Boarding House Blues

Category: Misc.

1 December 2023
Monkey see, monkey do.

Who among us hasn’t played “follow the leader” on monkey bars? And fallen off with a resounding thud. While many monkey bars are stand-alone units today, they were originally part of a jungle gym. The first jungle gym was invented in 1920 and patented by Chicago lawyer Sebastian Hinton. While the term "monkey bars" was […]

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3 April 2023
Beware the Ides of April

The Ides of March are behind us, but the Ides of April await – aka Tax Day. The first attempt to tax income in the US occurred in 1643, when several colonies instituted a "faculties and abilities" tax. Early tax collectors went door to door, asking if the individual had income during the year. If […]

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17 January 2023
Celery Washer Robbery is Front Page News

Writing historical fiction entails huge amounts of research. Some of the best sources are old newspapers and magazines. Once you get started it’s hard to stop, particularly when you come across headlines like the one below, which appeared on this day in 1925 in the New York Times. VICTIM FELLS BANDIT WITH CELERY, IS SHOT […]

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20 December 2022
Christmas Cards -- Love 'em or Hate 'em

It's that time of the year again, when we look forward to celebrating Christmas with family and friends yet dread the myriad tasks the season brings, including baking dozens of cookies, decorating the house, wrapping presents, untangling the tree lights, and my own personal bête noire: writing Christmas cards. Some say we have Sir Henry […]

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5 April 2021

As a writer, typewriters have a mystical allure I can't resist. I played on my mother’s clunky Remington and, as a journalism grad student, learned to type on an IBM Selectric. And now I save my money to buy antique machines. In 1714, a patent for “an artificial machine ... for impressing ... letters ... […]

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22 January 2021
Pandemics: 1918 vs 2020

Plus les choses changent,plus elles restent les mêmes. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Two pandemics, one hundred years apart, and masking is still the order of the day. In 1918, it was the Influenza Pandemic, and masks — fashioned from gauze and cheesecloth -- were called muzzles, germ scarers and […]

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