Saturday, May 8, 2021

Wonderful medical ephemera #2

Shot #2
San Tan Valley, AZ

Now let's work to get the whole world protected.

Skylab and scary space junk

A tweet today from Kay Savetz, co-host of the fabulous Eaten by a Grue podcast, stirred some minor memories for me.

"China rocket" is a reference to the buzz around the used section of a Chinese rocket that is hurtling back to Earth and is likely to re-enter this atmosphere this weekend. The Associated Press reported:

"China says the upper stage of its Long March 5B rocket that launched the core module of its space station will mostly burn up on re-entry, posing little threat to people and property on the ground. ... The largest section of the rocket that launched the main module of China’s first permanent space station into orbit is expected to plunge back to Earth as early as Saturday at an unknown location."

Skylab plunged back to Earth in 1979. I remember it, of course. And I got a "souvenir." My grandmother gave me a small block of wood, perhaps 4 inches by 3 inches, upon which was mounted a small grey blob of melted metal. The plaque indicated that it was piece of Skylab. Yeah, right. I wish I still had it, though. It would be a fun and nostalgic trinket from some excessive panic we had in America four decades ago.

Saturday's postcard: Willcox Travelodge

Here's another vintage postcard of an Arizona motel. (I also featured one on April 22.) This one is for the Willcox, Arizona, Travelodge. It's undated and was never mailed. Here's the text from the back:
On The Old Spanish Trail
On Hwy. 86 and 666 — 590 S. Haskell Ave.
DUdley 4-2266
In Famous Sulphur Springs Valley, supported by Cattle, Cotton, Lettuce, other agriculture, Mining and Climate. Where West is still West and Cowboys are real. Entrance to Spectacular Chiricahua National Monument. 28 new units — TV — Room Phone — Heated Pool — Air Conditioned. AAA.

The photograph is by Tom Reed and the postcard was published by Phoenix Spec. Adv. Co. of Phoenix, Arizona.  

First off, I'd like to note that we're all "supported by Climate," and we should take steps to avoid making that climate uninhabitable. 

Sulphur Springs Valley, in southeastern Arizona, is home to thousands of roosting sandhill cranes. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has a Sandhill Crane Cam, where can watch them live. 

Chiricahua National Monument is called the "Wonderland of Rocks" and also appears to be a destination for viewing some interesting wildlife. I'm going to add that to my list of outdoor adventures to check out in Arizona.

You might have noticed the reference to Highway 666. That was once a highway designation, but it no longer is. I'm sure you can guess why. It's now the much less beastly U.S. Route 491, a change that only dates to 2003. According to Wikipedia:
"With the 666 designation, this road was nicknamed the 'Devil's Highway' because of the significance of the number 666 to many Christian denominations, which is the Number of the Beast. This Satanic connotation, combined with a high fatality rate along the New Mexico portion, convinced some people the highway was cursed. The problem was compounded by persistent sign theft. These factors led to two efforts to renumber the highway, first by officials in Arizona, later in New Mexico."

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration's website has an in-depth article by Richard F. Weingroff about why it was numbered 666 in the first place. It's a little dry, because numbering the nation's interstate system was often a fastidious and humorless affair. However, the political fight over Route 60 that resulted in Route 66's designation is compelling history, and it helped lead directly to 666. As Weingroff notes in his piece, "The change to '66' meant that the former branches of '60' had to be renumbered as branches of the new number. Therefore, the sixth branch, U.S. 660, became U.S. 666." (Some of the Route 60/66 controversy is detailed in The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift, which I've been reading this spring.)

So, what happened to the Willcox Travelodge? It's not 100% clear to me. It seems that the location — 590 S. Haskell Ave. — is now a Royal Western Lodge. I don't know if it's the original Travelodge building or not. I suspect it might be. The online Google reviews are ... not great. But they're also interesting from a modern anthropology perspective. Some excerpts:

  • "Its a place to stay u know like what do u expect for this price?  Its at least clean and quiet which is more than u can say for the motel 6."
  • "Place needs some serious maintenance, everything is very old, needs carpet, paint, fixtures, I had to clean the place to even stay after looking at 3 rooms, if I wasn't ready to fall asleep at the wheel I wouldn't have stayed there, it was much cleaner when I left then when I got there."
  • "[From 3 years ago] We have been living here for 6 months, yes 6 months, we have not had bed bug issues ever in our rooms that we have been in, we also have not had any issues with Roaches, fleas and or mice. The owner is a really nice somewhat older lady, she is beyond more then willing to work with honest people!! Prices are reasonable as well, is also in a nice quiet little town!"
  • "[From 3 years ago] Was driving from vegas to Texas and back and stayed there both times. It’s simple and clean. It has personality too. Give it a shot, it’s actually pretty cool."

Friday, May 7, 2021

"May Party Cake" recipe from 1931 magazine

It's May, and we could use a party. So here's a recipe for "May Party Cake" from 90 years ago, within the May 1931 issue of American Cookery magazine (formerly The Boston Cooking-School Magazine, per the cover):
"The cake is an orange sponge cake, made as follows: Beat until stiff but not dry the whites of three eggs, and add one-half a cup of sugar. Mix the juice of one orange with the grated yellow rind of the same, and one tablespoonful of lemon juice. Add enough water to make one-half a cup, about three tablespoonsful should be enough. Add this mixture to the yolks of the three eggs, and beat until stiff. Add another one-half a cup of sugar. Cut into the beaten whites, then cut in a cup of one-fourth of flour sifted with one-half a teaspoonful of salt and one teaspoonful of baking powder. Bake for an hour or until done, in an angel cake pan, at 325 deg. Fah. Ice when cool with confectioners' icing, and garnish with cookies, candy and nuts. Such a garnish is quickly applied, effective for a May or other party where several cakes have to be in duplicate for tables on a lawn."

So, now you're all set for your lawn party this weekend. Other recipes in this 1931 include: Spanish Onion Soup in Marmites; Tomato-and-Mushroom Puree; Veal Steak in Pineapple; Medallions of Veal; Banana Omelet; Individual Fish Loaves; Green Beans and Bacon; Curry of Chicken (British Indian); Deep-Dish Pigeon Pie; Creamed Corned Beef in Potato Shell; Stuff Onions; Stuffed Porcupine Pears; Peas and Lettuce, Julienne; Apples in Maple-Sugared Jelly; Sour Milk Waffles; Bonnes Bouches; Fondant; Cold Shape: Lemon and Strawberry1; Chocolate Cake Pie; Banana Whip; Strawberry Pie; Stuffed Cucumber Salad; Florrie's Cinnamon-and-Nut Tea Cake; Tangerine Layer Cake; Potato Caramel Cake; and Chocolate Spice Nuts.


1. "The 'cold shape' is a typical English sweet dish, made of farina, rice flour, or anything that will hold the shape of the mould and enriched by eggs, flavoring, etc."

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Book cover: "The Night of Puudly"

  • Cover and spine title: The Night of Puudly
  • Cover page and table of contents title: "The Night of the Puudly" (italics are mine)
  • Level of annoyment those titles aren't in sync: 8/10
  • Author: Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988)
  • Cover illustrator: Unknown (which is a bummer)
  • Publisher: The New English Library (Four Square Science Fiction)
  • Year: February 1968
  • Pages: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • Price: 3/6 (3 shillings, 6 pence)
  • Excerpt from back cover: "The puudly was a dangerous thing, not only because it was strong and quick, but because it was intelligent. ... Another brilliant world of fantasy created by the author of CITY and ALIENS FOR NEIGHBOURS."
  • Contents: Five short stories — The Night of the Puudly, Crying Jag, Instalment Plan, Condition of Employment, and Project Mastodon. (I believe all of these Simak stories had been previously published in different collections. "The Night of the Puudly" was previously titled "Good Night, Mr. James.")
  • First sentence: He came alive from nothing.
  • Last sentence: Project Mastodon was finally under way.
  • Random excerpt from middle #1: But with robots there was no shipping problem.
  • Random excerpt from middle #2: It was a cruelty that went beyond mere human cruelty.
  • Random excerpt from middle #3: The scared little government clerk, darting conspiratorial glances all about him, brought the portfolio to the FBI.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.69 stars (out of 5)
  • Excerpt from Goodreads review: In 2015, Joel wrote: "A quaint little collection of short stories by a great and massively overlooked writer."
  • Previously on Papergreat: My October 2017 post on Simak
  • More insight on Simak: There's a Simak reading group that started a thread in September 2014 on and continues to the present. In 2015, JoanDrake shared this take on the writer:
"Simak is great. He is one of those who writes about normal everyday people being faced by extraordinary things, and mainly just bumbling through, no Heinlein Heroes here. Even his aliens are sometimes found just sitting on the porch with the protagonist. A publisher's agent once told him he wrote about losers, 'I like losers' was his reply."

Monday, May 3, 2021

Anthropomorphic Bockwurst
would be a terrible band name

Following on the heels of Saturday's post, here's another image from the November 13, 1975, edition of The Scranton Tribune.

It appears that Gutheinz Meat is still operating in Scranton after all these years, offering bockwurst and other seasonal meaty delights. It even has a Facebook page. On October 24, 2020, the business shared an old article indicating that "bockwurst was introduced into Pennsylvania in 1877 by Stephen Gutheinz, the father of Charles Gutheinz. Stephen made bockwurst during the month of May to coincide with the production of bock beer. In 1952, Charles was running their Gutheinz Meat Market at 520 Cedar Avenue."

It continues:
"At the Gutheinz Meat Market bockwurst was considered a fresh sausage and its production was restricted to cooler months. They used veal, lean pork (compare with the belly used in Knobländer which is not lean), fresh eggs, seasoning, and chive. Apart from flavour, the chives would act as a preservative while the raw egg will act as a binder and alter the mouthfeel. American Bockwurst was, as introduced by Gutheinz, a white sausage. Children in America called bockwurst a 'white wiener.' It became regulated in America on 9 June 1975 by the US Department of Agriculture."

Please note that this is the very first appearance on Papergreat of the word "mouthfeel."

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Postcard: Billy Goat Gruff at Children's Fairyland

This undated, unused photo postcard features Billy Goat Gruff and a Caligari-esque building at Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California. As long as that house is bigger on the inside, like a TARDIS, and can contain my books, I'd absolutely move there and hang out with the goats.

And Fairyland, it turns out, is still around and thriving! So perhaps they would just let me move in. If I say, "pretty please."

According to the website, the dream of Children's Fairyland began in 1948 with Oakland businessman Arthur Navlet: "The well-respected nursery owner took his proposal for a storybook theme park, featuring fairy-tale sets, farm animals, and live entertainment, to the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club. ... They loved the idea. With the support of Oakland’s parks superintendent William Penn Mott, Jr., the Breakfast Club and the citizens of Oakland raised $50,000 to build Children’s Fairyland on the shores of Lake Merritt."

When Fairyland opened in 1950, admission was between 9 and 14 cents (14¢ in 1950 is about $1.50 today, so those past prices were an incredible bargain). The storybook structures were designed by architect William Russell Everitt, whose work endures today.

The brightly colored attractions (for which a black-and-white postcard doesn't do justice) include the Old Lady in the Shoe, Jack & Jill Hill, the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship, a Dragon Slide and a Fairy Music Tunnel. 

Live animals are still part of the experience in 2021, with more than a dozen residing on the park grounds. That includes, according to the website, miniature horses Pepper and Pixie; goats Brownie and Cookie; donkeys Gideon and Chiquita Bonita; sheep Oatmeal and Raisin; various chickens and ducks; and Puff, the "magic" bearded dragon. Sound like it would be a dandy neighborhood in which to reside!