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Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Refreshingly Nuggety!

This morning I was scrolling through my Google Reader when I came across a link to this article on Seth Elder's blog. "Macedonians Drink World's Best Coke!" screams the headline. Much to my mother's chagrin, I happen to be addicted to Coca-Cola. (I hardly ever was allowed to drink it as a child.) I decided to spend a little time on Coca-Cola's website and actually learned a few nuggets to pass along. For example, check out this interesting little gadget. I really enjoy learning about people in different parts of the world. Apparently, when visiting Botswana, you can try a Sparletta Raspberry Strawberry Vanilla Cream. Australians have been enjoying a pineapple energy drink called burn without us and the Thai drink something called Cafe Zu, a "ready-to-drink canned coffee with ginseng". (I'm not sure I could swallow that last one.) In addition, there is a recipe section (where would we be here in Mississippi without Coca-Cola cake?) and a detailed history (don't miss the mention of Vicksburg!) How about it? Are you a Coke fan, too?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hail to the Chief (And Not Just Because He's Left-Handed)

I try to look at the new reference books as they arrive so that I can stay up to date on our resources. One of our newer acquisitions is called Facts About the Presidents and it is simply crammed with everything and anything about all of America's presidents. Did you know:
  • The twentieth President, James Abram Garfield was the first left-handed President and the first whose mother attended his inauguration. (The first thing Garfield did after becoming President? Kiss Mama, of course.)

  • President number seventeen, Andrew Johnson married at the youngest age compared to any other President. (He was 18 years and 139 days old.)

  • Gerald Rudolph Ford, the thirty-eighth President, was the third President to marry a woman who had been divorced and the first President whose parents were themselves divorced. He was also the third left-handed President.

  • Our seventh President, Andrew Jackson, was the first President to be born in a log cabin and the first to ride on a train. (Amazingly, he was also the first to marry a divorced woman. I didn't think you could get divorces way back when.)

This fact book includes particulars about inauguration days, presidential pets, presidential families, and much, much more. Have a hankering to know more about a particular Commander in Chief? Be sure to let us know! (And by the way, the ground was covered with one inch of moist snow the day Grover Cleveland took office, but the sky was clear.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kosciusko, 1955.

This morning I was doing a little searching in a couple of reels of microfilm and not only did I find exactly what I was looking for (info on a family home; an obituary), but I also found some entertaining tidbits, especially in the March 10, 1955 edition of the Kosciusko Star-Herald. Like what, you ask? Well. . .

1. From the Personals:
Mar. 8
Dear John:
Please come back home! Didn’t realize it meant so much to you!
--Mary

Feel free to suggest what it is Mary and John were arguing about. My guess is that she threw away his bottle cap collection.

2. There is a section called “At the Hospital” that lists everyone currently in the local hospital! No wonder everyone in a small town knows everyone’s business. In 1955, it was in the paper!

3. A shoe ad from Penney’s offers “SHOES for the entire FAMILY!” What is notable is that in every description of the shoes (baby shoes, pumps, something called "vamps,") there is the added detail that they are also “sanitized.” I am all for shoe sanitizing (especially at a bowling alley), but I am not quite sure why new shoes needed to be sanitized--or why this was a selling point!

4. I was delighted to know that in 1955, ear-piercing was becoming popular:
The old-fashioned custom of pierced ears is returning. The Jewelry Industry Council says that manufacturers report an increasing demand for earrings to fit pierced ears. The council says two factors probably influence the revival: comfort and economy. When today’s woman invests quite a bit of money in earrings, she wants to make sure they won’t get lost.

When I told Elisabeth this, she told me about the method her mother used in order to pierce her ears: some crazy screw-in earrings called “self-piercers.” From the ever-interesting Wikipedia:

Another method for piercing ears, first made popular in the 1960s, was the use of sharpened spring-loaded earrings known as self-piercers, trainers, or sleepers, which gradually pushed through the earlobe. However, these could slip from their initial placement position, often resulting in more discomfort, and many times would not go all the way through the earlobe without additional pressure being applied. This method has fallen into disuse due to the popularity of faster and more successful piercing techniques.

Funny that this method has fallen into disuse. It sounds so effective. . .and so pleasant.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rude, Crude, and Socially Unacceptable

Yesterday, I was asked to research the etymology of a particular four-letter word for a friend. The Reference Department actually has quite a few books dealing with this subject: Modern American Slang, The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang, The Slang of Sin, etc... It's always such fun to look at these that I usually end up spending entirely too much time flipping through the interesting entries. Here are a few from The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue that tickled my funny bone:
Scandal Broth - Tea

Fice, or Foyce - A small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs.

Nicknackatory - A toy shop

Gutfoundered - Exceedingly hungry

Huckle my Buff - Beer, egg, and brandy, made hot

Nit Squeeger, i.e., Squeezer - A hair-dresser

Randle - A set of nonsensical verses, repeated in Ireland by schoolboys, and young people, who have been guilty of breaking the wind backwards before any of their companions; if they neglect this apology, they are liable to certain kicks, pinches, and fillips, which are accompanied with divers admonitory couplets.

Lawful Blanket - A wife

By the way, the subtitle of this outstanding book is A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence. Doesn't that just make you want to swoon with delight?