Friday, October 29, 2010

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• Decommissioned C-130 Hercules planes could soon be bombing the planet with trees. The former military aircraft would drop sapling cones that contain fertilizer and moisture, and will bury themselves in the soil.

• Instant buildings have arrived. Just add water and the Concrete Canvas Shelter will be ready to use in 24 hours. They are rigid, inflammable, with good thermal properties, and a design life of 10 years.

• Investors are now expected to pay for the privilege of lending their money to the most indebted nation on earth. Yes, for the first time ever, the U.S. issued negative-rate bonds this week. And you thought the interest rate on your savings account was poor.

• Transat Holidays is recruiting for a new position --- full-time vacationer. Salary $40,000. Responsibilities: Visit 12 dream destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe over a 12 month period. [This item came from A Novel Woman via North Pelham Journal.]

• Snow days may be an endangered feature of kids lives in northern climes. An Ohio county has announced that, when school is called off because of heavy snow, they will replace these days off with online learning. Bummer!

• Nearly one-in-five adult Americans say they have seen or been in the presence of ghosts. This percentage has doubled over the past decade. Happy Hallowe'en.
How about that?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'd like to think this story is true

A little old lady from Wisconsin had worked in and around her family dairy farms since she was old enough to walk, with hours of hard work and little compensation.

When canned Carnation Milk became available in grocery stores in the 1940s, she read an advertisement offering $5,000 for the best slogan. The producers wanted a rhyme beginning with "Carnation Milk is best of all."

She thought to herself, "I know all about milk and dairy farms. I can do this!" She sent in her entry, and several weeks later, a black limo pulled up in front of her house.

A man got out and said, "Carnation' LOVED your entry so much! We are here to award you $2,000, even though we will not be able to use it!"

Here's her slogan:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The craziest country on earth

North Korea - The Craziest Country in the World

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When mad men ruled the ad world

The post-war decades were a golden age of advertising, when Madison Avenue created evocative words to describe the marvels being delivered to citizens, now dubbed "consumers." Here's a sampling that reflect the ebullient mood of the times:
Dynaflow, Hydramatic, Cruise-O-Matic, and TorqueFlite: Can't you just feel the smooth, effortless power of a jet engine? These were automatic transmissions introduced by Detroit's big three carmakers.

Ultralucent, MoistureWhipGloss, Liquimatic, Lustre-Creme: The cosmetics industry has always led the way in the search for eternal youth and beauty. Feel your wrinkles melting away as these words soak in.

Sunliner, Firenza, Nomad, Sting Ray, Hawk, Cyclone, Toronado, Electra: Freedom, power, the open road --- fantasies conjured up on the auto dealer's showroom floor.

Tric-o-lastic, Healthknit, Dacron, Natural-Aire, Corfam, Fortrel, BanCare: Just some of the miracle fabrics and materials emerging from the fashion industry's research "labs."

HaloLight was featured on Sylvania TV's, while Philco had the Super Colorado Tuner, Admiral boasted the Triple X chassis (not what you're thinking), Westinghouse had the Electronic Clarifier, and Sparton had the Cosmic Eye.
It was all great fun, and I'll bet the ad guys went out for a beer after coming up with this stuff and had a good laugh. For a look at all those old advertisements, check out the Vintage Ad Browser.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• Men who earn less than their spouses are more likely to have affairs, according to a paper presented to the American Sociological Association.

• The most-frequent speeding offenders drive Mercedes SL convertibles, being ticketed 4 times as often as the average driver, according to Verisk research. The least ticketed drove Buick Rainier SUVs, with just 23% of the average number of offences per 100,000 miles driven.

• Some experts think that strategically placed makeup may confuse face-detection surveillance cameras.

• The venerable Barbie, now 51 years old, continues to be popular, with sales rising 6% worldwide.

• The platypus must be the strangest mammal. It is duck-billed, web-footed, beaver-tailed, and otter-footed. It is born with teeth, but these drop out at a very early age. The female has a pair of ovaries but only the left one is functional. She is the only mammal that lays eggs, and she produces milk but has no nipples. The males shoot poison from little barbs in their feet. These poisons are almost identical to ones found in such wildly disparate creatures as starfish, sea anemones, spiders, snakes, and lizards. They locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions.

• A German entrepreneur has found a way around EU regulations that prohibit light bulbs of more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand of 75- and 100-watt bulbs as mini heaters. Sales are strong.
How about that?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Prorogued for a few days

I am off to the Vancouver for the next few days, so no Geezer posts will be coming your way until I return next week. Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• Canadians are among the nationalities least likely to take all of their allotted vacation time, according to a new Ipsos survey. Other nose-to-the-grindstone countries are Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the U.S., India, and Brazil. The French are at the front of the line for getaways.

• The standard width of a golf hole is 4.25", established in 1891 by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and determined by the width of the first hole-cutter, which had been invented in 1829.

• A project is in the works to develop solar panels that could be used as the surface of parking lots and even highways. A street could power the entire neighbourhood.

• If you have a collection of vinyl records, but threw out the hi-fi decades ago, Crosley Radio rescues those old Buddy Holly tunes with the nifty Revolution. It's a midget record spinner that connects with a USB cable to your computer, or wirelessly to any FM radio.

• Those pruney fingers you get when you spend too long in the tub have a purpose. They are "highly efficient rain treads that help us primates grip the world when it is wet." Bet you didn't know that.

• Light turboprop-powered attack airplanes like the Cessna Caravan 208B are replacing expensive fighter jets and pilotless drones in guerrilla wars where the enemy has no air force. They cost about $2 million, contrasted with $10 million for a drone and $80 million for a fighter. They can take off from fields or roads, require a fraction of the ground support staff, and cost 95% less to operate. Please forward this information to your local member of parliament.

• This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. I am told that happens only once in 823 years. Party on!
How about that?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grab your neckers knob and back off on the foot feed

Someone forwarded this to me, original author unknown. I'll bet it puts a smile on your face if you are "of a certain age."

"I came across this phrase yesterday - fender skirts.

That's a term I haven’t heard in a long time, and thinking about fender skirts started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like curb feelers and steering knobs (aka suicide knobs, neckers knobs).

[Ed: You could add rumble seat, whitewalls, whip aerials, frenched headlights, shaved hoods, chopped and channeled, lakes pipes, moon disks, 4-barrel carburators, and Hollywood mufflers.]

Since I’d been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.

Remember continental kits? They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them emergency brakes? At some point parking brake became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with emergency brake.

I’m sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the foot feed. Many today do not even know what a clutch is, or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.

Didn’t you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the running board up to the house?

Here’s a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore – store-bought. Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

Coast to coast is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term world wide for granted. This floors me.

On a smaller scale, wall-to-wall was once a magical term in our homes. In the ’50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.

[And what about picture windows?]

When’s the last time you heard the quaint phrase in a family way? It’s hard to imagine that the word pregnant was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and being in a family way, or simply expecting.

Apparently brassiere is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day, and my daughter cracked up. I guess it’s just bra now. Unmentionables probably wouldn’t be understood at all.

I always loved going to the picture show, but I considered movie an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the ’50s, but here’s a pure-’60s word I came across the other day – rat fink. Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here’s a word I miss – percolator. That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? Coffee maker. How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like DynaFlow and Electrolux. The 1963 Admiral TV had SpectraVision!

Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that’s what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren’t gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most, supper. Now everybody says dinner. Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another failed marketing concept

I guess people just didn't grasp the benefits of inconvenience.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• To be a church in the eyes of the I.R.S., you must have actual butts in seats. A "virtual congregation" is insufficient to claim charitable tax status. Whether or not it is a virtuous congregation is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.

• India is the second largest wheat producer in the world, with about 3 times Canada's output.

• The world's most charitable countries are, in order, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, and the USA, according to The World Giving Index, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation.

• The direction that water spins in the toilet bowl when you flush has nothing to do with which hemisphere you are in.

• Shaving will not make hair grow back thicker, faster, or coarser.

• Canadians purchased $15.1 billion worth of goods and services on the Internet in 2009, up from $12.8 billion in 2007.
How about that?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tomorrow: Chicken

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The planet gets smarter

We think of the internet as something used by people for web browsing, e-mail, internet phone, iPhone apps, and so on. But the "things" connected to the internet will soon outnumber the people, and these connections between things are becoming the "central nervous system of the planet," according to this interesting video.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sorry ladies