A few weeks ago, ol' Morgan reported that the Farmer's Almanac recommended storing bread in a plastic bag in a bread box or out on a kitchen counter. Well, friends, ol'Morgan, the staunch seeker of truth and common sense, put the Almanac to the test. Guess what? The Almanac was right!
Ol' Morgan, going against all that he holds sacred, kept the bread out of the refrigerator and in a plastic bag out on the counter. By jingo, that bread remained fresh, fresher than when ol' Morgan used to chill it in the "frigidare."
And, deciding to live even more dangerously, ol' Morgan took the Almanac to task - again. This time on the subject of baked potatoes. The Almanac recommends not to wrap a potato in foil before baking it. Great Scott! Ol' Morgan held his breath and placed a neatly scrubbed Idaho into the oven without foil at 350 degrees for about an hour. Well, as promised by the Almanac, that baked potato turned out to be one of best ol' Morgan ever tasted.
Not that ol' Morgan has a lot of extra time on his hands these days, but he began wondering whatever happened to the "Good Writers Club."
As a young boy in the parochial elementary school system over in Philadelphia, ol' Morgan was instructed in the ways of the Palmer Method, a handwriting instructional progam developed by the Palmer Company in Boston, which is no longer around.
Every Friday afternoon, ol' Morgan and his classmates had to do a series of exercises that were designed to loosen up our hand muscles so that we could get our pens, loosely held in relaxed hands, to flow across the page producing handwriting that even a monk would envy. It became the goal of every class to make the "Good Writers Club." Each week there would be a writing assignment that would, hopefully, qualify a lucky dozen or so students for consideration for membership. This would continue until everyone in the class made the club.
It turns out that ol' Morgan was not alone in this worthy pursuit of handwriting excellence. Ann A. Eckles of Elverson, a volunteer over at the Village Library of Morgantown, had a similar experience as a young girl, but out in Blawnox, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
She underwent the "Painter Method." As ol' Morgan and Ann discovered, both approaches including the exercises were strikingly similar. Mr. Painter each week would come to her school and put her and her fellow students through the paces while across the Commonwealth, the good nuns would have ol' Morgan and his classmates doing the same thing albeit in different eras.
Ann explained that the Painter Method endeavored to produce simple but neat penmanship. The Palmer Method, on the other hand, sought to produce penmanship that had a curl and a flair to it. Well, it wasn't long before Ann and ol' Morgan were literally swapping notes and a few scrawls.
Computers and e-mail notwithstanding, signing one's name or doing homework "longhand" is truly a way to express oneself, at least ol'Morgan thinks so. Look up what handwriting analysts have to say on the subject.
Over the wireless during the last snow came reports that contained the term "thunder snow." Huh? Ol' Morgan called a meterologist at the National Weather Service, and discovered that "thunder snow" was an inside term used by the government's forecasters that got out into popular parlance during the blizzard of '96.
Simply stated, when thunder sounds during a snowstorm, conditions are really ripe for a heavy snow.
If a thunder snow is on its way, make sure you have a supply of potatoes laid in for baking. It's one way to pass the time while you practice your penmanship and wait for the weather to clear.