Saturday, February 28, 2009

Albert Hofmann, The Father Of LSD

Albert Hofmann, a research scientist, who synthesised LSD, in 1938, took the worlds first acid trip on his bicycle. He was cycling home from his laboratory April 19th, 1943 and tripped out. This day is known as "Bicycle Day."
Working as a research chemist at the laboratory of the Sandoz Company in Basel, Switzerland, Hofmann was involved in studying the medicinal properties of plants. The focus was ergot, a fungus which forms on rye. In the middle ages, ergot was blamed for outbreaks of mass poisonings. So, my advice to you is, the next time you are eating that Ruben or pastrami sandwich, check the rye bread to make sure there aren't any mold spores growing on it.
In his studies, Hofmann made many new discoveries. He had hoped by synthesising LSD, he could come up with a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. But after a series of experiments on animals, the results were not as expected and the project was dropped.
Back to the famous bicycle ride, Hofmann had an array of experiences. He had distortions, highs and lows and time warps. Sandoz saw the effects of this acid trip and hoped to profit from the discovery. So, the laboratory sent out samples to scientific researchers. Wow! By 1965, over 2,000 papers had been written and published, hoping to use the drug for a variety of conditions.
But, since the chemical was cheap and easy to make, it eventually ended up in the hands of Dr. Timothy Leary. It became the recreational drug of choice.
LSD was then banned all over the world, due to the number of accidents by users. People would jump out of windows thinking they could fly and the effects of a bad trip would often lead to psychosis.
In 1988, the Albert Hofmann foundation was established, devoted to the study of human consciousness and related fields.
Albert Hofmann died April 29, 2008 at the age of 102. If you are interested in reading the autobiography of this amazing scientist, click on the link below.

LSD: My Problem Child

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pappa Oom Mow Mow

Who was Ernie Anderson?
Where was Parma Place?
You know, where everybody wears white socks, eats Cheez Wiz sandwiches, and keeps up with the neighbors by buying more pink flamingos for their lawn.
Who was Oxnard?
Why was there a 35% drop in crimes on Friday nights in Cleveland?
Remember Shock Theater?
Who was the coolest dude ever?

Friday, February 20, 2009

What Walks Down The Stairs, Alone Or In Pairs and Makes a Slinkety Sound?

What walks down the stairs, alone or in pairs and makes a slinkety sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing,
Everyone knows it's slinky..
It's slinky, it's slinky, for fun it's a wonderful toy.
It's slinky, it's slinky, it's fun for a girl and boy.
I bet you can sing that tune! You had one, right? Every kid did.
A slinky is a coiled shaped spring invented in 1943 by Richard James. He was a navel engineer trying to develop a meter to monitor horsepower in navel battleships. The thing fell off the table and walked across the floor. A toy was born.
With a 500 dollar loan, he and his wife, Betty, made it into a toy. She named it slinky because in the dictionary, it means smooth and graceful.
In 1945, they set up a demonstration in Gimbles Department store and almost sold out in the first 90 minutes.
A factory was built and the James Spring and Wire Company was born.
Believe it or not, Richard James had an epiphany around 1960 and left his wife and 6 kids to join a Bolivian religious cult. Dude! What were you thinking?! So, Betty took over and became CEO and saved the company from debts left by her husband. You go girl!
She replaced the blue black steel with silver and colored metal and added other toys to their line. Do you remember the glasses with the fake dangling eyeballs? Too cool!
To all you boomers, did you know that during the Vietnam war, Slinkys were used for mobile radio antennas?
Betty was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall Of Fame in 2001.
Wow! What a toy! If life could be that sweet and simple!
Original Metal Slinky

Saturday, February 14, 2009

California Here I Come!

April 23,1969

Dear Daddy,
I saw the mountains! I can't believe how beautiful the Rockies are. It just blows me away! We hooked up with some people who live in a cabin up in the mountains and will be crashing with them for awhile. I can't wait to take a bath in a cold mountain stream! Anyway, the ride we got was speeding and the cops pulled us over. We freaked out because Jimmy and Tommy are evading the draft. (Did I tell you that?)
Anyway, we were paranoid of an ID check. Well, it didn't happen, and all is well.
California is getting closer, but I want to hang in the mountains for awhile. Don't worry, everything is cool. I will write you again soon.
Love and Peace,

Thursday, February 12, 2009


A View-Master is a device for viewing 3-D images (stereo images) on a paper disc. It's now considered a children's toy, but originally marketed for adults.
My grandmother had two. One was handheld and the other plugged in like a movie projector. It was metal and got really hot. She had a little pull down screen and it was just like the movies. I still remember the clicking sound when you changed the picture. I still have them and take them out once in a while for a little road trip back in time.
It all started in 1911 with Sawyer's Photo Services. The company reproduced photographic postcards and album sets for souvenirs.
The View-Master disc holds 14 films slides, but really only 7 pairs. Two film slides are viewed simultaneously, one for each eye, creating binocular depth perception. In 1940, the View-Master quickly took over the post card business.
The military used them for training and purchased 100,00 viewers and over 6 million discs. Can you imagine training for the military with View-Masters?
In 1951, Sawyers got the licensing rights to Disney Studios after purchasing Tru View, it's competitor. View-Master now is part of the National Toy Hall Of Fame.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

You know, the one with the waggely tail. I bet your mother or grandmother sang this to you when you were little. The song was about a young woman who went on a trip to California and wants to buy a dog so her boyfriend won't be lonely. Actually, when I was a kid, I didn't know that and thought is was just a song about a dog in a pet store.
The lyrics and music were written by Bob Merrill in 1952. It was recorded by Patti Page and released by Mercury Records. The flip side (you remember what a flip side is, right?) was "My Jealous Eyes." It was #1 in the Billboard charts.
I bet you won't find this song on a Karaoke song list!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

See Spot Run! Fun With Dick And Jane!

Remember the Dick and Jane readers in elementary school? I was probably in the second grade, riding home from school in the back of the bus. I was so engrossed with Puff the cat and Spot the dog I forgot to get off. The driver realized it several blocks later and by that time, I was already freaking out because I thought I was lost and would never find my way home again. Needless to say, the bus driver turned around and everything was fine.
Dick and Jane were the main characters in the little reading text books we had as kids. They were written by Dr. William S. Gray and were used from 1930's to the 70's.
Dr. gray was accused of plagiarism of another work called the Dick and Dora readers.
Also included in the books, as you probably remember were, Puff the cat, Spot the dog, Mother, Father, Jack the clown and Tim the teddy bear. These books relied on sight reading and repetition of words. They ignored phonics as a more effective way to teach reading.
Characters from other races and cultures were not introduced until 1965. At that time, the Dick and Jane readers were declining in popularity.
If you have some of these books stashed away, you are one lucky Spot. They are worth a few hundred dollars.