2020

Word Wednesday: Quondam

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Screen Captures

This is, clearly, an obscure word. It sounds like a portmanteau of quantum and condom. Hmmm…Quantum Condoms, for an “out of this world” experience! Whadda ya’ think? Can you make a sentence with this word? ~Vic

Song Saturday: Jamie’s Cryin’

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Van Halen Album Image
Image Credit: SoundCloud

“She saw the look in his eyes, and she knew better…”

This Saturday’s playlist submission is Jamie’s Cryin’ by American rock band Van Halen, formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California. The sixth track from their debut album Van Halen, it was released as a single on May 16, 1978 but, it never charted. Credit for songwriting is the whole band and the album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 on May 20, 1978 after its February 10 release. It was certified RIAA Diamond (10x Platinum) in sales on August 7, 1996.

After their 2015 North American Tour, they appear to be on indefinite hiatus. Eddie Van Halen has had some serious health problems.

American rapper Tone Lōc used the opening tom-tom and bass riff from this song on his 1989 hit Wild Thing and wound up settling out of court with Van Halen. He and Eddie Van Halen crossed paths some time afterwards and it wasn’t friendly.

I was in sixth grade when this song came out and I had no clue. I was all into disco back then. I didn’t know who they were until Dance the Night Away came out the following year. I didn’t buy an album of theirs until Diver Down. I have never been to a concert. ~Vic

Tone Lōc Talks About Debut Album & Eddie Van Halen (Billboard January 25, 2019)
America’s Songs III: Rock! Rock! (Google Books)
Van-Halen (Official Site)
Van Halen News Desk (Unofficial Site)
Gene Simmons Talks Lost Seventies Van Halen Demos (Rolling Stone March 22, 2016)
Eddie Van Halen’s Wife’s Positivity (Survivor Net September 8, 2020)

Lyrics

TV Tuesday: Trapped 1950

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John Carradine Image One
John Carradine
Photo Credit: A Drifting Cowboy Blog

Seventy years ago, today, the television anthology series Trapped debuted on WOR-TV in New York. Also known as Trapped: Tales of the Supernatural, the host was John Carradine and some guest actors were Charles Korvin, Elizabeth Morgan, Helen Baron, Rita Gam, Fran Malis, George L. Smith, Stanley Tackney and Harry Townes. There were 57 episodes that were 30 minutes long.

There are no pictures or video of this program and very little has been written about it. I did manage to find an article on Light’s Out host Frank Gallop that referenced Trapped:

In accordance with Gallop, other hosts who aimed to set a mood of terror at the time included Andy Christopher […] (Mr. Black), James Monks (Tales of the Black Cat […]) and Lee Bowman (Eye Witness […]). Similarly, Jack La Rue (Lights Out), Boris Karloff (The Boris Karloff Mystery Playhouse) and John Carradine (Trapped: Tales of the Supernatural […]) offered external examples of film stars hired for TV hosting roles in which an emphasis was placed on their associations with the horror genre [with] typecasting as villainous and/or monstrous characters as part of their respective series façade. Due to a lack of surviving/missing material associated with some live series pre-1955, in the cases of some hosts, it is not always possible to definitively discern to what extent horror elements were adopted as part of a series persona.

Frank Gallop: The Ghoulish Host of Lights Out
Thomas Wilson
Taylor & Francis Online
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
March 20, 2020

Additional Reading:
Trapped (1950-1952) (Classic TV Archive)

Scoop Saturday: Lincoln’s Hair & Bloody Telegram Up For Auction

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Lincoln's Hair & Telegram Image One
Image Credit: United Press International via
RR Auction

Update:
The artifacts sold for an astounding $81,250 on September 12, 2020.

“[The] lock of hair and telegram, which provides details of Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, are expected to fetch up to $75,000.”

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair wrapped in a telegram stained with the 16th president’s blood is up for auction online. [From RR Auction, based in Boston], [the two} inches of Lincoln’s hair was removed during his postmortem examination after the president was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth.

The hair ended up in the custody of Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a cousin of Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln. The doctor was present at the postmortem examination and is believed to have wrapped the lock of hair in the telegram which had been sent to him the previous day by his assistant, George Kinnear. The telegram is stained with what is believed to be the slain president’s blood.

Bidding for the two items closes Sept. 12.

Ben Hooper
UPI
August 28, 2020

The hair is mounted to an official War Department manuscript telegram sent to Dr. Todd by George H. Kinnear, his assistant in the Post Office at Lexington, Kentucky, received in Washington at 11:00pm on April 14, 1865 […]. [A] typed caption prepared by Dr. Todd’s son reads, in part: “The above telegram […] arrived in Washington a few minutes after Abraham Lincoln was shot.

Todd Death Notice Image Two
Image Credit: Kentucky Kindred Genealogy

Next day, at the postmortem, when a lock of hair, clipped from near the President’s left temple, was given to Dr. Todd. [Finding] no other paper in his pocket […] he wrapped the lock, stained with blood or brain fluid, in this telegram and hastily wrote on it in pencil […] ‘Hair of A. Lincoln.’

Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd‘s own account of the autopsy, now preserved in an 1895 manuscript held in the Ida Tarbell collection of Lincoln papers at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, differs slightly from his son’s, noting that he clipped the lock himself: “When all was over, General Hardin entered and handed me a pair of scissors, requesting me to cut a few locks of hair for Mrs. Lincoln. I carefully cut and delivered them to General Hardin and, then, secured one for myself which I have preserved as a sacred relic.”

Description From The Original Listing

Theodolite Thursday: Satellites Interfere With Astronomy

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Earth Satellites Image One
Image Credit: NOIRLab
NSF
AURA
P. Marenfeld
Science Magazine

“A report warns that fleets of new communication satellites in low-Earth orbit will spoil some astronomical observations, even if all known mitigation strategies are taken.”

Astronomers and the operators of new, thousands-strong […] low-orbiting satellites will have to work together to prevent them from having a devastating impact on ground-based observations of planets, stars and other celestial objects, says a [recent] report […]. Even then, there is no escaping some harm from the fleets of commercial orbiters.

“All optical and infrared observatories will be affected to some degree,” [stated] astronomer Anthony Tyson of the University of California, Davis, […] at a briefing on the report.

“No combination of mitigation will eliminate their impact,” added astronomer Connie Walker of the U.S. National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.

The satellites, designed to provide internet access in remote areas, now number in the hundreds. [Following] the launch of the first batch by SpaceX in May 2019, astronomers were alarmed by how bright they appear in the sky. If all the planned [launches] go ahead, the number of satellites will grow beyond 100,000. Since last year, there have been a number of independent studies of [satellites’] possible impact. [The] workshop’s report is the first time the satellite companies, and those who would be affected (astronomers to the agencies that fund them and their telescopes), have pooled their results and worked out a strategy for the future.

NASA Satellite Image Two
Photo Credit: NASA on Unsplash

The satellite trails are very bright, and out of focus slightly, so they’re wide and cover several pixels on images taken with a test version of the (soon to open Vera C.) Rubin Observatory’s camera, notes Tyson. [Telescopes] that need to work during twilight will also run into problems. Because the satellites are in low orbits, they will often be seen close to the horizon and will be most visible when they are still in sunlight but, the observer is not. If, however, satellite operators choose orbits above 600 kilometers, the situation gets worse because, then, their spacecraft are visible for more of the night, and in [the] summer, all night long. Astronomers should also develop software tools to remove satellite trails from images and the companies should make accurate orbital data available for their orbiters so telescopes can try to avoid them.

The only measure the report could offer to totally eliminate the damage to astronomy was to launch fewer or no low-orbiting satellites…likely not an option given the financial investments the companies are making in the [satellites] and the lucrative market they foresee.

Tyson and his colleagues have been working with SpaceX engineers to modify their satellites to reduce their brightness. His team has also modeled trying to steer the Rubin Observatory telescope to avoid passing satellites but, Tyson says there are simply too many. Astronomers are already actively pursuing image processing solutions but, he says “the jury’s out” on how much that can help.

Daniel Clery
Science Magazine
August 25, 2020

Addtional Reading:
Report Offers Roadmap (American Astronomical Society)
SATCON Report (NOIRLab)
Satellites Could Spoil View of Giant Sky Telescope (Science Magazine February 27, 2020)

Town Tuesday: Twin Chimneys 1768

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Another one of Hillsborough’s oldest homes. ~Vic

Twin Chimneys Image One
Photo Credit: Library of Congress
Historic American Buildings Survey
February 1965

Twin Chimneys, so named for the paired chimneys in each gable end, is sited on a hill on West King Street, directly across from the Colonial Inn and the Parks-Richmond House […]. An iron gate from Stewart Iron Works in Cincinnati, Ohio, separates the house from the pedestrian traffic of the sidewalk. [It] is reputedly a pre-Revolutionary house, however, the exact date of construction is not known. It is important to note that a house is sited at the exact location on the 1768 Sauthier Map of Hillsborough but, it cannot be assumed that the houses are the same.

Twin Chimneys Image Two
05-20-2019
Twin Chimneys Image Three
07-14-2020
Twin Chimneys Gate Image Four
Left side gate.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

This is a most delightful old house, with four huge chimneys and a second-floor balcony, from which a view of the busy thoroughfare, King Street, may have been enjoyed down through the years. The lot on which it stands was once owned by Edmund Fanning.

It is interesting to know that this house was the setting for the old romantic novel, “Joscelyn Cheshire.” According to the story, the heroine concealed her lover in the attic to protect him from Cornwallis’ army. The house served at one time as Hillsborough’s Post Office.

Archibald DeBow Murphey was a North Carolina politician known as the “Father of Education” in his state for his proposals that benefited public works and public education. [Murphey] died at Twin Chimneys in Hillsborough on February 1, 1832. He is buried at the Presbyterian Church […]. The town of Murphy, North Carolina (despite its spelling) was named after him.

Additional Information & Sources:
Twin Chimneys Photos (Library of Congress)
National Register of Historic Places Inventory (PDF) (North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)
Twin Chiimneys (Open Orange NC)
Joscelyn Cheshire Full Text (Project Gutenberg)

Twin Chimneys Image Five
06-22-2018

POTD: The Pig

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I suspect that the same guy that built Jack (here, here & here) probably built the pig. The BBQ inside is really good, too.

Heh. You can just see my reflection, taking the picture. ~Vic

Metal Pig Image
Chapel Hill
03-05-2020

Picture of the Day

POTD: Stickwork Sculpture 3.0

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I’ve posted this sculpture twice, before…here & here. This will be my last installment as I only had a few shots and this shot isn’t even mine. This photo was part of a larger group of snow shots I posted about here & here.

Since it is SO HOT outside, I thought I would cool your mind a bit. ~Vic

Stickwork Sculpture Snow Image
Photo Credit: Tim Woody
(I have no idea who he is despite searching.)
From the January 2018 Snow Bomb
01-18-2018

Story Sunday: Vampire Slaying Kit Up For Auction

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Vampire Slaying Box Image One
Photo Credit: news.sky.com

Update:
“The hammer finally fell at £2,500 and the item was purchased by a private UK buyer.”

“The box has been valued at up to £3,000 and, includes a glass phial with unknown contents and a bottle of shark’s teeth.”

A “vampire-slaying kit”, containing a pocket-sized pistol and a 19th century copy of the New Testament, is going under the hammer. The gothic-looking container, worth between £2,000 and £3,000, also comes packed with pliers, [a] rosary and a bottle of shark’s teeth. Also inside the metal-bound box is an ivory-robed wolf carrying rosary beads, as well as a blue phial with mysterious contents, and a silver-bladed pocket knife. And inside the lid is an oval enamel painting that depicts the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There’s no record of the box’s origin but, the 1842 copy of the New Testament within does bear the inscription of an Isabella Swarbrick. The current owner from the West Midlands, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that they do not know very much about its history. “I have had it in my own collection for three years now,” they said. “I bought it from a large antiques fair in Newark-on-Trent. I loved the look of the Gothic box and, when I opened it, I just had to have it. I thought it was so interesting…a great conversation piece.”

Vampire Slaying Box Image Two
Photo Credit: news.sky.com

Charles Hanson, owner of the Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers, the firm selling the box, said: “People are fascinated by stories of vampires, hence their continued appearance in films and on TV today. They have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. The publication of John Polidori‘s The Vampyre in 1819 had a major impact and that was followed by Bram Stoker‘s 1897 classic Dracula.”

He added: “However, a belief in vampires and strange superstitions goes back even further and persists to this day. The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools. Items of religious significance, such as crucifixes and Bibles, were said to repel these monsters, hence their strong presence in the kit we have found.”

The box will be sold online on [July 16] as part of a five-day-long antiques and collector’s auction.

Sky News
July 9, 2020