Monthly Archives: May 2009

Singer: Louis Armstrong

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Andre Bergamin.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Andre Bergamin.

Nicknamed “Satchmo,” Louis Armstrong was a crossover artist before people knew such a thing existed. It’s probably a stretch to say that he brought jazz to the mainstream, but not much of one. He was certainly the most engaging and accessible ambassador of the emerging American musical genre.

Like many entertainers of his generation, he began by singing on street corners for pennies and nickles. Then he took up the trumpet, and the rest, as they say, is geography. His career arc took him from New Orleans to Chicago to Harlem. He was on a musical journey as well, finding his way from true jazz to jazz-influenced pop to popular hits.

He was the first great trumpet soloist in jazz, and he kept his signature handkerchief ready to mop his brow. Younger audiences today know him for his 1968 recording of What a Wonderful World, featured in such movies as Madagascar and Meet Joe Black. But his biggest hit was Hello Dolly. Released in 1964, it knocked the Beatles out of the top spot on the chart, and Armstrong remains the oldest person ever to have a number one hit.

By the way, apparently he got the nickname “Satchmo” because of his large mouth. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Food: Whitman’s Sampler

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Cinnamoroll and Roll

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by Cinnamoroll and Roll

I know, I know…someone already took the great dark chocolate ones , and you never get the chocolate-covered cherry (the “cherry cordial” in Whitman’s-speak). And even though there’s a diagram showing what each piece of candy is, there’s a greater thrill in hoping you get a nougaty, nutty treat instead of one that tastes like it’s filled with toothpaste.

Whitman’s Samplers come in a variety of sizes, from 1.75 ounces all the way up to 40 ounces. (Though, let’s be honest, the four pieces in the smallest box is hardly deserving of the title “sampler.”) In addition to the traditional “Assorted Chocolates” box, you can also get Nut, Chewy & Crisp, Dark Chocolates, Pecan Crowns, Milk Chocolates, Chocolate Covered Nuts, and Sugar Free varieties.

Most Samplers are sold at Valentine’s Day (surprise!), but quite a few are given for Mother’s Day gifts as well. Just remember this simple etiquette lesson. There’s no shame in taking a bite, and discreetly throwing the rest away if you don’t like what you got. But it’s never acceptable — never — to put the half-eaten piece back in the box.

Are you reading this Uncle Richard?