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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School is in!...even for the backward child with no personality!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Summer's over, well, Summer from the standpoint of anyone going back to school. I miss the days when Summer felt as though it lasted 4 months. And then reality hits (How old were you?), and Summer is barely more than 8 weeks. I think I was 14. The harsh reality of a new school or even a new class was a real buzz kill.  There was a time, when your "keepers" may have actually considered sending you to something other than a public school. They might have even turned to the recommendations of a high-brow publication such as the Literary Digest. I managed to pick up a copy from 1922 while vacationing in the middle of New York last week. I have to confess, that's not the cover of my copy, but it's close - to within 15 months. Thanks to the high quality color covers of this publication, it is difficult to find one with the cover intact.
Click for larger image
I mainly bought it because, A) it was a dollar; B) there were a number of ads that looked like candidates for the Ad Quiz; and C) The Literary Digest, like a lot of magazines, had either a page of ads featuring the "finest" schools or a page of recommendations like these...you may have to squint:

The fun comes from 2 of the sections within. There are the typical categories for college and preparatory that are not surprisingly separated by sex, followed by a tiny co-ed section. At the bottom was a most peculiar section:
What are backward children? Do you start them at the 12th grade and they regress to kindergarten? Did they come into this world butt first and only to be the subject of discrimination? Why isn't there a section for "lefties" then? Maybe this is the first form of the phrase now known as developmentally challenged. If that's true, we have come a long way with our social graces. But wait, there's more! It seems that there was another deficiency that needed to be addressed in the careful crafting of young minds.
This seems innocent enough until you realize that some poor kid had to attend personality summer school as a  result of flunking out during the normal personality school year. I'm not sure I'd want to meet anyone from that graduating class, but I wondered what they might look like -  So, I did an image search for "Group of people with no personality" and this is what I got.
The Jersey Shore Never watched an episode...never will.
The Literary Digest lasted, through most of the depression, thanks to the income level of its subscribers, but came to a strange end in 1936. From Wikipedia:

...It conducted a "straw poll" regarding the likely outcome of the 1936 presidential election. The poll showed that the Republican governor of Kansas, Alf Landon, would likely be the overwhelming winner. This seemed possible to some, as the Republicans had fared well in Maine, where the congressional and gubernatorial elections were then held in September - as opposed to the rest of the nation, where these elections were held in November along with the presidential election, like today. This seemed especially likely in light of the conventional wisdom, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," a truism coined because Maine was regarded as a "bellwether" state which usually supported the winning candidate's party.
In November, Landon carried only Vermont and Maine Franklin Delano Roosevelt carried the then-46 other states; Landon's electoral vote total of eight is a tie for the record low for a major-party nominee since the current U.S. two-party system began in the 1850s. The Democrats joked, "As goes Maine, so goes Vermont," and the magazine was completely discredited because of the poll and was soon discontinued.

As a footnote: We survived Hurricane Irene, though more than half the State of CT was without power, and will be for several more days. I am a little disappointed that it didn't hit "Jersey Shore" a little harder.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ad Quiz #12 SOLUTION -The benefits of yeast are rising

Click for a somewhat readable version
Although not as widely advertised as it once was, yeast, which is a fungi (it's Alive!) can be considered a pro-biotic, replacing the "good" bacteria that gets the work of digestion done in the intestines. The advertised yeast is not the same, but it is edible in this form. I wouldn't be caught gobbling spoonfuls, but vegans might enjoy a deactivated form of this in certain foods. At the printing of this ad Fleischmann's had been packaging and selling yeast for around 50 years. This seems to be around the time that other food manufacturers were going beyond the taste, simplicity, or value of their product and trying to bank on the medicinal value as well. I don't think they were entirely successful with this approach, I don't see anything in the company's history espousing the benefits of direct ingestion. Tastes fine in bread, though.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ad Quiz #12 - What does clemency taste like?

There are many ways to make your body hate you, or, the other way around. In the 1920's there was at least one way to reverse those actions. This product was it - according to its own promises. Can you guess which product would protect you from these wrong habits? (Those were their words, not mine.)
Click for a larger picture!
Solution coming soon! (or at least before Hurricane Irene knocks out power in the Northeast)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Give Blood...and blot up the mess

This looks like its from the 40's or 50's.  Just the idea that they would give out a blotter to promote blood donations is high in Irony....but that's my anemic sense of humor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Local TV History: KDAL Rules!

Well maybe not local to my neck of the woods....
Believe it or not, I found this ruler at the same sale as the pencil box.  Wondering around, we were looking for something to justify our time searching, and nothing was presenting itself, until I saw this.  I work in local TV (The local-est of TV) and having studied it and appreciated it enough to have a Ph.D in it - seeing this made me immediately sympathetic for the team of broadcasters here.
There must have been a real appeal for this broadcasting company to present the bulk of their talent combined on one ruler. "The measure of News-Sports-Entertainment"  is written across the center of this plastic ruler. I had to find out more about these venerable-looking caricatures. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in my search for who these guys were, and when they were on the air. TV and Radio personalities and their biographies can usually be pieced together from several web searches, but little exists except for some of the stations' history here.(Wiki-P)
Looks like these 2 teams were faces and voices of KDAL-TV and KDAL 610-Radio via Duluth Minnesota through much of the 50's and 60's, and some even into the 70's. I was hoping to find a photo of each, but was only able to find 2.
John Russell from the TV side must have been filling in for the
AM side with a couple of friends
Dick Anthony From the AM side
 Eventually, mergers and acquisitions took their toll on every station. Try to follow the history of any broadcasting company from the 50's through today and I dare you to keep from getting dizzy. I think this ruler is in amazing shape for being over 40 years old.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The REAL 1892 Pencil Box of E.R. Rushmore

It was a weekend like any other. The rush to get my wife to work. The scribbled list of "honey-do's," half of which I attempt and succeed, the other half moved to next Saturday's list. Eventually, my daughter and I exit the house with PB & J, water, fruit, and enough napkins and wipes to erase any spills. This can be anywhere between 10:30am and 1:30pm. We never actually know what the day will hold for us because of this random approach.  It is possible that if we actually had an itinerary, a map, and a strategy, we might have found gold by now...but it wouldn't have been any fun.

The only strategy we employ is to look for what might be the best estate sale of the day (if there is an estate sale that day) and aim for that. What ever other sales cross our path along the way is what constitutes the bulk of our weekly treasure hunt.  I have determined from years of experience in this bizarre form of alchemy that the Periodic Table of Elements is missing an essential element - Treasure - whose symbol is Tr. It is formed by this compound of other unlisted essential elements in this way:  Ka + Ki + Lu = Tr.  That is: Karma + Kismet + Luck = Treasure. 

This particular Saturday was one without a ad "pointer" sale. Instead we combined some errands with a few regular haunts to see if any signs were posted. We had little luck and saw only a few sales, most of which were very small yard sales with items that were not old enough or rare enough to be interesting.  It was the final sale of the day that we almost didn't find that saved the day.  The last place you expect to find a descent sale is in a condo complex. Nothing against the prefab "nesters" of the world, but condos rarely contain good digs. Danbury CT, however has a few that are upscale enough to have separate homes among the "hives."  The sale this day, though almost impossible to find turned out to have a few gems.  Ladies and Gentlemen. I give you the pencil box of E.R. Rushmore:
O.K. This is actually the reverse. I have already displayed the pine box with the sliding top at the beginning of this post. Nothing I can find for the "Lovetts" brand and the American News Company has only a limited history courtesy of Wikipedia here. Mainly magazine and comic book distributors from the 1860's I have to believe they were in the stationery supply business that was typical to see sold at news stands. How do I know this belonged to ER Rushmore in 1892? He "told" me.
Nice of him to do that, but who was he? What school? What grade?  That's a pretty steady hand for a pen dipped in an ink well. This is a standard pencil box (or so I believe) that contained a pen, pencil, inkwell, blotter, sharpener and ruler. The inkwell is gone but the other items are there. 
Looking at the way the eraser is attached to the top of the pencil...that's got to be one old writing implement! So, I may not have gotten to all the "chores" on the honey-do list, but at least I think I found some "Tr."

Coming next time: Still wondering who ER Rushmore is, but now I need to know who these guys are!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The 1892 Pencil Box of E.R. Rushmore - and the I-Phone of a Stranger

I admit it. There are certain times when even I have trouble finding anything good. Fortunately, that isn't why I do this. 
No, I am in search of the search. I don't need to find anything at all. But I am sure you know as well as I that it is impossible not to find something. Well, this past weekend I found way more than I wanted to... 
If you were thinking that this post was going to be about a pencil box...well, it is and it isn't.  Last weekend turned in to a brief odyssey that had me questioning my core ethics, and actually unsure of the right thing to do. My best excuse was that I caught some kind of flu or respiratory infection (wasn't looking for that!) and so my UA abilities were somewhat challenged. Here is the story from last Saturday.

While looking through the local print media, my progeny and I found only one decent-sounding sale, an estate tag sale in Redding. In the near future, I plan on doing a post on the ethical and scrupulous naming of sales in the classifieds.  There is no "Dig-i-pedia" for Urban Archeology, but maybe I should start one because I am pretty sure folks name these sales blindly. As you might have guessed the Redding sale was not what I had hoped. Attaching "estate" to a tag sale does not make it a "dig." Although it could have held promise, being deep in an old wooded section of the town, we found nothing worth blogging about. I was even put off because a confused shopper had maneuvered her car in front of mine to cause us to park much further away from the driveway than necessary. During the walk back to the car, which was  long and up- hill, I thought of all the cars that came and went and sensed that someone had dropped something. I don't always think this way, but I had a feeling that caused me to scan the side of the road more carefully than usual....nothing.  As we parked ourselves back in the car and adjusted seat belts I noticed something black about 10 feet in the woods laying on the ground. I first thought that it was a reflector from a car or bike being flat, black, and rectangular, but as I shifted my position I caught an odd reflection from it. "Why not take a look?" I thought. 
"Whoa!" Impressive, but it didn't look anything like the picture. It was dead, and damp, and must have been sitting there for a long time. I was amazed at the ruggedness of the case and how it had ended up lost, tossed, and abandoned. I began to peel back the rubberized wrapper which revealed underneath a hard plastic case. The manufacturer was "Otter box" and inside was an I-Phone 3g. It took some inspecting and poking to get it the plastic case apart. Hats off to my 8-year-old, who knew exactly where to pry.
I don't know what guarantee this company promises, but I was at first unconvinced of any obvious claim. The phone was wet. Being face-up when I found it, any rain had rested in the well around the screen. I grabbed a paper towel and removed what was mostly condensation. The glass was foggy with dampness and the camera lens had numerous droplets from deep inside.  Not much hope, but having just recently purchased a car adapter for my 2g I-Phone, I tried to power it.  "Boink!" It began charging. Maybe an "Otter Box" is not a bad idea for some of us.

As much as I would like to upgrade my phone, this wasn't the way I had planned. This was someone's phone. I scanned through the numerous Aps and songs trying to figure out the identity of the owner. There were pictures, but mostly of a family pet and flowers, a few people on couches, but the screen was foggy and nothing was obvious. As we searched for other sales in the area we stopped and explored the phone a little more each time. The phone directory seemed to have a lot of people with the same last name. Could that be the owners name?  I remembered that somewhere in the settings you can find the phone number of the phone itself. 4 sales and 2 towns later I figured this was the number to call. No answer. Given the time that this had been in the woods (2 months from the last call) wouldn't the owner have ported the number to a new phone? After looking through some of the texts I was still only vaguely getting an idea of this person's world - none of it my business- and all of it leaving me with concern for foul play.  Was this stolen and tossed? My mind can easily get very creative about reverse-engineering a story of how this phone came to be in the woods.

I have to admit, I badly wanted to keep this phone. My daughter was no help, she loves my phone and the idea of one of her own was no doubt on her agenda. I found in the directory a favorite number which looked to be either a spouse or a sister. I called and got a machine and chose not to leave a message. I was getting close, but still bugged by the mystery. Later that night I did a little research and found that a zip lock of rice plus the phone would dry it out over night. The next morning I was amazed to find the screen was crystal clear! Another call to the spouse/sister and this time I left detailed information about the how to get the owner in touch with me.  I searched the internet for a similar situation and spent an hour reading through a vicious flame war of comments over one individual's decision to keep a found phone. The resounding advice had been to turn it into the Apple Store (not going there) or the police.  
I won't go into all the details (though it seems I have), but a FaceBook search had me convinced I knew whose phone this was and the town he was from. Progeny and I headed off to that town's police department only to be turned away! After giving my license and DNA to the man behind the 4 inch bullet-proof glass,  "Where did you find the phone, sir?" "Redding."  "Oh, you can't turn that in here. You need to go to the Redding PD."  "But but, but I am almost sure the owner is a resident off this town." " Sorry."  Now a extended trip to Redding would be required...and on a Sunday!? Did Redding even have a Police Department, or just a resident trooper? I was resolved to have this phone taken off my hands and turn in my detective's badge.
After some searching, including the brief interrogation of a friendly jogger, I did find the Redding PD. Although I did receive a similar request for my written DNA, I was connected with a friendly officer who seemed impressed that I had dried out the phone and made a few calls to find the owner. He promised to continue the search. When we got home I made a final call to the spouse/sister and left another message explaining that the phone could be picked up at the Redding PD. I still want the phone, but more than that, I hope to someday get to the end of this mystery with more detail...stay tuned.  

Coming Soon! Part 2. The actual mysterious Pencil Box of E.R. Rushmore!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

That's One Smokin' Hookah You Got There!

This post could have been titled: "Smoking in Bed Fail" but I'm getting tired of adding the word "Fail" to everything that is considered a bad idea. I say let the bad ideas stand on their own, no need to point out the obvious. We're not stupid. Oh wait. Some of us have to be stupid or we wouldn't have bad ideas?  Uh Oh! Cyclical illogic-alert! Please enjoy these next few 60+ year-old ads.
So much good foolishness to point out in this add from a 1949 NY Herald-Tribune aside from the obvious. Even as early as the 1940's robots were entering our homes and in the guise of making our lives easier, were nefariously burning our houses down in the middle of the night! I think they also sold a companion product which allowed gun owners to sleep safely with a string tied between their fingertip and the trigger several feet away. You could still protect your house without shooting your self in your pajamas.
I've seen lighthouse beams that weren't this bright, augh! She could wake the dead with that light!

Sorry, but her head is still tilted. Five minute nap or 30, she is going to have a stiff neck. These things are a chiropractor's dream.