Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Shall I ask the brave soldier who fights by my side In the cause of mankind, if our creeds agree? ~ Thomas Moore

(AP Photo: a Marine honor detail at Dover AFB carries the casket of Cpl Joe Wrightsman, who drowned while trying to rescue an Afghani policeman from the Helmand river).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Full Disclosure

My boss and I caught a ride to the state terrorist task force meeting at the capitol today with a guy who works in emergency management for our local Big Corporation. Ski is a wonderful person but unfortunately he is also a former Marine. In fact, he and I were stationed at the same air base and in the same air group back in the 80’s (though we were in different squadrons and never met each other), and our conversations tend to start out along the lines of “Remember that biker bar outside the back gate?” and go straight downhill.

My sweet, ladylike boss was trapped in the back seat listening to us reminisce for an hour and a half, so it’s probably a good thing that my next evaluation isn’t until April.

The Online Bookshelf - Cathedral Cities of Spain

By W.W. Collins, published 1908, with 60 color plates. Views of Segovia (above) and Granada.

From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Patterns of the Past - Doe and Fawn

A cross-stitch pattern offered in McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Winter 1955-56 for a dollar fifty-nine.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crochet - a Pinafore for Kitchen Duty

From Workbasket magazine, June 1950, a crocheted pinafore to use in the kitchen as either a washcloth or (maybe?) a potholder. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vintage Images - Birds

More nice, copyright-free stuff from Dover.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Et Tu, YouTube?

The advertisements that appear when I visit YouTube are, I know, based on a carefully-calculated scientific algorithm that is fed data on my Internet habits and interprets it accordingly. The ones asking if I’d like to meet senior men in my area are puzzling enough; what I really can’t figure out is why offers of cheap hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi keep popping up.

Is there something about my eBay, Amazon, Google and Expedia usage that indicates I’m yearning for a naughty weekend in the Middle East with a geezer?

"Giving A Dance"

By Madge (Mrs. Humphrey)

"THE chief consideration, after compiling the list of guests, is that of the refreshments that will be required. To combine hospitality with an outlay within one's means is the problem that confronts the average hostess. The well-to-do find no difficulty in it, but those of limited incomes have some thinking to do before arriving at conclusions. After having accepted invitations for one's young people from different families of one's acquaintance, a time arrives when reciprocity becomes necessary. One cannot go onaccepting hospitality without making any return. The alternative is to drop gradually out of the circle of one's visiting-list.

For an ordinary dance, whether given at home or elsewhere, there are usually buffet refreshments and a sit-down supper at midnight. It saves much trouble to employ a caterer, arrange with him the character of the menu for both, settle the price per head, and leave everything in his hands. He supplies buffet, tablecloth, glass, china, dishes, and attendants. Lights and flowers also come within his province, and occasionally he even supplies dance programmes.

The following menu for buffet refreshments is of an average description. The
cost is according to the number of guests. If they are under one hundred the charge is 3s per head ; if for one hundred and fifty, it is 2s. 9d. per head ; and if for two hundred, 2s. 6d. One cannot tell the probable number until answers to the invitations have been received, but the caterer should be informed as early as possible.


Buffet Refreshments.
Foie-gras a là Regence.
Saumon Fumé. Anchois.
Volaille. Concombre.
Gateaux Fraais.
Biscuits Assortis. Petits Fours.
Gateaux Variés. Brioches.
Coeurs d'Amandes. Crescents.
Chocolats. Bouchées des Dames. .
Creme aux Fraises. Creme a la Vanille.
Cafe glacé.

A bountiful provision has to be made, for dancing makes many people both hungry and thirsty, and it is the duty of every man to invite his partner after every dance to go and have some refreshment.

At a Cinderella dance there is no set supper. The buffet is all, and it has to be
well provided, even though the dance should finish at midnight ; for the dancers know that there is to be no supper. Cinderellas seldom end quite by midnight ; 1 A.M. is a usual hour, and sometimes invitations are from 9.30 to 2 A.M. By this time everyone is very hungry, and no hostess would like to see a half-empty buffet even at the last.

For a light supper the following menu can be supplied at 6s. per head for one hundred persons, 5s. 9d. for one hundred and fifty, 5s. 3d. for two, and 5s. for three hundred.


Filets de sole a là Royale.
Petites salades de Homard.
Medaillons de Volaille Bechamel.
Petites Langues en Surprise.
Bouchées de Jambon.
Poulets de Surrey. Langue de Bceuf.
Jambon d'York a la Gelée.
Gelée aux Fruits. Chartreuse d'Abricots.
Bavaroise d'Ananas. Bouchées des Dames.
Meringues a la Creme.
Gateaux Variés.
Biscuits Assortis. Petits Fours.
Chocolats. Fondants.
Marrons Glacés.
Thé. Café.
Creme aux Fraises. Eau de Muscat.
Consomme en Tasses.

This final item, hot soup, is of comparatively recent introduction, and it deserves the great popularity it has attained. Many a bad cold has been averted by this cup of hot soup taken after getting overheated in dancing and being about to face the night air. Some hostesses have it handed through the rooms on trays, just like tea, so that everyone may be served with it without going to the buffet. Sometimes it is served at a special table near the hall door."

From Every Woman's Encyclopedia, Volume 1, published 1911.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Me Impune Lacessit

In the pantheon of dubious truisms, one of the most pernicious must be “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools”. I have never heard this said in any environment where the tools provided weren’t complete crap.

A very funny and very true post from Susannah at Cargo Cult Craft. Particularly about the scissors. Touch my sewing scissors and you die.


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, July 23, 2010

They're Ba-ack....

Rotten little bastards.

Quote of the Day

Political survival lies at the heart of disaster politics. Unless politicians are beholden to the people, they have little motivation to spend resources to protect their citizens from Mother Nature, especially when these resources could otherwise be earmarked for themselves and their small cadre of supporters. What is worse, the casualty count after a disaster is a major determinant of the amount of international assistance a country receives. Relief funds can even enhance a nondemocrat’s hold on power if they are used to buy off supporting elites. ~ Alastair Smith and Alejandro Quiroz Flores, Disaster Politics; Why Earthquakes Rock Democracies Less (photo credit Chicago Examiner)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Further Proof (As If We Needed It) That The Deity is Male

The spousal unit spent the last two days helping a neighbor put a new roof on his mother's house. The temperatures and humidity both have been in the mid-90s.

He (bounding up from the basement, where he has just taken a shower): Hey, I've lost eight pounds!

Me: %&#$*&^$!!!

The Online Bookshelf - Mr. Wicker's Window

A children's fantasy from a gentler time. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Patterns of the Past - Fall Fashions, 1956

From Modern Needlecraft, #28, Fall 1956.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crochet - a Pansy Potholder

From Workbasket magazine, December 1950, a classic. Three pages of instruction on my Flickr account, here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fair Winds and Following Seas

This week we said goodbye to our Americorps volunteer, a quiet, hard-working lad who is a triple minority within the department; he is not white, nor female, nor middle-aged. We threw him a dessert potluck and I brought this.

Five-Cup Salad

1 cup sour cream
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup coconut
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained

Stir all five ingredients together and refrigerate for one hour. I didn’t have pineapple chunks on hand so I used tidbits.

May your future employers value you as much as we do, kid. You’ll be missed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Friday, July 16, 2010

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From a Coalmine

Me (staring at a disgustingly filthy dishcloth on the counter): What the hell?
He: That? I've been wiping my hands on it all day.
Me: There's this wonderful new product on the market. It's called soap.

Quote of the Day

Be polite, be professional, but always have a plan to kill everyone you meet. ~ old Marine Corps saying

(The bunny ears help lull them into a false sense of security).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can't Think Why I Didn't Post This Yesterday

It's her theme song.

The Online Bookshelf - Tales of Romance

Illustrated in part by the marvelously-named Lancelot Speed. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Queen

....happy Bastille Day to everyone else. Yes, she knows we don't want her sitting in the pass-through. Your point is?

Patterns of the Past - Dresses and a Feedsack Apron

From Workbasket magazine, November 1951. All you need for the apron is one 98-lb feedsack!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"For thousands of years, the high ground has been used during conflicts to gain a tactical advantage..."

Her Majesty likes the porch swing because it puts her at just the right height to reach out and smack Babyface's ears.

(The porch really does slope like that. It's for runoff).

Crochet - Potholders à Deux

A sugar and creamer from Workbasket, April 1953. This was a popular idea for potholders in the fifties; I've seen a couple of variations in different vintage magazines. Pattern on my Flickr account.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Melting Pot

Our local minor-league baseball team hosted a Health & Wellness Night yesterday and the department bought a block of tickets. The centerfielder for the Cornbelters is a young man named Asif Shah.

Girl Sitting Behind Me (in tones of strong disapproval): Asif Shah? Where’s he from?
Boy Sitting Behind Me (reading from program): Cincinnati.

(Mr. Shah, a former Southeast Missouri State standout and 2007 All-Ohio Valley Conference Utility Selection, was 4 for 5 and despite a piss-poor performance by the Cornbelter’s third base coach, demonstrated some very heads-up base running).

No Nutritionists Were Harmed In the Making Of This Cookbook

“Whence cometh the strength, physical and intellectual, of New Englanders? It has come, along with their famous conscience, from the natural and sane diet which, except for the first hard years at Plymouth, has contained all the vitamins essential to sound bodies and sound minds three centuries before vitamins had been discovered. They found their main sustenance in what their Lord God of Heaven would let grow on the land and in the waters of this paradise of the New World.”

So wrote Wilbur L. Cross, governor of Connecticut, in the introduction to the New England Yankee Cookbook, written by Imogene Wolcott and published in 1939. Governor Cross goes on to wax lyrical over corned beef, salt pork, maple syrup, fried mush, and traditional breakfast foods such as baked beans, apple pie and doughnuts.

“The way to the finest plain cooking in the world lies all before you in this book so that you may learn what to eat so as to live long lives in the joy of perfect health.”

The following recipe (“eating fish balls for Sunday morning breakfast is part of Boston’s tradition…”) is on page 29. It is not recommended for anyone with hypertension, kidney disease, or a family history of congestive heart failure.

Codfish Balls

1 ½ cups salt cod
3 cups potatoes, diced
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 egg

“Soak codfish in cold water ½ hour; drain and “pick up” (flake); boil fish and potatoes together until potatoes are tender; drain and shake over fire to dry. Mash, being sure there are no lumps; add butter and pepper and beat until mixture is fluffy. Add egg and continue beating. Shape in a tablespoon and drop by spoonfuls in hot deep fat and fry not more than 4 or 5 at a time until a golden brown. Drain. Serves 6. Serve with gherkins or sliced green tomato pickles.”

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Understatement of the Century

A colleague of mine recently described the spousal unit as “freakin’ enormous.” I repeated the remark to him this evening, and it made him cross.

“I am not ‘freakin’ enormous,’” he retorted. “I am a presence.”

Quote of the Day

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch? ~ Winnie-the-Pooh.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - Just So Stories

With illustrations by Joseph Gleeson, on Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Because I Love Messing With Their Minds

Burly, Shaven-Headed IT Specialist (popping abruptly into my office and looming over my shoulder to read a number off my PC): Twenty!

Me: Fifty-five, but that's awfully sweet of you.

Patterns of the Past - Separates and a Shirtwaist

From Workbasket magazine, September 1951. That is an interesting-looking blouse fabrication but I wonder how comfortable it was to wear.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crochet - A Bleeding Heart Potholder from 1951

From Workbasket magazine, February 1951. The first of four, as promised. Two pages of instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vintage Images - Summer Fruits

From Patricia at Agence Eureka. Luscious.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Sundays – July

The menu for the first Sunday in July, 1927, is certainly a more practical approach to summertime cooking than last month’s offering: jellied chicken broth, creamed chicken and potatoes, stuffed eggplant with cheese sauce, tomato-lettuce salad, rolls, layer cake and lemonade. Toss out the stuffed eggplant, and everything for dinner is either served cold, or made in advance and re-heated, although who wants to eat creamed chicken and potatoes with the thermometer at 86º in the shade?

The salad recipe calls for scalding the tomatoes, skinning them, and serving them on lettuce leaves with boiled dressing, that pre-war hot weather standby.

Boiled Dressing. Put in double boiler 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 2/3 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook until mixture thickens, then add 1 cup vinegar and continue cooking 3 minutes longer. Chill, and when read to serve, thin with plain or whipped cream to suit the taste.

The 1953 menu offers anchovy appetizer salad, broiled chicken with tomatoes, corn on the cob, steamed rice, peach banana sundae, and iced coffee. Omit the rice and we’ve got a nice summer dinner, particularly if you split and flattened the chicken, and broiled it outside on the grill. The salad is not to my taste but here is the recipe.

Anchovy Appetizer Salad. 1 small head lettuce or romaine, 2 cans rolled anchovy fillets, 8 ripe olives, sliced, ½ small can caviar, 2 hard-cooked eggs, Horse-radish French Dressing (which is oil and vinegar dressing with 1 teaspoon of horse-radish added). Arrange lettuce on four plates and in the center of each place two anchovies. Arrange olive slices around the anchovies and fill the center of each olive slice with caviar. Border with sieved hard-cooked egg yolks and arrange chopped egg whites in outer circle. Serve with dressing.

Prize this month to 1953.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Friday, July 2, 2010

I May Have To Leave Town For The Weekend

Curse you, AMC.

Quote of the Day

From little towns in a far land we came,
To save our honour and a world aflame.
By little towns in a far land we sleep;
And trust that world we won for you to keep.
~Rudyard Kipling.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I managed to leave my lunch on the counter this morning and remembered it when I was halfway to work. This of course forced me to walk over to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese place about three blocks from my office which also forced me to walk past the Main Street Thrift Store. The owners mostly sell used furniture, but their junk jewelry offerings rival the Mission's.

These four and a twisted silver chain set me back three dollars. None of the pins have any markings. The safety pin brooch is of course new. The two silver pins are pretty hefty and my guess is that they are 1950's-1960's (if I buy any more circle pins I'm soon going to be able to create my own chain mail). The little gold circlet is not flimsy, but it's not heavy enough to be real gold, either. I have no clue how old it might be.

I didn't get this pin, even though I'm a big fan of Dolores.

The spousal unit got lucky. I really wanted to buy this, and the matching chair.

The Online Bookshelf - A Caldecott Sketchbook

A lovely little book from Project Gutenberg, full of sketches and watercolors by the famous English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, and including this one of a rooster decked out in Napoleonic uniform.