Perrigo

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Approaching autumn.  I can smell it, especially at night.  Falling leaves.  Campbell’s Tomato Soup & Premium Saltine Crackers.  The garden, finally tamed.  But now?  Still a roiling cacophony of God’s goodness.  Yet among pleasures of Eve & Adam evil does exist.  In the form of a nasty rash starting on my fingers, spreading to neck and knee.

Winds of Darwin set forth upon my acreage a new weed, lively, unpretentious, with hidden secrets.  Insects quickly grasped its unpleasantness.  To me, weeks would pass before lesson was learnt.

First, home remedies.  Smeared honey had a cooling effect but clothes stuck to my skin.  Ice wrapped in a towel?  Fantastic!  But I’d tend to drip across work orders, blueprints and such.  Next the family doctor who made, even with my limited dermatological knowledge, a misdiagnosis.  Finally, a true professional, identified by her age and demeanor – past retirement and I work because I can still work.

Past diagnoses tossed aside, adjacent issues dismissed, she prods me to discovery.  Yes, it must have been the garden.  The only constant in a variable schedule, weeded casually many times a month.  Doctor MacKay quickly determines the itching is driving me crazy.  Exhibit A:  Man goes to doctor without parental bidding.

A steroidal cream prescribed, purchased, and applied, my symptoms are on the wane.  The cream?  Manufactured in the Bronx by a multi-national corporation, Perrigo (not the flooring company).  A most interesting company with its roots in simple dry and wet goods capitalism.

In 1887 Luther Perrigo, the proprietor of a general store and apple-drying business, had the idea to package and distribute patented medicines and household items for country stores. Located in Allegan, Michigan, the L. Perrigo Company enjoyed steady growth and, by the early 1920s, Perrigo was exceeding the needs of its rural store customers throughout the Midwest.

Along the way, the company began leveraging the “private label” concept as a way to enhance customer loyalty. For no additional cost, Perrigo offered to imprint the individual store’s name on the labels of epsom salts, sweet oil, bay rum and dozens of other wet and dry goods stocked in general stores.  Perrigo History 

D’Addario Helicore Violin Strings

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Through a summer haze of bug bites, various skin infections and rashes, even intermittent sun poisoning despite the best efforts of La Roche-Posay, we’ve again dropped into the lap of another week.  Without a story.  But we are close.  Like this week, stringing newly acquired ½ and ¼ size fiddles.  The bench is littered with wrappings from D’Addario, their Helicore strings.  Nearly every fiddle refurbishment gets Helicores.

While competitors put “student quality” strings on their fiddles, Helicores have proven, again and again, to product better tones, making my efforts so much more satisfying.  The thrilling grin of a teacher giving feedback on a fiddle unplayed for decades, the student who buys or borrows the instrument, even myself, largely untrained.  

Constant improvement, meticulous attention to quality, a true value despite their cost.  It’s D’Addario for me.  Mandolin, guitar, violin, even Pete’s bouzouki wears D’Addario.

Helicore violin strings are crafted with a multi-stranded steel core, resulting in optimal playability while producing a clear, warm tone. The smaller string diameter provides quick bow response. Premium quality materials combined with skilled workmanship produces strings known for excellent pitch stability and longevity. D’Addario

McCormick Extracts

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Just a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down ~ ~ Sometimes it is just a pinch of this or a dash of that which makes all the difference.  My world-famous griddlecakes?  A single drop of almond extract per batter batch.  A pot of hot chocolate?  A drop of vanilla.

That is nearly the limit and extent of my extracts knowledge.  There was a third box of Schilling extract up in the cabinet corner, saved from great-grandmothers’ kitchen.  Never opened, never used.  The box dated 1976, our Bicentennial.

Of no use?  Hardly.  When a friend developed a bit of seasonal lip infection, she reminded me of the extract and asked to use it.  What for?  Sippin’?  There’s plenty of snake-bite juice in the cupboard.

I learn extract of peppermint is preferred by many professionals to resolve topical skin issues, especially near and in the mouth!  Even better, it is not a homeopathic cure, but real world medicine.  A quick web search reveals an exhausting list of ailments and issues helped by mint oils.  I find mint tea the perfect digestif after gastronomic overindulgence.  Especially following a triple helping of my galaxy-famous gluten-and-egg-free griddlecakes!

A. Schilling & Company was an American foodstuffs company founded in San Francisco, California, in 1881 by August Schilling and George F. Volkmann, a pair 27 year-old Bremen, Germany emigres.  It dealt in coffee, tea, baking powder, extracts, and spices and was acquired by McCormick & Company in 1946 and merged into its business as its Western Division.  McCormick continued to use the Schilling name until the 1990s, with the last product containers marked as Schilling produced in 2002.wiki

Old Fiddlers’ Picnic

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Old fiddlers … young fiddlers … everything in between.  Add a gazillion guitars and banjos, a heap o’ mandolins, a few upright basses and dobros.  Let’em loose within a shaded grove up the hill from the Main Stage.  That’s the Old Fiddlers’ Picnic.  Now in its 89th year, it was old even when my folks were courting teenagers from a nearby mill town.

Aside from the stage, no one is in charge.  No one is there to drink or fight.  There are no genre turf wars.  Just a peaceful gathering of people without anything to prove.  Playing for fun, sharing their gifts, enjoying the company of old friends.

Because Sunday’s Picnic was Saturday’s rain date, several acts cancelled.  Naturally I was roped into performing.  With only Hugh’s mandolin and nothing planned, it was the perfect opportunity to fail spectacularly.  Hugh’s Collings MT2 is *showing its age* (stage whisper).  The frets are getting low, and while she sings a tune better than most, it takes a lot of effort to put her in the mood.

Fortunately I ran into Glenn McNemar of Kennet Square.  Glenn both maintains the local mandolarium while making mandolins full-time, and brought a fresh build with him.  Not six weeks old, proud of fret, soft in demeanor but unconsciously vivacious, his mandolin was the star of my time slot.

Five hours of playing, bug bitten, dehydrated, sore, hungry, I again enjoy one of the finest small music festivals in America.  Just like the one next weekend in a county park near you.

Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a related genre of country music. Influenced by the music of Appalachia, bluegrass has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music, and was also later influenced by the music of African-Americans through incorporation of jazz elements. – wiki

La Roche-Posay

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It sounds French.  Men may think it a type of wine.  Women, all-knowing, recognize the name from medical professional’s offices.   Sounds logical but not quite the truth.

Originally sold only within dermatologist and plastic surgeon’s offices, the best sunscreens in the world went retail ten years ago.  L’Oréal USA does not advertise La Roche-Posay.  High consumer report ratings and doctor recommendations have helped establish favorable market share.  But possibly the most important factor in this product line’s success?  Quality.

After “borrowing” a tube of La Roche Posay from a client while in the field, I note its comfort and protection.  After days of use, my usual daily burn is absent.  Once discovered, I became a quick convert.

We asked Mary, customer service majordomo and chief marketing strategist at L’Oréal USA, “What is the company known for?”  (paraphrased)  Quality.  R&D.  We take pride in the research and development we put into all of our products.  Diversity of product.  We’re the largest cosmetic company in world, and we make a product for all price points.  From personal experience, I’ve noted economy sunscreen stings, even causing a rash.  The cost of quality?  I don’t notice it.

Mary leaks a secret.  Calls to customer care are roughly split, 50/50.  Women and men both want to care for their skin.  Guess men like product as much as women. 🙂

Crest vs Colgate

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Bang bang, you’re dead.
Brush your teeth and go to bed.
Camp song

Children’s songs of folklore try to instill regular habits.  Giving thanks before meals.  The avoidance of blinding a friend in game.  Within fifty variations among a dozen generations, this camp song has reenforced, “Brush yer teeth.”  The cost of underbrushing.  Perils of over-brushing.

Good habits as kids carry over to good habits as adults.  Same for product.  Within the dental products aisle of our local market stretch options so vast one may forget that for which they came, blinded by the glamour of choice.

Artisanal, homeopathic, organic, PETA-approved … some linger in this aisle, confused, dreamy, excited, like a cat in a strange garret.  Sexual delights anticipated, amplified by their newly pearlescent teeth and licorice anisette breath.  Blind to marketing gimmicks, they buy the sizzle, brushing with false hope.  “Grandma’s Special Recipe” toothpaste at three times the price but without the drop of turpentine she concealed as her secret ingredient.

Back to basic.  Back to trust every time for me.  Crest as a kid, Crest now.  The name ‘Crest‘ means  “Research. Development. Testing. Quality.”  Not a garage concoction tubed, boxed, and sold out of a station wagon by Felix and his cousin, but a real product developed by professionals, extensively tested, with impeccable quality control.

Sometimes I’ll buy Colgate.  Same trust.  Do I lean towards one?  Sure, but either is fine.  In all my decades as a shopper, I’ve only bought a different paste once.  It’s still in its box in the cellar, half full, the properties unneeded.

Don’t forget to floss.

Most domestic consumption Crest is made in Greensboro, North Carolina.  My last tube of Colgate was made in Morristown Tennessee.  Occasionally you’ll get a tube of Crest manufactured in Nuacalpan, Mexico, differentiated by a foil seal beneath the cap. Colgate also has manufacturing in Mexico.  Both manufacturers sell primarily domestic production within the ‘States.

Gerber Covert Folder

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It is the perfect tool.  Large enough to achieve firm grip. Slim enough to carry everywhere.  Safe enough not to collapse into your fingers when the cutting gets tough.  The Gerber Covert Folder.

Based on the classic Applegate-Fairbairn fixed knife, the Covert is a 3/4 scale, pocket clip version of the Gerber original Applegate-Fairbairn Combat Folder.  Gerber

When my niece says, “Why do you always carry a knife”?,  she forgets she’s never asked,  “Why don’t you have your knife?”.  As the most important invention ever developed (along with its derivatives),  everyday living would be far different without the sharpened blade.  Walking down your steps (the saw and lathe) to breakfast cereal (scythe) in your stone house (the chisel), a free American (the sword) may think little of the knife’s importance.

Several times a day as a tradesperson I reach for my Gerber to resolve an issue.  Expand my view.  Nudge or persuade the reluctant in a manner my finger cannot.  Whether tight quarters or dangerously jagged obstructions, the Gerber has a way of poking its business end into the issue,  demanding quarter.  Recalcitrant material usually gives way.  Uncle!

It is the perfect tool.  And the perfect gift.

There’s always a ⅜” x 8″ Craftsman slotted screwdriver and Estwing hammer should more persuasion be wanted …