Saturday, January 7, 2012

Old newspaper clippings of crime and punishment

What will we do in the future when we don't have old newspaper clippings to browse through any more? Will we repost bizarre blurbs on the Farks and Diggs and Reddits of the future? Will weird writeups be sent daily to our Nooks and Kobos and Kindles?1

Here are some old clippings from the world of crime and punishment.

Assaulted Farmer

This article comes from the October 4, 1919, edition of The State Register of Laurel, Delaware.2 And to think that it all started with the theft of a blanket...

Hunting for an "Ape Man"

These next two clippings come from the late-October 1935 issues of the St. Paul (Minn.) Dispatch that have been featured often on Papergreat. This one is full of lurid details, including the "ape man," a drain pipe, an automobile accident, mysterious messages and more. It would be interesting to know how this whole case turned out. One of the saddest things, though, is that the woman with the skull fracture doesn't even get a name. She's just "Mrs. Jack London," the red-haired wife of a grocer.

Roughing up the referee

This one involves a crowd getting out of hand at a wrestling match in St. Paul, Minnesota. It includes "groan and grunt" men, cries of "Kill him!", a hurled flashlight3 and some missing teeth. My favorite quote comes from the victim, referee Carlos Phenicie, at the end of the story.

1. I think Dr. Seuss would be proud of those two sentences!
2. Other items from this newspaper were featured in the Papergreat posts Please remember to proofread the advertisements and Stay away from the hard cider.
3. Who takes a flashlight to a wrestling match? Actually, given that this was a theater and that the "show" involved both a motion picture and a wrestling bout, perhaps the flashlight came from one of the ushers. (Or was thrown by one of the ushers.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Family time, Vikings and a gnome named Norbert

Due to some unexpected but hardly surprising drama in the world of sports today, I'm running out of time to post an entry.1 But the family has inspired me to post something short and keep alive my streak of having blogged every single day in 2012 thus far.

At the top of the entry is a crayon drawing of a Viking ship that represents the combined artistic efforts of my mother-in-law, wife and daughter.

Why a Viking ship? Well, Sarah said she wanted to draw it so that two of her favorite figurines felt "at home."

The figurines, which she got from her grandmother, are Olaf the Viking and Norbert the Gnome.2 Sarah said he would like to collect more cool figurines like these, which led to the following exchange:
Sarah: I found more of them on the Internet.
Me: How did you know what to look for? Did you type "gnome figurine"?
Sarah: No, I typed "figurine gnome."
Me: Ahh. Pretty cool.
Sarah: Yeah, Google has everything. Google's been around for like 100 years.
And what did I contribute to all of this? Ephemera, of course. I just happened to come across this postcard of a Viking ship, which dovetails nicely with the rest of the evening's artwork...

The text on the postcard states:

Gogstadskipet på Bygdøy.
Fra 800 årene
Enerett Universitetets Oldsaksamling

which translates from the Norwegian to:

Gogstad Ship at Bygdøy
From 800 years
Exclusive collection of the University

1. Cough, cough, Penn State football, cough.
2. Two things: (a) Norbert's nickname is "Nor," Sarah says; (2) All this gnome talk reminds me of the 1977 Wil Huygen/Rien Poortvliet book "Gnomes," which I browsed through often at the W. B. Konkle Memorial Library in Montoursville in the early 1980s.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Swift's Premium, Meat power and two fried chicken recipes

Swift & Company, maker of Swift's Premium meats, published a 12-page staplebound pamphlet in 1962 urging people to eat more meat and providing plenty of party recipes.

The back page of the pamphlet is pictured at right and states simply, "Party Giving with Meat power."

Meat power, baby!

Some of the meat propaganda within includes:
  • Meat power from Swift puts the energy and enjoyment into America's entertaining today!
  • At this fast-growing age, youngsters are like "dynamos" that need a constant source of energy. It's Meat power from Swift that does most to keep 'em fit and assure their sound development.
  • What makes young America run? Sturdy legs, strong muscles, robust health! Moms know it takes plenty of Meat power from Swift to "propel" small citizens into the healthy future Nature intended for them.
  • In this land of abundance there are many, many foods available for meal-planning. But there is no substitute for meat.
And here are some additional Meat power photos from the pamphlet:

There is an interesting selection of recipes, including Mandarin spareribs, lamb-apricot-curry kebabs, steak on a stick, grilled bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, beefburgers in parmesan rolls and, sadly, because it's the 1960s, "Prem Salad Mold."1

Also, two different fried chicken recipes were presented. Here they are:

Oven Fried Chicken
Yield: 4 servings

2½ to 3 pound tender-grown Swift's Premium Chicken, cut-up for frying
1 stick (½ cup) Swift's Brookfield Butter or Allsweet
½ cup evaporated milk or light cream
1 cup crushed corn flakes
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon marjoram

Melt butter in shallow 13 by 9½-inch baking dish in a hot oven (400° F.). Remove. Dip chicken pieces into milk and roll in corn flake crumbs. Arrange chicken in baking dish skin side down. Cover the top of the chicken with the remaining ingredients. Bake in a hot oven (400° F.) for about 20 minutes. Turn chicken. Bake another 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve hot or cold.

Beau Catcher Fried Chicken
Yield: 4 servings

1 tender-grown Swift's Premium Chicken, cut up for frying
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon leaf thyme
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 stick Swift's Brookfield Butter

Dip chicken pieces into buttermilk and then into a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and minced onion. Melt butter in a shallow baking pan in a hot oven (400° F.). Remove pan from oven. As pieces of floured chicken are placed in pan, turn to coat with butter, then bake skin side down in a single layer. Bake in hot oven (400° F.) for 30 minutes. Turn chicken. Bake another 30 minutes, or until tender. If guests are late, reduce heat and brush with melted butter.

Here's a picture from the pamphlet of a woman apparently catching her beau with the above recipe...

1. Previously on "The Gelatin Chronicles":
Also, to double down on the fun, "Prem Salad Mold" calls for using one 12-ounce can of Swift's Prem, which was essentially the company's version of Spam (with beef added). Check out some advertisements for Swift's Prem here and here. Canned meat in gelatin. What a combination!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Advertisements from a 1982 issue of Creative Computing

Old computer magazines are awesome. Especially when you're my age (41) and you grew up during the rise of microcomputers and have seen first-hand how much computer technology has advanced from the 1970s to today.

Today's advertisements are 30 years old, from the March 1982 issue of Creative Computing

Pictured at right is the full-page advertisement for Commodore's VIC-20. The ad touts the computer's 16 colors, four sound generators, 66 graphic characters, expandable memory (to 32K!) and Microsoft/PET BASIC. Peripherals available included a joystick, paddles, disk drive, printer and cassette unit.2

"The Friendly Computer" came with a price tag of just $299.95. (That would be about $668 in 2010 dollars.3)

Speaking of Microsoft, it has a pair of full-page advertisements in this issue. One is for the Manager Series of software (Time Manager, Project Manager and Personnel Manager).4 The other is for TASC, the Applesoft Compiler, which converted standard Applesoft BASIC programs into "super-fast machine code."

What was most interesting to me, though, was seeing the 1982 version of Microsoft's logo on these advertisements:

Meanwhile, the microcomputer advertisement at right is for the Atari 800 and trumpets the computer's graphics. The ad copy states:
"3.7 million reasons why the ATARI Home Computer is something to see. The display screen used with our computers is composed of 192 horizontal lines, each containing 320 dots. Delivering color and luminosity instructions to each dot for a second requires 3.7 million cycles ... a lot of work for the normal 6502 processor.

"That's why the ATARI computer has equipped its 6502 with its own electronic assistant. It's called ANTIC, and it handles all the display work, leaving the 6502 free to handle the rest."
Here's a closer look at the cutting-edge graphics that Atari and ANTIC helped to create:

There is no mention of the price of this Atari 800 computer.5 According to, the Atari 800 was released in November 1979 with a price of $999.95 (about $2,963 in 2010 dollars).

By May 1983, however, Atari was offering a $100 rebate on the machine, which brought its retail price below $400, according to So a good guess would be that, by March 1982, this microcomputer cost somewhere between $500 and $700 -- about twice the advertised price of the VIC-20.

How about some peripherals and software? Below is an advertisement for Okidata's printers, with their standard typewriter ribbons, dot-matrix output and speeds ranging from 120-200 characters per second and 76-to-114 lines per minute.

Here are some other advertised products and their prices from this 1982 issue:
  • Ricochet, a strategy game from Automated Simulations, cost $19.95 ($44.47 in 2010 dollars).
  • The Battle of Shiloh and Tigers in the Snow6 from Strategic Simulations Inc. cost $39.95 apiece for the Apple disc version ($89.05 in 2010).
  • Olaf Lubeck's "Red Alert"7 from Brøderbund Software cost $29.95 ($66.76 in 2010).
  • Sharp's 64K business computer was on sale for just $3,995.95 ($8907.23 in 2010!).
  • Grammatik from Aspen Software Company was a spelling- and grammar-check program that cost $54 ($120.37 in 2010).
  • Tax-Manager from Micro Lab was an early tax-preparation assistant that was available for the introductory price of $150 ($334.36 in 2010).
  • Mountain Software of San Bernardino, California, had plenty of popular early software titles -- including Sargon II, Castle Wolfenstein, Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess, Ultima, Star Warrior and Infocom's famous Zork8 -- available for prices generally ranging from $24.95 to $39.95.
So many memories! I could write about the advertisements and articles in this old issue of Creative Computing for hours. As it is, today's entry only spanned material from the first 50 pages of the 256-page magazine.

So you can expect a sequel or two to this blog post down the road. Let me know if there's any particular kind of computer-magazine history you'd like me to delve into.

I'll leave you with this cute cartoon from the same issue:

(I can assure you, though, that I did note write today's post while wearing my jammmies.)

1. The magazine, which had a cover price of $2.95, touted itself as "the #1 magazine of computer applications and software." It was published from 1974 until December 1985.
2. I had a computer-programming class during eighth grade at Madeira Beach Middle School, and we saved all of our programs onto cassette tapes. We were definitely the cool kids!
3. All of this post's price equivalents are from The Inflation Calculator.
4. The Microsoft Manager Series advertisement states: "The Manager Series from Microsoft turns an inexpensive personal computer into an executive's toolbox. Not a computer programmer's toolbox. An executive's toolbox. Computerized management tools for non-computer people. ... Even if you've never used a computer before, you should be able to productively use the Manager Series in a very short time."
5. Atari did offer copies of the Atari 800's "Technical User's Notes" -- intended for the serious programmer -- for a mere $27.
6. Game description: "Ghostlike Nazi Tiger tanks and infantry sweep across the dark, frozen forests of the Ardennes against a surprised U.S. force in the division/regiment-level simulation of Hitler's last desperate attack."
7. Game description: "Your civilization is under attack by the stinging space meanies and vicious thudputters. A protective shield slows their assault, but without quick counteraction your defenses will crumble one by one." (So, there. I've worked both Hitler and thudputters into these footnotes.)
8. Here's a list of places where you can download Zork or play it online for free.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 120th birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien

Above: The pastedown label on the slipcase of Houghton Mifflin Company's 1965 hardcover boxed set of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Today is the 120th anniversary of the birth of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, better known as J. R. R. Tolkien, who gave us the wonderful tales of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum, Smaug, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and more. All of them set in the Middle-earth that he painstakingly created from his own imagination.

The Tolkien Society has an excellent website that you should check out if you're a fan of the author and his writings.

Its offerings include lists of Tolkien resources, an F.A.Q. section (including suggestions on the order in which to reader Tolkien's works), links to Tolkien news1, and 21st century amenities such as Twitter, Facebook, podcasts and i-Phone apps that no doubt would have amazed everyone back in the Shire.

In addition to 2012 marking the 120th anniversary of Tolkien's birth, this year will also see the 75th anniversary of the publication of "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again." And, of course, we will be treated to Part 1 of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of "The Hobbit" in December.

Here are some more images from our family's copies of Tolkien's works. These are our scruffy paperback reading copies of "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King":

On the left is the November 1965 paperback edition by Ballantine Books. The illustration is by Barbara Remington. Tolkien Collector's Guide has a fascinating interview with her in which she discusses how her one illustration, which spans the covers of the three 1965 "The Lord of the Rings" paperbacks, came to be.

On the right is February 1978 paperback edition by Ballantine Books. The cover illustration of Barad-dûr is by Tolkien himself.2

Meanwhile, here are some international illustrations from "The Hobbit" that are featured in my copy of "The Annotated Hobbit" by Tolkien and Douglas A. Anderson:

Above: This is from a 1976 Russian edition of "The Hobbit" and it kind of makes Bilbo Baggins look like a cross between W.C. Fields and Mr. Magoo.

Above: This is from the 1962 Portuguese version of "The Hobbit."

1. My favorite headline: "Tolkien's fireplace for sale."
2. If you're interested in more on the myriad editions of Tolkien's works, one place to start might be this March 20, 2011, article by The Literary Omnivore.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Herbert W. Rhodes' early 20th century bookplate

This black-and-white bookplate1 for Herbert W. Rhodes is pasted on the inside front cover of the the 1903 novel "A Forest Hearth" by Charles Major.2

The bookplate is interesting because it features illustrations of a camera, a microscope and a bicycle -- perhaps signifying well-rounded interests in science, the arts and the outdoors.

On the final page of the novel, two people have signed their initials and the date, presumably to indicate when they completed reading it.

The initials are "H.W.R. 5/12/1920" and "S.H. 2/3/23".

But other than that, there is no other identifying information about Rhodes. So I can only speculate on who he might have been:
I suppose any of those three Rhodes could have owned a copy of Major's 1903 novel.

Some other notes about "A Forest Hearth."
  • The subtitle is "A Romance of Indiana in the Thirties." (That would be the 1830s.)
  • It featured illustrations by Clyde O. DeLand (one of which is pictured at right).
  • The full text is available here from Project Gutenberg.
  • Need a taste of Major's prose? Here's the opening paragraph, which takes up an entire page:
    A strenuous sense of justice is the most disturbing of all virtues, and those persons in whom it predominates are usually as disagreeable as they are good. Any one who assumes the high plane of "justice to all, and confusion to sinners," may easily gain a reputation for goodness simply by doing nothing bad. Look wise and heavenward, frown severely but regretfully upon others' faults, and the world will whisper, "Ah, how good he is!" And you will be good—as the sinless, prickly pear. If the virtues of omission constitute saintship, and from a study of the calendar one might so conclude, seek your corona by the way of justice. For myself, I would rather be a layman with a few active virtues and a small sin or two, than a sternly just saint without a fault. Breed virtue in others by giving them something to forgive. Conceive, if you can, the unutterable horror of life in this world without a few blessed human faults. He who sins not at all, cannot easily find reason to forgive; and to forgive those who trespass against us, is one of the sweetest benedictions of life. I have known many persons who built their moral structure upon the single rock of justice; but they all bred wretchedness among those who loved them, and made life harder because they did not die young.
  • At the back of the book, there are 18 full pages of advertisements for other books, including MacMillan & Co's "new six-shilling novels." Among those are "The Crossing" by American novelist Winston Churchill, who is sometimes confused with the British statesman.
1. Other bookplates featured on Papergreat can be found in these entries:
2. Majors' 1898 debut novel "When Knighthood Was in Flower," published under the pseudonym Edwin Caskoden, helped to spur a pop-culture interest in historical-romance novels and films.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like 1956

Happy New Year!

Now that it's 2012, it's time to officially break out the new calendars. (Or, if you haven't picked one up yet, many stores are now selling them for 50% off. Because, you know, they're no good once the year is 1/366th over.)

But if you don't have a 2012 calendar, you can recycle an old one. Your options, however, are somewhat limited. Because this is a Leap Year, there aren't as many past calendars that start on a Sunday and have 366 days, as is the case with 2012.

The three most recent years that had the same calendar as 2012 are 1984, 1956 and 1928.1

Of course, it just so happens that I have a 1956 calendar.

It's a pad calendar that's 4⅜ inches wide by 3¼ inches deep. The first three months from the pad are pictured today. The 1956 calendar pages include a number of birthdays, including presidents, Benjamin Franklin, Robert E. Lee and Douglas MacArthur.

Also, in a somewhat random but interesting historical aside, February 28 is marked as the anniversary of the 1827 incorporation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which was the first railroad in the United States to offer commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1. Not all holidays, however, will match up, even though the calendars are the same.