Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tanning Lotion -- circa 1950

The Shafer Museum.
That's what my sister-in-law calls it.
My family saves stuff.  Need a vintage polyester body suit with hotpant legs and a wrap-around paisley skirt?  Got one.  Need a plastic bobby hat from England?  There's one in the costume closet, on the shelf right above the 1980s square dance dresses and next to the paintball mask.

So, want to see suntan lotion from about 1950?  Here you go:

(Remember to click on the pics to enlarge them.)

Yes, this was a best-selling brand.

(This ad was pulled off the internet; it's not mine.)

Notice how it's 47% alcohol?  Yeah, that'd be great for your skin.  Not.  But at least the "antiseptic" advertising was genuine!
Also, why would anyone in their right minds try to associate a good tan with Scotland?  No one tans naturally in Scotland.  They either go to Spain or to a tanning booth.
And a plaid label and sunburn-pink fluid?  Uh, those are sort of painful images to use with tanning lotion.
And with our modern knowledge, this stuff looks like melanoma waiting to happen.  Skin cancer in a bottle!  Get some now!
No wonder Hartley once wrote, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Little Bits O'Grammar #4: Don't Use Quotation Marks For Emphasis

When you need to emphasize a word in a sentence, use italics.  If that is not possible (such as on Twitter), use all caps, boldface type, or underlining.  Don't use quotation marks.
If you use quotation marks, the word in question may take on the connotation of not literally meaning what it says.
For example:
I can't believe Jimmy ate the whole pizza!  (In this sentence, whole means exactly what it should: the complete or entire pizza.)
I can't believe Jimmy ate the "whole" pizza!  (In this sentence, "whole" implies that Jimmy didn't eat the entire pizza, but rather that he's claiming he did and the speaker doesn't believe him, or else that "whole" means something completely different in this context.)

Mistakes of this nature often lead to unintentional humor.

Yesterday, I had to visit a doctor about some strange headaches I've been experiencing, and I stopped off in a restroom.  To my annoyance, it turned out to be one of those restrooms with two doors, one of which led to another doctor's suite of rooms -- and it had all the little shelves and cabinets necessary for the gathering of specimens.
Above one shelf was a sign that read, "Do not leave your urine sample on this shelf."   This is correct and clear.
But the sign on the two-way cabinet where the samples should be left was this:

Um.....  yeah.
This sign implies that it's not a urine sample at all; it's merely called a urine sample.
So, if it's not a urine sample, what is it?
Personally, this sign made me want to buy flat lemonade, pour it into a cup, and leave it in the cabinet -- just to mess with their minds.
But then, I have an evil streak when it comes to grammar.  ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Hardy Boys And The Adventure Of Time Travel

Note: I'll try getting a screen shot of this later.  I don't have time right this second.

Me, exercising this morning while watching a DVD of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew: Secret of the Hollywood Phantom.

*thinks* Geez, this is a corny chase scene.  Like they could just run the cars all over the Universal Studios' lot and no one would be in their way.  *rolls eyes while exercising*

*thinks*  Huh, unmarked police cars, eh?  They all look like Rossi's cars in the 70s.  Of course, nearly every sedan in the 70s looked like one of Rossi's cars.   Hey, look!  That one's even the right shade of blue!

*stops exercising*  Wait a minute here!

*pauses DVD and rewinds*  But wait, you stink at identifying cars.
*runs chase scene again*  But you know shapes and colors, and they're both right.
*rewinds again*  Yeah, but other cars could be similar.
*freezes DVD in exactly the right spot*  BINGO!!  LTD is clear right across the back! That's the car!  That's Old Blue!

Uh, I think.   Maybe it's Old Blue's cousin.

*has sudden realization*  But if it IS Old Blue, then my teenage heart would have just about stopped all those years ago, just knowing I would one day ride in a car that Parker Stevenson has once climbed over!

*chuckles to self and returns to exercising*

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When It's "Casual Monday," You Learn Things

So, school's in session for teachers only right now.  That means we can ignore dress code, and so baseball caps, shorts, sleeveless blouses, and tee shirts abound.
Monday, one of our science teachers wore this lovely set of instructions as to the safest and easiest method of picking up chicks:

You're welcome.  :D
Happy Tuesday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yeah, Life's Like That

A great thought showed up in my twitter feed yesterday:

And then, when you least expect it, goth unicorns turn up and just screw everything up.

So, happy Monday, everyone. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Book Review: The Edge of the Woods by Ceinwen Langley

I've been so busy getting everything ready to go back to school tomorrow (eep! Meetings upon meetings!) that I haven't blogged much this week.
However, I did snap up a pretty decent book free for Kindle apps yesterday.  Most free books on Amazon turn out to be worth exactly what you pay for them, and I end up deleting 90% of them.  But this one was a fairly decent YA fairy tale from an Aussie author of whom I'd never heard before finding this book.

Here's the cover:

Here's a link to the book on goodreads.

Here's the book hook/blurb:

"You're not the first young woman to try to bend the rules, my dear, but they failed and so will you."
 For as long as anyone can remember, young women have vanished into the woods. Believing them to be weak willed and lured by demons, the zealous Mayor enforces rules to protect them: rules that render the village women submissive and silent, or face being ostracised. Emma's only hope of a decent life is to be married by her eighteenth birthday, but her quick mouth and low social standing make her a poor prospect. Lonely and afraid, she finds herself dreaming of the woods, and of a mysterious boy who promises freedom and acceptance if she'll only step across the border into the trees. With her birthday fast approaching, she has a decision to make: run away from her future, or fight for it.

And here's my review:

 This was quite well-written.  The characterization was very decent.  (So often YA books have fairly interchangeable characters, but these characters were pretty fleshed-out; it was easy to remember one from another.)  The pacing was good.
The plot, however, had a quick, happily-ever-after ending, very much like a fairy tale, but it was difficult to swallow.  The opinions and habits of the whole town changed far too quickly, and the solutions to Emma's problems appeared almost magically, sort of "Poof!  You won the lottery!  Here's everything you ever wanted in a nice little package, all at once!"  I felt that weakened the story, which had been going along very well until then.  (I like feminist role models, but this was too perfectly wrapped up and too obvious, and it may be off-putting to readers.)
I did appreciate Langley's cleverness in creating a parallel society for how women are treated both in the woods and out of them, but I wondered why Emma (the protagonist) never realizes that parallel.
Still, it's a very good read, so very much better than most recent paranormal.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Adventure In A Used Book Store

So, there are four well-known independent bookstores in the Salt Lake Valley: Frost's, The King's English, Sam Weller's, and Ken Sanders' (formerly known as Cosmic Airplane).
Now, in spite of my being an English teacher, I'm no book snob.  I get my books wherever I can.  Most come from the public library, but I will download free e-books off Amazon (although most of those are terrible), buy from Amazon, go to The King's English for local authors, go to Frost's for overstock items and YA fiction, and scour the DI (that's Deseret Industries, the LDS church's exceptionally well-run thrift store) for used books.  But I had never been to either Sam Weller's or Ken Sanders' stores -- until this month.
So, last week, I went to visit Sam Weller's book store.  It's in Trolley Square now, which used to be my favorite mall -- way back in the day when people actually went to malls -- so I thought it would be fun to have a look around.
It wasn't particularly fun.
The store was lovely and airy, but it was huge and commercial-looking.  It might as well have been Barnes and Noble or Deseret Book.  And the prices on the used books were very high, no doubt to help pay the high rent at the mall.  Oh, and the staff was cold and a bit condescending.  (Why was I bothering them with questions?  They were above that sort of thing.)
I prefer bookstores where you can talk to people.  Richard Frost, for example, speaks personally to every customer who enters his store; he remembers repeat customers, and he always has suggestions.  The folks at The King's English are also helpful and conversant.  I like that.
If I want a sterile experience where the employees are only there to accept my money, then I'll shop at Amazon.  It's more convenient anyway.

But Ken Sanders' place was what a used book store should be.

First of all, it was so jammed with books that I had a hard time maneuvering around a larger man in one aisle.  There were books stacked on the stairs, books on shelves which balanced precariously on top of other shelves, books on the floor, and rare books locked in antique and dusty cabinets.  During an earthquake, everyone in the shop would be buried alive.  And I truly wonder how this store owner meets fire code.
It was beautiful.  :)

 Here's a reading area, complete with a 40+-year-old vintage doll house to amuse young children whose parents are reading.  You can see the main aisles behind the sofa.  There are about 8 aisles, all stuffed and most double-layered with books, both new and used.  Each row goes back about 30 feet, and then there's another odd little crammed closet of more books at the end of each of the two main sections.
(Remember to click on photos to enlarge them.)

Here's one corner near the front.  Just look at the piles of reading material!  Notice the vintage posters?  Around the corner is a nook with thousands of vintage post cards, all organized and filed, for sale.  Wow.  I could spent hours just there.

On the left here, you can see the little nook with the postcards, a chair in front of it for totally absorbed browsers.  In the middle is the tunnel-like entrance, so filled with books that there's barely a space in which to walk.  On the right is the stairway -- which must be the stairway to heaven because it is so lined with books that it would be tricky to traverse it -- and the cashier's counter.

A true descendant of the store's counter-culture past was the clerk.  She was about my age, with completely grey hair, too-bright lipstick, a heavy velour skirt, and a printed tee shirt that did not match the skirt.  She was perfectly funky, wonderfully friendly, and she knew her stuff about books.  (She even gave me the teachers' discount!)

I bought Alison Weir's Mary, Queen of Scots, a book about the Black Death, and 1603 by Christopher Lee, all used.  But I could've spent a fortune and a week in that store!

So, if you are a real bibliophile, if you enjoy caves of books, if you get a little high off the smells of decaying paper and old leather and glue, if you love history, if you're still a hippie, if you like museums, or if you just want a really funky bookstore, this place is for you!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Acts of Harry Potter Fandom

On the campus of Southern Utah University, where I frequently attend the Shakespeare Festival and classes during the summer, there is an odd bit of landscaping near the General Classrooms Building.
Apparently, after someone made the side of the building all pretty with a fake stream and such, it became difficult to reach the outdoor power outlet.
I guess.
I'm not really sure, but I THINK that's the reason why someone constructed an ornamental bridge going smack into a wall.
However, one morning on my latest visit there, I noticed some Potter fan had come up with a better explanation for the bridge.

If you click on the pic to enlarge it, you'll see the handwritten sign says "Platform 9 3/4."

This made perfect sense to me.  :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chocolove Chilies and Cherries in Dark Chocolate: Homemade Version

A few months ago, while at the grocery store, I noticed this in the candy aisle:

Yes, folks, someone at the Lindt company had taken the idea of Mexican mole sauce and turned it into a chile-chocolate candy.
Mind- blown.
I bought one for some outrageous price, and life was good.  :D

Then, last week I went down to Cedar City, Utah, again to take an acting class at the Shakespeare Festival.  (Note: Utah teachers must continually jump hoops to prove we are qualified, and I'd rather see Shakespeare plays than sit in boring middle school conferences to earn my "points.")  One morning on my way to a dance/movement class, I cut through the gift shop and found THIS:

Holy mother of Aztecs, Batman!  Chiles with chocolate AND cherries?  Had I died and gone to heaven?
Well, at $4.25 + tax for a single bar, I was not in heaven, but it was close.  (The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, you know -- and that was before anyone ever added sugar to it!)
The Chocolove bar listed among the ingredients both ancho AND chipotle chiles, and that made so much difference!  The Lindt bar just did not have the depth of flavor, nor did it have the sweet/sour cherries.  (When you eat this, you get the chocolate taste and the cherries, but after you swallow the bite, you get the slight lingering warmth and taste of the chiles.  It's marvelously addicting.)
Naturally, when I got home, I wanted to see if I could find this candy anywhere.  Well, no local store had it, and online, the cheapest I could find was a pack of 3 bars, which, when shipping was added in, came to slightly over $20.00.
Uh, no.
No freakin' way am I paying that much for candy.

But then it occurred to me that I always keep several kinds of dried chiles on hand, and among my two favorites are anchos and chipotles.
I could SO make this candy!

And tonight I did indeed create a very passable version of the Chocolove bar.  And it's easy!
(OK, I had to work with the amount of chile peppers a bit, using the amounts necessary for a pot of chili as a basis, but I finally got it just right.)

Here's the recipe:

2 bags of Nestle's Toll House dark chocolate chips.
1 bag Craisins cherry-flavored dried cranberries.  (You can use real dried cherries if you can find/afford them.)
2 rounded tablespoons Penzey's dried, ground ancho peppers.  (Use the good stuff.)
1 rounded tablespoon Penzey's dried, ground chipotle peppers.

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, pour in one bag of chocolate chips, then sprinkle with all the ground chiles and pour in the other bag of chocolate chips.  Do NOT stir yet or all the chiles will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave until soft and gooey.  (I have an older, less-powerful microwave, and this took 3 minutes.  I suggest you start with less time and add more as needed.)
Remove from microwave (it will be HOT), and stir the chocolate and chiles with a rubber spatula/scraper until very thoroughly mixed and until no chips are left unmelted.
Add the dried, cherry-flavored cranberries and mix again until the cranberries are thoroughly coated.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a jelly roll pan which has been lined with wax paper, and put the whole pan into either the fridge or the freezer until the candy hardens.

That's it.  No candy thermometers.  Nothing hard.  Just good stuff very fast.  And, because of the wax paper, the clean up is really just the mixing bowl and spatula/scraper.

In the photo, you can see all the ingredients I used next to the pan with the candy on it.

Happy candy making! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lack Of Proofreading = Hilarity On

Flash-flood chaser captures dangerous desert furry on camera
By John Hollenhorst

Uh, a furry desert?  I had no idea that deserts were mammals.
Or is it the camera that's furry here?  Wouldn't the hair obscure the lens, though?  Hell hath no furry like a photographer scorned.  (Furry Hell?)
Apparently, this was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furry, signifying nothing more than a lack of a decent copy editor.  (MacBeth with facial hair, no doubt.)

OK, I'll stop the awful puns now.  :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Little Bits O'Grammar #3: Whom

The word whom is the objective case pronoun comparable to the nominative case pronoun who.  This means that the two words are not used interchangeably.   Who is used for the subject of a sentence or a clause, the way she, I, and they are.
Who was late? (Who is the subject of the sentence.)
She was late. (She is the subject of the sentence.)
I did not know who arrived late. (I is the subject of the sentence and the subject of the main/independent clause, while who is the subject of the noun clause/subordinate clause/dependent clause.)

Nominative pronouns are also used for predicate nominatives, but these tend to confuse people, so I'll save them for another post.

But whom is objective case, as stated above.  This means it is used as the object, usually the object of a preposition.


For whom did you make this cake?
Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
To whom did you send the e-mail?
By whom was this portrait painted?
(All these sentences have whom as the object of a preposition.)

Simply put, then, for those of you who didn't major in English, if the pronoun you want is the object of a preposition (to, for, by, near, across, with, between, etc.), use whom, not who.

Thus, this ad for authors is, rather ironically, dead wrong, as far as grammar is concerned.

And Twitter's suggestions of people I should follow

Who to follow

 ·  · View all

are always grammatically incorrect.

(The correct versions should read:
For whom am I writing?
Whom to follow)

Now, if you feel that sentences using whom sound too formal, you can always reword.

People you might want to follow:


Authors, who is your intended audience?

But poor grammar can make a writer look ignorant -- or just plain stupid.  Take care to know the rules, even if you intend to break them for stylistic effect at some point.

(Note: whoever and whomever follow the same rules as who and whom, respectively, but whomever is often the object of a verb, infinitive, etc.)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Mind Boggles....

I snapped this pic with my iPad this past week at Southern Utah University while I was there taking a course.
Here, folks, we have a door with no purpose.  It is not an entrance, not an exit.  It is merely a door, like the 3rd staircase in the song "If I Were A Rich Man," which is, "going nowhere, just for show."  Perhaps there is a brick wall behind this door.  Perhaps it leads to Narnia.  (I know it doesn't lead to Platform 9 3/4 because I found that elsewhere on campus, and I shall post that photo later.)
Also, one must wonder about the events that made it necessary for someone to post these signs upon this "door," for it is really more of a "door" than a door.
(If you're curious, I didn't actually try to open the door.  I never thought to do so, as I was just so enthralled by the mystery of the whole idea of the "door" which was neither an exit nor an entrance.)