Planet’s popular television show “My Cat from Hell.” My cats have all been little sweethearts, but even purr-fect cats can use a little mojo.

Many of the attendees were volunteers and staff members at Kansas City area no-kill shelters, such as Wayside Waifs, where I volunteer. In fact, many of these dedicated animal lovers helped to organize the event, including a reception. While on his book tour, Galaxy, a life-long shelter worker, has a great appreciation for shelter workers. At a shelter where he worked, Galaxy developed his cat mojo methods to help misbehaving cats become adoptable. Galaxy is also devoted to reducing to zero the number of animals that are killed in shelters. While that might seem an impossible goal, the number of animals euthanized has dropped dramatically in recent years. Spread the gospel of the joys of being a cat or dog guardian! Spay and neuter, too.

At Wayside Waifs, I’ve marveled to see scared and unhappy cats become loving companions with the love and devotion of the staff and volunteers. (Who wouldn’t be mad after what some of these cats have experienced?)   If you understand the needs of cats — food, territory, the need to hunt and explore, some companionship and physical contact — you can guide a cat to better behavior and enjoy meow-velous companionship. Looking at this list of feline needs, I see cats and humans are not so different after all!

Jackson Galaxy, Cat Daddy, in Kansas City

Cat Men
When a woman in the audience asked whether most cat lovers were women, scores of men stood up to announce that they were “cat men.”

After his talk in Kansas City, Jackson Galaxy signed copies of his book "Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean."

After his talk in kansas City, Jackson Galaxy signed copies of his book “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.”

Jackson Galaxy Website, including links to his Twitter feed (#TeamCatMojo) and Facebook page.

Click on “My Cat From Hell” to see episodes.

Tony (he’s on the back of the motorcycle here), is one of the cats featured in “My Cat From Hell. ”  Tony, with his friend Bud, is a star of greeting cards, designed by Tony’s guardian, Betty Matsumoto-Schuch. Click on the card to see more.

The episode featuring Tony: My Cat From Hell — Tony’s Follow-up

To see Screen-Size versions of these photographs, click on the thumbnails:

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Education, Entertainment, Humor

Oh, Fudge!

Children are enthralled as they watch workers make fudge in one of Murdick’s Fudge Shops on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

“The perfect candle scent for Mackinac Island would be a layer of fudge-scented wax, then a layer of lilac, then at the bottom a layer of horse manure,” joked Joe, one of our carriage drivers on our recent (and first) trip to Mackinac Island, a beautiful island in Lake Huron just between Michigan’s Upper and Lower penisulas.

Unfortunately, we just missed lilac season, but we did see plenty of fudge shops and horses, when my husband and I visited in late June.   There are more than a hundred varieties of the Common Lilac on Mackinac Island, which celebrates lilacs with a 10-day festival every mid-June, which concludes with a horse-drawn lilac parade.  I’d love to return for that event.

Even though no cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the island, there’s a lot of traffic with horse-drawn carriages, people on horseback as well as hundreds of bicyclists and thousands of walkers.  (The island does allow one police car, one ambulance and some electric golf carts on the golf course.)

Here are some of the fudge flavors available at Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Butter Pecan, Plain Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Walnut.

Six fudge companies operate fudge shops on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Since each company seems to have at least two shops and some operate even more, that’s a lot of fudge on this small island. There are competing fudge shops next door to each other and some companies have opened fudge shops on opposite sides of the street — sort of like Starbucks Coffee. But, honestly, can you ever have enough fudge? There are as many as 15,000 tourists a day in peak season, so there is an enormous market for fudge. I bought fudge at Murdick’s Fudge. The Murdick Family opened its fudge shop in 1887, when sailmakers Henry and Rome Murdick came to Mackinac Island to make giant awnings for The Grand Hotel (the hotel was constructed in only 93 days!)

I bought the fudge for a gift, but I’m hoping the recipients will offer me a taste. (Yes, I managed to come home with uneaten fudge.) I’ve been known to preach (or even screech) about the dangers of sugar, but calorie counts don’t apply to any food eaten or bought on vacation, so I’ve been told. Even sugar is exempted. (Ok, even I don’t believe that.) But an occasional very small indulgence is good for the food soul. I’ll take a couple of extra laps around the neighborhood.

Mackinac Island, which is 3.8 square miles, has 80 miles of trails, if you want to walk off your fudge there. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark and 80 percent of it is Mackinac Island State Park. Initially, it was the second U.S. National Park, but the Feds later turned it over to the state of Michigan.

You can count at least three fudge shops in this photograph of a street on Mackinac Island, Michigan. You’d need four hands to count all of the fudge shops on the small island. The fudge shops are clustered conveniently close to where the tourists get off of the ferry. There are as many as 15,000 tourists a day in peak season. The fudge demand is enormous!

Here, the lovely cashier prepares my fudge purchase. I bought plain chocolate, chocolate espresso and chocolate cherry.

About Mackinac Island

Directory of Mackinac Island Fudge Shops.

History of Murdick’s Fudge.

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival.

Mackinac Island Lilacs.

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Filed under Food, Humor, Life, Photography, Travel