Thursday, April 26, 2018

Midlands Traditions: Corn Service Sets

This, and cream cheese rosettes, are traditional and expected gifts at most weddings in the Missouri River Valley region.

Traditionally, a set belonging to grandparents is handed down as a family heirloom, although it can also given by the youngest member of the bridal party (and his/her family if the child is very young) to ease the burden of gift giving decisions.

The origins? Sometime in the early 1910s, as mass-produced tableware became common and affordable, and later, after Marshall Field pioneered the bridal registry in 1924. This set spread like wildfire in the agricultural midwest, with newlyweds receiving duplicates. 
A simple system was created to avoid an gaffes of etiquette. It is considered gauche to place this item on a wedding registry. It is the Maid/Matron of Honor's responsibility to certify that the set will be gifted.

There are other traditions about the first use of the set. For some, it is the first meal prepared in a new home. Others wait for the first barbecue. (Yes, an outdoor grill is another traditional wedding gift in the American Midwest.)

Some invite the giftgiver's family over for a simple dinner, and inaugurate the gift then to show how useful it is.

The Brandeis art deco set (inspired by the Joslyn Art Museum) is still in production and sold by Yonkers (which acquired the Brandeis chain in the 1980s).

The Omaha Center for Industrial Design holds an annual scholarship auction where students, celebrities, and anyone else may design and produce a unique set. It is one of the rare banquet auctions to use cobshanks as part of the silverware. (The proper placement of the cobshanks in a table setting is perpendicular to the desert fork and spoon, next to the bread plate.)
The Nebraska State Fair (now located in Grand Island) issues commemorative cobshanks with each corn-on-the-cob sold. 

A sterling set autographed by Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne sold at charity auction for $33,000 in 2008. The Governor's Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska, contains a small collection of sets, which are on display as part of the public tour.

A giant cobshank (as the handles are known), designed by 
Claes Oldenburg, is on display behind the rest stop located near exit 280 on Interstate 80, funded and installed as part of Nebraska's I-80 Bicentennial Project. As some vandals have discovered, the sculpture includes the prongs, which are imbedded in a concrete slab reminiscent of a corncob.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Reaction Shots: Missing Boy Found Inside Claw Machine

Missing Boy Found Inside Claw Machine

By LeAnne Morman
Tue 3:00 PM, Apr 15, 2014
Updated: Tue 10:27 PM, Apr 15, 2014

A 3-year-old boy somehow crawled up into a claw machine and was busy playing with the toys inside while his mother frantically searched for him.

Employees at Madsen's Bowling and Billiards in Lincoln said a customer alerted them that the young child was stuck inside the claw machine.

At the same time police were called to a home nearby on a report of a missing child. According to reports, a 24-year-old woman called 911 when she discovered her 3-year-old had slipped out of her apartment.

She told police that she was in the bathroom when the boy left through an unlocked door.

Meanwhile, Madsen's called police and the vending machine company to come let him out.

Employees said by the time the vending people arrived police had pieced the two situations together.

The boy was freed from the machine without any injury.

According to police, the mother acted quickly and appropriately as soon as she realized her son was missing and there were no indications of neglect. She was not cited.

Good thing they didn't have a candy machine.

So simple, a child could do it!

If you want that iPod, borrow a toddler.

"Dang… I got the toddler. I was trying for the Rastafarian banana."

That stork is soooo fired.

The latest design in playpens!

"Hey, Cleetus! The trap done worked!"

The mother wasn't cited, but authorities are wondering where the toddler got the fake ID he used to enter the bar.

"Damnit! Not again! Earl, call the exterminator! We've got toddlers in the claw machine!"

The latest marketing promotion for redneck bars: daycare.

Parents can come get sloshed during the day while the child is safely ensconced in the “playpen”.

Authorities decided to check the ball pit at a nearby McDonald’s, where they found a heroin needle, three Happy Meal toys, a desiccated but edible Big Mac, and two teenagers engaged in heavy petting.

“Bartender, there’s a toddler in the claw machine.” 
"Can’t be. I used them all in the barbecue."

Stop me if you've heard this one… "A toddler walks into a bar…"

"Doc… I have these recurring dreams where I’m a small child, and I’m on sale at the local Wal-Mart…"

It used to be, kids set up a sign and tried to sell their younger siblings. I guess this works better.

"Let’s go to Dave & Buster’s. Their claw machine has dachshunds."

At 5 PM, the bar replaces the toddler with a go-go girl.

"The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Wissen ist Macht.

Discovered in the New York City Subway, 16th and Fifth, 2014

  1. Touro College: where today's students learn to become tomorrow's leaders.
  2. Ada flunked figure drawing, so she switched her major to Poli Sci.
  3. Touro was her backup. Her first choice was Brandeis.
  4. Vice-president of the campus Young Republicans.
  5. Future Fox News commentator
  6. Her roots are showing.
  7. If you want to replicate her style, ask for a "boys from brazilian".

Friday, January 5, 2018

Once Again, Wile E. Coyote Touches the Face of God...

A friend posted this image to Facebook, and I got to wondering...
Normally, the rocket would explode, like Macy's Fourth of July fireworks, or Wile E. would crash into the earth, leaving a giant crater, or, if the animator is really cruel, Wile E. would stand up, unscathed, count his blessings, and then the crushed rocket would explode, obliterating Wile E. with a small mushroom cloud. Or hurtling him skyward, most likely to fall back into the blazing inferno. 

The longer I looked at this image, the more I realized... if that rocket doesn't explode (and normally, it would do so at about 2000 feet), then most likely the following will occur:
  1. A rocket need only travel about 25,000 mph to escape the Earth's gravity. But that's unlikely for Wile E., even with cartoon physics. At the very least, all that would remain is his skeleton, and even that would be scattered to the winds unless strapped to the rocket. 
  2. A cannonball has an initial speed of about 225 mph. Unprotected humans can stand about 150 mph, as seen at various roller coasters. A cartoon coyote? Certainly he can handle higher speeds. However, if he has pierced the cloud layer, then he's in commercial airspace, where breathing becomes difficult. (It's already difficult to breathe if you're travelling at a high velocity.)  So, most likely, if he doesn't hit a commercial airliner, he'll probably asphyxiate. Depending on the altitude, his body might be cremated due to air friction as it returns to Earth. Or it's obliterated upon landfall. (Height of 5500 meters, 20 kg coyote...  about 325 mph, 1 million joules, without friction, but terminal velocity is about 200 mph.) 
  3. How much thrust is required to place a 20kg coyote that high in the atmosphere? Given the rocket pictured, what sort of propellant would be needed? Sputnik weighed 84kg, and that was scaled down due to the weakness of the R-7 rockets. The height of the rocket was 29 meters, and that was to place the satellite in an orbit 139 miles above the Earth. 
I'll leave it to scholars of physics to contemplate what variables would be required to create a coyote-shaped cookie-cutter hole upon impact, and how deep the resulting hole would be, given an average sample of geology in the American southwest.

Some other musings:
  • What if there were multiple coyotes? That is, each coyote dies or is incapacitated after each attempt to catch the Road Runner.
  • What if Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, espied the nuclear testing occurring nearby? What if he actually contributed to research at Los Alamos during the War? (And later, at White Sands and Redstone, testing rocket design?)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What is this?

The meteorological symbol for "polar vortex".

The dongle which keeps your Spirograph drawings from skipping.

The international symbol for "chastity".

(Note the iconic triangle with peehole.)

My new astrological sign.
(Single, 45, not wanted by most.)

A neo-nazi logo.

A guitar pick for a ukulele.

A computer cord organizer.

A really GROOVY symbol.

A "modern" paper clip from 1962.

A prototype IUD/diaphragm.

A "bullet" from a toy space gun.

Pew! Pew!

A radio station engineer's multi-tool.
(The toolkit also includes paper clips, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a razor blade.)

Ancient Calumbrian throwing weapon, c.500 B.C.

A stencil for a cookie dough press, to make Paprikkenjappen. (mmmmm...) 

The international symbol for "Yes, the two media formats are technologically similar, but you will need to purchase an additional adapter to make them compatible."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Never Underestimate The Power Of Soup!

1) Joseph Campbell's Soup 

2) Kinda Chewie.

3) Never underestimate the power of soup!

4) This is what happens when a Wookie loses....

5) "YOU IDIOT! His face was supposed to go on the cans of Alpo!"

6) I hope this tastes better than that C-3POs cereal...

7) Next month, Spaghetti-Yodas! 
(That was a joke... but... )

8) [Insert GIF of Campbell Soup Kids cosplaying as Luke and Leia]

10) Is this part of Abram's new cannin'?

11) Tastes like chicken!

12) Gormaanda has some amazing recipes...

13) It's a good thing Chewie's son is named "Lumpy" and not "Chunky"!

14) Too bad Andy Warhol never painted "Star Wars"...

15) Wait until you see whose picture is on the Cream of Shrimp cans!

Thank you. You're too kind. I'll be here all week. Try the Bantha Surprise.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

You Always Hurt the Ones You Love (or, The Receiving Line Forms to the Left)

1) How hard?

2) Slap? For $1 Million? 

What do I get for a good solid punch?

3) Which part of the body?

4) What do I get for a poke? Rat tail? Tickling? 

Do I get a bonus if they wet themselves while being tickled?

5) Do I have to share the $1 Million with them?

6) Do they get to reciprocate?

7) Do I get less money if they enjoy it?

8) May I use... a herring?

9) Can I put it on YouTube and make money from advertising?

10) Only if I can kiss it and make it better afterwards.