Saturday, April 21, 2012


Our backyard in Carmel, not now - click
  I get antsy in the Spring.  I am always waiting for the "fringies", those tiny opening buds that will be leaves, kind of like that photo.
  After the robins came in the snow, the days got warmer (really warmer for a week), my winter coat got put away and the daffodils blossomed, I was still waiting for the fringies.
  I don't have to wait any longer for most things, and a little longer for the red maples to turn green.  I can see the buds of apple blossoms......that's exciting and it makes me walk a little longer.
  I will still have to wait to spot a Canada Lily or Lady Slipper, but I have been told that the Spring Peepers (frogs) are out; I haven't been able to hear those, or crickets, for years; hearing aids don't work for all things.
  Our grand-dogs are coming to visit today, Gizmo, Frodo and Babe will arrive in a great rush to get out of the car and onto the grass.  Dogs will be dogs, then they can come inside for some water.
Out in the yard
I took this Canada Lily photo in Winterport a couple of years ago.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Automotive advertising

A magazine ad for Packard, c.1949
  Before television auto ads by manufacturers were in magazines, and I think some things went in the mail.  There weren't many mailings, but some car companies had "regular" customers.  Ads by car dealers were in the newspaper then as they are now, but less frequent and with emphasis on new cars when they were introduced to the public.
  In the 1940's (after the war) and 1950's manufacturers made a big effort to keep the "looks" of new cars from the public.  When cars were shipped for the "new" year the cars were covered on the trucks that hauled them.  New car introductions were a big effort both by the maker and local dealers.  Some small town dealers might hang up some streamers of something but budget constraints meant not a lot of advertising was done.  People liked on brand over another, still do, and the dealers "had the feeling" that he or she was a return customer.
  I had my introduction to dealer workings during my last two years of high school, 1956-1958, by working for a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealer in Milford, Ohio.  I worked two days with the service manager, two days in parts, one day with the accountant, and Saturdays with anyone who needed help, usually service.  I learned a lot of things that were useful during my entire working life.  I can tell you personal computers have made a HUGE difference to working men and women, I don't know how that job would have been done today.  The 1958 models of those two brands had a price increase over the '57's but even so a middle line Chevy costs less than $2000.00, and a big Olds went for just a little over $3200.00.  Keep in mind wages weren't much either, I made a little over one dollar and hour, but the man that "detailed" and cleaned the cars made only ninety cents, and our best mechanic made less than six dollars an hour, that was a lot!

Ad for DeSoto, looks like 1947-48, magazine ad.
1950 Ford magazine ad

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A deal you can refuse

  Advertisers often use the word "FREE", whether it's a free gift or free shipping, people like the word free.  In my humble opinion the older the demographic the more often the word free is used.  Old people love free, I don't know why.  It doesn't attract me for whatever reason, I think it was that advertising class in college.  That's the course where the instructor asked me what planet I was from, just because of my imagined product.  We were required to invent a product, and make a television ad, and a couple of print ads for our invented product.  My product was "Quacker Jack", and it was a simple bellows to re-inflate a rubber duck that had been stepped on.
  The motorized wheelchair, or "scooter" ad most often used "free gift" is you buy or your insurance buys on of their products.  The free lighted magnifiers being offered can be bought at Oriental Trading, probably, for $12.00 per hundred, so the "free" item is worth twelve cents.
  Actors who work in ads usually act in ads for several companies.  Infinity the maker of that large SUV currently on TV ads uses some people over and over.  An example are the ads which show how the "rear view TV" prevents accidents.  The little girl with the quizzical expression is in all three ads.  That girl is either the daughter of someone involved in the ad (residuals), or hangs around with dangerous families, probably the latter - her education will be paid for by the residuals.
  I never knew that if you simply point to your upper chest and make a concerned expression face the doctor already knew what was wrong and hands you a prescription (already made out) for Nexium.  The prescription has no information like when or how to take the stuff, just the name in large letters.  The doctor also plays in a string quartet or is a construction worker.  Go figure.
  I'm not here to slam advertising, it's a useful tool.  But some things are really overdone.  I watch ads, usually with the "mute" on, so I don't know what the announcer is saying - I probably wouldn't like that either.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


  Yesterday in Bangor, Maine a man standing on an observation deck overlooking Kenduskeag Stream wanted a closer look; he climbed under the railing and jumped 12 or 15 feet, landed in the wrong place and broke two legs.  He is 35 years old, should know better, but went ahead and did it anyway.
  People, including me, do stupid things, things you know better than to do, but you just go ahead and to it anyway.  Maybe it's that last car you bought, or some clothes that aren't quite "right".  Maybe it's a new haircut, well haircuts are okay, the difference between a bad haircut and a good one is about two weeks.
  Politicians seem very well suited for doing stupid things - and if I hadn't just lost the ability to think I'd name some..........stupid isn't it?

  My old friend, Ralph, used to say "I'm not stooped, but my brother is.....
He walks like this!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Advertising and the whole truth

  Recent TV ads for Toyota cars offer "Zero percent" or "Zero down" if you buy one, the disclaimer fine print states "for very well qualified" customers.  That could mean it's zero all that if you pay cash for all I know.
  What do an airline pilot, football coach, kindergarten teacher, museum guide and a real estate agent have in common?  Bayer would have us believe that none of them had ever heard of Aleve.  Or possibly none of them knew of any pain control products that last for eight hours.  Strange as that seems, the advertiser wants us to think it's true.
  Does a businessman have to fly on a South Korean airline to fine out extra strength Aspirin isn't only for heart attacks?  That's it safe to take for a headache?  Really?  What an absolute bunch of suckers they think we are.
  Every insurance company that offer auto insurance states that "our rates are the lowest".  More than one of them has to be not telling the truth.  I have had car insurance for 19 years with the same company.  My Credit Union sent me an offer in the mail "guaranteed to save you money on car insurance", so I call the number that was listed.  After telling the gent on the phone what I had now, he offered me the same coverage , are you ready, for almost twice as much as I pay now!  Lower rates, look like I might already have them, besides I have a local agent if there's a problem.
  Do you "buy it"?  Do the advertisers "fool you" every time? I didn't think so.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Medicine men and Mom

  When I was born things were a little different than now, that's probably true for most people, unless they're only 2 or 3 years old.
  The doctor that delivered me, Dr. Head, was also the doctor you saw when you were sick at any time during your life.  He took out my tonsils and my brothers appendix too.  There weren't a lot of specialist in small town Maine in the 1940's.
  I was thinking about what my mother kept in here "medicine closet" which in her case was one of the kitchen cupboards.  We didn't have an indoor bathroom so the stuff, along with everything else, was in the kitchen.  She kept some Band Aids (Johnson&Johnson trademark), Mecurochrome (no longer in use), Mentholatum, Aspirin, Castor Oil and Epsom Salts, that's it.
  Band Aids have been with us since 1920 when Earle Dickson, a Johnson&Johnson employee, came up with the idea.  In the 1940's they were coated fabric, plain gauze pad and sticky as the devil.  In 1951 the first "kids" band aids were introduced.  They came in a tin.
  Mercurochrome was used because kids didn't like iodine.  Mercurochrome was red, came in a glass bottle (small) and was applied to cuts before the band aid went on.  Mercurochrome is no longer allowed to be used, it contained mercury, not a beneficial mineral.  It was applied, out of the bottle, by a glass rod attached to the cap.
  Mentholatum was the Vicks Vapor rub of the day, my source says it was not made after 1935, but my mother was buying the stuff in the '40's.  Anyway, it worked.
  Aspirin was made by Bayer, period.  It came in a glass bottle, or a small tin of ten, with a screw on top, no little plastic strip or childproof cap.  The bottle was not sold in a paperboard box and I don't know if grocery stores sold it or not, maybe just the drug store.
  Castor Oil is the scourge of the earth, well maybe Dick Chaney is, horrible tasting, wicked and the damned stuff did not keep a kid from catching a cold.  It was administered every night a bedtime by the "Medicine Woman of North Lebanon, Maine" forcefully if need be.  I can taste the damn stuff just writing about it.  Ptooey.
  Epsom Salts were used for soaked sore spots, there was also some brown grain, maybe flax seed meal, she used to soak boils.  I had boils on my butt, one after the other, for a year or two, she, the Medicine Woman, would cook it up, wrap it in cloth, and hold the boiling hot stuff on my little ass until it cooled off.  She must have learned about that kind of thing from her mother - she made everything.
  So there you have it, medical care in the '40's, and I'm sure World War Two made an impact on how much of any of this stuff was available.  Things like Band Aids and Mercurochrome were probably sent to the military first and anything left over went to the public.
  Have a healthy day.  If you don't have a healthy day take some Castor oil.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fort Knox, Maine

As seen from the air.  Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
Bangor Daily News Photo - click
  Now in the news in this neck of the woods as the Governor and associates want to pass this State Historic Site into private management.  While that is a good thing at least we know the place is getting attention.
  Fort Knox, in my opinion, is one of the best preserved coastal forts in the Country, but that's my opinion.  Work is still being done to restore parts of the Fort and it is actively getting attention.
  The opening of the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge, with an observatory at the top of the west pylon, on the right, is bringing more visitors to the Fort.
  Built of good Maine granite from Mount Waldo, upriver, and hauled piece by piece up the "road", center bottom of above photo, and hoisted by manpower or horsepower in to place; it's a wonder to behold.
  You can find more information at  or simply "google" fort Knox Maine, there is a lot of information on this Fort.
An early American painting of Fort Knox, Maine wikipedia photo
The Courtyard in the center of Fort Knox,
the paper mill in Bucksport across the river
is in the background.