27 March 2006

Colonel Freeleigh

And then there is that day when all around, all around you hear the rain beating the petals, one by one, from the dogwoods. At first it is one here and one there, and then it is two and then it is five and then eight and thirty, until all the petals blow fiercely in the wind, plummet with the rain, fall like down feathers to the soft surface of the moon, and you are the last petal on the tree; and you wait for the next stiff shake to knock you swiftly free from your hold upon the sky, and drift you up and around as the rain weighs you down, and drops you down and down. Long before you hit the grass you will have forgotten there ever was a tree, or other petals, or a spring, or greening grass below. You will fall in darkness...

19 March 2006

Stumbling Through the Internet...

One year ago, to the day, I attended a spring celebration in Charlotte. There we played croquet. I even took a few photos. One of them follows.

two mallets

I've had it posted on flickr for nearly the whole year it's been since I snapped it. On Wednesday, shortly after returning home from my new job at Panera, I took it upon myself to start browsing the internet for real jobs. As usual I got quickly side-tracked at CERN's site. Following the old link trail, and being perpetually curious about croquet being played at real events, I clicked to this little tidbit. Follow that link and look at the photo next to the article. I thought it was awesome that they even followed the rules and gave me credit!

06 March 2006

I Would Also Have Voted For Orson Welles

The Third Man is about the best movie I've ever seen or heard. Zither music: who knew? Christopher Walken, please--I mean really, please--do this*. You'd have my vote.

ears: weapon of choice - fatboy slim
eyes: something wicked this way comes - ray bradbury
feet: new vintage adidas
mind: the world is flat - thomas l. friedman

*rumor is that it's a hoax site :(

02 March 2006

Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels!

I heard the phrase for the first time ever tonight. Totally caught me off gaurd. No idea what that meant. After a bit of quick research--Thanks be to Google and the Internet--I've come up with a short answer. Well, really the answer is kinda obvious as to why one shouldn't take wooden nickels--they're made of wood!--but the real question is where did the phrase come from and what does it mean to actually tell someone not to take wooden nickels.

On December 5, 1931, the Citizen's Bank of Tenino, Washington failed thusly creating a shortage of currency in the town. This left the merchants of the area unable to get change without traveling about 30 miles over mountainous roads that were built for horses. The average round trip was about four hours. Much too long for merchants to be gone from their stores. A meeting of the Chamber of Commerce resulted in the local newspaper printing up the first issue of wooden money in the United States.

In 1933, Blaine, Washington issued round wooden coins when their bank failed. These were the first issues of wooden coins in the U.S. Several other places, mostly in the Pacific North-West, issued wooden money after that. Some followed the flat format of Tenino and others used round pieces.

The Century of Progress in Chicago in 1933 was the first place to use wooden money as souvenirs. Several issues of round coins were made ranging in size from a silver dollar to about three inches in diameter. Then someone got the bright idea of combining the use of the wooden coin as advert/souvenier for some celebration and curreny. Binghamton, New York was one of first places to embrace this concept. Wood continued to be used to enhance civic celebrations through the mid 1930’s and really started to be cranked out in 1938 when the J. R. Rogers Company of Fostoria, Ohio obtained a copyright on their design for wooden money. [Random-er aside, thanks to my folks penchant for dish-collecting, I know that a lot of good dishes, especially glassware, came out of this small Ohio town and is as a style generally called, oddly enough,Fostoria, though it should be noted that not all "Fostoria" was produced by the company of the same name. I have many pieces, if anyone is truely that interested. Long ago it was a fantastic sand deposit or something...]

Just when the adage "Don’t take any wooden nickels!" was added to the American language is unclear, but the reasons are easy to understand. First of all, it's wood, and as such not widely asccepted as money. Secondly, each wood had an expiration date and generally even a specific final redemption time. If you were in a possession of a handful of wooden nickels that expired at noon today and your best customer came through the door at five minutes to noon, it would be difficult to get to centennial headquarters to cash them in. Many wooden nickels also said they had to be unbroken to be exchanged. They are fairly fragile.

Really, I've decided that the Rogers Company’s use of wooden money should be studied as one of the great marketing schemes of the 20th century. They had the wooden pieces printed up sometime prior to the actual celebration. They then sold the woods to area merchants for face value and the merchant in turn gave the wooden nickels, wooden dimes, and wooden quarters to their customers in change. The woods usually carried the time, date and place of the celebration. So in effect you had paid to take home an advertisement for the event. Kind of like paying for cable to watch their ads in today's world.

It became common at one point (when?) to tell somebody not to take any wooden nickels when they leave--to tell them to be careful and to take good care of themselves. So "Don't take any wooden nickels!" Tell someone when they walk out your door instead of "so long', etc. Having never before heard of wooden nickels or the title phrase, I call this another case closed. There it is. Next time I'll kick it up a notch with a blast from my spice weasel. Bam!

eyes: mythbusters

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