Saturday, July 27, 2013

She Really Should Know Better

I am catching up, via email, with a friend who lives in Detroit.

She:  Love the new look of the blogspot.  By the way, how does the spousal unit?

Me:  He just left, cane in hand, to walk his nightly 8 blocks.  He took himself off the pain meds.  Oh well, he's a big boy.

She:  oh my...well at least if he's off the pain meds there's a certain built in limit to how hard he can push.

Me.  You optimist.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quote Of The Day

How to comfort yourself when you have acted like a jackass:  Everyone does this occasionally, and you shouldn't feel too upset about it unless it happens quite often, such as three times a day, in which case you must simply get used to it.  Remember, other people like you as well or better for it, because it makes them feel so superior; so you've at least spread a little sunshine.  And at the very least, you've served as a bad example. ~ Peg Bracken

(cutout from Patrice at Agence Eureka).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Online Bookshelf - The Riddle And The Ring

I have no idea if this is any good, but what a cover.  At Project Gutenberg.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Knitting -- A Cotton Overblouse from 1935

From Fashions of Today; For Crochet and Knitting In The Lovely New Washable Boilfast Cottons,  published by the Spool Cotton Company in 1935.  Two pages of instructions are on my Flickr account.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Vintage Catalogs -- Perry, Dame and Company New York Styles

Negligees from Perry, Dame and Co.'s New York Styles for Fall and Winter 1919-1921.  Available as a free download from

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hints for Bread-Baking

"Mrs. L.M. child says, 'Economical People will use fagots and brush to heat the Oven.' Hard wood heats it quicker and hotter.  Take four foot wood split fine and pile it criss-cross so as to nearly fill the oven, and keep putting in.

A roaring Fire for an Hour or more is usually enough.  The Top and Sides will at first be covered with black soot.  See that it is all burned off.  Rake the coals over the bottom and let them lie a minute.  Then sweep it out clean.  If you can hold your hand inside while you count Forty it is about right for flour bread; to count twenty is right for Rye and indian.

Bake the Brown bread first, then flour bread and Pies, then Cake or puddings, and last custards.  After everything else is out put in a pan of apples.  Next morning they will be deliciously baked.  A pot of Beans can be baking back side, out of the way, with the Rest."

The Pocumtuc Housewife; A Guide to Domestic Cookery, As It Is Practiced In The Connecticut Valley.  To which are added plain directions for soap-making, brewing, candle-dipping, clear starching, caring for the sick and all duties of a careful housewife.  Especially adapted to the use of young wives who come from outside places and are not coversant with the ways of the Valley, and of female orphans who have not had a mother's training.  By Several Ladies.  Deerfield, first edition 1805, reprint with additions 1897.

The 1897 version, complete with helpings of late-Victorian snark, can be downloaded from

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Friday, July 19, 2013

Great Larks, Pip

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.  Nonetheless, I have been following, with great glee, the saga of Prenda Law on various sites such as Arstechnica and Popehat.

For those of you who have better things to do with their time than watch judges slice and dice lawyers, Prenda Law are a charming group of well-educated sociopaths who developed and then implemented what seemed to them a can’t-lose business model.

1. Upload porn flicks to various sites like Pirate Bay and Bit Torrent
2. Track down who downloaded them, and
3. Hit the downloadee with a copyright-infringement lawsuit.

This was always followed by an offer to settle for a few thousand dollars, Prenda correctly assuming that most people would rather fork over that amount than have to go to court and risk everyone in their immediate circle of friends and relatives finding out they were making illegal copies of “Debbie Does Dallas XXIIV.”

These enterprising individuals (based in Chicago, which for some reason does not surprise me) unfortunately went to the well once too often, and their last trip involved filing a suit – if I am remembering correctly, and I’m probably not – against a father for some porn his teenage son allegedly downloaded.

Pop fought back, and Prenda’s house of cards started to tumble.   In fact, it quickly began to resemble something left over from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as evidence of all kinds of skullduggery began creeping out into the open.

I started to get interested when the case landed in a circuit court in California presided over by a bespectacled, benign-looking gentleman named Otis Wright.  In addition to a fondness for bow ties, which of course immediately won me over, Judge Wright was in a previous lifetime a Marine.  

I have seen judges who came to bench via Parris Island in action before, so I decided that this bore watching.  I have not been disappointed.

Judge Wright has a quirky sense of humor, as evidenced when he issued an opinion that not only handed Prenda their collective asses on a platter, but did so in a document that was rife with Star Trek references.  How can one not admire a judge who quotes the Wrath of Khan?

The luckless Prenderasts immediately began defending themselves and in the process showed that they were not only terrible lawyers (one of their filings invoked the recent marriage equality decision as a reason not to rule against them.  Wait, what?) but really, really, really stupid.

The head of the firm shouted at Judge Wright.  In his court.  During a hearing.  

Poking a Federal judge with a sharp stick during your appeal is unwise.  Poking a Federal judge who in addition is a former Marine rates about an eight on a scale of one to fatal.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Madame LaZonga Knows All, Sees All

It's not something I normally read, but my horoscope (according to Yahoo!) for this morning promised:  Your energy levels are higher than ever today -- and you should be able to push through to something new and exciting!  It's a really good time for you to explore new territory and meet new people.

I do not, personally, consider jury duty the ideal opportunity to meet new people, but perhaps I'm being old-fashioned.

(A word of advice to two of my fellow jurors; there are those who insist that leggings are the same thing as pants.  They are wrong).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vintage Images - Old-Fashioned Flowers

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Domestic Problem, Part II

(Please note that the labors listed below are the servant's common daily tasks and do not include chores that are performed on specific days of the week such as Monday washing, Tuesday ironing, etc.)

"Certain regular duties are practically the same each day, no matter what the other work may be. Early rising should be insisted upon. Six o'clock is none too early for a maid to be up in a house where breakfast is at seven-thirty or eight o'clock. By half after six the maid should be dressed and down-stairs. If the care of the furnace falls upon her, her first duty in winter is to open the draughts of the furnace and put on a little coal. While this is kindling she can go back to her work up-stairs. The kitchen fire must be lighted, the kettle filled freshly and set to boil, the cereal put over the fire, before the maid goes into the living-rooms to open the windows. While these rooms are airing she may brush out the front hall and sweep off the steps, unless there is a man engaged to take care of the outside work of the house and to look after the furnace. When there is a gas-stove, the maid's work is much simpler, and in that case she may open the windows and do the brushing-up before she puts the kettle to boil. When the furnace fire has come up, she may go down, put on more coal, and close the draughts.

In most families where but one maid is employed the mistress of the house dusts her drawing-room. When this is the rule, the maid has only to air the rooms, straighten the furniture that is out of place, and brush up any scraps or dust that need to be removed. If the floors or parts of them are bare, she should go over them with a damp cloth. Should the family be very small, consisting of but two or three persons, it is possible for the maid to do all the dusting. If this does not devolve upon her, there are other small duties she can perform at this time, such as filling and cleaning lamps. When there is a sitting-room, this, too, should be set in order.

Whatever else may be postponed until after breakfast, the dining-room must not be overlooked. It must be brushed up and thoroughly dusted. Few things are more de-appetizing than to sit down to the first meal of the day in a room which is still, so to speak, in curl-papers. If the servant is brisk about her work she can look after the drawing-room, halls, and dining-room, and set the table before she has to go back to the kitchen. In households where a heavy breakfast is served, or where the rooms are elaborately furnished, she may have to get up earlier or leave part of the dusting to be done later. But the dusting of the dining-room must never be omitted. The morning tasks may be lightened a little by setting the breakfast-table overnight, and when this is done a thin cover—a sheet of cheese-cloth is excellent—should be thrown over the table after it is set to protect the dishes and other table-furniture from dust.

The preparation of the breakfast is the maid's next duty. The extent of the work this involves varies, of course, in different households. In some homes the old-fashioned American breakfast of hot meat or fish, warm bread, and potatoes cooked in some form is still preserved. Other families have adopted a modification of the Continental breakfast, and find all they need for the morning meal in fruit, a cereal, rolls or toast, eggs or bacon, and coffee. The latter breakfast simplifies the work of the household, but it is not popular everywhere. Whatever the breakfast, it should be in readiness at the hour appointed, if the members of the family are on hand or not. It need not be served until it is ordered, but it should be entirely ready. 

When all the persons in a household can reconcile themselves to breakfasting together, it makes work easier and saves time. Should they find it impossible to partake of it in harmony as well as in unison, and each one eats alone, it renders the meal a more prolonged function. Under such circumstances, the food may be kept hot for the tardy ones and they may be granted the privilege of getting it for themselves from the kitchen when they arrive, instead of impeding progress by making the duties of the day yield to their convenience.

The fruit-course may be on the table when the family is summoned. At breakfast they usually do for themselves such waiting as passing plates, cups and saucers, and the like. A plate and finger-bowl may be in front of each person, and the porridge-bowl and saucer may be close by also, if it is desirable to simplify the service. Or these dishes may be on the serving-table or sideboard, and the maid may put them on the table with the cereal when she comes in to take out the fruit-plates. After the cereal-dishes have been removed and the rest of the breakfast served, the maid may be excused to go about her other work. The time of her own breakfast may be settled by the mistress and herself. The sensible course is for the maid to eat something and take a cup of tea or coffee in the intervals of her early work, but there are few servants who can be persuaded to do this. If the maid prefers she can take her breakfast while the family is eating, but most maids and mistresses seem to find it more convenient to dispose of the bedroom work as early as possible.

When this is the case the maid should go to the chambers as soon as the substantial part of the breakfast is on the table. The occupants of the beds should have stripped these on rising and opened the windows on leaving the rooms. If this has been done the bedclothing has had a chance to air. In order that such airing may be adequately done, the covers should be taken from the bed and spread across a couple of chairs placed back to back. The covers must not drag on the floor. The mattresses should be beaten and turned back over the foot of the bed that the air may reach them from both sides. To freshen them thoroughly, they should be left thus, the windows open, for from fifteen minutes to half an hour. While this is going on the rooms may be brushed or gone over with a carpet-sweeper—not thoroughly swept: this comes at another time. The beds may now be made and the dusting done.

In a small family it is taken for granted that the maid should do this work, but in a household of more than two or three it is customary for the women of the family to look after the beds. In that case the maid need only brush up the rooms, strip the beds, and empty soiled water, leaving the rest of the up-stairs work undone while she goes back to the kitchen. She may now take her own breakfast if she has not had it earlier, and clear the table. After every meal the dishes should be removed from the table as soon as possible. They should be carried into the kitchen or the butler's pantry, the cloth brushed—never shaken—and folded, and the dining-room put in order, the crumbs brushed from about the table, the chairs put in their places, the room darkened, if it is warm weather. If the mistress of the house dusts the chambers, the maid may now wash the dishes; if not, she may scrape them and leave them to soak in warm water while she goes back to her dusting and cleans and arranges the bath-room.

To clean the bath-room properly, there should always be a bottle of household ammonia at hand, one of forty per cent. solution of formaldehyde or other good disinfectant, a couple of cloths, a long-handled brush, and a scrubbing-brush. It is also well to have a can of concentrated lye or one of the preparations like it which will cut accumulations in waste-pipes. The hand-basin, tub, and closet should be scoured out each morning, the drain-pipes flushed twice a week with water to which has been added formaldehyde or the lye. The former is admirable for removing stains and deposits, but if these are very obstinate the formaldehyde must be left in the basin overnight. The long-handled brush enables the maid to clean the closet basin satisfactorily. Ammonia on the cloth used in washing the tub and basin will remove greasy deposits. The nickel fittings and woodwork must be wiped off, the soap-dishes and tooth-brush racks washed. The vessels used in the bedrooms must be cleansed in the same manner, the water-pitchers rinsed out and filled fresh every day, and the slop-jars and commodes scalded daily.

The linen-closet should be in the charge of the mistress of the house, and the maid should have nothing to do with giving out fresh linen for the beds or towels for the bath-room.

When the bath-room work is finished, the maid may return to the kitchen, wash and put away the dishes, and get the kitchen and pantries in order. The maid who takes proper care of her china, glass, and silver will rinse her dishes thoroughly in one water and then wash them in hot suds, the glass first, then the silver, and then the china, drying each piece as it comes from the suds. The breakfast-dishes washed, the dish-towels should be rubbed out. Once a day they should be boiled.

This is the time when the mistress inspects the contents of the refrigerator and decides what shall be the meals for the day. Either before or after such inspection the maid must wipe off the shelves of the ice-box, and three times a week it must be scoured out with hot water and washing-soda.

The general work of the house—of which more later—is undertaken now, and after it comes the preparation of the mid-day luncheon. At this meal little waiting is required. The table is set as for breakfast. If the work is properly managed there should be no heavy tasks for the maid to accomplish in the afternoon, except on washing and ironing days. She may perhaps attend to some light work like the polishing of silver, but, if her duties are arranged as they should be and she is brisk in their performance, she ought to be able to have a little time to herself in the afternoon. The preparation of dinner is seldom undertaken until after four o'clock in houses where dinner is served at seven.

The maid is expected to discharge the work of a regular waitress at dinner, so far as serving the dishes, passing plates, and the like are concerned. She is not required to remain in the room, but to come when rung for. Her work of clearing away and washing dishes is practically the same after luncheon and dinner as after breakfast."

The Expert Maidservant, by Christine Terhune Herrick, 1904.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Love to faults is always blind, 
Always is to joy inclined.
Lawless, winged, and unconfined, 
And breaks all chains from every mind. ~ William Shakespeare

(Edwardian novelty photo from Shorpy).

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quote of the Day

You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it.  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes  

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vintage Knitting Patterns - Liz's Blog

(I don't think it's stealing if I only post the picture, rather than the entire pattern.  Right?)

Head over to Liz's site for a few dozen vintage knitting patterns.  Just lovely.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vintage Advertising - Black Jack Gum

From Western Story, November 1926, which can be downloaded as a pdf file, for free, from this site.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Domestic Problem

"A word about the maid's bedroom. In some circumstances it is impossible to make it very alluring. When all of a family are tucked away in dark, inside rooms, as is the case in many city apartments, it cannot be expected that the maid will fare better than her employers. But, fortunately, all humanity are not cliff-dwellers. There are plenty of homes where it is possible for the maid to have a light, airy bedroom, which could be made attractive at a small expenditure of time and money. Yet it is seldom that a servant's room has anything pleasing about it. The mistresses defend themselves by saying that the servants are heedless with good things, that they do not take care of what is given them, and any mistress can cite facts to prove this position.

Without disputing the truth of these statements, it may yet be urged that it is hard for a servant to come into a room that bears plainly the traces of its former occupant's untidiness. Possibly the new-comer has in her the potentialities of neatness and cleanliness, and it is unfair to check these at the start. The room cannot be refurnished for every new maid; but the furniture it contains can be of a sort that is readily freshened. The white iron cots are neat as well as comfortable, and there should be a good mattress always. A hard-working maid has a right to a comfortable bed. If there are two servants, they should have separate beds. This should be an invariable rule. The mattress should be protected by one of the covers that come for this purpose. This can be washed as often as it needs it. The blankets, too, should be washed between the departure of one maid and the arrival of another. A neat iron wash-stand, a plain bureau that can have a fresh bureau-cover or a clean towel laid over it, a comfortable chair, a rug by the bed, are not expensive and add much to the comfort of a room. It is wiser to have the floor bare and painted, or spread with a matting, than covered with a shabby and worn-out carpet which gathers dust and dirt. The walls are better painted than papered. The mistress can consult her own preferences as to whether or not she shall put pictures on the walls, but she should not make of the maid's room a lumber place for the old engravings and chromos that will be tolerated in no other part of the house, and do it under the impression that she is making the place attractive to the maid-servant within her gates. The bed should, if possible, be made up before the maid arrives, with a fresh spread, and the room should have the absolute cleanliness that is always a charm.

One more point should be looked after in preparing for the maid's arrival. The mistress should make sure that the supply of china and cutlery that the maid will use for her own meals is in decent order. It cannot be pleasant for any one to have bent and tarnished forks and spoons, cracked and stained cups, saucers, and plates for her food. The cost of replacing these by new is very slight and pays for itself in the agreeable impression given the maid by the fresh, bright articles."

The Expert Maidservant, 1904, by Christine Terhune Herrick.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Friday, July 5, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Life is short.  Wear the good stuff. ~ C. J. Hammon

(copyright-free image from Dover).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Have a Safe And Happy 4th!

Let's not forget those who won't.

Monday, July 1, 2013