Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beer and Morale

Ah, another "beverage of moderation" ad from the Brewing Industry Foundation. The shock of prohibition hadn't dissipated in July of 1943 when this ad ran and it shows. Behind the typical World War II patriotism and white-wash of mom, home, and apple pie Americana there's a slight "we're still good, right?" self-checking.

Notice that the image used for this ad doesn't even show a hint of an alcoholic beverage? Nope, not even a coffee cup that could conceal a little nip of whiskey. In fact it's very Norman Rockwell with the wife looking on fondly while her husband stares adoringly at the radio. Ah, the forties, when spouses didn't speak to each other...

And who knew we probably would be speaking German right now if it wasn't for the morale-improving characteristics of beer? Yup, if the American worker wasn't half soused between shifts he just might have fallen into a lethargic depression and we know where that leads. Yup, all work and no play sinks ships...or something like that.

Rocking Chair Underwear

Henderson and Ervin and their Rocking Chair Underwear have disappeared into history, leaving only cryptic ads in their wake. I'm not exactly sure why a fellow would want a button "adjustable" flap on the side of his underwear or how it makes said britches more athletic, but apparently it had something to do with unusual range of movement and adjusting in a jiffy.

The ad comes from the July 1918 issue of Metropolitan Magazine and has the boot camp imagery associated with most World War I era magazine ads.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Old Quaker Whiskey

Old Quaker whiskey, apparently they thought Curly Joe would make a good spokesperson. Well actually it isn't Curly, but it must be his twin. I'm not sure who the guy is, apparently just a tux-clad whiskey enthusiast and part-time cue ball.

Schenley Industries, the outfit behind Old Quaker, had offices in the Empire State Building and a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana where they distilled bourbon whiskeys including Schenley, Carstair's White Seal, and Golden Wedding Rye as well as Black Velvet, the only whiskey available to submarine officers at Midway during World War II (where it earned the nickname Schenley's Black Death).

Financier Meshulam Riklis bought Schenley in 1968 and then the company was sold to Guinness in 1987.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Claude Cox, graduate of Rose Polytechnic Institute (which later would become Rose-Hullman Institute of Technology) founded Overland while working at Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haute, IN. Later he moved the company to Indianapolis and in 1908 the company was bought up by John North Willys and renamed Willys-Overland in 1912. The Overland nameplate continued production until 1926 when it was replaced by Willys Whippet. Now all that remains of Overland are the chimneys of its former Toledo Ohio factory with the company's moniker laid in brick.

The ad itself seems to focus on the word "standpoint" an awful lot, an odd word to build advertising copy around. The picture's a little odd too. The fellow wearing the Overland name on his head seems to be staring at some distant point to the right of the car and waving as if he's a stranded. Not exactly an image that makes me want to buy that car. The woman seems to have given up on her hapless fellow and taken to looking for the next passing Greyhound.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

National Irish Coffee Day

If you went by the crowd-sourced genius volume of all-things-true known as Wikipedia, you'd believe that the first Irish coffee was "...conceived after a group of American passengers disembarked from Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 1940's." I'll admit that Wiki's answer is pretty, it has a lovely feel and I'd love to believe that some wry, Irish character tailored the first Irish coffee out of kindness and inspiration, but for me the doesn't pass the smell test.

The problem I have is that it's easy to find similar drinks made with other alcohols which are much older than the proposed birthday of the Irish coffee. For an example, in 1888 a bar tending book called the New and Improved Illustrated Bartender's Manual printed the following recipe:

At it's root, Soldier's Camping Punch represents the theme of all coffee drinks. It features strong, sweet coffee mixed with high-proof liquor. In the case of the punch the two liquors involved are rum and brandy, but it it's hardly a stretch to imagine a barkeep or host substituting whatever high-proof liquor of modest vintage was at hand. Sure, the fabled Joe Sheridan may have been the first to record the recipe, but the inspiration surely came from one of a slew of existing bar tender's favorites.

Regardless, Happy Irish Coffee Day. Pour yourself a strong one, drink to good ole' Joe, and watch the snowflakes fly. It's good to be warm inside and out.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunny Brook Kentucky Whiskey

When I hear "Sunny Brook", I don't think of fine Kentucky Whiskey. I think of an institution with high walls, razor wire, and a staff of nice (brawny) fellows in white coats supervising recreational activities. In fact, the copy in this ad could be for Sunny Brook the institution and Sunny Brook the blended whiskey. Regardless, I'm pretty sure the codger in the ad should be in the former and shouldn't be drinking the latter.

Sunny Brook was bought by Jim Beam in 1987 and the brand still is available. Jim Beam must have been in a buying mood that year, because they bought another brand with an ad that showed up in the same magazine. Jim Beam eventually sold Old Taylor to the Sazerac Company.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yodora Deodorant Cream

There was a time when deodorant didn't come in convenient stick, roll-on, or spray form. No, you bought a tub or tube and smeared it on like calamine lotion. This was the era of Yodora. No, Yodora wasn't the twisted offspring of Yoda and Doris Day, it was a deodorant cream manufactured by McKesson and Robbins, Inc., a company that still is in the health and beauty business to this day.

The ad? Well, I would think that one of the three main deodorant problems might be the failure to hid pit-stink, but maybe I'm way off base. I have to say that this is the first time I've ever seen armpit pimples mentioned as a problem or otherwise. It seems like all of the problems Yodora professes to solve were remedied by better applicators.

I love the bit about "never rots clothes". What, that can actually  happen? Put your deodorant on and suddenly your clothes get the zombie disease and rot on the spot? I have to say,! No wonder it got the Good Housekeeping seal of approval!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

Sometime in the early 1800's, Lord Sandy returned from his forays in Bengal India to Worchester County, England with a taste for a sauce he'd sampled while on the Indian sub-continent. He employed two chemists, John Lea and William Perrins, to duplicate the Indian condiment and the pair created a concoction they both found unpalatable. So, labeling the attempt a failure, they packed the bottles away in a cellar. A few years later, the pair stumbled across the dusty bottles and made the brave decision to sample the contents once again. To their surprise, aging had greatly improved the sauce and soon Lea & Perrins began marketing their sauce.

By the 1840's Lea & Perrins sauce had jumped the pond, becoming the only commercially bottled condiment in the United States.

This ad comes from a 1900 issue of Life Magazine where it was buried among the tiny ads at the back of the magazine where we would expect to see the ads for x-ray glasses and books on how to get lucky with girls. Clumsy phrasing, butlers in all first class cooks? Okay, so I know it takes a little willful misunderstanding to think they're actually implying the butler is inside the cook, but come on, you're selling something to me. Maybe a little proof reading? An "appealing relish" also sounds a bit clunky to the modern ear, but I'll chalk that one up to archaic language. After all this ad is over 100 years old.

You still can get Lea & Perrins in most supermarkets. One of the few products that have endured this long without being re-imagined by some hipster product designer with big ideas about modern tastes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jet Magazine, April 18, 1968

The man speaks best for himself, nothing I could add would do him justice.

The Good Sport

I'm posting this the day after the playoffs as a reminder of all the wonderful virtues we sports fans should aspire to uphold. I broke 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10 a couple of weeks ago. To quote my Cub fan friends, there's always next year.

The Funnies - Singing Lessons (1914)

Life Magazine, April 1914

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Twit Publishing - Dieselpunk Anthology Release Date Announced

Twit Publishing's long awaited Dieselpunk Anthology will be released on February 11, 2014. I've always loved the feel of dieselpunk, something about the grit and oil appeals to me even though I have very little mechanical aptitude. I'm particularly excited about this anthology because it's put out by a great, independent bunch of publishers and, of course, because it will feature one of my H. P. Lovecraft-inspired tale, The Incident at Sycamore Ridge.

Please, help the independents and spread the word about this great anthology. I also invite you to grab a copy as soon as it becomes available!

The Ohio Electric Car Company

From 1910 to 1918 Toledo, OH was the home of one of the earliest electric car companies in the United States. The Ohio Electric Car Company was established by Henry P. Dodge, Rathbun Fuller, Henry E. Marvin, James B. Bell, and Robert E. Lee (no, not that Robert E. Lee). The cars featured an all-from-the-stick drive controller known as the Dodge Controller, patented by Henry P. Dodge in 1909.

I didn't find much more information on The Ohio Car Company online. They made a claim to have thousands of satisfied customers, however they had only a few models and most of those were high-end. The Toledo address from the ad looks a little like a blast zone.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reviving the Lost Art of Letter Writing

One of the common peeves of those who are of the opinion society is circling the drain is the decline of letter writing. We don't take time or think deeply, instead we opt for a dashed off email or text instead of a reasoned and personalized letter. Those same doomsayers bemoan the loss of to history. They would ask that we imagine the Gettysburg address as a text message or Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail in the form of an email.

Me? While I understand the pressures of a busy life, I've been making an concerted effort to become a writer of letters. It started a year or so ago with writing thank you notes for Christmas and birthday gifts and with effort has been evolving into something more.

While I don't dispute the fact that electronic communication has its place in a modern world (if I did, I wouldn't be writing a blog), I do think the prevalence of text, email, and Facebook have opened the door to slap-dash messages and one-way communication. Receiving thank you notes has become the exception instead of the rule. We no longer follow up with long-lost friends by mailing a few pages of a well thought letter. Instead we share selfies and craft a carefully edited version of our lives that will be benign enough to pass the probing of nosy potential employers while still showing us as younger, hipper, and more in-touch than we really are.

So, here's encouraging you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper, find a few minutes to sit down and pen a few words to someone worthy of your time and thoughtfulness. Stuck? Well, here's a little 1950 film from Coronet International to get you started.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cable Car Day

In the book of little-known observances you'll find that January 17th is Cable Car Day. As you might suspect, it's a San Francisco-centric holiday, honoring the city's position as first in the nation to have an operating cable car system and the only US city to still operate that system. Instead of going down the easy route and finding a picture of the vertigo-inducing hills of SF, I opted for something a little more noir.

This is a picture from the Shorpy archive showing downtown Charleston, NC's King Street after dark. Love the long exposure and the motion blur. I'm expecting Sam Spade to amble across the street to pick up a smoke at Pinkusshon's Cigar Shop. He'd pause in the doorway, catching a glimpse of a lovely dame lingering in the window just above the jewelry shop and then she'd disappear into the shadows. A few minutes later there'd be a shot, a scream, and a whole lot of trouble.

Rough on Rats

After seeing the American Experience excellent production of Deborah Blum's wonderful book The Poisoner's Handbook on my local PBS station, I was interested to stumble upon a 1921 ad from The American Magazine for Rough on Rats.

Rough on Rats' active ingredient was arsenic, and it was responsible for a number of (intentional and unintentional) poisonings during the years it was available to the public.

Watching the program it struck me just how easy it was to get away with poisoning in the 20's. Poisons like arsenic were easily available to just about anyone and forensics hadn't advanced to a point where the cause of death could be determined with any degree of certainty. All that was required was motive and enough fortitude to maintain a plausible alibi. It makes you wonder just how many killers got away with murder.

I highly recommend the book as well as the television adaptation, both are great and tell the story of just how bad things got in the United States before regulation and investigation put an end to the poisoner's reign.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Ah, BVDs, the only underwear ever to make it into F. Scott Fitzgerald's writings. BVD is an abbreviation for Bradley, Voorhees, and Day the company that originally manufactured men's and women's underwear. They started corporate life making bustles and eventually became known for the manufacture of union suits, the sleeveless "summer" version of which is shown on the left. Later the company was bought by Atlas Underwear Company and relocated to Piqua, Ohio where they expanded their line to include swimsuits.

Seldom has an ad offered so much material!

Let me start by adding a caption: "Gee, Phil, thanks for the card, but I'm still not sure why we had to be in our underwear."

Love the fact the guy on the right is I imagine they're supposed to be slippers, but they could be a nice pair of brogans or oxfords for what I can tell. How the heck did he get his pants off? Or is it an assumption he arrived wearing pants?

I'm also trying to figure out why "coat cut" undershirts would be useful. Then again, the model is wearing shoes while in his underwear so it's probably wise not to assume he'd do anything that makes sense.

Parker Pens Lucky Curve

Here's another Parker Pen ad, this one from a 1912 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Parker's Lucky Curve was a design intended to address a fundamental problem of all fountain pens, how to get ink on the paper and not your shirt. Parker originally attempted to fix this problem with a plug that forced ink to run through a small hole and into the ink channel of the nib. By 1891 Parker rejected the plug and opted for a curved protrusion into the ink chamber dubbed the "Lucky Curve". You can learn a lot more about Parker Pens at the Parker Pens Penography site.

Lazy Laxative?

I'm not so sure the world's ready for an energetic laxative!

January Full Moon - Indiana Moon (1923)

If you're a frequent visitor to my blog you'll know that I spent the last year sharing the names of each month's full moon. It was a fun jaunt through the Old Farmer's Almanac, but one that left me searching for a second act. Well, for better or worse, the decision I came to for 2014 was to feature one moon-related song a month through the year and, where possible, one that included the name of the month in which it was being featured.

Though I didn't have any luck finding a January moon song, I figured I'd start things off with something that directly links to the name of this blog. Indiana Moon with music by Irving Berlin and words by Isham Jones. Take a listen and see what you think of this Vocalion version from 1923.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Window on the Past

Sometimes, while pouring through the archives, I come across an address. It might be part of an ad or a mention in an article, but I'm always left wondering what's at that geographic point today. Most of the time the end result of my search is disappointing., humanity has a bad habit of obliterating its architectural past, but there are occasional surprises.

The photo to the right was snipped from a 1921 issue of American Cookery a now defunct cooking and lifestyle magazine. It comes from an article that, of all things, discusses American Colonial architecture and specifically Palladian type windows. It states “This famous dwelling, the work of an English architect, who built it in about 1770, is linked with American history through its use by General Gage as his headquarters during the Revolution.” That line is pretty typical of high-end magazine copy from the twenties, it looks back to the American Revolution with a reverence that British magazines reserve for royalty.

Maybe it’s not surprising that the structure still stands. After all, in a way it is the American equivalent of a royal home (in spite of the fact Gage was on the other side), tied to the birth of the nation and independence from England. If it had been the home of the local butcher or copper smith, well you’d likely be looking at a parking lot. Aside from the loss of the railing that once lined the top of the window and Google Street View's glitches, the window remains pretty much as it did nearly a hundred years ago.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about preservation when it happens. At least the place is standing, we haven't lost it to corporate greed or the need to accommodate America's ever-growing population. Suburban sprawl hasn't replaced 75 Beacon Street with The Shops at 75 Beacon Street or a Starbucks. It's more than can be said for many historic homes, regardless of how important their former occupants might have been.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Elbert Car Company of California

The Elbert Motor Car Company of San Francisco was a short-lived, low-cost car company. The company was named for a silent partner of the company.

In 1915 Elbert relocated to Sunnyvale, CA where it continued offering cars at $295, the lowest price of the era, however by the summer of 1915 the company had closed down.

1914 Elbert Cycle Car

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Listerine Quackery

Normally we think of quackery as involving radioactive toothpaste or electric colon warmers, but this 1937 ad for Listerine shows you can find quack uses for legitimate products too. Love the image of the nurse massaging Listerine into the subject's scalp. I'm glad they have a doctor and bank of reporters standing by just in case he turns into The Scalp that Ruled the World (echo...echo...echo...).

American Airlines DC-6B

Love the old travel ads, but this one makes you wonder which of those planes contain her lost luggage.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hurff Catsup

Running late today!

Here's an old ad for the The Edgar F. Hurff Company from the July 14, 1937 issue of Life Magazine. The company is lost to time, but I did manage to find an entry on Ancestry for an Edgar Hurff located in Swedesboro Gloucester, NJ in 1940 just three years after this ad ran. It's possible he was the Edgar F. Hurff, but it'll take more research to be certain.

Frankly, I didn't know New Jersey had tomato people.

100 Years Ago - Wrigley's Gum

My favorite part is the warning, those dishonest persons and their rank imitations!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter's Here Again - The Ames Brothers (1954)

Considering the weather, I thought I'd post a little winter ditty.

Pennsylvania Railroad - Rain, Snow, and Dark of Night...

The Pennsylvania Railroad apparently took a queue from the US Postal Service, promising to get you there no matter what the weather. I guess that's a lot better than stopping the train somewhere in the middle of Ohio and making an announcement that the trips been cancelled due to mist.

For Americans, this was the tail end of the golden age of travel, World War II wouldn't start for almost six months (this ad comes from the June 30, 1941 issue of Life Magazine) and the US could still pretend Europe's problems were strictly an European affair. There's a lot of talk of thrift owing to the lingering effects of the Great Depression, but you also see mention of luxury accommodations and business too.

The whole thing puts me in a nostalgic mood, thinking back to a time when the experience of travelling was part of the vacation. You didn't dread the airport, nobody charged you extra to have a bag, the airlines hadn't signed a blood-oath to fix prices and prevent customer service, and you could sit back and enjoy the ride. Something's been lost and the geniuses running American and United aren't interested in rediscovering it any time soon.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Whizzer

Since most of us probably are mourning our credit ratings after the annual yuletide spending binge, I thought I'd take a break from the big ticket cars and go economy. The Whizzer was actually a line of motors which the owner could attach to a bicycle to create a sort of moped. Breene-Taylor Engineering began producing Whizzer engines in 1939, but with the lack of customer enthusiasm for their product the operation was sold to Dietrich Kohlsatt and Martin Goldman.

Whizzer sold its first assembled motorized bicycle in 1948, but the company eventually folded in 1965 due to an inability to compete with trendier, more popular models like the Vespa.

This ad comes from the May 10, 1948 issue of Life Magazine. From here it seems a misstep to tout the economy of travelling unprotected on the highways and byways of the United States at the same time the public was rushing to buy bigger, heavier, and faster automobiles. Dear old George would wind up a bug-splatter on the chrome bumper of a 48' Chevy Fleetmaster or DeSoto and the driver wouldn't even hear him scream. Another five years and the mods would be zipping along on scooters that looked stylish and nobody would want to be spotted on a retrofitted Schwinn.

Whizzer actually made a comeback in 1997, but since I haven't seen a single one on the roads and didn't know about it until I read about their re-release while researching this entry, I can't imagine it's been much of a success. Then again, I've never traveled with the hipster crowd.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Miller Brothers Cutlery Company

Today, on a writing Friday, I'm cheating a bit and bringing you a 1918 Miller Brothers Pens ad playing with the idea that the pen is mightier than the sword. The thought that an idea can accomplish what militarism cannot seems like a sentiment that could use a little more traction in these days of drone strikes and terrorist threats. Hopefully 2014 will be a year with less death and destruction and more world-changing ideas.

Ironically, Miller Brothers started as a cutlery company based in Meriden, Connecticut (at the time of this ad) where they produced pocket knives before they branched out into the manufacture of ink pen nibs in 1882. The early days of American cutlery and pen manufacturing were hard, makers like Miller Brothers faced a centuries old English industry with a reputation for high quality as well as cheap imported goods from Germany. Eventually, leaders of the American pen and knife industry convinced congress to impose a 12 cent per pound duty on imported steel pens and American manufactures got their feet.

The Miller Brothers factory in Meriden was a big deal for the time, employing over 100 workers in the manufacture of pocket knives, steel ink erasers (which removed the ink by scraping it from the paper), and pen nibs and images of the building appear in various atlases, guide books, and maps of the era. Unfortunately I haven't found an address which makes it impossible to use Google Earth to see if the building still stands. Something tells me it doesn't. "Progress" has a way of obliterating the past.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Until Death Do Us Part - Coming Soon

A little announcement, this weekend the second in my Mel Rush series will be released on Kindle. More news when you can pick up a copy for your own!

100 Years Ago: The Seeds of World War I

It's hard to imagine how a war begins. In our modern,  war against ism of your choice era, we tend to think in terms of presidential decree. There's a speech, debate that's squelched by accusations that those who question the cause lack morality and/or patriotism, and then the bombing by remote control and 24-hour news channel spin begins. We seldom understand the underlying currents, the whys of war are too shrouded in nationalism and our biases toward what our culture defines as right or good often make it impossible to comprehend the real causes for armed conflict.

Almost 100 years before the events which would culminate in the first world war, the European powers had established an agreement to balance power and international order at the Congress of Vienna. The peace that agreement fostered ushered in an era of tranquility and prosperity the likes of which had seldom been seen on the continent, however by 1914 the underpinnings of the Vienna agreement had began to erode.

The Ottoman Empire, weakened by economic and political setbacks, began withdrawing from continental Europe leaving peace and order in the region in the hands of two competing powers: Russia and Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian minority attempted to impose their will on a larger and restless population of Slavs and amid growing unrest Emperor Franz Joseph declared Bosnia-Herzegovina a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1908. This decision violated the Berlin Treaty of 1878 and served to further incite the Slavic peoples and the Russian czar.

In wars in 1912 and 1913, Serbia doubled its territory, increasing the threat to Austro-Hungarian regional supremacy. At the same time Russia entered into a treaty with France (over lands seized by Germany in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 71)) and Great Britain (which feared the growth of Germany's navy represented a threat to traditional British naval dominance). Germany allied herself with Austria-Hungary against the threats of Russia, France, and Britain and the fuse of the Great War had been strung, all that was required was a spark and there was no shortage of men with matches at the ready.

By 1913 Danilo Ilić,  a Bosnian Orthodox Serb school teacher and banker, had become the leader of the Sarajevo cell of the Serbian guerrilla movement known as the Black Hand.  In late 1913 the order came to end the Black Hand's phase of organization and move toward revolution against Austria-Hungary. In January of 1914, at a Black Hand meeting in Toulouse, France, a list of possible Austro-Hungarian assassination targets were discussed, including Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand however the participants decided on the Governor of Bosnia, Oskar Potiorek as their target and dispatched carpenter and impoverished former Herzegovinian nobleman Muhamed Mehmedbašić to carry out the assassination.

En route to Bosnia-Herzegovina from France, however, Mehmedbašić's train was stopped by police. Thinking the police might have been alerted to his mission, he threw the dagger and bottle of poison he'd brought for the purpose of carrying out the killing out the train window. When Mehmedbašić arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina he began looking for replacement weapons.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Party Planning with Coronet Films

This year's New Year's Eve bash a flop? Here are some helpful hints for next year from those swell fellows at Coronet Films!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pillsbury Cake Mix

Though I don't remember this 1951 ad for from my own childhood, I do remember Pillsbury cake mixes. Birthdays in our house usually were marked with a cake just large enough for the immediate family, made from a boxed mix like the one shown here. This was an era when there weren't bakery departments in every supermarket with sheet-cakes pre-decorated with images of Sponge Bob or Cinderella.

In the 50's, if you wanted a custom cake, you had two options. You could go to a bakery where you'd order a cake in advance. Or, if you had the prerequisite skills, you could make one from scratch and decorate it as you pleased. If a bakery cake was too expensive and you didn't have the chops to create a lovely three-layer cake from flour, eggs, and sugar, then you fell back on the new wave of convenience products like boxed cake mixes.

I find products like these interesting. The fifties weren't an era of upward mobility for women. A young woman, coming of age in 1951 had few career avenues open to her: she could become a teacher, she could become a nurse, or she could become a housewife with the third being the prescribed route. So why care about something like saving time when baking a cake? Why wasn't it expected that a woman, a housewife, take the time to bake from scratch instead of falling back on a packaged mix? Because prejudice can only stand so long? Not being a sociologist, I can't say.

Quote for January

"There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues."

~ Hal Borland

In Case the Hair of the Dog Doesn't Work...

Just in case yesterday's post about the proverbial hair of the dog doesn't do the trick and you're too hungover to enjoy today's bowl games, here are a few possible solutions.

Genuine Aspirin, and you better say Bayer or God only knows what kind of quackery you'll wind up swallowing! This 1922 ad from Cosmopolitan (back when they did more than sex quizzes) gives the list of conditions for which you should pop an aspirin. Not too many people complain of lumbago any more and, for the most part, "rheumatism" has been replaced with good ol' arthritis. I'm guessing that a hangover would fall into the "pain, pain" category though no magazine of this era would expressly mention overindulgence in alcohol. In 1922 the insanity of Prohibition was in full force with federal agents and hatchet-wielding vigilantes like Carry Nation prowling the streets. Better to say you have a bad case of pain-pain than admit to buying bootleg hooch and face jail time or worse.

But what if we want to get right down to the source of our pain? What if we're interested in literally rooting out the cause and eliminating it all together? Well, we could reference this 1911 article from Pearson's Magazine entitled The Cure for Headaches. In it the author proposes that there are seven causes of headaches:
  • Headaches from constipation
  • The gluttonous headache
  • The alcoholic headache
  • The eye strain headache
  • The catarrhal headache
  • The sick headache
  • The headache from chronic syphilis
Quite a list. We're concerned with the alcoholic headache in this post, but if you're interested catarrhal refers to inflammation of the mucous membranes. I guess old doc Maris wouldn't have felt he'd earned his white lab coat and stethoscope if he hadn't thrown in a few three-dollar words. I love the phrasing, "...more than one third of all headaches is the result of chemical embarrassments of some part of the digestive tract." The doctor goes on to compare headaches to disease caused by clogged sewers...and assuming your in the middle of a digestive embarrassment right now, I'll leave it at that. Dr. Maris' prescription - diet, exercise, and castor oil.

I think I'd go with the aspirin and a snooze on the couch, if I were you.

Poem for January - The Snow Man

The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; 

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, 
The spruces rough in the distant glitter 

Of the January sun; and not to think 
Of any misery in the sound of the wind, 
In the sound of a few leaves, 

Which is the sound of the land 
Full of the same wind 
That is blowing in the same bare place 

For the listener, who listens in the snow, 
And, nothing himself, beholds 
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

The Funnies - Welcome to the New Year

An extra funny page to welcome the New Year, 1919 marked the beginning of a year without the open warfare of World War I, but it also heralded a time of reckoning with the chaos and ugliness left in the wake of combat. Soon the false bravado of the 20's would obscure the memories of combat, the champagne and money would flow, Wall Street would fill one of its perennial bubbles with the hot air of impossible dreams, and humanity would Charleston into the abyss of World War II.

Here's to a year without war, a year when we are governed by wise and compassionate leaders, to a year of reasoned optimism undergirded by hard work and a strong conscience. Here's to 2014 and to hoping she will be a better year than her predecessor.

Rose Parade - 1904

I found this picture in the 1904 issue of Sunset Magazine, 110 years ago the Rose Parade had nothing to do with football.

Closing the Ballroom New Year's Eve

A little song for the lovebirds lingering in the ballroom long after the balloons and confetti have fallen and the crowd's gone home.