The Build a Voodoo Doll Workshop

Today while I was sitting in the park with my eyes closed imagining I was lounging on a peaceful English estate bearing the last name of Bennett or Dashwood, my reverie was shattered by BRRRRRRRRRGRRRRRRRRRBUMBUMBUM.   LEAF BLOWER FROM HELL.  DOWN GOES KRIS IN JANE AUSTEN LAND!  My immediate thought was, “I need a voodoo doll for the damn man who invented yard equipment.”  You know it was man.  Seriously.  I don’t know when I became so sensitive to sound.  Lawn mower season is just a few weeks old and I want to feed Metamucil martinis to everyone who mows.   I am turning into a senior citizen curmudgeoness at 45.  GET OFF MY LAWN.   I digress.

The Build a Bear Workshop is a store where wee ones go and build their own teddy bear, choose clothing, and accessorize Teddy. I recently decided that someone needs to open a store called The Build a Voodoo Doll Workshop ………….for adults of course.  I imagine the occasional curiosity seeker with the perfect life would venture into the store, giggle, and point as if seeing boobs for the first time.

I love the concept of a voodoo doll. They provide jaded folk the opportunity to take anger and jealous out on the suspecting (think ex wife/husband/boss/friend/Middle East dictator asshole), the unsuspecting (think Rush Limbaugh, super models, spammers), and the unsuspecting suspecting (think Cookie Monster, leaf blowers, traffic, the cast of Jersey Shore).

Amazon already offers a few prototypes.  It is a starting point, but far from what needs to be available.  There is a need.   These prototypes may one day be looked upon as caveman voodoo dolls after I’m done with this venture.

Of course if you need to be a bit more discreet there is always the paper voodoo doll.  This might be a free give-away for visiting the Build a Voodoo Doll Workshop.  I can’t believe someone is charging $7 for the paper voodoo doll.  This person needs their own voodoo doll for being greedy.

In all honesty, with my luck, a voodoo doll would either backfire or the object of my voodoo focus would actually suffer causing me to be ripped apart by the razor-sharp claws of a Guilt Sasquatch.  I prefer to solve problems with ice cream and hugs.  Yet……………A girl can dream……………………………as long as there is no yard equipment around.


Cash Mobbing & Conquering the Attention Deficit Disorderzilla

Today was National Cash Mob day and as instructed by my neighborhood Facebook page I participated.   Go here for more details.

Basically, the concept encourages people to buy local.  I live in an area that was once a thriving metropolis, but the boots of progress kicked the main road out of the neighborhood causing the thriving metropolis to shrivel up into a prune-like state.  There are still a few brave souls that try to make a living here.  I decided to show my support by diving into our neighborhood flea market.

My Grandmother loved going to flea markets.  Her house was a study in structured hoarding.  Everything was neat and tidy, but there were a zillion collections of various things scattered throughout the house.  I didn’t inherit this gene.  I think like a minimalist for the most part (except when it comes to closets & DuPont stuff for my job). My closet doors are like shit eating pie holes.  All of the shit goes in the closets.  I can’t handle chaos.  Going to a flea market was difficult for me.   I wasn’t even five feet in the store when Attention Deficit Disorderzilla stomped on my brain.  I couldn’t think.  Then I heard my Grandmother whisper, “Focus Kris!  There are treasures to be had in here!”  She was right.  However………


When the pilgrims embarked upon their journey to the new land, they didn’t bring much of anything.  Once they arrived their lives were based on simplicity and puritanic ways.  Somewhere along the line, someone showed up with a useless piece of shit and John Joe Pilgrim said, “oooh, thou needeth not one of those but twoeth,” and then the ”I NEED SHIT” escalated as word spread that shit was cool to have.  At some point, all hell broke out and Bubba Joe America started selling shit from his ancestors on Craigslist and at the local flea market.

In the end, I bought some useful items (socks, shampoo, & a purse).  I represented.  I saw several things I coveted.  Maybe I can change my thinking. I mean…… I’d really like to buy all of these and start honoring the memory of my Grandmother.

In my best Beavis voice, “FIRE FIRE FIRE.”

 I REALLY need this.  It’s $22.   I hope I can sleep.  Seriously.





The Patriarch and the Iguana (my demented look at a chunk of 1957)

Recently, someone gave me a LIFE magazine from August, 1957.  The magazine was given to me because there is an article about DuPont in it.  After working for the company for 23 years, I have a tattoo of the DuPont logo on my ass (not really, but it feels like it).   Basically, this tattoo causes me to collect DuPont crap.   My office is a DuPont hoarder’s palace.

The magazine itself is a piece of art from start to finish.  The advertisements, however, are what really flipped my skirt and I knew immediately they must be shared.

Before I get to the adverts………
There are, obviously,  numerous photos of the DuPont family in this LIFE issue, but this one is my favorite.

Irenee Du Pont, 80, patriarch of the Du Pont family, bends to pat an iguana on his Cuban estate.   (Note: Du Pont is now DuPont….. with no space)

If today’s big-shot CEOs took time to pat their iguanas on a daily basis, the world might be a more respectable and viable place.  Read into that what ya want.


Wool Industry goes back to school

I like to call this advert, “What Is a Sagging?”  Can you imagine asking these kids what “sagging” means?   Currently, there is legislation being debated in the Tennessee legislature to ban sagging pants on government property (as if this state has no other pressing issues).    I would feel much more at ease if I encountered a group of kids “sagging” than I would encountering the kids in this advertisement.  STEPFORD KIDS……….they’ll stab you in your sleep!!!


Blue Bell Clothing

This advert demonstrates the opposite of sagging.   Waist bands that risk chaffing your arm pits are a serious safety hazard.  They should also be banned  Where’s THAT legislation?


BABY GOT BACK!  Good thing there was not a typo causing the ad to say, “Your chubby ass….”  There are so many things wrong with the word chubbette that I don’t even need to write about it.  You go there.


Royal Typewriters

Our days are numbered before the newer generations ask, “What is a typewriter?   Of course if a Royal typewriter could truly raise your grades 38%, the typewriter might experience a renaissance. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap….. DING.


Pontiac Star Chief Custom Four-Door Catalina (as if I know what that means…pfffft).

I don’t know about you, but having a backseat “built like a bed” (look at #3)  is probably a good idea if you’re a man riding around with this woman…….. sans the dog.  JUST SAYIN’.



No man is a stranger who has access to chloroform or rohypnol and sits behind the wheel of a Cadillac!  BTW…. I had to Google the date rape drug to find out the name, so if someone gets blamed for date raping Liam Neeson…………..

ADVERT #7 (an article, but am including it anyway because it is worthy)

No magnetic tape is “keeping my house” currently.  WEEP.   Epic fail LIFE magazine!   E for effort, however, and thank you for giving me fodder for a blog.   It’s too bad there is not a use for using magnetic tape to hold up sagging pants.


HEY!  These guys are sagging while peddling Colgate!  WIN……. and with a price like that………WIN WIN.


This advert is for a jingle-writing contest for Tweed.  The rules are to finish the following jingle by adding a fourth line with a word that rhymes with night.

When a fragrance is perfectly right –
you can wear it both morning and night.
All products marked Tweed are just what you need-
(enter your fourth line to win big prizes)

My entry would probably be

to improve the sagging pants blight

What would yours be?


Cake – $14, No Wedding – $2, Curse Removal = Priceless

For those new to my blog, I work with a group of men I lovingly refer to as “The Mechanics.”  They are the equivalent of a giant pack of rabid grandmas when it comes to my love life. Every Monday, I face their inquisition: what did you do this weekend, did you get lucky,  did you get taco’d (their word for drunk)? Then, we wash, rinse, and repeat on Fridays: what are you doing this weekend, ya gonna get lucky, are you going to get taco’d?  Quite often these statements are followed by, “You know what you need to do (insert crazy guy advice here).”   God forbid I ever show up on a Monday morning with a mark on my neck brought on by an errant scratch.  They care about me.

The Mechanics often take time out of their day from torquing screws to plan my wedding reception.  Three years ago (March 11, 2009), while we were in the throws of planning the beer list, I mentioned champagne.

Bruce the Mechanic: I don’t like champagne.
Bruce the Mechanic:  I tell ya what.  I’ll make a bet with you.  If you get married, I’ll drink champagne.  If you don’t get married, you owe me $1.  You’ve got two years.
Me:  You’re on.

To make the bet official, we did what The Mechanics do with all of their important events.  We wrote the bet on the wall.


The two years quickly passed and I didn’t get married. In fact, my love life basically took on the characteristics of a deer trapped in the headlights of an 18 wheeler.   Defeat was going to run me over.  I had no doubt.  I gallantly prepared to surrender my $1.  To my surprise, Bruce the Mechanic approached me a few days before the fateful date arrived.

Bruce the Mechanic:  I’ve been thinking.  Let’s go double or nothing. I will give you one more year.
Me: You’re going to win.
Bruce the Mechanic:  Ya have to have a little faith KB.

We shook hands and edited the writing on the wall.

The second fateful date arrived.  Once again Bruce the Mechanic approached me days before the due date.

Bruce the Mechanic: This bet has cursed you.  I say we end it.  We will have a curse-releasing ceremony.
Me:  I agree.  We’ll have cake and celebrate.  I will gladly pay you $2.

The sad thing is The Mechanics didn’t want me to lose the bet and were desperate enough to suggest I fake a wedding.  I don’t do well at losing and the thought did cross my mind.   In the end, however………………..

We ate cake.  We laughed.  We celebrated.

Bruce the Mechanic hates the paparazzi, but he has big plans for his $2.

With a belly full of ceremonial cake, I reflected on the past three years.

Me: I feel like my love life has received a douche.
Cliff the Mechanic:  KB please leave that comment at home on your next date.

She who sees the writing on the wall would be wise to invest in a giant eraser.

AND, before I go……… from my Great Grandmother’s journal……… ADVICE ……….for marriage………and worms……..  hmm…..  :-)

Young Man, There’s No Need to Feel Down: Stuntin’ at the Y in 1918

In 1918, when the U.S. Government joined forces with DuPont to build a gun powder facility and  Old Hickory Village, they chunked out not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR YMCAs!  OK, so one of the four was a YWCA (for women), but who’s being picky?  If I was flung back into 1918 ala Doctor Who style, I’d be able to choose from a White YMCA, Colored YMCA, Family YMCA, or YWCA.

Four Ys in a Village!  Let’s just get it over with and sing a few bars of the Village People’s 1978 hit………

Young man, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town 
There’s no need to be unhappy.

Recently, while I was knee-deep in one of my 1918 geek-out modes,  I collided with this article about one of Old Hickory Village’s four Ys.

Old Hickory Record, August 10 1918

I had never heard of “Stunt Night.”   My kids and their friends, on the other hand, are constantly using the phrase “we be stuntin’ at (insert location).”  I have never known what stuntin’ means………..until now.  The Urban Dictionary defines stuntin’ as:

This would be my definition of stuntin’, if you asked me. My head would be paralyzed in the turned position if I passed this hunk of Colin Firthabulosity.

Back to Stunt Night at the Y.  Stunt Night, it turns out, was an early form of fake wrestling, or as my most Southern friends and I like to say, “wrasslin.”

Here is an image I found on Ebay of a YMCA Stunt Night in Iowa during 1918.

Looks pretty civil to me!  Where are the half dressed men sporting gaudy gold championship belts the size of a car?

Sadly, the Old Hickory Village YMCAs weren’t always for entertainment and wrasslin’.  Spanish flu raked across the Village with tremendous force in 1918.

October 8, 1918

The Y.M.C.A opened its doors to stricken men.  Each office, the gymnasium, and lobby was turned into wards with cots crowded into them.  Secretaries turned their attention to serving patients.  The religious secretary acted as chaplain to the dying and those who had passed out cigars and candy across the counters now served soup and broth.
~ Lou Cretia Owen Papers - Tennessee State Library and Archives

Rumor has it that the one of the Ys was even used as a morgue at one point.  An estimated 465 people died from Spanish Flu in the Old Hickory Village.

None of the YMCA buildings survived the years.  All but one were torn down in the 1920s (the “White Y” was saved ). In 1967 it was replaced with a more modern building which is now referred to as The Old Hickory Community Center.

The “White”and “Colored” YMCAs…….

The location of the White YMCA and the Colored YMCA

November 20, 1918

We went to a negro rally held at the colored Y.M.C.A tonight.  A large crowd of negroes crowded the auditorium but special  seats were arranged for the white guests.

The colored people lauded the plant, complimented the executives, and pledged loyalty to Old Hickory as long as there is a camp open here.  It was thrilling and stirring to hear them rally to the reservation and express their patriotism.  The negroes have rendered loyal service.  Without them, it would have been hard to have carried out the program that has been.
~Lou Cretia Owen Papers – Tennessee State Library and Archives

Old Hickory Record, August 10, 1918

The White YMCA located on Donelson St. 


November 9, 1918

Little happened yesterday.  We had a rest day.  Went to services at the Y.M.C.A yesterday afternoon and to vespers late today.  Lounged in the Y.W.C. A. rest rooms.  This is the most comfortable place to spend a Sunday afternoon.  The hostess serves tea at 4 o’clock. Tables are covered with magazines and a blazing fire in the fireplace is inviting.

November 18, 1918

The Y.W.C.A program beginning today with a soldier party is listed on the bulletin board as follows:

Monday – Soldier Party
Tuesday – Community Dance, Y.M.C.A
Wednesday – Tea for women of village
Thursday – club night
Friday- Folk Dancing
Saturday – Big Community Party
Sunday – 2 p.m. hike. 4 p.m. vespers.

Each week the Y has some activities planned for every evening of the week to make the life at the plant more pleasant for the girls.  The young men are brought into the program often.  ~Lou Cretia Owen Papers –  Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Family YMCA

Now for the granddaddy of them all, the Family YMCA.  This facility was equipped with a bowling alley, swimming pool, and auditorium.    I am a bit obsessed with this particular YMCA because it was located across the street from where I live now.  There is zero, zip, NADA sign that this building ever existed.  The worst part is there is no one left with memories or inherited stories about this building. It was torn down some time in the 1920s.  The pool remained until the 1960s.  It’s as if someone took a giant eraser and scrubbed the landscape.  I walk my dog on the land that once contained 1,000 laughs.

The Family Y


Inside the Family YMCA

The Family Y – Tennessee State Library and Archives

I can’t finish this blog without singing the Village People song again.  I wonder what the lyrics would have been if they’d wanted to sing about a Colored, White, Family, and Women YMCA?  I’m not going to attempt the lyrics.  I do know if the song had been written in 1918, it might have gone like this:

It’s fun to stay at the Y…..M….C….A……….unless you have the Spanish Flu
It’s fun to stay at the Y…..M….C….A……….unless you have the Spanish Flu

I promise to write no more song lyrics!