QWERTY morphs QWERKY; Old School meets New Fangled

Posted: July 31st, 2017 | Filed under: History Warp, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

This exposition on what’s new today, anecdotal history lesson and nostalgic look back is being composed on my new toy, a Qwerkywriter.

That’s a photo of the device there to the left.

It’s not a 1940s typewriter, though it’s meant to look like one. With it’s round metal capped keys with their clickety click, and a return bar that moves your text to the next line. No, it’s a full function bluetooth keypad that synched instantly to my iMac.

How and why I went for this sumptuous and funky I-got-one-and-you-don’t computer accouterment is the very raison d’etre of this rumination.

Stick around for the ride.

Which journey starts back in the 50s with the best advice my brother Michael ever gave me.

“Take Typing class.”

So there I was soon enough, one of the few male of the species, in Mr. Cline’s 9th grade Beginner’s Typing at Highland Junior High, laboring to learn the home row keys.

At some point, despite chubby digits and a gimpy catcher’s thumb I’d suffered since Little League, I was able to knock out the lessons of pangrams at a reasonably healthy clip.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Jaded zombies acted quaintly but kept driving their oxen forward.

Plus other such punchy sentences of little meaning, much bemusement, and containing every single one of the 26 letters of the ABCs.   Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (9/17-23): Cars & Consecutive Games

Posted: September 17th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | 3 Comments »

Revised 9/17 at 10:05 am

As I write this — a week or so before publication date — the Baltimore Orioles are inexplicably challenging the New York Yankees for supremacy 2012 in the Eastern Division of the American League.

Notwithstanding Orioles’ success in the post season, the team’s most impressive record is held by the team’s greatest player ever.

Cal Ripken came to play. More than anybody who played the game including fabled Lou Gehrig. Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games without a break. That, my friends, is a lot o’ baseball. That’s 16 years plus without a day off.

On September 20, 1998, Cal Ripken rested. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp ( 9/10-16): Preggers & Pulchritude

Posted: September 10th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Some historical nuggetoids I must take on faith. Hopefully you shall also.

Because despite the bazillions of bits of data cascading through the cybergalaxy, far too much of it is facebookery about cousin Janie’s new countertop or Uncle Blem’s wait at O’Hare while a new Delta crew is found. And not enough to confirm the existence of such seminal information as I’m about to impart.

Which is to ask, take this one on faith. I know I have.

I am advised, and thus pass it on to you, that on September 11, 1955, the first white wedding dress designed specifically for pregnant brides was unveiled at a bridal fair in Harrowgate, England. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (9/03-09): Fashion of Different Eras

Posted: September 3rd, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Let’s just say Peter the Great came by his idiosyncrasies honestly. Sophia Romanov tried to have him and her other brother, Ivan, killed on more than one occasion. Fortunately for the boys, the palace guards charged with the deed balked. So, saved of his breath, Peter married, jetsetted to Europe where he learned about the good life.

Then he returned to Russia and crushed a revolt, with extreme prejudice. After attaining the throne, he sent that sister off to a nunnery in Novodevichy.

And, admiring the style of the Euro party class, on September 5, 1698, he ordered that all men in the land cut their beards to a fashionable length, like those favored in Amsterdam’s discos. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (8/27-9/02): Dreams & Sticky Wickets

Posted: August 27th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Some moments are beyond pithiness, so laden are they with historic ramifications.

Thus I shall dispense with my usual sense of frolic and advise this: On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King gave the most famous speech of my lifetime.

“I Have A Dream” is known to just about one and all, whether with reverence or disdain.

It is flowery. The syntax is often suspect. But it is surely powerful

A snippet:

Allow me at this point to get in touch with my inner travel guide. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (8/13-20): Literacy & Dentistry

Posted: August 13th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

I’ve been out of the closet for awhile on Willie the Shakes. Read what was required back in college, but never attend Shakespeare In The Park. The guy could obviously cut a phrase and dealt with the big issues. But too many big words spoken too quickly for my taste. Recognize his talent and importance. Never been a big fan.

I did go see the flick, “Scotland, Pa.,” years ago. It set the tale of Macbeth in a 70s fast food restaurant. Other than that . . .

So, it should come as no surprise that I’m not all that familiar with the plot details of the WS tragedy. Which shall not prevent me from broaching the subject of what happened on August 14, 1040. I’m advised the real Macbeth ascended to the throne of King of Scots, when he killed King Duncan I — his cousin by the by — in a battle near Elgin. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (8/06-12): We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Verification

Posted: August 6th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Here’s what I’m pretty sure about when I think of of August 6 and Bolivia simultaneously. On that date in 1825, an Upper Peruvian congress declared what we know as Bolivia to be an independent nation. (And thereby became eligible to participate in the Olympics.) Some pretty darned reliable sources confirm that historical factoid.

But it gets tricky. History Warp, despite what you may think, is not an exact science.

There’s another source reporting that on the same date, but in 1806, Bolivia declared its independence from Peru.

Hmmmmmm. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (7/30-8/05): Lotteries and La La Land

Posted: July 30th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

You play the lottery? Ever won? Pretty heady stuff, I almost know. Because I came within a single wafer thin digit once of hitting the Powerball to the tune of $68 mill.

So close, but, oh so very very very far. $5 large was a nice consolation prize, but it’s long gone. Some plumbing repairs, a new computer, some CDs, a little trip and . . . sigh . . . life was back to normal.

Which personal anecdote leads to this punchline. On July 30, 1998, the biggest Powerball to that date was won. Thirteen machinists in Westerville, Ohio shared the considerable sum of $296 mill. Okay, that’s not exactly true. They went for the cash lump sum immediately. $162 million, minus Uncle Sammy’s cut, was still a hefty payday. Even divided into a baker’s dozen. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (7/23-29): Big Money, Big Orange

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

It is time to express my admiration for a cowpoke who saw more than sagebrush and cacti and varmints hiding in those western foothills where he chased cattle rustlers. And caught ’em.

Tip of the Stetson to Gene Autry.

On July 23, 1950, the singing cowboy made the transition to TV from movies and the radio. Along with his trusty steed Champion, and the requisite silly sidekick Pat Buttram.

But what I admire most about Autry was his vision. When he was filming those westerns in the San Fernando Valley, he saw the future. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (7/16-22): Money & Money

Posted: July 16th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Of course, there are many and varied sports records. Especially in baseball, which, being statistics-heavy, tends to glory in the most, best, longest, etc. To say stats are held in high esteem would be understatement.

In that sport, one record is hallowed.

Joe DiMaggio’s 56 consecutive game hitting streak. “It’ll never be broken,” is a sentence oft heard, especially when a new baseballer makes an attempt and falls, say, 20 games shy.

It was on July 17, 1941 that Mr. Marilyn Monroe’s streak came to an end. It started on May 16 of that year.

Joltin’s Joe couldn’t find the green against Cleveland Indians hurlers, Al Smith and Jim Bagby. Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (July 9-15): L’Amour x 2

Posted: July 9th, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

Some of you are probably aware that I review films weekly on Tuesdays at 8:00 a.m.ish on FPK 91.9. So, yes, the Film Babe and I like our flicks. New ones. Old ones.

And foreign ones. Which has probably got you ready to inquire, what was the very first film from a foreign country screened in the U.S. of A.? Oh, how very glad I am that you asked.

It happened on July 12, 1912. It was French and featured Sarah Bernhardt, Albert Decoeur, Max Maxudian and Lon Tellegen. It’s English title was “Queen Elizabeth.” Read the rest of this entry »


History Warp (7/02-08): Lost in the 50s

Posted: July 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: History Warp | No Comments »

My guess is that the only ones of you guys reading this that remember Bob & Ray are as long in the tooth as myself. Then again, a lot of you that old might not recall the deadpan humor of this duo from way past back in the day.

They were popular so long ago, you probably don’t even recall Bob’s son, Chris Elliott, who has had a blissfully under the radar comedy career commencing back in, what, the 80s. But this isn’t about him. It’s about his dad, Bob, and Bob’s professional partner, Ray.

They were, allow me to repeat myself, deadpan. Hilariously so. At least much of America thought so in the 50s and 60s and into the 70s. Read the rest of this entry »