Leatherwood Tree Very Pretty

In the forests of Tasmania, amid the seas south of Australia, grows a beautiful tree called the leatherwood tree. It has a bloom as white as milk. From the nectar of the leatherwood bloom, through the bodies of the fabulous Australian honey bees, comes what flavor connoisseurs have deemed 'the best and purest honey in the world."

Now we offer this honey to you. Golden, dense Tasmanian Honey fills the air with its dark, sweet scent of exotic leatherwood. Try Tasmanian Honey in your tea, on your toast, in a spoon, in the bath. You'll smell those gorgeous flowers. You'll see those bees. You'll see them licking their tiny little chops. Tasmanian Honey: it's a jar of pure gold.


What Cinderella Is Having On Her Toast


It's what Cinderella and her prince have on their toast every morning. Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam. Sweet fruits of summer simmered slowly in the bubbly. It turns your toast into a delicacy. It turns your breakfast into a celebration. Oh, dance your tongue.


Berry Love Child


Years ago, in the lush berry fields of Oregon's Willamette Valley, a rich, dark, wild berry called the Chehalem blackberry and a luscious descendant of the red raspberry and the black loganberry, the Olallieberry, got together in a moment of berry passion and created the marionberry, a sweet, dark fruit without the tartness of the loganberry and without the seediness of the blackberry.

Our Marionberry Jam and Marionberry Marmalade, hand-picked and hand-packed gourmet spreads prepared in small batches in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, preserve the delicate nuances of the marionberry, this unique berry love child.

Each charming granny jar of marionberry jam or marmalade sings with flavor. The marmalade is blended with freshly chopped oranges that infuse the sweet berry taste with just the right touch of citrus zing. And as testament to the handmade quality of these luscious preserves, each jar is signed by its preparer. Berry berry delicious.



Your Mother & Coke

How many times did you ask her? A hundred? A thousand? "Mom, can I have a Coke with my dinner?" And what did she always say? "No! No! No!" Always no. And still, you kept asking, hoping against hope.

One day it finally happened. Who knew why? One day you asked her and she stood there in her cotton floral apron and her madras golf bermudas and her bleached white tennis shoes and she smiled and she said, "Yes."

She placed the gleaming brown giant at your place at the table, just above the knife. That frosty glass of Coke, that dark ocean of sweetness, that zip along the tastebuds, those tiny little bubbles and those slinky little ice cubes, melting to mouth-sized, still tinged with the last drops of sweetness, going down.

Coke: It's the only solution.


Post-Modernism & Coke

You drink what you should: pollen-sweetened green tea that is distributed only to communities of the Just in containers that recycle themselves and are labeled with papers and paints bled from whippoorwills, hazelnuts, sedges and Goodness. Highly-paid workers with challenges infuse the liquids with ginseng and full splays of vitamins, minerals, and herbs from the jungles of what once was South Tanganyika.

The taste of the tea is unimportant to you. You have already risen above the basic limitations of the physical form. You are well beyond neo. in fact, post-post-modern evolution is exemplified by you. Taste is negligible.

Yeah, right. You want it sweet. You want a kick. You want it cold. You don't even have to think about it, although you could if you had to.

Coke: It's the only solution.


Drinking Too Much & Coke

You drank way too much last night. Way too much. You drank until you were confessing your deepest feelings to your fish, a pellet of iridescent squish. It's now morning. Gingerly you tiptoe across the floors of your mind, rapping on the windows of your memory. Acchhh. Your memory is practicing its right hook on your belly--tales of your foolery. Sloppy proclamations? Sobbing and showing the baker your thighs?

And now, your head stuffed up and smarting with shame, your stomach writhing in recognitions of your over-indulgence, your tongue disgusted by your greed. And now, you must continue. A meeting at 9 with a roomful of paleontologists discussing old bones.

Coke: It's the only solution.


OJ Simpson & Coke

It's Thursday, March 9, 2021. All of your retirement plans worked. You're ensconced in your castle just this side of Nice, lolling in your Guatemalan hammock with the radio on. There are loons. They are singing. All of a sudden you hear a newsflash: EX-OFFICER FUHRMAN CONFESSES ON HIS DEATHBED. "I DID PLANT THE BLOODY GLOVE. SIMPSON ACTUALLY IS INNOCENT."

You feel sick.

Coke: It's the only solution.


Like Letters for Chocolate

      Oh, divine chocolate! They grind thee kneeling. 
Beat thee with hands praying. And drink thee
with eyes to heaven.
Martinez Llopis

Think of chocolate. Do you envision a dark, curvaceous river of fudge, at once shiny and enticing like some exotic Nubian, pulsing down rounded peaks of cream-white ice cream on a hot summer night? Or do you envision the sweet steam and warm perfection of a mug of tawny cocoa, its steam coiling with allure as memories of hot chocolate moments seep into your bloodstream with each happy, greedy sip?

Chocolate, without a doubt is the sweet of all sweets. Chocolate absolutely mesmerizes humanity. Discovered over 4000 years ago, chocolate, an aged and roasted product of the cacao tree, has been used as a curative, an aphrodisiac, an antidote for mental and emotional distress, an artist's canvas, and cash since the Olmec civilization of Mexico, that predates even the Mayans.

Jump on the internet, put on your face guard and type in chocolate. You'll be bombarded by thousands of websites and links devoted to chocolate and her historical, cultural, symbolic, chemical, culinary, hormonal and addictive significance, as if she were Marilyn Monroe, for godsake. There are pages judging every nuance. Milk chocolates. Dark chocolates. Swiss chocolates. German chocolates. Belgian chocolates. Powdered chocolates. There are virtual chocolates and Biblical recipes. There are chocolates so techno you have to wear specialty lenses to eat them.

What follows is an alphabet of chocolate facts culled from books, websites and articles devoted to this umber goddess, chocolate. Pop a letter in your mouth and savor the legend. Let it linger. Let it melt in your mouth.



    The spiders with white faces, that scuttle on the floor of the cave!

    I am choking with creeping . . . DH Lawrence

One of the most frightening things my older brother ever told me was the legend of the black widow spider. I must have been 4 or 5 at the time, still paralyzed to hysteria by thoughts of monsters under my bed and ghosts lurking in my closets. My image of ultimate evil wore a giant dark cape about the color midnight with a lining the color of blood.

My brother told me that the black widow spider was very common, very deadly, and it was coming after me. One night I awoke with a start and as I stared at the ceiling, I was 100% sure I saw a round black glob just above me. I was certain it was moving. I was certain it was a black widow spider. And I was certain it was coming after me. Death was imminent.

I screamed for my father. He ran in. "There's a black widow spider on the ceiling above my bed! It's gonna fall on me! It's gonna bite me and kill me! Daddy, get it!" So my father rolled up a newspaper and swiped at the ceiling until the black thing fell. BUT HE COULDN'T FIND IT ON THE FLOOR! "Daddy, you've got to find it! Get it!" So he pretended to scoop up the body of my bane, but I knew he really didn't. I lay awake the rest of the night and I'm not sure I ever completely trusted my father again.

But now it's half a century later and obviously, I survived. But I still fear the spider. Whenever I see one, I say EEK! and then call somebody else to remove it from my sight. When they are careful to let it live, I secretly wish they'd smash it to smithereens.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

     All winged creeping things that go upon all fours are an
     abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:20

1. Bugs have been in existence for 300 million years.
2. Bugs are in more places in the world than any other organism.
There are over a million species of bugs and at least 9 million bugs
haven't even been discovered yet.

3. Bugs would weigh six times more than all the people in the world
if they all crammed into a Volkswagen.

4. Bugs are strong. An ant can pick up a pebble that is fifty times its
own weight, which is like a man picking up and dragging two
elephants through the teen years.

5. Bugs can jump. A flea can jump 13". This is like a 6' man jumping 900'.
6. Bugs are fast. The cockroach, for instance, can run the equivalent
of 70mph.

7. Bugs are clever. A spider's silk is twice as strong as steel and
twice as elastic as nylon, with over a thousand connections and
it can be spun in less than half an hour.

8. Bugs are loving. A mother spider's last sacrifice is to allow her
babies to eat her.

9. Bugs can move. Butterflies and moths have mouthparts that are
like a delicate straw. They insert it deep into a blossom, sip up the
nectar, and then the straw coils up beneath their head like a watch
spring with Swiss engineering.

10. Bugs cannot see red.
11. A mosquito beats its wings 600 times per second, which is so
fast that it makes a sound that is audible to the human ear.

12. The blood of a bug may be clear, or green, or disgusting, but it is
rarely red.

13. Bugs do not have a heart.
14. You can tell the temperature by counting the chirps of the cricket.
15. West Coast monarch butterflies winter on the California coast.
16. East Coast monarch butterflies winter in Mexico.
17. A dragonfly beats its wings 100 times per second.
18. A dragonfly's eyes have 10,000-30,000 facets.
19. Grasshoppers chirp by rubbing bumps on their hind legs together
against their front wings.

20. Cloth moths, bird lice and hair-eating beetles are the only living
creatures that can digest hair.

21. Flies have five eyes.
22. Mosquito's mouthpart is so long and slender that it can pierce
human skin painlessly, like an acupuncture needle.

23. The last thing a dying bee does after stinging is to beckon the
rest of the hive to come on out and join the fray.

24. When a male bee has sex with the queen, its sexual apparatus
is torn out of its body and it dies.

25. In the Amazon, there are over three million ants per acre.
26. Spiders inject their prey with an enzyme that liquefies its tissues.
Then they suck it up like a milkshake.

27. The larges spider in the world, the Goliath bird-eating spider,
weighs about as much as a couple cheeseburger.

28. Cochineal, one of the most beautiful and permanent of the red
dyes, is actually the dried and pulverized bodies of mealy bugs.

29. In America, it is legal and usual to find 30 insect fragments in
every 3.5 ounces of peanut better and perhaps 60 aphids or mites
in your broccoli bouquets.

30. Immature dragonflies breathe through their asses.
32. Native American myth believes that butterflies bring us our dreams.
33. And the black widow spider's bite, although rarely fatal, is most
often inflicted upon the penis of a man.

Yes, bugs are necessary. Without bugs, there would be no pollination.
And we'd be walking around in a dumpsite of death: dead beings,
human waste and bugs, normally eaten by other bugs would stack up
like brown bags, or guilt.  But hey, my friend Angie told me she had
to run over an enormous spider three times the other day before
she actually killed it. And now she has to have her wheels re-aligned.
That bugs me.


Great Moments in Figdom

 If I should wish a fruit brought to Paradise, 
it would certainly be the fig. Prophet Mohammed


Figs, forever immortalized by Alan Bates in the movie version of DH Lawrence's "Women In Love" as the most sensual and lusty fruit on earth, are a fruit legendary throughout history. Cultivated in the Eastern Mediterranean area for thousands of years, figs are considered to be the first domesticated fruit. Figs are the most talked about fruit in the Bible and as you know, fig leaves were the original solution to human modesty.

Fig Facts

1. The Greeks were so stingy about their figs that their rulers made it illegal to export figs out of Greece.

2. The word sycophant, which means an informer or one who seeks favors by flattering the wealthy, comes from the Greek phrase to show the fig.

3. Bacchus, the Roman god of bodily pleasures, is the God who supposedly introduced the fig to mankind. The fig tree grew to sacred status in many ancient cultures and the first figs of the season were always offered to Bacchus during harvest festivals in which the people wore crowns and garlands of dried figs.

4. It is said that the fig was Cleopatra's favorite fruit and that the asp that ended this sensualist's life escaped from a basket of figs.

5. It wasn't until the 18th century that the fig was introduced to America, brought over by Spanish missionaries as they began to set up their missions along the California coastline.

6. The fig is of the Ficus genus and its fruit is actually the closely massed cluster of tiny drupelets that develop from the tiny fig flowers. Figs can be imagined as one would imagine an inside-out strawberry. Their seedlike fruit is surrounded by thick flesh, just the opposite of the strawberry.

7. Figs are 55% sugar, containing the highest sugar content of any common fruit. In fact, figs were originally used as sugar, which was then an exotic rarity.

8. Figs contain an enzyme also present in pineapple and papaya leaves that digests proteins. Figs, therefore, can be used to tenderize meats.

9. Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.

10. The fig contains another enzyme that is an aid to digestion and is used by the pharmaceutical industry.

11. Figs contain a natural chemical that extends the freshness and moistness in baked products.

12. Figs can promote tanning.

13. Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable.

14. All dried figs harvested in America are grown in California's Central Valley.

15. Figs are hardy fruits. In warm climates with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, figs are easy to grow. They prefer a well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. But figs will tolerate a poor soil. Once they establish their extensive root system, they will tolerate even a drought.

16. There are 720 varieties of figs.