James Hillis

Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Mothers And Fathers Little Helper

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Think quickly, what is the most handy item in your Kitchen? The blender? Hand Mixer? Electric Frying Pan? How about your collection of durable Ginsu Knives?  Well, they all are good and all come in handy, but perhaps the most appreciable item in your home has got to be the versatile Margarine container. Sure at first it is only good because of the yellowy oil based substance that it contains but it’s importance comes in to play after you have scraped out the last little bit of bread crumb infested product, washed it and stored it away with the countless other margarine containers that you have. Take a look in your bottom cupboard where your storage containers are and count how many you have, I can wait…okay, finished, I bet you have at least 10 and you use them all the time don’t you?  Who hasn’t stored leftover mashed potatos in them?  My wife has used them to mix paint in  for small touchup projects,we store battery’s and other small assorted items that have come out of a package. We use them in our freezer, they make great storage for hamburgers that are left over after a BBQ, and how many of us have sent them on to other family members after a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner full of turkey and all the trimmings, I know that I always wind up with extra containers after a family get together. And on those occasions when my Wife goes on her summer retreat to New Brunswick they make great dinner plates,  I have had many salads and kraft Dinner meals out of those suckers during those times. They make a great money holders, with the advent of the Loonie and Toonie we have a lot more change in our pockets and here in Cambridge i would suspect there are many men who have a margarine container on their nightstand that has more than a  few coins in it. I often take one when my wife and I go on our country walks with the family dog, they make a great water bowl for his majesty. I know people that make jello in them, just turn them upside down and out comes a wonderful looking mold, old S.O.S pads and kitchen sponges can be stored in them,powdered laundry soap can be transported to the laundromat in them for those who live in apartment buildings.  If you entertain and make your own chip dip as I do, the Sour Cream containers can also be used as a serving bowl after you make the dip. While I am not much of a handyman I have a Cool Whip Container that has an assortment of nails and screws in them and while it is not a margarine container it works along the same line. And of course with all the uses for them one that I have not mentioned is donating them to schools and day care centers for the young ones to use, gotta get them trained early I always say.


Laura Nyro:

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2014 at 10:51 pm

To any Baby Boomer the following songs are part of the soundtrack to their lives..Wedding Bell Blues,Eli’s Coming,Stoned Soul Picnic,Sweet Blindness,Poverty Train,And When I Die. But this is not about who made these songs a top 40 hit but about the writer of these Classic Gems, Laura Nyro, whom I consider, next to Carole King and Joni Mitchell the greatest female Singer/Songwriter of the 60’s/70’s.  While 3 Dog night,The 5th Dimension and Blood Sweat And Tears were ripping up the charts they and many others including Barbra Streisand had this Bronx,New York born women to thank for many of their successes.

Born in October 1947 she was surrounded by music as her Father was a Jazz Trumpeter and her Mother a big fan of the early female Jazz singers like Billie Holliday, and Laura took to music like a duck to water as she wound up writing her first song at the age of 8 and wound up going to the prestigious Manhattan School of Art.  She was not quite 18 when she wrote and sold the song And When I die to Peter,Paul and Mary for $5,000, and shortly after recorded her first album that wound up supplying a song to Barbra Streisand.

While And When I Die became a big hit for Blood Sweat and Tears, a little know fact is that after the bands Founder Al Kooper left the management team for Tears wanted Laura to be the new singer but when she refused the gig went to David Clayton Thomas and Laura continued as a solo artist.

Two of her albums are considered classics NEW YORK TENDABERRY and my personal favorite ELI AND THE 13th CONFESSION.  In her lifetime she recorded 11 studio albums and 7 live albums and 6 compilatipon”best of’ albums.  There is a biography of Laura Nyro called Soul Picnic and there is a tribute album, Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro, on which Nyro’s compositions were performed by 14 women singers and groups, including Phoebe Snow, Jill Sobule, Suzanne Vega, Rosanne Cash, Jane Siberry, Lisa Germano, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Patty Larkin. And unfortunately like many before her she passed away too young dying in 1997 of Ovarian Cancer, leaving behind her son and her musical legacy. She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. And if you must get just one album of her’s I would suggest Eli and the 13th Confession her 1968 classic that contains great material from start to finish with songs like Sweet Blindness,Poverty Train,And Eli’s Coming or you can grab one of her greatest Hits albums and sample her best.  Her family maintains a website for her music and you can find it at     Laura Nyro



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