Archive for the ‘nostalgia’ Category
Davidson Galleries in Seattle is running an exhibition of bookplates both contemporary and antique. Over 200 of these labels of book ownership are on display including those of well-known bookplate artists (yes, they exist!) who were, not surprisingly, usually printmakers. Bookplate subjects are as varied as their owners, though of course reading-related illustrations are common. My bookplates aren’t custom but they’re Laura Ashley (how luxe!) and I’ve only used them on a few very special books. Etsy is a good place to find bookplates to match your personality. I’ve written about bookplates twice before so here are some links I’ve gathered: Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie (still going strong after 5 years), The American Society of Bookplate Collectors & Designers, The Bookplate Society, University of Notre Dame’s Bookplate Registry project, and Stanford’s online Bookplates Exhibit. There are many more bookplate resources out there and collections at many universities.
The U.S. Geological Survey started creating topographic maps in 1884. They don’t even know how many maps they’ve produced since then but they’re estimating it at 200,000. It’s such a fascinating endeavor and they’ve written papers on its history. Their National Geospatial Program is scanning all of the old topographic maps into electronic format and making them available for free download. 90,000 are available already. You can also order a reasonably priced print, the same paper format many of us are familiar with for modern USGS topographic maps (available at stores that cater to hikers like REI). The maps are in GeoPDF format, viewable in Adobe Reader and you get even more functionality with the TerraGo Toolbar extension. I downloaded Mount St Helens from 1919. Yup, it’s a lot different now. And back then the maps were all done by people hiking around taking measurements. (Here’s more geeky detail on Mount St Helens topography if you’re interested.)
A sliding pole? A huge garage? What attracts buyers to old firehouses? It’s not just the romanticism. Firehouses often reflect the architecture of the time they were built and since the older, historic houses are the ones usually up for sale, the draw’s in their appearance and what can be done with the interesting space. Seattle has just granted approval for two old firehouses to go up for bid. Fire Station 38 was built in 1930, Fire Station 37 in 1925. Their assessed values may not be accurate for fair market value but they provide a ballpark price for the curious. Both are historical landmarks so alterations will have to go the city’s Landmark Preservation Board. Fire Station 37 suppposedly comes with a ghost upstairs which the firefighters won’t mind leaving behind when they move into their new modern station.
At the heart of the general store is the community. Tourists may come to see the New England fall foliage and stop in to buy a souvenir but these stores may also be the local post office, coffee and donuts gathering spot, soda fountain, penny candy store. As this A.P. article points out, one of them sells guns and wedding gowns.
This Friday the Seattle Cinerama begins a two and a half week 70MM and Cinerama film festival. The theater’s curved and impressively wide Cinerama screen will be used for all showings. Greg Wood tracked down several 70MM classics including “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Cleopatra”, and “My Fair Lady”. A few years ago at a similar event, I saw “This Is Cinerama” there with all 3 projectors going. “Lawrence of Arabia” in 70MM had just been delivered to the theater from Sony Pictures by FedEx and so I snapped a photo of the 13 large containers sitting in the lobby. The festival is a unique opportunity to truly see the widescreen movie experience as it was before theaters were crammed down into sizes that makes one want to just wait for home television viewing.
The National Toy Hall of Fame, one of the collections of The Strong educational institution in Rochester, NY, has announced 12 finalists for this year’s two spots. The contenders are: dollhouse, Dungeons & Dragons, Hot Wheels, Jenga, Pogo Stick, puppets, R/C vehicles, Rubik’s Cube, Simon, Star Wars action figures, Transformers, and Twister. The finalists will be announced in November. You can submit a story about your favorite of the 12 on their site. Perhaps the oldest toy, the stick, was inducted in 2008. The Nintendo Game Boy was inducted a year later, the Atari 2600 a year earlier.
As the food truck trend spreads across America, the L.A. Times takes us back to the late 1800s when tamale wagons served customers on the streets of Los Angeles. They’re the forerunners of today’s taco trucks (loncheras), powered by horses instead of gasoline. There were over 100 of them by 1901 and some deemed them unsafe as they supposedly gathered a bad crowd, especially after the saloons closed. But they perservered as fans of Mexican food grew and now their descendants are everywhere, even, some might say, in the spirit, though not the flavor, of the Taco Bell on the corner.
After reading Caroline McCarthy’s tweet about the Oscar the Grouch Mac extension I wanted to see it again too. YouTube to the rescue:
The authors: Eric Shapiro and Ken Hornak (graphics). I don’t think I used this for long since it got old quick, but thinking about it now, as Caroline said, does make me smile.
The typewriter age hangs on in India where bureaucracy (meaning paperwork in triplicate) has not moved entirely onto computers. “Sometimes the monkeys steal the affidavits,” says a typist outside the Delhi District Court. Even several Indian governments that have adopted computers still require a manual typing test for jobs. So the typewriter repair stores and typing classes linger on. India’s Godrej & Boyce, the last typewriter factory in the world, shut down its last production line after the financial downturn accelerated the decline of orders. When the electricity goes out, as it often does in India, the bureaucrats keep on typing.
My parents still have our old board games. I went through them recently and will be writing about a few. My favorite of the bunch is Careers. That’s our copy above on the left with the masking tape. It never achieved the popularity of Monopoly or Life and very few people I’ve mentioned it to have heard of it. When I went searching for Careers fans on the Internet I found two write-ups, both from players who had discovered it recently. One researched different versions of the game as it was updated through the years. The other, over on ReadyMade, actually got in contact with the daughter of James Cooke Brown, the creator of Careers. Turns out he lived the philosophy of his game in real life. Careers, you see, is aptly pluralized as you move around the board trying different career paths to gather fame, fortune, and happiness points to meet your 60 point Success Formula, the sum of all 3 allocated by your preference. You might go into business and politics and become a movie star. In the different versions of the game you might become a farmer, a teacher, a uranium prospector, an astronaut, and sit on park bench or in the unemployment office. You might enjoy, as I did, getting stuck on the stock market square, buying stock and rolling a die hoping for a big profit (in my memory it was the “gambling career” square). James Cooke Brown had several careers and interests himself. He was a statistician, professor of sociology, wrote science fiction, and invented Loglan. He programmed a university computer to play Careers and analyze the different formulas and he catalogued completed score cards that players sent in for replacements. The goal of Careers is not to stay in one field but to do many things in your life to achieve your own Success Formula.