Archive for December 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow and Christmas

Hello. Just thought I’d catch up a little.

If you didn’t see the news, this past week the Seattle area got slammed with snow. Normally, we might get 1-3 inches. That’s enough to totally screw up traffic and make the big hills around here just plain dangerous. This week, we got 8-10 inches, which I understand was the most amount of snow we’ve gotten since 18 years ago, and the storm came on the very same day.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to work the first day after the storm, but the week didn’t get much better. I spent most of the day Tuesday, putting cable chains on the carrier vehicles. Then I spent most of the rest of the day, going out to rescue carriers. Wednesday, everyone wanted proper chains, so we did most of the vehicles, and we still had people throwing chains, and I still ended up on the street doing rescues.

Expresses were badly delayed due to flights being stuck at O’Hare and other airports. Tuesday, we actually got Expresses for the same day delivery after 4:00 pm. Insane. And a lot of these were gifts, so the supervisors and manager struggled out to the addresses the carriers couldn’t deliver. Imagine a Cadillac going where a postal truck couldn’t go. Very exciting. There were a few addresses that were messed up, and I felt bad not being able to get these to their destinations on time for Christmas.

There were many addresses we simply couldn’t deliver to, because they were too dangerous. I have a couple of routes that dead-end right into Puget Sound, and are at the bottom of terrifying hills.

Even for this ex-Hoosier used to dealing with multiple feet of snow and monster snow drifts, it was probably 10 times worse than anything I saw. Seattle and Tacoma just ground to a complete stop. Still, my “kids” made it to places that even UPS and FedEx feared to tread, and our guys were driving tin cans on wheels.

New York General Post Office By the way, Herodotus’ passage, “Neither rain, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is NOT the official motto of the Postal Service. It originally appeared on a Postal building in the 1920’s or 1930’s, I think. “This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.” While a great passage, again, it is not the motto of the Postal Service.

By the way, the full passage is,roughly, “Now there is nothing mortal which accomplishes a journey with more speed than these messengers, so skillfully has this been devised by the Persians: for they say that according to the number of the days of which the entire journey consists, so many horses and men are set at intervals, each man and horse appointed for a day’s journey. These neither snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness of night prevents from accomplishing each one the task proposed to him, with the very utmost of speed.”

On other news, well, nothing new about pipes except I managed to break my old, much abused, meerschaum into many pieces and am unable to repair it, even with superglue. Stupid sweatshirt pocket.

Saint Nicholas For more on the Dutch celebration of Christmas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas#Celebration_in_the_Netherlands.

Finally, Merry Christmas to all, new friends and old friends! I’ll be posting pictures of some of my Christmas on Flicker later this month. Happy Holiday!

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Bettie Page Passes Away at 85

I’m so sad Bettie Page has passed away, although we knew she wouldn’t live forever. Still, her pictures will continue to be iconic, and won’t disappear any time soon.

In my teens, I had seen Bettie’s pictures, but didn’t really connect them to a person. But that look, those bangs, lingered.

In my first marriage, my father-in-law was more than a little bent. In his old house, my wife and I found two wooden boxes. He definately didn’t want those boxes open, as the hinges and hasp were attached from the inside of the boxes. Nothing gets my curiousity up like something I’m not supposed to get into, so I picked the locks. When we opened the boxes, we found a ton of fetish magazines, handcuffs, and other similar stuff. He also had several photographs dating back years and years. Interestingly enough, he had pictures of my wife’s mom in various poses, and she looked pretty hot. As I recall, even at that time, she was pretty MILF-y.

I flipped through the photos and there were a bunch of Bettie Page’s bondage pics in there. Wow! I was riveted to the spot. We eventually put everything back (but if I had kept the pics, I’d have a fortune now, wouldn’t I?), but Bettie’s image was burned into my mind.

I started collecting anything that had Bettie on it, from magazine and newspaper ads (for new wave clubs that wanted a memorable image), whatever I could get my hands on. Remember, at the time, there weren’t any lighters, lunch boxes, or god help me, bobble-heads.

We thought that Bettie was dead. There were interesting theories: That she had been murdered by a fan, whacked by the mob. Whatever it might have been, we thought she was dead and the photos were in public domain, because who would raise a ruckus about it?

I got onto Compuserve in ’87, and with the introduction of the GIF based formatted pictures, I started finding Bettie online. It wasn’t an easy process. Binaries would be posted in a text format, and then you had to use special conversion tools to make them pictures and special tools to view the pictures.

In around 1991 Karen Essex wrote an article for the LA Weekly called “In Search of Bettie Page.” Considering her resurgence in popularity, it became a mystery that people wanted to solve. After about 9 months, Bettie was found.

Bettie started showing up on America Online when I joined in ’93. You could trade pictures, and I would filter through the tons of, um, well, porn, and separate out the Bettie pics.

I uploaded Bettie to several BBS’s in around ’96, but I was in a minority of people who had imaging software that could show you pictures.

By then, Bettie memorabilia started showing up. I started buying the lighters, the lunchboxes, the books. But never, ever the bobble-head. I was traumatized by the bobble-head. I still am.

Bettie will never be forgotten.

Initial reports are that Bettie apparently will be buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, but I think that may be speculation as she was born and lived in Tennessee.

I have the largest online collection of Bettie Page, quite possibly on the Internet. I generally get about 8,000-10,000 hits a day on the collection. Yesterday, there were 250,000 hits, making more than 1,000,000 views. I think this speaks for her popularity.

Thanks for all of you that have written and sent links. I even got an email from someone I haven’t heard from in almost 10 years!

We’ll miss you, Bettie.

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Pinup Bettie Page hospitalized after heart attack

By JAMES BELTRAN

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.

“She’s critically ill,” Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.

He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.

A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, “I would not deny that,” but he would not comment further on her condition.

Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her “a bunch of money” to show up at autograph signings.

“I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300,” he said. “Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. … Bettie Page outsells them all.”

-AP

The Bettie Page Collection

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December at The Post Office

How was your Thanksgiving? We had lasagna and salad, as it was just us, and I had a frozen lasagna sitting around. I always have to work the next two days, so it’s really not anything other than a quick break for me.

Christmas is looming, and we’re starting to separate colored Christmas cards from regular white ones. The machines have a hard time reading the colored cards, so we separate them for faster processing. I’m starting to see colored lettering too, and those can get real ugly.

Here’s your Christmas postal deadlines –

10 — the number of days left to mail packages by Parcel Post in time to reach their destinations by Dec. 25.

14 — the number of days left to make sure First-Class Mail and Priority Mail reaches its destination in time for Dec. 25.

17 — the number of days left for customers to ship by Express Mail to make sure their packages arrive by Dec. 25.

Meanwhile, my boss is determine to screw me out of hours. It’s ridiculous. We’re rated for 3 supervisors, or 24 hours per day,but we only have two supervisors, so our base is 16 hours. We should be flexible for 8 hours, but the District counts supervisor OT, so my boss is determined to choke off any available OT. And it’s not like I actually get paid OT, only straight time. Merry Christmas alright.

Monday is when it starts to get ugly at the ol’ Post office, as parcel volumes begin to double and triple. We don’t see as much Christmas cards or catalogs as we used to, but man, do we get parcels, especially now that DHL left the U.S.

Already have about half of my Christmas shopping done, and I’m considering what to get my wife for our 9th anniversary. Man, I can’t believe it’s been 9 years. It doesn’t feel nearly that long.

Well, just thought I’d check in. If I don’t post again before Christmas, I hope you have a happy holiday!

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