Helix #atozchallenge

If you watch a lot of true-crime TV or are a fan of shows like CSI:, then you’ve heard of DNA. (If you haven’t, you might want to read up on it.) The only reason I bring up DNA is because of its structure, which is that of a double helix.

So, what’s a helix? It’s a screw.

Screws (source: Brianiac [Public domain], Wikipedia)

Seriously, if you were to unwind the threads of a screw, you’d find you had an inclined plane on your hands. The inclined plane is wrapped around the core of the screw, creating a helix.

A more common term for a helix is a spiral, as in “spiral notebook,” one in which the pages are held together by a wire spiral.

Spiral-bound steno books (source: Amazon)

They call the spiral a “coil” in this case:

Source: Amazon

The Spiral Starecase [sic] was an American pop band that had one big hit, 1969’s “More Today Than Yesterday.”

Hawai’i #atozchallenge


The great state of Hawai’i became a state when I was three, on August 21, 1959, along with its cold buddy, Alaska, which became a state on January 3 of that year. That would make them Irish twins, like my brothers Jim and Kip. Irish twins, of course, are two kids born within twelve months of each other, although that would make Hawai’i a preemie, because it and Alaska are only eight months apart. I admit it, I’m weird.

Hawai’i is an archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, made up of eight islands: O’ahu, Hawai’i (also known as The Big Island), Maui, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaho’olawe. When I was taking geography in grammar school, I was given to understand that the only one that was populated was O’ahu. I don’t know why I thought that, but hey, I was nine, okay? Maybe it was because the only island we ever talked about was O’ahu. I don’t even know if my fourth-grade teacher was a college graduate.

I’ve only ever been to Honolulu, the state capital and biggest city, and Waikiki, the suburb that has all the beaches and tourists, mostly from Japan. I left late on Saturday afternoon to come home, and before I went to the airport I went to Pearl Harbor and accidentally almost drove into the Naval base. I apologized to the petty officer that stopped me, but he was real nice and got me to the USS Arizona Memorial. He said don’t sweat it, it happens a lot.

Being at the Memorial, with the wall containing the names of all the sailors and Marines who died in 1941 and with the boat ride out to where the Arizona and her crew rest in eternity, was a moving experience. It’s amazing how many Japanese visit the memorial and show their respect for the men who died that day.

There’s an anchor there from the Arizona, standing on display. It must be twenty feet high. As I was getting ready to leave, a Japanese girl, probably in her mid-teens, came up and asked me to take a picture of her and her friends in front of the anchor. She was very polite, so how could I resist? I took a couple of pictures of them, and went to hand the camera back to the girl. She said, “You stand there, I take picture.” I tried to beg off, but she insisted, as did her friends. So, I stood with her friends and she took a couple of pictures of us. Why, I don’t know. All I know is that somewhere in Japan there’s a picture of a very confused guy in an aloha shirt standing with half a dozen Japanese girls.

Ever been to Hawai’i?

Five Happy Songs #atozchallenge #socs


Linda’s prompt for today is “ha,” and since it’s also the A to Z Challenge I decided to make my post for both Stream of Consciousness Saturday and the Challenge “Five Happy Songs.” So, if you’re quite ready, let’s begin…

Happy Boy Song – The Beat Farmers: Every Friday on their show, Randy and Spiff, formerly the morning guys at WFOX (Fox 97) in Atlanta, played this song. I was usually in the car on my way to work, and I’d be singing along with it, and I hate to sing. This song means the weekend to me.

I’m Happy Just To Dance With You – The Beatles: From all accounts, John and Paul thought of George as their stupid little brother. They’d do one of his songs per album, and let him be the lead singer on one. He was actually a fine composer and vocalist as well as being one of the best guitarists of the British Invasion. This is from A Hard Day’s Night, if you hadn’t guessed.

Happy Days Are Here Again – Mitch Miller: This song became popular in the early days of The New Deal, FDR’s attempt at getting the US economy moving again. And that’s all I’ll say.

Oh Happy Day – The Edwin Hawkins Singers: Back in the Sixties, there was room for all kinds of music on Top 40 radio, including easy listening, country, and gospel. This is a particularly good example of the latter. Mary suggested this, because it’s her favorite song. One of mine, too.

Happy – Pharrell Williams: This is one of those songs that everyone borrows to make a video of. In this case, Jewbellish did a version featuring film clips of traditionally-dressed Orthodox Jewish men and women letting loose and having fun. I think this is pure joy. (Here’s a newer version)

And that’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and “H” Day, for this week. Got any good “happy” songs?

Heath (atozchallenge)

You know what I never see in stores around here? Heath bars.


Maybe it’s not fashionable. I see lots of candy at the checkout counter at the grocery store, and you can always get a Snickers, a Milky Way, a Twix, a bag of Skittles, Twizzlers, Hershey bars, or Butterfinger, but I never see the Heath bar. Not even with all the candy in the candy aisle at Walgreens, Target, or anyplace else.

Maybe it’s an acquired taste. The wrapper tels it all: it’s English toffee covered by milk chocolate. It’s not soft and chewy, it’s hard and crunchy, but man, is it tasty. It was created by L. S. Heath, a schoolteacher who bought a candy store in Robinson, Illinois (in the southeast part of the state) for his sons, Bayard and Everett. When it opened, it was a combination candy store, ice cream parlor, and candy factory. This got the father interested in making ice cream, and soon he acquired an English toffee recipe from another candy manufacturer. He covered the bar with chocolate, and voila! The Heath bar was created.

Heath is currently manufactured by Hershey’s, who had come up with their own competing brand, the Skor bar, which they still sell. Hershey’s has discovered that people love the taste of the Heath bar, particularly when it’s sold as an ice cream topping, blended into ice cream, or is baked into cheesecakes and other baked goods. I get my Heath fix thanks to the Heath-flavored Klondike bars. They are, as I like to say, a mite tasty.

There are lots of candy bars that are no longer sold in stores, but that you can get online from sites such as OldTimeCandy.com. They have an incredible selection of candy from the 1920’s through today. While the general public’s taste in candy has changed (for example, you no longer see candy cigarettes or bubble gum cigars), some people still love the candy they grew up with. Of course, now there are concerns about kids getting fat and developing diabetes, which are genuine concerns. I mean, the Heath bar contains 210 calories, 110 of which come from fat, and they’re loaded with sugar and other things that are not especially good for just about everyone. But, as I said the other day, the heyday of the candy bar and other confections was in the days when kids were out playing every day, were walking to school, and weren’t sitting like lumps in front of the TV. (Yeah, like I’m one to talk…)