One book leads to another...

Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 A - Z Challenge - Z

Z     Things We Appreciate

Did you know that the hole in the pull of a Zipper is to enable the attachment of string (a small nut pick works well too) for better leverage when dealing with a stubborn track? From its inception in 1851, an incredible amount of time and several design and name changes took place before the novel idea was fully embraced. It wasn’t until 1925 when B.F. Goodrich Company used the “Separable fastener” on a line of boots they called “Zipper Boots” (in reference to the sound it made) that the name and product finally stuck (grin).

In fact, George G. Blaisdell liked the phonetics of the name Zipper enough to use a modernized version of it when he patented the Zippo Lighter in 1932. Inspired by an Austrian lighter which required the use of two hands on a breezy northeastern evening, Blaisdell began producing a more manageable (requiring only one hand), improved wind resistant, and much classier model that in 86 years has certainly stood the test of time. The iconic lighter has appeared in as many as 2000 films (as character props), and the company continues to ship over 12 million lighters a year.

For the purpose of transporting goods, food, supplies – and even ammunition, across vast areas such as Australia’s Outback and China’s many mountains and rivers, people have used Ziplines or some derivative of; such as for Chimneysweeps and Steeplejacks, since at least the 1700’s.  H. G. Wells mentioned an inclined strong in his 1897 book “Invisible Man.” Scientists found them indispensable in the study for forest canopies (before drones, I suppose). These days, Ziplines are a fast growing vacation attraction. I’ve had the opportunity to try it myself, twice. The first time, a nearby mini-pig race seemed much more appealing, especially when one little racer ran right off the track and into the crowd of spectators! The second occasion, which I also declined, was located in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Fremont Street where I found the sights and sounds of the street so astonishing I was effectively glued in place as the Zip-liners swooshed overhead.  Would you, or have you tried it?

It seems the time is right to plant some Zinnias and find my Zen with a little ZachBrown in the background.

Any thoughts? Can you add to the list of things we appreciate that begin with the letter V?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

2018 A - Z Challenge - Y

Y    Things We Appreciate

Back in 1907, Chicago car salesman John Hertz, along with Walden Shaw began using trade-ins as taxicabs. Hertz painted the cars yellow to attract attention and in 1915 incorporated the Yellow Cab Company with a fleet of 40 cars. By 1925 it was the largest taxicab company in the world and boasted a fleet of over 2500. Several significant innovations were introduced under the leadership of Hertz, including the automatic windshield wipers, smooth-riding balloon tires, and telephone dispatch. But in 1929, John Hertz gave up his share of the Yellow Cab Company to focus on a rental car company he’d purchased in 1923. After merging with Checker, Yellow Cab remained in business throughout the years and in the late 90’s split off on its own again and founded the Wolley (yellow spelled backward) Cab Association, which runs a fleet of 120 bright orange cabs in Chicago.

Yellowstone National Park – The nation’s first national park was established and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Encompassing nearly 3500 miles including areas of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the park is well-known for its geothermal features such as the ‘Old Faithful” geyser that erupts every 91 minutes, and Yellowstone Lake; one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America, is centered over Yellowstone Caldera which is the largest super-volcano on earth. There are 290 waterfalls, 2 rivers, and 3 deep canyons to explore, though 80% of the park is forest and grassland. 311 species of birds, including 26 pairs of nesting Bald Eagles had been documented within the park as of 1999.
Bison are among the 60 different mammals you might see roaming free, though, for the bison, Yellowstone may be their last remaining stronghold. When the photo of Park Ranger Horace Albright and his dinner companions was taken in 1922, the practice of feeding the friendly bears was a favorite tourist activity, but several years and a few hundred injuries later, the practice was abolished.

Speaking of bears and Yellowstone Park, did kindly Yogi the Bear of Jellystone Park ever remind you of Ed Norton (played by Art Carney) from the television sitcom The Honeymooners? As many Hanna-Barbera characters were based on trending celebrities, Ed may well have been the inspiration.  I’m kind of partial to Yogi’s best friend Boo-boo ;-)  Fun Fact: Yogi was one of several Hanna-Barbera characters who wore a collar so that animators didn’t have to re-draw his entire body for each frame.

Any thoughts? Can you add to the list of things we appreciate that begin with the letter Y?