Saturday, May 26, 2018

Five years a pescetarian

As of this month, I have been a pescetarian for five years, which truly isn't any dent whatsoever in human civilization's impact on Earth, and time is an arbitrary thing anyway, but, hey, it makes for a blog post, because...

... During the first half of my life, I ate a lot of hot dogs. They truly seemed to be the perfect and cheap food for so many occasions: quick lunches and dinners, cookouts, ballgames, working dinner breaks, late-night snacks (ugh).

When I was at Penn State, Uni-Mart hot dogs were often two for $1, which fit perfectly into a college student's budget (and Uni-Mart knew it, too). Also when I was in college, my girlfriend, wise beyond her years, deployed propaganda and other methods in an attempt to divest me of my hot-dog habit. She was not a fan of what she termed "speckled meat" — hot dogs, sausages and, perhaps worst of all in her eyes, scrapple.

In addition to some light public shaming and teasing, she would also give me anti-frankfurter ephemera, such as the actual early 1990s magazine clipping show above, which I came across in a recent round of sorting. It states:
Ultimately, decades later, it was not the ingredients of hot dogs (or anything else) that caused me to pivot to pescetarianism (which, I freely admit, is a lazy and half-assed "step" toward vegetarianism). I actually think hot dogs and other speckled meats are an efficient way to make sure we're using every part of the animal. If we're going to slaughter them, we shouldn't let any part go to waste.

So, I wasn't ultimately swayed by the horror of eating nostrils, tails and snouts. Rather, I was swayed by my eyes finally being opened to the horror of the conditions in which beautiful, intelligent animals are raised and slaughtered for food; the ghastly lack of humanity inherent in that system; and the extent to which it's entirely unsustainable for civilization. We need to take great leaps forward in our compassion for other living creatures, and we also need to find better solutions for feeding the billions of humans on this planet.

As for me, I'm still enjoying occasional hot-dog-shaped foodstuffs. I can put my favorite ingredients — mustard, relish, onions, and sauerkraut — on Morningstar Farms Veggie Dogs. Yum! And no speckles present.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The evolution of Barry Leffler's KCC2188 QSL cards

Shown above are a pair of old QSL cards for York, Pennsylvania, ham-radio operator Barry Leffler. They show the evolution of Leffler's response cards for his communications under call sign KCC2188.

The first card, undated and never used, is a badly mimeographed, five-inch-wide card for "The Fantastic Five Watts" of "Little Red." There's a little map indicating the rough location of York County and York City in southcentral Pennsylvania.

The second card, the more standard 5½ inches wide, is fully professional. "Little Red" was apparently using Vocaline Commaire as his ham-radio setup. (I found some good photos and technical data regarding various Vocaline transceivers, but if anyone knows more about the history of that company and its products, please drop a note in the comments.)

The second card was never used, either. It includes the standard lines on the back to fill in date, channel, signal strength, etc. Also, oddly, there's a pre-printed reference to KCC 3373 — a different call sign — on the back of the card. That's Ronald E. (Joe) Sellers, who I wrote about in January. I wonder if Sellers did some side work helping fellow ham-radio enthusiasts with the design and/or printing of their QSL cards.

Click on the QSL cards label below to see 30 other Papergreat posts related to QSLs and ham radio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

6 nifty things inside 1926's "Tall Tales of the Kentucky Mountains"

Tall Tales of the Kentucky Mountains is a 1926 collection of folk tales that was written by Percy MacKaye (1875–1956) and published by George H. Doran Company. It contains tales titled "The Cats That Clawed to Heaven" and "The Meat of a Snowball," and mostly I'm just beyond giddy right now that I've been able to include the phrase "The Meat of a Snowball" on Papergreat.

Here are a half-dozen cool things from inside this 92-year-old book...

The title page

The bookplate for
The Wilmington Institute Free Library

Library's perforated stamp

Frontispiece by Elizabeth MacKinstry

Library circulation card

Library circulation card pocket

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trio of early 1940s York, Pennsylvania, mystery photos

These were found in an antique-vendor's booth, in a sandwich-bag labeled "Pictures taken in York, PA 1938-1945."

First up are a pair of photographs that have the caption "Pistol Range ------ Sept. 1942" typed onto the back. There is no other information.

The third snapshot has a circular "Masters Photo Finishers of America" stamp on the back and was printed at Sweigart's, on 278-280 West Market Street in York. The date, also stamped, is April 29, 1940.

Monday, May 21, 2018

July 1946 postcard:
"...this can't last forever..."

This bucolic linen postcard showcases Santa Cruz Falls, a waterfall with a drop of about 300 feet in the Catskill Mountains near Haines Falls, New York. This lesser-known and mostly inaccessible spot apparently got its name from a bottle of Santa Cruz Rum that was left behind by hunters, according to

The waterfall is located in an uncleared region prone to landslides and is entirely on private land, so the only safe and legal ways to view it are from afar. Or via vintage linen postcards.1

A safer and legal spot of natural beauty to visit in that region is Kaaterskill Falls, if you have a hankering for a waterfall field trip.

This postcard was published by The Kingston News Service of Kingston, New York, and it was postmarked on July 17, 1946, bound for an address in Union, New York. The short note states:
"Hi ya folks,
Having a swell time, it sure is beautiful up here. Will be home soon, as this can't last forever but we sure wish it could.
Mary & Paul"

1. So, to be abundantly clear, don't go chasing waterfalls. It is the official stance of Papergreat that you should stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.

1981 advertisement for Epyx's
"Crush, Crumble and Chomp!"

This vibrant advertisement appeared on the inside front cover of issue #53 of Dragon magazine, which was published in September 1981, when the Smurfs, Entertainment Tonight and Serena Williams were just entering the world.

The artwork — with its Godzilla stand-in, panicked white people, and way-oversized post office — is by George Barr.

"Crush, Crumble and Chomp!" was a computer game published by Epyx in 1981 for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, and TRS-80. Later, there was a version for the Commodore 64, the home computer that took the world by storm in 1982.

CC & C was designed by Jon Freeman and J.W. Connelley, according to its original manual, which you can view here in PDF format. According to the magazine ad copy, players would get to "terrorize and destroy four of the world's largest and most densely populated cities in over 100 possible scenarios. From Tokyo to the Golden Gate, you are the deadliest creature in the air, on the land, or in the sea."

There was clearly no fear of kaiju copyright infringement. According to Wikipedia, the playable creatures included Goshilla, The Kraken, Archnis, The Glob, Mechismo and Mantra, which was basically Mothra, which doesn't make any sense because Mothra is a peaceful monster.

The price of the game, per this advertisement, was $29.95, which equates to about $82 today, which is way more than a new copy of, say, "God of War" will cost you in 2018. Here's a look at the CC & C gameplay on the Atari 8-bit...

The game was generally well-received, it seems. Science-fiction author Jerry Pournelle (1933-2017) wrote in 1984 that "there's something exceedingly attractive about burning down and stomping the Pentagon flat, and in general making an even bigger mess of Washington than the politicians have." To read a good collection of memories and reviews of CC & C, check out this 2011 post on James Maliszewski's Grognardia website.

As for me, CC & C was a few years before my home-computer heyday. But Epyx released a similar game in 1986 called "The Movie Monster Game," and I remember playing that on my Commodore 64, when I got bored of Ultima IV and MicroLeague Baseball and just wanted to cause some mindless mayhem.

Illustrations from 1924's "Principles of Clothing Selection"

Featured below are some illustrations from Principles of Clothing Selection, which was written by Helen Goodrich Buttrick and illustrated by Gertrude Spaller Kinder. This edition was published by The Macmillan Company in 1924, and this particular book, many moons ago, was part of the curriculum for the Palmyra Borough School District. "Parents and Guardians will see that proper care if taken of this book," states part of the red stamping on the inside front cover.

Here is an excerpt from the preface:
"This book is designed as a textbook for high-school courses in clothing and costume design. It should prove useful also in agricultural colleges and in other colleges where home economics is taught, but where the majority of the students come from high schools offering no elementary training in this subject."
Chapter titles and subtitles include:
  • Factors changing our standards of clothing selection
  • The important structural lines of garments
  • The place of color in life
  • Different types of color harmony
  • The red-haired type
  • Modifying unbecoming color
  • Factors affecting the silhouette
  • Cost as a factor in choice of fabrics
  • Coiffures for different types of heads
  • Hats becoming to different types of head and face
  • Clothing appropriate to the age of the wearer
  • Hygienic values of different fibres
  • The origin of rapid changes of fashion
  • The effect of rapid changes of fashion on the consumer
  • The place of old clothes in the wardrobe

Here is a selection of Gertrude Spaller Kinder's illustrations...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sharing some springtime Postcrossing notes

Continuing a recent tradition, here are some of the cool moments I've had recently thanks to Postcrossing, an international postcard-exchange community.

Shown above is one of a handful of postcards that found their way to my mailbox this month. It's from Gustav, a harmonica-playing grandfather of three who lives in Switzerland. The postcard shows an illustration depicting bucolic life in the canton of Appenzell. The postcard illustrator is Andy Fischli.

I also received dandy postcards from Russia and Germany.

Rina, a young mother living in Saint Petersburg and likes journaling and theater, writes: "Hello, Chris. Most of the older people in Russia prefer to watch TV at New Year's Eve. Our parents' generation like to cook a lot of food and after president's greetings go for a walk, congratulate each other and play off (or just watch) fireworks!"

And this note was written on a modern postcard showcasing Heidelberg Castle: "Hi Chris! My name is Retno. I am an Indonesian who [is] studying in Bonn, Germany. Here's the picture of Heidelberg castle. It's 4 hours away from Bonn by train. The castle was built in 1214 and located in hillside. Therefore, we can see the view of the city from above. Hope you'll like it."

* * *

Meanwhile, these are some of the emailed notes of thanks that I have received from Postcrossers who I mailed cards to:

  • Johanna in the Netherlands wrote: "Thank you very much for this card and stamps! My cats are called Amaril and Mijanou. Please caress your cats with their creative names from me!"
  • Svenja in Germany wrote: "Thx for your lovely postcard. It was my very very first postcrossing postcard. And now I know a new word: ephemera. Peace."
  • Luna in China wrote: "Hi Chris! Thanks for your nice postcard and special stamps! I really love it. Now I'm reading the Harry Potter series with a dictionary. I like The Big Bang Theory very much!"
  • Marcus in Germany wrote: "Guten Tag Chris, greetings from the cold Germany. Thank you for your nice postcard and the great stamps. Never been in Pennsylvania but think it's a great country with a great nature. I know a movie with Johnny Depp: Sleepy Hollow. But I like more movies Out of Africa or Notting Hill."
  • Irina in Russia wrote: "Thank you for your card and such an interesting story about yourself! Always thought the profession of a journalist is very interesting. If I ever go to the United States, I really want to get to a football match, I think it's unforgettable emotions."
  • Beate in Germany wrote: "Hello Chris! Thanks a lot for your postcard with the interesting stamps. It arrived today. I enjoyed reading your text. It's nice to have such interesting hobbies as you have, it seems that you are a 'bookworm'. Cats are very nice animals. All the best for you."