Match Game Set

Match Game Set

My guilty little pleasure


By R.E. bertlow

Feeling a bit nostalgic last night I decides to watch some episodes of Match game. Match game was one of those 70′s game shows that had a celebrity panel. It was not as formal as say whats my line or Hollywood squares. No Match Game was more like the Animals running the zoo. That was what made Match Game the great game show that it was. The panel usually has had a few cocktails. And Smoking was common place. It was a game show based on risque answers.. As a teenage boy it was always interesting and a bit titillating to hear some of those questions. They would always get a good snicker out of me.

Match Game was one of those rare game shows that you wanted to be on because it seemed like a good time show. You didn’t have to be an intellectual to answer their questions or have to perform some special task in 60 seconds. All you had to do was have a little common sense and logic, it wasn’t that difficult to play. And the panel sure seem to have a lot of fun, what with the cocktails and such. And most importantly it was very very funny. It also had some of the highest prize dollar amounts for a game show of the 70′s. Which didn’t hurt.

Match game was one of those shows that was decade specific. The questions they ask would probably not work today. The questions they asked represented and where a reflection of the 70′s and the current affairs One contestant proclaimed she was a liberated woman who had move from the south to

Los Angeles. When she proclaimed was liberated she did it with gusto, thrusting her fist in the air. She then proceeded to have her Liberated Status deflated a bit by Gene Rayburn who questions just how liberated she could possible be since she came to the show with her visiting father. The panel and audience gave the obligatory chuckle and the game goes on.

It was different in the 70′s. There was a different consciousness and a far different sensibility. The two didn’t always match. It was a consciousness of change so fresh that it sensibility hadn’t yet caught up. Often time it was made fun of and light of. Some of the banter they used then would not even enter our minds to use now a days. It would just seem archaic. We have come so far from that era . Well at least a great many of us have,we have learned a few things and grown up a bit as well. Still game shows like Match Game are fun to watch. They become guilty pleasures. We set aside the out dated references for the real brilliance of the show. The panels ability to think on their feet and give witty, rye and funny answers that still hold up even though their references are dated.

I loved looking at the outfits the guest wore. It takes me back to when I wore leisure suites and Platform shoes. Granny dress and skirts were popular and as the decade progressed Farah would be come Americas Prom Queen and Lee Majors it’s King. Wide lapels and thick Tie knots were the order of the day (we still wore times for occasions like appearing on a game show. One guest in particular wore a red tie so wide with a wide and long collar all he needed was a foam nose to complete the look.

Looking back we sure looked goofy. Now a day we call that feathered look on men Porn Star hair. We have since learned come overs are bad and bald is sexy. (Teli started preaching that in the 70′s) well most of us anyway.

They always had that Faux stone wall that made me think of a grotto for what ever reason. The guest would swing around in their seats and it was like they had just come up from the grotto and a swinging party. The show that had it’s pulse on the public and took it’s lead from what was going on turning it into solid comedy gold. We sat around our t.v.’s and waited for the next question about dumb Dora or or the old man or maybe Count Dracula. Gene would do his best impression of whom ever it was and we would all laugh and wait to here what the panel gave as answers hoping we had the definitive answer as we played along at home.

So Match game has been my guilty pleasure ever since it came on they air. I am glad they do not try to resurrect this classic for the modern audience yet instead re run the originals. It sure was fun taking a trip back in time. Especially laugh so hard it hurts. I think I’ll watch again to night.

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A Summer Salads

The Summer Salads

Hello all, Helpful Hank here. Labor day will be here soon and with it the last big weekend of the summer. I wanted to share some simple Ideas that will help make that last Bar B Que a success

Dressing your Summer Salads

I like a good salad in the summer. There is nothing quite a good garden salad with lot’s of fresh vegetables and fruits in them. I love to add fresh Nectarines, Mango’s and Strawberries to a garden salad, or maybe a fruit salad with Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberry’s, Mango, Pineapple and more.

great salad dressing can make a salad come alive. I want to share with you today one of my favorite salads and one of my favorite dressing.

Tropical Ambrosia

To make this salad here is what you will need

2 Mangos (1 slightly ripe)

2 good sized Nectarines

1 Small Basket of Strawberries

1 to 1 ½ Cup Blueberries

1 to 1 ½ Cup Blackberry’s

½ of a smallish Fresh Pineapple

1 cup grated or shredded coconut

1 cup Heavy whipping cream.

1 cap full of Vanilla Extract

1/8 cup + 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar

1 Tablespoon fresh Pineapple juice

½ to 1 cup Sunflower seeds (Optional)

Cut up your Strawberries and Nectarines, then cut your Blackberry’s in half. Place strawberries, Blackberry’s and Blueberries and Nectarines in a strainer and rinse and place in large salad bowl. Add ½ of your Agave Nectar into the mixture and mix with a wooden spoon then set aside.

Cut the top and bottom of your pineapple off and then slice off the outer shell until you have nothing but pure pineapple. Slice the pineapple away from the core and cut into chunks. Take a few chunks and juice 1 Tablespoon of pineapple and place in a medium sized bowl and refrigerate. juice from them and place rest of pineapple chunks in the salad bowl. Add in your shredded coconut into bowl. Using the lesser ripe mango of the two, slice Mango in to 4 slices and cut away each slice from seed. Remove the skin from each slice then cut into chunks and put in salad bowl.

Cut up the second Mango in the same way and put into a blender and blend until liquid. Pour into a strainer and strain mango so that you remove as much of the Mango fibers from the pureed Mango.

Once you have strained your mango add it to the medium size bowl with your Pineapple juice add 1 table spoon of Agave Nectar and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and your vanilla extract and set bowl in an I bath ( Larger bowl with ice so that the ice surrounds your bowl.) blend until you get nice whipped peaks. Add your whipped cream and Sunflower seeds (optional) to fruit and mix in well and serve.

Casual Dress(ing ) Friday’s

Years ago I had this dressing on a spinach salad that was one of the best I had ever had. It wasn’t just Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. It had a sweet and tangy taste to it that made it perfect for the salad and wasn’t to heavy. I set out to try and recreate this dressing. This is the recipe I came up with. I found that this goes well with any garden salad and is not to heavy

½ cup of chopped up and strained Blueberries (no skin)*

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup honey or 1/8 cup Agave nectar.

1 cup Olive Oil

1 cup Balsamic vinegar

pinch of pepper

pinch of salt

two shakes lemon Pepper

A clean dry jar with lid.

Place all your ingredients in the jar shake well chill before using and shake again before serving

*Note you can also use ¼ cup of fresh lemon Juice instead of the Blueberries.

Labor day retriever

The dog days of Summer are coming to a close as is summer. Growing up as a kid I had mixed feeling about the month of August. While on the one hand my Birthday is in August, it August was also the last month of summer and that meant back to school. August is indeed the last month of summer but at the end is one of the big 3 day weekends labor day. Labor day is a day for BBQ’s and Picnics, Boating and more. In our house we take our dogs everywhere with us. Because of this it is important to make sure that where ever we are they are safe. Here are some tips for keeping you and your Dog safe this labor day weekend.

Labor Day BBQ are a tradition in many homes. Whether you keep it simple or you invite a large group over.

It is fun to make the place look festive for the occasion. Why not put some brightly colored umbrellas around for shade or even go with a them say red white and blue. Learn how from The Every Day Artist

they are great for create a shady spot for Fido as well.

Here are 5 things to remember when having your Labor Day BBQ that will help keep Fido Happy and sane.

    1. Always have a place where your dog(s) can chill away from the crowd.
    2. Let your guest know rules about table scraps.
    3. Keep Fido in an area away from the front door as the first few guest arrive. Then introduce Fido to everyone. It is a much gentler introduction (have multiple dogs bring them out one at a time so guest aren’t overwhelmed.)
    4. Always be aware of where Fido is and how he is acting around your guest. Crowds can become to much for Him/Her and you may need to put him in his chill spot.
    5. Feed Fido when you serve dinner to your guest, this way everyone eats at the same time and guest aren’t dealing with begging dogs. (I like to feed my dogs in an area separate from my guest.

6 things to remember If you are going out hiking with your dog

  1. make sure that they are protected against fleas and ticks.
  2. In the desert here it is best if you wear long pants or a long sleeve shirt. (it will keep you cooler)
  3. the best time to hike is at dusk and dawn in the desert.
  4. Always carry a leash for each dog that is on the hike and keep them on the leash if it is required.
  5. Stay on trail, remember even your dogs feet can disturb sensitive echo systems.
  6. If hike and it get’s dark have a light tag you can attach to your dogs collar or better yet, a collar that lights up

7 things to remember when camping with your dog

If your dog is not well socialized and is not good with open areas that have no real boundaries then camping may not be for them. But if your dog minds commands, is a social creature then here are some simple tips for camping with Fido.

    1. Always be aware of and respect campsite pet rules (and all campground rules.)\
    2. keep your dog with you don’t let them wander off.
    3. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink
    4. Feed them when you eat that way they are occupied while you eat
    5. Make sure they have a shady place to rest
    6. Keep them a safe distance from campfires.
    7. At night make sure to light them with a collar tag that lights up or a light up collars so you can see them in the dark

Going out on the lake?

Here are 4 tips to keep your dog safe on your boat.

It can be nice to out on the lake with Fido. Some dogs like our Lab are natural swimmers and love the water. Other like my Sheltie cringe at getting wet. What ever the case maybe, if you want to take fido out on your boat here are things you should remember.

  1. Some lakes and water ways are no contact this means Fido’s in a no swim zone, you will have to be mindful of this and choose a place that you both can enjoy.
  2. If Fido does not swim then a doggie life jacket is in order. You can find them on line or various pet stores. The average doggie life jacket runs anywhere from $12.00 to $20.00
  3. Have a safe place they can chill away from the crowd or action.
  4. Engage Fido. Hold him/her make them feel safe. If they are swimmers and it is O.K. For them to swim encourage them to swim and swim with them it can be a lot of fun. 

It seems that your e-mail doesn’t have to be hacked to be hijacked

For most of us these days our e-mail address is our calling card and a way of branding ourselves or our product(s). We don’t like to change them as it only means we have to re brand. Sometimes though we maybe left with no option other then to change our e-mail address. The crazy thing is that it is not because your e-mail as been hacked but rather Hijacked and cloned.

I got an e-mail from a friend last night and it had been like many others I have recently received. It was out of character, and unexpected. I replied to my friend and let him know that I wasn’t sure what this was so I wasn’t going to click the link. I received a reply back this morning saying thank you that he had no idea. I had this happen to me in may and I received a reply telling me the same thing. “They wouldn’t click on the link because the whole e-mail sounded fishy. They were right it was phishy and I appreciated that they let me know.

It seems that your e-mail doesn’t have to be hacked to be hijacked these day’s. The new thing that is being done is Spoofing. I don’t mean doing a funny take off on someone or some situation. Spoofing is when someone tweaks the standard setting on an e-mail provider like Outlook Express or others and basically clones your e-mail address so that the emails look authentically from you. There are even websites that will do it for you. All you have to do is put in the persons e-mail address.

So what is the purpose? Most times Marketing. Sometimes though it can be for vicious reasons.

It is pretty easy to find out the originating source of the spoofing. The following link can provide you with the information needed to do so.

sad thing is, unless the speech becomes “Hate Speech” or there are violent threats contained in the e-mail being sent under your e-mail address, there is not much you can do about it as the sender hasn’t hacked your e-mail but rather cloned it for lack of a better term.

I was spoofed in May. I found out right away not because I received a reply but because I got the e-mail from me in my own in box. Why? Because I have list in my contacts my e-mail address but the name associated with it has my middle name first. This sends up a red flags.

Folks, it’s a shame we have to deal with Hackers and Hijackers but, like any super highway there can be pot holes and putzes along the way we just have to protect ourselves as best as possible and information is key.

Well that about wraps it up for now. Remember easy,elegant and inexpensive are not exclusive to one another and can create some beautiful music together when you use your Imagination.



3 quick tips

  1. Use white vinegar or dry borax soap to get rid of hard water on dishes. Pour about a ½ a cup of white vinegar or Borax powder in the bottom of the dishwasher before each load. With in a few loads you’ll start to see the hard water satins go away.Tip Rating 3 ½ Hank Hammers as this works but it takes time. Total time for results several washes
  1. Summer heat got your pool looking spotted? Is the chemical balance on your pool correct yet you are seeing moss spots grow here is what you do. 1. Make sure to run your pool filter during the hottest parts of the day (9-4 is ideal) when the pool is at it’s warmest. This keeps water flowing. Sweep Sweep Sweep all the moss caps off. 3.after the filter has shut off for the day add dry chlorine broad casting it over the pool making sure to hit all the areas with spots. Let set over night. You will notice the spots are gone the next day (When using dry chlorine use one with an algi ban you will use about 2 ½ pounds, A 5 pound container is good because it leaves you ½ the container to hit some of the tougher spots.)

Tip Rating: 4 ½ Hank Hammers because this is the best solution I have found and you wake up to a spotless pool the next day total time till results: 8 to 15 hours or over night.

  1. Quick blueberry syrup. 1 cup blended strained blueberries (just the juice), ½ cup sugar, ½ cup honey ¼ cup of water 1 cap full maple syrup. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Boil 5 minutes and remove from heat and use or store in a jar.Tip Rating: 4 ½ Hank Hammers. It is quick simple and tasty total time to use 15 minutes

Do you have any summer salad recipes you’d like to share leave a comment here or drop me a line with your favorite summer salad and will make sure it get posted on the site.

If you have a Quick tip you would like to share send it to me I’ll give it a try and it it is great I will post it.

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, Tips and, Deals at

Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow

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Umbrella Project: Project Pictures

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The Missing Camera


The Missing Camera


A short true story by R.E. bertlow




I had been looking for my Camera since my Birthday. It had been three days now since I had last had my camera I was becoming concerned. I had last seen my camera when we went to get our couples massage on my birthday. I wanted to take some pictures and post them on Facebook to share my birthday with my friends and an assortment of other random strangers. We loaded up in the car and placed my camera between the seat and the center console and promptly forgot it when we got out at the ACE for our Massages. Once we were done with our time at the ACE we headed home. A little later that morning we went to pick up our Cocker from the groomer. We took the two other dogs with us for the ride. The Corgi/Sheltie likes to roll the back window down so we make sure they are locked (If we don’t he holds his paw on the switch until the window is all the way down and his head is in the wind.). The Lab likes to keep his two front paws on the center console and stick his head out of the Sunroof on the Land Cruiser and catch wind in his jaws.



When we would come to a stop sign or light, Joe would sometimes slip and his right paw would fall down between the passengers seat and the center console while his left paw would dig into my partners side. When my partner would disengaged Joe’s claws from his side his now righted right paw would slip once more.




We got home and I got busy preparing for the BBQ we were having. Didn’t think about my camera until guest started arriving. I gave a quick look but that was about it, guest were here let the fun begin.



The next morning we headed off to Sunday Services in the other car. We later headed off to the movies so I didn’t think much about where my camera was it was in the house somewhere besides I wasn’t going to be taking pictures at the movies (I tend to carry my camera everywhere. How else are you gonna get that once in a life time shot).



When we got back from the movies I looked for the camera again to no avail. My husband wanted to walk the dogs so we loaded all three up in the Land Cruiser and headed to down town Palm Springs.



As we got closer to where we park Joe turned into Prancine ( one of the nick names I gave him for the little dance he does when he is excited the other is Drooly Andrews. Or Drool’s Jurgensen(Watch maker).) he was a regular dancer. What dance he was doing I couldn’t say but it went something like this. Taped tap, right paw slip, side gouge, right paw slip, taped taped taped tap and repeat. ( sounds like a line dance.)



We parked the car after my husband had endured about 4 rounds of the Prancine and got the dogs all leashed up and collared with their LED leashes and collars (the charge on the USB and are very bright excellent for night walks.) and headed out for our walk.



We walked the downtown area then walked over to Arenas and had Yogurt at Eddies (A very popular Yogurt shop.) and the dogs got some water (Eddie was always good about that.) The Yogurt is great and Eddie is sweet and easy on the eye’s. He is a genuine person with a good sense of humor. We finished our yogurt and headed home. As we got close to the drive way Prancine took the stage one last time.



We got in the house and I started the search for my Camera once again. My husband said where did you have it last. I told him I thought it was the Land Cruiser but that I had checked and didn’t see it.



I spent the next day looking for it off and on. I was beginning to think that maybe I had left it in the locker at the ACE and just forgotten I had brought it in.



I was beginning to get concerned as I take a great many pictures and the other camera I had (same camera we bought three( One was to be a gift but never became one.).) took a nose dive (*The display screen stopped working.) I was feeling lost with out my camera but it seem to be no where in sight.



I got up the next morning and decided to retrace my steps to the last know place I had my camera. I searched the Land Cruiser once again and dug a bit deeper shoving my fist down between the passenger seat and the center console, beyond where I could see. Feeling around I pulled out a few recipients and then felt something solid. I heard the familiar jingle of the sipper on the case. I reached a little further down and Low and behold there was my Camera. It seems that every time Joe’s right paw slipped it shoved my camera further and further down until it had become wedged under the seat brace and the floor almost unreachable.



I have always said if you want to find what you have lost you have to retrace your steps to see where you lost it. Every time I retrace my steps I always find what I am missing.

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Helpful Hank- The Umbrella Project

The Umbrella Project

Howdy all Helpful hank here. I want to take a moment to remember a brilliant comedic Actor with who I share the Same birthday. Lucille Désirée Ball would have been 100 years old August 6. Happy Birthday Lucy.

We are in the Dog days of summer down here in the desert. You know it’s hot when you jump into your pool and get sculled. During the dog days of summer, you can dry off from taking a shower and get dressed, but the minute you step out side you’ll need a shower, towel and fresh clothes. I’m telling you it’s a viscous circle. Frosty would be just a jug of water with coal and carrots inside. It get Hot. The day I moved to the desert it was 121. I noticed when I did move down here how hard it was to grow certain vegetables even in the winter. The plants just seem to get burned Tomatoes sun loving plants would split down the sides Squash didn’t come to fruition.

This got me to thinking how I could stop tomatoes from splitting and get my squash to grow. Problem was that when these plants are made available for sale is April/May Spring time Well Spring time can go for 80 to 100 in no time flat. My challenge was to find a way to keep the direct sun off of my veggies with out using a shade clothe to over the entire area. I am not fond of Shade clothe. Don’t get me wrong it serves a purpose. While function is important there are other ways to achieve the same end result but with style and creativity.

In many cultures umbrellas are used to keep the Sun off as well as the rain. Down here in the desert people often use an umbrella to keep the beating heat of the direct sun off of them. Umbrellas are not just for a rainy day. Umbrellas can be a inexpensive colorful way to help your some of your plants make it through the dog days of Summer. Today I would like to show you how to take an Old umbrella and turn it into a wonderful piece of functional garden art.

The Items you will need for this project are an umbrella, hack saw, pole, (bamboo works well.) Spray primer, (optional) mistake paint, sealer, ribbon or fabric ripped in strips, any other decoration you may want.

Take your umbrella and cut off just above the tip cup where it meets the tube. Open your umbrella and give your umbrella it’s first coat of paint using what ever paint you have.(spray, Latex Oil) Oil paints will take longer to dry and spray paint will dry the quickest.


Note:Using a flat white spray paint as your first coat is desired as it hides any imaging or printing on the umbrella and gives multi colored a good solid base coat to block out images and or writing. Option 2 is to incorporate images and or lettering.

Once you have given your umbrella it’s base coat and it has dried, give it it’s color coat. Let the color coat dry and then you are ready to paint a design on your umbrella if you wish. Once you have painted and decorated your umbrella take your ribbon or stripped fabric and tie it under the runner so that it prevents the runner from down back over the upper spring Slip your umbrellas tube down into the Bamboo pole and place in garden.


What I like about this project is that I was able to use material that I either already had or had recently found. It is a fairly easy project and can be dressed up or kept very plain. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the easiest this project is a 3

Chiming In

After I had completed my latest set of umbrellas I had left over material. I had used a curtain pole as one of my poles and had to cut it down. I was left with a longish piece of pole so I cut it into sections and along with other materials I had created a set of wind chimes.

Here is what you will need to complete this project: drill, small drill bit, hack saw, light duty pipe cutter, hollow curtain rod, thin ribbon or cord


The Size of your wind chime will depend on how much material you have. The one I created was a mini Wind Chime.

1. Cut your rod into1 longish piece and 6 to 9 graduated lengths.

2. in your long piece of curtain rod drill a hole through and through for each piece of graduated

pipe you are using then Drill a hole through and through at the top of each graduated piece of curtain rod.

3. Cut your ribbon/cord in equal lengths so that there is one length of ribbon /cord for each chime


4. String your ribbon/cord through each of the holes on the piece of curtain rod double knot at the

top and trim down fabric above knot on the other end run your ribbon/cord through our first

chime piece and tie it off so that it doesn’t rest to low. Do this with each chime piece so that the tops are even

5. Take another length of ribbon/cord that is twice the length of the piece of curtain rod your

chime pieces are hanging from. Run the ribbon through the curtain rod and knot ends together creating a hanger.

Mango Mango

I Have two mango trees. I love Mango. What I didn’t love was trying to peal them. I developed a way to scrap the mango from it’s skin I take my mango cut it up in slices and then cut each slice away from the seed. Once you have separated your Mango slices from the seed, lay them out on a cutting board hold down one end of your mango and use the butter knife to make the first cut to separate the Mango from the skin. Once you have made the first cut draw your butter knife at an angel to remove mango fruit from skin. Through away the skins and you have slices of Mango for cooking and eating.

Note: If you are dealing with a very ripe mango scraping it away from the skin will gain you the maximum amount of Mango  

I like the fact that art is different for each person. I enjoy presenting projects that are easy to do but also have a functionality to them. It is Remember when painting or decorating a project there is no wrong way. There is only the way you envision it and each persons vision is different. wonderful when I find a solution to a problem and can share it with others, Well that’s about all for now Folks, Remember only you can be the change you want to 

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, Tips and, Deals at

Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow

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A Letter of Love and admiration to Lucy By R.E. bertlow



Lucille Désirée Ball was born on August 6., 1911. in James Town New York. She would have been one hundred years old this year. who knew that at the very moment she was born so was comic genus in one of it’s rarest forms. We as Americans became witness to to one of the most brilliant lights in the entertainment industry.


For me Lucille Ball has and continues to be one of the people who inspire me. When I discovered that we shared the same birthday that explained a lot to me.


While I am no comic genus, but I have learned a thing or two from Lucy. Lucy taught me that not everything is going to work out the way you want and that’s Okay just as long as you keep trying. She persevered and always managed to make lemonade out of lemons. The other lesson was Laugh



I can remember getting ready for Y Indian Guides and watching I love Lucy right up until the moment we had to leave for the meeting or start the meeting depending on whether or not we were hosting it. I was only five and six years old but these memories are as vivid to me as if they had happened yesterday. The loaf of bread coming out of the oven and pinning Lucy against the sink cabinets, the Subway ride with the Johnny Longden’s loving cup on her head, or being stuck at the French Border because she thinks she sent her passport ahead so she send Ricky ahead to get it.




My love Affair with Lucy began at a very early age I was probably about 4 years old when I saw my first episode of I Love Lucy. My parents were pleased that that had found a program their hyper-active child would sit through. For what ever reason I just seem to connect to the show and it’s leading lady. I could sit through episode after episode. It is the one program I can watch over and over again even though I had seen each episode multiple times by the time I was seven. I would later realize that we shared the same birthday. For me that was a wonderful discovery. I shared my Birthday with one of the greatest comedic actors ever.


Lucille Ball was not a comic, she was a comedic actor. She wasn’t the person who delivered one liners or funny antidotes. What Lucy delivered was physical comedy at it’s best. She was master at her craft. Whether she realized it or not she also taught me tone of the most important lesson in life. Never give up. Lucille Ball was brilliant at delivering that message week in and week out right there on my television screen. And I fell in love with every single moment of I love Lucy and The Desilu Play House. I could always be guaranteed some side splitting laughter and that message of Never give up.

At one point I could pretty much recite episodes verbatim. I surely did Love Lucy and Still do.

I would have dreams at night about going to a taping of I Love Lucy even though the show was no longer in first runs.


When I was seven I went with my family to Los Angeles for a competition my older brother was in. When my parents said we were going to take a tour of the movie stars homes I was ecstatic and made sure Lucille Balls home was on the list to see. By this time she had married Gary Morton and was doing the Lucy show. We all got in the family van (open road camper van) We could have been riding in the old Cadillac Fred bought to go to Hollywood with I wouldn’t have cared. I was going to get to see where one of my favorite people lived. As we started the tour I felt like Lucy and Ethel on the tour of the movie star homes. In my seven year old’s brain I was Lucy and my mom was Ethel and we were here to track Movie Stars. I pictured myself falling over Richard Widmark’s wall Grapefruit in hand having to hide under a bear skin rug as Ethel waits outside wondering where I have gone to and Richard and Ricky enter the room.


As we weaved down the different streets and canyons My mother began to tell a story about a friend of a friend who had actually gone up to Lucille Balls front door and rang the door bell. (Back then not all actors lived in walled off compounds that never gave you even a glimmer of hope that you might see the famed one whose house you came to see but whose gate is your only view) The way my mother relayed the story it was if this friend of a friend had broken in to Lucille Balls. home. Back then self respecting people did not invade other peoples privacy.


Lucy became the constant in my life. If I was feeling blue I had Lucy to cheer me up by sucking up Luckle Color in Italy or playing female martians on the empire state building with Ethel to cover what they thought was a five dollar donation to an old school chum only to find out the promised five hundred dollars and not five. Lucy was my constant. When Life had me backed into a corner, there was Lucy waiting to make me laugh with just the tune of a channel. A half hour with my favorite red head and I felt rejuvenate. One half hour of side splitting laughter can do wonders for ones mental state.


I have always felt a strong connection to Lucille Ball. Maybe it is because we share the same birthday or whether it is something more. I do know that I have always found her inspiring..


I became fascinated with all thing I Love Lucy. I had watched every episode of and I even own Episodes of “Here’s Lucy” and the subsequent shows that followed. While I enjoyed them , for me it was always I Love Lucy that did it for me. There was something about that cast, those four people, that made for comedy brilliance. For me, it wasn’t until the Carol Burnett show that comedy Brilliance would be seen again.


Both of these television programs had excellent writers but it was their leading ladies ability to do what every it takes to make em laugh. They were never concerned with whether or not their make up was in place. There only concern was the laugh.


Lucille Ball has one of the longest recorded laughs for a comedy bit. The Laughter runs a full minute from end of bit to when a cast member speaks. The Tango with Eggs is just as funny as when It originally aired.


I like that I Love Lucy is the longest running program in syndicate. I love Lucy went into syndication just a short while after it had gone off the air. In some markets it continued to run in a prime time slot. In my area it came on at 7:30. Lucky for me that wasn’t y bed time. Of 8:30.


I love Lucy and Lucille Ball developed my sense of Humor. I have a strong sense of the absurd. And few had such a strong sense of the absurd and how to make it work to their advantage. Lucy and her writers Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll Jr did. Who else would think to put a loving cup on there head. I am grateful for that sense of the absurd.


Here is to Lucy, I’m thrilled we share a birthday. I thank you for all the Laughter and know that in another hundred years I love Lucy will be the longest running show in syndicate at 150 years running. Lucille will look down from above and be proud of the timelessness she was a part of creating


Happy 100 Lucy know you are missed.




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Pictures from the Garden

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Summertime Projects



Summertime Projects

Hello all Helpful Hank here, today I would like to talk about summer projects. We all have them. Some of us will do them before we go on Vacation some after and for some like me. They happen all summer long.

Kitchen, Kitchen
We own a home built in the late 70’s early 80’s. I face a lot of updating repairs and renovation. Sometimes starting one project can lead to another project. Case in point, when we had our Inn in South Lake Tahoe and I was renovating rooms we discover a leek in one of the bathroom shower. This led to us having to replace not only the floor for that unit but the sub floor as well. (Time to call the professionals.)

In any event, we all have our summer projects. My project currently is refinishing our kitchen cabinets. This is a great way to give your kitchen an easy up date.

Use the dust and grim to your advantage.
There is a lot of sanding involved when refinishing cabinets. One thing that I found in this process is that if I gave my cabinets a good first sanding then when back and wiped each area with a damp sponge before I went back with my second sanding the sawdust worked for me as an abrasive to help take the top clear coat off. There was also less dust in the air from sanding. For my purposes, it made the sanding portion quicker as I did not have to sand down to bear wood. (I am staining the cabinets darker.)

Enhancing your stains color.
I’m sure that the paint store would not make it as a recommendation but I often add a little latex paint to my stain to enhance its color. Since my partner wanted a strong cherry hue to the cabinets, I added some red paint to my red mahogany stain. Just about a half a cup. I mix it up with my brush lightly as I want the it to sit on the bottom of the can. Using the stain this way it is better to brush it on as you can pick up some of that red in your first coat pulling stain from the bottom of the can then with your second coat just lightly dip your brush in the can so your not pulling the red. I tend to put on four coats of stain alternating the red and the dark stain. Working my brush until I have it just the right shade. You can see some of the project pics here.

Summer time can be a good time to get this type of project done as with the heat comes much faster drying time. The one thing I would note is not to run your swamp cooler while trying to dry the stain on the cabinets it puts to much moisture in the air.

Clean the swamp.
We are coming up on the official start of summer and the temps here in the valley are going to go up. Swamp coolers are an effective way to cool down the house here in the desert. Though humidity is a factor in their use, (No go above 50%.) for the most part it isn’t an issue. Here is what the issue is. Making sure that the filters are clean and or replacing filters that have out lived their usefulness. You can pick up new filters at Lowe’s or Home Depot for around 7 bucks a pieces depending on size and type. Cleaning your filters and replacing them when necessary helps your swamp cooler to run a lot more efficiently.
One of the things I like to do ( because we have three dogs) is take a couple of incense sticks placing the stem in the filter and lighting the incense thus drawing the scent into the home. Make sure, once the incense has completely burned to take the stick end out of the filter.

One-year anniversary
As you may or may not know, June 16th is the one-year anniversary of the passage of marriage equality in California. Though the law didn’t stand long, (We intend to have it passed again.) those who were able to get married are still married. It is important that we press forward to over turn the band on same gender marriage.

To that end on Saturday June 13, 2009 nh8wear and Bad Baby Attitudes wear were launched. . nh8wear Bad Baby Attitudes features message shirts and sweatshirts for Adults and children alike. Right now it’s focus is on marriage equality and 10% of the profits will go to the M.E. campaign.(Such as the CVMEC, and others.) I am the graphic artist for the designs on the shirts so I thought I would give it a little plug. Take a look and I’m sure you’ll find a shirt you can’t live without.

Some may wonder why I do not use the term “same sex marriage”. Marriage isn’t really about sex it’s about two people committing to a life together whether they are of different genders or of the same gender. I hear and read comments all the time equality being gay with nothing more then sex. I read just yesterday a comment by Gene Simmons of Kiss, in which he states that gay couples on average tend to have multiple partners inside their main relationships. Although he says he could careless one way or the other, he clearly making a point.

I find his point not only to be inaccurate but hypocritical. He is inferring that our relationships our beings are just about sex. Our relationships are no different then anyone else’s. As a matter of fact we tend to be, overall more committed then straight couples married or unmarried stone for stone. I myself have known a great many same gender couples that have been together more than 35 years. I cant’s say the same for my straight counter parts. We have been denied the right to marry and still our relationships endure committed and faithful.

Statistics show us that median duration of first marriages that end in divorce: Males: 7.8 years, Females: 7.9 years and, the median duration of second marriages that end in divorce: Males: 7.3 years Females: 6.8 years. Less then half of those who marry make it beyond 15 years. Cleary our heterosexual counter parts do not hold marriage as sacredly as the profess to.

All the time you hear, heterosexual males talk about how many partners they have had with pride. Case in point Wilt Chamberlain. Now if Richard Chamberlain had written a book and bragged about having sex with over 2,000 men he would be called disgusting by a great many people and especially men. On the other hand, Wilt Chamberlain was greeted with an “Atta Boy” and “He is such a Stud.

As I say, it is rather hypocritical and inaccurate to make such statements. Perhaps we should put no ignore what these celebrities have to say. The only problem with doing so is that there are a great many that take words like Gene Simmons as being accurate and turn around and use these inaccuracies against us. Once words are spoken, written, spoken, they are out there whether they are true or not. I know I keep harping on this but we as glbt citizens have to be out, aware, engaged and, involved. Not doing so makes us invisible. Silence = Complacency.

As we celebrate the anniversary of the decision to allow same gender couples to marry. We must keep in mind that it was short lived and we still have a battle ahead of us. We cannot let someone fight this battle for us. Each of us has got to get involved. Whether your glbtq or straight If you believe in equality for all you have to get involved. Whether you were one of those 18,000 who were able to get married, or are part the rest of use who felt we had time to plan the perfect wedding or felt when we found the perfect partner we would get married. I suspect a few of my Same gendered married friends have become even more complacent since the ruling to up hold prop 8 and let those who’s marriage took place before the ban stand. They probably feel it is not their battle anymore. They are wrong! It is their battle and they need to get involved. They are making their marriages invisible, dismissible, forgettable by the majority of the population. After all, it is only 18,000. But, 18,00 is a large number and it shows that we are committed to the sanctity of marriage. Think about it, 18,000 same gender couple were married in a five-month period and more would have been married given the time.
Now is not the time to rest on your laurels, GET INVOLVED! This is the only way to protect your marriage from being dissolved.

As we celebrate this year anniversary, we know we still have a lot of work ahead of us. I for one would like to see next election get us our right to marry back but we all have to become visible. Whether we desire marriage or not we have to fight for those who do. That poem that ends “ and when they came for me there was no one to stand up for me” Starts with not standing for others. Enough said. Get Involved.

Helpful Hank Tips and Hints: Always check to see if there are mistake paints and stains at the paint counter. A dented can of stain still works just as well and can be a fraction of the cost same with mistake paint. Take your doors and drawers off and out before sanding

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, Tips and, Deals here by leave your comments and questions

Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow


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Auntie Mame Mangos and Marketing

Auntie Mame Mangos and Marketing

Hello all, Helpful Hank Here.

Well we all seem to be getting through this heat. With no real cool down in sight Recently, I took care of one of my friends dogs. She stayed with me will my friend was out of town on an over night trip. We had gotten together before hand so that our dogs could me and greet. We got to talking about movies and which ones we enjoyed. I had mention in passing that someday I was going to get my hands on a copy of Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. To my surprise, it showed up in my mailbox, a gift from my friend for watching her dog.

It had been a while since I had seen this movie so I was eager to put it in and watch it.

As I watched the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find it just as witty and entertaining as the first time I watched it. (If you have never seen it and enjoy witty old movies, this one is right up there with the best of them.)
One of the running gags in the movie was about a drink made with honey and how awful it was. To that means, I thought I would share my favorite Summer time drink that I drink to stay cool. Don’t worry theirs no honey in these drinks I reserve the honey for my cornbread. It is a very tasty drink and without the alcohol, it has nutritional value.

The Fruity Cowboy (aka a Redneck): Take a tall glass Fill it with equal parts cranberry juice and lemonade garnish with a wedge of Lime, Lemon or a maraschino cherry. That simple, you can also add Orange juice into this mixture. You can blend it as well for a smoothie or icee. To turn it into a Hi-Octane drink add two shots Vodka In my last blog,

I shared with you how to make Mango cream. I promised my Recipe for Mango Truffels.Here is a recipe for Raspberry Mango Ice cream truffles that is simple and tasty as well.

Raspberry Mango Ice cream Truffles What you will need :

1 ripe Mango
1 cup Karo or corn syrup
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
2 cups dark chocolate chips
3 cups Milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweet condensed milk
2 caps full ( apx 2 teaspoons) of cooking oil
3 caps full (apx 1 ½ teaspoon)of raspberry extract.

In a blender blend ½ pint heavy whipping cream, cut up Mango and karo or corn syrup until it starts to form small peaks.

In a double boiler, place two cups of dark chocolate chips and one cup of milk chocolate chips. Mix until mixture becomes liquid. Add in the mango cream mixture and ½ sweet condensed milk, mix untilsmooth.
Pour mixture into a deep plastic storage container Put the lid on and place in freezer for about ½ hour. (It should be set up firm but not hard.)

Taking a spoon or mini Ice cream scoop. Scoop into small balls placing on a tray or dish lined with wax paper. Once you have all you truffle scooped out, cover with wax paper and place back in freezer to firm them up.
While they are in the freezer in the double boiler ( after you have washed it out) combine the rest of your milk chocolate chip with the sweet and condensed milk raspberry extract and cooking oil and melt stirring until mixture is smooth ( melt the chips completely before adding oil milk and raspberry extract) once you have your melted mixture your working time is limited.

Take your truffles out of the freezer and with a candy spoon or a pair of tongs dip each truffle in chocolate swirling till completely covered. Place truffle back on dish. Once you have coated all, cover dish back up and place it back in the freezer for 15 minutes.

The best way to keep these is in a covered container frozen or refrigerated. (They will melt when left out for periods greater then a couple of hours unless it is hot then they will melt much sooner.).

Recently, I have been spending a lot of time between marketing nh8wear and helping out atBloom In The Deserts office, filling in while someone was on vacation.

I haven’t been able to get back to my cabinets as my thumb is still healing but soon.

It is always nice to learn something new. Right now I am looking at different banner exchanges and doing a lot of researching for glbt banner exchanges,.( If anyone knows of any glbt banner exchanges for e-commerce fell free to share .) which brings me to my next topic. Learning to do things in a new way.

Many of use are coming to the end or have already come to the end of our unemployment insurance benefits. The smart ones divide their time looking for employment and learning a new skill or craft. Even taking a hobby and trying to turn it into a marketable product or career.

We are not necessarily giving up on the nine to five. However, as the job market gets tougher we are exploring more options. The entrepreneurial spirit is having a great resurgence. That’s a good thing.

Along with that is a more tempered view of the road to success coupled with people willing to put in the time.

We aren’t looking for a get rich scheme or some fast cash. What we are looking to do though is build something that will be a sustainable source of income that can ultimately replace the nine to five giving them a lot more freedom. Some of us have opened on line shops, while others are more into text add exchanges or building blogs and web site or blogging. Some sell their graphics on line. There are a variety of sites to assist you.

We are beginning to look at ourselves in new ways, which, is, and old way of thinking, that got lost along the way. These tough economic times we live if are worse financial and are having a greater impact then the great depression did financially. But, it is all relative to the times. The good news is people are taking more risk on themselves and their abilities and stretching their capabilities. The even better news is that as this recession winds down, (and it is slowly but surely.) we will start to see larger fruit from our labor. We will have created a sustainable income that has great growth potential.

More and more people are exploring different options as far as making an income goes. We have learned to be patience with our process and progress. We don’t expect it to take off over night. We have faith in our ideas. We know we are on the right path even if we make a few missteps. We pick ourselves up and move forward.

Many of us market multiple products and services at first until we fine-tune what are niche is. For some of us it is marketing a few products and services, for other we focus on one product. We spend our time branding our name, service or product. We Tweet and Facebook and so on. We have so many ways we can market and that is a great thing. So to all of you who are like me, trying to create a sustainable income. I say cheers keep that euntrepuneral sprite alive.

Well that about wraps it up folks. Try and stay cool and if you need to use the cooling centers in and around the valley here then do so, as that is what they are there for. If you want to do something great for others Join us down at Well in the Desert Mondays at nine and help make sandwiches for those in need of a good lunch. We have a great time, the people are friendly and you end up feeling good at the end. And in these tough times when it is easy to feel like nothing is going right. Feeling good is a great way to boost you happy quota. They are right down there on Barristo Rd in palm springs. . Till next time this is Helpful Hank signing off. Remember to keep hydrated and to wear sunscreen even if your skin tone is darker. The UV’s can still harm you. Even black people can get sunburned. My son’s mother burns real easy.

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, Tips and, Deals at:

Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow


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Projects, Projects, Projects

Projects, Projects, Projects

Hello folks, Helpful Hank here. I have been working on a great many projects lately. I always thing of my Dad when I’m working on projects. From the time I was a little boy in Elementary school and he helped me build a windmill from my Erector Set as an example of wind power for my one and only science fair project until his passing, he instilled a love of being creative. He also instilled this idea of recycling, reusing and re-purposing items.


One of the biggest projects my dad took on was building a horizontal water well driller. He had no more knowledge then knowing the basics. If he didn’t know something he would find it out. It is funny I look back and I never remember my dad as being the avid reader. My mother was always the avid read. My dad? He read when he needed to or necessity calls for it . Later he got into reading westerns but for the most part it was instruction manuals and how to books..


My dad ( he never liked to be called father it was always dad.) had this en ate ability to learn things very quickly. He also was very good at adapting things to meet the needs for the task or project at hand.


After my father had his first heart attack and open heart surgery he tried to go back to his old job but the stress proved to be to much. He was forced to retire early which left his pension short.


With my father home full time my mother was going a bit crazy. She wasn’t used to him being around so much. My mother went to work. My father was a bit lost at that point. What is it they say “Necessity is the mother of invention”? And it was. The well was slowing down and my father was fearing that it might go dry. Seeing as they had to tighten their belts because of my fathers early retirement, my father decided to figure out away to do it himself and he did.


My father took an old rototiller he took off the tillers on the bottom created and welded some slider brackets to the bottom then he created a set of rails for the rototiller to slide forward and back on. He then adapted the motor so that (the old style rototiller were open on the side exposing most of the drum of the motor which in turn was covered over by a metal mesh )Similar to the one pictured.) he could fit a pipe extending from the drum. He the welded Diamond tipped drill bits to the end of a pipe. Using a garden hose to keep the drill area wet he started drilling into the side of the hill. Each one of us, my brothers and I, worked with him on this well. My father ended up turning a need for a water supply into a business to help support his family when he was left with very little to do so after a bad set of circumstances.



One of my most favorite memories of my dad was shortly after he had started up his well drilling business. He had brought in some extra money from a job around that Christmas. My father took each of us boys on a mini shopping spree ( a surprise in and of it self.) and for me that was a trip to J.C. Penny’s men’s department. (I was a Junior in high school) Where I chose out four outfits shirt pants and sweater. My father made me chose only three. I did and we bought them and where on our way. Christmas morning my father hand’s me one of the box’s I am sure is one of the items we shopped for together. I open it up trying to look all cool and I see this smirk on my mom and dads face. The one they would get when we thought we knew it all. As I tare open the wrapping and then pry open the box I look down in disbelief! My dad had gone back to the store found the exact outfit that I had chosen and bought it, wrapped it (mostly likely store wrap.(remember store wrap it was the free basic wrap offered in Department store wrapping centers.).) and now I was staring at it wondering when he had time to do this since we had only gone two days before Christmas. I was amazed that he remembered the outfit. But that was my dad.


My dad was happy to teach you anything he knew but there was always a catch. You did the work while he gave instruction and would stop you if you were about to break something or strip something. For me this was the best way to learn, hands on. I think he knew this with me and my older brother very early on and this was a teaching method that worked well for him in teaching us.


These are a couple of my fathers basic fix it rules


1.When tightening things up hand tight + three to four extra turn. “You want it snug” he would say, then follow up with “But you want to be able to get it back off if you need to.

2.“Don’t force it., You force it your going to break it, or strip it!


My Father was a very ingenious man. One year my father asked my mother what she wanted for Easter. She just started signing Janis’s O’l Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. So for Easter her egg contained a classic 1966 Burgundy colored Sedan. Every trip to the shop was $500.00 just to look under the hood. There became to many of those. Instead of scrapping my mothers dream car (it sits on the hill to this day) he bought a book and with the help my best friends dad (They lived across the road from us) who had been an airline mechanic, my dad set out to learn all he needed to know about German engineering so that he could fix my mothers car. In no time the two of them had figured out what was wrong and were left wondering why Favio the Italian Mechanic who knew all about ‘German Engineering” couldn’t figure out that it was just a seal that needed replacing. He and the neighbor replace the seal and Favio never saw another of my dad’s hard earned nickles.


I have learned a lot from my dad over the years. Even now that he is gonna I still learn from him.


My dad was always quick with a laugh , a joke and especially with a song. What he wasn’t was long on words of wisdom. My dad wasn’t that kind of teacher. My dad taught by example and hands on. He always believed the best way to learn something is do just do it! In guiding someone through how to do something, he gave them the opportunity to see how it is done not just watch how it’s done. My dads method of teaching was to fully engage you in the learning. To make lesson have greater impact.


Every Dad teaches their children lessons. Whether it’s the good kinds that I received growing up or in the the case of some others it the lessons that sew the seeds or anger and distrust. We all need to be aware as Dad’s and men that the most important lesson we can teach our children that they are loved always and that we as Dad will do everything we can to be there. And as children who become parents we must make our children the same promise. Sometimes in spite of never having experienced that promise ourselves. Though it is not easy it can be done.


I am fortunate enough to have been brought into a family as a baby that was about being loving, accepting, working hard, respecting others and, very rich in faith. My Dad always put his families needs before his own. He was extremely intelligent, witty, and musically talented. Was a good man who taught me to many lessons to count. I can on my hope my son will look back someday and say that I was half the dad mine didn’t have to be. I hope that My son can see that biology has nothing to do with being a dad it only means you fathered a child. Think about it, when was the last time you heard a guy say I daded a child? You don’t because Dad is much to personal a word. You don’t Dad a child You are a Dad to a child. You are present Just like my dad was. I think the greatest compliment a parent can get is to called Mom or Dad. Because those word contain so much love in them even when we are upset with them or our own children are up set with us. The are the familiar and not the general.



To all the Dad’s Granddads and any man who has stepped up to the plate and just become because the need was there. I say Happy Dad’s Day and to my own Dad. I miss you each and every day. Each and everyday my good new’s is you where MY DAD! And no words could every describe that gratitude




Well that about wraps it up for now. Just one last thought, though you can father a child you still have to be a dad to them. And to every child that had a Dad count yourself blessed a great many children didn’t have that.


Remember when we volunteer the life we change can be our own.


God Bless and Take Care

Helpful Hank


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