In Our Community
One of the most memorable childrens radio series from the golden days of radio was No School Today with Big Jon and Sparkie.
Jon Arthur brought two memorable childens shows to ABC in 1950: the Saturday morning No School Today and the daily Further Adventures of Big Jon and Sparkie.
The shows revolved around one “normal” adult (Jon Arthur) and a supporting cast of fantasy characters played by Arthur. The star of the show was Sparkie, “the little elf from the land of make-believe, who wanted more than anything else to be a real boy.” The series was billed as a show “for the younger generation and the young at heart,” and featured stories and songs. Big Jon had his magic spy glass for inspection time. He could look into your bedroom and check such things as, did you make your bed, or are you well groomed for the day, among other things. There was march time with Gilhooly Mahoney and his orchestra playing a tune, with us kids marching around our bedroom.
There was a segment at which Sparkie told of the lastest episode of a movie serial he saw the week before at the Westwood Theater, Captain Jupiter and the Jupiter Rangers. The unique creativeness of this series was that Big Jon Arthur was the voice of all the characters. Sparkie’s voice was a tape machine with the machine at a different speed. Two other main characters were Big Jon’s voice imitating people from his past friends.
The series was on ABC from 1950 to 1958. Later he worked for the Family Radio Network, a Christian station from Oakland, CA. Big Jon died February 24, 1982. He left behind wonderful memories for those of us who woke up on Saturday mornings to the tune of The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.
If you listen to the Big Broadcast on AM 1370 KDTH from 6 to midnight on Sunday nights, you might hear once again “Hi, hey, hello again, here we go again, it’s time for Big Jon and Sparkie and no school today.”
No Summer Vacation?
The Broken World
I found the world broken. It lay along the edge of the road. The broken world was a foam rubber ball made to look like the world. I picked up the sad looking sphere and held it in my hand, turning it over, surveying the damage.
The small globe had seen much play and some evil abuse. Apocalyptic events had gouged out parts of the oceans, some islands, and a good chunk of several continents.
It was either discarded or lost by the child or children who had played with it. I decided to keep it, a symbol of the larger world it represented.
Like the microscopic organisms that likely inhabited the surface of the small broken world I held in my hand, the real world also has creatures, human beings, inhabiting its surface, microscopic in size and unseen when viewed from anywhere beyond our envelope of atmosphere.
We human beings experience the brokenness of this world beyond the fracturing earth’s crust creating earthquakes and tsunamis, wild weather resulting in droughts, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, and microscopic bacteria and viruses causing sickness and death. The brokenness also exists between us and the God who made this world and us, between each of us, and within each of us.
The good news is that our broken world is not lost nor has it been discarded. God could have considered our world a lost cause, but He didn’t. He could have discarded the world as we know it, but He didn’t.
Those of us who call ourselves Christians believe God did something absolutely astonishing. We believe God came to our broken world as one of us, became broken Himself on a cross, broken unto death, for us. He didn’t stay broken, however, but became alive again, good as new. He did this so we wouldn’t have to be broken in a relationship with Him, could have healing in broken human relationships, and inner healing from what’s tearing us apart inside.
I’m keeping the broken world of a ball. The good news is that it still can be played with as a ball, as broken as it is. This, to me, is like the larger world it represents. My world, your world, our world, is broken, no doubt about it. The good news is that God can and does work with it all and some day will make all things new again!
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), there are approximately 3,300 fires in the home annually caused by extension cords. On average, extension cord fires kill about 50 people yearly and injure another 270. Another hazard of extension cords is the trips and falls they may cause, especially in adults over the age of 65. Here are some safety tips that can help keep your home and yourself protected when using extension cords.
Extension cords are meant for temporary use. They are not to take the place of permanent wiring. If you are finding that you have lots of extension cords in use because you have few outlets, evaluate if you really need all the things plugged in. Consult with an electrician about having more outlets installed as well.
When using an extension cord, never plug an extension cord into another extension cord or into a power strip. This is called “daisy chaining” and could result in a fire. Always plug larger items such as refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioner units and other appliances directly into wall outlets. The heat that these appliances produce can overheat extension cords and power strips resulting in a fire.
Never run extension cords through walls, ceilings or floors or under rugs or doors. Never set items on top of an extension cord such as clothing or other combustible materials. The heat buildup in the cord over time can cause those combustible items to start on fire. Running cords under doors can slowly wear the sheathing off the cord exposing the wires. This could cause an electrical shock or a fire.
Finally, extension cords can cause trip and fall hazards. Many people run extension cords across rooms, down hallways or even down stairways. As we get older we do not pick our feet up as high when walking. This can result in our feet getting tangled up in an extension cord and falling. If using an extension cord, ensure it does not go across doorways or in areas where you walk.
If you have any questions or would like further information I can be reached at
563-589-4195 or at Dpaulson@cityofdubuque.org.
In mid January of 2020, I had a meeting to attend with several other women. Iowa was in the midst of wintery weather and my driveway was covered with black ice and heavy snow. In this kind of weather I stay in the house. One of the women called me to see if I was going to be at the meeting. I said no due to the safety factor of my icy driveway. My friend said, “Oh, come on! Are you a wimp?” I don’t remember any one ever asking me that question.
After all, a wimp is a weak, ineffective, insipid (cowardly) person, so the dictionary states. This description doesn’t fit my personality. And the only other description of a wimpy person I know of is the comic character of J. Wellington Wimpy, created in 1931, by a newspaper cartoonist named, Elzie Crisler Segar.
Wimpy, as he was called, was inspired by a real-life person, named J. William Schuchert from Chester, Illinois. Wimpy first showed up in Segar’s comic strip called Thimble Theatre. Wimpy was drawn as a chubby gentleman with a small mustache with very few hairs. He was quite educated and portrayed as intelligent. He loved hamburgers but didn’t usually pay for them. He was a moocher. In the comic strips Popeye and his partner Wimpy are good friends. Popeye ate spinach for muscle. Wimpy ate hamburgers for pleasure. He just loved hamburgers!
Wimpy really didn’t have an occupation, but he would sometimes do odd jobs for a hamburger. That is if he could not mooch one. He preferred freebies. All in all Popeye and Wimpy have quite a history in comic strips, comic books, film cartoons, TV series, and movies. Popeye and Wimpy are icons. They may live on forever. And while Wimpy was known to be a coward, was he really a bona fide wimp? Perhaps not. After all he was charming, and with his red tie and happy smiling face, he was loveable.
Was I a wimp because I wouldn’t go out on an icy winter day? In my lifetime I have never thought of myself as a “wimp.” Of course, I have not thought of myself as the antonym of a wimp either, which is a powerhouse. I’m just me. And I hope no one ever calls me “Granny Wimp!” Because if they do, they may have a real powerhouse on their hands!