22 June 2010

Chronology of Auto Safety Firsts

. . . Being in Detroit, one cannot escape having some connection to the auto industry. My dad worked for Chrysler for a long time, and he started at least three clubs for grown men who collect toy cars, and I was often called on to run his booth at toy shows while he was off schmoozing with other automotive enthusiasts.

Despite all that, automotive history is not a hot topic for me, but I am interested in the history of safety improvements. Thus this little chronology was born.

Unfortunately some experts disagree on exactly when an innovation appeared or who invented it. For example, there is a lot of disagreement over when and where the first traffic signal appeared. When I found conflicting dates I usually took the earlier date. Most of these factoids came from one of three primary sources, Borth, Phillips, or Cantor, listed at the end.

1900. First automotive headlights, kerosene, 20-candle-power, offered by R. E. Dietz Company, NYC. Borth.

1900. First car with a steering wheel rather than a tiller. Phillips.

1901. Connecticut passes first auto speed laws; other states soon follow. Borth.

1901. First car with a speedometer, Oldsmobile. Phillips.

1902. First motor vehicle with running boards; these were added as a safety feature due to the sheer height of seats from the ground. Phillips.

1903. First car with a windshield. Phillips.

1903. First car with shock absorbers, which improve safety by reducing road shock felt by the driver through the steering wheel. Phillips.

1903. First car with carbide gas headlights. Phillips.

1906. First car with front bumpers. Borth, Phillips.

1907. First electric turn signal is patented. Prior to this, a mechanical turn signal was invented but not patented by early movie star Florence Lawrence.

1907. First vehicle with camel-hair brake linings. Phillips.

1907. First speed bumps constructed, Glencoe, Illinois. Borth.

1908. First cars with interchangeable parts, seen as a safety improvement due to replacement parts being better fits, Cadillac. Phillips.

1908. First car with electric headlights with dimmers. Phillips.

1908. First car with a magnetic speedometer. Phillips.

1908. First four-wheel-drive automobile, made by Otto Zachow and William Besserdich of Clintonville, Wisconsin. Borth.

1909. First steering wheel with a corrugated underside to offer a better grip to the driver. Borth.

1909. First mile of concrete pavement opened, on Woodward Avenue between 6 Mile Road and 7 Mile Road, Detroit, on July 4. Borth.

1910. First Standardization Committee is organized, under the auspices of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Borth.

1911. First lane markings, painted by Edward N. Hines, on River Road near Trenton, Wayne county, Michigan; by 1922 all paved roads in Wayne county (Detroit area) had center lines. Cantor.

1911. First car having a rear-view mirror was used by Ray Harroun in the first Indianapolis 500; he won the race. Phillips.

1911. First self-starter mechanism to become standard is invented by Charles F. Kettering. Phillips.

1912. First car with an engine temperate indicator. Borth.

1912. First car with vacuum-operated wipers rather than those operated by hand. Phillips.

1912. First system of markings for major routes, applied to trunklines, painted on telephone poles by William B. Bachman, Michigan. He started with different colored stripes around telephone poles, but by 1920 he had run out of colors and switched to numbers. Cantor.

1913. First wraparound windshield, offered by Kissel Kar on some of its models. Borth.

1914. First adjustable driver seat, offered by Maxwell. Borth.

1914. First stop sign installed, Detroit. Borth, Phillips.

1914. First mechanical traffic signal, invented by Garrett A. Morgan, installed in Cleveland, Ohio. The signal had signs for Go, Stop, and All Stop. Phillips, Cantor.

1915. First tilt-beam headlights, Cadillac.

1915. First prism lenses for headlights.

1915. First national highway construction law, called the Federal Aid Road Act, was signed into law; it paid 50% costs for improvement of any road that carried US mail. Borth.

1916. First car with a slanting windshield to reduce glare. Phillips.

1916. First meeting of the first automobile club, established, in part, carry out a program of service to safety for motorists and tourists, founded by Martin Pulcher, June 24, called the Detroit Automobile Club. Cantor.

1916. First safety patrol program established in an elementary school, Newark, New Jersey. Other cities soon establish similar programs. Cantor.

1917. First crow's nest in which a traffic control officer is stationed, established in Detroit, at the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenue, 9 October.

1917. First enclosed cars with heating. Borth.

1919. First car with standard front and rear bumpers, Wescott touring car. Borth.

1919. First three-color traffic light. Borth.

1919. First cars with indirect lighting of dashboard instruments. Borth.

1920. First three-color, four-way traffic light, invented by William L. Potts, a Detroit police lieutenant. Cantor.

1920. First car with four-wheel hydraulic brakes, developed by Malcolm Loughead (Lockheed), Duesenberg. Borth.

1921. First system of synchronized traffic signals, Detroit. Borth.

1921. First car with backup lights that automatically turn on when the car is put into reverse, offered by Wills-St. Claire. Borth.

1922. First car with a gas gauge; or, in other words, a dashboard instrument showing the level of gasoline in tank; thus the driver was no longer forced to pull over and use a dipstick to establish how much gasoline was in the car. Phillips.

1922. First electrically interlocked traffic signal system, established in Houston, Texas. Borth.

1922. First time motor-driven vehicles are used to clear snow from roads. Borth.

1924. First cars with headlights with two filaments, thus allowing headlight bulbs to project low beams and brights.

1925. Uniform markings are standardized for federal highways: even numbers for east-west roads, odd numbers for north-south roads. Borth.

1926. First windshields made of "shock-proof" safety glass comprised of two layers of glass enclosing a layer of celluloid, Rickenbacker. Borth.

1928. First roadways with no-passing zones indicated with yellow lines painted adjacent to white lines, invented by Michigan governor Fred W. Green; accident rates were significantly lowered after these were deployed.

1927. First research into aerodynamics as applied to auto bodies, by Carl Breer. Borth.

1927. First internal expanding hydraulic brake system, invented by Malcolm Loughead (Lockheed). Borth.

1929. First car with tail lights on both sides of the car. Borth.

1929. First car with front-wheel drive, Cord. Borth.

1929. Detroit establishes the first traffic court; in other words, a court created solely to hear traffic cases; this was done in order to put an end to the common practice of letting auto thieves and reckless drivers off with a slap on the wrist due to the sheer volume of cases that clogged the Recorder's Court. Cantor.

1930. First police cars with radios. Borth.

1932. First car with adjustable inside sun visors. Phillips.

1933. First cars with power brakes. Borth.

1936. Hudson cars are made with a steel torque arm called a "radical safety control" which provides for easier steering and braking; Hudson also adds an emergency backup braking system that goes into effect if the primary brakes fail. Borth.

1937. First windshield washing system, Studebaker. Borth, Phillips.

1937. First car with an adjustable seat that goes not only back and forth but up and down, Chrysler. Borth.

1937. Oldsmobile and Buick both offer an automatic gearshift called an "automatic safety transmission." Borth.

1938. First car with self-canceling turn signals, Buick. Borth.

1940. First car with two-speed windshield wipers, Chrysler. Borth.

1942. National speed limit set at 40 mph to conserve gasoline; later it is lowered to 35 mph. Borth.

1946. First cars with radio-telephones. Borth.

1946. First car with self-adjusting brakes, Studebaker. Phillips.

1948. First trucks with power steering. Phillips.

1948. First dual-control cars for use in high school driver training classes. Borth.

1948. Tucker 48, a.k.a. Tucker Torpedo, a.k.a. Tucker Sedan, carries a number of innovative and first-time safety features including: seatbelts, roll bar in the roof, crash frame around entire car, padded dashboard, interior free of protruding hooks and handles, directional middle headlight that turns as the front wheels turn, scooped fenders to protect car from being hit by objects thrown up by tires, steering box placed behind front axle to protect driver in front-end collision, pop-out windshield, rear engine to keep exhaust fumes away from passengers, parking brake with its own lock and key. Other safety features which were invented for the car but not included in the final design: disc brakes, self-sealing tubeless tires, fuel injection, torque converter. Borth. (Although it produced 51 vehicles, the Tucker corporation failed before its assembly line was up and running, thus it is not credited with manufacturing a production vehicle.)

1950. First puncture-sealing tubeless tires, Goodrich. Borth.

1951. First car with power steering. Phillips.

1953. First car with power brakes. Phillips.

1954. First car with a "panoramic" wrap-around windshield to improve visibility for the driver. Phillips.

1954. Eisenhower establishes the first President's Action Committee for Highway Safety. Borth.

1955. First production car to offer optional seatbelts. Phillips.

1955. Michigan is the first state to require a driver education class before issuing a license to anyone under 18. Borth.

1956. Interstate Highway Act, a.k.a Federal Highway Act, is passed, establishing a range of safety standards including limited access, one-way traffic, no roadside obstacles, and safety guardrails.

1958. First double-chambered captive-air safety tire, Goodyear. Borth.

1958. First cars with anti-lock braking systems, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Phillips.

1959. First vehicles with catalytic converters are produced for sale in California. Borth.

1959. First cars with remote-controlled side-view mirrors. Phillips.

1961. First tires made of budene, a synthetic rubber that lasts about twice as long as standard rubber, Goodyear. Borth.

1961. First national database system, called the National Driver Register Service, is launched, to cross reference drunk drivers or drivers who cause highway deaths. Borth.

1961. Front turn signals are required to be amber rather than white to improve visibility. Borth.

1962 (approx). First "Michigan left" is constructed at the intersection of 8 Mile Road and Livernois, Detroit; also called a "median U-turn crossover;" the left turn is eliminated and instead the driver turns right, follows a one-way route across a median allowing for a legal U-turn, and then proceeds on the crosstreet. (Called a "P-turn" in Australia, where the design is reversed to eliminate right turns.)

1963. First manufacturer to implement factory-installed seatbelts as standard equipment in all its vehicles, Studebaker.

1965. HELP, or Highway Emergency Locating Plan, established by Automobile Manufacturers Association, to provide communications to help motorists in distress, using Channel 9 of the Citizen's Band radio system. Borth.

1965. Ralph Nader pens Unsafe at Any Speed, a landmark book exposing dangerous design elements in American-made cars and rampant corruption in safety regulation of US auto manufacturers.

1966. National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed, spurred in part by Ralph Nader's testimony, to establish and coordinate safety policies in all states. The National Highway Safety Bureau is created by this act. Borth, Phillips.

1969. First car with "hesitation" or intermittent windshield wipers.

1974. President Nixon signs the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act and the national speed limit is lowered to 55 mph to conserve gasoline. An unexpected side effect is that highway fatalities drop considerably, thus the law is left in effect until 1987, when the limit is raised to 65 mph; the national speed limit is finally repealed in 1995.

1980. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is founded by Candice Lightner, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver; it soon becomes a national movement.

1986. High-mounted stop lights, a.k.a. centre high mount stop lamps, are required on all US vehicles; these reduce rear-end collisions by greatly improving the ability of rearward drivers to determine if vehicles ahead of them are slowing down; these were ushered in by Elizabeth Dole, secretary of transportation; by 1998 they were required in many other countries.

1991. First car with an integrated child safety seat, Chrysler. Phillips.


Primary Sources:

Borth, Christy, with James J. Bradley, Herry N. Rogan, Stanley K. Yost. Automobiles of America. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1968. Published under auspices of the Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Cantor, George. Safety, Security and Open Roads: Touring AAA Michigan's History. Troy, MI: Momentum Books, 1998

Phillips, Suzanne. History of Auto Safety: A Brief Summary. Akron NY: MGA Research Corp, n.d. (c.1995). A 30-pg booklet of reprinted articles on technological improvements to motor vehicles which also improved saftey, from MGA News, a monthly newsletter.


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06 June 2010

80 Foods Named After Other Foods

Most of the foods listed below are fruits or vegetables named after other fruits or vegetables. I find this form of naming to be very confusing. The cherry tomato may have been the first example of this I ever noticed. The chicken fried steak sounded great until I found out it had no chicken.

While compiling this list I imagined that somewhere in the world of high-finance vegetables, someone is chanting the mantra, "If we can name it strawberry, we will."

Thanks to Jean Atrill who let me eyeball her seed catalogs where I found some of the most outrageous examples.

1. Acorn Squash

2. Almond Potato

3. Apple Green Eggplant

4. Asparagus Pea

5. Banana Melon

6. Banana Pepper

7. Beefsteak Tomato

8. Beer Banana

9. Black Cherry Tomato

10. Black Pear Tomato

11. Black Plum Tomato

12. Brandywine Tomato

13. Brown Turkey Hardy Fig

14. Butter and Sugar Corn

15. Buttercup Squash

16. Butternut Squash

17. Canary Melon

18. Cherry Bomb Pepper

19. Cherry Orange

20. Chicken Fried Steak

21. Currant Tomato

22. Curry Banana

23. Deer Tongue Lettuce

24. Dwarf Orange Quince

25. Early White Bush Scallop Squash

26. Easter Egg Radish

27. Fish Pepper

28. Garden Peach Tomato

29. German Red Strawberry Tomato

30. Golden Cross Bantam Corn

31. Golden Orange Apple

32. Goose Berry

33. Grape Tomato

34. Green Grape Tomato

35. Green Nutmeg Melon

36. Green Pineapple Tomato

37. Hawaiian Pineapple Tomato

38. Honey and Cream Corn

39. Honey Garlic

40. Husk Cherry Tomato

41. Lemon Cherry Tomato

42. Lemon Drop Pepper

43. Long Island Cheese Pumpkin

44. Miniature Chocolate Bell Pepper

45. Myrtle Blueberry

46. Nectarine Tomato

47. Orange Banana Tomato

48. Orange Sun Bell Pepper

49. Oregon Honey Fig

50. Peaches and Cream Corn

51. Pineapple Quince

52. Pink Banana Squash

53. Plum Cherry

54. Plum Purple Radish

55. Plum Tomato

56. Potato Onion

57. Red Cherry Hot Pepper

58. Red Grape Sugar Plum Tomato

59. Red Pear Tomato

60. Red Plum Tomato

61. Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potato

62. Royal Acorn Squash

63. Sausage Cream Tomato

64. Sausage Tomato

65. Sheep Berry

66. Spaghetti Squash

67. Squash Berry

68. Strawberry Corn

69. Strawberry Spinach

70. Sun Cherry Tomato

71. Sweet Dumpling Squash

72. Sweet Pea Currant Tomato

73. Sweet Pickle Pepper

74. Sweet Potato Squash

75. Vegetable Spaghetti Squash

76. Wapsipinicon Peach Tomato

77. Watermelon Beefsteak Tomato

78. Yellow Currant Tomato

79. Yellow Pear Tomato

80. Yellow Plum Tomato


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26 May 2010

43 POD Publishers

. . . What is a POD publisher? It stands for Print on Demand. The first POD publisher started in the 1930s and printed books from microfilm but since the 1990s computer technology has made POD printing very affordable. The industry has been mushrooming ever since.

Below I list 43 POD publisher names that I have seen on used books. There are plenty more POD publishers out there, but they are not listed here unless I have seen one of their actual books either in person or listed on a used-book website.

For some of these companies I have shown what standard publisher they are owned by or affiliated with. For some I have shown the earliest date found on one of their books, or the date they were founded. I have also indicated what country they are located in, if not the US.

This is not an exhaustive list because more and more POD publishers seem to spring up daily.

1. AuthorHouse, US and UK branches, owned by Author Solutions

2. Bertrams Print on Demand

3. BiblioBazaar, 2007

4. BiblioLife, 2010

5. Blitzprint, Canada

6. Blurb, affiliated with Chronicle Books

7. Book Locker

8. The Book Pub

9. BookMobile, 1996

10. BookSurge, affiliated with R.R. Bowker

11. CafePress

12. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010

13. Cold Tree Press

14. Coral Hub Online Services, 2010

15. CreateSpace, owned by Amazon

16. Digital Impressions

17. Digitz.net, owned by BookSurge

18. Dodo Press, 2008

19. eBookStand, 1996

20. Echo Library, 2007

21. Ex Libris

22. 1stBooks Library, 2007

23. First Choice Books, Canada

24. General Books, 2010

25. GreatUnpublished, owned by BookSurge

26. Impressions Unlimited

27. IndyPublish, 2004

28. Infinity Publishing

29. iUniverse, owned by Author Solutions

30. Kessinger Publishing Company, 2004

31. Lightning Source, owned by new-book distributor Ingram

32. Lulu, 2007

33. NetPublications

34. Outskirts Press

35. Page Free Publishing

36. Read Books, 2008

37. Replica Books, owned by new-book distributor Baker & Taylor

38. Scribd, 2009, affiliated with Simon & Schuster

39. Sovereign Grace Publishers, owned by IndyPublish

40. Trafford Publishing, Canada, owned by Author Solutions

41. Tutis Digital Publishing, 2008

42. University Microfilms International, affiliated with University of Michigan, c.1938

43. Xlibris, 2008, owned by Author Solutions, affiliated with Random House


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07 May 2010

92 Silly eBay Handles

. . . Truly, the task of choosing an online name presents some computer users with too many possibilities. These names have been collected over many years of eBay surfing. This list is not an endorsement of eBay or of anyone on eBay. I just think they're funny names.

Can't Think of a Name
1. blankplastickeyrings
2. computer*says*no
3. donotchangeuserid
4. fed_up_with_chosing_an_id
5. i_have_a_really_long_nickname
6. knotminame
7. namewithoutnumbers
8. needtoner
9. no-one-in-particular
10. notacleverusername
11. soundslikethis
12. userkeptprivate
13. usethisnameplease

Horrid Puns
14. brideofgoopenstein
15. gnomeplacelikehome
16. oddsandendtiques
17. perryphernalia
18. refried.jeans
19. robs-your-uncle
20. ultimatoauctions
21. youth_in_asia

Addicted to Shopping
22. allthetimeonline
23. deepinhock
24. dontoverbiditsmine
25. ebaayismylife
26. emptyshoppingbag
27. fatauctionfreaks
28. gonnagobroke
29. idontneedsthis
30. iwantcandy2
31. iwantyouretrash
32. missjunkaholic
33. shopaholic-mom
34. sir_snipes_alot
35. spoiling_my_children
36. theguywhopaystoomuchjusttowin
37. 30pairsofflipflopsandcounting

Silly Rhymes
38. blingblingkingd
39. cleanbeanqueen
40. funky-retro-monkey
41. mamamiaitsmaria
42. mr_spoon_on_the_moon
43. mydelectable-collectables
44. oohaahpinkguitar
45. slurpeeherpee
46. wizardofgizzard

I Love My Pet
47. frodothecyberdog
48. fussygerbil
49. ineedadog
50. muffythebarkingdog
51. thingsthatsqueak
52. 3blueyeddashounds

Cheeky Devil
53. dead.peoples.stuff
54. givemechocolate
55. hellcatlouise
56. im_going_to_live_forever
57. not2old2boogie
58. queenofmostthings
59. ratherbeonthelake!
60. shutupdonnie
61. someonesmellsfunky
62. thebutlerdidit!
63. wopbopaloobopalopbamboom

My Stuff is the Best
64. auctions-under-two-dollars
65. buy-it-now-it-bargain-time!
66. got2bid2buy
67. oooh!babyiamworthit!

Doctor Who and Monty Python Fans
68. artur2sheds
69. boxtardis
70. dalek10
71. davros61
72. doctor221
73. the-black-knigget
74. whopunk

Buyer is Insane
75. brain.e.ak
76. braineatingmaniac
77. cross-out-the-eyes
78. das_monster_unter_deinem_bett (German: the monster under your bed)
79. freakshowof1
80. geniessss
81. jackseviltwin-edtheripper
82. kwaazycat
83. madwhacker
84. mistress_murder
85. newratik_of_the_banana_republic
86. psycho666insane
87. thedonnerparty

Amusing Seller Names on Amazon
88. burnt_biscuit_books
89. myfavoriatebook
90. qualitybooks_fastshipping_satisfactiongurantee
91. student_who_doesnt_want_these_books_anymore
92. weresorrybutanothercustomerisalreadyusingyournickname


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05 April 2010

43 Toy Stores with Punny, Cute, and Allusive Names

I was cataloging some collectible toy magazines from the 1990s when I noticed a lot of ads for toy stores with incredibly silly, punny, or allusive names. So of course I had to make a list.

These toy magazines came from the collection of my dad,
Peter H. Foss, who is letting me sell off a large chunk his book and ephemera collection. (My brother John is helping him sell off some of his toy collection.)

My dad is fairly well known among toy car collectors as the founder of at least three clubs for collectors: Toy Car Collectors Club, Model Car Collectors Association, Michigan Model Car Collectors. And, along with Herb Jackson, who owned a toy and hobby store in Farmington Hills, Michigan, my dad was co-founder of the biggest and longest-running series of toy shows in the Detroit area. Well, Dad's retired from running shows now but he still occasionally acquires a new toy.

Some of these toy shops may have changed their names, or moved, or gone out of business. I don't know. I just think they have interesting names.

The Allusive Names

1. Acme Rocket Company : Tempe AZ
2. Amok Time Toys : East Meadow NY
3. Emerald City Comics & Collectibles : Seminole FL
4. Buy Buy Birdie : Miami FL
5. Go Figure! : Lancaster NY
6. Monolith Toys : Newhall CA
7. Puff N' Stuff : Jeannette PA
8. Soitenly Stooges : Skokie IL
9. Toon Town : Champaign IL
10. Trekibles : Plainfield IN
11. Valhalla Collectibles : Stony Plain, Alberta
12. Wayback Machine : Hope RI

The Bad Puns

13. Fun Damental : Bloomingdale IN
14. Grafik XS : Clifton NJ
15. Kimono My House : Emeryville CA
16. Land of Ooh's and Oz : Farmingdale NY
17. # Won Collectibles : Somerville NJ
18. Oh! Zone : Lancaster PA
19. Playing Mantis : Cassopolis MI
20. Witcraft : Glen Ellyn IL

The Gawd-Awful Rhymes

21. Funk and Junk for All Generations : Alexandria VA
22. Joy Toy Man : Wilmington NC
23. Mad Stasher's Delectable Collectables : Belfast NY
24. Spastic over Plastic : Clifton NJ

The Monstrous Names

25. Fantasmagorical : Los Angeles CA
26. Halloween Queen : Winchester NH
27. House of Horror : Chandler AZ
28. Monsters in Motion : Anaheim CA
29. Rotten Corpse : Upland CA
30. Toys from the Crypt : Garland TX

Seriously, Would You Go Into This Store?

31. Atomic Candy : Boston MA
32. Freakie Magnet : Arlington VA
33. Village Idiot : Billings MT
34. W.A.F. : Kingston NY ("We Are Fun")
35. Whatsits Galore : Yatesville PA
36. Whiz Bang! : Casselberry FL

Torturing the English Language

37. Boomerbilia : Lambertville NJ
38. Comitoyz : Lindenwold NJ
39. Ifitzgot Wheels : Mc Kinney TX
40. Imajico : Jenkintown PA
41. Toiz-N-Morr : Dyersville IA
42. Toyrareum : Ocean City NJ
43. Toyzlvania Collectibles : Anaheim CA


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25 March 2010

7 Moon Craters named for Universalists and Unitarians

. . . Actually this is a list of six craters and one moon ridge named for Us, Us and UUs.

Unitarian Universalists (they were two separate denominations in the US until they consolidated in 1961) are two long-lived liberal branches of Protestantism that believe, among other things, that the ideas of religion and science can be in harmony. Thus one finds many scientists among the ranks of UUs. These data are excerpted from my little booklet, A Who's Who of UUs, now in its 4th edition.

The following are listed in reverse alphabetical order because doing everything in alphabetical order gets pretty tiresome.

1. Wiener moon crater named for Norbert Wiener

120 km in diameter, far side of the moon

Norbert Wiener (26 Nov 1894-18 Mar 1964), Ph.D. Harvard 1912; American mathematician, communication theorist; created the field of cybernetics and coined the term cybernetics (mathematics applied to feedback, computer control of machines); professor of mathematics at M.I.T. 1919-64 (45 years); honorable Sc.D. Tufts 1946; author Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in Animal and Machine 1948 (seminal work), many other scientific books and hundreds of articles; Wiener process, Wiener filter, Wiener equation and many other items named in his honor; Unitarian of Jewish heritage

2. Peirce moon crater named for Benjamin Peirce

18 km in diameter, near side

Benjamin Peirce (pronounced purse) (4 Apr 1809-6 Oct 1880), American astronomer, mathematician; researched orbit of Neptune and rings of Saturn; tutor 1829-31, professor of mathematics 1831-80 (49 years) and professor of astronomy 1842-80 (38 years) at Harvard; founded Harvard Observatory 1843; appointed to the organizing committee of the Smithsonian 1847; director of longitudinal determinations 1852-67 and superintendent 1867-74 of the US Coast Survey; author Physical and Celestial Mechanics 1855 (first book in field) and other mathematical textbooks; coined algebra terms idempotent and nilpotent 1870, created Peirce's criterion (in statistics) 1852 and 'Peirce decomposition' (in algebra) 1881; Unitarian

3. Mitchell moon crater named for Maria Mitchell

30 km in diameter, near side

Maria Mitchell (pronounced ma-RY-ah) (1 Aug 1818-28 Jun 1889), American astronomer, self educated scholar; first person to discover a comet visible only through a telescope 1847; first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1848 (remained the only woman member for 95 years) and to the American Philosophical Society 1869; among first professors at Vassar 1865; as professor of astronomy same 1865-87 became the first woman full professor in the US; one of three women first elected to the American Philosophical Association 1869; cofounded the Association for the Advancement of Women 1875; Gold Medal King of Denmark 1847 (excellence in astronomy); member of the American Hall of Fame; raised Quaker, became Unitarian

4. Lyell moon crater named for Sir Charles Lyell

32 km in diameter, on the edge of the Sea of Tranquility, near side

Sir Charles Lyell (14 Nov 1797-22 Feb 1875), Scottish Baronet; geologist; chief proponent geological uniformitarianism; author Principles of Geography 1830-33 (3 volumes, standard work), Elements of Geology 1838, Geological Evidences of Antiquity of Man 1863 and many other books and papers; first to explain the cause of earthquakes 1830; professor of geology at King's College, London 1830s; knighted 1848; raised to baronet 1864; Lyell crater on Mars, and also mountains in California, Canada, and Tasmania named in his honor; member of Little Portland Street Chapel, Unitarian, London

5. Dorsa Burnet moon ridge named for Thomas Burnet

194 km in length, western ridge of the Oceanus Procellarum, near side

Thomas Burnet (c.1635-27 Sep 1715), English scholar, theologian; fellow of Christ's College 1650s; proctor at Cambridge 1660s; master of the Charterhouse 1680s; involved in famous early court case regarding copyright 1721; author Telluris Theoria Sacra (2 volumes, 1681-89) and De Statu Mortuorum et Resurgentium (State of the Dead and Raised, posthumous, 1727), both arguing against eternal hell; published similar works by other authors; Universalist

6. Carmichael moon crater named for Leonard Carmichael

20 km in diameter, near side

Leonard Carmichael (9 Nov 1898-16 Sep 1973), Ph.D. Harvard 1924; American professor of psychology at Brown 1927-36; honorary Sc.D. from Tufts 1937; trustee of Tufts 1937-73 (36 years); as president of Tufts 1938-52 greatly expanded the size and diversity of the student population; author Manual of Child Psychology 1946 (classic of early childhood development, many editions); as chief executive of the Smithsonian 1952-63 expanded the Museum of Natural History, added the Museum of History and Technology; vice president of research and exploration National Geographic Society 1964- ; president American Psychological Association; president American Philosophical Society 1970-73; Leonard Carmichael Society at Tufts (working to alleviate hunger, homelessness, etc) named in his honor 1958; Universalist

7. Giordano Bruno moon crater named for Giordano Bruno

22 km in diameter, far side of the moon

Giordano Bruno (also known as Filippo Bruno) (1548-17 Feb 1600), Italian philosopher, cosmologist, author of numerous books; onetime Dominican monk; first to advance the theory of an infinite universe filled with stars like our sun; also believed in a human Christ and that all souls including the Devil will finally be saved; burned at the stake in Rome for heresy; philosophical Universalist and Unitarian


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Please let me know if I have left anyone out who should be on this list.


10 March 2010

250 Words for Groups of People

. . . I started this list ages ago because I was trying to come up with a cute name for a group or club or something that was being formed at the time. I don't remember anything about the actual group, but the list I created eventually grew to be enormous.

This is just a bare-bones list. I have only included a few definitions here and there, and they are as concise as I can make them.

Most of these terms could go anywhere in a club name, but some of them only sound good at the end of a name (and some have strict legal definitions). They are: incorporated, limited, unlimited, combined, congolmerated amalgamated, associated, assembled, affiliated, aggregated, allied, collected, concerned, consolidated, delegated, federated.

The usefulness of this list is, after you have come up with the best name for your club, you can use this list to help you come up with a phrase that works out as an acronym for the name of your club. (Example: Take the name Moses; build it up into Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength.) (Yes, Moses is a real interfaith urban renewal organization in Detroit, Michigan.)

Here, then, is the list.

1. action

2. adjutancy

3. administration

4. affiliated, affiliation

5. agency

6. aggregated, aggregate, aggregation

7. allied, alliance

8. amalgam, amalgamated, amalgamation

9. anonymous

10. argosy. a fleet of ships.

11. aristocracy

12. arm

13. armada

14. army

15. assembled, assembly, assemblage

16. associated, association

17. authority

18. band

19. base

20. bastion

21. battalion, battery, battle group

22. bevy

23. bloc, block

24. board

25. body

26. branch

27. brotherhood, brothers, brethren, sons

28. brigade

29. bunch

30. bureau

31. business, business group

32. cabal. a secret group.

33. cabinet

34. cadre

35. cahoot

36. camp

37. campaign

38. cartel. a group of competing companies or business entities.

39. cast

40. caste

41. caucus

42. cavalry

43. century

44. chamber, chambers

45. chapter

46. choir, chorale, chorus

47. chosen

48. church

49. circle

50. clan

51. class

52. clique

53. cloister

54. club

55. cluster

56. clutch

57. coalition

58. cohort

59. collected, collection, collective

60. colony

61. column

62. combat team

63. combined, combine, combination

64. command, commandery

65. commission

66. committee

67. common interest group

68. commonweal, commonwealth

69. commune

70. communion

71. community

72. companionship

73. company

74. complement

75. concern, concerned

76. condominium, condo

77. confederated, confederate, confederation, confederacy

78. conference

79. confraternity

80. congolmerated, conglomerate, conglomeration

81. congregation

82. congress

83. consolidated, consolidation

84. consortium

85. constabulary

86. constituency

87. contingent

88. cooperating, cooperation, cooperative, co-op, coop

89. copartnership

90. corporation

91. corps

92. coterie

93. council

94. court

95. crew

96. crowd

97. cult

98. delegated, delegate, delegation

99. den. Boy Scout term for local group.

100. denomination

101. department

102. deputation

103. detachment

104. detail

105. directorate

106. division

107. duo, duet. group of two.

108. echelon

109. electorate

110. elite

111. ensemblage, ensemble

112. entourage

113. escadrille. a group of aircraft.

114. establishment

115. exchange

116. extended family

117. faction

118. family

119. fathers, brothers, brotherhood, brethren, sons

120. federated, federacy, federation

121. fellowship

122. file, rank and file

123. firm

124. fleet

125. flight

126. flock

127. flotilla. a fleet of ships.

128. force

129. formation

130. forum

131. foundation

132. fraternity, frat

133. friends

134. fringe

135. gaggle

136. gang

137. garrison

138. genos. ancient Athenian term for a clan.

139. genus. a group of species with many common characteristics.

140. government

141. grand jury

142. group

143. guild

144. harem. a group of wives in one household with one husband.

145. horde

146. house

147. incorporated, incorporation

148. infantry

149. institute, institution

150. interest group

151. jamboree. Boy Scout term for a large combined gathering.

152. joint concern

153. junket

154. junta. a military government.

155. junto. a club.

156. jury, grand jury, petit jury

157. kaper group. Girl Scout term for small group assigned to do chores together.

158. kingdom

159. knights

160. knot

161. league

162. legion

163. legislature

164. limited

165. local

166. lodge

167. lunatic fringe

168. maniple. an ancient Roman military division.

169. meeting

170. ministry

171. mission

172. mob

173. moiety. a subdivision of a tribe.

174. mothers, daughters, sisters, sisterhood

175. nation, national, nationality

176. neighborhood

177. nonet. a group of nine.

180. nuclear family

181. obe. ancient Athenian term for a village and the people who inhabit it.

182. octet. a group of eight.

183. orchestra

184. order

185. organizing, organized, organization

186. outfit

187. outpost

188. pack. Boy Scout term for a group of dens.

189. pair. a group of two.

190. panel

191. parliament

192. partnership

193. party

194. patrol

195. petit jury

196. phalanx. a tactical formation of a military unit.

197. phraty. a group of related tribes or clans.

198. phylum. biological term for one of the main divisions of species.

199. platoon

200. pocket

201. posse

202. post

203. quartet. a group of four.

204. quintet. a group of five.

205. rabble

206. race

207. rally

208. rank, rank and file

209. regiment

210. religion

211. ring

212. secretariat

213. sect

214. section

215. senate

216. sept. 1. a subdivision of a clan; 2. one family within a clan.

217. septet. a goup of seven.

218. seraglio. 1. a harem; 2. the residence of a harem.

219. set

220. sextet, sestet. a group of six.

221. side

222. sisterhood, sisters, mothers, daughters

223. society

224. solo. a group of one.

225. sons, brothers, brotherhood, brethren, fathers

226. sorority

227. special interest group, SIG. term used by members of Mensa for a small group of members with a common interest.

228. squad

229. squadron

230. station

231. subdivision, sub. 1. a plot of land with a group of single-family homes laid out along several streets; 2. the group who live in a sub.

232. sub-unit

233. support group

234. symphony orchestra, symphony

235. task force

236. team

237. temple

238. tontine. a group of mutual investors.

239. touch group, T-group. youth camp term for a small group of campers who do activities together.

240. tribe

241. trio. a group of three.

242. troop. Girl Scout term for local group.

243. troupe. group of actors.

244. trust

245. umbrella, umbrella group

246. unit, united

247. unlimited

248. wing

249. working group, WG

250. wungwa. Hopi term for a clan (Native Americans of southwestern US).


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08 March 2010

Give A Man A Fish

. . . You have probably heard it said, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." But have you heard these?

1. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

2. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the net and he won't bother you for weeks.

3. Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.

4. Give a man a fish, then run like hell.


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20 February 2010

58 Wrong Ways to Spell My Name

List #126

. . . I can understand complete strangers misspelling my name but some of these came from people who have known me for years.

40 Misspellings of "Gwen"

1. Bwen

2. Dwen

3. Gen

4. Gern

5. Geun

6. Gewn

7. Glenn

8. Gowen

9. Gren

10. Grwen

11. Guen

12. Guven

13. Gwan

14. Gweb

15. Gwee

16. Gweeb

17. Gween

18. Gwem

19. Gwemn

20. Gwench

21. Gwenn

22. Gweyn

23. Gwgen

24. Gwin

25. Gwn

26. Gwuen

27. Gwyn

28. Gwynn

29. Gwyyn

30. Gyen

31. Gyny

32. Gywn

33. Jwen

34. Quen

35. Quinn

36. Qwun

37. Qwus

38. Swen

39. Wem

40. Wgen

18 Misspellings of "Gwyneth"

. . . Yes, my full name is Gwyneth. I was named after a character in a Welsh book that my mom's penpal was reading some years before I was born. Seriously, though, no one ever calls my Gwyneth except telemarketers and people in gubmint jobs.

1. Gewnneth

2. Geyneth

3. Gweenyt

4. Gwemith

5. Gwendlyn

6. Gwendolyn

7. Gweneth

8. Gwenith

9. Gwennith

10. Gwenth

11. Gwenyth

12. Gwneth

13. Gwyenth

14. Gwynent

15. Gwynyth

16. Gwyynth

17. Gywnith

18. Hwyneth


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18 February 2010

33 Academic Ranks and Titles used at Universities

. . . Listed in approximate order from highest to lowest. Not every university has every rank and some may use different terms or titles. Many universities outside the US also use the term docent as a university rank: in some places it is a high rank, in others it is low; in the US it mainly refers to a volunteer museum tour guide who has specialized training in that museum's exhibits.

1. university professor / institute professor / distinguished professor

2. presidents' professor / regents' professor

3. teaching professor

4. professor emerita / professor emeritus

5. dean / department chair / provost

6. professor / full professor

7. professorial fellow

8. associate professor

9. adjunct professor

10. affiliated professor

11. assistant professor

12. visiting professor / nonresident professor

13. visiting assistant professor

14. research professor / research fellow

15. associate research professor

16. assistant research professor

17. collegiate professor

18. post-doctoral fellow

19. senior lecturer

20. lecturer

21. assistant lecturer

22. post-doctoral research assistant

23. research assistant

24. instructor

25. visiting instructor

26. adjunct instructor

27. teaching fellow

28. graduate student

29. graduate teaching assistant (GTA)

30. teaching assistant (TA) / undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA)

31. proctor

32. tutor

33. artist in residence


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08 February 2010

11 Reasons Why People Over 40 Should Be Dead

. . . Author unknown. Email lore collected six years ago. I have modified it slightly. (It's folklore. That's what you do.)

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 1970s or earlier probably shouldn't have survived. Here's why:

1. Our baby cribs were covered with lead-based paint.

2. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles.

3. We rode our bikes without helmets.

4. Sometimes we hitchhiked.

5. We rode in cars with no child safety seats and no air bags. Sometimes, as a special treat, we rode in the back of an open pickup.

6. We drank water from a garden hose.

7. We drank soda pop with sugar in it.

8. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle.

9. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. We had no cell phones. Imagine that!

10. We did not have Nintendo, Playstation, or X-Box; no 2,000 channels on cable, no home movies on DVD, no surround sound, no personal computers, no internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.

11. We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. Remember accidents?

People under 40 are wimps!


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02 February 2010

10 Reasons why Shopping at TomFolio.com is Better than Shopping at Amazon

. . . I am speaking to those on the internet who are looking for reputable used bookdealers. Those of you who are looking for a place to purchase groceries, stuffed animals, auto parts or such, this list is not for you.

1. TomFolio.com is The Bookstore at the Center of the Universe. It is owned and operated by a cooperative of independent bookdealers (click here for more on our history) and has remained true to its goal to be a simple website where booklovers and bookdealers can come together and conduct business the old fashioned way.

2. Talk to a real person before you buy. Our dealers may be contacted by phone, email, or even snail mail. No need to go through a third party to get your questions answered.

3. Dedicated to books. TomFolio.com is for used books, periodicals, paper ephemera and related media. That's what we know and love. We do not sell washing machines, car insurance, scented candles or anything like that.

4. No gimmicks. Just good old-fashioned bookselling.

5. Serious specialists. Many of our dealers are experts in their fields. Pick their brains!

6. Less expensive books. Amazon charges its bookdealers commissions, monthly fees, variable closing fees, etc., and many of their vendors raise their prices on that site to compensate. Often you can find the same book listed at TomFolio.com for a much lower price.

7. Independence. Because TomFolio.com is dealer owned and operated, you always know who you're dealing with. We are not subject to mergers, buyouts, or corporate shenanigans. If you are one of the growing number of consumers who are committed to buying from independent stores and mom-and-pop shops, TomFolio.com is the place for you.

8. No stock photos. Amazon displays images of books which may be new or used, top condition or poor condition, and may even show a different edition than what is listed for sale. TomFolio.com does not allow stock photos so you know exactly what you're getting before you buy.

9. No fake books; no mega-listers. Some so-called bookdealers list thousands, even millions of titles but have no actual books in stock. After you order, they scramble to find something to ship to you. Sometimes you get what you ordered, sometimes you get something different, and sometimes you don't get anything at all (click here for more information on mega-listers). We at TomFolio.com believe this is fraud. We do not allow fake books or mega-listers on our site.

10. High ethical standards. If you run into an unscrupulous dealer on Amazon, there is, of course, a system in place there through which you can get a refund. We here at TomFolio.com go one better: we thoroughly screen applicants before they're allowed to join. All our dealers guarantee 100% customer satisfaction and stand by it every day. We have a complaint rate so small it is hardly measurable.


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28 January 2010

44 Rude Names for Hummers

. . . collected from friends, enemies, and various sources.

According to Keith Bradsher, author of
High and Mighty: SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way, one in every six new vehicles sold in the US in 2002 was a Sport Utility Vehicle.

Of course there are rude names for all sorts of cars, but the Humvee, being the biggest, ugliest, most gas-guzzling SUV on the road, is of necessity singled out for special attention. (Please contact me if I have left any really funny, really rude names off this list, thanks!)

The Droll Names

1. bummer
2. dummer
3. S-U-K
4. F-U-Vehicle

The Abomination

5. two-space hog
6. three-ton brick
7. pavement-hogging beast
8. big mofo
9. monstrosity
10. land yacht
11. heavyweight
12. gargantuan
13. behemoth
14. rolling horror
15. biggest choad on the road

The Assault Vehicle

16. urban tank
17. plastic tank
18. death machine

The Ego Machine

19. dick mobile
20. small-penis mobile
21. white trash rig

The Piece of Sh*t

22. sh*tbox
23. slab of sh*t
24. five-ton rolling brick of sh*t
25. giant steaming pile of sh*t
26. turdmobile

The Polluter

27. smog machine
28. planet killer
29. earth f*cker
30. earthraper
31. planet raper
32. pollute-o-car
33. chariot of greed
34. crime against nature
35. ultimate gas guzzler
36. gas-guzzling carbon-emitting oil-dragging monstrosity

The Uglymobile

37. ugly brick
38. ugly rubbish skip
49. ugly truck
40. gaudy heap of crap
41. unsightly hunk of sh*t
42. overrated Tonka toy
43. chrome-fanged monster
44. parody of a car


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25 January 2010

92 Feminine and Masculine Word Pairs

. . . I have collected hundreds of these word pairs but only 92 are listed below.

The separation and exclusion of women by men has led to the creation of countless words which are defined (by men) as the feminine version of some masculine job. Thus was born this list.

Without writing a full-on essay about the truly pointless and offensive phenomenon of sexism and all its social implications, I'll just say that, while I do not accept the notion that either sex should be treated as inferior to the other, I am fascinated by some of the very ridiculous gender-specific words that have been invented to perpetuate this notion. Of particular interest are the examples in which the feminine form carries a negative or lower-class connotation as compared to the masculine form (for example: governess / governor) and the examples in which a word has been given an unnecessary suffix or has been twisted into a nearly unpronounceable shape in order to change its gender (for example: chauffeurette / chauffeur).

For this list, I have listed the feminine version of each word first, followed by its masculine equivalent, separated by a slash. If there are multiple forms of one gender, they are listed together, separated by a comma. If there is a commonly accepted gender-inclusive or gender-neutral term, it is listed last, after a triple slash. Comments and definitions follow (in parentheses). Terms that are slang or recently coined are marked with an asterisk (*).

Feminine term / Masculine term /// neutral or inclusive term

1. abbess / abba, abbas, abbot

2. accoucheuse / accocheur /// midwife

3. alumna / alumnus /// alum

4. amicular* / avuncular

5. ancestress / ancestor

6. anglerette / angler /// fisher

7. authoress / author /// author

8. aviatrix, aviatress / aviator

9. bachelorette / bachelor /// single

10. beach bunny / beach bum

11. best woman / best man (see also bridesmaid, bride's attendant)

12. birth / beget

13. bitchma* / dogma

14. bitchmatic* / dogmatic

15. bride / bridegroom, groom

16. bridesmaid, maid of honor, matron of honor / best man, groomsman (see also best woman, bride's attendant)

17. bride's attendant / groom's attendant

18. cateress / caterer

19. centaurette / centaur /// rider (see also equestrienne)

20. chauffeurette, chauffeuse / chauffeur

21. coed / student /// student

22. coiffeuse / coiffeur

23. comedienne / comedian

24. courtesan / courtier

25. creatrix / creator

26. cujette* / cujine* (US slang, from Italian: homegirl / homeboy)

27. czaritsa, czarina / czar

28. danseuse / danseur

29. divorcée / divorcé

30. doctoress / doctor /// doctor

31. doyenne / doyen

32. dudette* / dude

33. dweebette* / dweeb

34. editrix / editor

35. eldress / elder

36. electress / elector

37. emerita / emeritus

38. equestrienne, equestriette / equestrian /// rider (see also centaurette)

39. executrix / executor

40. farmerette / farmer /// farmer

41. femcee* / emcee

42. feminization / guy-ization*

43. fiancée / fiancé

44. gal, doll, guyette* / guy

45. geekess* / geek

46. giantess / giant

47. governess / governor

48. grumpette* / grump

49. guardess / guard

50. gynocentric* / androcentric*

51. heroine, shero*, hera* / hero /// protagonist

52. herstory* / history

53. homegirl, homette* / homeboy, homey

54. housewife / househusband*

55. inheritrix, inheritress / inheritor

56. institutrix / institutor

57. Latina / Latino

58. lumberjill / lumberjack

59. maestra / maestro

60. maid, maidservant / servant, manservant

61. majorette / major

62. manageress / manager

63. matrimony / patrimony

64. matron, patroness / patron

65. mayoress / mayor /// mayor

66. mediatrix, mediatress / mediator

67. misandrist / misogynist

68. mistress / master

69. murderess / murderer

70. Negress / Negro

71. neif / serf

72. ogress / ogre

73. procuress / procurer

74. paintress / painter /// painter

75. prima ballerina / premier danseur

76. prioress / prior

77. protectress, protectrice / protector

78. protégée / protégé

79. seamstress / seamster, tailor

80. servitress / servitor

81. scripteuse / scriptwriter

82. shrewdom / dronedom* (coined by author Mary Daly)

83. starlet / star /// star

84. stewardess / steward /// flight attendant

85. temptress / temptor

86. treasuress / treasurer

87. tsaritsa, tsarina / tsar

88. usherette / usher

89. waitress / waiter /// waitperson, waitron, server

90. wifey, hussy / hubby

91. wimpette* / wimp

92. yankette / yankee /// yank


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21 January 2010

28 Nicknames for Detroit Neighborhoods

. . . I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and we suburban kids didn't seem to actually go into Detroit all that much, so I never learned these names or places. Now I do business in Detroit and go to church in Detroit and I hear these names in conversation quite a lot.

People were sometimes aghast when I told them that I didn't know what part of Detroit they were talking about when they said things like "Boston-Edison" or "Rosedale Park." So, of course, I started a list. I learned that there are in fact over 50 nicknames for various Detroit neighborhoods. I have listed just the ones I hear the most, or find the most interesting, along with their main intersections or border streets.

1. Art Center -- Woodward and Warren; includes Detroit Institute of Arts, Library, several large museums

2. Bagley -- bounded by West Outer Drive to the north, Livernois to the east, 6 Mile Road to the south, and Wyoming to the west

3. Black Bottom (destroyed 1960s) -- bounded by Gratiot Avenue, Brush Street, Vernor Highway, and the Grand Trunk railroad

4. Boston-Edison -- four streets: Boston, Chicago, Longfellow, and Edison; stretching from Woodward Avenue on the east to Linwood on the west; ritzy homes built 1905-1925, no two alike

5. Brick Town -- Larned and Brush, between Greektown and the Renaissance Center

6. Brightmoor -- from Puritan and Schoolcraft Roads between Telegraph and Evergreen

7. Brush Park -- 24-block area bounded by Mack on the north, Woodward on the west, Beaubien on the east, and the Fisher Freeway on the south.

8. Cass Corridor -- along Cass Avenue from I-75 (south end) to Wayne State University (north end) between Woodward and 3rd Street

9. Chaldean Town -- runs along 7 Mile Road from Woodward Avenue east to John R.

10. Chinatown -- Peterboro and 2nd Street

11. Corktown -- Michigan Avenue and 6th Street

12. Cultural Center -- Warren and Woodward

13. Eastern Market -- Gratiot and Russell

14. Foxtown -- about one mile north of the Renaissance Center, with Grand Circus Park located at its hub, and encompassing the Kales Building, Comerica Park, and Ford Field

15. Greektown -- Monroe and Saint Antoine

16. Indian Village -- bounded on the north and south by Mack and East Jefferson, respectively, along the streets of Burns, Iroquois, and Seminole

17. Medical Center -- Mack and Woodward

18. Mexicantown -- Porter and Bagley, one block north of the Ambassador Bridge

19. Midtown -- new name applied by city, to improve its image, to a large section encompassing Brush Park, Cass Corridor, Medical Center, Art Center; it is bounded by the Ford, Chrysler, Fisher, and Lodge Freeways

20. New Center -- West Grand Boulevard and 2nd Street

21. North End -- bounded by Woodward to the west, the city of Highland Park to the north, the Chrysler Freeway to the east, and East Grand Boulevard to the south

22. Old Redford -- stretches from Five Points east to Greenfield Road and from 8 Mile Road to Schoolcraft; annexed by Detroit in 1926; center is Grand River and Lahser

23. Palmer Woods -- bounded by 7 Mile Road, 8 Mile Road, Woodward, and the Sherwood Forest neighborhood

24. Poletown (destroyed 1981) -- bordered on Hamtramck

25. Renaissance Center -- tallest building in Detroit, headquarters of General Motors, although this fact is not on GM's website or in their marketing

26. Rivertown -- East Jefferson and Rivard

27. Rosedale Park -- 5 Mile Road and Southfield in northwest Detroit

28. Warrendale -- bounded by Joy Road to the north, Ford Road to the south, Greenfield to the east and the River Rouge to the west.


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19 January 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Hi all, haven't been able to blog much lately because I keep buying more books. Books have to be catalogued, and then people tend to buy them, then orders have to be filled and books have to be wrapped up and shipped. It's a never ending grind.

Oh, of course, sometimes I read one of the books before I sell it. Yesterday I read Anti-Slavery, by Dwight Lowell Dumond. Well, okay, I didn't read the entire book, but I read large chunks of it while I catalogued it. Very in-depth history, just the way I like it.

Before that I read Great Sayings by Great Lawyers, by G. J. Clark. The author was obviously a lawyer first and a historian second, but still, he compiled quite a lively book. This one was published in 1922 and is full of little-known facts and nuggets.

Today I made a nice purchase of about 30 more books. I have to get them catalogued as soon as possible so I'm signing off for now.

Book Doctor Gwen

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13 January 2010

Eye Halve a Spell Chequer

. . . Collected some years ago as a specimen of "email lore." As one who supports English spelling reform, and believes that rigid adherence to the notion of "correct" spelling is somewhat silly at times, I do acknowledge the difficulties that can accompany one who ignores intelligent spelling conventions.

Eye halve a spell chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-- Sauce unknown


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09 January 2010

4 More Reasons Why ATT Sucks

. . . More on how AT&T slammed my DSL and made my email cease to function.

My DSL (high-speed internet connection) was slammed by AT&T (taken over without my permission) on or about November 23, 2009. The minute it was slammed I had no internet connection. Two days later ATT's robot said my "new service" was "up" and it wasn't. That day I spent two hours on the phone with ATT pinheads getting my connection back up, but my email still did not work.

(See my post on November 28, 2009 for more on this 2-hour phone call.)

Well, time passed, the holidays came and went, and I tackled the problem again on January 7, 2010.

This time I was on the phone with them for over four hours (well, in a chat room for half an hour, then on the phone for three and a half hours).

And guess what? It still does not work. Not only that, but the workaround that the Level 3 tech set up for me does not work, either.

Date: January 7, 2010

Start Time: 6:54 pm

I went to the online tech support chatroom that was emailed to me by AT&T to talk to an AT&T tech person to try to solve my email problem again.

Talked to Ryan. I said: "Hello, Ryan. I am a DSL customer and I was told I would be able to use the email address I have had for seven years, but can't get it to send."

He said, "Ms. Foss, I am sorry you are experiencing this issue and will be happy to assist you. Do not worry, I will provide you all the information. Do you have AT&T provided e-mail address?"

I said, "yes, I do, and I have already tried to set it up, but missing something in the settings."

He said, "Ms. Foss, what is your e-mail address?" I gave him the ATT email address I had just set up, that I never had any intention of using, which I shall refer to as "P~".

He said, "I will provide you all the information" and asked me for the answer to my security questions. I answered.

He sent me to a website and told me to log in. I said, "Okay, but it wants my yahoo ID. Am I giving it my yahoo name or my ATT name?"

He said, "No, please use your AT&T provided e-mail address." I did so.

"Are you able to login there?" Yes.

"Now try to send a test e-mail to your own e-mail address and let me know the result."

I said, "okay, where is the email feature on this page?"

He said "click on the mail tab."

I said, "sorry, i don't see a mail tab. which corner is it in?"

He said, "What options do you see there?" I listed a bunch of them.

He told me to sign out, then sent me to a new website

I asked, "Do i log in as P~ again?" Yes.

I got an "Invalid password" message.

He said, "Please use P~ there and password of this account."

This time I got "Invalid email" message. Tried again and it worked, must have typed it wrong.

He said, "check your email folders."

I said, "it says i have no emails in my inbox" and added: "well this is a new email address i have not ever used. it was kind of forced upon me. what i want to use is the email i have had for the past 7 years, which is gwenfoss@netrek.net. currently it will receive but can't send. this need to be configured to send."

He said, what email client am I using? (Boy, if I were a computer newbie that would be too much freakin' jargon.)

I said Eudora. (Part of me knew that at this point I knew he would say that he can't help me with Eudora).

He said, "I need to inform you that we do not have any tools to configure your e-mail client in Eudora, However I will provide you all the settings to configure the e-mail account."

He then said, "You need to use the SMTP server of AT&T and POP server of your "gwenfoss@netrek.net""

I said, "not good enough. i was promised that my old email would still work after you took over my DSL account. I did not sign up for ATT. this has to be fixed."

He came back with, "Please note down the SMTP server address: smtp.att.yahoo.com"

I said, "yes, that is the setting i have."

He said, "And for further information we have a dedicated department for this Support+. Please call us at: 877-831-2880. They will provide you all the information and help you out."

I said, "no, i was already on the phone for 2 hours with them." (After this conversation I realized this is the heavenly "fee-based" Level 3 support that I had not yet tried.)

He said, "I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I am sorry, we do not have any tools to provide you all the information on this. Please contact them, they will help you out."

I said, "okay, i guess i'll try them again. Expletive deleted. bye for now."

Talked to this guy over half an hour. No effin' help.


ATT's customer service survey popped up on my screen, which I filled out. It was only two questions and a comment. I gave both questions a NO, then put in comments: "Ongoing problem. Changing settings in email software so it can send and receive. I did not sign up for DSL from ATT. You took over my DSL without my consent. Now email will receive but not send."

I tried to type more into the comments field but it would only erase my text after that, so I assume the box had a character limit in force.

7:35 pm

I called the tech support number that Ryan had given me, 877-831-2880, got the same stinking a phone maze, and it said, for DSL support, hang up and dial 1-800-288-2020, but I just ignored that and pressed 1 for "advanced technical support." Got put on hold.

7:45 pm

I heard sound of a phone ringing and got a live human after about 10 rings. I could not understand her name, India accent. I gave her my name, phone, zip code, and so forth, and we discussed the problem, and she said it would be a $99 fee. (I'll admit, I was expecting $30 or $40, not $100!) but get this: she promised their techs could fix it. She actually used the word "promise."

I argued about the fee and lost. She took my cc info. Back on hold.

7:53 pm

She said we had to wait for a ticket number. While waiting for a ticket number, she read me the list of rules that she said she was required to read to me. I did not jot them all down, but these two stood out:

1) I am liable for any lost data, etc, if I proceed to this service.

2) Even if they can't fix it they will still bill me $99 for this service.

(First she promised they could fix it, then said it would be $99, then said if they can't fix it, it's still $99?? If this is not illegal it should be.)

Well, this is when I hit the roof and started yelling. Problem ongoing for weeks, I did not sign up for this, I was promised my email would work, ATT slammed my DSL, been on the phone already for hours trying to get it fixed, and so on. I also said that I know it's not her fault, she's not a supervisor, and so on. She said she is required to say all the rules. I pointed out again that she just promised me they could fix it, then said, maybe we can't, but it's $99 either way (!).

Well, since I can't fix this mess myself, I said let's go ahead, and she gave me a ticket number and said to give that to the technician when they come on the line. She added that if I need to call her back, the number is 888-930-3330. She then said, please stay on the line and put me on hold.

7:58 pm

On hold. Wow, but they have some really crappy primitive on-hold music!

8:42 pm

After being on hold for 44 minutes (!) I finally got to the $99-tech, whom I shall call A~. She asked for my ticket number, asked me the problem, and by now I had it down to three words: "Eudora won't send."

Tech A~ had me launch Internet Explorer, go to a specific website, put in a code number, and download a utility called "Premium Support" that allowed her to see my desktop on her desktop and take control of my mouse, etc.

I watched as she looked at Eudora, tried to send email, no go, looked at the browser, checked some settings under Windows Device Manager and Intel Network Connector, which were all normal, I assume, since she changed nothing.

8:48 pm

Tech A~ again looked at Eudora, spent a few minutes looking at all the settings, said she was not familiar with Eudora but would try to figure the problem out, put me on hold, said she was going to find a tech who understands Eudora, came back and said she thinks it's a port problem, and I watched as she checked the port settings in Eudora, making all the changes I had already tried, then trying new settings.

9:02 pm

Tech still "looking around" my computer, made changes to the SSL settings (Secure Socket Layer, a security wall), still no go, changed it back, still no go. She then said she has just learned that a lot of other people have had the same problem.


A~ said another customer who also uses Eudora tried all sorts of instructions but never found a solution, said Eudora "does not like" the SSL that ATT uses. She continued to try possible solutions, kept trying to send an email with Eudora but just got error messages. She then said she was going to write down and investigate the error message more closely. She checked the SSL Certificate Information Manager, clicked on a certificate, tried several times to solve the problem that the certificate was not being authenticated, and so on.

9:16 pm

Tech A~ imported a certificate, tried many other settings, tried changes to certificates and SSL and a slew of other settings. Still no go.

9:23 pm

More attempts to fix, then she tried logging in to yahoo mail using my Netrek name and password, no go, she changed the port settings again, no go.

9:32 pm

Tech A~ started explaining to me why the incoming mail still worked but the outgoing mail did not work, but stopped herself in the middle as if she had a new idea, and made more changes to the settings. Next she theorized that the problem was with the web-based part (Yahoo), in that she did not know how to "connect" Yahoo to 2020comm (my old internet service provider) or Netrek (my old email domain name). I said I also have an ATT email handle and why don't we try that. She entered that into the Eudora settings, and also the password for that, then put me back on hold.

9:40 pm

I saw my mouse moving around by itself again, and watched as she checked all the settings, tried to send an email, no go, she pinged the ATT server, looks like that worked, continued to try different settings.

9:46 pm

As I watched her move my mouse around I asked about the old router / new router, and she said the router is not the issue; the problem she's currently trying to solve is getting the SSL settings in Eudora to update or recognize or something like that. Eudora doesn't seem to have standard SSL but something called TSL, perhaps it's an old version of SSL that is too old to function, or something like that.

9:52 pm

I watched as tech A~ followed links from Eudora to OpenSSL online, I assume in an attempt to find upgrade info or a fix, no go, she then said that I have a 10 year old version of Eudora and she could set up Outlook for me. (Oh, yes, I knew she was going to tell me to use Outlook!!) I explained that I have used Outlook in the past and really hated it, it was very hard to use, but told her to go ahead and set it up for me, let's see if it works.

9:58 pm

I watched as she set up my ATT email with my "real name" and it worked fine, then she set up the Netrek email to see if it would work, put in my old ISP server name, no go, I looked through my old notes from when I set up Eudora, found a different email server, she put that in and by golly it worked! She then set up Outlook to handle my ATT email and my Netrek email and put them all into the same inbox, or at least that's what I expected would happen.

10:16 pm

I told tech A~ that I had been promised a solution, not only prior to today, but earlier today, by ATT personnel, and that after I was told of the $99 fee, I was then told, by the same ATT person, that even if they can't fix it, it's still $99. A~ said she would be happy to transfer me to sales so I could let them know that their own personnel are making impossible promises because Eudora is simply incompatible with ATT email, and they can't support Eudora or fix the problem, the problem (apparently) lies with the SSL in Eudora.

10:36 pm

Tech A~ said, "Sorry it took so long, nothing else I can do for you." I thanked her for trying her best. She transferred me to sales. I went on hold at 10:37 pm.

10:44 pm

I got to a live human (India accent) who asked for my ticket number, which I gave, he said he was a sales rep for "Connect-Tech," then I explained the problem, in that ATT continued to promise me they would fix my email and they simply are unable to, and that they should not be making this promise, especially to Eudora users.

He said he can't give me a refund of my $99 but he would ask the supervisor for permission to give me a refund. I also asked what to do with the duplicate modem, he said he can't help me with that, put me on hold, 10:51 pm.

10:53 pm

When he came back to the phone I told him that, legally speaking, if a company is liable, the fact that they say they're not liable doesn't make them not liable, they're still liable. He said the best he can do is give me full credit for the $99 fee, then charge me a $29 fee instead, thus giving me a $70 reduction on the fee, which he termed a "partial refund." That still stinks, but I agreed to take the partial refund.

He then gave me a transaction number (order reference number) for the current charge, and also gave me the transaction number (order reference number) for the original $99 charge.

10:59 pm

Call ended. Counting from my first contact today with ATT via the chat line, that makes four hours and five minutes total time spent on this today.


Date: January 8, 2010

The next morning, after the day I spent four hours on the phone with ATT, during which they supposedly set up Outlook for me, guess what? Outlook is not sending or receiving my Netrek mail.



Date: January 9, 2010

A moment of silence for my dead email, thank you.

It is no wonder that consumers like myself who are treated like dirt by these giant, faceless, multi-national, evil corporations (with the exception of Tech A~ who was super) are taking their business elsewhere.


Please help a starving bookdealer.

Sincerely yours,
Gwen Foss