Friday, August 21, 2015

Sepia Saturday 293: M'm M'm Good!


Would I like to own that Campbell's soup vending machine in the photo. But, that's not going to happen. The only one vaguely similar sold for $14,000 on eBay, well out of my price range.  

The machine below, about the same vintage as in our prompt, dispensed soup, hot in the can. The lady standing next to the machine is using that huge standing opener to remove the lid. As you can see, the seated women are pouring hot soup into the cup. I'm guessing the huge electric can opener pre-dated the much smaller electric home appliance of the same persuasion. Can you imagine dispensing hot soup in a can today? - you'd be liable if the soup was too hot, sued if the opener hurt anyone and on and on. 


The Campbell's vending machines became obsolete eventually with the advent of the microwave. They reworked most of their packaging to make the soup microwaveable and convenient to eat straight out of the package.


 



Campbell's is a great American brand and the company has resisted pushing and pulling the image around based on au courant marketing whims. I have to say though that I don't like their newest offering very much - the black and white hipster faces turn me off. The packages are always creased up and whatever the art looked like in the beginning, it doesn't resemble in the finished product. The facial expressions are just too shocked and surprised for soup! I hate to say it but they all look like they've just discovered the shock and awe of suppositories. Forgive my over-active imagination. 
Note to self: "Shock n'Awe" - potential name for suppository. 

I always liked the Campbell's kids but they're too cute for today's market. Don't you adore their rosy cheeks? And wide-eyed amazement?

However, if they're going to go modern and startling, I'd love to see them do a really dark ad campaign. Something to give you soupy nightmares.  

Mr. Gluttony and his niece enjoy a bowl of tomato soup together.
("Run little girl. Run as fast as you can.")


Drawing original by www.artbytroy.com

As far as vending machines go, they seem to be waning in popularity around here. I don't like them but I do think a champagne dispenser has it's place - even though it seems like a gross contradiction in style to dispense a luxury brand from a machine. But think of how convenient it would be at Disney Hall when everyone wants champers at the same time and the crowd around the bar is ten deep...and there's only 15 minutes left for intermission! No tips required and I'm guessing the bottles must be easy to open. A glass?? Oh, who needs to bother with a glass - just guzzle that stuff right out of the bottle. 





Epilogue


 From Wikipedia:

"The first Campbell Kids were drawn by Grace Drayton. A prodigious illustrator, she was a staff artist for the Philadelphia Press and Evening Journal, and also a children's book illustrator. Her husband, Theodore Wiederseim, who worked for the Ketterlineus Lithographic Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, recommended her services to Campbell since she had been drawing little kids with round faces and rosy cheeks for years. She adapted her drawings for Campbell and they became the basis for the Campbell Kids. There were not just two or three kids; the company used many different kids, up to 16."

Put your change in your piggy bank and head off to Sepia Saturday where more stories are dispensed for FREE. 






Auditory Transduction





Great little video on how we hear!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Parks and Recreation

This notice was on the bulletin board at the Balboa Park location of the San Diego Park and Recreation Department where I went to purchase a picnic permit for a fund-raising walk. It appears to have been typed on a typewriter (pre-computer) and as you can see by the pin holes (poor thing has been stabbed over a hundred times), it's been moved often; had it's ups and downs, as it were.  My guess is that these instructions pre-date 9/11; the actions listed are perfectly sound if a bit incomplete.

You have to commend the Admin for saving paper.



Current instructions from the Department of Homeland Security include to note accents; whether male or female voices; peculiarities of voice. They tell you not to hang the phone up EVER until the investigators tell you to do so. They tell you to ask the caller WHY? - the purpose being to keep the caller on the line as long as possible; ask the caller's name and address. DHA has published a check-list which should be on the desk of anyone answering the phone associated with a public place.  

 The Parks and Recreation building. 
In back of the building, a gorgeous series of arches and pergolas created shady spots to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather. There was not a soul in sight. 
While I was there, I decided to follow one of the many walk routes around the park and stopped to admire the murals. 

 The eyes was my favorite mural. 

The World Beat Center was closed, as was the Children's Ethno Botany garden  (probably no cool people show up on Mondays), which has many names and is plastered with all manner of signs. The Beat Center offers Djembe drumming classes, Tribal style belly dancing, Samba performance and Dumbek drumming, if you're interested. If I lived closer I might try one of the drumming classes to see the effect it might have on my tinnitus - for worse or better?




Didn't get any Kombucha. They seemed to be heavily promoting the Living Tea Brewing Company which is in Oceanside. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sepia Saturday 292: Money Art

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” said Albert Einstein

Many artists see beyond the ordinary face value of money and view it as an artistic medium, using it as a base to which they can add significantly more value and in some cases to make political statements. 
CK Wilde
 CK Wilde's intriguing works, collages crafted from currency from all over the world, are sold at a high-end gallery in Beverly Hills. No prices are available on-line but you can bet they're very valuable. Note the oil well in the left corner. 
Won Park 
Designer Won Park makes origami objects and animals from a single dollar or a couple of dollars. He sells a how-to book called Dollar Origami for $16.67 on Amazon.


Johnny Swing Coin Couch - value estimated at $100,000.00


David McLiman - Priceless

Scott Campbell 3D carved heart

Laser cut sculptures by Scott Campbell, a tattoo artist and sculptor, must cost a bundle because it takes a lot of money to create one of these pieces, as many as 10,000 dollar bills. Just for the materials!


If you could get hold of Zimbabwe dollars, they would be the cheapest currency around to use in art. Zimbabwe has started retiring its almost worthless local currency in favor of the US dollar. Today, 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars are equal to US $1, as a result of hyperinflation which hit the country in 2009.

A quadrillion is a thousand trillion or 1,000,000,000,000,000. Take 35 of these and you've got one American dollar.

35 quadrillion dollars would make a marvelous stack of paper to attack with a laser cutter. You could probably make a statue of Robert Mugabe for about $.05 worth of paper currency. I'm not sure it would be worth the investment. 

Watch out for blackbirds as you scurry over to read more posts about money, guards, banking and notes at 


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Living to 100





I was in a squat position at our local pharmacy, looking at the melatonin arrayed by dosage size on the bottom shelf. A voice behind me said, "Melatonin! That's what I'm looking for. What do you think I should take?" I looked around and saw a woman I estimated to be about 70 standing there. I stood up so I could look at her directly and read her lips. She had nicely done gray hair, good posture and she was dressed well. She smiled at me and said, "Do you think 3 mg or 5 mg? I'm 100." I asked her if I'd heard her correctly. Did she say 100? And what did she mean by 100 - was it her blood pressure or some kind of diabetes score or?"No," she said. "I'm 100 years old." My first response was "What??? I can't believe that." At that moment, another woman came up and said, "Adrienne? I thought I heard your voice. Just want to let you know that Kathy and Dawn are coming to your 100th birthday party next week." It was starting to feel like some kind of scripted con. Just when I was ready to write Adrienne off as a crazy lady claiming she's 100, here's someone out of the blue, confirming her story. 

My mouth hung open as I watched the two women chat but only heard scraps of the conversation.They said goodbye and Adrienne turning away and walked up (briskly, I might add) to speak to the pharmacist. Richard was waiting for me outside in the car with the engine running so I had to get out of there. Would I have liked to hear her story!

She made me ponder the number of 100-year-olds I've run into. In my family, there was my grandmother, Pulcherie, who lived just past her 100th. She was having heart attacks regularly and surviving them, sitting in her chair in the assisted living home. She had stopped speaking and seemed to have left the world mentally. Her body lingered on for a while and life didn't look pleasant for her. Then there was Opal whom I shared with my cleaning lady, Lina, for years. At 98, she broke her back while swinging a bag of her brother's laundry over her shoulder. At 95, he wasn't able to handle his own domestic chores; Opal would fly to Texas to do his housekeeping. She made that trip back and forth three or more times a year in her 90's. Finally, when she was 98, she moved him to Fallbrook. Alone, she handled all the details, stress and anxiety involved with closing up his household and moving his belongings. She started Spanish lessons at about the same time and according to Lina was getting fairly good. A wonder woman, she drove until she was 100 and died at 102. 

My friend Merl's mother came over to my house for lunch when she was 100. She and Merl were visiting an Uncle in Carlsbad and made the trip over to see me. Merl was constantly fighting with her mother over her mother's penchant for a high heel and the attendant risks of a fall she was taking at her age. Of course, she wasn't wearing spikes - only a little heel, "They make your legs look so much better," she'd argue. At 100.


I've estimated that with luck, I might live to 85...averaging out the lifespan of my various family members and ignoring the fact that I've been irradiated sufficiently to glow faintly in the dark. Will my cooked brain hold up to 100 (not unless there's a preservative effect); the death clock on-line tells me I'll last until I'm 78. If I want to live 28 more years to 100 I'd have to make three changes: improve my diet, increase my exercise and increase my bank account. What kind of job could I do? Maybe something in the geriatric entertainment department?



Realistically, I might be better suited for data analysis of some kind - the sort of stuff interns in various occupations do. Meta-studies are all the rage at the moment...and you can do it at home. Or some kind of internet sales scheme. 


Do I really want to live until 2042? Looking around at predictions for what's to come, I think I do. I'm optimistic about the future. Wouldn't we all want a ride in the Terrafugia, projected to be in production in 8 years? If this technology works, by 2042, the skies will look like Buck Rogers thought they would, full of personal flight vehicles taking us wherever we care to go.

There are plenty of interesting developments to come in food science and agriculture that I'd like to be around to see.

www.soylent.com
Other predictions for around the time of my centenarian year.




Where's Diep?

Diep was very busy this year in Vietnam in the village, Pu Bin, working on her homestay, her cookbook and other projects. She recently spent some time updating the food and menus on her company's cruise boat in Ha Long Bay. And having her picture taken.
Here she is with her group working in Pu Bin. In addition to the homestays, they have built a school and are working to improve the situation for women in this semi-remote area, teaching them skills associated with operating the home stay, preparing food, sanitation and working on a line of spices and seasonings that Diep will be marketing. 


Diep is back in Montreal I just learned, working on organizing tours for later this year and on into 2016 and giving cooking demos. Here's two sample pictures which will appear in her cookbook. We're hoping she comes down to eat avocados (she loves them), have a rest and cook with us soon. 
Courtesy of Le Thi To Diep, Flavours of Vietnam

Courtesy of Le Thi To Diep, Flavours of Vietnam

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Blogger's Challenge: Accurate or Interesting?







Friday, August 07, 2015

Aunt Addie, Brian and the 24" TV

This week's Sepia challenge: "Whilst I am away you might want to turn your minds to television, shops and furniture - or indeed anything else you can find in our weekly theme image. Just post your post on or around the 8th August 2015 and add a link to the list below."

This is my only photo featuring a TV set as part of a little tableau. My Aunt Addie is on the left, with a "proud aunt" hand on my cousin Brian's shoulder. The 24" TV set, encased in it's shiny blond wood cabinet, is hogging most of the scene. Atop the TV are miscellaneous items typical of the period: the tiered lamp (orange was involved), the package of Westinghouse flash cubes or magic cubes, and the stem of ivy struggling to escape from the planter box built into the wall on the right. The warmth of the TV set attracted the ivy that would regularly launch escapes from its roommate, the stern, sharp "mother's in-laws" tongue plant. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's those two leaves sticking straight up in the air. Addie's MIT was the Canadian indoor version of the plant seen below which is the California type with lush leaves jammed tightly together. When there's only one leaf, with sharp points and edges, you can see how the plant inspired the name. By the way, it's almost impossible to kill which also could have had something to do with the moniker. 


You couldn't pair up two more opposite plants - the curving, undulating ivy full surprises (where will it go next?) and the rigid, stiff tongue - stuck in place and content to stay there. During the summer months with more light, the ivy would curl around the rabbit ears and across the TV. Addie would wind it round and round the lamp to keep it neat. 

Behind the pleasant scene hang chic black drapes decorated with a bird of paradise motif. I'm guessing the date to be the mid-50's when Hawiian/Tropical themes dominated home design even in Winnipeg. Most of us had aluminum flamingo screen doors but had never seen a live flamingo or a real bird of paradise plant. Truer to geography, we should have had robins on our aluminum screen doors and pine trees or wheat sheaves on our wallpaper. 

The cast of characters: 
Aunt Addie
My aunt had a classic heart-shaped face with a broad forehead and a little chin. I cannot remember ever seeing her without a smile. She was petite and fluttery; we loved her visits because she didn't have children and spoiled us - not with things, but with her very desirable attention. She was the person closest to my mother, emotionally. They would giggle together, confide in each other, commiserate over my aging grandparents, complain about their husbands and on holidays, they'd cook together in our tiny kitchen, which was like a boat galley, pumping out a turkey dinner for 12 - 15 people. As I recall everything was served on warmed plates and when we sat down to the table there was no jumping up for the forgotten this or that. They would have considered "Jack-in-the Boxing" during dinner very poor form. Organization for these dinners was key and the meal was expected to be carried off without too much fuss. How the two of them managed to turn out the feasts they did is a wonder to me. I took their culinary accomplishments totally for granted. If I could spend just one more Thanksgiving with them in our kitchen on Dominion Street, I would present them with diamond tiaras befitting the experts they were. 

Cousin Brian
My cousin Brian, with the pipe, probably rarely looked at that television or any television. I'm sure he was studying most of the time. He became the youngest person in Canada (up to that time) to pass the Actuarial Exams - notoriously difficult. 

The TV
During this era, typical TV shows we would have enjoyed were The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners, American Bandstand and perhaps La Famille Plouffe, a teleroman series, like the telenovelas of Latin America. The show was about a Quebecois family during the end of the depression and through the forties. The characters, Theophile, his wife Josephine and their four adult children: Napoleon, Ovide, Cecile, Guillame were very popular with my French Canadian relatives. Aunt Addie, my mother and grandmother enjoyed them thoroughly and would compare notes about the programs the day after they aired. The show was probably subsidized by the Canadian government which feared Canadian culture would be over-run entirely by U.S. entertainment with the advent of wide spread broadcast TV.  They set up strict laws regarding the amount of Canadian content TV stations were required to air. I recall it was Canadian during the day or nothing at all. As a consequence, our TV's in the 50's mostly broadcast this: 

"RCA Indian Head test pattern" by RCA - http://www.high-techproductions.com/testpatterns.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -  caption

Like many such regulations, the Cancon laws began with the best of intentions but they ended up in a tangled web so complicated and nullifying that in my guess they hurt the quantity and quality of Canadian output rather than nurtured it. I can see why Canadian-bred talent floods across the border to get work. 

I wonder why the Canadian government didn't require a Canadian Indian to be on our test pattern instead of the generic American Indian? How about this splendid photo of a Cree Indian? They could have used the designs on the blankets for the fine tuning.
"Cree" photograph by George Foley, Maple Creek Saskatchewan
 Grab your cool summer beverage of choice and visit Sepia Saturday for more TV inspired stories.