Friday Five

1. Sno-balls. On a side street in Greenwich Village, there is a tiny shop that opened recently called the Imperial Woodpecker. What do they sell? (Not woodpeckers, silly) Snow cones, of course.  Do you remember snow cones – shaved ice with flavored sugar syrup poured over it? But these aren’t just any snow cones – they’re New Orleans style sno-balls. Mine is on the right. It’s “dreamsicle” flavor which is orange cream. My friend got “hurricane” flavor (sans alcohol) which is supposed to be modeled on the famous drink by the same name, but he added condensed milk to his sno-ball. Then, of course, you need to have the salty Zapp’s to compliment the sweet sno-ball. It’s a party in your mouth! We talked with owner Neesa Peterson for a bit, but I’m still not sure what the secret is.

Can you New Orleans folks weigh in on this? What makes these snow cones New Orleans style?

2. You are not special. If everyone is special then no one is. So says David McCullough as the keynote speaker during the Wellesley High School commencement ceremony. Probably not what the graduates were hoping to hear, but an eye-opener nonetheless. This ten-minute speech is filled with great reminders for living life to the fullest – whether you’re 18 or 88.

We have come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point. We are happy to compromise standards or ignore reality if we suspect that’s the quickest way or only way to have something to put on the mantelpiece.

3. That’s right you’re not from Texas. I’m not from Texas but whenever I listen to Lyle Lovett, I wish I was. He put on a wonderful (and free!) concert in the park last weekend. We were a little ways from the stage, but that just meant more room for dancing.

Have you seen any great concerts this summer?

4. Is the “social” gone from social media? Are online friendships inherently shallow? Those were interesting questions posed by author Jody Hedlundin a recent post. She cites motivation as the key component in the depth of bonds formed over the internet, i.e. what is your intent in making the connection? As we all know, a lot of people have turned social media as a format to sell you stuff. (If you’re a writer, you’ll want to check out her link to the Guardian article written by Ewan Morrison about why social media is not a magic bullet for authors.) So like other media that came before, there is more and more white noise on social media. Folks who are using social media solely as free advertising have to turn up the volume so to speak to get your attention. How to they do that? Enter another wonderful post by the always-on-point Caitlin Kelly. She wonders about the TMI factor present in a lot of social media interactions. Underneath it all is everyone just searching for validation? What are the consequences of too much navel-gazing?

They can high-five us across six time zones — or trash us with vicious comments. It’s the deliberate risk we take in exposing our soft underbelly to the cool gaze of strangers.

Have you made any lifelong friendships through social media? Do you feel there is too much “me, me, me” on social media?

5. I’m a hunka, hunka burning love. Or something less creepy. But hey, it’s Elvis Week, and when at Graceland… Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of his death. Each year, Graceland goes into overdrive when fans descend to honor the king. What started spontaneously as a candlelight vigil by some of his more manic dedicated fans has morphed into a week long festival filled with Elvis movies, Elvis impersonators tribute artists, trivia contests and dance parties. Everyone from Elvis’s barber to the check-out girl at the Piggly Wiggly who sold him a gallon of milk comes out of the woodwork is on hand to sign autographs.

A few years ago my parents and I went to Graceland. I know the words to “Jailhouse Rock”, have seen Viva Las Vegas, and even know how to play “Love Me Tender” on the guitar (that’s a story for another post). I’m certainly not an ELVIS FAN, but I was a bit in awe, not of the man or the house (which was modest by today’s standards for someone of his wealth and fame), but of the simple fact that I was at Graceland. What on earth drew me there? There are plenty of performers I like, but I’m not driving hours out of my way to tour Frank Sinatra’s house or taking photos of the bandana Axl Rose wore at the Grammy’s. What is it about Graceland? Why do people write songs (Marc Cohen, Paul Simon) and plays  (Ellen Byron) about Graceland?  I’ve yet to get to the bottom of it.


The Jungle Room

Have a great weekend, everyone!



  1. Wow, what an interesting assortment of things this week! I’ve heard of the snow cone craze, so it was cool to read about the Imperial Woodpecker (I’m so curious about the name). And I’m happy to see the link to Jody’s post about social networking and friendship — I don’t know about lifelong friendships, but I do feel that I’ve connected with a great group of writers (including you!) and I wonder if it’s different depending on motivation and personality — I mean online dating works so why not online writer connections?


    1. I’m so curious about the name Imperial Woodpecker. I’m going to make it a point to ask next time I go. What a cool name for a sno-ball shop!
      I love that you compared the online dating networks to online writing networks. It feels very similar, doesn’t it? 🙂 Writing can be such a solitary experience, it’s wonderful to connect with other writers with similar aspirations.


  2. Thanks for the link! Very kind of you.
    I love that you went to Graceland. How fun! I happened to be in Las Vegas just as the Liberace Museum was closing and I wrote a piece about it. I would probably never have gone except to write a paid story, but I am really glad I did. I had no idea he gave many scholarships and had a fantastic collection of pianos and harpsichords. It made the man very real and that loss poignant.


    1. Thanks so much for your comment. It made me remember my visit to the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas years ago. I, too, thought it would be very noteworthy, but I was happily wrong. I found it so enjoyable and absolutely fascinating. I didn’t know that the museum closed. How disappointing.


  3. Jackie! I love this! And would you believe my husband’s father just retired from a wholesale flavoring machine company in New Orleans that specialized in Sno-Balls? So my husband knows his sno-balls!:) He asserts that what makes them sno-balls is that the shave of the ice is much finer than usual sno-cones–and certainly adding the condensed milk is very much a sno-ball/NO touch. Aren’t they the best?! Does Reggie have a favorite flavor yet?


    1. Small world! When she turned on the machine to make my sno-ball, it sounded like a jet engine! 🙂 I enjoyed the flavor I got – dreamsicle. Are there any traditional NO flavors?
      Reggie would like to request napkin flavor!


  4. I’ve made some great friends through blogging, who I hope will remain life-long connections. Sara and I consistently meet the best people via blogging. Met a new friend and her husband for the first time yesterday. So much fun!

    Also,rumor has it that David McCullough (senior) was my father’s first cousin. Both are from Pittsburgh. Long story. But I had seen the story about what his son had said at that graduation.

    Hope you and Reggie have a great weekend!



    1. I didn’t even make the connection between your last names when I was posting that item about David McCullough! Silly me. Does that make you his 2nd cousin once removed? I can never figure out how that works. 🙂
      I hope I get to meet you and Sara one day. That would be a lot of fun.


  5. A wonderfully quirky friday five! Can you put a sno-cone in the post to Tasmania for me? 🙂 As someone who has taught in high schools, I wholeheartedly agree with David about encouraging learning for the love of it rather than what it will ‘get’ you, and the importance of not lowering education standards just because it’s the easy option.


    1. One snow-cone coming right up! Just let me know your favorite flavors. 🙂
      I, too, thought that was a wonderful commencement speech. Maybe it was lost on the graduates, but he offered some great reminders about how to get the most out of life.
      Hope all is well on your renovation projects!


  6. You know… I… don’t think I’ve ever had a snow cone before (that strikes me as a bit strange, now that I mention it… AND unfortunate)!
    People tell me all the time that my Elvis impression is special. I’m beginning to question their sincerity, though. 🙂


What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s