Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday's postcards: Autumn scenes from Pavlovsk Park in Russia

In the category of "Places You Probably Won't Get to See Foliage This Fall,"1 here are two 1989 postcards2 of Pavlovsk Park (Павловский парк) near Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Pavlovsk Park is the sprawling garden area surrounding Pavlovsk Palace, an 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Paul I.3 It is now a Russian state museum and public park.

Interestingly, this Russian park was designed by a Scottish architect, Charles Cameron. It was inspired by western European landscape gardens that Paul I and his wife, Maria Feodorovna, had seen during travels in the 1780s.

Here is what's printed on the back of the two postcards:

  • Top postcard: Pavlovsk, The Park, The Old Sylvia, Bridge over the Ruin Cascade, Designed by Vincenzo Brenna, 1793-94.
  • Bottom postcard: Pavlovsk, The Park, The Great Circles Area, Great Stone Stairway, Designed by Vincenzo Brenna, 1799. Lions, Italy, 18th century.

For more on the park, check out the website Pavlovsk Palace and Park, which features the writings of Anatoli Michailovich Kuchumov.

And then get outside and check out some fall foliage in your corner of the world!

1. Of course, if you're one of my readers in Russia, then you might get to go see this particular foliage. If you do, please take a picture and share! (In the past month, Russia was seventh on the list of countries with the most Papergreat pageviews, behind the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, China and France.)
2. The postcards were produced by Aurora Art Publishers of what was then called Leningrad. (Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd in 1914, Leningrad in 1924 and then Saint Petersburg once again in 1991.)
3. Interesting historical aside: Paul I was a bit of an eccentric who loved military parades and ceremonies. He ordered watch parades every morning at the palace, regardless of the weather. Soldiers who made mistakes during the parades might be subjected to flogging. Once, the palace guard regiment was ordered to march to Siberia when it screwed up a parade maneuver.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today's #fridayreads suggestions: Vampires, recycling and more

Looking for some lunchtime reading? Here's another eclectic set of suggestions from my ever-odd-and-rambling mind:1

  • "The Floating Forest" by Sam Worley. This eye-opening article details how recyclable wastepaper from the U.S. travels halfway around the world and then ends up back here, on our retail shelves.

    "Chinese factories have grown exponentially hungrier for garbage that they can repurpose and put, in some new form, back on the market. Paper mills in China churn wastepaper into containerboard, which packages Chinese-made products — iPhones, to pick a prominent example — whose destination is the United States. ... Scrap fills the hulls of China-bound ships that, after making their deposits in the U.S., would otherwise return empty. ... Rates are so low that it costs less to ship a container of wastepaper from Seattle to China than it does to ship it from Seattle to Portland."
  • Salon: "Is Movie Culture Dead?" by Andrew O'Hehir.

    "Film culture ... has a history, and I think it pretty much ended with 'Pulp Fiction,' the brief indie-film boom of the late ’90s and the rise of the Internet. It’s just taken us a while to realize it. When the [New York Film Festival] was launched in 1963, the films of the French New Wave were the hottest things on roller skates, and the Mt. Rushmore Great Men of postwar art cinema – Bergman, Truffaut, Fellini, Kurosawa – were at or near their career peaks. Cocktail party debate among the chattering classes often revolved around existentially inflected, black-and-white works like 'L’Avventura,' 'Last Year at Marienbad' or violent, generationally-defined American films like 'Easy Rider' and 'Bonnie and Clyde,' along with the contentious reviews published by Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and numerous others. Those who hadn’t seen such films, or hadn’t 'gotten' them, felt not so subtly left out."
  • Wired: "American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse" by Randall Sullivan.2 This one has stuck with me since I first read it back in 2009.

    "The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent 'a small group of loyal Americans' who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton — the county seat and the granite capital of the world — because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet."
  • Smithsonian: "The Great New England Vampire Panic" by Abigail Tucker. This panic, by the way, occurred in the 1800s, long after you might have thought this level of superstition was left behind.

    "The particulars of the vampire exhumations, though, vary widely. In many cases, only family and neighbors participated. But sometimes town fathers voted on the matter, or medical doctors and clergymen gave their blessings or even pitched in. Some communities in Maine and Plymouth, Massachusetts, opted to simply flip the exhumed vampire facedown in the grave and leave it at that. In Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, though, they frequently burned the dead person’s heart, sometimes inhaling the smoke as a cure."
1. Here are some previous posts with #fridayreads suggestions, short and long:
2. had a post on the Georgia Guidestones in 2009.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A few quick things about my favorite edition of "Grimm's Fairy Tales"

My favorite version of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" that I've come across is a copy of the 1900 edition published by Ward, Lock & Co., Limited, of London.

This edition, featuring 86 tales, was translated by Beatrice Marshall.

These are much closer to the original, unsanitized tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm than the Disney-esque versions that children have been familiar with for decades (which makes them far more interesting).

Once you get past the gold-lettered front cover, there's this neat bookplate on the inside front cover.

It states: "Free School Oldbury Prize Awarded to Graeme Morgan for Regular Attendance & Good Conduct October 1900."

That makes this just about the coolest good-attendance award I can imagine.

The book contains just one illustration — a frontispiece. According to David Blamire's book, "Telling Tales: The Impact of Germany on English Children's, Books 1780-1918," this was one of the final editions to focus on the tales and their translations. After this, the focus was on heavily illustrated editions geared toward younger children (and higher sales).

Here's that frontispiece from "The Frog-King."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An unfortunate 1940 advertisement for white lead paint

This full-page advertisement for Lead Industries Association1 is featured in the November 1940 issue of Agricultural Leaders' Digest (The Blue Book of Agriculture and Home Economics).2

The ad's angle is "Let a miner tell you what lead means in PAINT!" and here are some of the selling points that are touted:
  • "Lead, as you know, is one of the toughest weather-fighting metals there is."
  • "White lead is hard-boiled, too, when it comes to resisting time, sun and rain. It puts gumption3 into paint, makes it stick tight without cracking and scaling, adds extra life to paint jobs."
  • "Any good painter or architect will tell you the same. They've learned from experience that using white lead paint is one case where the best is cheapest."

And here is perhaps the most unfortunate statement of all, in retrospect:
"It's a pretty safe rule to follow: The higher the lead content, the better the paint!"
We now know, of course, that lead paint is not at all safe. It is extremely hazardous to the health of people, especially young children. In the United States, it has been banned from household paints since 1978.

And it's not just the paint chips (which children might intentionally or unintentionally ingest) that are hazardous. The mere presence of lead dust in the air or on hands can be enough to cause lead poisoning.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. homes built before 1940 have about a 67% percent chance of containing lead paint and U.S. homes built between 1940 and 1960 have about a 50% chance of containing lead paint. Learn more, including what to do about the presence of lead paint, from the Environmental Protection Agency.

And I reckon that concludes today's public-service announcement.

1. If you do a Google search for "Lead Industries Association," a whole boatload of court cases come up in the results. Summaries of some of those cases can be found on Wikipedia and on this page at the Alliance for Healthy Homes website.
2. Some of the articles in this issue of Agricultural Leaders' Digest include:
  • 4-H Beef Show Successful Even Without Cash Prizes
  • Milk and Honey Make a Delicious Drink
  • Corduroy is Excellent for Children's Clothing
  • Help Yourself Roadside Markets
  • Synthetic Rubber is on the Way
  • Lunchbox Sandwiches Should be Tasty (Household scientist Emma Chandler writes: "Wrapping the sandwich in waxed paper or a paper napkin will keep it together in the lunch pail. Every school child knows there is nothing worse than a sandwich that has scattered into pieces.")
  • Meet the All-Girls' 4-H Calf Club
3. Gumption is a word that's not used nearly enough these days.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Some spacey tidbits from the Fall 1966 issue of Saucer News

Everyone has 46-year-old issues of homemade-looking UFO society magazines laying around the living room, right?1


Well, since I happen to have just such a magazine right here beside me, I'll share.

Here are some far-out tidbits from the official publication of the Saucer And Unexplained Celestial Events Research Society (Get it? S.A.U.C.E.R.S.):

  • "WE WISH TO THANK KENNETH LARSON of Hollywood, California, for the flying saucer cover design on the cover of this issue. After having tried two other designs that we were not quite satisfied with, we have decided to adopt this one as our permanent emblem."2
  • "MANY SUBSCRIBERS FAILED TO RECEIVE OUR JUNE ISSUE, for some reason that we do not understand."3
  • Here is an excerpt from "The Case for Extraterrestrial Little Men," an article written by Jack and Mary Robinson:
    "The space being will have to weight at least 40 pounds. It is a scientific fact that the brain of any advanced intelligent being must have a high mental capacity, and must weigh at least 2 pounds. This gives us the minimum possible size of a UFO pilot. At least a 40-pound body would be necessary to contain such a brain."
  • ADVERTISEMENT #1: "PREDICTIONS WITH DICE! Ancients believed tossed dice revealed future. New, informative method....$2.00. Enclose stamped, addressed envelope. Californians add 4% tax. Predicta-Dice, Dept. 10, 1722 S. Crescent Hts. Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90035."
  • ADVERTISEMENT #2: "MY CONTACT WITH FLYING SAUCERS — by Dino Kraspedon — $3.50. A famous Brazilian scientist tells of his unique experiences with space beings."
  • ADVERTISEMENT #3: "FLYING SAUCERS IN THE BIBLE — by Virginia Brasington — $3.00. Did you know that portions of the Bible actually describe flying saucer sightings in ancient times? The complete story appears in this stimulating book."
  • Here are some of the entries in this issue's largest section — eight pages of "Recent UFO Sightings":
    • On the night of March 26th, a 13-year-old boy named Charles Cozens, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, saw two strange "ships" land in a field behind a police station in a residential section of town.
    • In Australia, another flying saucer "nest" has been found. ... The latest "nest" is in a swamp near Bankstown, and consists of an almost symmetrical 20-foot-diameter circle of flattened reeds. A local woman and her neighbors claimed they saw mysterious white lights in that area for several nights in a row.
    • On the morning of April 6th, two 12-year-old boys on their way to school in Norwalk, Connecticut were attacked by a silvery ball, eight feet in diameter, which dove four times to within 15 feet of the ground.
    • A terrified 11-year-old girl in Dorchester, Mass. reported that at about 4 a.m. on April 25th, a flying saucer of some sort banged into the side of the house and rocked her bed.
    • On April 25th, Governor Haydon Burns of Florida saw an unexplained aerial object while flying through the state on a political campaign. The encounter occurred while the Governor's private plane was at 6,000 feet over Ocala, Florida, and involved a lighted UFO at some distance from the aircraft.

  • Finally, saving the best for last, here's the magazine's verbatim description of a sighting that took place right here in York, Pennsylvania. (It states that the description was taken from the June 13, 1966, issue of The (York) Gazette and Daily, the predecessor of my paper, the York Daily Record/Sunday News.)
    "On June 12th, a family of five living in a rural area near York, Pa. observed a flying saucer hovering over the treetops within 700 yards of their home. The object had 'compartments' that glowed with 'soft-colored lights,' and was in the shape of a flattened triangle. It made various zig-zag motions in the sky that definitely eliminated the possibility of it being a satellite, according to the witnesses, who watched the UFO through binoculars off and on for 25 minutes."
    I'll have to get into the microfilm archives and see if I can discover anything else about that local UFO sighting from the Summer of '66.

1. Of course, if your living room still looks like one of these rooms, you might just have some 1960s publications laying around.
2. I wonder if the Kenneth Larson mentioned is Hollywood set designer Kenneth A. Larson.
3. Clearly, those issues were stolen by aliens. Or the government. You decide.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating Papergreat's 600th post with chickens, past and present

Welcome to Papergreat's 600th post!

That's a bundle of posts for a blog with no real agenda or focus, precious few viral hits and faint hopes of ever pulling in big bucks.1

Assuming that I've spent an average of 90 minutes2 carefully researching and writing each of the 600 posts here, I've spent 37.5 whole days of my life crafting Papergreat. So I guess it's not a surprise that I've been oblivious to the whole Honey Boo Boo phenomenon and other pop-culture curiosities of the past two years.

But, hey, I'm still having a blast! And pageviews have been on the rise in China, where I'm not yet on the "Blocked" list. So I plan to keep cheerily plugging away and plowing through ephemera.

There's a bit of a tradition here of celebrating every 200 posts. And chickens have been woven into the past two celebrations.3

So I think I'll hit the poultry hard one more time before retiring the Chicken Meme4 and coming up with a new idea in six months or so, when the 800th post rolls around.

Chickens of the past

Above: This is a portion of an advertisement for Conkeys feed5 from the February 1933 edition of Poultry Tribune. According to the advertising copy: "Conkeys the Original Buttermilk Starting Feed with Y-O contains an abundance of buttermilk, milk albumen, meat meal, etc., scientifically balanced and blended. No mixing — no guesswork. Keeps bowels open and digestive track in healthy condition. Only Conkeys is vitalized with Y-O."

(Y-O appears to have been a powder containing yeast, cod liver oil and vitamin.)

The G.E. Conkey Company was based in Cleveland and had mills in Cleveland, Toledo, Nebraska City and Dallas.

Above: These two advertisements — for products offered by Dr. J.A. Lockwood and Fox Poultry Farm Co. — are from the same issue of Poultry Tribune as the Conkeys advertisement.

Not being a poultry farmer, I was not aware that cannibalism was such a big problem among chickens.6 In fact, it turns out that it's so prevalent that the topic has its own Wikipedia page.

The slogan "Paint the windows — not the Chicks" is probably referring to this concept:
"It is theorized that ... placing red filters over windows or keeping the birds in red light ... prevent[s] the birds from recognizing the blood or raw flesh of other hens and thus diminish[es] cannibalistic behavior."

Above: This final advertisement comes from a different issue of Poultry Tribune — October 1935 (price: 10¢). A pullet is a young hen, and the advertising copy for Park & Pollard ManAmar Feeds urgently asks:
"Do your pullets look better or worse than last year? How many did you lose last year? Many of our eastern universities are reporting an average loss from 30% to 40% during the pullet year. That is far too great — and yet, what is being done about it? We say and we have proved that mineral deficiency is the real cause of these major losses. Supply the vital minerals in the ration and you avoid the loss."

According to this history of Buffalo published in 1927, Park & Pollard was just one of seven manufacturers of livestock feed in the city during that year. The others were Mapl-Flake Mills, Eastern States Co-op Milling Company, Maritime Milling Company, Ralston Purina, The Hecker-H. O. Company and Co-op. G. L. F. Exchange.

Chickens of the present

To cap off the 600th post, here is a gallery of chicken photographs that I took during the recent York Fair. Yes, that's right, I was the creepy guy with the camera, taking pictures of all the cute chicks...

Not all of the chickens looked terribly pleased about being photographed.

1. Negotiations for "Papergreat: The Motion Picture" and "Papergreat: The Broadway Musical" remain stalled. There is, however, a Ukrainian company that is interested in producing Papergreat-themed napkin rings.
2. My wife would argue that time estimate is low. I fear she's right.
3. The 200th post featured Casper, Jerry Richardson, David McCallum and Gatlinburg before concluding with some rock-star chickens, and the 400th post was pretty much wall-to-wall chickens. It's also worth noting that Papergreat delved into the realm of common poultry diseases in Summer 2011.
4. Chicken Meme would be a good name for a band. I think.
5. The G.E. Conkey Company published a book titled "A Handy Book of Reference on Poultry Raising" about a century ago. Reprints of the original text can be purchased through Amazon and other outlets, if you want to check it out.
6. Speaking of cannibalism, Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" starts on October 14. Now all I have to do is catch up on the rest of Season 2. Did they ever find that young girl who was missing?