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Norman Rockwell


Because he was too old to enlist during WWII, Illustrator Norman Rockwell, offered his services to the war department in a unique way.  Inspired by Roosevelt and Churchill's Atlantic Charter, Norman Rockwell created four large scale paintings known as The Four Freedoms (today his most memorable works). Offered to the War Department, he was told by the Office of War Information (OWI) that they would prefer to hire a REAL artist for their posters.  Norman didn't give up, and finally found support for his project after many months.


Mr. Rockwell always painted from life, using friends and neighbors from his hometown as his models.  In Freedom From Want  Mrs. Wheaton, Rockwell's family cook is seen serving Thanksgiving turkey.  Norman said of the painting, "She cooked it, I painted it, and we all ate it"( the only time he ate his model). In Freedom of Speech Mr. Rockwell was inspired by his friend, Jim Edgerton's speech, during a local Grange meeting.  Freedom From Fear and Freedom of Worship were the hardest for Mr. Rockwell to paint, but became his favorite of the four. The task took him six months to accomplish, working seven days a week and taking only a half day off for Christmas.


The Four Freedoms became the government's mouthpiece in a language everyone could understand.  Done during a time when the American people were in need of encouragement, by an artist the government did not want to use.  After 25,000 prints produced  by the POST magazine quickly sold, the O.W.I. asked permission from Rockwell to print 2.5 million posters of the work for their war bond drive.  The year long campaign raised 133 million for the war effort.


        Sharing stories of

        my favorite artist


       By Penny Brookins












Winter squash is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties from Beta-Carotene, and contains high values of Vitamin C. Store squash in a cool, dark place for up to two months. NOTE: Canned pumpkin can be used for this recipe.



2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned

or homemade)

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

(recipe follows)

8 slices Whole Grain Bread

Pure Maple Syrup (heated)

Coconut oil for cooking



1) In shallow bowl beat together eggs, egg whites, pumpkin puree, spice and milk. Note: I just put all of this in my Magic  Bullet Blender).

2) Coat a non-stick skillet with  coconut or olive oil and heat to medium temperature.

3) Dredge bread slices in pumpkin/egg mixture on both sides, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl.

4) Place two to three slices in pre-heated pan and cook 2-minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm  and continue to cook remaining in the same manner.  Serve with warmed Pure Maple syrup or your favorite topping.



1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. scant ground ginger

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix together and measure according to recipe directions.







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Allen's Headshot

The House That Harmed


 On occasion I get a call from an attorney to do an interesting investigation which results in an expert witness job. In this particular case, a young man of 24 years had been given a place to live for one month  in return for painting the property inside and out. The utilities had been paid with the gas and electricity turned on by the building owner, and the young man moved in and spent his first night in the home.  Unfortunately, it was the last night he would spend in the home, because he did not wake up the next day.  An autopsy determined that the young man had died of acute carbon monoxide poisoning.


The attorney that called me asked if I could determine what killed the young man by doing an inspection of the home.  "Of course, I will most likely be able to tell you exactly how the young man died and what killed him," I explained to the attorney.  I met the attorney, along with the building owner, his attorney, and a policeman at the property the next day. The building was surrounded with the "DO NOT CROSS, POLICE CRIME SCENE" tape, but the policeman quickly took care of the banner allowing me to enter.  The building owner opened the door and walked into the property followed by the two attorneys.  I followed last, but stopped on the threshold. Pointing to the wall mounted natural gas heater I announced, "that killed him." 


It was an easy call for me because there was a huge amount of carbon on the outside of the wall mounted furnace radiating away from  the top of the heat exchanger draft diverter, and spreading out around the top portion of the firebox opening at the bottom of the unit. Carbon is one of the bi-products of incomplete combustion.  The other two bi-products are water vapor and  deadly carbon monoxide.  As little as two parts per million of carbon monoxide is enough to kill a human...a very small amount.  In a one bedroom efficiency mini-home, the carbon monoxide probably killed the young man in about fifteen minutes.


It was the time of year when there was a definite chill in the evening air, and everyone was firing up their gas furnaces for the first time to get ready for the cold season.  When the gas service to this building was turned on, the day before the young man moved in, the gas company should have checked the operation of the gas appliances to make sure they were operating safely. They also should check the integrity of the gas lines and do a test of the regulator to make sure the gas going into the home is at the correct pounds per square inch (P.S.I).The gas usually gets to the meter at about 80 P.S.I., but after it goes through the regulator, the P.S.I. is generally less than one pound.  If you put your thumb over a gas line on the house side of your meter you can stop the gas flow easily! It turned out that the gas service person came to the property, turned on the gas, and did not check anything else like he was supposed to do. The gas company sent out a supervisor and found that the regulator screw cap was rusted in place and had not been disturbed.  The heater flue was blocked with a piece of aluminum slid up and into the interior vent pipe of the wall heater of the living room which had blocked the flu. The spent gases robbed the interior air of the house of oxygen and the flame in the furnace got dirty which produced the carbon and the carbon monoxide that killed the young man.


The gas company technician of 18 years of service was fired the next day, and four months later the gas service company agreed to a million dollar settlement to the young man's family.  I never had to testify in court because the gas company technician filed for state unemployment compensation.  When compensation was denied, the technician requested and received a hearing, where the gas company supervisor testified to what he had found at the property.  The young man's family attorney obtained  the public record of the hearing and pressured the gas service company into the million dollar settlement.  This is a very sad story because this wrongful death didn't have to happen. If you know of anyone who you think might benefit from an inspection of their heating equipment as our weather gets colder, I would be happy to come out and check the safe operation of their furnace for FREE.



18 hours TO PREPARE.


Half-times TAKE 12 MINUTES.



 Remembering the humor








Wishing you the good things of life at Thanksgiving and throughout the year.  With sincere appreciation for your confidence and loyalty.



All our best to you,
Allen Blaker
We train the profession of Home Inspection to others
If you know of anyone who is interested in learning the profession of home inspection send them our way.


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Phoenix, AZ 85208


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