google-site-verification: googlee20fcd946adc59a7.html Out of the Past

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Carnival vs. Lent

"Carnival. This is the time preceding Lent in the Christian calendar. In earlier times, all remaining meat and dairy products had to be consumed during this period, before the forty-day fast. The word carnival has some connection to carne or meat.

"Carnival, also known as Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, is a day of ritual subversion. All the normal rules of society are turned upside down. You're allowed to get blind drunk, lift your shirt to passersby, rudely satirize public figures with parade floats - and that's only the mild version in New Orleans. In the middle ages, it was also time to openly mock your superiors with fake weddings, trials, even masses. Anything normally held sacred was ridiculed.

"Historically, at the end of the festivities, a fat man armed with phallic sausages would tilt with a skinny figure impersonating Lent, armed with fish and vegetables, and of course Lent always had to win. Then everything would go back to the way it was before."

Out of the Past
Artwork: The Fight Between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1559.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What You Eat Is When You Are

"The bad news is what's for dinner. The good news is there's lots of it."

Take a seat at the dining table and open the menu. Order anything you please; it's on the house.

Sound too good to be true? Well, you're right. There is a catch.

Like the old good news/bad news vaudeville gag suggests, the menu often makes the dinner. What's on the menu is largely determined by where you are dining and when.

continued at... What You Eat Is When You Are

Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food
Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads
Artwork: Baked Meatloaf and Dumplings

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1972: Vodka Invasion

Who won the Cold War? Vodka.

Prior to the mid-1970s, vodka lagged well behind the whiskeys in the market for spirits in the U.S. and most other Western nations.

Then came d├ętente and President Richard Nixon's effort to ease geo-political tensions with the Soviet Union.

"The President subsequently authorized his good friend Donald Kendall, the Chief Executive Office of Pepsi-Cola, to do business with the Soviets," Patricia Herly explains.

"The American company agreed to help the Soviet government set up a factory with the capacity to produce 74 million bottles of cola a year, using Pepsi's syrup. The cash-strapped Soviets were allowed to pay in vodka.

Continued in The Book Stall

Vodka: A Global History
good spirits & fine liqueurs
Beverage Supplies

Artwork: James Bond/Vodka Martini

Friday, November 29, 2013

1843: First Christmas Card

The first commercially produced Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 by English artist and designer Sir Henry Cole, according to historian Nicholas A. Basbanes in On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History.

A copy of the card was included in the 850 pounds of rare paper ephemera gathered by collector John Grossman and sold to the Winterthur Museum in Delaware earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1883: A President in Yellowstone

For three weeks in August of 1883 the first sitting president to visit Yellowstone National Park, Chester Arthur, made an ambitious 330-mile overland trip from Green River, Wyoming, north to Mammoth Hot Springs with a 75-man military escort led by General Philip Sheridan.

It was the longest and most unusual vacation ever taken by a sitting President. The traveling party included Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving son of Abraham Lincoln, who commemorate the trip with a leather-bound album of photographs taken on the journey by a young photographer, F. Jay Haynes, along with the dispatches describing the President’s activities which were sent to the Associated Press.

This volume reprints much of that album, of which only six copies were ever made, and publishes more of Haynes’ 130-year-old photographs of Yellowstone National Park and the President’s party.

A President in Yellowstone
1872: Yellowstone National Park Established
History and American West Titles

Friday, October 4, 2013

1923: Babe Ruth's Missing Home Runs

In 1923, the year Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx, Babe Ruth hit 47 home runs -- enough to win the major league home-run title that season -- but six of them were ruled foul balls under Major League Rule 48 which said that balls that cleared the fence in fair territory but landed foul were to be ruled foul. Additionally, balls that hit the foul pole, home runs by today's rule, were considered ground rule doubles.

The rule was changed to its current form in 1930, according to Robert Weintraub in "The House That Ruth Built," but not before costing Ruth at least six home runs and the outright home-run title in 1923 (officially shared with Philadelphia's Cy Williams).

The House That Ruth Built
Babe Ruth
The Roster

Monday, July 15, 2013

1807: John Colter Explores Hell.

Colter's Hell is a mostly inactive geyser district located just west of Cody, Wyoming, at the mouth of the Stinkingwater River Canyon

While geyser activity has been minimal in recent times, there are accounts of geothermal activity similar to that inside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park in the not too distant past.

John Colter, an intrepid member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, gave the first accounts of the area to non-native Americans following his solo journey of 1807-1808. But Colter's descriptions of gloomy terrors, hidden fires, smoking pits, noxious streams and the all-pervading smell of brimstone were too wild for his listeners to believe. They derisively dubbed the imaginary place "Colter's Hell."

History and American West Titles
Artwork: Colter Stone