Sports that you won’t find in the Olympics

Saw this on imgur and started thinking about the kinds of events that many wish would be Olympic sports, but probably never will be.

Looks like America’s winning this one

On the other hand, Eqeruutijuk looks even more painful although less likely to result in CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or repetitive concussion injury):

But you might end up looking like the Joker…

Rugby or Gaelic Football are there for anyone who would rather get into a dust-up than score points:

“We must introduce this lovely game in France!”

But everything’s relative. Italy’s Calcio Storico, a mashup of football, rugby, and MMA, makes Rugby look like a day at the Ding Dong School.

Players compete during the final match of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino traditional 16th Century Renaissance ball game, on Piazza Santa Croce in Florence on June 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Probably not sports I’ll be going out for any time soon.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Elementary, my dear Watson. Or perhaps not.

Having recently re-watched the first Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and having devoured “Sherlock” with Benedict Cumberbatch some time before, I put out a poll to my Facebook circle of friends: Which Holmes did you like best?

Despite being only 4 days in, Mr. Cumberbatch leads by an overwhelming margin of 24 to 4… but the comments at the poll indicated that there were others who might have fared even better. So I went digging and found as many Sherlocks as I could see (and I may have missed a few in spite of it all, although I suspect these are perhaps the best known); I was astonished to see how many superb actors undertook the iconic rôle, but given the excellence of their craft it was understandable.

I present them here for your gratuitous viewing pleasure.

Who do you think did the best Holmes? Do your homework. There will be a quiz (actually, it’s the poll at the end.)

Viggo Larsen
Sherlock Holmes i Livsfare 
1908

Alwin Neuß
Sherlock Holmes
1908

Henry Arthur Saintsbury
The Valley of Fear
1916

Eille Norwood
The Yellow Face
1921

John Barrymore
Sherlock Holmes
1922

Clive Brook
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
1929

Arthur Wontner
Sherlock Holmes Fatal Hour
1931

Raymond Massey
The Speckled Band
1931

Reginald Owen
A Study in Scarlet
1933

Bruno Güttner
The Hound of the Baskervilles
1937

Louis Hector
The Three Garridebs
1937

Basil Rathbone
The Hound of the Baskervilles
1939
Probably the most definitive Holmes of my parents’ generation

Alan Napier
The Speckled Band
1949

Alan Wheatley
Sherlock Holmes
1951

Ronald Howard
Sherlock Holmes
1954

Peter Cushing
The Hound of the Baskervilles
1959

Christopher Lee
Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace
1962

Douglas Wilmer
Detective
1964

John Neville
A Study in Terror
1965

Robert Stephens
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
1970

Radovan Lukavský
Touha Sherlocka Holmese
1971

Stewart Granger
The Hound of the Baskervilles
1972

John Cleese
Comedy Playhouse;
Elementary, My Dear Watson:
The Strange Case of the Dead Solicitors

1973

Leonard Nimoy
The Interior Motive – Stage Play
1975

Roger Moore
Sherlock Holmes in New York
1976

Nicol Williamson
The Seven Percent Solution
1976

Christopher Plummer
The Sunday Drama
1977

Vasiliy Livanov
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson:
The Acquaintance
1980

Tom Baker
The Hound of the Baskervilles Series
1982

Guy Henry
Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House
1982

Peter O’Toole
Burbank films, Animated
1983

Ian Richardson
The Hound of the Baskervilles
1983

Jeremy Brett
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
1984
By far the most popular suggestion from my poll-takers.

Nicholas Rowe
Young Sherlock Holmes
1985

Brent Spiner
TNG “Elementary, Dear Data”
1988

Michael Caine
Without a Clue
1988

Michael Pennington
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
1989

Anthony Higgins
Sherlock Holmes Returns
1993

Matt Frewer
The Hound of the Baskervilles
2000
A good fit for Berlinghoff Rasmussen, a time-traveling con-man in Star Trek. As Holmes? Not so much.

Joaquim de Almeida
The Xango from Baker Street
2001

James D’Arcy
Sherlock
2002

Richard Roxburgh
The Hound of the Baskervilles
2002

Rupert Everett
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking
2004

Jonathan Pryce
Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars
2007

Robert Downey, Jr.
Sherlock Holmes
2009
Perfect Holmes for the Guy Richie vehicle;
Jude Law was a great Watson as well.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock
2010
You could not ask for a more exquisite “high-functioning sociopath.”

Ben Syder
Sherlock Holmes
2010

Jonny Lee Miller
Elementary
2012

Gary Piquer
Holmes & Watson. Madrid Days
2012

Igor Petrenko
Sherlock Holmes; Russian series
2013

Kōichi Yamadera
Sherlock Holmes
2014

Ian McKellen
Mr. Holmes
2015

Yoshimitsu Tagasuki
Shisha no teikoku
2015

Will Ferrell
Holmes and Watson
2018
Perhaps the most maligned Holmes outside of Matt Frewer,
but this film was not intended to be taken seriously.

So now, you must choose. But choose… wisely.

The Old Wolf has spoken, and will be interested to see the results.

Fifteen Titles

This started out as a Facebook thing; I participated, and – having a lot of erudite and eclectic friends – I got a lot of commentary.

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you, for whatever reasons. This isn’t your top 15 canon or even books you’d necessarily recommend, just books that have made their mark on you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

I gathered all the responses, edited out the duplicates, and came up with this list – which would keep me busy for quite a while if I ever found myself locked in a bookstore after the zombie apocalypse…

Or even wander into one on a normal day…

I have chosen to share the list for your gratuitous pleasure. Enjoy.

1984 – George Orwell
A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton
A Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith.
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
Alice Munro (anything)
All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
An American Bible – Elbert Hubbard
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver
Animorphs series – Katherine Applegate
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Anne Of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
Babel Tower – A. S. Byatt
Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delaney
Baby Island – Carol Ryrie Brink
Barbara Pym (anything)
Becoming – Michelle Obama
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me – by Richard Fariña
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Beyond the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Black Boy – Richard Wright
Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin
Bonds that make us Free – C. Terry Warner
Born A Crime – Trevor Noah
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
Come to Grief – Dick Francis
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Cry the Beloved County – Alan Paton
Dans l’or du temps – Claudie Gallay
Death at an Early Age – Jonathan Kozol
Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
Double Negative – David Carkeet
Down all the Days – Christy Brown
Dreamsnake – Vonda N. McIntyre
Dune – Frank Herbert
Educated – Tara Westover
Ender series – Orson Scott Card
Enemy Mine – Barry B. Longyear
Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
Expecting Adam – Martha Beck
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce
Foundation Trilog – Isaac Asimov
Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers
Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstadter
Grant – Ron Chernow
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Green Eggs And Ham – Dr. Seuss
Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
Hamilton – Ron Chernow
Handbook of Designs and Devices – the Dover Pictorial Archive
Harry Potter Saga – J.K. Rowling
Have Space Suit, Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Horton Hatches the Egg – Dr Seuss
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I Am A Strange Loop – Douglas Hofstadter
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
In Calabria – Peter Beagle
I Will Always Love You – Cecily von Ziegesar
If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! – Sheldon Kopp
In the Garden of Beasts – Eric Larson
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
It’s the Heart That Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Joan Aiken (anything)
John le Carré (anything)
John Scalzi (anything)
Kate Atkinson (anything)
Kon Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl
Leaders eat Last – Simon Sinek
L’écume des jours – Boris Vian
Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
Les gens de Mogador – Élisabeth Barbier
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone – Susan Beth Pfeffer
Light in August – William Faulker
Little Men – Louisa May Alcott
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Love, Again – Doris Lessing
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Me & Emma – Elizabeth Flock
Michel Folco – Everything
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Mistress Masham’s Repose – T. H. White
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
My Antonia – Willa Cather
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok
No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
O, Pioneer – Willa Cather
Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
On Becoming a Person – Carl Rogers
On Writing – Stephen King
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
Pappan och havet – Tove Jansson
Past Sins – Pen Stroke
Peeps – Scott Westerfeld
People of the Book – Gwendolyn Brooks
PG Wodehouse (anything)
Philip K. Dick (anything)
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
Possession – A.S. Byatt
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Puckoon – Spike Milligan
Reading in the Dark – Seamus Deane
Resurrection – Leo Tolstoy
Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Seven Days In May – Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
Spiritual Roots of Human Relations – Stephen R. Covey
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
Strumpet City – Joseph Plunkett
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives – David Eagleman
Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
The “Tomorrow” series – John Marsden
The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell
The Anatomy of Peace – The Arbinger Institute
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
The Black Stallion – Walter Farley
The Book of Mormon
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Call Of The Wild – Jack London
The Canopy of Time – Brian Aldiss
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
The Carpet Makers – Andreas Eschbach
The Chosen – Chaim Potok
The Company of Wolves – Angela Carter
The Compassionate Samurai – Brian Klemmer
The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart
The Dark – John McGahern
The Dean’s December – Saul Bellow
The Devil Tree – Jerzy Kosiński
The Diary of a bookseller – Shaun Bythell
The Disposessed – Ursula LeGuin
The Education of Little Tree – Asa Earl Carter
The Ellie Chronicles – John Marsden
the Emily trilogy – L. M. Montgomery
The Family of Man, Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Catalogue
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
The Golden Apples of the Sun – Ray Bradbury
The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis
The Green Hills of Earth – Robert A. Heinlein
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Hiding Place – Cory Ten Boom
The Holy Bible
The Horse’s Mouth – Joyce Cary
The Human Comedy – William Saroyan
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
The Jewel in the Crown Quartet and Staying On – – Paul Scott
The Last Question – Isaac Asimov
The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
The Lazarus Long series – Robert Heinlein
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula le Guin
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Magus – John Fowles
The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
The Odyssey – Homer
The Rape of Nanking – Iris Chang
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William L. Shirer
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Shining – Stephen King
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
The Source – James A. Michener
The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell
The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan
The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks
The Thirteen Clocks – James Thurber
The Thrawn Trilogy – – Timothy Zahn
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Turn of the Screw – – Henry James
The Twilight Saga – – Stephanie Meyer
The Whiteoaks of Jalna – Mazo de la Roche
The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (various)
Time and Again – Jack Finney
To Be a Slave – Julius Lester
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
Tolkien (anything)
Tomorrow When the War Began – John Marsden
Tortilla Flats – John Steinbeck
Touching Spirit Bear – Ben Mikaelsen
U.S.A. Trilogy – John Dos Passos
Ulysses – James Joyce
Up the Down Staircase – Bel Kaufman
Ursula LeGuin – Everything
Vida – Marge Piercy
Waiting for the Barbarians – JM Coetzee
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Warmth of Other Suns -Isabel Wilkerson
White Fang – by Jack London
Wicked – Gregory Maguire
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Young Jedi Knights series – Kevin J. Anderson)
Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman

The Old Wolf assumes no liability for death by starvation in libraries, dens, or bookstores.

Gently, Gently Go.

For the longest time, this little plaque has hung by my door, much in the same way as a mezuzah graces the home of the Jewish faithful.

Mahn Mahn Hong

For a number of reasons, it is among my most treasured possessions, those things that have transient value during our sojourn on this pale blue dot, and which often end up in a thrift store or the landfill when they are passed to family who have no connection to them.

The back side looks like this:

This came to me from the effects of my father, who – despite the fact that it was a gift celebrating a marriage that would end 9 years later – obviously treasured it and the sentiment included.

I have already written of Ladson Butler, a man of keen intellect and the heart of a Compassionate Samurai, whom I regret not having known in life. This was a present from him to my parents on the occasion of their wedding.

The hanzi (慢慢行) on the front read “mahn mahn hong” in Cantonese, or “Màn man xíng” in Mandarin. Butler’s translation, “gently, gently go” is accurate – 慢 is “slowly,” and 行 means “go” or “travel.” Other translations have been rendered as “take it easy” or “take care.” The sentiment extended to a visitor who is leaving your home is the same, regardless of how you read it, and brings to mind the gentleness of the well-known “Irish blessing:”

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Decades ago, Chase Manhattan ran an investment campaign featuring the “nest egg” as the primary hook:

Charles Addams, the famous cartoonist whose work appeared so frequently in the New Yorker, had a different take on this:

Despite intense effort, it’s still true – you can’t take it with you. Elbert Hubbard, an author and humanist of previous generations, once expressed the same sentiment more poignantly:

“The dead carry in their clenched hands only that which they have given away.”

So this little jewel of mine will remain behind when the bus comes for me, and whether or not someone treasures it after I am gone remains to be seen – I can only hope. But for me it has had immense value.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The fads I’ve known

You know, those things that everyone is doing or everyone has to have.
My wife and I were talking about this the other day, and it got me thinking about those fads or trends that had touched my life since the 1950s. I can’t think of anything that I ever went crazy for in terms of “gotta catch em’ all,” but I know there were many that I crossed paths with over time. There are far more than these listed in various places, but these are some of the ones that crossed my path in some way or other.

The Coonskin Cap

Had to have one of these when I was around three. Davy Crockett was my hero

Silly Putty

Lifting the ink off comics was fun. Getting yelled at when it melted into my clothes or the carpet was not.

Slinky

1950’s slinky

We lived in a 5-floor walkup in New York City. I loved sending one of these down the stairs. The problem was, when I was 7, I foolishly attended a double-feature horror show with my cousins, and for longer than I’m proud to admit I was terrified that this lady lurked in the shadows under the stairwells. It sort of dampened the enthusiasm for spending more time than I had to on the stairs.

Hula Hoop

Well, he finally got one. Why does Alvin look so conflicted?

In 1959, I learned the Chipmunks’ Christmas song by heart, and of course I had to have a hula hoop. It was fun for a day or two. But they’re still a thing, apparently.

Super Ball

I got one of the early ones, and the Super Ball really did bounce, but mine started flaking apart after a while. I guess they got the kinks worked out eventually. These were very hot when they came out; peak production reached over 170,000 Super Balls per day, but the maker knew it was a passing fad. “Each Super Ball bounce is 92% as high as the last,” said Wham-O VP Richard P. Knerr. “If our sales don’t come down any faster than that, we’ve got it made.”

The Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo

I was mad for these in 5th grade

Yoyos are a very old toy, but Duncan really hit the nail on the head when they came up with these shiny, premium units with a metal spindle that allowed the toy to spin freely. I remember mine was red, and I had one of the butterfly versions as well. These are still pretty hot in some sectors; watch the absolute masters go at it.

Clack Balls

Noisy and dangerous, but fun when you got the hang of it.

These were probably the bane of parents and K-12 teachers when they came out. When you really got them going, they made a racket that sounded like a machine gun. Apparently they were prone to shattering, which I never experienced, but they should have come with wrist guards because when you did it wrong, you’d get whacked and it hurt. These were taken off the market in the 1970s. Wikipedia has some interesting history behind these.

POW-MIA bracelets

Many of these are still to be found on people’s wrists

These were created in 1970, during the Vietnam War. Those who wore one pledged to continue doing so until the person they represented came home. They were very popular on the campus of the University of Utah; I wore mine for years until it was almost devoid of chrome plating, and it ultimately fell apart from metal fatigue. There are still many military personnel missing, and they deserve to be remembered.

Bell-bottoms

In the 1970s I had a couple of these (in the most hideous polyester faux-tartan imaginable) just because they were cheap, if I recall correctly.

This cartoon appeared in 1994, by which time bell-bottoms had become an icon for ridiculous fashion.

Cabbage Patch Kids

These toys, still available, are the first ones that really became a nationwide madness, as far as I can recollect. They were so hot they spawned the Cabbage Patch Riots, a precursor of later Black Friday rampages. I only know of them because I had a young daughter at the time, and of course she wanted one. Fortunately, the madness had subsided (mostly) by the time she was old enough to appreciate one.

Pogs

These once had a practical use

Pogs, or milk caps, used to be found sealing returnable glass bottles of milk, often delivered from the dairy. When the paper or foil cap was removed, the “pog” was taken out to unseal the bottle.

In the 1990s, the game of Pogs was commercialized, but it had become an entertainment for the young before that. Not unlike marbles, pogs were placed face down and the player would toss a heavy disk at the stack, causing them to scatter. Any pogs that landed face up belonged to the player.

My oldest son was very good at the game and had quite a collection.

There were as many designs for pogs and slammers as one could imagine.

Tamagotchi

The Tamagotchi, or “little egg” from Japan

I had one. The object was to feed and care for your little blob until it grew into an adult. You’d give it food, clean up its poop, and basically take care of it with needs and attention. It would beep at you when it wanted something. Mine “died.” Enough said.

Lawn Darts

Imagine playing horseshoes with deadly weapons. That’s what lawn darts were.

“You’ll shoot your eye out!”

These things were lethal. In 1987, a young girl was killed, and between 1980 and 1988, 6,100 people had been sent to the emergency room. They were banned in 1988.

Beanie Babies

“Peace”, currently selling at around $30K

Ty made a lot of money on these little understuffed animals, but almost nobody else did. People collected them like crazy, hoping that the “discontinued” ones would increase in value and make them rich. Only a very few actually became worth anything, and only to die-hard collectors (although during the height of the craze, people were flipping Beanies for ten times their purchase price, and at one point almost 10% of sales on eBay were linked to Beanie Babies. Like anything else, an item is worth only what some s̶u̶c̶k̶e̶r̶ collector will pay for it. Like most others, the fad crashed, and today, surviving Beanie Babies are worth about 50 cents apiece. A few of these ended up in our kid’s stockings at Christmas time because they were cute.

Nehru Jackets, Beatle Boots, and Madras clothing.

These were items that were popular when I was at a prep school in New England in the ’60s. A lot of kids had them.

The Nehru Jacket

The original Beatle boot. The Fab Four spawned a number of fashion fads in their day. I almost got thrown out of school because I tried to grow my hair in the “mop” style popularized by the early Beatles look.
Madras jackets are aparently still available in some places. I thought they were cool then, they look pretty garish now.

Furbies

Furby-24
Dah-boo!

The interactive toy that scared the pee out of the NSA. These little critters came with an infrared port that allowed them to recognize the presence of another Furby; they would, at that point, hold conversations in “Furbish,” a language of agglomerated nonsense syllables. As time went on, however, Furbies began to start speaking English, and as time went on, the amount of English increased. Authorities in certain government agencies decided that these little critters could act as spies, but Tiger Electronics, the maker, said,

Furbies didn’t have recording devices at all. Rather, the manufacturer had pre-programmed some English into the toy’s memory, and as the Furby “aged,” it began to use those words more and more — but there was no way for it to add new, “heard” words to its vocabulary. A Tiger executive told the media that “the NSA did not do their homework” and exclaimed that “Furby is not a spy!” (Now I Know)

We had a few of these scattered around the house. They could be quite startling if they began to talk without provocation.

I could go on. Invisible dogs, pet rocks, psychedelic posters, lava lamps, you name it. If you’re interested in a long walk down memory lane, here is a pretty comprehensive list of fads and trends from the 1830s to present. And it’s a given that in the very near future, there will be another “hot new thing.”

Edit: How could I have forgotten Care Bears? Here’s my little buddy with his Weighted Companion Cube (don’t talk to me about mixed metaphors), wishing all my friends and family a wonderful 2019. We had a lot of Care Bears over time, and most of them came back to me as my children grew up. (Fortunately, I never did.) The vast majority were sold to collectors on eBay, but Tenderheart, a 1986 original, is mine forever.

Postscript

This was not a fad, really, but it was a fairly intriguing item for propellerheads in the mid ’60s. I wanted one, but at the time $25.00 seemed a bit too much for something that would die in a year.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The many faces of Dr Pepper

I touched upon brand imitation in a previous post, but a recent image posted on Facebook by an acquaintance of mine made me want to revisit one such example in detail.

55 Dr Pepper clones. There are more.

While Wikipedia relates many details about the brand and its history, apparently the original owners failed to trademark the “Dr.” part of its name, and as a result there are almost more doctors in grocery stores than you can find at an AMA convention.

Hannaford’s version of Dr Pepper. Not bad, actually, and half as expensive as the real thing. Sadly, the diet version has recently disappeared from shelves in the 12-pack form, and can only be found in 2-liter bottles. Hannaford was both obscure and uninformative when I pressed local management and national customer service as to reasons why.

I have found two fairly complete lists of Dr Pepper clones out there.

I never dreamed that there could be so many.

The origins of Dr Pepper are fraught with rumors; what is known is that the formula was originated by pharmacist Charles Alderton of Brooklyn, NY in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. The Dr Pepper FAQ reports that “Dr Pepper is a unique blend of 23 flavors.” Prune juice, despite popular opinion, is not one of them. There is a suggestion that Alderton wanted to come up with a soda that had the smell of walking into an old soda shop. Its formula is as closely guarded as that of CocaCola™.

Whether these alignments are based on the names or on one person’s assessment of the relative accuracy of the flavor, I have not been able to determine, but I thought it was funny at any rate.

As for who owns Dr Pepper, that is also a tale of the ages. It’s now marketed by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, a business unit of the conglomerate Keurig Dr Pepper. (You can see Dr Pepper on the far left in the image at this post – it was at that time still a part of Cadbury Schweppes.)

But regardless of who owns it, or who distributes it (sometimes it’s the local Coke distributor, sometimes it’s the Pepsi people), as long as it continues to be available in some form or other I’ll be happy.

My poison of choice

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Always Ask the Locals

This exchange was shared with me on Facebook as a screen capture. I went digging and found the original post at the Tumblr of Iowa Rambler (systlin), followed up by a repost with a couple of comments at the Tumblr of assasue.

I present it here in slightly bowdlerized form for a family-friendly audience (my apologies to the original writers); if you don’t mind language you can follow the links above for the original text. Other than one small spelling correction for clarity, nothing has been changed.

systlin

Something I find incredibly cool is that they’ve found neandertal bone tools made from polished rib bones, and they couldn’t figure out what they were for for the life of them. 

Until, of course, they showed it to a traditional leatherworker and she took one look at it and said “Oh yeah sure that’s a leather burnisher, you use it to close the pores of leather and work oil into the hide to make it waterproof. Mine looks just the same.” 

“Wait you’re still using the exact same thing 50,000 years later???”

Well, yeah. We’ve tried other things. Metal scratches up and damages the hide. Wood splinters and wears out. Bone lasts forever and gives the best polish. There are new, cheaper plastic ones, but they crack and break after a couple years. A bone polisher is nearly indestructible, and only gets better with age. The more you use a bone polisher the better it works.”

It’s just. 

50,000 years. 50,000. And over that huge arc of time, we’ve been quietly using the exact same thing, unchanged, because we simply haven’t found anything better to do the job. 


saxifraga-x-urbium

i also like that this is a “ask craftspeople” thing, it reminds me of when art historians were all “what?” about someone’s ear “deformity” in a portrait and couldn’t work out what the symbolism was until someone who’d also worked as a piercer was like “uhm, he’s messed up a piercing there”. interdisciplinary stuff also needs to include non-academic approaches because crafts & trades people know things ok

assasue

One of my professors often tells us about a time he, as and Egyptian Archaeologist, came down upon a ring of bricks one brick high. In the middle of a house. He and his fellow researchers could not for the life of them figure out what it could possibly have been for. Until he decided to ask a laborer, who doesnt even speak English, what it was. The guy gestures for my prof to follow him, and shows him the same ring of bricks in a nearby modern house. Said ring is filled with baby chicks, while momma hen is out in the yard having a snack. The chicks can’t get over the single brick, but mom can step right over. Over 2000 years and their still corraling chicks with brick circles. If it aint broke, dont fix it and always ask the locals.