PB & Jenny

A twist to a favorite American standard. My thoughts on new adventures, also with a twist.

Happy Valentine’s! February 14, 2008

Filed under: Art,Holidays — Jenny @ 10:21 pm
Tags: , ,

kisses_stamp.jpgLast year I mailed cards to my friends and family on Valentine’s.  I thought it would be a fun pick-me-up, especially getting real mail in today’s increasingly technological world.  Plus, it was a great opportunity to tell everyone how much they mean to me.  I used those adorable Hershey kisses stamps as my postage.

This year, I didn’t get my butt in gear to again mail out HOLIDAY Valentine’s cards.  Instead I’m sending out virtual love, hugs and kisses to those close to me.  


Below is a Valentine’s video from PostSecret.  If you haven’t visited their website, I recommend it.  Every Sunday it’s updated with new secrets.  The anonymous secrets are sent in by people across the world on creatively designed postcards. 


Don’t forget, choosy moms choose (TO VOTE ON) Jif’s peanut butter sandwich contest. Bonus = PB&J art February 11, 2008

Just a reminder that today is the last day to vote on Jif’s most creative peanut butter sandwich contest.  I also want to share my discovery of peanut butter and jelly artworks. It turns out that playing with your food can be profitable.

Vik Muniz is an internationally acclaimed Brazilian avant-garde artist, who takes recognizable images from the news and art history, and recreates them in an astonishing variety of materials such as sugar, chocolate syrup, peanut butter and jelly.


 He created this Double Mona Lisa, inspired by a black-and-white version by Andy Warhol, out of peanut butter and jelly.  You can also watch an interesting interview with him below.  Smile and say “peanut butter!”

The second artist creates a silhouette of the Virgin Mary entirely from slices of bread slathered with peanut butter and jelly.  Sure, it’s no miracle, and unlike the toast with her image won’t sell on eBay for thousands of dollars, but it is definitely creative.


Dating horror stories – let’s share February 9, 2008

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I can’t help but think about romance, relationships, and dating. While having great dates are the goal (with 2nd date possibility, and maybe leading to a relationship), nothing can beat a bad date story. I thought it would be funny to have people share their worst date experience(s).

I amazingly don’t have any that stick out in my head as absolute horrors.  I have definitely had dates though where I got turned off by quirky actions or personality traits.

For example, in college I got asked out by my HOT grad student waiter when having a nice dinner in downtown Ann Arbor with a group of my friends.  I was really excited about it. In addition to his good looks, he seemed to have a fun personality, was smart enough to be in U-M grad school, and he was taking me out to Greektown in Detroit.  This was a real date (no frat boy invite to come party at their house), with a sophisticated older man.  Woo hoo!

I couldn’t help but be turned off when he put on driving gloves after picking me up.  First of all, he wasn’t in any special souped up, expensive, or sporty car.  It was an older model, 4 door.  Secondly, he never even went above the speed limit!  That part drove me absolutely nuts.  Finally, when we parked he had to put “the club” on his car.  Puh-leaze.

One of my favorite worst date horror stories happened to my sister.  I was there the night she met this guy (another waiter – runs in the family) when we were having a family celebration dinner.  Again, he was very cute and seemed personable.

They ended up meeting for coffee about a week later.  He spilled his whole life story immediately.  This covered the fact that he had 3 kids by 3 different women, but had only married one of them (I think he was about 25 years old).  However, they had obviously since divorced, but remained great friends and worked together.He shared that his ex-wife had seen my sister at the restaurant, and convinced him to try asking her out.  He wanted to know if my sister would be OK with such an arrangement, and allow him to remain friends as well as work with his ex while they dated.

Then, he proceeds to say he used to have a big drug problem, but now has it mainly kicked.  He ends with saying that he has to wear a tether (hikes up pant leg to display) due to drunken driving incidents, and so does not drive at all presently.

My sister drives him home so that he didn’t have to walk the mile or so back to his place.  Then, made a crazy bad judgment call to come in to his apartment to use the bathroom.  Nothing bad happened, but it could have. After she used the bathroom, he introduced her to his roommate (his uncle), and excused himself to use the bathroom.

While she was talking to the sketchy looking uncle, he just dropped his head down in mid-sentence and stopped talking, all the while precariously holding a burning cigarette. Something loud on TV got the uncle’s attention; he picked his head back up, and then resumed the conversation.  The same thing happened a couple more times and she’s trying to figure out this weirdness.  She’s also worrying about the cigarette and it potentially burning the couch/house down.

At this point, she hears the shower go on in the bathroom! Finally, her date comes out, says he’s sorry he took so long but figured he was near the shower, so he might as well freshen up.  WTF!?

He then asked if she’d noticed anything about his uncle, and explained that he’s a narcoleptic.  My sister couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I think it will be pretty hard to top my sister’s story, but you never know.  Thanks in advance for sharing your stories.


Beyond Jelly – a new peanut butter combo. Vote on Jif’s most creative peanut butter sandwich contest. February 8, 2008

Peanut butter is one of the quintessential American food staples, so much so that the average American supposedly consumes a 125 foot high stack of these sandwiches by the time they graduate high school.

I just found out that Jif is sponsoring a contest for the most creative peanut butter sandwich submitted by 6-12 year olds.  They’ve already narrowed down the list from hundreds of entries to the 10 finalists. Online voting is open to the public from Jan 14, 2008 – Feb 11, 2008.

“We created this contest to provide parents with an activity that helps foster creativity in their children. Five years and thousands of entries later, we are amazed and excited that children are still coming up with new recipes,” said Maribeth Badertscher (Director of Corporate Communications, The J.M. Smucker Company). “We wish all the Online Finalists the best of luck. Regardless of the outcome, every child’s recipe is a winner.”

I couldn’t wait to see what new combinations these kids created. Peanut butter on its own is too gluey, and needs another flavor to complement it as well as making it easier to eat. However, the king in Shel Silverstein’s poem below would disagree.

Peanut-Butter Sandwich by Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)

I’ll sing you a story of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing —
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.

And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.

His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
“My boy’s committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”

The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!

The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.

With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil —
For twenty years of tears and toil —
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.

Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.

Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy —
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.

A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak —
The king’s jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak —
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”

Be sure to check out this year’s finalists, as well as prior winners on the JIF site for inspired versions of the childhood classic.  Below are some of my favorites from various sources:

  • PB&J sushi.  Last year’s grand prize winner.  Consisting of peanut butter, strawberry cream cheese and fruit rolled in a crepe and served sushi style.  Pretzel rods function as chopsticks, and chocolate yogurt replaces soy sauce.  pbj_sushi.jpg
  • PB&J butterfly.  One of this year’s finalists.  Pancakes toped with peanut butter, fruit, cereal and cherry licorice.   pbj_butterfly.jpg
  • PB&J blossoms.  These cute sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly (or cream cheese and jelly, or any other fillings) are perfect for parties, lunch boxes, or snacks.                                                      pbj_blossom.jpg
  • PB&J rocking rainbow.  Whole wheat pita spread with peanut butter and strawberry jam, and then topped with fresh fruit arranged like a rainbow. 


The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship fund and a JIF gift basket. Each of the four runners-up will also receive a $2,500 scholarship fund and a JIF gift basket. For these finalists, all the time they’ve spent eating the standard sandwich could be viewed as college prep. Don’t forget to vote here. 


Freeze! Living statues at NYC Grand Central Station February 3, 2008

Does anyone remember the childhood game of freeze tag? I have very murky memories of playing it and can’t recall all the rules to the game.  However, I do remember that you had to suddenly freeze and remain frozen in whatever position you were in when you were either tagged, or the “it” person screamed “freeze!”

Improv Everywhere decided to take a variation of this childhood game to New York City’s Grand Central station. View the video below for a great example of public performance art that gets people talking.

For all you Heroes TV show fans, doesn’t this remind you of being like Hiro NakamuraHow very cool it would be to be able to manipulate the space-time continuum like Hiro, or to travel through time in a DeLorean with a 1.21 gigawatts flux capacitor.   

Thanks to momeld for alerting me to Improv Everywhere’s latest adventure.


Talented Thai Elephants are a Triple Threat January 31, 2008

Who knew that elephants are capable of so many varieties of artistic expression?  Not only can they paint as I touched on here, but they’re also musically inclined.     

The Thai Elephant Orchestra consists of up to a dozen elephants trained to play instruments ranging from drums and harmonicas to the theremin and electronic keyboards.  You can listen to samples of their music here or at Amazon. 

The orchestra was created and is conducted by elephant conservationist Richard Lair of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, and the American composer/performer Dave Soldier.  They already have two CDs released on the Mulatta Records label, and a third is in the works. anim66.gif

I looked online to see if I could locate any dancing elephants, which would make them a triple artistic threat. I didn’t expect to find any hits, but lo and behold, these elephants can dance!  Check out this commercial with a dancing elephant. 

For info on how it was made, you can refer to this website.  There truly are real dancing Thai elephants though.   

These talented Thai elephants are definitely marvels of the animal world.  Just think, if you end up purchasing an elephant painting, or musical CD, not only are you helping provide the elephants with additional food, proper veterinary care, and improved shelter, but you’ve also got a cool conversation piece. Unless you want to be tricky and when your friend mentions, “I love this, who’s it by?” you can answer L.E. Font (or Ellie Fant).   

EDITED TO ADD = I forgot to mention that I read a book about an elephant recently called Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant that Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer.  The sweeping saga spanned 7 decades and 3 continents, following the life and times of a remarkable elephant and her faithful companion and trainer.   

I pulled this summary from Amazon:  Modoc is the joint biography of a man and an elephant born in a small German circus town on the same day in 1896. Bram was the son of an elephant trainer, Modoc the daughter of his prize performer. The boy and animal grew up devoted to each other. When the Wunderzircus was sold to an American, with no provision to take along the human staff, Bram stowed away on the ship to prevent being separated from his beloved Modoc. A shipwreck off the Indian coast and a sojourn with a maharajah were only the beginning of the pair’s incredible adventures. They battled bandits, armed revolutionaries, cruel animal trainers, and greedy circus owners in their quest to stay together. They triumphed against the odds and thrilled American circus audiences with Modoc’s dazzling solo performances, only to be torn apart with brutal suddenness, seemingly never to meet again. Hollywood animal trainer Ralph Helfer rescued Modoc from ill-treatment and learned her astonishing story when Bram rediscovered her at Helfer’s company. His emotional retelling of this true-life adventure epic will make pulses race and bring tears to readers’ eyes.


PROLIFIC January 30, 2008

Filed under: Games — Jenny @ 7:08 pm
Tags: , ,

No, this isn’t a post about my writing style.  Though it could be . . . I know I can get wordy.  I’ve always been told to condense, get to the point, and not be too detailed. 

However, that’s like trying to tell me I have to tell a joke properly.  Usually not going to happen no matter how hard I try.  I just don’t have comic timing, and typically mangle the punch line.  Ah well, hopefully the details make the writing interesting, and that my bad joke telling is viewed as endearing.  I can only hope. 

This post is about the reincarnation of Facebook’s Bogglific as Prolific.  The application has been dressed up a little, but underneath has the same old heart.

Withdrawal twinges have been satisfied.  My twitchy fingers have their release.  Maybe now I’ll also be free of “drifting off to bed with visions of Bogglific grids dancing in my head.”