Saturday, May 21, 2011

One of my favorite photos in the world

Six years ago today, Joan and I said "I do" and "Thank you for being My You."

Today, we celebrate.

Friday, May 20, 2011

1960s tourism brochure for Virginia's Eastern Shore

You don't see too many travel brochures that feature a drawing of two people holding up a ridiculously large fish by the gills.

But that's what we have with this "Guide to Virginia's Eastern Shore." Two people holding a big fish. And not looking the slightest bit dismayed about what they're doing.

I'm guessing this fold-out brochure dates from the middle to late 1960s. It has to be after 1964, because it references the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in April 1964. And it has to be before 1972, because it references dolphin hunting.

Inside the brochure are more pictures of people with large fish. The sport fishing industry of the Eastern Shore is touted highly throughout, with references to black drum, cobia, flounder, trout, blue fish, croaker, sea trout, sea bass, tautog, dolphins1, tuna, albacore, wahoo, king mackerel and striped bass.

The great harvests of crabs and oysters are also touted in the brochure. As is the duck and goose hunting. Basically, you can come to the Eastern Shore to kill things.

Other attractions highlighted include NASA's Wallops Flight Facility; the home of famous pony "Misty" on Chincoteague Island; the town of Oyster; and the Custis tombs.

1. It appears that dolphin hunting was not illegal in the United States until Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972.
2. Misty died in 1972. Her body has been preserved and can be seen at the Beebe Ranch.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can you guess what book this is?

OK, here's a quick challenge for today. Pictured above is the illustration portion of a book's dust jacket that I came across recently.

Can you guess what book?

Can you even correctly guess what genre?

What if I told you it was non-fiction? (Sort of.)

Scroll down for the answer...

(keep going)

It's the dust jacket of the 1979 hardcover edition of "Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science" by L. Ron Hubbard. It is a book-length version of an article that Hubbard originally published in the May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.

The book is considered to be one of the canonical texts of the religion (or, some would say, "religious movement") of Scientology.

And what does this illustration have to do with Scientology? It would likely have something to do with the concept of space opera in Scientology scripture. Hubbard stated, according to Wikipedia, that the modern-day science fiction genre of space opera is merely an unconscious recollection of real events that took place millions of years ago. Scientology's space opera includes a Galactic Confederacy, volcanoes, hydrogen bombs, disembodied souls, insect-like creatures and more. Perhaps the illustration has something to do with Hubbard's "Aircraft Door Goals".

Interestingly, my favorite working director, Paul Thomas Anderson, is beginning production this summer on a long-awaited new film that appears to have some parallels to Hubbard and Scientology. The website Deadline New York reported this on May 9:
The Weinstein Company has won a quiet but fevered bidding battle for worldwide distribution rights to the untitled next film by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film begins production June 13, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix so far set to star. Megan Ellison1 is financing. It is Anderson's first trip behind the camera since "There Will Be Blood". ... This is the project that Anderson has worked on for a long time, once under the title "The Master". He has greatly overhauled the script and now, Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls.
Adds Angela Hickman of the National Post: "Although the movie may not be explicitly about Scientology, it sounds like Hoffman’s character resembles L. Ron Hubbard closely enough for the film to make its point. That is, if it actually gets made at all."

For more information and background on Anderson's new movie, check out "The Master" subsection of Cigarettes and Red Vines (The Definitive Paul Thomas Anderson Resource) and the enthusiastic forum about the movie on

1. Megan Ellison is the daughter of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and has quickly become a champion financier of films by top independent directors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Dr. Oetker German Home Cooking"

Here's the cover of the 1969 fourth edition of "Dr. Oetker German Home Cooking."

Dr. August Oetker (1862-1918) was the first to popularize and mass-produce baking powder, under the brand name Backin.

The success of Backin helped the German company Dr. Oetker get off the ground. The company then became highly successful after World War II with Oetker's grandson, Rudolf August Oetker, at the helm.

In addition to its colorful cover, "German Home Cooking" is packed with recipes for soups, sauces, meats, eintopf, vegetables, eggs, desserts and more. Some of the more unusual recipes are for Bavarian plum dumplings, stewed bilberries, boiled calf's brain, fried calf's heart, Westphalian blind hen1, stuffed goose's neck and ragoƻt of ox heart.

If you're in a fishy mood, here's the recipe for herrings in marinade (pictured below):
4-6 salt herrings
2-3 onions
2 small bay leaves
6-8 peppercorns
2/3 pint vinegar
a few tablespoons sour cream (optional)
1/2 pint water

Gut the herrings, soak for 12-24 hours, and then wash thoroughly to loosen the scales. Remove the gills, the gillcovers and the black skin. Wash the herrings once more, then arrange in layers with onion rings and spices in a small earthenware jar. Rub the roe through a fine sieve and mix with the vinegar and the sour cream, if desired; then add the cooled, boiled water. Pour the marinade over the herrings and leave covered for 2-3 days.

1. Which involves bacon, beans, fruit and vegetables, but no hen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Life of Abraham Lincoln For Young Folks

Here are two color illustrations from "The Life of Abraham Lincoln for Young Folks, Told in Words of One Syllable" by Harriet Putnam. The book was published in 1906 by McLoughlin Brothers.

You might be wondering how Putnam wrote an entire biography of Lincoln -- it's 144 pages -- using only "words of one syllable"? After all, the word "Abraham" is three syllables and the word "Lincoln" is two syllables.

The answer: she cheated.

Every multiple-syllable word has its syllables separated by hyphens. So you get paragraphs like this excerpt from Chapter V:
When A-bra-ham Lin-coln was a score and five years old, a great chance to step up came to him. His friends sent him to the Il-li-nois Leg-is-la-ture. He had then not one dol-lar with which he could buy clothes to wear to that place.
And here's an excerpt from the description of Lincoln's death and assassin:
When dawn came and lamps grew dim, A-bra-ham Lin-coln's pulse be-gan to fail. Soon a calm look of peace came up-on his worn face and he was gone.

The bad man who shot Lin-coln was one of that knot of folks who had sworn to do him, and some of his Cab-i-net, harm. They said that by so do-ing they would "a-venge the South." Oth-er good men be-sides the Pres-i-dent were struck that night, but the Pres-i-dent, a-lone, met his death wound.

Those who had made the plot to do that foul deed were soon caught and put to death.
There is no mention of John Wilkes Booth by name.

Or vampires.1

1. OK, so who has read "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith? It's on my list of of books I want to read, but it's a long shot that I'll get around to it before the movie version is released in 2012.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog

Top Value Stamps was one of larger trading stamps companies during the time period when S&H Green Stamps dominated the market.1 The 1967 Top Value catalog cover, pictured above, featured an illustration by Norman Rockwell, whose paintings were used on at least five other catalog covers for Top Value over the years.

Top Value went out of business in the early 1980s. But its catalogs remain interesting time capsules of the styles and products of an era. Here are some additional images from the 1967 catalog that grabbed my attention:

Pictured above is the Bates "Flinger" Woven Spread.2 Description: "Striped right, colored right. A fling of fashion for modern living. Machine wash, dry; no press; spot resistant." The spread costs 2.6 Top Value books, and it's not clear whether the young banjo player is included with your purchase.

Pictured above: "The Golden Bath"

If you're about my age (say, between 35 and 45), it's extremely likely that you grew up having a grandparent whose bathroom looked a lot like this. Am I wrong? Pictured items include the Mantilla-style Callaway towel set (1.8 Top Value books); the Amesware four-piece bathroom set (plastic tumbler, tissue box, wastebasket and soap dish for 1.2 books); the Brearly Hassock Hamper of quilted washable vinyl (4.4 books); the Borg Meteor bathroom scale (3 books); and the Ames monogram shower curtain (3 books).

Check out all the toys in this photo! Items include:
  • Electronic two-phone light-up switchboard (3 Top Value books)
  • Lego building system with 375 assorted bricks (2.4 books)
  • Handy Andy tool set (1 book)
  • "Stock Market Game" by Whitman (1 book)
  • Yogi Bear Puncho, with Boo-Boo printed on back (1 book)3
  • Foto-Electric Football game (2.2 books)
  • Merdel Skittles game (2.2 books)

1. Did you know you can still redeem your S&H Green Stamps? According to the S&H greenpoints website: "Yes, Green Stamps are certainly worth something. … You can exchange them for merchandise, cash, or trade them in for greenpoints. If you are choosing items from our current catalog, keep in mind that we convert Green Stamps to greenpoints using a one to one ratio. So, if you have Green Stamps that say 1, 10, or 50, they will be converted to 1, 10, or 50 greenpoints." (Also, according to greenpoints, "as of January 1, 2010, Top Value Certificates or Stamps are no longer accepted.")
2. Some history on Bates bedspreads from P.C. Fallon Co.: "Years ago, Bates of Maine was the world's largest manufacturer of bedspreads. Almost every house had at least one Bates bedspread. Times and tastes changed and those old bedspreads were put in closets and forgotten about. A new generation is now appreciating the classic beauty of the old Bates Bedspreads and people are searching them out. We get many inquiries about the value of old spreads. The old Bates bedspreads have little value as antiques because so many were produced. We tell people to use them and enjoy them as a bedspread."
3. If you haven't seen this Youtube video, AND you have a very dark sense of humor, AND you're familiar with Yogi Bear and the 2007 movie "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" you might enjoy this video.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Did Pop get a Py-sicle after winning this round of golf in Clearwater?

Today's piece of ephemera is an old miniature golf scorecard1 that must date to at least the 1960s, if not earlier. The scorecard is from the Golf Inn miniature golf course at 50 Causeway Boulevard in Clearwater, Florida.2 Fred K. Biel was the manager. I couldn't immediately find anything about Golf Inn or Biel in web searches.

Three players competed -- "Self," Mom and Pop. And it was Pop who putted a consistent 26-26--52 to win by three strokes with a five-over 52. "Self" and Mom tied for second place.

Rule No. 8 on the scorecard seems a little foreboding: "Penalty for lost ball -- see management."

Also interesting: The snack bar's other offerings included Popsicles, Fudgsicles and Py-sicles. What's a Py-sicle? That's a great question. It was some sort of ice pop. In 1956, the Joe Lowe Corporation filed for a trademark for Py-sicle in Canada, with this description:
(1) Frozen confections on sticks.
(2) Handlesticks for frozen confections and bags for dispensing said frozen confections.
Here's an image of an old Py-sicle advertising card from 1938 that I found online:

The history of Popsicles and ice pops in the 20th century is fairly tangled and interesting. If you want to learn more, the online article "The Frozen Sucker War: Good Humor v. Popsicle" by Jefferson M. Moak seems to be a good place to start.

1. This scorecard came from the same southern York County yard sale as the E.H. Koester bread coupons I wrote about in March.
2. I lived in Largo, less than 10 miles south of Clearwater, from 1983 until early 1986, and we often went to Philadelphia Phillies spring training games in Clearwater. I attended Largo High School for part of ninth grade. Broadway star Terrence Mann is a Largo High grad and the school was also featured in the 1996 book "South of Heaven: Welcome to High School at the End of 20th Century" by Thomas French.