Betty's Blog
24 July

Woo-Hoo! It's A Simpsons Binge-A-Thon!

This fall could give us TV's biggest premier ever -- of a 25-year old show. From August 21st through September 1st, FXX will air every single episode of The Simpsons in the biggest TV marathon ever. That's 552 episodes of the animated television show, plus the full length feature film! Also, for the first time ever, the network will make every episode available online.

I remember when The Simpsons first aired on television as a cartoon interlude on the Tracy Ullman Show. I thought it was funny and edgy, but I never thought it would become a spin-off. Even after the premier, I didn't think the show would last , so for many years, I videotaped every single episode. I was hoping to preserve the most inventive cartoon I'd ever seen forever. On VHS tapes.

It seems laughable now. I was dead wrong about The Simpsons' longevity and somewhere along the line I stopped recording the show, probably when it went into syndication or maybe when VHS succumbed to the superior technology of the DVD. But I never stopped watching and laughing at America's most dysfunctional family. And now we'll be able to watch the entire 25-year catalog of episodes at once, or watch them on-demand any time we want. So I guess I can finally throw out all those years of VHS tapes. It seems like The Simpsons is here to stay!

17 July


Are you watching "The Sixties" on CNN? It's an original series that explores the politics, pressures and parties of "the decade that shaped America." I confess: I'm addicted to it. One of my favorite episodes so far was "The British Invasion" because I remember all those bands like the Dave Clark Five and The Rolling Stones. But my favorite "invader" of all was The Beatles.

I remember when The Beatles toured America as if it was yesterday. I tried at least a half a dozen times to get tickets, but I never did. Not that my mom would have let me go to one of their concerts anyway. She didn't consider rock and roll music. And she really didn't like their haircuts, or rather, their lack of haircuts. But I loved them. I begged and begged until she let me watch them on "The Ed Sullivan Show", but that was as close as I ever got to the Fab Four.

Now one of my favorite stars is making an authorized documentary about the supergroup from Liverpool. It's rumored that Ron Howard's as yet untitled film will with feature participation by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison will also participate on behalf on their late husbands. But the best thing is the filmmakers are encouraging real people to participate in the project! If you have film or photos of the group, you can submit them at for a chance to claim your own place in music history. Since I didn't get to go to any of the concerts, I don't have any photos of my own, but that's okay. I'm happy just to see the film and relive those days when The Beatles were the biggest thing to hit America - ever!

10 July

My Favorite Monkey

Remember The Man with the Yellow Hat? He was Curious George's nameless sidekick in the popular children's books first published in 1941. The "Curious George" books were some of my favorites when I was a kid. I read all seven books over and over again, laughing when George got himself a job and cheering when he got a medal for his venture into space.

But I think my favorite Curious George story was when the poor monkey swallowed a puzzle piece and had to go the hospital for surgery. My mom brought me the book when I had to have my tonsils removed because she didn't want me to be scared. And it worked. After seeing George have his own surgery -- followed by lots of ice cream and monkey business including a wild wheelchair ride and lots of laughs -- I wasn't scared at all. I wanted to go to the hospital.

Since then there have been Curious George movies and cartoons and movies and George is now a huge star over at PBS Kids. George's friend even got a name finally: Ted Shackleford. But to me, he'll always be The Man with the Yellow Hat. And George will always be my favorite mischievous monkey, the monkey who actually made me look forward to getting my tonsils out!

03 July

Hot Dogs and Ice Cream

You might think Independence Day is the only holiday to observe this month, but there's more than the 4th to celebrate in July: hot dogs and ice cream! Yes, July is National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month. I guess that makes sense, since Americans consume more hot dogs in July than in any other month. And no one has to guess why ice cream is so popular in July - the sweet, cooling treat is a summer staple for adults and kids alike.

To me, hot dogs and ice cream go hand-in-hand. All summer long, my dad used to grill up hot dogs while my mom was in the kitchen stirring up some homemade ice cream in one of those old-fashioned contraptions. You remember the ones I'm talking about -- the ones that looked like a worn out old bucket with a hand crank on the side. I loved running back and forth from the sizzling grill to the cool kitchen waiting for my parents to serve up summer goodies. Then Mom would pour us some ice cold Cokes to go with our hot dogs and we'd gobble them up while we waited for the ice cream to harden in the freezer.

When I learned that ice cream and hot dogs had their own national holiday month, I couldn't help but relive all those great memories of carefree summers on the back lawn with my dad and helping my mom work the ice cream maker in the kitchen. And those memories alone are worth a few fireworks!

Wieners Gone Wild CookbookHot Dog Toaster

16 June

The Babe -- Forever The Hero!

June 13 is a memorable day for Yankee fans. On that day in 1948, sixty thousand fans helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium. Among the celebrants was the one and only Babe Ruth. Although weakened with throat cancer, he entered the Bronx ballpark wearing his pinstripe uniform to the roar of the crowd, for what would be the last time. For fans all over the world, he wasn’t just a retired ballplayer—he was an international icon with staggering statistics, and a personality that captivated young and old alike. Imagine the excitement as his number 3 jersey was ceremoniously retired, and the fans paid tribute to the Sultan of Swat!
On that bittersweet day, reunited with former teammates, Babe posed for pictures, including a candid photo of him standing apart from the other players, using his bat as a cane. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize and became one of the most famous in baseball history. The legendary slugger succumbed to his illness just two months later, at age 53, a hero of the game, and of our hearts.

Babe Ruth DVD Card collectionWorst Baseball book Rockwell Puzzle All Time Greats PlaqueTie dye Shirts

09 June

Remembering The Original “Guitar Hero”

Today would have been the 99th birthday of Les Paul, known as the “Father of the Electric Guitar.”

You have to admire Les Paul. He was inspired to build his first solid-body electric guitar in 1941 because he felt that the audience couldn’t really hear him play his own acoustic model up on stage. It took him 10 years to sell his concept of an amplified guitar, but in 1952, Gibson introduced the first Les Paul model. If you’ve rocked out to Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Frank Zappa, Stephen Stills, Ace Frehley, Sheryl Crow, or Richie Sambora (to name a few!) then you’ve rocked out to a Les Paul guitar.

A talented player in his own right, Les Paul continued to perform well into his 90s, until he passed in 2009. A foundation was set up in his name, to benefit music education, medical research, and more.

When the guitar great was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, he thanked his fans in a very humble way. “I’m very grateful to the generation that came after me and picked up the instrument and carried on with it,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. No, Les Paul—if it wasn’t for you, rock and roll wouldn’t be where it is today!

Legends Book Guitar Cards Guitar Puzzle Rolling Stone TSTravel Mug Blues Book

30 May

MIssing Marilyn Monroe

On June 1, 1926, a baby girl was born. She was baptized Norma Jeane Baker, but the world would come to know her as Marilyn Monroe. Norma Jeane had a rough childhood. Both her mother and grandparents were committed to mental institutions, and young Norma bounced from one foster home to another. In the early 1940s, Norma was hard at work in a factory when a film crew came through, photographing young women helping the war effort. A photographer took notice of her fresh “girl-next-door” looks and encouraged her to sign with a modeling agency. She bleached her brown hair a golden blonde, took singing and dancing lessons, changed her name, and accepted numerous bit parts and non-speaking roles before hitting it big.

And hit it big she did! Marilyn’s life became a whirlwind. She enjoyed a glamorous high-profile existence in the spotlight. Then, the vivacious young actress who seemed to have it all was gone at just 36 years old. But to those who loved her, she’ll always be the stunning star whose light shined in Hollywood so brightly, so briefly.

history book fleece throw Lunch Box Black handbag Travel mugBeach towel

22 May

Memorial Day Remembrances

Memorial Day always takes me back to when, as a young girl, I stood on the curb holding my grandmother’s hand, waving my flag at the passing parade. This parade had a much more somber feel than most I had watched—for one thing, there were tears in Grandma’s eyes. I didn’t understand then, but I certainly do now. Her husband, her brother, her father, and practically every other man she knew had served in one of the World Wars, with some not returning home to their families. She knew all too well the sacrifices made by the soldiers and their loved ones during war time, and the day’s observance meant very much to her.

Inspired by local traditions, the first official Memorial Day observance (called Decoration Day back then) took place at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868. After a speech by General James Garfield, participants decorated the graves of the more than 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there. Around the time of World War I, the observance became a time to honor deceased soldiers from all our country’s wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May.

For close to 150 years now, in communities like yours and mine, we pay tribute to our war dead by flying the flag, attending parades and taking part in commemorative ceremonies. I’ll be on the curb again this coming Monday, waving my flag. This time, I’ll be the one with tears in my eyes.

Lighted Canvas Medal of Honor BOok Free Brave Flag Liberty TS

15 May

Did Someone Say "Road Trip?"

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes my other favorite time of year – road trip season! Every year, my family looks forward to loading up the old van and exploring the USA. I’m an expert at packing now, since this is something we’ve done since I was a kid myself, sitting amidst piles of travel gear in our old station wagon!

On one of the more memorable trips, we travelled Route 66, visiting the unique diners along the way. Meals were always the best part of each day, as my father sought out the most eclectic places he could find, in search of the most iconic diner foods available. The highlight for Dad, even more than the food, was collecting a little something from each stop. A placemat, a matchbook, or a napkin was all he needed to remind himself of the good times (and good eats) shared with family.

Route 66 tee Sandwich Cookbook Waffle House clock Diner Puzzle Route 66 camp shirt travel game