Sunday, August 30, 2015

Roadrunner And Coyote For Sunday...!

We haven't had any road runner and coyote 'toons for a while, so I reckon it's time.

I can't help but wonder if the creator of these characters had any idea how popular they would become? Probably not...but I don't know of anyone that doesn't enjoy them.

I'll bet that hurt!

That coyote sure heals fast, doesn't he?

Maybe just one more to start the day!

I need some coffee. Let's move to the patio, OK?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Ringy-Dingy...!

Remember the character of the switchboard operator on the show Laugh-In? She used to say that that all the time.

The history of the telephone operators is actually quite different than you might think. Here is a little information from Listverse that will fill in the early history of telephone operators.

Telephone Operators

In the early days of the phone, people couldn’t simply dial a number and expect to be connected. Instead, they would first call their telephone operating center, where a telephone operator would manually operate a switchboard to route the call to the intended recipient. A particularly complicated call might require up to six operators furiously plugging switches into wall-sized switchboards.

The first call operators were young teenage boys. Telephone companies knew that working a switchboard was hard work and thought teenage boys would have the dexterity, energy, and reflexes needed. More importantly, they were cheap.

Unfortunately, there were some predictable problems with employing only teenagers. The boys soon developed a reputation for playing practical jokes on callers, including ending their calls without warning and deliberately connecting two strangers together to enjoy the resulting confusion. They also had a tendency to swear at customers and were known for fighting and drinking alcohol while working.

The whole thing was such a disaster that Bell eventually fired all of its teenage male operators en masse, replacing them with young women, who were considered more genteel and equally cheap. Other telephone companies followed suit and men only became operators again after equal rights legislation was passed in the 1970s.

Probably most kids under twenty have never even seen an actual switchboard. Guess it would be considered ancient history to most of them. I'll bet many haven't even had to find and use a pay phone either! Many memories for some of us tied up in those things, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Another Friday Funny...!

Once again Baby Sis sent me something I thought would bring a smile, so I figured I'd share it with you.

The ever present "reminder" of the value of the youngest among us!

As we SILVER Haired Surfers know, sometimes we have trouble with our computers. Yesterday, I had a problem, so I called Georgie, the 11 year old next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over. Georgie clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong? He replied, ' It was an ID ten T error.'

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, " An, ID ten T error ? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Georgie grinned... 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before' ?

'No,' I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote down: ID IO T

I used to like Georgie, the little ****head.

A sign of the times, my friends! A sign of the times!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Wonderful Popcorn Machine...!

Many of us have fond memories of going to the theatre and treating ourselves to a giant box of popcorn. Ah, nothing like the smell of popcorn when it's fresh and hot.

Ever wonder about who invented those poppers that made it that way? You are in luck, 'cause I'm gonna fill you in!

Charles Cretors originated from Lebanon, Ohio. He traveled the Midwest and settled in Fort Scott, Kansas for a few years, and then Decatur, Illinois. He spent his time working in the painting and contracting business, opened a bakery, and eventually a confectionery shop. As each venture led to the next, Cretors discovered he had a passion for how things worked. As an addition to the confectionery shop, Cretors purchased a peanut roaster to broaden his offerings to include fresh roasted peanuts. Not satisfied with how the machine worked, he redesigned it to work better. It was at this time that Cretors moved his wife and family to Chicago where he felt he could become a commercial success by selling his new machine. It was 18850.

Cretors wanted to test his new roaster under everyday conditions, and he also needed money. So, he purchased a vendor's license and put his machine on the sidewalk in front of his shop to test it and sell product at the same time. The date on the vendor's license is December 2, 1885, which marks the inception of C. Cretors & Company. The new roaster was driven by a small steam engine, which automated the roasting process, which was a new concept. A chance meeting happened between Cretors and a traveling salesman who purchased a bag of roasted peanuts. The salesman, J.M Savage, was very intrigued with the new peanut roaster, and offered to sell it in his territory. Cretors agreed to the proposal, and hired his first salesman.

By 1893, Cretors had created a steam powered machine that could roast 12 pounds of peanuts, 20 pounds of coffee, pop corn, and bake chestnuts as well. Popcorn was becoming the next popular choice for snackfood. Cretors redesigned his automated roasting machine so it would roast peanuts and pop popcorn at the same time. Cretors' machine design offered several advantages over the hand-operated process. First as a machine, it made operation more predictable and it provided an attraction for both the retailer and the customer. There was the novelty of the steam engine, and the Tosty Rosty Man, a small mechanical clown that acted as a merchandiser for the machine. Cretors' machine became the first automated machine that could pop popcorn uniformly in its own seasonings. As a result, the product came out the same way every time. Cretors applied for a patent on his new automated peanut roaster and popcorn popper machine on August 10, 1891. U.S. Patent 506,207 was granted to Cretors on October 10, 1893.US patent 506207 

Charles Cretors took his new popcorn wagon and peanut roaster to the Midway of Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and introduced the new corn product to the public in a newly designed machine that included a popcorn wagon. After a trial period where Cretors gave away samples of his new popcorn product, people began to line up to purchase bags of the hot, buttered popcorn.

I can almost taste the hot, fresh popcorn as I post this. One of those smells that makes your mouth water, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

McCurdy's Corpse For Western Wednesday...!

It's not often that a persons corpse has a more interesting life than the man did, but in this story that was the case.

This whole story is fairly strange and sad at the same time. Probably ol' Elmer McCurdy didn't mind at all. He would probably be proud that he was remembered all this time for something.

Failed bandit Elmer McCurdy’s corpse had a more interesting life than the man did.

In 1911, Elmer McCurdy mistakenly robbed a passenger train he thought contained thousands of dollars. The disappointed outlaw made off with just $46 and was shot by lawmen shortly thereafter. McCurdy’s unclaimed corpse was then embalmed with an arsenic preparation, sold by the undertaker to a traveling carnival and exhibited as a sideshow curiosity. For about 60 years, McCurdy’s body was bought and sold by various haunted houses and wax museums for use as a prop or attraction. His corpse finally wound up in a Long Beach, California, amusement park funhouse. During filming there in 1976 for the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” the prop’s finger (or arm, depending on the account) broke off, revealing human tissue. Subsequent testing by the Los Angeles coroner’s office revealed the prop was actually McCurdy. He was buried at the famous Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, 66 years after his death.

I reckon that being remembered for something is better than being forgotten altogether. Turns out he was more useful dead than alive. That to me is the sad part!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It seems to be a little cooler!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Julia Child Undercover...!

Sometimes people we think we know have secrets that we don't find out about until years later.

More often than we can even imagine, famous folks are used as spies or intelligence persons. being well known often makes their secret job much easier. In a case like Julia's, she would have probably never have been suspected of anything. She certainly didn't look the part for undercover work, ya know?


Credit: Bachrach/Getty Images

The California-born Child, then known by her maiden name, Julia McWilliams, got her first taste of intelligence work in the spring of 1942 as a civilian volunteer in Los Angeles with the Aircraft Warning Service, which tracked shipping along the California coast in an effort to prevent enemy attacks. She soon applied for the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), but at 6’3” was rejected for being too tall. Determined to do her part for the war effort and interested in intelligence work, she got a job with the OSS in Washington, D.C., as a research assistant to the agency’s leader, William Donovan. The following year, she moved to a new department, the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, which developed ways for downed pilots to survive in remote locations; while there, she helped create a chemical shark repellent. From 1944 to 1945, Child took assignments in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and China, where as head of the OSS registry she was responsible for handling high volumes of top-secret documents. Although Child technically wasn’t spying on other people, the OSS classified her as a senior civilian intelligence officer.

While in Ceylon, Julia met Paul Child, a fellow OSS officer, who she married in 1946. In 1948, Paul Child took a job with the U.S. Information Agency in France, and Julia fell in love with the nation’s cuisine and studied at Le Cordon Bleu. In 1961, she published “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the book that launched her career.

I would have never thought of Julia Child as part of the Intelligence community. Somehow she never fit in with my idea of someone capable of handling secret documents. I reckon my way of thinking is influenced by too much modern fiction. You may have had the same problem once or twice.

Coffee out on the patio today. If the rain starts, we'll go inside, OK?

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Canadian Story For Monday Mystery...!

It isn't often we hav e a tale from our neighbors in Canada, so maybe this is right on time.

A good mystery has no bounds or borders, that we already know. This one is as good a mystery as we have seen for a while. I picked it up from the folks over at Listverse.

The Redpath Mansion

Another century-old cold case concerns the 1901 murder of Ada Maria Mills Redpath and her son, Clifford, in their luxurious Montreal mansion. Ada was an extremely wealthy widow who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Her son, on the other hand, was as healthy as a horse and in the process of preparing to take the Canadian bar exam. One newspaper speculated that Clifford couldn’t handle the stress of the exam and murdered his mother before shooting himself. Another paper claimed that the widow Redpath suffered from such severe insomnia that she tried to take her own life. When her son intervened, he was accidentally shot to death by his own mother.

Strangely, the coroner wrote his report on the case from details given by a doctor who wasn’t even at the murder scene. On such evidence, his report concluded that Clifford was an epileptic and must have had an episode of temporary insanity on the day he and his mother died. Even stranger is the fact that police were never called to the mansion. The tragedy happened on a Thursday evening and less than 48 hours later the burials were done and dusted. In a matter of weeks, life in the neighborhood resumed as usual. No one mentioned the murders again.

The Redpath Mansion murders remain one of the most fascinating mysteries in Canadian history.

Call me crazy, but this whole thing just reeks of some kind of cover-up. Seems to me that the whole thing was haphazardly handled from the start, ya know? I'm thinking there has to be more than just one mystery to this story. What do you think?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.