Saturday, June 29, 2013

Advertising At Other Parks-- Part 2

BOOZE AND CHEERS--  A signature elemnet of the Brooklyn Didgers' Ebbets Field was a large Schaefer beer sign on which an "E' or "H" lit up to indicate error or hit.  The official scorer got a free case of Schaefer each week for hitting the controls in the press box to activate the letters.

HISTORICAL SIGNPOSTS-- Ads have been part of baseball's big moments.  A memorable Jimmy Foxx home run sailed over the Lux Soap sign at Cleveland's League Park in 1936.  Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood slammed into an Alpo Dog Food sign as he made one of the greatest catches at Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium in 1964.  Mark McGwire smashed a 485-foot home run at Cleveland's Jacobs Field in 1997 that hit the Budweiser sign between the E and I.

DIRTY TRICK--  At Philadelphia's Baker Bowl in the early 1900s, a soap company's billboard read, "The Phillies use Lifebuoy."  A graffiti artist once added, "But they still stink."

HUMAN BILLBOARD?--  In the 1970s, Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner wanted to give pitcher Andy Messersmith the number 17, nickname him "Channel" and put that name on his uniform.  Strangely, Turner's cable superstation was Channel 17.  National League President Chub Feeney nixed it.

It Was a Number Oops.  --Cooter

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Advertising At Other Parks-- Part 1: It's a Color Thing

Continuing from the April 16, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Here's the Pitch" by Mark Jacob.

WHITE-OUT--  In 1912, when the old Comiskey Park (and I still call it by that name) was new, a tobacco company's large white sign in straight center made it hard for hitters to see pitches coming at them.

White Sox manager Jimmy "Nixey" Callahan asked owner Charles Comiskey to remove the sign.  Comiskey said he would, but, being the sort he always was, if Callahan bought out the advertiser's contract.  Callahan did.

Signage at Comiskey never approached the wall-to-wall level like at some stadiums.  But, the new Sox ballpark, named commercially for that cell phone company, is full of ads.

GOING GREEN--  And you know which ballpark Jacob is talking about here. 

Fenway Park is the only older stadium than Wrigley Field.  The Red Sox have removed some advertising to make the place more special.  In 1947, they took down some garish left field ads, including a Gem Razor sign "Avoid 5 O'Clock Shadow."

Instead of the ads, the wall was painted green, creating that famous "Green Monster."

That Is One Really Big Green Wall.  --DaCoot

Doubling Down on the McDonald's Dollar Menu-- Part 3: Breakfast

And, how I love that Dollar Breakfast Menu which was added in 2010.  On vacation, that is often where I head for that morning meal, especially in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Pick up a newspaper, get my reading done, maybe catch up on the internet, drink some coffee have a Sausage McMuffin and back to the room.  Bring something back for Liz who is not a morning person. 

And I always like to listen to the old retired guys talking about all the things they talk about on their daily get-togethers.  If I'm sittin', I'm listenin'.

Now, we have a new McDonald's here in Spring Grove, so I will visit there at least once a week.

Dollar items:

Sausage Biscuit
Sausage McMuffin
Sausage Burrito
Hash Browns
Small Coffee (Some markets sell all sizes for a buck.  Otherwise, for us seniros it is a better deal to order a Senior Coffee.)

The Sausage McMuffin by far is my favorite.  They really hit the mark with that creation.

And, to me, a buck is still a lot of money, but that's most likely because I am old.

Getting More Bang for My Buck.  --Cooter

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Draft Was Trying to Get Me

I remember the Darft Lottery very well.  The Vietnam War started when I was in 7th grade and then continued all the way through high school.  I thought that war was never going to end.  Graduate high school and there was a good chance you'd be heading for Southeast Asia in a few months unless you were going to go to college.

Since I was planning on being a teacher, college was already in my plans.  Maybe the war would be over by the time I got out of that.

I was too young for the first Draft Lottery and very much relieved when May 24th was drawn number 31.  Dodged the bullet with that one.  And since the first one had my birthday with such a low number, that had to mean that when it counted for me the next year, it had to be higher.  Right?  You'd Think?

But, NO, the next year good old May 24th was drawn number 22!!  When I got out of college, the next stop was Vietnam.  Unless the war was over, but it sure didn't appear to be heading in that direction.  I even joined the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class so I could get commissioned a second leiutenant upon graduating.

Fortunately, that war that would never ever end, did finally draw to a close and the last American troops were withdrawn a few months before graduation.

That was a close one.

Thanks a Lot, Mr. Tarr.  --Cooter

Deaths: This Guy Almost Got Me Drafted

CURTIS TARR, Former Head of the Selective Service (died June 21, 2013)

That would be Selective Service as in the word DRAFT.  Greetings from Uncle Sam.

Mr. Tarr was appointed head of the Selective Service by President Richard Nixon in 1970.  He oversaw the switch to the so-called Draft Lottery, whose first drawing was held December 1969.  Before that, local draft boards had control over who was called and who wasn't.

The new lottery took local personalities out os the system and according to Dick Flahavan, made it "much fairer, much more objective, more efficient."

Each day of the year was assigned a randomly drawn number from 1-365.  If your birthday was May 1st and the number 100 drawn for it, that would mean you wouldn't be drafted until days with numbers 1-99 repoted for duty.

Flahavan again said, "It obviously was a big deal for young men who were the appropriate age."  No kidding!!!!

The Lottery was introduced as the war was winding down.  In 1970, birthdays to 195 were selected to serve.  The following year it was 125 and the next year there were enough volunteers to fill the needs.  No draft.

Tarr led the Selective Service until May 1972.

Me and the Draft Next. 

Advertising at Wrigley Field-- Part 2

NAMING RIGHTS, CIRCA 1926--  In the early days of Wrigley Field, there were billboards installled on the scoreboard and outfield wall.  Even the name became marketing when Cubs Park became Wrigley Field in 1926.  This was the idea of advertising man Albert Lasker who said it would promote the owner's chewing gum business.

On the pre-1937 scoreboard, there were two cartoon figures standing, one pitching and one hitting.  They were known as the Wrigley "stick men" as in a stick of gum.

FREE TIME--  The Cubs 1937 scoreboard arrived without ads.  When a clock was added atop it in 1941, it went unspobnsored.  In conrast, other big league parks had the names of clockmakers such as Longines, Elgin (local) or Bulova on their scoreboard clocks.   What, no Timex to keep on ticking?

SUBTLE CHANGES--  There was no significant advertising inside Wrigley Field from the late 30s until the early 80s, when two beer ads were put under the scoreboard. They were removed after a few years.  Then, in 2007, there was adeal to let Under Armour sports apparel advertise on the outfield walls.  These and future advertising were to bring in big bucks "yet have low impact on the visual quality of Wrigley Field.

I remember whenall you'd see on the rooftops across from the field were an occasional watcher and then there was the corner of the building with WGN printed on it.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Advertising At Wrigley Field-- Part 1

From the April 16, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Here's the Pitch" by Mark Jacob.  Mark Jacob has to be one of the premier researchers.  It is amazing how many obscure facts he can locate.

"The prospect of a giant video screen blasting ads at Wrigley Field fans may upset purists who fear that the simple beauty of one of America's most iconic ballparks is being despoiled.  But baseball history shows that Chesterfield cigarettes and Hole-Proof Hosiery have been as much a part of America's ballparks as Babe Ruth and Ernie Banks.  Here are some advertising facts about Wrigley and other parks."

WHAT'S NEW IS OLD:  Before the Cubs moved to Clark and Addison in 1916, they played in front of a huge billboard at the West Side Grounds, where the Illinois Medical District is today.  That was one really big sign stretching from mid-center field across most of right field.  It woul;d have such messages as "The Tribune always makes a hit with its sporting news."

And, believe it or not, there was a rooftop controversy even back then.  Owners of buildings on Taylor Street built bleachers on top of apartment buildings.  The Cubs responded by raising the right-field wall to block it.  Hey, that huge sign wasn't there for no reason.

It Might Be, It Could Be....  --DaCoot

America's Ten Most Endangered Ships of 2011-- Part 2

6.  FALLS OF CLYDE--  (Honolulu)  Launched Scotland in 1878, iron-hulled, 4-masted.  Only surviving sail-powered oil tanker.

7.  KULU KAI--  (Honolulu)--  Local Hawaiian fishing boat,  last remaining boat of its style.

8.  USS YORKTOWN-- (Charleston, SC) WWII aircraft carrier built 1943 to replace earlier carrier of the same name.

9.  Barque ELISSA  (Galveston, Tx)  One of the oldest operating sailing vessels in the world at 134-years.  Iron-huklled and the USCG has declared it unseaworthy.

10.  Schooner SPIRIT OF SOUTH CAROLINA  (Charleston, SC)--  A replica of a 19th century ship.

Let's Save 'Em.  --Cooter

Monday, June 24, 2013

America's Ten Most Endangered Ships of 2011-- Part 1

From the December 28, 2011, Fyddeye Guides at Open Salon Site by Joe Follansbee.

They're still afloat, but for how long?

1.  Steam schooner WAPANA (Richmond, Ca.) last surviving ship of those that carried cargo and passengers along the West Coast late 1800s-early 1900s.

2.  Schooner EQUATOR (Everett, Wash.)--  1888.  Carried novelist Robert Louis Stevenson from Hawaii to Gilbert Islands.  The voyage inspired the story "The Wrecker" in his book "Tales of the South Seas."

3.  KALAKALA (Tacoma, Was.)--  1935 ferry built in the art deco style.

4.  USS OLYMPIA--  1895 (Philadelphia).  Oldest steel U.S. warship afloat.  Fought at famous Battle of Manila Bay where Admiral Dewey said "Gridley, fire when ready."  Brought home the remains of The Unknown Soldier after World War I.

5.  SS UNITED STATES (Philadelphia) 1952 luxury transAtlantic liner.  Still has the record for eastbound Atlantic crossing at 3 days, 12 hours and 12 minutes.  Almost sold for scrap in 2011.

Five More Coming.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doubling Down On the Dollar Menu-- Part 3: Breakfast

Then, there is that great Breakfast Dollar Menu.  I'm getting ready to brave the monsoon outside right now, and go over to our new McDonald's here in Spring Grove, Illinois, for some in a few minutes.  I am especially fond of that Sausage McMuffin.

The Breakfast Menu was added in 2010 and I've been eating them ever since.

Sausage Biscuit
Sausage McMuffin
Sausage Burrito
Hash Browns
Coffee (Small)  (Although some places sell all coffee for a buck.)

Maybe I'll get a coffee, but will be very careful not to spill it on my lap.

Make Mine a Large.  --Cooter

Doubling Down On the Dollar Menu-- Part 2

Neil Gordon, chief marketing officer of McDonald's USA says: "We are aware that consumers are a little unsettled right now.  Whether that's higher gas prices or just overall not having as much week to week, we know the consumer is looking for great values in everything they're doing in the food arena.  We want to make sure it's attractive to choose our restaurant."

And, then there are those folk like me who are just plain cheap.  As my buddy says, "More Bang For the Buck!"

Anyway, here's a look at the Dollar Menu Today:

McDouble (My favorite, even without that extra piece of cheese.)
Soft serve Cone (now at 49 cents or 99 cents dipped)
Side Salad (I like these, especially with the Newman's dressing and especially the Balsemic)
Sweet (and Unsweetened) Tea

Temporary Grilled Onion Cheddar (OK, but would be better more like a Slider, perhaps some pickles and more onions)
Hot 'n Spicy McChicken  (I like this one a whole lot.  Hope they keep it around.)

And, I sure love those $1 any-size drinks available at some places.

And, Now There's That Breakfast Dollar Menu.  --DaCoot

Doubling Down On the Dollar Menu-- Part 1

From the March 10, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Doubling Down On the Dollar"  by Emily Bryson York.

McDonald's is now celebrating the tenth year of its highly innovative Dollar Menu, which caused most of the other chains to start offering a similar selection.  Lately, McDonald's is re-emphasizing this iconic menu, especially in light of the continuing recession for the regular folk (the GRBs who got us into the mess have been amply rewarded by the government with the loans and low-low-LOW interest rates).


These were on that first menu.

Big N Tasty
Two Apple Pies
Side Salad

Big N Tasty, fries, drink (at some stores, others have $1 for any size!!) and two apple pies have since been removed.

I also seem to remember the double cheeseburger being offered for awhile until replaced with the McDouble (same sandwich but one less piece of cheese).

A Big Fan of That Dollar Menu.  --Burger-Eatin' Cooter

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring Grover Fish Hatchery

From the McHenry County (Illinois) Historical Society and Museum.

The Spring Grove Fish Hatchery, located in our village of Spring Grove, was opened in 1914 and was the firt fish hatchery in Illinois.  The site was chosen because of the natural cold water spring located there that produced 300 gallons of fresh water a minute.

At the height of operations, the hatchery produced as much as 35 million fingerlings a year.  These were used to stock the majority of the rivers and lakes in northern Illinois.

It was closed and a few years ago, sold to the Village of Spring Grove for a dollar.  Since then, a lot of money has been put into it preserving the holding ponds and building.  The whole site is being turned into a park.

Just this last Friday, June 14th, we  went to the annual Door County fish boil to raise money for the hatchery.

Mighty Good Eating for a Great Cause.  --DaCoot

How to Lower Sugar Consumption in World War I

From the August 11, 2012, Vanished Americana site.

The site had a photo of a poster from 1918 showing ways for the United States to lower sugar consumption.

Civilians were urged to put:

1.  None on fruits
2.  None on desserts
3.  Less on cereals
4.  Less in coffee and tea
5.  Less in preserving
6.  Less in cake and candy
7.  Use other sweeteners


United States Food Administration

I didn't know there was rationing in World War I.

No More "Sugar In the Morning."  --Cooter

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Calling Dr. Bombay: Actor Bernard Fox

From the April 7-13 American Profile Magazine "Ask American Profile."

A reader wrote in asking, "What is up with Bernard Fox of Hogan's Heroes, Bewitched and Titanic fame?"

I didn't recognize the name, but sure did spot him in the photograph accompanying the answer.  None other than my favorite "Bewitched" character, Dr. Bombay (well, other than Abner and Gladys across the street).   "ABNER!!!!!"   "What now, Gladys???"

That poor guy was always interruped while doing something exotic and would be twitched into Samanath's home to solve some sort of a witch problem.  Poor guy never got much relaxation or fun.

"After making 30 films between 1956 and 2004, Fox, 85, who lives in Los Angeles, retired from show business.  The native of Wales (hence the accent) was featured in two films about the night the Titanic went down: He delivered the line "Iceberg dead ahead, sir!" (from the crows nest) in "A Night to Remember" (1958) and played Col. Archibald Gracie IV in "Titanic" (1997).

He's best-known for his TV roles as Malcom Merriweather on "The Andy Griffith Show, Dr. Bombay on "Bewitched" and British Col. Crittendon on "Hogan's Heroes."  Also, there were several appearances on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

I especially liked the role he played as the retired and somewhat senile British Air Force officer on the "The Mummy."  Well, until he went down with his plane into the sand.

Quite the Character.  --Cooter

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chicago's Streetcars-- Part 2

Horses pulled those Chicago streetcars at first, but soon was replaced with a San Francisco system of cars hooked on an underground cable.  In the 1880s, the whole Chicago system was rebuilt and at the time, the city had the world's largest cable car system.

Eastern  cities began experimenting with electric streetcars that drew power from a wire strung above the tracks.  Chicago began switching over to the new system in the 1890s.

By World War I, Chicago had new things to boast about: more miles of track, more routes and more cars than any other city.  "The clang of the trolley bell and the click-clack of wheels bumping over rail joints were the background music of neighborhood life."  And, they allowed Chicago to spread out as workers didn't have to live near their jobs.

Drawbacks, of course, included not being able to get off the tracks to skirt accidents.  Gas buses began appearing in 1927 and began replacing the streetcars.

After World War II, gas buses began replacing them as well as the superhighways into the city.

And, That Was That.  --Cooter

Chicago's Streetcars-- Part 1

From the October 25, 2012, Chicago Tribune "For almost 100 years, streetcars traversed Chicago" by Ron Grossman.

"At 6:16 AM on June 21, 1958, Al Carter hopped aboard a green-and-cream Vincennes Avenue trolley car a block from the end of the line, dropped a token into the farebox and asked the conductor to sign his transfer."

Carter was from the city's South Side and was looking to have his immortality in history's footnotes as the "last straphanger to ride a Chicago streetcar."  He had also been the last visitor to enter Chicago's Century of Progress in 1934.

That streetcar rolled into a car barn, closing an era that began in the city back on April 25, 1859, when the first streetcar began running along a single railroad track in the middle of State Street between Madison and 12th streets.

More to Come.  DaCoot

A Streetcar Named Milwaukee-- Part 2

 Foes of Milwaukee's proposed streetcar system have dubbed it "A Streetcar Named Disaster" and saying it is just the latest in urban fads for cities across the country. The system would cost $65 million, mostly paid with by federal funds and the rest from tax increment financing. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett claims that the value of property along the lines would increase and that, "You'd be hard-pressed to name a vibrant North American city that doesn't have fixed rail as part of itsmass transit arsenal."

Transportation experts agree that there is a certain "coolness" to modern streetcars like in Seattle or Toronto or traditional systems like in San Francisco.

Nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, installed a vintage streetcar line along its redeveloped lakefront in 2000 and even used one car called the "Green Hornet" which was used in Chicago up until 1958.

The city has a website at   The opposition has its own site at .

Personally, I Like the Idea.  --Cooter

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Streetcar Named Milwaukee-- Part 1

From the October 25, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Milwaukee's transit debate: Streetcar desire vs. disaster" by Richard Wronski.

"The last time a streetcar rattled along the rails in this city, in 1958, the Braves played at County Stadium and Pabst, Schlitz and Miller were the brewers that made the city famous.

Today the Brewers play at Miller Park and the Braves are long gone, but the streetcars may be making a comeback."

And, who knows where Schlitz and Pabst are made these days?

Mayor Tom Barrett wants a brand-new streetcar system to traverse a 2-mile route theough the city's East Side, downtown and Historic Third Ward areas.  He wants to base it on Portland, Oregon's popular and successful system.  Its system has also been the model for cities nationwide, including Kansas City, Missouri which is planning a $93 million line.

Chicago hasn't caught on, however, preferring to work on bus and rapid-transit lines.

Stella!!  Stella!!!  --Cooter

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wrigley Field Changes OK'd By Commission of Chicago Landmarks

From the April 18, 2013, Chicago Tribune.

Most of these were in the nature of making more money.


March 2005: The commission approves a plan to move Wrigley's walls out about eight feet to add 1,790 bleacher seats.  (And these seats aren't cheap like back in the good old days.)

Also approved is a plan to develop a five-story building with commercial space and a parking garage on a parcel adjacent to the ballpark.  The Cubs later scrap the building and parking garage in favor of an open-air plaza and office building.


May 2010:  Approves a 360-square-foot illuminated Toyota sign in left field.


October 2012:  Commission approves a plan to move brick wall three feet closer to home plate, allowing 56 prime (meaning really, really expensive) box seats to be installed.

Quit Messin' With the Park.  --Cooter

What's Protected at Wrigley Field-- Part 3

MARQUE SIGN:  Corner of Clark and Addison streets.  The big green thing and one of the most recognizable aspects of the park.  Always makes me think, "Here comes fun" when I see it.  And it made that appearance in the "Blues Brothers" movie when they gave that as their address.

"Wrigley Field: Home of the Chicago Cubs."

EXTERIOR ELEVATIONS, ROOFS:  Includes the main structure of the ballpark, the exposed steel beams and the upper- and lower-deck rooflines.  And, now there are the statues outside.  Always love to watch the people standing out on the street during games with gloves to catch home run balls that leave the park.

Don't Change Most of It.  --DaCoot

What's Protected at Wrigley Field-- Part 2

Some of the features at Wrigley Field in Chicago that are protected by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks:

THE BRICK WALL:  Encircles the playing field and includes the outfield wall and, of course, the ivy.  I once bought some Wrigley Field ivy and had it growing on the east side of the garage in our Round Lake Beach, Illinois, home.  It had taken over the whole wall by the time we moved despite a whole lot of trimming.  I called it the "Dave Kingman Memorial Ivy" for the Cubbie slugger.

CENTER FIELD SCOREBOARD:  Includes structural supports and attached elements such as the flagpoles.  I always like the National League standing flags, and, of course, the "W" flag on those rare occasions when the Cubs win.  I'll never forget the San Diego Chicken's antics in the scoreboard the first year he went national.

THE ENCLOSED, OPEN AIR CHARACTER:  Refers to the sweeep and contour of the grandstand and bleachers.  Always a great place to see a game, if you can still afford to do so.

Two More.  --Cooter

Friday, June 14, 2013

What's Protected at Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 1

From the April 18, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Wrigley rehab could net tax breaks."

Well. for one thing, the Chicago Cubs record for futility "seems" to be forever protected.  But that aside, news of the refurbishing of the field and rooftop battles have been in the news a lot here in Chicagoland.

The Ricketts family (owners of the Cubs and Wrigley Field) say that if the get city approval for the work, they also plan to have the 99-year-old structure placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This recognition is largely honorary, but it allows the Ricketts to earn federal tax credits for preservation work.

This national status is different from its Chicago Landmark status, which protects several of the stadiums architectural features.

I'll list some of the protected features Monday.

By the way, the Ricketts have guaranteed a Cub appearance in a World Series if they get what they want.  We're all holding our breath to see that happen, of course.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Has It Come to This?: Clark Kent Leaving the Newspaper Biz

From the October 25, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Clark Kent leaves newspaper job."

Well, Clark kent, aka Superman, is leaving his job at the Daily Planet after all these years in the latest edition of the "Superman" comic series.

Kent is upset at the state of journalism and gets into a heated argument with Morgan Edge, owner of the Daily Planet's parent company, Galaxy Broadcasting and quits.

This is not the first time he has quit the Daily Planet.  According to the article, Kent's reasoning this time is "present-day issues-- the balance of journalism vs. entertainment, the role of news media, the rise of the citizen journalist, etc."

Maybe he will become a blogger, not if he knows what's good for him.

You've Got to read the Comic to Know the Rest.  --Cooter

Early Energy Drink Ad

From the October 25, 2012, Chicago Tribune.

"An old Coca-Cola mural was discovered after an auto repair shop was torn down in the 5400 block of North Clark Street in Chicago.  A four-story, eight unit condominium building is planned for the site next to the mural."

A photograph accompanied the short blurb in the article..  Some of the words on it: "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Relieves Fatigue.  Sold Everywhere 5 Cents." 

Here's hoping they found a way to save the old bit of advertising.


Oldest Recording Replicated, 134 Years Later

From the October 26, 2012, Chicago Tribune by Chris Carola, AP.

"It's scratchy, lasts just 78 seconds and features the first recorded blooper."  And now, you too can listen to it.  Experts say it is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first capturing recorded music.

It was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.

It opens with a 23-second cornet solo followed by a man's voice reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Old Mother Hubbard."  The man laughs at two spots, including at the end when he recites the wrong words, saying "Look at me: I don't know the song."

It was made on a sheet of tinfoil, 5 inches wide by 15 inches long placed on a cylinder of the phonograph.  Edison invented it in 1877 and began selling it the following year.  Only a handful of these tinfoil recording sheets remain as once they were played a couple times, the stylus tore through it.

Only a handful remain and only two are playable: this one and one from 1880.

Recording has always been big in my life, starting first with the old reel-to-reel tapes and then to cassettes, which I just recorded on today.  I must have at least 5,000 cassette tapes.

Never Downloaded.  --Cooter

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. ZIP-- Part 3

MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE (neighborhood/metro area)

75038  Irving/ Dallas, Tx.
11428  Queens Village/ New York, NY
94139  Threasure Island/ San Francisco, Ca.
77407  Lakemont/ Houston, Tx.
95786  Wahiawa/ Honolulu, Hi.

PRICIEST (median home list price, Summer 2012)

10065  East Side/ NYC-- $6,534,430
07620  Alpine, NJ--  $5,745,038
94027  Atherton, Ca.--  $4,897,864
11962  Sagaponack, NY--  $4,180,385
94010  Hillsborough, Ca.--  $4,127,250

You can see a 1960s Zip code promo film at

I can't help but remember that great "Zip Code" song by the Five Americans.

"Zip, Zip, Zip Code."  --Cooter 63950-2145

Happy Birthday, Mr. ZIP-- Part 2

Four more digits were added to the original five in 1983, but most of us, including me, don't remember it.  Perhaps we should take a look at one of the thousands of return addresses we get from the charities to find out what it is.

If your whole, 9-digit ZIP Code is 12345-6789, here is a decode of what the numbers stand for:

The 123 stand for the General region/City.
The 45 stands for Delivery Area: Post Office or Neighborhood.
The 67 stands for Sector Or Several Blocks.
The 89 stands for Segment or One Side of the Street.

OLDEST ZIPS  (median age)

17606  Lancaster, Pa. 87
61112  Rockford, Il. 87
40049  Nerinx, Ky.  87
14302  Niagara Falls, NY 86
11042  New Hyde Park, NY  86  (Maybe change it to Old Hyde Park?)

YOUNGEST ZIPS (median age)

56593  Wolf lake, Mn.  11
84784  Hildale, Ut.  13
86021  Colorado City, Az. 13
60539  Mooseheart, Il.  16  (Set up by the Moose Club to raise members' children.)
59841  Pinesdale, Mt. 16

One More ZIP to Go.  --DaCoot

Happy Birthday. Mr. Zip-- Part 1

From the June 2013 AARP Bulletin "Happy Birthday, Mr. Zip."

Anyone remember what the ZIP in ZIP Code stands for?  Answer in the next paragraph.

"Fifty years ago the Post Office had a nightmare on its hands-- an overwhelming increase in business mail (about 95% of what we get in our mail these days).  In 1963, the agency rolled out the Zoning Improvement Plan, a five digit code meant to help sort mail for delivery to specific locations.  Mr. Zip, a friendly postal worker, helped deliver the message: Remember your Zip."


MILITARY ZIP CODES: 538 (included in total above)
MOST ZIP CODES:  California with 2,602 (three more than Texas)
FEWEST ZIP CODES:  Rhode Island, 90 (89 more than American Somoa)

MOST POPULOUS (population estimate)

79936  El Paso, Tx 116,860
90011  Los Angeles, Ca 107,942
90629  Chicago, Il 105,740
90650  Norwalk, Ca 104, 313
77449  Katy, Tx 102,989

Zip Me to the Head of the Line.  --Cooter

Monday, June 10, 2013

Eight Fascinating Facts About "The Wizard of Oz"-- Part 2

4.  Scarecrow Ray Bolger was originally supposed to play the Tinman, but felt his rubbery dancing-style would better fit the Scarecrow.  Buddy Epsom "Beverly Hillbillies" was originally to play the Scarecrow but agreed to switch roles with Bolger.  After filming began, Epsom had a terrible allergic reaction to the Tinman's silver dust makeup and had to drop out of the movie.

5.  "Over the Rainbow" won for Oscar's Best Song and is on AFI's "100 Years 100 Songs list.  But, it was almost cut out of the final movie as MGM felt it was too slow.

6.  Dorothy's blue and white gingham dress recently sold for $480,000.

7.  Dorothy's ruby-crusted shoes are among the most sought-after movie items at auctions.  In 2000, one pair went at auction for $666,000.  The pair believed to have been the ones worn by Garland when she clicked three times to go home are owned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

8.  In L. Frank Baum's 1900 source novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," they were silver.  Filmmakers changed the color to take advantage of the new Technicolor process.  The ruby red provided a more striking contrast.

There You Have It.  --DaCoot

Eight Fascinating Facts About "The Wizard of Oz"-- Part 1

From the March 6, 2013, Movie Talk on Yahoo! Movies "Oh My! 8 Fascinating Facts about MGM's classic 'The Wizard of Oz'" by Adam Pockross.

What with the recent release of "Oz the Great and Powerful" a prequel to the "Wizard," I thought this would be of interest.  I saw the new one and really enjoyed it.  I even thought about seeing it in 3D (something I don't like) and was really fooled by the real evil witch.  Who'd have thought "That Seventies Show?"

1.  MGM originally wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy.  She was a leading box office draw at the time but 20th Century Fox, who had her contract, refused to lend her.  MGM even tried to loan Clark Gable and Jean Harlow for Temple, but Harlow died in 1937.  MGM decided to go with Judy Garland who had a better singing voice.

2.  Judy Garland, however, was not physically suited for the role.  Her teeth had to be fixed and her breasts flattened to portray Dorothy, who was a younger girl.

3.  Garland got a severe case of the giggles when she had to skip down the Yellow Brick Road.  Director Victor Flemming slapped her admonishing, "Behave!!"

Five More to Come.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 8, 2013

North Carolina's Dope Wagons

From Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

And, not what you think.

These were snack and drink carts that circulated throughout North Carolina's textile mills to provide workers with food and beverages.

In case you're wondering, the wagons get their name from one of the things they most-often sold, a "dope," which was a bottle of Coca-Cola.

With the coming of soda pop and packaged foods, dope wagons became familiar sights at textile mills in the first two decades of the twentieth century, going into the late 192-s.  Owners of the factories liked them because it allowed the workers to get their food and drink and remain at their jobs.

The Dope Wagons were gradually replaced by the mill canteen, snack bars and vending machines.

You "Dope Fiend!"  --Cooter

Friday, June 7, 2013

North Carolina's ABC Stores

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

This was created by the state General Assembly in 1937 to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages inNorth carolina after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition).  The ABC stands for Alcoholic Beverage Control.  It is run by a commission.

Among the commission's duties are to determine what brands of alcoholic liquors may be sold, maintain the state ABC warehouse for the distribution of spiritous liquors, regulate the sale of wine and beer and issue permits for wineries, breweries, wholesalers and retailers.

In North Carolina, you can buy beer and wine in many places, but if it is hard alcohol that you want, you have to purchase it at what is referred to as an ABC Store.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Four-Minute Men

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

After listing this in the last post, I just had to find out who the Four-Minute Men were.    I had heard of the Revolutionary War's Minute Men.  Were these just a bit slower group of men?  As it turns out, this was directly applicable to World War I, whose centennial starts next year, but not until 2017 for the United States.

The Four-Minute Men gained their nickname from the four-minute speeches about the importance of backing the nation's participation in World War I.  In 1917, after a German submarine sank the RMS Lusitania, the federal government created the National Four Minute Men's Association to inspire support for the war effort (and to get the country into the war).

The asswociation was also called the Flying Squadron.  These men were very skilled in public speaking and also were busy getting support for the Liberty Loan and Thrift Stamp campaigns and the United War Work Campaign.

In North Carolina, the Four-Minute Men were formed under the direction of John Sanford Martin, private secretary to Governor Thomas J. Bickett, with the primary object of encouraging the purchase of war bonds.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --DaCoot

Encyclopedia of North Carolina: One Great Source

Anyone who has been reading my seven blogs this past week may have noticed a whole lot of entries credited to the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, edited by William S. Powell.  This massive 1314 page book covers an amazing amount of interesting information about the state.   Of course, much of it is especially in history, but other areas are covered such as natural resources, industry and agriculture.

For example, I just wrote about the Fortuna Case in my War of 1812 blog.  The next several articles are fossils,Foster's Raid, Foundations Bible College, Four-H Clubs, Four-Minute Men, Fourteenth Amendment, Fox Grape and Fraktur.

A great book in anyone's library, but especially in someone from the state's bookshelf.

Originally, my copy was $60 and then marked down several times to $5.  Copyright is 2006, so I imagine there is a newer edition.

Well Worth a Look.  --Cooter

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Deaths: One Great "Dingbat"


Died May 31st.  After all, it took a lot to live with  and deal with Archie Bunker, but wife Edith, certainly prevailed despite being called "Dingbat" and being told to "Stifle it."

Edith and her son-in-law Michael (AKA Meathead) had to put up with Archie while "Little Girl" Gloria generally was spared.

I sure liked my "All In the Family" sitcom and wouldn't miss it on those Saturday nights.  Partying had to wait.

And she certainly reminded me a lot of my mother-in-law.

Thanks for the Memories, Edith.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

North Carolina Gunboats of the American Revolution

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

North Carolina gunboats fall into three categories:  Revolutionary War, the period of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison administrations and the Confederacy.  I will write about those from the Revolution here.  The War of 1812 and the Civil War will be covered in those blogs.

The Revolutionary War gunboats were armed merchantmen, intended to protect coastal towns.  Three of them, the Pennsylvania Farmer, King Tammany and General Washington were outfitted as guard ships.  They were not staisfactory, so the state went in with Virginia to build two rowing galleys to defend Ocracoke Inlet: the Caswell and the Washington.

The Caswell served at Ocracoke under Captain Willis Wilson from 1778-1779.   Neither galley saw action but did defend trade passing through the inlet. 

In 1790, the worm-riddled Caswell sank at its mooring in New Bern and its crew and weapons transferred to the Washington.

A Revolutionary Affair.  --Cooter

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Deaths: 40 Patents

May 2, 2013, Chicago Tribune

STANLEY DASHEW, 96  (1916-2013)

Inventor and entrepreneur who helped revolutionize the credit card industry died April 25th.  Had 40 patents in fields as diverse as credit card processing, mining, mass transit, medical equipment and offshore oil transportation.  Also an avid sailor.

At age 15, he started a business bottling and selling root beer.  By age 35, he had sold enough Addressograph labelmakers (was he responsible for all those labels I have from charities?) to buy a 76-foot two-masted schooner and then went on a 15,000 mile voyage to Los Angeles, where he stayed and founded Dashew Business Machines which helped to automate the credit vard industry which at the time relied on paper charge cards that would tear, fray and become difficult to read.

I remember those old credit card tray things.

Quite a Life.