Why We Say…

15 09 2008

Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Ever wonder about the history of various common American/English idioms and expressions? An adventure in exciting educational etymological entertainments can be YOURS!

I will be sharing illustrations and anecdotes from this vintage 1953 book by Robert L. Morgan, illustrated by Peter Hoffman.

Expect to see various examples, in no set alphabetical or thematic order, appearing in my “Why We Say…” flickr set, in the upcoming days and weeks, starting with ATOM and BABY DIAPERS. (The combo of atomic baby diapers comes to mind, and that is not a pleasant thought!! Luckily, in this case, they are separate entities. Thank goodness.)

Much thanks to Glen Mullaly, who pointed out a great 2004 Interview with Pete Hoffman (by Dave Karlen), and found out that this book was based on a single educational feature panel strip series (that lasted 28 years!)

More about Pete Hoffman:

WHY WE SAY… A Guidebook to Current Idioms and Expressions — and Where They Came From
By Robert L. Morgan, Illustrated by Peter Hoffman
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.,  New York, 1953.
(out of printget your own copy on AddAll)


Big Game Shooting Gallery

6 12 2007

Big Game Shooting Gallery
Whitman Publishing Co.
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

A hit-the-target game 2 can play

While hunting at Urban Ore for fascinating old junk, I found this great 1963 publication by Whitman Publishing Company (a subsidiary of the now defunct Western Publishing).

Your blood-thirsty young ones can play at being British colonial hunters on safari, shooting wild game in the jungle with punch-out rifles and rubber bands. The game comes with jungle hats, compasses, clip-on mustaches, guns, even monocles!! The quarry includes parrots, toucans, a gorilla, giraffe, leopard, lion, snake, monkey, and even a hippopotamus!!

See more pages from the game

Visit the Witty Whitman! group on flickr for more children’s games and publications.

A Spooky Happy Halloween to You!!!

30 10 2007

Spooks (Happy Halloween!!!)
Illustration by Mac Harshberger
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Found the most lovely yellow and gold and black book, The Singing Crow and Other Poems, by Nathalia Crane. Another FOPAL find, of course.

The gorgeous yellow and black plates, and stylized black and white illustrations, are drawn by the amazing art deco artist Mac Harshberger. The book was published in 1926 by Albert & Charles Boni of New York.

I’ve just purchase a book online about this artist, Mac Harshberger: Art Deco Américain, from the The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/California Palace of the Legion of Honor/Achenback Foundatin for Graphic Arts, 1986. You can bet I will see if I can see their holdings, next time I visit (I’m a member).

Here’s the poem, by Nathalia Crane, that accompanies this most excellent illustration.


Oh, I went down to Framingham
To sit on a graveyard wall;
“If there be spooks,” I said to myself,
“I shall see them, one and all.”

I hugged the knee to still the heart,
My gaze on a tomb ‘neath a tree.
Down in the village the clock struck nine
But never a ghost did I see.

A boy passed by and his hair was red,
He paused by a sunken mound.
“How goes it with all the ghosts,” said he,
have you heard any walking around?”

Now the taunt was the sign of the boy’s disdain
For the study I did pursue.
So I took the hour to teach that lad
Of the things unseen but true.

I talked of howler, banshee, ghoul
The gristly and the lean.
I sat on that graveyard wall and told
of all the things I had never seen.

And suddenly a bat swung by
Two cats began to bawl,
And that red-haired boy walked off in haste
When I needed him most of all.

I lost a slipper as I fled―
I bumped against a post,
But nevertheless I knew I’d won
The secret of raising a ghost.

And the method is this―at least for a miss,
You must sit on a graveyard wall,
And talk of the things you never have seen
And you’ll see them, one and all.

See more illustrations from this beautiful book…

The Case of the Duplicate Daughter

26 10 2007

Duplicate Daughter
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Where’s Perry Mason when I need him?

Ack! I am a victim of identity theft!! Paula has been duplicated!

The story: My parents received a UPS invoice for me at their address in Palo Alto. It seems that someone sent a package in my name, and nearly their same address (my address 2 years ago when I lived at my folks’), except with an Indiana zip code of 47432 instead of a CA one of 94306. UPS sent the invoice to me, due by the end of the month. The package originated in Bloomington, IN, and was delivered to Greenwood, Indiana. I don’t even know anyone in Indiana!!! (or at least I don’t think I do) – and I don’t have a UPS account!

Do you know anyone at 132 Meander, Greenwood IN 46142?

I sent a detailed note to UPS, telling them of the situation. I hope this can be cleared up. I hope they didn’t buy whatever it was in my name, too!! I was mugged a little less than two years ago, and had all my stuff stolen. Also, IBM lost my employee info (or allowed it to be stolen). Who knows what else is out there in my name. Sigh.

This vintage pulp cover seemed apropos for today. Inform me if you know the illustrator (otherwise unknown).

Update: I did find out there is a Paula Marie Wirth in Bloomingdale (not Bloomington)… and a Richard Wirth in Bloomington, IN. I wonder if UPS made a major mistake? Curiouser and curiouser…

Oh! Dr. Kinsey!

9 10 2007

Oh! Dr. Kinsey!
by Lawrence Lariar
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

When Dr. Kinsey’s reports on human sexual behavior came out in 1948 (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male) and 1953 (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female), ever so much hullabaloo was made over the publications.

I found this entertaining comic parody of women’s reactions to Kinsey’s questions on their sexual behavior, Oh! Dr. Kinsey! by Lawrence Lariar, published in 1953 after the report on female sexuality. Lawrence Lariar was a talented cartoonist, editor (Best Cartoons of the Year series) and author of mystery novels. (NY Times Obituary).

(The photos, as the author explains, are all of professional models, and the book is “in no way scientific.”)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

7 10 2007

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes.

I’ve been looking for the original first edition hardback of this novel by Anita Loos, with illustrations by Ralph Barton (one of my favorite illustrators) for ever so long.

Until then, this paperback edition (with the sultry cover illustration by Earle K. Bergey) will have to do. Check out the expressions on all those lecherous men, ogling the blond beauty and her substantial charms!

For hundred of other scintillating pulp covers, please visit my pulp cover collection, or the Flickr Pulp Fiction pool.

The Adventures of Tom Swift, Jr.

4 10 2007

Tom Swift and His Giant Robot
Illustrated by Graham Kaye
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Call me old fashioned, but I’d much rather see a boy transfixed by a good book, than slack-jawed in front of a computer screen, any day. And this series would fuel the imagination, I dare say. More about the series

These Tom Swift, Jr. dust cover examples were illustrated by Graham Kaye, former illustrator of the Saturday Evening Post.
See more covers

(Much thanks to Cary Tucker for giving me these dust jackets!)