Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Sun Valley Lodge and physical cosmologies

First, the facts. This is a postcard of Sun Valley Lodge in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was addressed to my great-grandfather, Howard Adams, postmarked on December 31, 1957, and affixed with a 2¢ Thomas Jefferson stamp. The cursive note on the back of the postcard reads:
This is where we came for our Xmas holidays. We love the snow and Kit is learning to ski. I enjoy the sleigh rides and long tramps in the snow and the ski lift up Mt. Baldy. Will write you a note soon. Nora.
That's all interesting. But my first thought upon seeing this postcard was: "I hope the new custodian and his family are doing all right this winter."

Yes, "The Shining" (the book, but moreso the Kubrick film) is deeply embedded in our psyches and our pop culture. It perhaps reached its apex of mainstream familiarity in 2009, when aired a humorous commercial featuring the Torrance family and Lloyd the bartender.

So, leaving the Sun Valley Lodge far behind, here are some mainstream and decidedly non-mainstream tidbits about "The Shining":

All the various hotels

The Overlook Hotel: In Stephen King's novel, the name of the fictional hotel is the Overlook Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel: The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, Colorado, is the hotel that King and his wife stayed at in October 1974. It was their stay there that inspired "The Shining," and King experienced some of the same atmosphere and situations that became part of his novel. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia, which includes some quotes from King:
Stephen and Tabitha checked into the Stanley. They almost were not able to check in as the hotel was closing for the off season the next day and the credit card slips had already been packed away.

Stephen and Tabitha were the only two guests in the hotel that night. "When we arrived, they were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place — with all those long, empty corridors..." They checked into room 217, which they found out was said to be haunted. This is where room 217 comes from in the book. ...

Tabitha and Stephen had dinner that evening in the grand dining room, totally alone. ... Taped orchestral music played in the room and theirs was the only table set for dining. "Except for our table all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things. And by the time I went to bed that night, I had the whole book in my mind."

After dinner, Tabitha decided to turn in, but Stephen took a walk around the empty hotel. He ended up in the bar and was served drinks by a bartender named Grady.
Filming locations: Kubrick's version of "The Shining" was filmed on elaborate sound stages in Borehamwood, England. It was one of the largest movie sets ever built. In 2008, Channel 4 in Britain painstakingly recreated the set for a TV advertisement to promote a season of Kubrick's films. Here's that fabulous 65-second commercial:

A few exterior shots for Kubrick's version of "The Shining" were done at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon.

When "The Shining" was remade as a television miniseries in 19971, it was filmed at the site of King's original inspiration, the Stanley Hotel.

The remixed movie trailer

If you haven't seen this, you're in for a treat.

What if "The Shining" was a lighthearted family comedy? This remixed movie trailer suggests it could have been just that. It also makes brilliant use of a song by Peter Gabriel.2

Physical Cosmologies

This is one of the trippiest things I've stumbled across on the Internet. (And I've stumbled across a lot of weird stuff.) It's a multi-part essay on Kubrick's film version of "The Shining" titled "Physical Cosmologies" and presented by something called Mstrmnd.

You could lose an entire day reading this thing ... and your mind.

You know you're in for a long, dense reading experience when even a small excerpt from the introduction is tough to wade through.3

The theory advanced by "Physical Cosmologies" is that "The Shining" might be the most complex film ever made:
"In reverse (a contradiction nearly invisible to the audience) the most visually unifying motion-art ever conceived, beyond the scale of any built, ideal, or imagined form existing inside fantasy, philosophy or reality. Forwards however, the film is a horror that slowly, unceasingly absorbs a human being into a series of left-right or upper-lower mirrors, encasing him in the frozen confines of a black and white still, a procedure the film's poster does more than hint at: it condenses the entire film's process into its near end-state with Danny on the verge of being flattened into a photograph. Within what seems to be a streamlined, dulled version of Stephen King's masterpiece pulp horror novel, Kubrick built a massive and alive mysterium."
Later on comes this line: "Once neurophenomenologically understood, The Shining can be seen as a preamble to a form of new, post-Western visual guidance..."


The essay is about 30,000 words long4 and includes a couple hundred screen shots from the movie. Here are just some of the topics, phrases and concepts it contains:
  • Parallels and connections to "2001: A Space Odyssey"
  • Motion-glyphs
  • Mesoamerican rites-of-passage
  • "The Shining is a film meant to be watched both forwards and backwards."
  • Navajo zig zag/diamond patterns
  • Mirror logic
  • The diaries of Roger Casement
  • Calendrical subterfuge
  • "English does not possess nouns that can describe this shift."
  • Revered Navajo deity Estánatlehi
  • "The indoors are endless but hidden in a mask that is finite."
"Physical Cosmologies" is either the most brilliant analysis of a film ever written or the most ridiculous example ever of reading far too much into what's on the screen. Or both.

Either way, it's well worth reading if you have a free day.

1. My wife prefers the miniseries to the movie, and she also thinks the miniseries is scarier.
2. Gabriel, as the original lead vocalist of Genesis, originally sang "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," but not "Paperlate."
3. Here's just an excerpt from that introduction: "Film and soon videogame are next-generation, structural, motion-based languages that may, if only rudimentarily at this stage, access the human brain unlike any spoken or written alphabetical-text-language (consider the amount of tears shed collectively in the dark for Gone With The Wind, as an emotional experience it compresses days of reading into a few hours). Storytelling primarily through images not words. Obviously using eyes and ears differently than reading or hearing text, film forces the brain to develop alternate memory structures since its data is received in flowing, ideally uninterrupted motion. Film also has an advantage in how it is shared collectively: the medium entrances audiences to remain rapt as it directly employs, accesses and mutates visual forms guided by voice and gesture, augmented by music. Archetypes, symbols, metaphors, all in their expressively visual forms, advancing inter-culturally through a manner purely oral or textual media (encrypted onto pages or into voice by alphabets) cannot."
4. Thirty thousand words is roughly the equivalent of a 120-page book. At one point, the author states: "Please note: these notes represent 50% of the total data for discussion."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Postcards to send home from summer camp

Do you have a kid going off to camp this summer?

Do you expect your child to write letters or postcards each day while he or she is away?

Or are you going to just get their daily status updates from Twitter and Facebook?

Back in the day, Hayley Mills and the other kids at camp didn't have smartphones in their tents. And so they wrote letters to Mom and Dad. Or sent postcards.

This vintage oversized postcard, the front side of which is pictured above, was designed to streamline the process of writing home by providing a series of boxes to check off on the reverse side:

Kids could easily indicate the activities they took part in that day. There are even boxes to tell what the weather was like.

Campers had to do a little work, though. One line simply states:
I am feeling _________________.
And there are multiple lines to provide details on the day's favorite activity.

I have several different unused postcards of this type. Each one had a different cute cartoon on the front. Here are a couple of the others:

Now, aren't these much nicer than tweets and status messages? Plus, you can't save and scrapbook messages on a computer screen, can you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A friend is someone who writes in your book

I recently came across this heavily inscribed copy of Joan Walsh Anglund's still popular "A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You." There must be a few million copies of this book -- which was first published in 1958 -- in print. It's still popular to give as a gift, and that's what this copy was.

According to the Loganberry Books website: "Joan Walsh Anglund became successful with her first book, A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You, in 1958. She's been making books featuring these same round-faced mouthless characters ever since, and her popularity continues to grow. ... [She] is a perennial favorite here and a popular choice for gift books. She seems to strike a nerve and her images of childhood have an innocence and purity that people respond to with a rush of nostalgia. Older copies of her books are usually preferred by those who want their nostalgia to be real, right down to the feel the book..."

Anglund, who was born in 1926, has written and illustrated more than 75 children's books and sold more than 40 million books worldwide in her lifetime.

This copy was inscribed on five different pages. Here's the rundown:

The note from the inside front cover:
For April people -- like us -- she must have written this, my favorite Poem, and I think I want to share it with you, Schnoök!1

The poem that "Me" has written out for "Jule" is inscribed on the following page. It's "Spring" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This probably represents the only time in history that the word "maggots" was inscribed in a copy of "A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You":

After that, at the start of of the book, the unnamed inscriber annotates the first three pages of Anglund's text. Very cute:

Check out the "Inscriptions" subcategory on Papergreat for other interesting notes and doodles found inside books.

1. I assume that "Schnoök," as used here, is an abbreviation of snookums, a term of endearment. Because a "schnook" is a sucker or gullible person.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A prayer card, a farm photo and a Mother's Oats coupon

Here are three more items from my seemingly neverending supply of cool stuff found tucked away inside used books.

Old prayer card

This green prayer card is about the size of an index card. It has small hole at the top. Maybe it was tacked or nailed to a child's wall, next to his or her bed, before it was later tucked inside a bible. The prayer states:
IN my Little Bed I lie,
Heavenly FATHER hear my cry.
LORD protect me
All the night,
Bring me safe to
Morning light
Written in ink on the back is: "Compliments of Mamma."

Unknown farmer on tractor

This small photo has no information at all on the back. A farmer is working his land with a motorized tractor. There's a lot of cool detail within the photo, if you click on it and view it at a larger size. Comments and speculation on this photo are welcome, as always.

Mother's Oats coupon

This coupon, which expired on October 1, 1927, is about the size of a piece of Monopoly money. The text on the coupon states:
With these coupons you can secure high quality silverware, jewelry, wearing apparel, aluminum cooking utensils, and many other useful articles. SAVE THEM. They are redeemable for merchandise or, if you prefer, for one-quarter cent (¼c) each in cash when sent in lots of not less than forty.
The back of the coupon includes an advertisement for Teaspoon Premium No. 150, which was available for 20 Mother's Oats coupons.

The Mother's brand has been around since 1893. It is owned by The Quaker Oats Company. Here's an excerpt from the Mother's history page:
The Mother's brand was originally introduced as Mother's Oats in 1893 by the Great Western Cereal Company. The original canisters featured an image of a mother holding a baby, symbolizing a mother's love for her child.

Mother's Oats was purchased by The Quaker Oats Company in 1911, which allowed Quaker to enter into the natural foods market with the introduction of Mother's Oat Bran in 1982. The Quaker Oats Company was also the first major consumer packaged goods company to market and distribute a brand specifically for the natural foods market.
If you're interested in more on Mother's Oats coupons, the Mary Emma's Country Kitchen blog featured some memories of "Cereal Box Dishware" in this March 2011 post.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Collection of Phillies ticket stubs

For today's "Baseball Day"1 post, it probably won't surprise you to learn that I've kept some of my baseball-ticket stubs from over the years. Clearly, some part of me knew more than 20 years ago that I'd be authoring an ephemera blog at some point in the future.2

So here's the skinny on some of those stubs:

July 18, 1988: Phillies, Braves split doubleheader

This was a twi-night doubleheader (remember those?) between two sad-sack teams that entered the day a combined 39 games under .500.

Game 1 started at 5:37 p.m. and was won by the Braves, 9-8, in 11 innings. The Phillies' starting lineup was 2B Juan Samuel, CF Milt Thompson, LF Phil Bradley, 3B Mike Schmidt, RF Chris James, 1B Greg Gross3, C Darren Daulton, SS Steve Jeltz4 and P Shane Rawley.

Jeltz had the Phillies' only extra-base hit, a double. The Braves used 22-year-old Tom Glavine as a pinch-runner.

The Braves got home runs from Andres Thomas, Dale Murphy, Dion James and Ron Gant.

Game 2 started at 9:36 p.m. but was over in a quick two hours and five minutes. (Even Roy Halladay would be hard-pressed to work that fast.)

Former Braves David Palmer (seven innings) and Steve Bedrosian (two innings) combined to shut down Atlanta as the Phillies recorded a 4-1 victory.

According to the boxscore, Jackie Gutierrez was the Phillies' shortstop in Game 2, but I have no memory of him being in Philadelphia, so I guess I'll just have to trust the boxscore.

By the way, the Phillies' manager at this time was Lee Elia.

September 3, 1988: Padres 5, Phillies 2

I had a penthouse ticket for this game. I've never been a fan of watching baseball from a penthouse box. I'd rather been out in the fresh air, among the fans, even if it means I'm in the nosebleed seats. The main thing I remember from this game is that I couldn't hear any sounds of the stadium or crowd5 from within the suite.

The starting lineups in this game were interesting, especially in retrospect.

The Padres went with: RF John Kruk, 2B Roberto Alomar, CF Tony Gwynn, LF Carmelo Martinez, 1B Keith Moreland, C Benito Santiago, 3B Tim Flannery, SS Garry Templeton, P Ed Whitson.

The Phillies went with: LF Phil Bradley, CF Milt Thompson, 3B Chris James, 1B Ricky Jordan, RF Ron Jones, 2B Juan Samuel, C Lance Parrish, SS Steve Jeltz, P Kevin Gross.

May 26, 1990: Braves 12, Phillies 3

This was a special night at Veterans Stadium, and the Atlanta Braves ruined it.

My friend Matt Robinson6, his father and I were there for Mike Schmidt Night. There was a ceremony in front of 56,789 fans to honor the career of Schmidt, who had retired one year earlier.

Instead, it became "Jeff Treadway Night." He hit THREE home runs7 (off Pat Combs, Don Carman and Darrel Akerfelds) as the Braves thumped the Phillies.

The Phillies' starting lineup was: CF Lenny Dykstra, 2B Rod Booker, RF Von Hayes, 1B Ricky Jordan, LF John Kruk, 3B Charlie Hayes, SS Dickie Thon, C Darren Daulton, P Pat Combs.

October 5, 1991: Phillies 1, Mets 0

It was "The Terry Mulholland Show" as the Phillies clinched third place in the National League East. (Yes, those were the kinds of accomplishments we had to cheer for in those days.) Mulholland pitched a complete game in just two hours and one minute.8

My ticket was for a $4 general-admission seat. That basically meant anywhere in the famed 700 level of Veterans Stadium (which Matt and I usually had to ourselves).

The game's lone run was driven in by Braulio Robinson Medrano Castillo, who had a career total of nine RBIs in his two partial seasons in the major leagues.

The Phillies' lineup was: 2B Mickey Morandini, SS Dickie Thon, LF Wes Chamberlain, 1B John Kruk, 3B Dave Hollins, RF Dale Murphy, C Darin Fletcher, CF Braulio Castillo, P Terry Mulholland.

So, in two years Dale Murphy went from batting cleanup for the Atlanta Braves to batting sixth for the Philadelphia Phillies. It was quite a sad tumble at the end of his career. The most important part of his August 1990 trade to the Phillies turned out to be the player to be named later that Atlanta sent to Philadelphia -- Tommy Greene.

Greene teamed up with Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Danny Jackson and another former Brave (Ben Rivera) to lead the Phillies' NL pennant-winning pitching staff in 1993.

1. I announced last week that Tuesdays will be "Baseball Day" on Papergreat this summer. I kicked it off with a post on Marty "Slats" Marion.
2. I also remember clipping out Phillies photos, articles and boxscores from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette in the early 1980s. I kept them in a small metal box and used them to create my own homemade baseball cards. Sadly, none of those materials remain.
3. Greg Gross is a York County native who was in his next-to-last season as a Major League Baseball player in 1988. He is now the Phillies' hitting coach.
4. On another "Baseball Day" later this summer, I'll give y'all the rundown on the Steve Jeltz Fan Club, of which I was one of the co-founders.
5. Of course, there were only 16,315 fans in attendance, so there probably wasn't much to hear.
6. Matt is another of the co-founders of the Steve Jeltz Fan Club.
7. This represented 10.7 percent of Treadway's career home runs (28). All in one game. Whatever.
8. 2:01 is now the average length of one inning in a Yankees-Red Sox game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How many faces can you find?
(A vintage advertising scam)

Originally, I was going to get cute and follow up yesterday's post on common poultry diseases by diving into some tattered old copies of Poultry Tribune1. But then my plans ran a-fowl. I flipped over my copy of the October 1934 Northeast Edition of Poultry Tribune2 and found myself fascinated by the full-page advertisement on the back cover, which has nothing to do with chickens.

The illustration above is part of that full-page advertisement from Paramount Products Inc. The text in the red-and-black pitch screams: "HOW MANY FACES CAN YOU FIND IN THE PICTURE BELOW? We are looking for Smart People. ... SEND ONLY THE COUPON BELOW AND WE WILL TELL YOU HOW TO .. Win $2,250.003 or Buick Sedan and $1,250.00 Cash!"

What was Paramount Products trying to do? Get a list of names and addresses so they could bombard those people with junk mail? Or maybe find suckers to participate in an early version of multi-level marketing? Those would be my guesses.4

Here are some more excerpts from the advertisement. (The full page is pictured below, and you can click on it to see a larger image and read all of the text.)
  • Yes -- we are looking for smart people. We want smart people everywhere to to help us advertise our business and distribute our products. We are going to award several thousands of dollars in big cash prizes to people everywhere.
  • Here's a lot of cash for someone. Would you like to have it? I am going to pay $5,000.00 in big cash prizes to advertise our business quickly. Someone, maybe you, will receive new Buick Sedan and $1,250.00 cash extra for promptness...
  • Study this interesting picture and see how many of the faces hidden in the tree, clouds, etc., you can find. Some look straight at you, some are upside down -- others are sidewise. It is not as easy as some people may think, but don't give up -- keep looking and you may find them.
  • Oh boy! What you could do with $2,250.00 all cash at one time. I will be glad to pay it to you if you are adjudged the winner.
  • Remember, send not one penny with your answer -- all you do now is to find as many faces as you can, and mail the coupon. We will answer you right away and tell you how you can win.5
  • The money to pay every prize is on deposit in a big strong Des Moines bank. Three prominent Des Moines business men will see that the prizes are awarded honestly and promptly.
So, how many faces did you find in the illustration?

1. Poultry Tribune is still around and describes itself as "a gathering place for urban and backyard chicken enthusiasts and an authority on raising chickens since 1895." Its website was undergoing maintenance when I wrote this post.
2. This magazine originally belonged to subscriber G.W. Libhart of RFD 1 in Hellam, Pennsylvania. He or she might be related to the family that ran the Libhart Mill in Hellam Township. According to Hellam Township's website: "Millstone Road refers to the stone from the ridge in the Hellam Hills that was apparently used for making millstones for early mills that once operated along the Township’s creeks. The Libhart Mill, for which Libhart Mill Road was named, was one such mill. Built in the 1700s it was once a four-story stone and frame grist mill and distillery, a thriving enterprise along Kreutz Creek in the southwestern part of the Township."
3. A prize of $2,250 in 1934 would be the equivalent of more than $36,000 today.
4. I did find a trace of evidence that Paramount Products Inc. later found itself in some legal trouble. (Stunning, I know.) There is a tiny excerpt from a late 1930s issue of the legal journal North Western Reporter that alludes to the case.
5. Hmmmmm.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reader submission: "I pray you never get scaly leg"

A reader is putting Papergreat to the test today!

JT Anthony is the author of a blog called A Pretty Book, which is a collection of top-notch photography of books, bookshelves, bookstores and the like. It's a great website to browse through.

Earlier this month, JT sent me this tweet:1 "I've got a barn full of books and paper. How about if I send you something random and you see if you can find something interesting?"

A few days later, the pamphlet pictured at the top of today's post arrived in the mail, along with the following note:2
Dear Chris,

You said you were interested in everything, so give this a try.
I pray you never get scaly leg.

Best wishes,
JT Anthony
The eight-page pamphlet from JT's barn is titled "Common Poultry Diseases" and it was published in April 1922 as Farmers' Bulletin 1114 by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The first thing I found interesting was the image in the center of the cover:

It looks like the early 1920s equivalent of photoshopping was used for this. Several elements were combined here. (You can click on the above image for a larger version that makes the manipulation even more clear.) It looks like the woman might have been cut out from another photo and placed in front of this background. Look at the white outline around parts of her head and also the hand that's holding the chicken's head. (In fact, that hand holding the chicken's head might not even be this woman's hand!) Meanwhile, several items are actually hand-drawn illustrations that have been added to the photo. The items sitting on the steps, to the left of the woman, are drawings. And the dropper in the woman's hand also appears to be a drawing.

Even in the 1920s, a lot of work and photo manipulation went into creating the "perfect" cover image for an eight-page, government-issued pamphlet!

And this was only the simplified version of this particular pamphlet, intended as an introduction to the topic for children. Here's an excerpt from a note on the inside front cover:
This bulletin has been written briefly and in simple terms for the beginner, and especially for members of the Boys' and Girls' Poultry Clubs. For additional and more complete information on the subject the reader should ask for Farmers' Bulletin 957, "Important Poultry Diseases."3
The pamphlet, written by D.M. Green of the Animal Husbandry Division, discusses these poultry diseases -- gapes, roup, chicken pox4 and scaly leg.

(WARNING: The remainder of today's entry should not be read while you are eating.)

I found a couple of interesting things about gapes: (1) the quack cure, (2) the even more bizarre real cure. In a nutshell, gapes is a potentially fatal disease caused by worms in the windpipe and affects young chicks and turkeys in the first few weeks of their lives. Unless the worms are removed, the chicks will die.

The Quack Doctor website discusses some "one-drop cures" of the time period that basically involved giving some bourbon to the chickens.

The real treatment, as outlined in "Common Poultry Diseases," is somewhat complicated and horrific:
"Take a long hair from a horse's tail and twist the two ends together so as to form a loop. Hold the chick's head firmly with one hand, with the neck out straight, forcing the beak open with the fingers. When the glottis, which is the little opening at the root of the tongue, is open for breathing, insert the loop end of the hair, pressing it down the chick's windpipe about 1 inch. Give it two or three turns and then withdraw it. This will usually bring out several of the worms. ... Each time the hair may be inserted a little deeper until it reaches nearly the full length of the neck, extreme care being taken not to choke or injure the chick. All worms taken out should be shaken off the hair and scalded or burned."
And then there's scaly leg, a disease that can still plague chickens today. Here's the up-close image from "Common Poultry Diseases":

According to the pamphlet: "Scaly leg is easily recognized by the enlarged, roughened appearance of the feet and legs. It is caused by a little mite5 which burrows beneath the scales and causes the formation of a yellowish, powdery substance which keeps raising up the scales until they present an unsightly appearance."

The cure at the time involved washing the bird's legs with soap and water to remove loose scales and then applying a half-and-half mixture of kerosene and either linseed oil, vaseline or melted lard. And that's not far from the same treatment that's used today. The Mississippi State University website states: "Effective treatments of the condition include weekly coating of the birds' legs with petroleum-based or mineral oils that suffocate and kill the mites."

But are people in danger of getting scaly leg?

The verdict seems to be "no." Kind of.

Different kinds of mites are responsible for scaly leg in chickens and scabies in humans. Those mites can be transferred from animal to animal or human to human. But if they go from animal to human (or vice versa), they do not survive for very long.

So there you have it.

Now, if you need to get all these thoughts of worms and mites and scales and rashes out of your head, go check out some pretty books.

1. Papergreat is @Papergreat on Twitter.
2. JT's note was written on a piece of notepad paper from the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Yes, I notice these things.
3. The back page lists other Farmers' Bulletins that would have been useful for members of Boys' and Girls' Poultry Clubs, including "Care of Mature Fowls," "Brood Coops and Appliances," "Lice, Mites and Cleanliness," "Management of Growing Chicks," and "Selection and Preparation of Fowls for Exhibition."
4. This is not to be confused with chicken pox in humans. The human disease does not affect poultry and vice versa. Here's more, if you're interested.
5. That mite would be Knemidocoptes mutans, according to Wikipedia.