Posts Tagged ‘time travel’

Yellow, somewhere over Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

gassing up the plane
yellow sun on horizon
I’m running on fumes

restless night owl
wings clipped over the Midwest
sleeping in mid-air

voicemail remains full
apologies to callers
delayed housekeeping

wings bobbing in sun
to avoid motion sickness
touch wrist pressure points

Northwest bites the dust
D-E-L-T-A imprint on cookie
“Skymiles with Biscoff”

ankles and joints swell
somewhere over Ohio

smoldering remnants
of the way it used to be
cause a lot of pain

nothing can contain
my rattling restless spirit
banging in the night

Liz rises at 5
and defrags my Toshiba
gift from the heavens

destination Baltimore
home of Ace of Cakes

high altitude yawns
saturate before using
low oxygen lungs

overweight luggage
travels with Baggage Angels
checks and balances

strange things worry me
laundry, shoes, and broken glass
where is my Space pen?

clouds dance on wing tips
full of milk and sky cookies —
I’m hungry to write

opening the door
family collectibles
hide in my closet

in for a landing
sun shines over Baltimore
gloomy clouds below


Note: All is well on my travels. Wrote these haiku on the plane yesterday morning. So much has happened since I arrived in Pennsylvania. Feels like I’ve been gone a week. My sister made sliced pork with peach glaze, mashed potatoes, green beans, and Southern banana pudding. My mother made chili, grits, and took me shopping for Fall outfits. My brother and Liz helped me out with a small glitch in the BlackBerry modem. All fixed now.

Tomorrow morning we start the 10-12 hour drive down to Georgia. Will try to check in as we roll over the Mason-Dixon line. We will travel through quite a few states before hitting the Savannah River. Will try to keep in touch. Writing and photography seem like the right things to be doing. Grateful for the opportunity. More as I know it. Time, time, time, time, time.

And the New Moon. New beginnings. Some call October’s Full Moon the Blood Moon. Prepare for the cold dark months ahead. Honor your ancestors. Let go of what is unnecessary. The veil between the worlds is thin.

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 18th, 2009

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Vintage. I love vintage. I was looking at old black and white photos in the studio last week: a scrapbook of army shots, Easter in Tennessee, the summer of 1965, Mom on her wedding day in the late 50’s. The beautiful, classic vintage wedding gown would knock your eyeballs out.

Mom had a hairdryer in the late 1960’s; it all fit into a portable suitcase: plastic bonnet, motor of questionable horsepower, a short pink hose that only allowed her to go as far as the end of the couch. I remember when she had to get up to answer the door, run downstairs to tend the laundry, or stir chili on the stove — she’d unhook the tube with a turn of the end cuff, and walk with the dangling hose next to her side, bonnet still on her head.

Women used to sit under gray metal hairdryers with pin curls and purple plastic rollers, the smell of permanent fixings filling the parlor, shouting to each other over a magazine. Beauty parlors were the hub of the town, always bustling with electricity.

But if you ask any woman, I bet they will tell you the greatest invention ever made is the tampon. I didn’t research its meager beginnings. But I should have. We should all pay homage to not having to wear those nasty boards between our legs anymore. Those and garter belts that left red welts mashed into the tops of your thighs, just had to go!

I wish I still had that 1963 Austin-Healey Sprite, red with a black roll bar. The muffler was always falling off and I had to wire it up with a coat hanger but I loved that car. Black Pontiac, my grandmother drove one of those. I am drawn to photograph vintage cars but only as I see them on the street. I’ve never gone to a car show. But I have tooled down University Avenue near Porky’s to check out the vintage cars and motorcycles that clog up the main artery of Frogtown between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

There are times when I long for the simpler ways cameras and toasters and projectors worked. Liz and I went to a garage sale a few weekends ago and came away with some vintage camera equipment: Argus slide projector with manual cartridge, old 8mm Kodak projector, two black manual camera bodies, a cigar-shaped Shure microphone, and 4 old tripods, one with wooden legs, that they threw in for free. There were a couple of old wine crates from Europe and even an 8-track player. The 8-track part didn’t work. But I grabbed the 8-tracks. Big and clunky as they are, I couldn’t help myself.

I used to have an 8-track player bolted to the floor of my 1968 powder blue VW Squareback. I loved that car. It was in perfect condition when I bought it from a friend in Missoula, Montana in 1976. It wasn’t warm in the mountain winters. But it drove like a dream with that big old steel blue steering wheel. The analogue 8-tracks and cassettes sound better than their digital counterparts, the closest thing to live music. But people have forgotten that. I thought of it again when I was reading about 1920’s inventions.

These days you just don’t hear about people in Hastings, Nebraska holing up in their garage and inventing another liquid sugar drink. Or the likes of a new-fangled Band-Aid hitting the market, invented by a woman in her farm kitchen in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

Where are the new inventors? What towns and cities are thriving with entrepreneurs taking new chances on an old dream. I kind of wish they’d come out with a half-decent garden weeder. None of the ones I’ve tried work. I still get a sore wrist after every dance through the compost of our garden gates.

There’s a tree swing on an ancient oak next to our driveway. I saw the neighbor kid’s grandmother swinging on it last weekend. Flying high out over the lower elm, do you think she wondered who invented the tree swing? Or more about if the rope wrapping was going to hold close to the branch?

The inventions of our time define who we are. Old-style mechanics are the way to go. The less moving parts, the better. Who can work on their own cars these days? They are way too computerized and digital. And one closed circuit shuts down the whole engine; I have to walk home from the store. I’ll be sure to put a Spider-Man Band-Aid on those blisters.


UPDATE:  I had to look. Check out this great article on the history of Who Invented Tampons?, June 6th, 2006, on The Straight Dope (LINK). Though women are connected to the origins and beginnings of the invention of the tampon, there are lots of surprises there. The ancient Egyptians invented the first disposable tampons from softened papyrus; the ancient Greeks from lint wrapped around a small piece of wood (recorded in writing by Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C.)

And guess what? Our old friend Johnson & Johnson (the Band-Aid inventors) are connected to the first commercial sanitary pad — Lister’s Towels, first manufactured in 1896.

Commercial tampons were probably available by the late 1920s or early 1930s, but they didn’t gain mainstream acceptance until Tampax appeared on the market in 1936. (In 1935, Kimberly-Clark was offered the patent rights but thought it would be like throwing money out the window. Not a good move. The product became Tampax, the first tampon with an applicator patented by Dr. Earl Haas.) Here’s what the article says about Earl’s product:

After failing to get people interested in his invention (including the Johnson & Johnson company), on October 16, 1933 he finally sold the patent and trademark to a Denver businesswoman, Gertrude Tenderich, for $32,000. She started the Tampax company and was its first president. Tenderich was an ambitious German immigrant who made the first Tampax tampons at her home using a sewing machine and Dr. Haas’s compression machine.”

I guess the tampon was another great invention rooted in the 1920’s!

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, June 23rd, 2008

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920’s INVENTIONS

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Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Diamonds At Solstice, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

At Diamonds they say, “Come for the caffeine, stay for the camaraderie.” Diamonds Coffee Shoppe — Your Atomic Coffee Stop — is located in the Arts District of Northeast Minneapolis. It’s a great place to write. To Dawn and Lucy, it’s not just coffee, it’s a philosophy.

Three of us were there last Wednesday evening to write and do art. It was our weekly creative project meeting, part of our dedication to our practice. Our small group of four alternate between the studio in the Casket Arts Building and Diamonds a few blocks away.

Last week the Pop-A-Lock guys were there; 8 of them formed a circle in the hall next to us (across from the vault), and had their business meeting. As fate would have it, one of them had helped me change a flat tire a month ago over in Brooklyn Park. The world gets smaller every day.

Diamonds In Primary Colors, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Diamonds Coffee Shoppe
1618 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 789-5282

Mon through Thurs – 6 AM to 10 PM
Fridays 6 AM to 10 PM
Saturday 7 AM to 10 PM
Sunday 8 AM to 10PM


There were three things on my mind tonight. The first was an end of week meeting with my Gemini friend ybonesy. All went well; we are right on track. The second is Diamonds. I downloaded the photos I took last Wednesday. Maybe there will be a Fotoblog to follow. The third?

Summer Solstice. Liz and I are going to a Solstice celebration tomorrow night at a friend’s house. Fire and water. In Minneapolis, the longest day of the year passed a few hours ago at 5:59pm. When is Solstice in your part of the world?

Below are some links that might help. I was looking at archived photographs of the same date last year; the peonies were well on their way. This year the ants have opened only three blooms. Spring is late in coming. I welcome the light.

Time for Summer. Have a diamonds and light Solstice.


  • Times listed for Winter & Summer Solstices (and the Equinoxes) beginning in 1900:

Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth: Seasons From 1900 To 2099 (LINK)

In the Midwest, we have to subtract 6 hours from UT to get Central Standard time (and 5 for Daylight Saving time (LINK). See also Holoscenes – Textures of the Earth – Special Projects (LINK)

  • Here’s how to translate UT time to our time, wherever we are:

Earth & Sky: How Do I Translate Universal Time To My Time? (LINK)

  • Here’s a final link to different systems of time:

U.S. Navy – Systems of Time (LINK)

Diamonds At Dusk, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, June 20th, Summer Solstice 2008

-related to posts: 8 Minutes, Winter Solstice – Making Light Of The Dark, Solstice Fire In Winter, 15 Hours, 36 Minutes Of Light

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Band-Aid Freak!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Band-Aid Freak!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I’m a Band-Aid® freak. I love Band-Aid® Brand Adhesive Bandages. I’m famous around the office for stocking a plentiful amount in the metal bin above my cube. Paper cut? No problem. Spider-Man, Batman or SpongeBob SquarePants to the rescue!

Band-Aid® Bandages were invented in 1920 by a New Jersey man named Earl Dickson. Earl worked as a cotton buyer for a small start-up company called Johnson & Johnson. His wife Josephine (formerly Josephine Frances Knight) was always picking up nicks and cuts in the kitchen. Earl invented a ready-made bandage by placing squares of cotton gauze at intervals along an adhesive strip and covering them with crinoline (petticoat material!).

First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Band-Aid® was born.

But the new product only sold a total of $3000 the first year. It was the Boy Scouts who put Band-Aid® on the map after an unlimited number of free Band-Aids® were distributed to Boy Scout troops across the country. The long history of innovation continued, and as of 2001, over 100 billion Band-Aid® Brand Bandages had rolled off the assembly line.

In the 1970’s,  John Travolta, Terri Garr, and Brooke Shields all appeared in Band-Aid® commercials. And remember that little jingle, I am stuck on Band-Aid® ’cause Band-Aid®‘s stuck on me? It was penned by Barry Manilow (and will surely get stuck in your head!). Barry did pretty well in the jingle business and is also responsible for Like a good neighbor…well, you know the rest.

Earl Dickson didn’t do too bad for himself either. Johnson & Johnson eventually made Dickson a vice president at the company, a position in which he remained until his retirement in 1957. He was also a member of the board of directors until his death in 1961. At the time of his death, Johnson & Johnson was selling over $30,000,000 worth of Band-Aids® each year.

As much as I love Band-Aids®, they weren’t the only invention of the 1920’s. It was a decade quick to embrace wild ideas and new technologies. Here’s a video and a short timeline of other 1920’s inventions:

               Crazy 1920’s Inventions from Aaron1912 on YouTube


  • Hair Dryer (1920)

Prior to 1920, woman dried their hair by inserting a hose in the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner and blowing themselves dry. But in 1920, hand held dryers were introduced by the US Racine Universal Motor Company (Wisconsin), and the Hamilton Beach Company.

  • Combustion Engine Car (1920)

Invented by Henry Ford, cars powered by combustion engines were affordable to the American public and mass produced. The ‘Model-T’ was the first car to roll off the assembly line. (If the price of gas is any indication, the love affair lives on!) 

  • Kool-Aid (1927)

Edwin Perkins of Hastings, Nebraska created the most important invention in American history: Kool-Aid (originally called Fruit Smack). Perkins was a chemist who owned “Perkins Product Company” which sold perfume and calling cards. The original Kool-Aid flavors? Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Strawberry, and Raspberry.

  • Liquid-Fueled Rocket (1926)

Robert Goddard’s liquid-fueled rocket and methods of propulsion are still used by the North American Space Association. His oxygen and liquid fuel lifted the original rocket 184 ft.

  • Q-Tips (1923)

Polish-born American Leo Gerstenzang was married to a woman who used to cotton swab each end of a stick to clean her baby’s ears. Leo took her innovation and put it on the market. Then called ‘Baby Gays”, the wood was replaced by white cardboard, and Gerstenzang started the “Infant Novelty Company” to sell Q-Tips.

  • Lie Detector (1921)

John A. Larson was a medical student at the University of California when he invented the Polygraph, or lie detector. The device measured heartbeat and breathing to determine if a person was lying, and later included a skin monitoring system to measure sweat.

  • Bread Slicer (1927)

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Iowa got the idea for a bread slicer in 1912, and in 1927 invented a machine that could successfully cut and wrap a loaf of bread. The machine was later improved by baker Gustav Papendick.

  • Bulldozer (1923)

In 1885, engineer Benjamin Holt built a crawling tractor, which he called “caterpillar.” Later, scraping blades were attached and in 1923, LaPlant-Choate Manufacturing Company produced the first bulldozer.

  • Traffic Light (1920)

Police officer William Potts from Detroit, Michigan was the inventor of the traffic light. Using red, amber and green lights, and $37 worth of wire, he built a light for the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. Around the same time, African-American Garrett Morgan invented the automated traffic light. It worked the same way railroad lights work today and was the concept on which four way traffic lights were built.


History is pregnant with writing possibility. Pick a 1920’s invention — the combustion engine, the lie detector, the hair dryer — and write about how it changed the future.

Do a Writing Practice on the first childhood memory that comes to mind when you think of Kool-Aid, Band-Aids®, or Q-Tips.

Maybe you hate the feel of a Q-Tip in your ear; or maybe it’s something you look forward to after a morning shower. When’s the last time you tasted Kool-Aid? Did you know it was invented in Nebraska (along with CliffsNotes and the Vise-Grip)?

What’s the greatest thing ever invented? Ten minutes, Go!

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

-related to post, If You Could Go Back In Time…

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Mabel’s Lights IIII, third in series, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008, by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel’s Lights IIII, third in series, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos,
New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2011, by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

When we were sitting around the fire at a writing retreat a few weekends ago, someone threw two questions out on the floor — If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet? What period in history would you visit? The answers stirred up a lively discussion — and 30 minutes of time travel.

Last Friday at the art studio, same thing. We pulled musty old boxes of albums out of storage — Neil Young, Van Morrison, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Joni Mitchell, Olivia artists, Meg Christian, Margie Adam, and Cris Williamson (women who blazed the way for female musicians, Women’s Music, and Lilith Fair), Aretha Franklin, Prince, UB40, Bob Marley, and Two Nice Girls. We played analogue music on a refurbished turntable; the three of us reminisced about the days before Internet, cell phones, and pagers.

People used to sit around in college dorm rooms and spend hours talking about literature, art, music, women’s rights, civil rights, the environment. When we walked into a room, and the first thing we did was throw a scratchy album on the stereo, light candles (when candles still dripped), and plop down on the nearest sofa to talk. We painted blue skies and puffy clouds on the wall of the 1800’s apartment we were renting. Hours passed; we didn’t notice. Yet every second we talked, the world kept changing.

Mabel & Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel & Tony, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007-2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

That’s why I’d go back to the 1920’s, to the salons of Paris; to Mabel’s heyday in Taos; to the likes of Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, Frieda Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dorothy Brett, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Stieglitz, and Carl Jung. In the 1920’s, a creative renaissance was booming; the second wave of feminism was rolling across the country, women could finally vote.

Photographer, Berenice Abbott studied with Man Ray in the early 1920’s. Amelia Earhart took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921, and in six months managed to save enough money to buy her first plane (Hillary Swank will star in the lead role of the upcoming feature film “Amelia” along with Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor. Shooting is taking place in Toronto and the film is currently scheduled to be released sometime in 2009.)

In 1922, Frida Kahlo attended the National Preparatory School in Mexico City, with a goal of studying medicine at university. She admired Diego Rivera as he worked on a mural at the prep school. In 1925, Zora Neale Hurston became Barnard’s first black student, studied under anthropologist, Dr. Franz Boas, and received a scholarship through novelist, Barnard founder, and Harlem Renaissance supporter, Annie Nathen Mayer.

During the 1920s, Hurston was dubbed “Queen of the Renaissance.” She was good friends with Richard Wright until their differences in philosophy, and a dispute over a mutual project they were working on, drove a wedge between them.

For me, it’s the 1920’s, hands down, for time travel. But if I had to choose who I would want to meet, there are three people who come to mind: Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and James Baldwin.

As a writer, I find Baldwin inspiring. According to Literature, the Companion Website for Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Baldwin published:

The man was on fire.

If you could go back in time, where would you go? Who would you like to meet?

Mabel's Place II, The Early Days, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel’s Place II, The Early Days, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mabel, Tony, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920′s INVENTIONS, The Vitality Of Place — Preserving The Legacy Of “Home”

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