Quiz Time – Mad Men & Downton Abbey!

11 Feb

Are you simply gaga over Mad Men?

Are you totally addicted to Downton Abbey?

Don’t you just love the characters in both shows? They are so well-written, and so well-cast!

They are all so identifiable…

So…

Do you see yourself as Matthew?

Or Pete?

Are you Mary?

Or Peggy?

Maybe you’re more like Thomas?

Or perhaps Don.

Do you identify with Betty?

Or do you empathize with Daisy?

Take these two quizzes to find out for certain!

Which Mad Men character are you?

Which Downton Abbey character are you?

Let me know!

Turns out, I’m a mix of Anna

and Joan!

xoxo,

SAllan

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Sweet And Low

5 Feb

Yesterday Hubby and I went on a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is another post for another day.

Our tour guide was David from Urban Oyster, and he really knows his stuff! We learned many interesting things, but here’s one story that really stayed with me.

It’s all about Sweet’n Low.

There was this fellow, named Benjamin Eisenstadt. (You can read his obituary from the April 10, 1966 New York Times here.) And our tour guide David told us Ben’s story, as such:

Ben owned a cafeteria that was located across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The cafeteria did quite well until the Yard slowed production after World War II ended.

Always thinking, Ben began to puzzle over his messy sugar bowls. “Why” he thought, “doesn’t someone invent individual sugar packets?” So, he proceeded to do just that. He used tea bag filling machinery and converted it to sugar packet filling machinery.

Very pleased with his results, he went to the Bigwigs at Domino Sugar, and presented his idea. They told him they needed a couple of weeks to think it over, before buying into his idea.

When Ben met with them a couple of weeks later, the Bigwigs at Domino Sugar told him they did not need to buy his invention, because they had just produced their own sugar packing machine.

Ben hadn’t patented his idea, so Domino stole his idea and ran with it.

Ben was pissed! So, to retaliate against Domino, he invented the powdered saccharin sweetener which he named Sweet’n Low, named after a popular song. (That’s why there are musical references on the packaging.)

The New York Times doesn’t mention the rivalry between Benjamin Eisenstadt and Domino Sugar; neither does the Wikipedia entry.

So, maybe I’m telling you an Urban Legend.

But I don’t think so.

Ben’s distribution company, Cumberland Packing Corporation, is still located across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the same building that used to be the cafeteria. I took this picture of the building’s sign.

The New York Times obituary says “With sales of about $100 million a year, the company, which employs 400 people, turns out 50 million Sweet ‘N Low packets a day in what used to be a cafeteria.”

SWEET!

The moral of this story?

Well, you decide.

xoxo,

SAllan

Where To Go Next Time You Have To Go? The American Folk Art Museum!

4 Feb

Around New York City, it’s always a good idea to know of free, clean, accessible public restrooms – you never know when you’ll have the need.

Here’s a website to help!

And I have an app on my phone that has the rather unfortunate name of “Sit Or Squat” – crude perhaps, but useful. It claims to be “The best way to find a toilet anywhere in the world; on the web, iPhone and BlackBerry!”

And, a basic knowledge of available locations by neighborhood – based on past experience – is eventually built into every New Yorker’s DNA…

The bookstores Barnes & Noble used to be my go-to free, clean, accessible public restrooms in New York City. They used to be in just about every neighborhood, plus they offered the added benefit of book browsing on the way to and from.

Sad to say, many of the B&N stores have disappeared.

Where’s that Brick & Mortar when you need it???

The other day, I was in the Lincoln Center neighborhood, and nature called. Lincoln Center? Last time I tried that, the restroom was closed. Barnes And Noble? It’s now a clothing store. What’s the best Sure Thing?

The I remembered – The American Folk Art Museum.

At Columbus Circle and 66th Street, it couldn’t have been more convenient. And, it has a few added benefits of its own!

I wandered in (for FREE) and first browsed their gift shop. Inconspicuous, naturally!

Actually, I adore these signs. If we had the free wall space, I’d purchase one or two. Alas, a photograph will have to do.

There’s a new exhibit at the museum; it’s called “Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined” – and once I exited the shop area and entered the exhibition space – I was immediately enchanted.

I actually wandered around admiring the art before I “borrowed” the restroom. And then, wandered some more.

I love this little museum! Plus, they kindly allow photographs (no flash please!).

Here’s some of what you can see when you visit – this exhibit is on display through September 2, 2012.

These artists are no Grandma Moses or Howard Finster – from what I could gather they are basically unknown artists, unappreciated during their time.

I believe that the husband and wife team who made these bottle cap creations were saddened by the lack of interest in their “art”; they stored these away in a barn as bits of junk.

Other items which were more utilitarian were seen and used – such as this giant Indian windmill. As luck has it, there also exists  the photograph which shows the windmill in its original location, up on top of the general store.

Here is a folk artist’s interpretation of The Duke and Duchess Of Windsor:

I loved this snake charmer:

and of course, who wouldn’t adore this lovely lady with her little orange kitty!

I love this museum! They also have some pretty great events there – FREE or low-cost.

Check out their “Guitar Wednesdays”

Enjoy free live music performed by jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guest musicians each Wednesday from 2 to 3 pm.”

Their “Make It Thursdays”

Come to the museum each Thursday for hands-on workshops and discussions with leaders in the DIY community. Enjoy a glass of wine, meet fellow craft enthusiasts, and spend a creative evening with us!”

This sounds GREAT! I’d love to make a habit of this crafts class, if I can make it at 6:00…

6 to 7:30 pm
Free for museum members
$10 for non-members
Includes refreshments

(Check out the museum’s website for information on reserving space by purchasing tickets online.)

And their “Free Music Fridays”

Enjoy live music each Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Admission is always free.”

Please check out this little gem of a museum. You’ll be so glad that you did.

Plus, they have a very clean, accessible restroom!

Tuesday–Saturday noon–7:30 pm
Sunday noon–6:00 pm
Monday closed

xoxo,

SAllan

A Photographer’s Rights

29 Jan

Here’s a sign that I really HATE to see:

“No Smoking.”

I get that.

Cancer, second-hand smoke, etc. Okay – I get that.

“No Photography.”

Not so much…

“No Flash During Performance” – yes, I get that. “No Disruptions During Performance” – check.

But, this sign makes it look that that’s a “Bad Camera“. Sigh.

Here’s another sign that I despise:

“No Photos Of Photos.”

What the heck?!

Post this sign – and then you just try to stop me!

I’ll take the photo – if you ask me I’ll answer:

“I’m taking a picture of your stupid sign – not your precious photos.”

Oh, I’m on a roll.

The other day I was walking past a fabric store, and I had to stop and gaze admiringly at this bolt of fabric which was in the window:

I mean, it’s so GREAT on so many levels!

It’s dangerously cheesy.

How would you utilize this fabric? Would you make curtains? Sheets? A table cloth? A shirt?

I HAD to take a photo of this great fabric!

I pulled out my trusty camera and snapped a quick shot. Then, through the window I saw the shop owner coming towards me through the door.

As he opened the door and came towards me telling me “No Photos!” I turned my back and kept on walking.

One day I’ll get into an altercation, if I don’t watch myself.

I used to be sweet.

Not so much, anymore.

Here’s an interesting, informative article about Photographers’ Rights. From USA Today, in part it reads:

Last week I received a note from a reader:

“Today I was stopped by a security guard with the North County Transit District in Solana Beach, California, and prevented from taking photos of a great new train station they have,” he wrote. “The guard said they don’t allow it since 9/11.”

Note to security guard: Just because you or your boss “don’t allow” something doesn’t mean it’s not legal. I can post a sign on my lawn, “Hopping on one foot in front of this house is prohibited,” but I’ll have a tough time enforcing it.

The law in the United States of America is pretty simple. You are allowed to photograph anything with the following exceptions:

• Certain military installations or operations.

• People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That is, people who are some place that’s not easily visible to the general public, e.g., if you shoot through someone’s window with a telephoto lens.

That’s it.

There are a few more restrictions on publishing photos or video, though.

You can’t show private facts — things a reasonable person wouldn’t want made public — unless those facts were revealed publicly. So no long-lens shots of your neighbors’ odd habits.

You also can’t show someone in a negative false light by, for example, using Photoshop tricks or a nasty, untrue caption.

And you can’t put someone else’s likeness to commercial use without their permission. This is usually mentioned in terms of celebrities, but it applies to making money from anyone’s likeness.”

SO THERE, YOU STORE OWNER!

What is in your window is apt to be photographed when an admiring photographer is outside on the sidewalk.

And that’s legal.

If you don’t want your fabulous fabric to be photographed, then don’t display it in your window.

Photographers – go to this site and read about your rights here in the United States. The author suggests that you download the PDF – print it out and keep it with you. The author is an attorney; here is the “about him” from his site:

Bert Krages is an attorney who concentrates on intellectual property and environmental law. He is recognized nationally as an advocate of the right to take photographs in public places, having appeared in media such as National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Popular Photography, Shutterbug, and Wired.”

The beginning of the article says: “The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place… Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.”

Okay. I feel better now.

: )

xoxo,

SAllan

My Parents – I Think I’ll Keep Them!

28 Jan

Do you remember the Geritol commercials from the 70’s where the husband concludes:

“My wife – I think I’ll keep her!”

If you can find it on YouTube, please share the link. I have searched for it, to no avail.

I DID find this one, which is pretty great (get through the first 30 seconds for the Geritol commercial):

Anyway, I have recently been scanning in some old family photos, an I MUST share these two.

My Mom and Dad – back in 1967:

 

My parents – I think I’ll keep them!

xoxo,

SAllan

Imagine

22 Jan

Just the other day I was walking on West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall and I passed Steinway Hall.

Or, I should say that I passed Steinway Hall – did a quick double take – then backtracked to stare into their window.

For those of you desiring a bit of history, info and trivia:

Steinway & Sons is a premier piano manufacturing company; their handmade pianos are regarded by many to be the finest in the world.

Papa Steinway (Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg) started making pianos in his German kitchen in 1836. He and his family emigrated to the United States 1n 1850.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1853, H.E. Steinweg founded Steinway & Sons. His first workshop was in a small loft at the back of 85 Varick Street in the Manhattan district of New York City. The first piano produced by Steinway & Sons was given the number 483 because H.E. Steinweg had built 482 pianos in Germany. Number 483 was sold to a New York family for $500, and is now displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Cool, very cool! I want to go see that first American Steinway piano #483 at The Met!!

More from our friends at Wikipedia:

Steinway Hall  is the name given to buildings housing concert halls, showrooms and sales departments for Steinway pianos. In 1864 William Steinway (the son of H. E. Steinway, who is credited with establishing Steinway’s remarkable success in marketing) built a set of elegant new showrooms housing more than 100 pianos on East 14th Street in Manhattan, New York City. In 1866, William Steinway oversaw the construction of the first Steinway Hall to the rear of the showrooms.

The Steinway Hall seated more than 2,000 and quickly became an important part of New York City’s cultural life, housing the New York Philharmonic for the next 25 years until Carnegie Hall opened in 1891.

Concertgoers had to pass through the piano showrooms; this had a remarkable effect on sales, increasing demand for new pianos by four hundred in 1867 alone.”

Brilliant marketing!!

From the plaque on the 57th Street building, in part:

Steinway Hall was constructed in 1924-25… After Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, West 57th Street gradually became one of the nation’s leading cultural music centers. Steinway & Sons followed this trend, relocating to this area from East 14th Street… Steinway & Sons continues to be the city’s only remaining piano maker.”

It’s interesting to me that neither the entry in Wikipedia or the historic information on the Steinway & Sons website mention the move to West 57th Street. I wonder why??

Well, a bit of interesting Steinway/WWII trivia, again from our friends at Wikipedia:

During World War II the Steinway factory in New York City received orders from the Allied Armies to build wooden gliders to convey troops behind enemy lines. Few normal pianos could be made, but some 3,000 special models were built by Steinway, the Victory Vertical or G.I. Piano. It was a small piano, able to be lifted by four men, painted olive drab, gray or blue, designed to be carried aboard ships or dropped by parachute from an airplane, in order to bring music to the soldiers.”

Amazing, to think of pianos being parachuted out of planes, during the war!

Anyway, back to what draw my attention in the showroom window:

The John Lennon “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano.

The sign in the window reads:

To commemorate the 70th birthday of a true creative genius – legendary musician and songwriter John Lennon – Steinway & Sons proudly introduced the “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano. Modeled after the white Steinway that John presented to Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971, this piano incorporates John’s drawings, signature, music and lyrics. Each piano bears a medallion indicating its uniqueness. “Imagine” was composed on a Steinway piano, and today the connection lives on through a piano that is a tribute to the man, the music and the message.”

“Excellent!” I thought. But then I thought, “John Lennon was born in 1940. He was 40 years old when he was murdered in 1980.”

I guess this sign and this piano have been here in the Steinway widow for a couple of years.

Brilliant marketing!!

Well, it made me stop and look! And who knows? If I had oodles of money (and space), maybe I’d be tempted to buy one of these Limited Edition pianos.

BUT, on the Steinway & Sons website pertaining to this series, the page is blank.

Have they have sold out of the series? Either way, they seriously need to update their website.

Anyway – before this post’s grand finale – here is one more bit of trivia about John’s white Steinway piano, again from Wikipedia:

The world’s most expensive upright piano was built by Steinway’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, in 1970. The piano was bought by John Lennon for $1,500; Lennon composed and recorded “Imagine” and other tunes on it. In 2000, it was sold at auction by a private British collector. Pop musician George Michael made the winning bid of £1.67 million.”

I don’t know what that was in 2000 conversion rates, but in today’s market, 1.67 million pounds (GBP) converts to about 2.60 million dollars (USD)!

Ponder that while you listen to this:

“Imagine” – By John Lennon, 1971

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

xoxo,

SAllan

 

 

A Sad Day For Photographers (And Advertising Lovers) – Kodak Files Chapter 11

19 Jan

Kodak was founded by George Eastman in 1880. The company made photography a household word.

From cameras, to film, chemicals, paper – and up to the digital age – Who could ever have guessed that Kodak could fail?

According to Wikipedia, : “As late as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the U.S.

Kodak failed to anticipate how fast digital cameras would become commodities, with low profit margins, as more companies entered the market in the mid-2000s. Also, an ever-smaller percentage of digital pictures were being taken on digital cameras, being gradually displaced in the late 2000s by cellphones and tablets’ cameras.”

According to Kodak’s website:

On January 19, 2012, Eastman Kodak Company and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The business reorganization will enable Kodak to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines.

Kodak and its U.S. subsidiaries intend to continue normal business operations during the reorganization…Kodak aims to build company that will be successful in the marketplace – and a positive force in the communities we call home.”

I grew up with Kodak, and I always loved the Kodak advertising.

Vintage Kodak ads had a warm feel – family, friends, fun! And of course, travel.

Here are some Kodak ads throughout the century. 100 years of Kodak!

No date, but obviously a very early ad:

From 1917:

1922 (from Canada):

1926:

1937:

During WWII in the 1940’s:

After the war, in 1949:

1950:

1962:

1965:

And in the 70’s, with spokesmen like Michael Landon:

and Dick Van Dyke:

Up to current times, with Rihanna in 2010:

Good luck, Kodak!

Wikipedia says: “From the $90 range in 1997, Kodak shares closed at 76 cents on January 3, 2012.”

It’s an uphill climb!!!

xoxo,

SAllan

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