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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?


  1. Hi, diedre!

    As a left-handed child I struggled with zippers, buttons and clasps along with myriad gadgets and machines designed to be operated by right-handed people. The zipper of my winter coat was constantly jumping off the track and getting stuck, forcing me to wrestle with it while the other kids were outside having fun.

    I remember my big brother owning a Zippo lighter. He was so proud of it and the long flame it produced that he was constantly showing it off. It's interesting that the inventor of the lighter liked the word Zipper and was inspired to give his product a similar name. Perhaps in the back of his mind he was also thinking of Zeppo, youngest of the five Marx Brothers, the comedy family that by 1932 had achieved a string of hit films. Let us not forget nonconformist musician Frank Zappa, Ben Casey's colleague Dr. Zorba, and Zorro ("the Fox"). I tried to think of more famous Z names but came up with Zilch.

    In addition to the uses mentioned here in your piece, Ziplines are commonly seen in action superhero films and TV series. They are also used, along with ropes courses and other challenges, in motivational seminar programs that require participants to move outside the comfort zone and take part in activities that test their courage and endurance and build self esteem.

    Congratulations on completing this year's A To Z Marathon, diedre. As I read your posts throughout the month of April, not once did I feel the need to ZZZZZ. :) That's because your topics were consistently interesting and educational. Nicely done, dear friend. Have a great week and a merry month of May!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Lefties have their challenges, no doubt. Scissors, at first, were exasperating. Then I switched hands ;-)

      I thought of Zappa and Zorro as well, but opted for Zipper thinking it might be less used. Ha! There seems to be a rash of rebellious zippers out there ;-)

      True, Ziplines are indeed common these days. Truer still is that I'm a rather 'grounded' person who'd rather see the view from above in a picture ;-)

      Funny you should say Zilch (good one!) as it was the first word on my list of 12 possible topics.

      Thank you for your encouragement, dear Shady, and your ever-thoughtful comments.

      Have a Merry May as well, my friend!

  2. Having just lost a battle with a jammed Zipper your piece is timely indeed! Congratulations on making it to Z.

    A-Z of My Friend Rosey!

    1. Hi Keith!

      It seems that Zippers are zealously zapping their own popularity these days ;-) But there are applications where velcro just won't do...

      Congratulations to you as well!

  3. Hi Diedre - I have a botched zipper here - which I guess means zee end of an 'elderly much loved bag'! Good zeds ... I will safely cross the Zebra crossing to the other side of the A - Z road and relax for another 11 months!! Well done .. I've loved the mix of ideas - cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      Relaxation sounds good about now, doesn't it?
      Thanks for coming along, Hilary, I've enjoyed your company!

  4. The zip-lines look fun, but I'm doubtful that I'd ever try it these days. I might have been hesitant when I was younger. I saw zip-lines strung up on the Rio in LV last time I was there (2015). I'd probably be terrified.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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