Saturday, October 7, 2017

Two fall-foliage-themed postcards

On this low-key autumn Saturday, here are a couple of postcards showing the splendid colors of nature.

First up is the Donegal Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a highway that is 77 years old this month. Donegal is a borough in southwestern Pennsylvania (unrelated to the East Donegal Township, West Donegal Township and Donegal School District in Lancaster County). As the borough has a population of fewer than 150 people, the area truly is best known for and defined by its turnpike exit. Folks pretty much just pass through Donegal on their way east or west, perhaps stopping for gasoline or a bite to eat. This is also a turnpike exit travelers can use if they are heading to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

This postcard features color photography by Herbert Lanks and was published by Howard Johnson Publishing Department of Bedford, Pennsylvania. The caption on the back states:
"World's Greatest Highway"
Pioneer of America's super toll roads, the Pennsylvania Turnpike spans more than one-eighth of the nation. It stretches 360 miles, from the Ohio line in the West to the shores of the Delaware River in the East. More than 150 million people have traveled over it since it was opened in 1940.
While the card was never stamped or mailed, someone wrote the following note on the back: "12-30-57 Trip to Brooklyn State Hosp., Brooklyn, N.Y."

Brooklyn State Hospital has a long, sad history dating to the middle of the 19th century. And it only had that name from 1916 from 1974. The facility was also known as Flatbush Insane Asylum, Kings County Asylum, Kings County Lunatic Asylum, Long Island State Hospital, Kingsboro State Hospital and Kingsboro Psychiatric Center over the years, according to what I came across. In its incarnation as Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, it was slated to close a few years back, but I'm not sure if that actually happened.

Hopping across The Pond, this postcard features the scenic bridge over the River Dee in Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales. The town of about 3,600 sits near the ruins of Castell Dinas Brân. The bridge shown on the postcard dates to the 16th century, though additions were made circa 1860. The general Llangollen area is known for and supported by its sheep farming and related industries.

This postcard, never written on or mailed, was printed in Great Britain by J. Arthur Dixon Ltd.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Farewell Coby, the greatest goldendoodle

This was Coby last week. He always took a good picture.

Yesterday, we bid a sad but peaceful farewell to our superb family dog, Coby, who was with us for nearly 14 years.

He spanned almost the entirety of Ashar's life. They were young, energetic tots together. He walked with him to and from the bus stop almost every morning and afternoon throughout the elementary school years. He slept faithfully outside his bedroom door every night for nearly a decade, until he could no longer do stairs. He loved the snow. And there were many, many, many great walks over the years; we eventually transitioned from Coby eagerly pulling and yanking us all over the place to us intentionally walking very slowly so that Coby could keep up on his failing legs. His favorite sound in the world was a tie between Ashar's voice and the jangling noise that the metal part of his leash made when it was time for a walk.

His final couple of years were especially tough, but he was always a Good Boy.

We will be fondly remembering Coby stories and moments throughout the rest of our lifetimes; so he truly was a friend and companion that keeps on giving.

One nice little story is that Coby — the friendliest darn dog you'll ever meet — spent most of his life around cats who either hissed at him or wouldn't give him the time of day. Typical cats, in other words. But I knew there were plenty of households in which dogs and cats are BFFs, and I always thought it would have made Coby happy, especially in his old age, to have feline buddy.

Well, that had a happy ending. Over the past few months, our newest cat, Mr. Angelino (aka Mystery, aka Mr. A or Banjo), who was initially the most irrationally fearful of Coby, became his nap-time buddy. Here's just one of the numerous times that they curled up together for some Z's.

And Coby would get up very carefully, so as not to disturb his friend.

Too many previous pet goodbyes

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Variations on a theme": Advertisement for Royal System

On the heels of Monday's post, here's another advertisement from the August 12, 1961, issue of The New Yorker. This one is touting Royal System, a mid-century shelving and furniture scheme that was designed by Denmark's Poul Cadovius (1911-2011) in 1948 and is described in the ad copy thusly: "Stack your stereo in wall furniture components of teak or walnut imported from Denmark. Compose your own arrangement (free-standing or suspended) of shelves, cabinets, desk and table units."

I think my variation on the theme would involve much more room for books. But you probably could have guessed that.

According to a 2014 article on Remodelista, the Royal System has had a bit of a renaissance. Julie Carson writes: "Margot and I spotted the recently reintroduced Royal System at Design Within Reach in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago and admired its sleek profile, handsome hardware, Danish attention to detail, and its versatility. ... The hangers come in raw brass (which is meant to patina over time) or stainless steel. The design is sold in parts and can be configured in myriad ways."

Cadovius focused on more than just shelving systems during his long career. He also designed this gorgeous table in the 1960s...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Scholastic book: "Spooky Tricks"

Announcement: For "Mild Fear 2017," I'm just going to sprinkle Halloween-themed posts throughout the month, whenever I darn well feel like, instead of the past practice of funneling all of the spooky stuff into the last 10 or 12 days of October, in an orderly fashion.

I understand this might cause some of you to pine for the good old days, when Papergreat was logical and regimented and everything was businesslike and ship-shape. When the world make sense. Before those kids came along and stood on your finely manicured lawn.

Well, too bad. Times are changing. Papergreat's going all hippie now and doing whatever it likes. It's going to be crazy and messy!

Now, please let me finish this post, so I can go alphabetize my bookmarks.

  • Title: Spooky Tricks
  • Authors: Rose Wyler and Gerald Ames
  • Illustrator: Tālivaldis Stubis
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (TW 1484)
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Year: First printing, September 1969
  • Pages: 64
  • Format: Paperback
  • Contents: "How to be a Spook," "Willie the Ghost," and "Haunted House"
  • Random paragraph #1 from middle: "Tell your friends, 'When I go spooking, I sometimes need a helper. I have a good one. My helper is a very small ghost. His name is Willie. Do you want to meet him?'"
  • Random paragraph #2 from middle: "Show your cat and say, 'I had a spooky kitten that became a spooky cat. She sparkles in the dark. Now what do you think of that!'"
  • Rating on Goodreads: 4.11 stars (out of 5.0)
  • A Goodreads review: Denise writes: "This 'I Can Read Book' from 1968 explains simple magic tricks kids can do. The first chapter explains how to be a spook with an extra finger, a pincushion thumb, and x-ray eyes and how to stop your pulse. In another chapter Willie The Ghost writes a lemon juice message, sleeps in a matchbox, and ties a knot. The Haunted House chapter teaches the way to make a mummy finger in a box, electric cat and disappearing girl. The groovy purple and green drawings are by Tālivaldis Stubis."
  • About the authors: Rose and Gerald were a husband-and-wife writing team. He died in 1993 and she died in 2000. Here is an excerpt from her obituary in The New York Times, which mentions this book:
    Rose Wyler, who wrote more than 50 books for children on science and other topics, died on June 12 at her home in Manhattan. She was 90.

    Ms. Wyler was the sole author of over two dozen books and a co-author of others. One of her best-known works is Spooky Tricks (1968), which she wrote with her husband Gerald Ames. When it was reissued in 1994, Scripps Howard News Service called it "the perfect Halloween book" for "school-agers who are just beginning to read."

    Ms. Wyler once recalled that as a girl she "always had a collection of stones, bugs or leaves and always wanted to know more about nature." She never could find books on nature as a child, she said, so at 11 she decided she was going to write them.
  • About the illustrator: Stubis died in late 2009. Here is his brief obituary from Publishers Weekly:
    Talivaldis Stubis, the prolific graphic designer and artist, died late last year at the age of 83, after a long battle with amyloidosis.

    Stubis illustrated nearly two dozen books over his long career, including Sir Alva and the Wicked Wizard by Otto Friedrich, Sam's Place by Lillian Moore, and many by the husband-and-wife team Rose Wyler and Gerald Ames. In 1962 his A Pocketful of Seasons was named one of the New York Times' 100 Best Books of the Year. His books were published by many of the leading houses of the day, including Harper & Row, Lothrop Lee and Shepard, Scholastic, Atheneum, Seabury Press, Parents Magazine Press, and Doubleday.

    In addition to his work for children, he also designed many iconic movie and theater posters, including, for Broadway, Funny Girl, Camelot, and Anyone Can Whistle; and for Hollywood, The Sting and The Exorcist.
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. We have buried the lede, people!

    A news release issued upon Stubis' death adds the following, with regard to his amazing legacy of Broadway and Hollywood design work:

    Perhaps the artist's most memorable image was for the Broadway musical, “Funny Girl,” an upside-down girl on roller skates whose body spells out the title, but he worked on literally hundreds of other now-iconic posters for stage and screen. His Broadway works included Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros,” “Camelot,” “The Most Happy Fella,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Night of the Iguana,” and “Flower Drum Song.” From 1963 to 1980 Stubis was senior art director for a boutique agency working on many of the best-known movie poster campaigns of the 20th century, including Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” and “Barry Lyndon,” “Deliverance,” The Sting, and The Exorcist. Later he worked on many of the most popular film campaigns for Paramount Pictures, including “Airplane!” “Elephant Man,” “Reds,” “Ordinary People,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Witness,” “Star Trek,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
    Holy movie history, Batman!

Roll, roll, roll in ze hay
Roll, roll, do it all day

Hay there! This old postcard is copyright 1910 and was published by The Cargill Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. We see four youthful lads and lasses hanging out in the hay, and the caption states "Two Pair Beat Three of a Kind."

This card was postmarked on March 29, 1913, in the tiny town of Guilford, located deep in central Maine. It was addressed to Henrietta M. Clark of Greenville, Maine, which is located about 26 miles north of Guilford.1

The note, written in pencil and cursive, states:
Friday Mar 28
I got home all right. Geo was at the Station. He did not go Tues it rained so only one of the men have come yet. They expect the others to day. Phyllis says thank you for the candy from Emma [?]
The note is signed with one or two initials that I just cannot make out.

1. The trip from Guildford to Greenville takes you through Abbot Village, Monson Junction, Moosehorn, and Monson.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Factory For Turning Chickens Into Robot Warriors

Save the things you do with your kids, and the things they write and create when they're kids. OK, don't be a hoarder like me and save all of it. But err on the side of saving. Save plenty. Save the good stuff and keep it safe, for savoring every few years. You will thank me later.

"Factory For Turning Chickens Into Robot Warriors" is a silly thing that Ashar and I worked on together during a lazy day (the best kind of day) seven or eight years ago. To be clear, though: This is just a fantasy. I do not advocate harming chickens in this manner, or in any manner whatsoever. These are just fictional cartoon chickens.

Here, for posterity and hopefully the Library of Congress, is a panel-by-panel look at this Ashar-and-Dad artwork.


(until the major motion picture)

1961 advertisement: "Give her an island and a Paper Mate pen"

This advertisement, with its blue spot-color, is featured on page 77 of the August 12, 1961, issue of The New Yorker. The only text states "Give her an island and a Paper Mate pen," followed by "Lady Capri $2.95."

That's a fairly expensive pen! Not as much as an island, for sure. But $2.95 in 1961 is the equivalent of about $24 today.

Paper Mate, according to the history portion of its website, was established in the early 1940s by entrepreneur Patrick J. Frawley. The "revolutionary" Paper Mate ballpoint pen was introduced in 1949, and, during the 1950s, the company spared no expense on advertising to spread the word about its invention. The company has added many other commonplace products for home and work offices over the decades, expanding far past the ballpoint pen. The InkJoy pens and InkJoy Gel pens, introduced here in the 2010s, have been especially popular. And, best of all, they don't cost $24.

Changing gears, here's the cover of that 1961 issue of The New Yorker. It's a gem, with a wonderful message.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Book cover & inscriptions: Life and Adventures of Hajji Baba

  • Title (deep breath): The Life and Adventures of the Celebrated Oriental Traveler, Hajji Baba, in Persia, Turkey and Russia, Comprising His Caravan Travels, Encounters with Robbers, His Curious Performances as Soldier, Water Carrier, Pipe Seller, Dervish, Courtier, Doctor, Executioner, Lover, and Marriage Broker, and His Final Elevation to the Rank of Shah's Deputy, and Secretary of the Persian Ambassador to England. With Numerous Episodes and Incidents Illustrating Life in Persia.
  • Title (per the cover): Life and Adventures of Hajji Baba
  • Should we just go with the cover title? Yes.
  • Editor: James Justinian Morier (1780-1849)
  • Publisher: John E. Potter and Company, 617 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
  • Year of publication: Not listed. No later than 1890. Circa 1885 seems likely.
  • Pages: 405
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Best chapter title: "LVII. An Extraordinary Adventure in the Bath"
  • Excerpts from preface: "'The Adventures of Hajji Baba' is one of the most popular works published in Great Britain, where it has gone through many editions, and has already attained the position of a standard work. ... The work certainly deserves all the popularity which it enjoys with the reading public. The hero of the tale, Hajji Baba, is a sort of Persian Gil Blas. ... This edition is reprinted entire from the latest London edition, with the author's last corrections."
  • First sentence: "My father, Kerbelai Hassan, was one of the most celebrated barbers of Ispahan."
  • Last sentence: "Need I say more?"
  • Notes: To be clear, this book is fiction. The novel was first published by Morier in 1824 under the title The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan. A sequel, The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan in England, followed in 1828. The 1954 CinemaScope movie The Adventures of Hajji Baba is based on the book. It starred John Derek in the title role.
  • Inscriptions: A gorgeous, full-color presentation page was bound with the novel and is pictured below. This copy was presented to William H. Noble by his mother, Ada W. Noble, on October 13, 1890. On a separate page, the book is listed as belonging to Homer Noble of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. That's the same person. William H. Noble was William Homer Noble, who lived from 1876 to 1933, according to his gravestone. His mother Ada outlived him, dying in 1941.

October: The month of gags and folly

As we turn the calendar page, we also turn our attention back to 1978's Hayes Tips and Clues for Every Bulletin Board (first mentioned a couple of weeks ago). This is one of the suggested classroom bulletin-board displays for October.

Featuring a witch, a pumpkin and something that appears to be a black cat merged with a chipmunk, the bulletin board casts October as a month of "gags" and "folly." I reckon that's less disturbing for schoolchildren than dubbing October the month of "Ritual Sacrifice" and "Fires of Samhain."

Either way, October is here. The month for gorgeous foliage, chillier nights, apple cider, winds rustling in the trees, Indian corn, hayrides and pumpkin-spice everything.

And, of course, Halloween. If you're looking to settle into the October mood, here are some previous Papergreat series to check out: