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Saturday, August 29, 2009

We Now Pause for this Summertime Favorite

Update!!! I have noticed an increase in traffic here, due to a large number of people experiencing the same issue with Sabrett's slimy Hot Dog debacle. As much as I would like to have you read my entire post, I can answer your question quickly. IF you opened your package of Sabrett Hot Dogs and they seem to be slimy, either coated or swimming in the clear goo -


  • They are BAD (Not fumigate the house bad, just mis-handled and no longer consumable)






  • Do not eat them (and if you have - don't panic; if you boiled or grilled the heck out of them and then ate them - you will survive, but watch out for symptoms of bacterial poisoning - and see a doctor)






  • To return - either toss them in a zip-lock and bring them back with your receipt- or- wash out the packaging (yuck) and save it for the information you will need when you inform Marathon foods (Sabretts owner-click here) that you want an explanation and a refund - they will comply.





  • Now, please read my story after the Jump, not only because misery loves company, but hopefully you will be able to laugh about this when the shock has passed.

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Magnifico!


    I will forever be infatuated with optics. From telescope to Microscope and anything in between. I just admire the precision and the light bending ability to make far... nearer, or near... even nearer. Not to mention the other cool things optics do for us, I also enjoy the compactness of design that goes with many of these things. I am always on the look out for the flip-out fold-out twist lock and click transformer like design that makes these things true gadgets. Case in point:
    Sorry for the soft focus, but, ahhhh! good old PH Glatfelter, they sure now how to make a magnifier. With a name like Glatfelter, it has to be optically delicious. But wait, there's more!
    This was sitting on a table at a New Milford sale, and though the box was in bad shape I, or anyone else can recognize the name of the manufacturer. B&L makes a quality product.
    As opposed to the first viewer, this one has a nice, heavy feel to it, the 3 sections fit/fold together nicely, and the quality of the glass is excellent. We have found a 100 uses for this, around the home (mostly hunting down splinters), and despite its near antique (no idea, really) condition I don't think any home should be without one.
    The final one is this tiny brass viewer, unfortunately with no markings. I like that it is a scaled down version of the other two, and it has a nice piece of glass. Each of these viewers were all referred to as linen testers, though not always purchased for that purpose.

    I would like to know what this smaller one was originally designed for. It is quite small but definitely not a toy.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Get a load of these double D's!


    OK, so when attempting to pun, maybe I dip a little too low sometimes. I really can't resist. I guess I should have gone with NO Charge! as the title. I was just lacking the capacity to choose the positive over the negative pun. (insert audio rim-shot here) . One day, when I can get the whole blogging thing together I will invite my readers to be guest bloggers, not only because I am lazy but also because many of you share my obsession and present me with your finds saying: "Look what I found!" or "Here, I saw this at a sale and thought you might like it." Hell's yes!

    I have to thank my friend, John Hatch who presented these Eveready "d"s to me in just the way I described. I have tried to find earlier images of the "D" cell, and information. It seems that the "D" cell was invented in 1898 for a hand held torch. Talk about type casting -111 years later the "D" cell is....still going. I am amazed and thankful for the dates on the side, I thought this was a fairly new feature added to batteries and beer to encourage consumption and promote freshness. The miracle is that these haven't leaked after 62 years, pardon me while I find my volt meter to see if they will hold a charge.

    Who is this?

    Or maybe I should ask- "What is this?" Other than the fact that it is a charm, it is about 3/4" in height and was in a box lot of items from a sale in Newtown, CT. It looks like ivory and the gold looks real (real small that is). I was going to take an image from the back but other than to confirm the color or texture, it is unremarkable. It is sitting in kind of a squat position with the toes facing forward on a pedestal with a notch in the center. A view from the side would show crudely carved arms with hands and 3 fingers that extend down to the ground.

    Curious? Valuable? Interesting? Strange? Enough about my identity crisis, what about the charm?

    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    There is light at the end of the Sale

    About a year ago I stopped at an estate sale in Newtown. Another nice old home full of memories that had been packed up and emptied out with the aging owner. What was left were all the trappings of a life well lived. 2 barns, one small, one medium with more nooks and crannies than an english muffin, importantly, a dig! The house was a built in the 40's and nicely aged, possibly custom built. I'm nosy, to a small degree, and I want to know who these folks were and what they did with their lives. I enjoy establishing the significance in other peoples lives. Maybe it's my way of showing gratitude for permission to paw through their excess stuff, but it's also useful in knowing what I am looking at (and for). The only thing I really am sure of is that I am looking for something I've never seen before.

    Digging around in the basement the name plate on a piece of aged sheet metal caught my attention:
    That's unique. I'm into portability, but the patent dates make this more intriguing. Here is the whole thing.
    Does it unfold?


    Nice! I was most impressed with the "glass" protecting the candle inside. It has the look and feel of thin plastic. Pretty strange for something close to a heat source to use plastic. I had already been wondering how old it really was. Patent dates are sometimes meaningless as a reference for determining the age of manufacture, it gets you in the ballpark, but they can be decades apart. I had my hopes that this was one of those items that was built way before the days of "planned obsolescence" which now contributes to the cheapness of today's throwaway-buy-another mentality.

    Nope, it's old, verry old. The "glass" isn't plastic, it's mica, a naturally occurring mineral that can withstand temperatures up to 1800 degrees. Portable lanterns and other camping gear came out of this era where a model T or motorcycle could get you out camping in 2 hours in comparison to a 2-day hike, or a 1-day horse ride. This was the new fad; go out in modern transportation and "rough" it in the woods. The Stonebridge Folding Lantern was the first of its kind and article after article swears by its quality. Take a short look at this review from the "Fur News" of December 1920. (click to visit the google scan sight)


    When I originally found this lantern I had researched and didn't find much on it. A year later there are numerous articles and images from collections, period books, and magazines. Wicked!

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    Throw the book at him!

    Haven’t we all have had, at one time or another, an obsession (big or small) with at least one self-help book? Writing a book is a mountain of work (I know, cause this Blog is a mole-hill!), so any title that seems like the author had half an idea of what they were writing about is an easy grab. I have purchased such books over the years that were introduced to me through various marketing methods (talk shows, etc.) and while their promises were tempting let me save you some time and money by revealing that the following things will never come to you through a book: You are not psychic, You will never make a million dollars in real estate (though you may in your life pay it), You can not become thinner, stronger, or better at math, and the answer to the eternal question is not answered in the pages of any book. The title of my book would be “How To Make Your First $1,000,000 By Not Buying This Book!”I just don’t know if I would show up at my own book signing.

    Books to me are like props in a play, or evidence in a trial. They are among the earliest forms of viral media, I am sure it was common at one time to exclaim, “Did you read Jules Verne’s latest? Wow! Check out this chapter!” You will be hearing that phrase less and less as time goes by. I can't grasp the e-book readers like the Kindle, or Sony's solution - it just isn't the same as the bookcase in your den (or my man-cave) . Books are art; the jackets or dust covers, even the book shapes themselves are a unique form of the author or publisher's expression. Although printed in the thousands, the one you hold still seems unique and may eventually be considered one of your personal effects. My inability to feel that way about e-books makes them as much a turn-off as playing the slots with a debit card. Sure the coins smell and make your fingers a new kind of dirty, but that sound of the coin drop was the sound of wealth, just as books have their own smell and feel of wisdom.

    You could say that I am talking out of both sides of my cyberspace; because the very medium I come out against I am using to communicate with you now. I guess my problem comes from the fact that you don't really own the books on the Kindle, you download your right to read them from an account online. The seller’s decision, or a hacker with an anti-literary bent can erase those rights in an instant. The difference (or my defense) is that for the most part you are reading my blog for free (You get what you pay for). Sure I want to be published some day, but in print, not to a Kindle.

    I don't want to seem a hypocrite; I haven't actually read the books in this post from cover to cover. In several cases I just wanted to see if the book really delivers what the title promises or did when it was published. I am also interested in each book’s dated way to solve a common problem. If you haven’t guessed, I have a weakness for reference books, a kind of portable hard drive filled with things I want to know but can't store and recall locally.

    Mostly, I buy books for the title. I am either intrigued, engrossed, amazed and yes, sometime titillated. Whatever that means. Most titles with double-entendre would be an obvious purchase, but triple-entendre? I couldn't dig out my quarters fast enough to buy this one. I also like the cover art here as well. I mean, really, what is the the balding male stereo-type doing in this scene? Maybe I am not mature enough for this title. Turns out the storys are only sexy in the context of the forties definition of "sexy" and leave more to the imagination than a hoop skirt and 5 petticoats.

    This next one is just plain scandalous, and possibly suites my maturity level better, had I been born in 1935. I don't remember where I got this one but the theme and cover art that were the determining factor in my purchase. I really do judge a book by its cover. What better way to spend a weekend than hunting for coeds? But don't hunt empty handed, take the only reference book with the complete guide to 20 of the top womens colleges, which includes a fully detailed map of the campus and the name of the dorms and phone numbers at each. Once you have found your prey..take her out for a night on the town with short reviews or descriptions of the local clubs, restaurants, and finally overnight accommodations when you find that it is past curfew - also listed for each college.



    This was published in 1951 by the Yale Banner Press and though somewhat racy, consider the source.




    If you've read this far, you have my gratitude. I have clearly made a mountain out of this molehill, could you expect anything less from a digger? There are more books in my collection but it will have to wait until another post.