Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The first driver's licence of sorts was issued to the inventor of the modern automobile, Karl Benz in 1888. Because the noise and smell of his motorwagon resulted in complaints by the citizens. Benz requested and received written permission by the authorities to operate his car on public roads. Above is a photo of the license.

In Germany around 1910, statutes for drivers, including education began; France followed. Due to all the accidents in the states, a cry went out for a change. The first licenses were awarded in 1910 to chauffeurs in New York state, New Jersey followed in 1913 with everyone needing to pass a test before operation a auto vehicle.

That means that Grandpa Benhard would have been about 35 when driver's licenses became law. It is possible that if he did drive, it was someone else's vehicle.

Now, Mother was grand behind the wheel. She made left turns from the right lane and right turns from the left lane. She got her license in the mail without a test. Ella Anderson actually renewed license for individuals in the Rosewood/New Solum Township community. It is certain that as soon as he was financially able, daddy had a car and a license.

We can assume that most of our ancestors in the states walked, took the train, or took a boat or stage coach. A few rode horses, such as the children's great grandfather, Henry Rye. We know that when his sister was shot by her estranged husband, he rode horseback to the farm where the massacre took place.

My question, still not solved, is how did the law get around in 1914? Did they have cars? Certainly the defender's of the government had vehicles. We know that doctor's did. We know that doctor's made house calls in the country and would take the patient back with them to the hospital if they were very sick as noted in readings of the Rosewood News.

In a survey on Facebook, it asks what are five things you take when you leave the house. Some do not state driver's licenses, is that because it is a given? Or are they like Grandpa Benhard, who had his paper license in a plastic like case on the steering column of his car?

Have you ever had a paper license? Did you ever show it for ID and cover up the the one in eleven to make you look like you were old enough to be in a bar only to have the bartender snatch it from you and see you were actually born in November instead of January?

Or are you like Sara, who wanted a different picture on her license because on the one she had her hair was really short. She went to the DMV and stated she had lost her license hoping to have a new picture taken with her long flowing brunette hair only to have them say "No PROBLEM" and disappear. They returned with another short hair picture!!!

Now the big thing is you may not smile when having a picture taken. Now it is all about facial recognition. What are we? CSI and Las Vegas all rolled into one in a little laminated case that most of us don't monkey with and make fake ID cards.


Monday, June 29, 2009

LET'S GO BANANAS Compliments of Shirley

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain.

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!

This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape! So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Thanks, Shirley!


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Rudy Vallee was a singer, actor, and bandleader. He took up saxophone in bands in the New England area. He enlisted in the Navy but was discharged because he was only fifteen years old.

He started a band called Rudy Vallee and the Connecticut Yankees. With this band, which featured violins, saxophones, piano, banjo, and drums, he started to sing.
Old Trunks didn't think much of his thin tenor voice but grandmother thought his singing and his suave manner and charm was very attractive. He started performing on the radio in 1928.

He was a new breed, called "the crooner". He did well on the radio with his soft voice because of the microphone. Think about other crooners that followed, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como modeled their voices after him.

He was also considered the first mass media star. Flappers mobbed him, appearances sold out. That is when he started using a megaphone. A make shift megaphone was fashioned back stage so the screaming women could hear him.

His first film was The Vagabond Lover. Like Elvis, the movies were made to cash in on his singing and appeal to women.

His last significant song was As Time Goes By. Anyone watching Batman may have seen him playing the part of Lord Marmaduke Fogg. Additional movies number twenty plus films including The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer starring Shirley Temple and Cary Grant. Also numerous radio shows and programs are listed.

In his middle years, Vallee's voice matured into a robust baritone. He has been quoted as saying anything I recorded before 1950, you can shit on. For that, Rudy scores a point in the life of the worn shoe lady.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Tommy Dorsey was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing" and as "TD". He was the younger brother of Jimmy Dorsey. His lyrical trombone style became one of the signature sounds of his band and of the swing era.

Tommy was born in 1905 in Pennsylvania, and died in 1956 at the age of 51. He choked in his sleep after eating a heavy meal, after which he had taken sleeping pills.

Songs we may remember are The Music Goes 'Round and 'Round, The Dipsy Doodle, In the Blue of the Evening, and Lullaby of Broadway. The biggest may be I'll Never Smile Again sung by Frank Sinatra.
There is a movie called A Song is Born starring Tommy Dorsey and Virginia Mayo. Genre: 1948

Stay tuned.................

Friday, June 26, 2009


Artie Shaw is widely considered to be one of the greatest jazz clarinetists of his time. He is also the author of both fiction and non-fiction writings.

He was born in 1910 in New York City. He gained fame with popular hits like Begin the Beguine, (1938), Stardust, Back Bay Shuffle, and Moonglow. He was considered equal to Benny Goodman. It is stated that he said of Goodman, "Benny Goodman plays clarinet, I play music."

In 1954, Shaw stopped playing the clarinet, citing his own perfectionism, which, he later said, would have killed him. He explained to a reporter, "In the world we live in, compulsive perfectionists finish last. You have to be Lawrence Welk, or, on another level, Irving Berlin, and write the same kind of music over and over again. I'm not able to do that." He spent the rest of the 1950's living in Europe.

He played himself in the movie, Love of My Life. For a good comparison of popularity, think about this: In the early forties, George Burns and Gracie Allen were making $5,000, Artie was making $60,000.

Shaw died at 94 in 2004 in Californina.

Stay tuned...............

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Benny Goodman was the first celebrated bandleader of the Swing Era, dubbed "The King of Swing," his popular emergence marking the beginning of the era.

Mr. Goodman was born in Chicago on May of 1909, (Yes a hundred years ago). He died at the age of 77.

What did he play? The clarinet.

Remembered songs include: Stompin' at the Savoy, It's Only a Paper Moon, My Old Flame, and Sing, Sing, Sing.

Benny survived the jazz era of the forties and moved on to be bop and then to classical. He had played the clarinet for thirty years when he re-learned it with a different method of fingering and mouthing.

A 1956 film called The Benny Goodman Story starred Steve Allen as Goodman and Donna Reed as his wife.

Stay tuned.............

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Glenn Miller's reign as the most popular bandleader in the U.S. came relatively late in his career and was relatively brief, lasting only about three and a half years.

Mr. Miller was born in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904, the plane he was in disappeared over France during WWII.

His notable works include: In the Mood, Tuxedo Junction, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Little Brown Jug, and Pennsylvania 6-5000.

What instrument did he play? The Trombone.

Many of us may have seen the movie, Starring James Stewart and June Allyson about Miller's life and how he was always looking for his own sound. How he joined the service at 38 and started a band to entertain troops.

Stay tuned..............

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


1. Which musician once played in a Broadway pit band with fellow future big band stars clarinetist Benny Goodman and drummer Gene Krupa? MILLER

2. Who was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953 for leftist beliefs? SHAW

3. Who was known as “the King of Swing?” GOODMAN

4. Who was known as “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing?” DORSEY

5. Whose big hit was “Begin the Beguine?” SHAW

6. Whose big hit was “Sing, Sing, Sing?” GOODMAN

7. Who scored a hit with Bing Crosby singing “The Lullabye of Broadway?” DORSEY

8. Who had a hit with “As Time Goes by?” VALLEE

9. Who composed the tune “Nightmare” as his personal theme? SHAW

10. This musician performed with and arranged for the Dorsey Brothers, and wrote the song, “Dese, Dem, Dose?” MILLER

11. In his biopic, this musician was played by Steve Allen? GOODMAN

12. In his biopic, this musician was played by James Stewart? MILLER

13. Who appeared in the “Batman” television series as “Lord Marmaduke Ffogg?” VALLEE

14. Who performed in a program promoting Chesterfield Cigarettes? MILLER

15. Who made his big screen debut in 1935, performing with the Ray Noble Orchestra in “The Big Broadcast of 1936?” The film also featured Bing Crosby, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Ethel Merman and Dorothy Dandridge. MILLER

16. Which bandleader was married to both actresses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner? SHAW

17. Which bandleader paired with singer Gordon “Tex” Beneke? MILLER

18. Who helped break the color barrier by hiring Billie Holiday in 1938? SHAW

19. Which bandleader gave Peggy Lee her big break and introduced the singer to her first husband? GOODMAN

20. Who was the first recording artist to earn a gold record for selling 500,000 copies? MILLER, Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Stay tuned..............

Monday, June 22, 2009


Old Trunks wonders what sort of bedspreads were available for working families. She wonders if they even used bedspreads. Old pictures show hand tied quilts. Rich museums show beautiful hand crafted covers. I am thinking my family was more of a hand tied quilt family.

Mother was big on satin and taffeta. The first bedspread I remember was a white cotton one with piping long the full skirt and the top was quilted with roses. Drapes to match. The spread was to be turned down each night.

Greg's was a cotton corded spread, after all, he was a boy.

My parent's room had mocho chocolate satin spreads, they too, were turned down each night. The top was flat and the edges gathered. Now mother could make a bed like no other soul I have ever known. Satin, as you may have remembered, shows every flaw, but not after she finished with them.

I had what was called a 3/4 bed, bigger than a twin but smaller than a double. I suppose the sleeping surface was about 46 or so inches. Based on 39" for a twin, and 54 inches for a double. That meant every factory bedspread with piping, had to be fixed. That was something grandma did. She was great on remodeling things. If grandma didn't remodel it, it didn't hang right on the bed because the piping did not sit right on the edge.

All the time I lived with my parents, I never had a chenille bedspread. My grand parents did and lots of friends did. I did, however, have a Queen Victoria spread which had a medallion in the center. It was very bright white and I never turned it down at night because it acted like an extra cover.

Ten years ago, it was all comforters and dust ruffles or quilts and dust ruffles. You had to have the ruffle or the bed wasn't 'finished'.

Old Trunks has thought about the hand crochet bedspread my grandmother made for their bed and how she made a rolled pillow and backed it with gold material. Under the bedspread, there gold material also. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. To my dismay, Grandma cut it in half and used it on the back of the sofa before I could ask for it. Darn shame, it was beautiful workmanship.

We have the comforter sort of set up with many pillows. In the spare room we have a quilt with many MORE pillows, and at the lake, a quilt. All three places have dust ruffles.

Will bedspreads swing back to piped edges? Will dust ruffles be discontinued only to be rediscovered? Can one buy a queen bedspread that comes to the floor? Or do I have to have a new one custom made?
Let me see, what goes well with peanut butter colored walls?

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The Moccasin Lesson

In the spring of my fifteenth year, I asked my dad for $3.00 to buy a pair of moccasins.

"Why?", he asked.

"Because everyone else has them.", I answered.

"Not a very good reason", he said.

He went to take his 20 minute nap in his lounge chair as he did after every noon meal. While he slept, I washed his car. When finished, I disappeared into the barn to tell the ponies about the conversation and how dad didn’t think I should do something just because someone else did.

Daddy found me.

"It would cost me $3.00 to have me washed at Torgerson's," he said as he handed me three one dollar bills.

"Thank you, Poke, you did a good job." he declared. He winked and went on to say I could spend it anyway I wanted.

That was fifty years ago, I have yet to own a pair of moccasins.

The lesson: Just because someone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to do it too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


As a child, I always thought it was unfair that we made a gift for our mother's in school but not for father's because school was not in session. Why, I always wondered, did we not take a little time in art class and do something special for him, as well.

So you do it at home.

In Mr. Beatle's sixth grade class, we made a saying out of alphabet pasta and glued it on to a piece of Masonite board and decorated it with stickers like you would get at piano lessons. It would be a gift for our mothers.

IN ALL THE WORLD THEIR IS NO OTHER TO TAKE THE PLACE OF MY DEAR MOTHER. That is what was printed on the chalk board.

The dark brown boards were all ready cut. All we needed to do was draw two lines to use as a marker to place the pasta letters.

Sort, sort, sort through piles of pasta to get the right letters. Mr. Beatle warned us about gluing as we went. "Lay everything out, first," he said. Those who did not heed his warning were either misspelling or running out of room.

My pencil line was very dark. My pasta letters were set in puddles of glue. Because I used so much glue, the letters slid. It would never be hung in a prominent place.

Should have made it for daddy. He would have loved it.

In all the world there is a caddy
Driven by my dear daddy.

Instead, I gave him a card and a shirt and Greg charged an ashtray at the drugstore that said, "Next week we have to get organized". Later, I would iron the shirt and burn a hole in it.


Friday, June 19, 2009


The mumps are caused by a virus, which is spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets (for example, when you sneeze) or by direct contact with items that have been contaminated with infected saliva.
The parotid glands (the largest salivary glands, located between the ear and the jaw) are often swollen.

Mumps most commonly occurs in children between age 2 and 12 who have not been vaccinated against the disease. However, the infection can occur at any age.

Greg and I had them back to back in the fall and early winter. He teased me a lot as I was only able to eat a mush made from milk and soda crackers. But life would make it miserable for him at Thanksgiving and you can be certain I waved roast turkey under his fat chin.

We know that adult males may have mumps settle in their testes. It is learned it can affect one's pancreas as well. There was an expression, in a hush, hush sort of manner about some adult male who had mumps and "they went down on him." Have you heard the expression?

For my brother and I, it was just an annoying illness that made us feel crappy and came and went after a few days. We got all the soda pop we wanted and where given aspirin. ASPIRIN? Yes, there was no Reye's Syndrome scare.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


As the concerns of the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak increase, the inevitable comparisons are being made to the 1918 - 1919 outbreak which killed an estimated 50 - 100 million people. Let's hope it is not a repeat. Let's hope by the time this date is published, my grand daughter, who contracted the Swine Flu at a picnic, is well. At the time of this writing 18 out of 22 children in her class are home sick. J. will receive loving care from her mother. Let's hope my daughter remains well.

In the year of my daughters first grade school year, a different Swine Flu hit our home town. The family all slept on the floor in the living room because it was energy conserving. Although the adults got the shots and hoped for immunity, we were, as parents more concerned about our children. Ten days, daughter ran a fever. On the tenth day I brought her back to the doctor. Although she had a low grade fever, she was, according to the doctor, well enough to go back to the classroom.

There was only a skeleton class as the flu came and went through families. The children spent their days in review waiting for normalcy. As a mother, and many of you would bob your head in agreement, I got it last. Perhaps I should say I acknowledged it last. After the initial acute attack, the virus settled in my legs. Was it the vaccine or was it the flu? The doctor didn't know, he just praised me for keeping on the move, as others had been paralyzed by it. Makes me wonder if the episodes of back and leg pain experienced over the last many decades is the flu/vaccine raising its ugly head. Who is to know?

The Great Influenza is a fascinating account of the 1918-1919 outbreak. Focusing on the American experience, author John Barry offers an exhaustive, yet still readable story. It begins with a look at the state of American medicine at the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th and examines how professors at Johns Hopkins worked to “modernize” the system. Unfortunately, that modernization was still in progress when the epidemic hit. Beginning with a few deaths in military camps, then spreading to urban centers, the pandemic quickly overwhelmed the public health system of the time. In a single week in Philadelphia, more than 4,500 died, and bodies were left in the streets for lack of a system to dispose of them.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Various Typhus Epidemics

Caused by the bacteria Rickettsia prowazekii, and transmitted by body lice, typhus has been responsible for untold deaths. During Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, more of his soldiers died from typhus than were killed by the Russians. The disease also exacerbated the Irish potato famine.

During World War I, typhus outbreaks are said to have killed as many as nine million (civilians included).

The Plague of Athens in 420 BC was most likely the first recorded outbreak of Athens.

Typhus outbreaks were averted during the Second World War with aggressive delousing campaigns using DDT.

The 1952 polio outbreak killed 3,000 in the United States. A 1916 US epidemic killed 6,000. Although it has virtually disappeared in the US since the 1955 invention of the vaccine, it still appears around the world.

Articles from the Thief River Falls Times talk about the school closings, the children who are affected by polio and how they were treated, as well as those children who died.

I had a great friend who contracted polio. Later she would tell about how she had to have two different size shoes because her polio foot was smaller. BUT she made it and isn't that the important thing?

Typhoid Fever Outbreaks

Typhoid is spread by water and food infected by the salmonella bacteria. It has largely disappeared with modern sanitation, but was a major killer in olden days (wells and outhouses shared the same water tables).

Typhoid killed Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert and her son, Edward.

In 1906, a cook named Mary Mallon gained eternal fame as Typhoid Mary when she was traced as the source of an outbreak among the moneyed set in New York. She was a carrier, who did not herself get sick, and was said to have infected 33 people, 3 of whom died. When she refused to stop working as a cook, she was quarantined for life on North Brother Island.

But Mary was not an isolated case. The New York Health department knew of dozens of carriers, and in 1906 recorded 600 typhus deaths.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Antonine Plague 165 - 180 AD A suspected smallpox outbreak, it may have killed as many as five million. 5,000 a day were dying in Rome.
The Asiatic (Russian) Flu 1889 - 1890 First reported in Russia in May of 1889, it hit North America in December. By February 1890, it had travelled to South America. Later, it hit India and Australia. The flu had a very high mortality rate, killing at least 250,000 in Western Europe.

Smallpox Epidemics Among Native Americans 1492 - 1900 Although no one knows for sure, various sources estimate that the pre Columbian population of the Americas was around 75 million, with as many as 12 million living in North America. A US census count in 1900 put the Native American population at 237,000. That is, by any standard, a precipitous drop in population.

While there are dozens of things to blame for this decline, the spreading of European diseases—especially the highly virulent smallpox—throughout the Native American populations was a major factor. The smallpox (and other disease) outbreaks among Native Americans, therefore, must rank as one of the worst outbreaks of disease of all time.

We know we were inoculated against small pox by the scar on our arm or leg. In 1980, when Ryen was the age to get the incolated, it had been decided their was more risk from the vaccine than from not having it.


Monday, June 15, 2009


The “Common” Flu The flu is responsible for an average of 36,000 deaths a year in the United States. AIDS, in comparison, causes about 15,000 deaths a year in the United States. That makes the “common” flu more than twice the killer that AIDs is.

The Plague of Justinian 541 AD Most likely a bubonic plague, this one killed one quarter of the population surrounding the Mediterranean. At its height, it killed 10,000 a day in Constantinople.

The First Cholera Pandemic 1817 - 1823 The outbreak began in Calcutta and quickly spread to the rest of the subcontinent, eventually extending as far as the Middle Eastern southern Russia and China.

There is absolutely no way to know how many died, because records were not kept. However, the British Army recorded 100,000 deaths among its native and European troops, so the mortality must have been staggering. Infected rice apparently was to blame for the start of the outbreak.

There have been seven pandemic outbreaks of cholera in since this one. The seventh began in 1961, and according to the World Health Organization continues today. In 1999, WHO recorded more than 9,000 cholera deaths.
Cholera is caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae and is spread by drinking water and food contaminated with the bacteria.

We need a report on Cholera from Nenna. She has been in Africa for over a year teaching and treating Cholera and AIDS. It is disturbing to learn purifying water would make such a difference. Thanks, Nenna.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


AIDS 1981? to present

Although it pales in comparison to the total deaths caused by influenza, malaria and other epidemic diseases, AIDs is on the list of the worst plagues of all time. Since 1981, 25 million deaths have been attributed to the disease.

Like Malaria, the tragedy is that the deaths are entirely preventable, since AIDS is transmitted, not through the air, or food or water, but through known human behaviors. Daddy was given tainted blood during heart surgery, they did not know what the germ in his blood was. He called it 'dirty blood', it was AIDS.


Saturday, June 13, 2009


Malaria most likely is the the greatest killer of humans in history. Even today, the World Health Organization estimates that it kills 2.7 million people a year; WHO says that it kills 2,800 children a day

The tragedy is that malaria is entirely preventable. After World War II, it disappeared almost entirely thanks to the use of DDT. However, with the banning of that pesticide, malaria has made a comeback.

Friday, June 12, 2009


The Black Death 1300s - 1400s, with further outbreaks into the 1700s.

The Black Death is the name commonly given to the epidemic outbreaks of bubonic plague that killed nearly a third of the population of Europe—as many as 34 million people. It is said to have killed similar numbers in China and India. The Middle East also was hit hard. Although no totals are known, a 1348 - 1349 outbreak may have killed 400,000 in Syria. Similar numbers for Africa are reasonable.

So, the total worldwide almost certainly reaches close to 100 million.The reason this is not considered the worst, however, is that the Black Death killed those 100 million over a period of 200 years. The Great Influenza killed that number in six months.

The Black Death is traditionally attributed to one of the three forms of the plague caused by the bacterium Y.pestis (bubonic, pneumonic and septicemic). Some modern researchers, however, think it may have been caused by an Ebola like virus, or anthrax.

NEXT: Malaria

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The children's great grandfather, Olaf A Anderson, was visiting away from home when he died of the Spanish Flu in 1918. How many other people buried in the cemeteries in New Solum Township died of the flu? How many of the tombstones dated 1918 represent the flu?

The Great Influenza 1918 - 1919 Also known as the Spanish Flu (although it is likely that it began in the United States), the Great Influenza was most likely the deadliest plague in history. The extremely virulent influenza virus killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people in the space of just six months. And unlike other influenza outbreaks, it didn’t just target the old, and the very young. One study says that it struck 8 to ten percent of all young adults.

The numbers killed by this flu are even more staggering, when you consider that the world’s population at the time was just 1.8 billion. A similar outbreak today, therefore, could kill 350 MILLION people in a similar time span.

During a typical flu season in the United States, hospital respirator use approaches 100 percent. In a pandemic flu outbreak, most people would not be able to get respirators or hospital care.

This nightmare scenario is what drives the concern about the swine flu, and the avian, or bird flu outbreaks. Memories of the Great Influenza are what sparked the media frenzy over such things as the Swine Flu outbreak of the 1970s and the SARS incident of the early 2000s.

Tomorrow: The Black Plague


The pandemic was no doubt magnified by conditions existing during World War I, especially with large numbers of young men packed into very close quarters in military barracks. The flu is said to have begun as an isolated mutation in Haskell County, Kansas, and transmitted through the movement of American soldiers from base to base.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Daddy sat at his desk in the office with an atlas and his old Remington Rand manual adding machine keying in numbers between here and there. I didn't ask why he did it, only how far away was the destination. He had a way of figuring out where to stay although it was not certain if reservations were made ahead. We all knew to go on a holiday meant some long days in the car to get there. We were, after all, nearly at Canada's border in the Midwest, a long way from anywhere. Let's say we are going to Bangor, Maine to eat lobster on the coast.

We know in the mid-fifties there were not the Interstates like there are now. One didn't hook up with four lanes in Minneapolis/St. Paul and ride it all the way to the coast. No, it was the time of two lane roads nearly all of the 2,000 miles to the restaurant overlooking the water.

Now, all of us who have computers and a touch of savvy can hop on to the 'net and google Mapquest. The beauty of Mapquest is it includes construction zones and it will help you calculate your fuel needs. Although it is a great service, there is even something better than a handful of papers.

Let's say we are going to Maine. Global Positioning Systems are readily available in all price ranges. Our "old" unit was bought in 2004. It gives us play by play moves, which is great for finding places in big cities and lakes in Minnesota. Unit can be updated via the computer. Ours does not show construction zones. It will show us gas stations, restaurants, and hotels. But if a business goes out of business, it would, unless the unit is updated, will only bring us to the address.


There is IPhone by Apple. That is all the applications, (called an APP for that), except Daddy. It appears the APPs are extra and available at the APP Store. It is fabulous technology and to see Ryen use his is as natural as daddy would have handled a two party line.

Let me ask you, what's your APP?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Old Trunks as mentioned her grand uncle Olaf, numbers of times. She has talked about how, when the house he lived in at Rosewood was bought by her parents, books, to numerous to mention, were burned. These were the yellowbacks and dime novels. It was about 1941 or so.

The question for the day is, when did soft cover books become available. We know from looking at Olaf's books from the late teens and early twenties, in that era books were stitched together. If we look at a paperback in our own collection, we see the cover is paper or cardboard and the spine is glued, rather than being stapled.

We know that in today's market, the hard cover comes out first, with a grand profit margin for the publishers and the sellers, followed by the paper back. Have you said, or heard someone say, "I will buy it when it comes out in paperback?" Most likely you have.

The question remains: When did dime novels begin?

The experiment started in Germany but was cut short.

Allen Lane, from England intended to produce cheap books. He bought paperback rights from publishers, ordered huge print runs (e.g., 20,000 copies) to keep unit prices low, and looked to non-traditional book selling retail locations. Booksellers were initially reluctant to buy his books. But Woolworth, placed a large order on the books, and the books sold extremely well. After this initial success, booksellers were no longer reluctant to stock paperbacks. The word "Penguin" became closely associated with the word "paperback".

In America, DeGraff, issued a similar line in the USA, partnering with Simon and Schuster to found the Pocket Books imprint. De Graaf, like Lane, negotiated paperback rights from other publishers, and produced large print runs. His practices contrasted with those of Lane in his adoption of illustrated covers, aimed at the North American market. In order to reach an even larger market than Lane had, he went the mass market route, through distribution networks of newspapers and magazines, which had a lengthy history of being aimed (in format and distribution) at mass audiences. This was the beginning of mass market paperbacks. The Thief River Falls Times, ran chapters of books in their paper.

Our question remains, do we know the first paper back published. The answer is yes. It was The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck in 1939 in New York City.

During WWII, dime novels were beginning distribution within the arm forces. Women were reading. People waiting for planes and trains were reading. The metal racks, which took little space were popping up everywhere including airports, train stations, and drugstores. Society was hooked on the little book that fit into one's purse.

People traded books to read and still do. Libraries have sales to sell books by the bag, many of them worn paperbacks.

Nothing has taken pocket books out of the running until recently when the KINDLE became available in November of 2007. Today, the Kindle Store has more than 300,000 books available, plus top newspapers, magazines, and blogs. This is just the beginning. Our vision is to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 60 seconds on Kindle. We won't stop until we get there.

Whether you prefer biographies, classics, investment guides, thrillers, or sci-fi, thousands of your favorite books are available, including 109 of 112 books currently found on the New York Times® Best Seller list. New York Times Best Sellers and most new releases are $9.99, and you'll find many books for less.

Kindle $359. Holds 1,500 books
Kindle DX $489. Holds 3,500 books.

Do you read enough to warrant it? I know a few that do.


Monday, June 8, 2009


Comic books are, at least, as old as movies. beginning in the XXth Century, in the search of new ways of graphic and visual communication and expression.

Usually, comic books are also associated with the prehistoric paintings in caves and Egyptian hieroglyphics, all of them visual narratives of juxtaposed images. The existence of words was not mandatory, but with the adoption of symbols to represent them -- letters --, they were soon added to give more information and boost the narrative flow. The improvement of press and printing technology were strong factors to the development of the medium.

The Yellow Kid, in 1896, by Outcalt, essentially synthesized what had been made before him and introduced a new element: the balloon, a space where he wrote what the characters said, and that pointed to their mouth with a kind of tail.

This new kind of art now set, and the adventure begun. In the first decades of its life, comic books were essentially humoristic, and this is the explanation for the name they carry to date in English language.

The crash of the Stock Market in 1929 was a turning point in comic book's history, and in the 30's comic books grew up, starting to picture adventures.

The Golden Age of comics

science fiction
detective stories
jungle adventures

Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon

Chester Gould's Dick Tracy

Hal Foster's adaptation of E. R. Borroughs' Tarzan

About this time was created the first costumed character, the Phantom, written by Lee Falk and masterly drawn by Ray Moore. Falk is one of the best comic book writers of all time and probably the one that stood more time with the same character -- more than 50 years! Falk also created Mandrake the Magician, with pencils by Phil Davis.

The Comics evolved becoming part of mass culture. In the period 1940-1945 some four hundred super heroes were created, mostly based in Superman's model, though only a few survived. Two of them deserve to be highlighted: Batman, created in 1939 by Bob Kane, a darker character (inspired in Da Vinci's flying machine), and Zorro whose fame would exceed Superman's in the 80's, and Captain Marvel, by C.C. Beck, a young boy that earned magical powers every time . Captain America fought Hitler in the war years.

The 50's staged the greatest witch-hunt of comics ever, and a lot of prejudice from those days still remains. Psychiatrist Frederic Wertham wrote a book, The Seduction of the Innocent, where he accused comic books of causing youth corruption and juvenile delinquency. Among any other weird subjects, he accused comics of inciting youth to violence (what had already happened with rock'n'roll).

A Comics Code was then created destined to limit and rule on what could appear (and what could not) in the pages. It destroyed all horror titles from EC Comics, except for one, an humanistic mag, that remains until today: Mad.

While brother Greg was reading the action comics, I spent my allowance on Little Lulu Comics which were developed by Marjorie Henderson Buell and published by Dell Comics. The first Little Lulu appeared in the Saturday Evening Post as a one frame in September of 1935 and would run in the Post until late December of 1944.

Kind and Sincere Lulu always saved the day. Her books were published from February 1948-March of 1984. She did commericals for Kleenex on the Perry Como Show and Pepsi.

Because I liked them so well, I introduced them to my daughter.
What was your favorite comic book?


This is the Baskin Robbins logo. We know it by the two colors and the fact the pink spells 31 for its 31 flavors. We need Rachel to tell us about "the Matterhorn" which was a sundae with SEVEN scoops of ice cream as she received on as a gift on her birthday.

Look at how simple this one is, or is it? It is simple saying it is the cream of cream and a mother is feeding her child a volcano sized portion. Who is that standing in the back ground, doesn't it look like a doctor to you? What is your take on this?
If you were the ring bearer at a wedding as a little boy and the groom promised you a gallon of ice cream if you were good, wouldn't you wait for it? The little boy never got his gallon of ice cream!
How much ice cream did you eat as a kid? Did your freezer make little fuzzy icicles in it after it was open and left for a while? Ours did and I didn't like fussy maple nut, which was a stock item because it was daddy's favorite.
Do you make your own ice cream? Imagine families gathering in the in the 1850's for picnics and folks taking turns to crank and crank and crank. And for all that work? What did they get?
Give credit to Nancy Johnson. In 1847 she developed the first hand-crank ice cream maker, and despite what you might read elsewhere, received a patent for it. Much of the confusion (and lack of credit) to Ms. Johnson comes from the fact that she sold her rights to William Young for just $200 (still a pretty good sum in those days). He at least had the courtesy to call the machine the “Johnson Patent Ice-Cream Freezer.”
Dig in, eat up, it is summertime and that means time for ice cream and watermelon for those of you who love both.



Sunday, June 7, 2009


The idea of blogging about newspapers came to me from a friend in Michigan. She stated the Detroit Free Press is now doing door to door delivery only on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you want the other days paper, one may get it mailed to you. She declined to have it mailed, as she is not able to get to her street side box.

Old Trunks is thinking about how the people of New Solum Township passed around old papers from Norway and were in heaven just to have news, regardless.

Now we have play by play options. Even the local paper adds new news as it happens. How many news channels do you get in your area? More or less than weather channels?

When Fargo had the flood, there was nothing else going on nationally. No politics, other weather, or scandals. So if you wonder why we got so much press, it may be because of that, although I like to think it was because Fargo had courage. Courage, is newsworthy even in this stoic part of the country.

After spending 300 hours reading old papers at the library, I really do think I am okay with a 1915 paper, how about you?


Saturday, June 6, 2009


Did you ever wonder what your grandparents used for a tooth brush, if they used a brush at all? When did tooth brushing come into the picture? Before history was written although not with the type of toothbrush our children use.

As a kid, mother always bought ones with really stiff bristles. She did that because I chewed on the brush, (probably to make it softer), and she thought the stiff ones would last longer. Now, only soft brushes are recommended and if your gums are bleeding from those brushes there is possibly something greater going on it your mouth.

Now they have a nice word for the plaque build up around and under the gum. Mother called it 'trench mouth'. Bleck.

Anyway, let's get back to tooth brushes. The first toothbrush to resemble the modern toothbrush is believed to have been invented in China in the late 1400s, which used the stiff hairs from a hog's neck, attached to a bamboo stick. Can you imagine that?

Moving right along....A man name Addis was jailed for starting a riot in England. While there, he made a toothbrush out of a bone in which he made holes. He got hair from the guard and strung it through the holes, tied and glued it. It was about 1760, he would be released from jail and become a wealthy man. Previously, soot and salt were used.

Mass production of the product in America only started in 1885. The rather advanced design had a bone handle with holes bored into it for the Siberian Boar hair bristles. The problem was two fold, the bristles fell out and the hair bristles didn't dry causing bacteria to build up.

Toothbrushes as we know them today with synthetic bristles are a patent of the Dupont Company in the late thirties.

Now, my question was, what did my grand parents use? What I have learned is the very idea of daily tooth brushing, (or brushing one's teeth multiple times a day), didn't catch on until WWII. Part of the soldiers daily hygiene was to brush their teeth. They brought the practice home to their families. That is when regular brushing started.

Although, as adults, we take brush to enamel, rinse, floss, dig, scrape, and all other capers, some of us, or the children of some of us have wet a toothbrush and laid it on the sink, so when our parent's asked if we brush, we could we did, followed by if you don't believe me feel the brush. Oh, you never did that? Your kids never tried to pull that one off?

Tom said he was always reminded and never did the wet brush trick and he always used tooth paste. Of course.

As for grandparents, well, they had false teeth by the time I was born, but that is a different story for a different day.



Friday, June 5, 2009


Grandma didn't have a problem with where the fresh veggies were in the store, they were in the back yard surrounded by a fence and holly hocks. Freshness was something that happened as the produce was picked, everything else was canned. As for fresh fruit, peaches and strawberries were bought in lug size containers and processed into fruit or fruit jams when it was bought. Blueberries, chokecherries, and raspberries were picked and rhubarb was cut early and made wonderful pies or was made into sauce for seasons of the year items weren't available. She did not complain. Oranges were a luxury.

Grandma didn't wail about how stuff was moved around in the market. In their later years, with $30 each from social security, their trip to the market meant flour, sugar, oatmeal, and other staples which could be mixed and matched to make meals. Meat was only eaten in the winter; the little they bought was stored in the shed away from the house along with the donuts and the pink frosted molasses cookies that were a speciality of hers.

Grandma didn't go to the racks to see what was available. She didn't even go to the racks to see what was on sale. She went to the fabric department and bought x much amount of fabric to make the same style dress and apron she had worn for years. Although there are hundreds of different colored thread, to her there was white and black and it would just have to do.

Never once did we go to Benhard and Julia that lunch of some sort wasn't served. It was okay if you just dropped in. Bread, jelly, sauce, cookies and coffee was always, (underline, underline) offered. Lunch plates and little glasses were used, it made it appear as if you had more. Or, maybe that is what they did with lunch plates.

Maybe we should ask our selves how much we really need to live well.


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Let's leave the market behind and move on to clothing stores.

Old Trunks has shopped at the same dress shop since arriving in Fargo. I like the clothes, I know the sizes are true and I don't have to dress like I am a teeny bopper. Simple, well-made pieces that mix and match. Not brain surgery here. Since retirement closets full of clothes aren't necessary. If I had not retired, I would be wearing green shirt and tan pants, so shopping would be minimal anyway.

My point is they, too, have move stuff around. Clothes that I saw hung in the spring of 2008 are on the rack at full price and they have moved the crystal away from the natural sunlight which streamed into the area.

Unlike the market, this store appears to have brought the necessities forward and moved the luxuries, such as crystal, to an area unflattering to its beauty. Perhaps if one is looking for crystal, one will hunt for it. Perhaps. What is in its place: Fiesta dinnerware. Is the store pushing for brides to pick dinner ware so heavy it will pull the cabinets off the walls? Granted it is beautiful stuff, but $200 for three mixing bowls is a little steep, don't you think? Pyrex, yellow, green, blue, red bowls which nested cost $4.95 a set in 1962, That big yellow bowl raised a lot of bread and mixed a lot of cookies until it shattered decades later.

And yes, I went to look at the crystal!

Do you have your fourth of July shirt ready? It is only a month away!!!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


If you shop at the same stores long enough, you know when they move merchandise around. Although I can understand the transformations, it doesn't mean I am for it.

We all have read articles about how the ends of the aisles at the market and the area next to the register are considered the impulsive areas. I do know that when 'my' market gets new products they seem to stick the product anywhere. It seems like they are saying, "If twelve people can find and buy this product in 10 days, we will put it like with like". Such as it was with Eight O'clock coffee when I was on my testing coffee binge this winter.

Since I shop top to bottom and side to side I manage to find all the new stuff. That is how I found the coffee sandwiched in by the spices. I am over my experiment but the coffee has been moved to the coffee aisle. Unfortunately, the express store, meant to be milk, bread, and fresh veggies and fruits is trying to be the all-for-everyone store; it is a tight zag with a cart to get to the free donuts and, of course, all the necessities appear to be getting farther and farther from the front door.

But my big complaint is a simple one. Anyone that knows me well knows I say white bread makes you dead. But my sweet Thomas loves his make glue ball stuff and he is too old to try to switch him over. He keeps me up to what the inventory in the freezer is.

The loaf said, LARGE. I bought two. They were placed on the side table in the kitchen for him to put in the freezer. He stopped short and asked why I bought them? Questioned, I must have looked at him like whaaaaa? Why did I buy the pound loaves? What did I pay for them. The slip said $1.99 each. They were not the LARGE LARGE, just the LARGE. The conversation waned. They next day he called the store. LARGE was on sale for $1.99, regular $2.39, LARGE LARGE was NOT on sale and sold for $2.49. I felt I had been duped.

It is summer, I like to think I am even more careful about dates, yet, I missed two single drink orange juice recently. Three weeks out and more sour than and old woman with no friends. Does this mean this item is a pour sell? Or, does it mean that I need to bring a permanent marker with me and mark as I go?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Old Trunks would have thought more Loon legends would be available on the Internet to weave into the pictures from the lake this last weekend. One would think with its solid bones, its big feet, and its inability to walk on land would offer more that a story about the Native Americans throwing them into the water because they were clumsy on land and always knocking things over.

For all of us who have heard the cries, the coos, and the warning songs, we are enamored by them. Even Paul, a stoic, mayor-like person who lives next to us at the lake, was out with his camera taking pictures of a loon on her nest. He emailed me his picture, which was taken in the same place I had taken mine!

Every lake appears to have a nesting pair. At a lake with an earthen launch, and no cabins along its shoreline we found a pair back in a cove. I laid down my rod and watched and photographed these magnificently marked water fowl as it preened, scooted along the water, raised up and spread its wings. The Loon didn't seem to care if we watched it clown about as Tom moved the boat about to catch the best angle of the sun on their jet black and snowy white feathers. It was a magnificent experience; I found myself holding my breath. When we stopped watching, my arms ached from holding the camera steady on that windy, water rolling day.
It isn't only Minnesota that has Loons. They can be found in Wisconsin, Michigan , even Wyoming talks about them. In the winter, they go south and to the Pacific area as in Washington State. Here they are in their winter coats and look nothing like they do in the summer.
Now, we will wait for the hatch and watch as the parents carry them on their backs. The parents will feed them for about three months. It is said they will fly in eleven weeks.