Friday, November 29, 2019

Christmas Parades

Santa, Christmas, Xmas, Claus, HolidayNow that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to welcome the Christmas season with it's Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday Sales, and certain Christmas parades.  This past Wednesday, I provided a bit of information on one of the longest running Christmas parades but there are other that have been running almost as long as Macy's.

One of those is the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Back in 1928 when Hollywood was a separate city from Los Angeles, the head of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce wanted to bring attention to his town by creating his own parade.

It was done a bit differently in Hollywood by turning the shopping district into Santa Claus Lane complete with a parade passing down this lane.  It included Santa Claus accompanied by a beautiful actress from Universal on a sled drawn by reindeer and followed by a few floats.  This parade ran every night until Christmas and each night Santa had a different actress on the sled.  By 1931, this parade became an annual event with stars who provided publicity for themselves, their movies, and studios along.  The parade continued to grow to include bands, drill teams, horse back riders, and more floats.  Gene Autry said that his appearance in the 1946 parade inspired him to write the now famous song "Here Comes Santa Claus."

Hollywood chose to suspend the parade from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II but when it resumed in 1945, people attended in record breaking numbers.  This parade also appeared in a 1951 as it was recorded live in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater.  At about the same time, the city began putting up electrified trees along the route but when the fire Marshall declared them a hazard, they disappeared.  In 1978, the parade moved to the Sunday after Thanksgiving and was renamed The Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Unfortunately, they quit broadcasting the parade in the early 2000's due to the cost of broadcasting the parade and in 2007, the Chamber of Commerce cancelled the parade but due to the number of protests, it was brought back in 2009.

Another famous Santa Claus parade happens in Toronto, Canada.  In 1905, Eaton's Department store arraigned for Santa Claus to arrive at Union Station so he could tour Toronto before Christmas.  The very first year, there was only Santa but it was enough to make children line the streets in order to see him.   The next year, they added a footman and trumpeters to announce Santa.  For the two years between 1910 and 1912, Santa's trip took two days because he began the trip in downtown New Market before over nighting in York Mills, and ending up on Yonge Street Saturday afternoon.

In 1913, Santa made the tour while riding on a sleigh pulled by reindeer who'd been specially brought in for this event.  Over time, the parade continued growing with floats, bands, etc.  The parade continued during World War II with the parade organizers creating elaborate costumes out of paper and whatever they could.  They began broadcasting the parade in 1952 and the parade continued until 1982 when Eaton's had to withdraw their sponsorship.  Rather than let it die, 20 companies banded together to provide new sponsorship so tradition could continue.  This parade usually happens a bit before Thanksgiving in mid November.

Now, it is so much easier to find a parade beginning on Thanksgiving and running till Christmas.  Some have parades of lights, while others have the traditional floats, bands, and marchers but it is the season.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Macy's Isn't The Longest Running Parade!

Kermit, Thanksgiving Day, ParadeMacy's Thanksgiving day parade is perhaps the most well known parade due to it's longevity and being broadcast but it is neither the only parade nor the oldest parade.  The oldest parade is the 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts parade in Philadelphia.

This parade began back in 1920 as the Gimbels Thanksgiving day parade.  The very first parade began as an advertising ploy in which one of the owner's of the store had over 50 employees dress up in costumes, walked or rode down Market Street to garner attention for the store's Toyland. Santa Claus rode in the last car and when he arrived at Gimbel's, he climbed up a fire ladder to the 8th floor of the building which housed the toy section.

Apparently, the first few parades were low key until Macy's and one other grabbed the headlines in 1924.  This caused Gimbles to beef up the parade, advertise it as having 1500 people, 500 clowns, 12 bands, 60 horses, 21 ponies, 20 floats, and Santa Claus with 12 live reindeer.  The parade continued to grow and it didn't stop for World War II but Gimbels fell on hard time and sold the stores off in 1986. The parade has undergone numerous name changes depending on who sponsored it but now it is sponsored by 6ABC (the local television station) and Dunk'in Donuts.  The local television station has been broadcasting the parade nationally since 1966

There is another long running Thanksgiving day parade many of us have never heard of but it's been around since 1924, the same year as Macy's.  This one, America's Thanksgiving Day parade, began in Detroit, Michigan.  It was sponsored by J.L. Hudson's, a well known department store in downtown and the first parade traveled down Woodward Avenue with several horses pulling a float with Mother Goose, seven marching bands, and four large paper mâché heads.  Over the years, the parade has grown so it now covers a two mile parade route and includes local business and community leaders who dress as clowns who distribute candy to children along the parade route.

They began televising the parade locally in 1948, eventually broadcasting nationally. Unfortunately, the J.L. Hudson company had to give up sponsorship of the parade in 1976, four years before it went out of business but various corporations have stepped in to help continue supporting this event including the Parade company who helps organize it.

The longest running seasonal parade happens the day after Thanksgiving in Peoria Illinois.  Although there is some question as to when it actually started, it is agreed that it started before 1900.  There is a reference to a parade of boats coming down the river to support a new bridge in 1887 but details are a bit sketchy.  There are other references to a store starting the parade in 1889 but again the store's advertising is not sure of the first year but there is proof a a parade with Santa Claus by 1895.

In 1895, at least three department stores fought for the children's attention by each having their own parade complete with Santa.  One claimed all the previous Santa's were his sons and grandsons and the real one would appear on December 10th at their store while another claimed that Santa had spent three weeks in their store.  Then the third group, had a handwritten telegram from the "real" Santa urging people to visit him.  A fourth store had Santa arrive on the "Toytown Express" at the rail station  where he took a horse drawn carriage escorted by police and a marching band to their store. Over the years, it has expanded but is still considered the longest running parade.

So now you know a bit more about some of the longest running parades that happen over Thanksgiving weekend.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 25, 2019

11 Facts About Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Parade, Float, Spiderman, New York For most of us, Thanksgiving day signals the beginning of the holiday season.  If you ask people about Thanksgiving day parades, most people will  name "Macy"'s Thanksgiving day parade.  It's the one we watch on Television just to see which balloon characters they'll have this year.  Although, its is not the first parade, it seems to be one of the better known ones.

This parade has a long and interesting history and set many firsts over time, so I'll share some facts about Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.

1.  Macy's day parade originally was a Christmas themed parade held on Christmas Day, not a Thanksgiving day Parade.  The store began in a location about 20 blocks south of where it is now at 20th Avenue and 14th street.  In 1902, the store moved to Broadway and 34th street and in the process, it continued expanding until it covered one city block with over one million square feet of retail space.

In 1924, the employee's of Macy's organized a Christmas parade beginning up at 145th street filled with bands, floats such as Little Miss Muffet, Red Riding Hood, animals such as elephants, from the zoo and concluding with Santa Clause and the unveiling of the store's Christmas Windows.  While most of the participants in the parade were actually store employees, the police had their hands busy with over 250,000 onlookers.  It wasn't until 1927, the store renamed it the Thanksgiving day parade when it was moved to Thanksgiving day.

2.  In 1926, The Allied Patriotic Societies protested holding the parade on Thanksgiving day because it interfered with with the sanctity of the day by interfering with the traditional Thanksgiving day worship.  The Allied Patriotic Societies tried to have the parade permit pulled but were unsuccessful because Macy's argued the parade only featured the word Macy's once so the store was not really advertising themselves.  In addition, by having the parade in the morning, it did not interfere with Thanksgiving day services and it was the only time that children were available to enjoy the parade.  The last thing was that traffic was light on Thanksgiving morning, making it easier to have the parade.

3.  This was not the first parade in New York City.  It was preceded by the Thanksgiving Ragamuffin Parade where children were encouraged to dress up as beggars and beg for pennies, candy and apples from adults but Macy's eventually replaced the other parade due to popularity and it disappeared.

4.   Balloons joined the parade in 1927 with a 60 foot dinosaur and a 25 foot dachshand and Felix the Cat  inspired by a balloon float covered in balloons the previous year.  In addition to dealing with high winds and weird weather, they also had to deal with the elevated train the ran down Sixth Avenue until 1938.  Mickey Mouse joined the parade in 1934, the same year, they had a balloon of Eddie Cantor.

5. At the end of the 1927 parade, the balloon figures were released into the air and they popped but this changed the following year.  The five huge balloon figures were released into the atmosphere where they were expected to stay aloft up to 10 days.  Macy's arranged for a $100 reward for the return of those balloons.  The first one landed on the roof of a Long Island home where so many people tried to recover it, they broke the balloon into pieces.  Within a few days, all but one had been recovered but the last one was seen floating over the ocean, never to be seen again.  Macy's continued these balloon races until 1932 due to pilots beginning to try to snag the balloons in the air and the dangerous situation it presented.

6.  In 1932, they began broadcasting detailed descriptions of the parade over the radio so you had to use your mind to picture all the entries, the balloons, everything.  However, they began broadcasting the parade over television in New York City in 1946 but NBC broadcast it nationally one year later so you could see it on television rather than listen to the description.

7.  Since Manhattan is so small and the balloons are so large, people can go check out the various balloons being inflated the night before.  If you head off to the area by 77th Street and Central Park West, over near the American Museum of Natural History, you can watch the balloon characters come to life due to being inflated and painted.  If you are curious, the balloons are constructed in Macy's parade studio over in New Jersey.

8.  For so many years, the parade route went down Broadway but in 2009, the route changed to Seventh Avenue because the city constructed pedestrian plazas along Broadway.  The route changed again to Sixth Avenue in 2011 which didn't please some people.  This year, 2019, the route begins at 77th street and Central Park West before turning onto 59th street and continue past the park to Sixth Avenue.  It continues down Sixth to 34th street, where it will turn right, ending at the main Macy's store.

9.  Unfortunately, weather can make the parade quite interesting.  In 1958, the rain filled the Popeye Balloon's hat with so much water, it spilled over and drenched the onlookers.  It happened again in 1962 with the Donald Duck Hat.  In 1997, the wind blew at 40 mph making the balloons difficult to control.  One balloon ran into a lamppost and injured four people, one of whom remained in a coma for a month, while the Pink Panther balloon created a problem  for one of the handlers.

10.  The original floats were pulled by horses until 1939 when they switched to automobiles and trucks to move floats.

11.  The parade halted for two years during World War II due to both  helium and rubber being in short supply.  As a patriotic gesture, Macy's cancelled the parade from 1942 to 1944, deflated all their rubber balloons and donated them to the United States government.  The parade returned in 1945 and Macy's used a new route in 1946.

This was not the only time the parade had problems like this.  There was another helium shortage in 1958 but Macy's collaborated with both Goodyear and Traynor and Hanson to fill the balloons with air and moved them by dangling each balloon from a mobile construction derricks.  

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019

Making Thanksgiving Dinner Easier.

Turkey, Oven, Dinner, Meal, Cooking I tend to notice that people love making everything on Thanksgiving day.  I remember my mother getting up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in a hot oven.  Then as the day progressed, she'd make each item until it was time to serve.  As I got older, I began helping but I'm now into the easy way to prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

There are some things you can do to make your Thanksgiving day so much nicer because you are not spending all day cooking.

First, you can make mashed potatoes ahead out of real potatoes by cooking the potatoes ahead of time, adding lots of butter, milk, salt, and pepper until they are rich and wonderful.  At this point you can freeze them for a couple of weeks,  then thaw just before you want to eat them and heat on the stove,  or refrigerate for. a couple of days before reheating till golden brown in the oven. On the other hand, if you don't mind the instant variety, you can always use those to quickly whip up a batch but honestly, I prefer making mine from scratch.

As far as sweet potatoes, cook them a head of time so they are ready to have the marshmallows, butter, brown sugar added and baked the morning of Thanksgiving.  You can also prepare the green bean casserole ahead of time but don't put the crunchy topping until the last minute as heat it up in the microwave.

Next you can prepare home made gravy from scratch so you get the flavor you want.  The great thing, is you can also freeze this for a couple of weeks before thawing it, heating it slowly over low heat, stirring it so it doesn't separate.  If you aren't that motivated, you can make it from a mix, or buy a can, heat it and open it.

I opt out of making cranberry sauce by simply buying the canned variety, usually with cranberries, so I only have to open a can.  I never learned to make it from scratch and I've never been particularly interested in learning.  On the other hand, you can make the stuffing a day or two ahead of time.  I usually make it so it is mostly cooked but finish it off in the oven so it is hot and steamy.  Of course, there are lots of versions you can buy that you add water and cook on the stove in a few minutes.

I always make my pies one to two days in advance because I love mine from scratch because the flavor is great.  Even if you buy the pies in frozen form, you can bake them a head of time so they are cooled and ready to go. Furthermore, rolls can be purchased from the store and heated up so they are ready just as the meal is served.

On the other hand, if you want to make it even easier, you take responsibility for cooking the turkey and use the drippings for the gravy but assign visiting family members something specific to bring, such as your brother might bring the mashed potatoes and rolls, your sister is responsible for the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes,  Aunt Matilda can bring the pies, etc.

The last choice is to preorder a full meal from any one of a number of places that offer to do it all so all you do is serve it.  It is all up to you and how much work you want to expend.  As you can tell, I love to make most things from scratch but the last few years, several of us have gotten together for a meal and we each bring something.  This year, I'll probably spend a quiet day at home with just a few things I made from scratch.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

9 Places To Travel For Thanksgiving.

Turkey, Food, Thanksgiving, DinnerNot everyone wants to stay home or visit relatives at Thanksgiving.  Some families would prefer to head off somewhere for a nice holiday rather than worry about trying to fix everything by mid afternoon or the evening.  They'd rather have someone else do it.

There are some great places to spend the holiday where it's warm or they offer something special.

1.  Miami Florida has nice warm weather where one can enjoy the Art Deco architecture, boutiques, and spectacular shopping on Black Friday.  If you are a civic minded citizen, you could participate in the White Party, a fund raiser for a community organization that helps people with AIDS.  In addition, there is lots of great food in Little Havana, or any one of a number of food experiences.

2.  Las Vegas, Nevada also offers great weather to people who want to spend the weekend at shows or casinos because none of the casinos close.  If you want to something daring, hit the Ice Rink at the Boulevard Pool so you can skate, drink hot chocolate, or huddle around a fire.  Most places offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal and rather than go back to your room for a nap, enjoy a spa at one of the hotels. If you love to shop, check out one of the two outlet malls located in Las Vegas.

3 Washington, D.C. is a great place to spend Thanksgiving.  It's within a short driving distance to Mount Vernon where you can get a candle lit guided tour of Jefferson's home while learning more about camels and how they became associated with this holiday.  In addition, check out the Smithsonian Museum on Thanksgiving day when you can visit it for free and with few visitors.  Then on Black Friday, go downtown to visit a market where one can purchase artisan gifts for Christmas.

4.  Chicago, Illinois where the city offers a wonderful parade every Thanksgiving morning.  One can enjoy the parade from either the street or from hotel windows.  After the parade, head off to enjoy a meal at one of several places before enjoying an evening watching the lights at Millennium Park.  Check out the outdoor Christmas Market with stalls and lights  for gifts to give later on before heading home after a great weekend.

5. Kiawah Island, South Carolina, is one of the barrier islands off of Charleston.  This island is small but offers lots of luxurious experiences.  There are different options for a Thanksgiving meal along with a Turkey Trot and a yoga session scheduled right after the trot.  If you enjoy hockey, check out the pumpkin hockey match or if that isn't what you like, perhaps the tree lighting ceremony is more your style.  To make this really special, check out the oyster roast which only happens on major holidays.

6. Mountain View, Arkansas is located about two hours outside of Little Rock and offers a spectacular caroling in the Blanchard Caverns.  Take the tour and listen to carolers who provide Christmas music in the background.  Take a short drive to visit the Ozark Folk Center State Park where one can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and take time to check out the craft village offering artisan crafts.  Don't forget to visit downtown to enjoy various shops and impromptu music concerts.

7.  Taos, New Mexico offers a fantastic southwestern style Thanksgiving with red chilis followed by a visit to an arts and crafts fair that supports a community organization focused on stopping violence and then working off the meal by skiing on the slopes.  Taos isn't that far north of Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

8.  New York, New York offers the annual Macy's Thanksgiving day parade complete with huge balloons.  One can watch the balloons being filled the night before over near the American Museum of Natural History.  In addition, one can enjoy the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, see the Radio City Rockettes, and enjoy Central Park.  Then on Friday, enjoy all the deals offered by stores on Black Friday after checking out Macy's the night before at 5 PM when they open with extra early deals.

9. New Orleans, Louisiana offers Thanksgiving cajun style.  In addition, it offers football lovers the traditional Bayou classic and a parade by the same name makes its way through the French Quarter the day after Thanksgiving.  If you prefer music, enjoy the Battle of the Bands but no matter what you attend, check out all the great food down there.  One of the more unique Thanksgiving items is the deep fried turkey.

So you can enjoy Thanksgiving at home or off in one of these places.  Have a great day and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Thanksgiving Travel Tips.

Cornucopia, Thanksgiving, Autumn, Fall We are just over a week away from Thanksgiving.  This is a time when people try to get home to celebrate the time with family or friends.  I have someone coming out and I'm hoping they make it on the day they are scheduled because the weather has been such that planes are being cancelled quite frequently.

It is estimated that over 55 million people will travel at least 50 miles to spend time with family.  Although most people will drive to their destination, most people who fly will try to leave Wednesday afternoon making it the heaviest day of travel.

The best way to get the cheapest ticket for flying is to plan to fly the Monday immediately before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving day itself, otherwise you'll have to pay more.  Furthermore, plan on paying higher car rental  and hotel rooms than usual for off season price.  This is important to know when budgeting for the holiday.  In addition when planning to return home, try to hold off for Monday because more people travel home on Saturday and Sunday.

Since most people drive to their holiday location, knowing that traffic congestion can increase up to four times the normal amount in major towns and cities because people are all heading out at about the same time helps in planning.  This increase in congestion begins on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving itself and doesn't ease up until Thanksgiving itself.  

This increase in travel can also cause an increase in the time it takes to get to the airport.  Furthermore, due to the number of people traveling by air, the wait in security line also increases so it is important to plan ahead, especially at major airports.  Since it is a major time to travel, airlines usually increase the number of seats available but if you wait too long to purchase your ticket, you might end up paying more than you might by buying it in September or October.

It is recommended that if you can manage to drive or fly to your destination by leaving early on Thanksgiving day, you will face less traffic or spend less time in security lines because most people will have already arrived at their destination.  If you can't wait till Monday to travel, plan to leave bright and early in the morning, no later than 6 AM to beat the rush.  If you are not a morning person, try leaving after 8 PM to avoid the evening rushes.

If you are going anywhere for Thanksgiving, plan ahead to travel on the lightest days, take care, and enjoy. Wednesday, I'll share a few places you might want to head for instead of visiting relatives over Thanksgiving.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Mascara Had What In It!

Face, Eyes, Pupil, Eyelashes, WomanMascara and eyeliner go together like salt and pepper.  You seldom wear one without the other, especially when it is a special event. I've often wondered about the history of both because I grew up in a household where my mother did not wear anything more than a bright red lipstick.  I sometimes use mascara and eyeliner but I usually end up looking like a child wearing her mother's makeup.

There is evidence that mascara dates back to Ancient Egypt when they mixed honey, charcoal or soot, water and crocodile dung to create kohl which they used as an eyeliner, mascara, and colored their eyebrows with it.  Kohl was an all round product.  In addition, men used mascara as often as women in Ancient Egypt.

The use of kohl spread to Greece and Rome where it became a part of the daily routine because society wanted long, dark, and curled lashes. In addition to kohl, women used burnt cork to help create the dark lashes.  Once the Roman Empire fell, Europe no longer welcomed it's use because the forehead was considered the sexist part of the body and women plucked their eyelashes and eye brows.

When Queen Elizabeth took the throne, red eyelashes became popular and women tried to dye them to match but were often unsuccessful thus losing them.  The use of mascara became associated with those who were rich and powerful as a vanity item.  Mascara didn't become popular again until the rule of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria used makeup and wore elaborate clothing as the ruler.  She set a trend for women from the middle and upper classes needed to use makeup and dress properly every day.  This lead to women adopting intense beauty routines that could take several hours a day to complete. Mascara made up an important part of this routine because it allowed women to have long dark lashes  that every women needed.  In the early days of the Victorian era, women made their own mascara because it was not marketed but everywhere they turned, they found ads promoting its use to meet the societal ideal.

It wasn't until 1913 that a Frenchman released the first nontoxic version of Mascara to the public. His product was a combination of coal dust and Vaseline.  Although the product was both messy and inconsistent, it still became a hit around the world and was often referred to as "Rimmel" named after its inventor.

In 1917, a women, Mabel Williams went to work with a drug company to market her own version of mascara known as Lash-Brow-Inc which had Vaseline and oils to make lashes shiny.  Her company , Maybelline, marketed it in packaging similar to Rimmel's but her mascara came in a cake with a separate brush and her marketing was much better. In 1938, a company introduced a lash product guaranteed to make the brows and lashes dark but due to it's toxic ingredients, many women lost their sight.

The next major improvement in mascara came in the 1940's when water-proof formulas hit the market.  The ingredient, turpentine, made the mascara waterproof but it could cause allergenic reactions but it proved to be quite popular. Then in 1958, Revlon introduced mascara in a tube with a spiral tip wand.  Two years later, the same company introduced colored mascara to the public.

Maybelline proved its staying power when they introduces a water based mascara in 1971 that is still popular even today.  Since then, clear mascara, more colors, smudge proof, and so many more mascara formulas have hit the market, making it extremely popular.

So now you know more about mascara.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day but know on Monday, I'll be looking at the history of eyeliner.  I'll have my usual pictures over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Jump To Hairspray.

Three, Women, Fashion, Hair, Glamour I remember an aunt who always teased her hair so it stood out around her hair.  She'd apply so much hairspray to it that it would not budge an inch should she ride in a convertable.  Even when she hit her 80's, she'd still whip it into shape while finishing the look with hairspray.

The only thing I ever used hairspray for was and is to remove permanent marker from clothing.  White Rain hairspray always did a good job of that but I never got around to using it in my hair.

I've often wondered when it came into use.  Did it come around at the beginning of the 20th century? Or was it earlier? Or later.  Hairspray is made up of a fine mist of chemicals that came out of a can with a propellent or a pump.

You can thank the people who created spray insecticide in 1943 for use by the military to keep bugs away.  The beauty industry decided the ability to spray chemicals would do well to propel hairspray but it didn't hit the market until after the war was over.  Three years after the war ended, someone developed a resin like substance similar to shellac that held hair together because it coated the hair strands with a sticky film.

 It wasn't until 1950 that Helene Curtis created the generic term "Hairspray" for the newly released product "Spray Net" designed to hold hair in place so the hairstyles looked good.  By 1955, Spray net was selling all over the world. At this time, aerosol cans were powered by fluorocarbons or pressurized gas.

At about the same time as Helene Curtis began selling hairspray, the company Alberto-Culver who provided hair products to the movie industry in California began selling their own hair spray and offered some serious competition.  Women began wearing styles that required hairspray to keep it in place and the amount sold increased accordingly.  As a result, companies began creating a variety of weights and strengths to meet the needs of women.

By 1964, hairspray was the number one selling item beauty product.  Unfortunately, the use of hairsprays declined in the 1960's and 70's due to a change in societal views so hair became freer and less styled. In the 1970's chlorofluorocarbons were outlawed so hairspray manufacturers had to rely on other ways to power hairspray.  Alberto V-O5 company released the first CFC hairspray in 1977 while other countries phased out this chemical.

Then in the 1980's grunge hit the scene and those styles required lots of hairspray to hold it in place and it caused an increase in its use.  Now it tends to be used by women who want their hair to hold in place through special events but many women no longer fix their hair the way they did in past times.

The creation of the aerosol spray lead to more than just hairspray.  It lead to spray paint, spray deodorant, and anything else that came out of can propelled by an aerosol.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day and I'll see you on Friday.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Automatic Dishwashers - Over 150 Years Old.

Mug, Porcelain, Dishwasher, HouseholdI usually end up living in places without dishwasher mostly because the water situation is such that it is better not to have one.  In addition, I grew up in houses without them.  My father used to joke that he didn't need one because he already had one - my mother.

I am not even sure when dishwashers became a part of American life.  I know my siblings have all had them in their houses but I don't know the year they began becoming popular.

The first patented dishwasher was released in 1850.  It wasn't terribly effective because it sprayed water on on the dishes while the person used a wooden handle to turn a wooden wheel inside the washer.  In 1886, a woman, Josephine Cochrane, made improvements because she was tired of servants breaking her dishes.

 She made sure the wooden wheel laid flat against the copper boiler and she designed the wheel so it could be turned by hand or moved automatically by a system of pulleys. Furthermore, it had wire frames inside to hold the dishes as the wheel turned and they were sprayed with hot soapy water.

When she showed off her creation as the "Lavaplatos" at the 1893 World's Fair, restaurants, hotels, her rich friends were all impressed with it so she began a company to make dishwashers for people.  Her company eventually became Kitchenaid.  People continued to make changes while several companies such as Maytag and Whirlpool appeared in the early 1900, all making dishwashers.  But it wasn't until the 1920's that dishwashers became more common in middle class families because  indoor plumbing with running water was found in more and more houses.

Furthermore, one change made to dishwashers happened in 1924 when an English inventor changed the wire holder to actual racks and changed things to a rotating spray rather than having it squirt in from the bottom as it did in Josephine's version.  It is said, this non-electric version utilized front loading instead of top loading.  The inventor, William Howard Livens, added a drying element in 1940, in between his work creating chemical warfare for the government.  At this time, dishwashers were still a luxury item due to the demands of the war.

Dishwashers did not become a commercial success until the 1950's when the war ended.  Dishwashers still sold to the wealthy but as kitchens changed to include wall to wall countertops and standardized sizing for both cabinets and appliances, dishwashers could easily fit under counters.
Than in 1960, another company, Miele, released the first fully automated model seen and soon dishwashers became standard kitchen equipment.  As of 2012, 75 percent of American households had dishwashers in the kitchen.

It is interesting that both the refrigerator and dishwashers hit the market at about the same time but the fridge sold better since most people were more interested in keeping food fresh and could work in houses without running water.

Now for a few interesting facts:

1. Cascade brand dishwashing soap carried out a survey and discovered that 79 percent of people will rewash dishes rather than unload their dishwasher.

2.  Dishwashers were not sold commercially to the general population in huge numbers until the 1950's because most dishwashers were purchased by restaurants and hotels.

3. At least one version released in the 1950's fit on countertops but didn't wash a big load.

4.  Scientific studies show that when you hand wash dishes you use 27 gallons of water while the dishwasher uses only 4.75 gallons for the same number of dishes.

5.  Although many still prewash their dishes before washing them, there is no need to because modern dishwashers are quite effective.

6.  Most modern dishwashers also have garbage disposal.  It is recommended people clean their garbage disposals out before they run their dishwashers.

So, I hope you enjoyed learning more about the dishwasher.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Also I am backing down to three days a week plus weekends due to the increased amount of work at school.  The next time, I will publish will be Wednesday.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Elementary and Middle School Wrestling

Swing, Wrestle, Sawdust, Guys

It is the weekend filled with elementary and middle school wresting.  Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Refrigerators Invented Sooooo Long Ago!

Fridge, Refrigerator, Vintage FridgePeople have used a variety of methods to keep food cold.  Some like the ancient Egyptians placed food outside to cool down overnight while the Greeks and Romans placed snow in pits to have a place that was cold even in the summer.  Others cut ice out of rivers and lakes before storing them in building set in the sides of hills and mountains.

It wasn't until 1740, a Scottish scientist was able to show if you rapidly cooled a liquid into a gas, you'd end up with a cooling effect.  This is the basis used in modern refrigeration.   This gentleman never actually used his discovery but others used it to work on refrigeration.

In 1802, an American created the forefather of the refrigerator.  He made an ice box which used ice to keep things cool.  He designed it to keep dairy products cool while they were being transported.  The icebox was originally named the "refrigitory" until he patented it in 1803 and called it a refrigerator.

During this time in history, people began moving into cities to find work which caused a increased demand for fresh food.  There needed to be a way to transport fresh food across the nation to meet the needs of the growing population centers.

So in 1834, an American living in London actually built a closed system using ether in a vapor controlled compression refrigerator unit.   His model worked and cooled but it was not a commercial success.  About 6 years later, people perfected iceboxes so ice was placed in a tin lined section of the contraption and it kept the food in the other section cool.  The ice melted into a drip pan at the bottom of the icebox and the pan had to be emptied every day.  This operated as the refrigerator in most homes.

It wasn't until 1876 that someone patented the process of liquifying gas, which lead to the first compressed ammonia refrigerator.  This invention changed the future of cooling by getting rid of the need for ice.  People continued working on this idea including Fred W. Wolf who released the first commercial refrigerator he called "Domelre" short for the domestic electrical refrigerator.  This appliance failed but his idea of ice cube tray was used by others in their refrigerators.

In 1918, both Frigidaire and Kelvinator released their versions of refrigerators.  The Frigidaire version had the compression on the bottom of the self contained unit while the Kelvinator released the first unit with an automatic control. However, none of the units did well until 1927 when General Electric introduced its "Monitor Top" which moved the compressor above the cabinet.  This version sold over one million units.  Demand kept growing until over six million had been sold.

Unfortunately, some of these early refrigerators could cause fatal accidents when gasses leaked.  This lead to the discovery of Freon which became the standard gas used in all refrigerators and caused the market to expand.  In the 1940's the freezer became a separate unit and became large enough to store frozen foods.  At this time, the frozen food industry expanded offering people the convince of prepared food they could cook for dinner.

By the 1950's the majority of houses and farms had refrigerators.  Colored ones became the norm with pink and turquoise the popular colors in the early 50's.  Jump to the 1970's companies began making refrigerators more energy efficient while eliminating the CFC's to protect the ozone layer.  Within ten years, companies began labeling their products to let consumers know how much they were saving by buying certain fridges.  Then in the 1990s fridges joined the digital age by making them with wifi and connecting them to the internet.

Furthermore, fridges soon offered ice and water from the door, sections for vegetables, meats, and lots of shelves to make it easier to find things. So know you know how we went from iceboxes to what we have today.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Bobby Pins, Hair Pins, Rollers, Oh My

Hairpins, Glass, Fused Glass, Fashion
Bobby Pins
 I remember my mother using bobby pins to put those little spit curls in my hair as a child.  Of course, the spit curls never stayed the way they began the day due to the natural wave in my hair but my mother tried.  Over the years, I've used them to hold my hair in buns, etc but I've never really given them any thought until just recently when I came across a note on them.

Bobby pins are only about a hundred years old.  They are simple and seem to be nothing more than a piece of metal folded with one side flat and the other ribbed.  Bobby pins were invented by Luis Marcus during the early 20th century but in the 1920's, Flappers used themto keep their hair in place. This small object could be placed in the hair while remaining invisible and that is what the women loved about it. He first sold them for 35 cents per pair but never got rich off of them.  Originally, he planned to name them after himself but ended up naming them Bobby after bobbed hair.  At one point in history, the term Bobby pin had been trademarked and its use by Proctor and Gamble lead to a court case which they lost.  Currently, the term is commonly used and is no longer covered by trademark protection.

Hair, Pin, Fashion, Hairstyle, Style
Hair Pins
Bobby pins should no be confused with the similar looking hair pins because bobby pins tend to have a tighter fit.  Hair pins look like a rounded piece of wire with a small ribbed area on both sides.  The distance between the sides is larger than in the bobby pin.

Scissors, Curler, Hair, BeautyThese U shaped pins are designed to hold hairstyles in place.  They are lighter and hide in hairdos better than bobby pins.  They require a different application.  I've been told to bend the edges and hook them into the hair, flip and shove.  Honestly, they hold more hair than bobby pins but I've never actually managed to use them well.  They usually fall out after 5 minutes so I need to have someone work with me to learn to use them.

Last topic for today are curlers, not curling irons, but curlers also known as hair rollers.  The ones my mother used were either the pink ones with a snap on them or the wire bristle ones.

Hair rollers really came into use during the 18th century when people wore wigs.  These rollers were quite different from today's but they provided the look people wanted then.

Before the rollers came on the scene, women used rags to curl their hair. They wrapped hair around a rag strip, tied it, and removed the cloth when the hair was dry.  The interesting thing about rollers is that curlers that used heat were invented first.  In 1906, the first long lasting curl system appeared in which the hair was smeared with a caustic soda solution before being heated with electricity.  After 6 hours or so, the women had curls but it wasn't until 1930  an African American, Solomon Harper, produced the first hair rollers that needed no heat to create curls.

Foam rollers became quite popular in the 1930's and continued to be popular until the 1950's when velcro rollers hit the scene.  These made looser waves than the foam rollers but they grabbed hair better due to the brushy surface.  The next stage in roller development happened in the 1960's when everyone used can's with bobby pins to make large loose curls.  By the 1980's bendy rollers hit the market so you could bend then around the hair almost like rags.

I've got a set of the bendy rollers because they produce a nice curl and are comfortable to sleep on.  Much more comfortable than the older ones.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Long Straight Hair!!!

Beauty, Women, Rear View, Young AdultAlthough women have had long hair for centuries, most women wore the hair styled in some manner, with curls, in buns, but not usually straight.  I remember I had older cousins who worked hard to get straight hair. In those days, they would lay their hair on an ironing board and literally iron it straight.

There are indications that women as long ago as the Egyptians straightened hair using heated flat iron plates.  One side effect of using this method is that hair often ended up singed or burned.  This tended to be the standard method used to straighten curly or frizzy hair over the centuries until the Nineteenth century when Marceau Grateau invented a heated rod with teeth used to straighten hair.

Two other inventors, improved upon Grateau's invention but these still required heated irons to relax the curl.  In the 1950's and 60's the most common implement used to straighten hair was the iron, a clothing iron, not a curling or straightening iron.  If it was not properly, the clothing iron could damage the hair.

Eventually, people began marketing flat irons that could be heated with electricity and had temperature controls much like the ones used today.  These provided a gentler way of straightening the hair with less chance of burns and scalding.

Parallel to the development of a straightening implement people also worked on developing chemical straighteners.  One of the first relaxers came about when someone noticed that the chemicals used to fix sewing machines could also be used to relax hair.  He marketed his alkaline product to relax curly hair.  Some of the early products could burn scalps so people had to be careful.

Around the same time, there were other creams released.  All one had to do was cover the hair with the cream and it was done.  Although they straightened the hair they all were considered dangerous because they could cause hair loss, or damage the hair or scalp.

It wasn't until the 1970's that several different types of relaxers were released.   Basically, the chemicals in these products break certain bonds in the hair so the curls "relax" into straighter hair.  Some of the non lye products weaken rather than break the bonds but the hair still straightens.  Any new hair that grows in is going to have the original curl until something is applied to it. Even these modern ones can damage the hair.

I hope you liked this short history of straightening hair.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Short Hair Became Fashionable In The Last Century!

Hair Salons, Models, Hair, Color, TrickFor centuries, women wore their long hair in buns, with curls, no curls, swept up over cages, braided, and any way they could to create fashion but the hair had to be long.  Long hair on women made them seem quite feminine according to societal views and if a women had to cut hair due to illness, it was a major problem.

This attitude continued until just after the turn of the 20th century when fashion designer Paul Poiret had all his models cut their hair quite short to go with his Paris collection.  This style was given the title of " mode ala garconne" or cut of a man.

This new hair style shocked many people because it was such as change from normal.  In America, they called it a "bob" after Bob short for a boys hair cut.  Over the next few years, this particular hair cut gained popularity so it became the ideal for the "New American woman."  

The new woman represented a busy, independent woman who was freed from the old social norms and could live her life on her terms.  Many in Europe, felt this was a short lived trend but with the out break of World War I, the shorter hair became even more popular.  The shorter hair made it easier for the women who took over jobs from the men so they could fight.

When the war ended, the shorter hairstyles continued in popularity.  In addition, styles started showing shoulders, and skirt lengths rose creating the opportunity for young ladies to show more, earning the name "Flappers". This lead to more women going to beauty parlors to have their hair cut and styled, curled, and colored so a whole new generation became hip.  The number of beauty parlors jumped from 5,000 to 23,000 because women discovered the freedom short hair offered.  It was such a change from previous times.  

Many salons kept a supply of smelling salts to wake women up who fainted during their hair cuts.   There is a story that Coco Chanel was getting ready to go out one night but the gas light exploded, singing her long hair badly so she chopped it off but that is just a myth but it is not a myth that women used newly invented bobby pins to create pin curls, or got the latest Marceau waves.

There were many groups that found this trend a threat to femininity so many groups produced pamphlets claimed that cutting hair might result in girls growing mustaches.  Conservative pastors spoke against the wickedness of cutting hair while doctors stated women could go bald while many store owners fired women who cut their hair.  This feminism continued till the Stockmarket crash which resulted in longer hair and softer styles.

Over the next few years, hair styles became more structured using longer hair to create a more feminine look especially during World War II when it was important for women to look and feel more like women.  Although the hair was longer, it didn't usually fall much past the shoulders because shortages still made it difficult.  

After the war ended, the styles became more formal, requiring lots of curling, teasing, and care to maintain the look.  This even applied to the "carefree looks" but when the 1950's hit, hair lengths shortened with the bob among the "new" hairstyles.  In 1953, Audrey Hepburn appeared in a movie with a short hair cut that became quite popular.  Others such a Mia Farrow and Twiggy helped popularize the pixie cut which was the modern version of the bob.

I think my mother has always had short hair, not because she wanted it short but her hair was so fine with absolutely no body that she had to keep it short, and permed.  Me?  I've kept my hair long my whole life because I have so much curl, its easier to handle.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Curling Irons, How Old Are They?

Hairdresser, Hairstyle, Hair CurlersI remember my mother and aunts using these things.  The bristly stuff in the center helped hold the hair so it would dry into curls.  My cousins preferred something newer and chose electric curlers but the younger ones discovered curling irons and went with them because they thought they were so much easier.

I always thought they'd been invented in the 1950's or 60's but my guess was wrong.  The first patent granted to anyone for the curling iron appeared in 1866 but people had been curling their hair for eons using heated iron tongs.

These tongs were U shaped at the top with a handle going straight down.  People would place these tongs in the fire until they were hot, they wrapped their hair around it and produced curls but due to the lack of control, they might burn the scalp or singe the hair.  At one point, blacksmiths made curling irons for those in town who wanted to curl their hair because they had the skills and equipment.

Over time, people fidgeted with the curling iron until it resembles more of what we are used to.  Marcel Grateau is given credit for creating the first modern curling iron in 1890.  A few years later, two other frenchmen improved on Marcel's iron so it would now create perfect Marcel waves using curling irons.  In 1906, a German hairdresser in London used a borax paste on the hair before using curling irons to create permanent waves after 12 hours but this was really heading into permanent waves rather than the use of curling irons at home.

At this time, the wealthy often had their maids fix their hair at home.  The maids used the early curling irons to create hair styles after learning to use the irons on their own hair.  If you looked back at women's magazines of the day, you'll see advertisements for the latest curling irons.  If you've ever watched Downton Abbey, there are scenes showing a maid fixing the lady of the houses hair.  It is accurate.

It wasn't until the late 1950's that another two Frenchmen made improvements to the curling iron and released it to the public. The big difference with this version is that it was electric can portable.  Women could buy it at the drugstore and use it at home.  Then a woman, Theora Stephens, changed it so it resembled what we use today and released her version in 1980.  She added a temperature control so people had more control and she added a spring to allow it to pop open.

Originally, this version was only available to hair care professionals but eventually she released a model to the public due to demand.  Her curling iron allowed more control and made it easier to use than previous ones so women preferred her's to any commercially available.  This is the one we are most accustomed to.  Now one can get a curling iron to create various types of curls, diameters, and its all done at home.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Dia De Los Muertos

Day Of The Dead, Colorful, Make UpFor most people, last night was the big night of the month with Halloween.  They dressed up in costumes, collected candy, or partied with others.  Not every culture celebrates Halloween.  In Mexico,  Dia de los muertos or day of the dead began last night.

It is a night when families honor those members who have passed by creating offerings.  The family has an alter decorated with bright yellow marigolds, pictures of those who passed, and their favorite foods and drinks.  It is believed the spirts of those who have passed on, will return and join in the celebrations for a short time because the veil has disappeared..

This celebration began last night and goes to November 2nd.  The first day beginning at midnight of November 1st  is when it is believed that the spirts of deceased children return to be with their family for 24 hours.  Families place the child's favorite drinks, snacks, toys, and photos to attract their spirts. Then beginning at midnight of November 2nd, they begin remembering the adults and celebrations take on a more adult look.  The last part of the celebration begins around noon when families go to the cemetery to clean the headstones while placing marigolds, gifts, and sugar skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased on the grave.

It is believed that these celebrations date back around 3,000 years to pre-columbian rituals that celebrated the dead. In those times, people saw death as an important part of the circle of life.  It was believed that when a person died, their spirt went up to the Land of the Dead but could only enter it after making it through 9 challenging levels.  The journey could take many years to complete before they entered the Land of the Dead so their families left food, water, and tools to help the spirts through the journey.

Contrary to popular opinion, El Dia De Los Muertos and Halloween are not the same holiday.  Although they share many of the same characteristics, they are different.  In addition, most graveyards in Mexico are owned by the Catholic Church and families are expected to keep the gravesite cleaned so this time of year provides a good time for families to pull weeds, clean the headstones, and decorate it with flowers.

Furthermore, the celebration overflows into the streets and public squares with people often dressed up as skeletons.  Most have their faces painted to resemble skulls and dress is fancy clothing while they wear shells and other noisemakers to rouse the dead.  In addition, the celebrations vary a bit from region to region based on the makeup of the population.

I hope you enjoyed this short history of a day that is very important to much of the American Population.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.