Friday, April 26, 2013
At the risk of making my writing blog sound a little like a lunar blog. I'm airing another moon-related post this morning. In an attempt to while away the hours while seeing a few mindless tasks through, I stumbled upon a wonderful Radiolab podcast that contains Italo Calvino's story The Distance of the Moon as read by
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The name of April’s full moon comes from a plant that many Midwesterners are familiar with, creeping phlox. The pink flowers of phlox are a call to gardeners across the region, a bugle blaring out “spring has come” and signaling time to till the soil and plant anything hearty enough to survive the fickle springtime weather and frost. A historical note on the origins of creeping phlox comes from the website for Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello:
“This ornamental phlox is native to the eastern and central United States and was introduced into cultivation by the late 1700s. John Bartram first cited this species when he wrote to Peter Collinson on December 1745 as it became one of the first "low-growing" species to enter Great Britain. In his The American Flower Garden Directory (1839) Philadelphia nurseryman and florist Robert Buist included the following description of this phlox: "In the spring of 1831, an eminent British collector (Thomas Drummond) exclaimed, on seeing a patch of P. subulata in one of the pine barrens of New Jersey, “The beauty of that alone is worth coming to America to see, it is so splendid.” Pink, white, and red garden varieties were known by 1850.”
One of the first flowers I began growing when I had a piece of property with a little ground was creeping phlox. I’d taken on caretaking my grandparents’ house and in the front yard was a little, raised garden with a birdbath at its center with a healthy crop of creeping phlox growing around its base. They flowered in April, little pinwheels of pink and white defying the cold. Since then I’ve been partial to the plant, even though its show of flowers ends early and leaves a scraggly blue-green mass of sprawling foliage.
Here’s a little more about the Full Pink Moon:
Monday, April 22, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
On our day of national discontent, otherwise known as tax day, I give to you a big bottle of Pabst Tonic. This supposed cure-all would calm nerves, aid in digestion, focus the mind, restore health, and nip just about anything ailing the turn-of-the-century sucker…I mean patient. I’m sure the marketers at Pabst would be proclaiming their marvelous extract would garner extra deductions if the FDA hadn’t finally put an end to dubious medical products of its sort.
This ad ran in Popular Mechanics in April of 1913, probably the reason that Pabst decided to use the phrase "tax upon mental, physical and nervous forces". I see the serial comma was fighting an uphill battle even back in 1913. That is unless physical and nervous forces are inseparable. Not being a malt extract expert, I really can't speak on these matters!
Anyway, all kidding aside, here’s hoping the government doesn’t take too big a bite this year. May your debits be small and your returns great!
Friday, April 12, 2013
With the start of baseball season and spring in the air (even if it’s frozen), I thought I’d present possibly the worst idea ever. This article in the June 1913 issue of Popular Mechanics states "the pitching gun never fails to inspire fear in the hitter...". Gee, I wonder why? I mean you're only the target of a baseball that's been heat treated until it's hard as a brick. Oh yeah, and it's just been shot out of a cannon. I guess this is one way to keep your kid from wasting his time chasing that dream of joining the big leagues, though. Then again, how many budding hitters were put off the game and into a psych ward after watching dad blow himself up with the pitching gun?