A to Z 2014

While I would love to leave a follow-up comment after each reader's comment, it can't happen. There are over 2,000 participants! So I will visit your sites instead and think really good thoughts, okay?
Susan Kane

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Letter Q is for Quinine

Q is often an awkward letter with which to work.  It is somewhat like the ugly cousin who hangs back, while all the other relatives are having a great time.  And, then she inherits a boatload of money, and then....

The Letter Q

In the 1700s when England was creating its empire, malaria became a persistent problem.  Eventually someone discovered that the bark of the chinchona tree could be dried and then ground.  As QUININE, It could be used to treat malaria.
Also called Jesuit's bark
The Ultraviolet light reveals the presence of quinine, although now negligible.
The problem was that the taste was absolutely foul and almost unbearable.  

British officers directed the cook to create a concoction that would make the quinine at least palpable .  He must have been brilliant in his combination of sugar, lime, and gin as soldiers were happy to take their medicine.  Since the military were already given a ration of gin, this mixture made sense.

Cases of malaria dropped dramatically.

So, lift your glass to the humble beginning of the G & T:

Here is to Q for Quinine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Passion of the Pearl: Letter P

Souce: namu project
The Letter P
Could it be perfume, pink, pandering, pancakes ...?
Strong to my traditional form, the letter P is for:

Pearl harbored serious obsession here.
This Pearl is Great-Aunt Pearl, whom I knew only by reputation and photos. Grandmother Amy was the oldest of three sisters with the middle sister Grace and youngest sister Pearl

In 1911, Pearl was in high school, with all the expectations of any young woman in the early 1900s, which were basically marriage, children, and home.

But, OH, first came the tender innocent love, romance with its soft touches, shy kisses, sweet words...

In her English textbook, Pearl practiced writing her name, over and over.  Other pages were covered with doodles and sketches, dreamy sketches of young men.  
Even her perception of Hell expressed a passionate moment in her life.

This textbook must have been all over the classroom, passed from girl to girl.  Squelched giggles and hurried scribbles asked and answered questions.  Comments and questions (what did he say about me?...Certainly I know that YOU know!..Girls are made to flirt with men---But men with girls??  Oh! No!...) ***

 Pearl's dreams of romance were recorded for a great-niece to find:

The drawings and notes were found in History of English Literature by Reuben Post Halleck, M.A  (Yale), published by the American Book Company in 1900.

Pearl married shortly after graduation, at the age of eighteen or so.  The man she married was named Fred, who was rather plain and balding early, liked to fish, and was not greatly ambitious.  He was the very antithesis of the ideal heroic man of her dreams. 

On March 6, 1913, in a double wedding, Pearl married Fred Funk AND
her sister Grace married John Friend.

Whenever I asked my grandmother about her sister Pearl, she would sigh and say, "Oh, Pearl..."
I was an over-achiever.  I never did any of this.  Seriously.

Imagine what Pearl and her friends could have done with Smart Phones.

***Copied from the text book, written in pencil.

Now, what did YOU do during a high school class?  Be honest, now!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Letter O---on the run in 1937

The Letter O

O...operatic, oophyte, Ottawa.....So many choices, so little time...

There are very few movies that I would personally describe as brilliant.  A film of that level depends on so many elements.  This film is one I put in the short list.

O brother where art thou ver1.jpg
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen
Today the choice  for O:

O, Brother! Where art thou?

This movie is based upon the story of Adventures of Ulysses

This movie follows Ulysses (or, Odysseus as in Homer plot), taking place in 1937, where he is a convict on the chain gangs in the deep South.  

George Clooney is the main character, Ulysses Everett McGill (who fancies himself to be a loquacious and glib con-man).  

He convinces two fellow convicts, Pete and Delmar, to escape the chain gang, proceeding on a quest to find huge treasure and a way home.

Favorite quotes from the movie:

   Ulysses:  Damn, boys!  We’re in a    tight spot! (This our is my favorite  line; my husband and I say it to each other many times. 

   Ulysses: Damn it!  I’m a Dapper Dan man.  (Dapper Dan is a pomade used by men of that period. Ulysses was so vain that he even wore a hairnet at night.)

    Delmar: Them syreens did this to Pete.  They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

Ulysses: I was not hit by a train. Dammit, I am the paterfamilias!

Pappy O’Donnell:  Moral fiber?  I invented moral fiber! ( Pappy was played by the late Charles Durning.)

Note:  The writers, producers and directors are Joel and Ethan Coen.
The music is pure blue-grass, memorable and superb.
The over-all plot lines are a loose parallel to the ancient adventures of Odysseus. Loose to very loose. Word has it that the Coen brothers never read the real Homer play, but instead read the Yellow Cliff-Notes, so beloved and used by many students.

I never ever used them.  Seriously.

Basically, try to see this film.
I am very picky about movies I will watch and appreciate.  My husband, on the other hand, will watch just about anything.  We have conflicts.