Updates from June, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pat Bertram 2:47 pm on June 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hot dogs   

    On a cold April day in 1900, Harry Stevens, who ran the concessions at the New York Polo Grounds, instructed his vendors to yell out the slogan, “They’re red hot. Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot.” Cartoonist Tad Dorgan drew a cartoon depicting dachshund sausages in buns barking at each other. Since he was a poor speller, he didn’t even attempt to write “hot dachshunds.” Instead, he wrote, “hot dogs,” which is the first recorded use of that term.

  • Pat Bertram 12:34 pm on June 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: contest, , short story   

    Just two more days left to submit your short story to the Second Wind Mystery contest. http://secondwindpublishing.com/murderisonthewind.html

  • Pat Bertram 6:02 pm on June 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anesthesiologist, doctor, scrub suit   

    Scrub suits are reversible, with pockets on both sides, so that if one is too tired to put the pants on correctly it doesn’t matter. Sheesh. If a doctor or anesthesiologist is too tired to get dressed properly, do you really want her/him working on you?

  • Pat Bertram 8:33 pm on June 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: rickshaw   

    Jonathan Scobie, an American Baptist minister, invented the rickshaw. Living in Yokohama, Japan, in the 1860s, Scobie devised the two-wheeled carriage for his physically handicapped wife, who would otherwise have been housebound. His parishioners went wild over the idea and copied it.

    • Tex Guy 10:43 am on June 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Please state that this version of the invention of the rickshaw is one of many versions that are attributed to the origin of the rickshaw.

  • Pat Bertram 8:30 pm on June 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Frank Sinatra, grocery carts   

    When Sylvan N. Goldman first invented the grocery cart, people wouldn’t use them, so Goldman hired actors to push the carts through the aisles, posing as happy shoppers so that people would get the idea.

    Frank Sinatra’s promoters did the same thing. To make his concerts more exciting, they hired girls to scream. Now they do it for nothing.

  • Pat Bertram 7:12 pm on June 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    A doctor says to a guy, “I have two pieces of bad news for you. First, you have cancer.”

    The guy says, “Oh, no! What’s the other bad news?”

    The doctors says, “You also have Alzheimer’s.”

    The guy says, “Well, at least I don’t have cancer.”

  • Pat Bertram 10:18 pm on June 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: C.W.Ralson, Modesto   

    In the San Joaquin Valley in California, there is a town named for C.W. Ralston, a well-liked and generous financier. He was embarrassed by the publicity, so he asked that his name not be used. In 1884, when the village was incorporated, they named the town “Modesto” meaning “modest man.”

  • Pat Bertram 10:10 pm on June 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: overdue library book   

    On December 7, 1968, Richard Dodd returned a book to the University of Cincinnati Medical Library. It was a casebook on febrile diseases, which had been checked out in 1823 by his grandfather. The fine of $2,646 was waived. Well, I should hope so!

  • Pat Bertram 8:54 pm on June 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Frank Lloy Wright, Lincoln Logs   

    Remember Lincoln Logs, the children’s log cabin building set? They were invented by John L. Wright, the son of the famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Pat Bertram 6:33 pm on June 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Boston, disaster movie, molasses flood   

    On January 15, 1919, a giant storage vat at the Purity Distilling Company spilled 2.5 million gallons of black molasses onto Boston’s business district. The wall of hot molasses, 15 feet high and 100 yards wide, oozed toward the sea, destroying everything in its path. The Atlantic Avenue elevated train line was demolished, the freight yard of the Bay State Railway was engulfed, a fire station house collapsed, and 21 people were killed. A possible 22nd victim, Anthony DiStasio, was declared dead, but when the coroner drew back the sheet covering his body, the dizzy and molasses coated DiStasio regained his senses. 

    Makes me wonder how this bit of not so trivial trivia could have slipped by Hollywood. It would make a great disaster film! (Though to movie goers today, 21 dead is really not that much of a disaster.) Actually, now that I think about it, it probably didn’t slip through — could it have been the inspiration for The Blob?

  • Pat Bertram 5:28 pm on June 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Civil War, famous last words, General John Sedgewick   

    If they’re not famous, they should be.

    While supervising the emplacement of Union artillery at the battle of Spottsylvania during the Civil War, General John Sedgewick rebuked some men who were cowering to avoid enemy fire. “Come, come,” he said. “Why, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist—“

  • Pat Bertram 5:59 pm on June 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: active mind, Theodore Roethke, thinking   

    A mind too active is no mind at all. –Theodore Roethke

    I’ll have to think about that . . .

  • Pat Bertram 7:52 pm on June 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Everything must be in service to a story, and if it isn’t, no matter how much we like what we said, we must have the courage to get rid of it. I’m not sure I always follow this rule, but it is a good one. Many writers have said this in various ways. 

    The most famous quote is by Faulkner:  “Kill your darlings.”

    Samuel Johnson said: “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”

    Arthur Quiller-Couch in The Art of Writing wrote: “Whenever you feel the impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.“ 

    Colette wrote: “Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”

    • iapetus999 11:26 pm on June 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I’m learning that. My best writing is also my worst writing. Too much about tech, not enough character. So the tech goes bye-bye unless critical to the story.

      • Pat Bertram 6:02 pm on June 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        My worst offender is Daughter Am I, which is going to be released in the next couple of months. I think I have way too much history in it (the history of gangsterism in this country) but the people I’ve asked about it say they like it. It’s a bit too late to cut it back, though, so I’m hoping other people like it. Or at least don’t mind it.

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