Tag: Victorian Era

Seven Things I Love (5-24-2021): History Edition

  1. 1. This Patent Drawing – Which finally puts to rest the question over or under. I don’t mean to gloat but I KNEW IT and my Mamma never lead me astray.

From My Modern Met:

Over or under? This is the question that has plagued the Western world since the invention of modern toilet paper. It was in 1857 that New York-based inventor Joseph C. Gayetty developed the first packaged variety to be made widely available in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1871 that perforated rolls of toilet paper were invented. Seth Wheeler filed a patent for his innovative design for the first time that year, and he filed another for a refined version of his invention again in 1891.

The illustrated diagram from Wheeler’s 1891 patent sheds some light on how the toilet paper roll was originally intended to be used. According to the image, it appears that the dangling end was designed to hang over—rather than under—the roll. This may be a crippling blow to those who are of the persuasion that under is the way to go. Even so, if hanging your toilet paper roll under is wrong, they probably don’t want to be right.

Original Patent Drawing Puts an End to the Great “Over or Under” Toilet Paper Debate” by Arnesia Young; May 13, 2021; My Modern Met

2. These Videos about Women’s Clothing in History – They are all just too good. The first talks about how women’s clothing may actually have been created to help protect. The second gives the history of how standard sizes came to be and the motivations behind doing so (hint, it’s always money.) The third video is a fascinating history of why men traditionally wear pants and women traditionally wear skirts (or did they….)

And last but not least (and this is a a wee bit of a stretch but I’m including it) a video about the clothing in the show ‘The Nevers‘ – my current favorite television show, which can be seen on HBO Max. They’ve already aired the first half of season one (8 episodes) and will be airing the second half sometime in the fall I believe (another 8 episodes.) As the vlogger mentions, the show is extremely historically accurate with their costumes (and she should know, it is her area of expertise.) She takes the opportunity to bust the myth that clothing from that era was extremely restrictive. There have been anti-corset campaigns for some time. Certainly the extremely boned corsets that reshape the body are not/were not good, but for women of this era most weren’t wearing the tightly drawn or heavily boned corsets (like Scartlett O’Hara). Unless a woman was from a wealthy family she would have been quite active and probably wouldn’t have had the luxury of having a ladies maid.

3. This Article about the New Version of the Game ‘Oregon Trail’ – A fascinating essay where the author, who is a black historian, is in a battle between his longing for childhood nostalgia and truth-telling in history. Is there really any correct way to make a game about colonialization?

John Gast, “American Progress” (1872), oil on canvas, 12 3/4 inch x 16 3/4 inch
(image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, painting in possession of Autry Museum of the American West)

4. This Article on Book Curses – In medieval times, because books were handmade, written by scribes, and took a long time to make, they were rare and had great physical value. Most scribes and book owners did not have the financial means to protect their libraries with armed guards so instead they used words to fend off would-be thieves. Fortunately for them, most people believed in curses so it worked fairly well.

What I want to know is why don’t we use book curses today? They would look so nice on a bookplate. Even if most people don’t believe in curses anymore, at least it would remind them to keep their paws off of things that aren’t theirs.

I looked up some more and found one [here] that I am going to make into stickers so I can put it inside all my books:

Whoever steals this book
Will hang on a gallows in Paris,
And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown,
And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast,
And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.

From a 15th century manuscript owned by Count Jean d’Orleans.
12th century Hell. Herrad von Landsberg/Public Domain.

5. These Articles about Coco Chanel and Her Nazi Connections – I’ve always been a huge fan of Coco Chanel so when I first read about this it made me extremely sad. The first article was from nearly a decade ago and appeared on MessyNessyChic. It was written about eight months after the book Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan was released. This was the first book to really include details about her involvement with the Nazis (not just that she was dating one) such as her code name, agent number, that she was included in nazi missions and worst of all, that she had taken advantage of her “Aryan rights” (meaning the seizing of Jewish-owned property and businesses.)

The second article was equally interesting. This one appeared on Forbes last year. The author is trying to determine if we can justify overlooking such a horrifying past in someone like Coco Chanel, whose left such a legacy. It’s an interesting question. I think this might be a good analogy – what if there was a building built by the nazis and after the war, all that remained was the foundation. So the French come and build a ground floor and the English build a 1st floor and the Norwegians build a 2nd floor (I’m doing the european counting of floors) and the Danish build a 3rd floor and so forth. And each floor is filled with beautiful things. But ultimately that base was built by nazis – should the entire thing be torn down and rebuilt? Should it be moved? I don’t think so.

BUT what I do think is that Chanel should stop avoiding Coco Chanel’s horrific history. I know that they think it can’t be good for PR but what they need to do is use it to help and get ahead of it. Just admit – we realize that our founder was a nazi sympathizer, possibly a nazi collaborator and our response is that we are appalled by the information as much as you are. Our founder was a talented woman and we cannot deny that Chanel wouldn’t exist without her genius but the nazi atrocities were unforgivable and that she was involved is a huge black stain on the origin of our company. They could put their money where their mouth is and contribute to a Holocaust organization.

My believe is that we should not be completely erasing bad history but instead we should be making it accurate and using it as a teaching opportunity.

6. This Article about How Women in the UK/Ireland Were Duped into Believing it was Bad to Drink Tea – Though it’s me who is saying that the women were actually duped. The article implies it but doesn’t come right out and say it. Neither does this one.

Here’s the situation – first and foremost, tea was considered expensive back then. So was sugar if you wanted to sweeten it (because milk and honey in tea just doesn’t work.) Right away men (husbands and fathers) were going to say that women shouldn’t be drinking something as expensive as tea.

Then there were the wealthy, who liked to feel that drinking tea was something the gentrified did, certainly not the poor.

And of course, there was concern that women who sat around drinking tea would have time to talk to one another and that could lead to anarchy.

Even without social media, the “powers that be” managed to get messages out that women shouldn’t be drinking tea – said it was “unhealthy”, it made you lazy, etc. And the worse part is that the poor, uneducated women were the ones that bought into the lies and helped spread it. Hmmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar.

c. 1900 The Glencar Tea House in County Leitrim

7. This ‘Self Portrait’ by Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston – I was thrilled when I finally found out who this photo was of and what it was about. I’ve loved it for years! Taken around 1896 by the photographer herself, it is supposed to represent the “new woman.”

Here’s a great article about the photo and the photographer from Smithsonian.

Frances Benjamin Johnston could be both ladylike and bohemian, which abetted her career as a photographer. (Library of Congress)

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Seven Things I Love (3-22-21)

  1. 1. This VACCINATED Menopausal Broad – pardon my hair, I forgot to fix it before the photo. You can’t see it but I’m both a little teary-eyed and overjoyed.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been reading everything I can on the vaccines and post-vaccine life and I found this excellent article in the Washington Post. WashPo has a paywall, so you may not be able to read it but here’s my favorite part, where the authors, Emily Heil and Tim Carman, talk about keeping a coronavirus budget. I think it’s a brilliant idea:

“There’s no such thing as zero risk, and nothing is 100 percent risky,” says Leana Wen, a visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and contributing columnist at The Washington Post. “It’s a spectrum.” She has long urged people to think about their risks as expenditures from a “coronavirus budget,” and says the budgets of those who have been vaccinated just went way up. “You still have to think about how to spend it, and if your priority is seeing grandchildren and going to church, then maybe you’re not going to restaurants all that often.”

With encouraging headlines, springlike temperatures and our collective covid fatigue at an all-time high, it might be tempting to throw caution — and another round of takeout — to the wind. But experts agree that now is not the time to lower your guard, but instead to maintain your vigilance so we can return to something like normal by the fall.

From: ‘As vaccinations increase, you may want to dine indoors again. Here’s what to consider.‘ by Emily Heil and Tim Carman; Washington Post, Mar. 19, 2021
  1. 2. This Photograph of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – I became obsessed with the Crystal Palace dinosaurs after reading the children’s book ‘The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins‘ by Barbara Kerley (illustrated by Brian Selznick). The book won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 2002 . I was still a Children’s Librarian at that time. It has everything I loved – London, the Victorian Era, paleontology/innovation/science and the illustrations are fantastic. Here’s a video of a reading of the book that is charming.

I thought – it would have been amazing to be there then and see the dinosaurs in person. Honestly, I didn’t realize they still existed until a couple years ago. I learned many moons ago the Crystal Palace had burned down, twice I believe, so I assumed that nothing had survived. But the dinosaurs did and I got to see them in May of 2019! Here are a few of my photos… (the guy in the photo is my London pal Rob.)

2. This Story about the Golden Tickets in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryCharlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was my all-time favorite book as a kid. I’m not sure if I’ve already told this story but one year, I think around when I was in second or third grade, I got a hold of a copy of the book. I read it and loved it so much that I re-read it over and over and over again. Around the twelve time my Mom started getting a little concerned that I was so obsessed with just one book so she bribed me with my first Nancy Drew book. That wasn’t such a bad thing, it led to a whole new world of my favorite teenage sleuth, but I always loved Charlie and his family and Mr. Willy Wonka.

I also loved the movie with Gene Wilder. To me he will always be the one and only Willy Wonka. I was actually excited when I first heard that Tim Burton was going to give the book a try and that Johnny Depp was slated to play Wonka, but I think I’ve spent to many years visualizing the candy maker as Gene Wilder.

I stumbled across this story while searching for something else and thought it was very interesting. For fans of the story, it’s not a major thing but curious nonetheless.

For some reason the book originally had it say on the golden ticket that the visit was to in February but in the first movie they changed it to October. Here is a brief post on Roald Dahl Fans.com where the person who runs the blog received an email with a question about this difference.

Here is what it says in the book:

“And now, here are your instructions: The day I have chosen for the visit is the first day in the month of February…”

“The first day of February!” cried Mrs. Bucket. “But that’s tomorrow! Today is the last day of January, I know it is!

The person who runs the Roald Dahl Fans blog has one theory that I think is most likely/logical and that is that the filming schedule was from August to November and so it simply didn’t look like February outdoors (and it would have been too expensive to make it look like February back then.) I think that this is the most likely explanation but one has to wonder if there might be some other reason like, is October 1st someone’s birthday or anniversary?

3. This Instagram Post by 99 year-old Betty White – how is it that I have only just thought to follow Betty White now???? So many shows like this that I would love to watch – thank goodness they aren’t available to stream because I don’t have enough time in the day! (If you haven’t watched the Betty White documentary on Netflix yet I highly recommend it. Ill be posting my ‘Menopausal Broad’s Guide to Netflix’ soon, hopefully within the next week.)

4. This Number from the 1957 Movie, Funny Face – Pink has always been my favorite color. I’d like to think it would have been even if I wasn’t born a girl, but in the 60s in Iowa there were only two options – girl or boy – and it wasn’t kosher for boys to like pink. Having said that, you just know that at least half of the guys in those white painter jumpsuits wish their suits were pink too. But they still look like they’re having fun! Aren’t the clothes fabulous?

5. This 360 Degree Van Gogh Painting – you may want to actually visit it on Facebook to so you can make it bigger.

6. This Website that Lets You Create Your Own Bayeux TapestryThe Bayeux Tapestry is made up of seventy-five scenes depicting events leading up to the Norman Conquest in 1066. It has a very distinct style and has been studied in depth (in fact they even know that there are 93 penises, not all belonging to men, included in the art piece.)

Here’s my first attempt…

And here is an artist named Andrew Swainson’s clever version of the Bayeux Tapestry in a tribute to Monty Python…

Andrew Swainson’s Pythonesque take on the Bayeux Tapestry
Photograph: Andrew Swainson/Monty Python

7. These “Personless Protests” in Myanmar – human ingenuity knows no bounds.

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