Friday, June 22, 2007

Star Wars Sears Wishlist from 1978

I stumbled on this great scan of the 1978 Sears Wish list catalog. I remember thumbing over these pages and ear marking the pages as a kid. Star Wars was released in May of 1977 and the toys hit stores soon after the release of the film that same year. In fact, the Cantina Adventure Set in the picture labeled 1, could be pre ordered before the toys came out. Well it seems that Hasbro made an error when desiging one of the characters. Snaggletooth, the tall blue character standing next to Greedo was actually in the movie as the one seen as item #3, the small red guy. The story goes like this. The toy designer only had an onscreen image from the movie to use as his template. He had no idea how tall ole' snaggletooth was so he designed him full size. This as it turns out was incorrect, snaggletooth was really only about 3 to 4 feet tall and thus Hasbro made a new sculpt to fix this problem. The cool thing to collectors, was the short release of the blue snaggletooth in the Cantina Adventure set. He only came in the set and as you could imagine, the set was soon fixed to include the small red one.

The last time I looked the blue snaggletooth was commanding prices around $200 USD. I have one that I actually traded for because my friend didn't like him. I never did get the Cantina set, but I'm glad as hell, old Happy decided to make the trade. Anyway, it is a cool story. And, May the Force Be With You. Always.

The Gatling Gun

I watched a TV program last night about Machine Guns...I don't know why this intrigued me so, but alas, I enjoyed learning about the history of the machine gun.

The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. It was his intent to save lives on the battlefield. After the American Civil War ended, Gatling discovered many soldiers had died after wounds sustained in battle. His logical told him, if he could invent a weapon that could take the place of 15 men, that would mean less soldiers on the battlefield to be injured or killed. Fuzzy math indeed, however the gun proved to be less than effective during battle because of user error. The gunman would turn the crank to fast and the gun would heat up and jam. The idea was tabled until advances in machine gun technology evolved and became more portable. In the end, the machine gun killed more than 5.5 millions soldiers during WWII, so much for saving lives.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Do you Neti?

Jala Neti is an ancient yogic cleansing practice of the nasal cavity with saline water and a specialized pot. In recent years, western medicine is referring to it as nasal irrigation. I like the term Jala Neti better.
The user mixes a saline solution to 0.9% salinity in body temperature water in the special pot. This is about a teaspoon in a half liter, but each pot is different so you need to know your pots capacity.
Once the saline and temperature is correct, you bend over a sink, start breathing in and out of the mouth and cram the neti pots spout in one nostril and slowly turn your head to the opposite side. Slowly the warm saline water will run out the other nostril taking with it, mucus, pollen, and any debris that has been lodged in there. It sounds nasty, but it is quite pleasurable. Once half the pot is empty, rotate your head center, slowly exhale out of the nose and move to the next side.
After each side is done, you hang your head low and exhale gently through the nose about twenty times to release the water. Slowly return upright and gently blow each nostril about 1o times. It is very important to rid the sinus of the excess water. Never blow hard, as this can send water into the upper sinus and cause infection.
I have just started the practice, and find it very easy, and the results are simply amazing. It increases smells, clears the sinus for easier breathing and give you nice rush. If you are interested, please learn the proper technique. My blog only touches on it and it is very important to learn it correctly. I think if you give it a go, you will use it everyday as part of your normal routine and it only takes a few minutes. What do you have to loose?

Campari Ad in Hustler Magazine

It seems that the late Jerry Falwell was good friends with Hustler magazine founder Larry Flint and the two of them would trade friendly jabs at one another for years. I dont remember where I found this advertisment, but it sure is telling. I dont have the date but judging from his young appearance, I'd say it was a while ago

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Theremin

You have probably all heard the sounds of a Theremin. You know, that strange outer space sound in all the black and white Sci Fi films? Star Trek episodes? Well, I found a great video showing just what it is and how it works.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Panama Hat

Legend has it, the Panama hat was so named because President Teddy Roosevelt had returend from a visit to the Panama Canal and raved about how much he liked a hat he picked up locally. Thus the name for the straw made hat was dubbed the Panama Hat.

Today the best Panama hats are hand woven in Ecuador by master weavers, a skill that is passed from generation to generation. Much like skilled cigar rollers, these master hat weavers have spent much of their lives honing their skills.

Today there are many brands of this fine hat. Most brands grade the quality of the hat into three categories.

  1. Fino Grade: Quality typical of a Grade 2-4 straw. 100-500 weaves per sq. inch
  2. Super Fino Grade: Quality typical of a Grade 5-8 straw. 500-800 weaves per sq. inch.
  3. Optimo Grade: Quality typical of a Grade 9 and up straw. 900-2000 weaves per sq. inch.

No, straw hat will last foever, and most Panama's can last from 1-10 years depending on wear. The most common issues for the breakdown of the straw comes from the straw drying. Never store your hat in direct sun and never pick the hat up by its top. This bad habit will bread down the crown and you will loose the shape. Never pinch the crown and when handling, hold the hat by the brim.

If you start to get sweat stains on your Panama hat, a mix of lemon juice and water sprayed on the hat and then allowing the hat to sit in the sun for a few hours will sometimes bleach the sweat stain out.

Most importantly, the use of a wide brim hat WILL help prevent skin cancer. Why not look slick while taking care of yourself? I wear my anytime I go outside.

Cheers from the Panama Hat wearing Hobbit.

Monday, June 4, 2007

My Holy Grail of retro furniture

The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman.

The Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) was first released in 1956 by designers Charles and Ray Eames who worked for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. The Chair is made from molded plywood with thin wood veener guled and shaped under heat and pressure. The seat cushions were usually covered in leather.

This is just one comfortable looking chair and they style is timeless. The unfortunate problem is the insane cost the chairs are fetching. Upwards of $7000 USD. There are knock off versions to be had and sometimes you can find one in rough condition at used furniture stores. The search for an original Eames is always on, however I'm not getting my hopes up on this one.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Suffering Bastard

First Drink Post. Hopefully I'll keep adding to the list of adult libations.

The Suffering Bastard.

Found a 1959 New York Times interview with the inventor himself, Joe Scialom, one-time head bartender at Sheperd's Hotel in Cairo. Here's what it said: When liquor was short during the war, he had to concoct "something to quench the boys' thirst." He combined equal parts gin and brandy with a dash of Angostura bitters, a teaspoon of Rose's lime juice, and English ginger ale. He garnished the drink with a sprig of fresh mint, a slice of orange and a cucumber peel. The bartender advised Americans to substitute ginger beer for the ginger ale because the British version of the soft drink is more heavily seasoned with ginger than ours.

I've seen variations of the story, but I like this one.

My reciepe comes from Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's Grog Log.
1 oz. Lime Juice (always fresh, and I perfer Key Lime)

1 oz. Gin

1 oz. Whisky

2-4 Dashes Angostura Bitters

4 oz. Ginger Beer (Dont substitute Ginger Ale, its just not the same thing)
It is a staple in my house and so refreshing on a hot sunny day. Enjoy! And, as always...Drink what you like, like what you drink.

Just who is this Loki?