Klaxon #atozchallenge

A Klaxon™ (yes, it’s a trademark) is an “electromagnetic horn or alerting device.” Car horns are a kind of klaxon. They have a distinctive “ahooga” sound (thus saith Wikipedia), which The Blogger’s Best Friend™ tells us was a product of the way the thing worked. Either a human or electric motor turned a cogwheel that hit a riveted-down diaphragm attached to a horn, which amplified the sound and directed it outward.

You see a hand-cranked Klaxon during the opening credits of the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep (later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron), which ran from 1976-1978 and starred Robert Conrad as Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC.

The Klaxon has been pretty much replaced by electronic alarms, but the “ahooga” sound remains. Here are some samples.

Here’s an air raid siren, also used for tornadoes.

I heard this a lot in my old neighborhood.

And one more…

Kielbasa #atozchallenge


Maestro, a little appropriate music, please!

Kielbasa is called Polish sausage in Chicago, to distinguish it from German sausage, Italian sausage, etc. Since Chicago has the second-largest Polish population of any city in the world (Warsaw is #1), Polish sausage is ubiquitous there. In fact, when Mary and I got married, we had a traditional CBS dinner at the reception: chicken with dumplings, beef with gravy, and Polish sausage with sauerkraut.

Kielbasa (Polish sausage), whole and sliced, on a bed of sauerkraut (source: Omaha Steaks)

Makes me hungry just thinking about it…

The Maxwell Street Market closed (or, rather, relocated) a number of years ago so the University of Illinois at Chicago could expand, but it used to be the place to go to get bargains on Sunday mornings (usually things that “fell off a truck,” if you know what I mean). It was also the place to go to hear the blues and to get a Maxwell Street Polish, a chunk of Polish sausage on a bun with grilled onions and mustard. I used to ride the Halsted bus through that neighborhood on my way to and from work, and there were two stands on Halsted that both claimed to sell the “original.” No matter what day of the week it was, you could smell the Polish sausage cooking.

My father-in-law used to go down there on Sunday mornings to see what bargains he could get. Any time I see a picture of Maxwell Street, I look for him.

Our neighborhood was home to the Baltic Bakery. They sold bread (particularly rye) and other baked goods, of course, but they also sold Polish sausage that they made there and had hanging on a rope to dry. It was one of those places where you heard English, Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish, and probably a few other languages spoken. Food brings people together.

Diana Krall #atozchallenge

No, it’s not secretly Tuesday, and yes, I intended to post this today.



I have a certain weakness for female singers who sing in the contralto range, such as Julie London, June Christy, Karen Carpenter, k. d. lang, Patsy Cline, and Diana Krall, the pianist and singer from Nanaimo, British Columbia. She’s sold over sixteen million albums and earned numerous awards, so obviously she’s quite popular, and you can’t turn on smooth jazz radio and not hear her sometime during the day. She’s married to Elvis Costello and the mother of twin boys, Dexter and Frank, who just turned ten in December. She counted among her mentors bassist Ray Brown and singer Rosemary Clooney.

Here are a couple of tunes by the lovely Ms. Krall. First, a cover of Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are.”

Now, “The Look Of Love,” covering the Bacharach-David composition originally done by Dusty Springfield in the movie Casino Royale.

And, what the heck, one more: “Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words),” the jazz standard that was first sung by Kaye Ballard and popularized by Frank Sinatra. She does a great piano solo in this one.

Before today, were you familiar with Diana Krall’s music? What do you think of it?

Five “Kiss” Songs #atozchallenge


I was sorely tempted to do some K-pop here, then I thought, nah, keep it simple, which led me to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). So, five songs with “kiss” in the title.

Kiss On My List – Hall and Oates: This 1980 hit was H&O’s second #1 on the Hot 100, after “Rich Girl” in 1977.

Kiss You All Over – Exile: This was Exile’s only hit, and was Billboard‘s #5 song of 1978.

This Kiss – Faith Hill: The first single off of her third album, the song reached #1 on the American and Canadian Country charts, as well as making the Top Ten on both the US pop and Adult Contemporary charts, in 1998.

Then He Kissed Me – The Crystals: Written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector. Spector produced the song, which you probably knew because of the “wall o’ sound.” It was The Crystals’ third chart single, and peaked at #6 in the US and #2 in the UK in 1963.

Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer: From their eponymous 1997 album, it was released in 1998 and rose to #2 on the Hot 100 and was an international hit for the group. And it’s a nice song…

What’s your favorite song with “kiss” in the title?

#atozchallenge: Knitch

knitch =
knitting + glitch


Mary wanted to know what my theme for this year’s Challenge was, and when I told her she made a couple of suggestions, including this one. It is knitting related, because that’s what Mary does a lot of, as we discussed a couple of months ago.

Anyway, a knitch is a mistake you make while knitting. Dropped stitch, knitting when you should have purled and vice versa, etc. When that happens you either have to tink (knit spelled backwards), which is to un-knit, or frog, where you “rip it, rip it, rip it.”

I watch Mary knit, and I’m amazed. Seriously. She also crochets, which is similar to knitting except, instead of needles, you use a hook. (Crochet is the French word for “hook,” if I remember correctly.) Do any of you knit, crochet, or do some other form of needlework (quilting, needlepoint, embroidery, crewel, etc.)?