Friday, January 21, 2022

Iced Designs

Snow has not been a regular weather event here in Nashua, NH, in recent weeks, unlike other areas of the state, New England, other U.S. states and in neighboring Canada. We've received a scant 5 to 6 inches snowfall from a recent storm. An early morning snowfall this week produced an early morning wintry scene, but later turned to rain.
Despite the snowfall deficit, temperatures have hovered in the single digits for many overnights the past couple of weeks. It has caused ice to form on the Nashua River, but not to freeze it entirely solid for which the gulls and ducks have seemed thankful.
Some warming daytime temps this week started these ice break-ups while creating geometric shapes. These images were taken (as usual) from the comfort (and warmth) of our 5th floor apt. These images are straight out of camera (SOOC) with no post processing applied to them; including the blueish tint (brrrr).

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
A snow-less one is forecast here

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Traveling in Time

Time. We kill it, stop it, go back in it, escape it, rob it, lose it, walk through it, get robbed of it. It never seems to slow down or wait. At times, there's too much, sometimes not so much.

Perhaps, you're wondering why all this mention of time.

That's because it's time to go back in time to post about a visit to a PA museum in 2021. OK, pun time is almost never over.

For one reason of another, mostly forgetfulness, this last September road trip was  waylaid on my computer. This museum was one of the most interesting locations with lots of time (sorry) to explore. That's because on the day of our visit there were less than five others in the museum. 
The National Watch and Clock Museum (NWCM) in Columbia, PA ↑, specializes in horology, which is the study and measurement of time with devices including clocks, watches, sundials, hourglasses, timers, time recorders, marine chronometers, and atomic clocks. Those who study time are horologists. 

Described as the widest specialist horology museum in the country, the museum houses an extensive collection of historical clocks and watches from grandfather clocks to vintage clocks, mass-produced wristwatches and an atomic clock.

Founded in 1977 by the U.S. based National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), the museum’s collection includes over 12,000 timepieces from around the world of which 3,000 are on display.
This Seth Thomas 4-dial street clock, circa 1920, (shown above) was originally erected in Greenville, SC. It was purchased by James Bell in 1967 and relocated to the Bell Photography Studio in Seneca, SC. In 1992, it was donated to the NAWCC Museum by the Bell family.

Unfortunately, the 10-minute introductory film which formerly welcomed visitors to the museum was no longer being shown as social distancing wasn't possible in the smallish room. Although our tour was self-guided, navigating through the museum was relatively easy. It's all on one floor with various rooms dedicated to specific timekeeping and timepieces. 
The lobby display featured American-made tall case clocks, also known as grandfather clocks, longcase clocks or floor clocks. These freestanding clocks are 6 to 8 feet tall with an enclosed pendulum and weights suspended by cables or chains which need occasional calibration to keep the proper time. 
One of the museum’s most popular collections is the large group of 18th and 19th century tall case clocks. Cases can feature elaborately carved ornamentation on the hood (bonnet), which surrounds and frames the clock face. Until the early 20th century, pendulum clocks provided the most accurate timekeeping. Tall case clocks were found in households and businesses. Today, they’re retained for decorative and antique value, replaced by analog and digital timekeeping.
Another large room is dedicated to the internal workings of tower clocks which centuries ago sounded bells that called people to work, prayer or for important functions. Early clocks didn't have dials, but were striking clocks located near a town center as the tallest structure so the bells could be heard over distances. Later, dials were added on the tower front to let people know the time whenever needed.
One very prominent tower clock maker was the E. Howard & Co. of Boston, MA, founded in 1857, which become a leading manufacture of weight driven clocks, including residential, commercial clocks and tower clocks. The company never made an inexpensive clock and everything made was of excellent quality. Today, Howard clocks are very collectible. The company name was used until 1861 when it became the Howard Clock & Watch Company which continued in business and produced about 854,000 watches through 1903.
Tower clock made by E. Howard & Co. is in Clocktower Place, Nashua, NH

Interior and exterior views of tower clock at Clocktower Place, Nashua, NH
We were very interested in the room of tower clock displays. Our mill residence, Clocktower Place, has a tower clock made by E. Howard & Co. Several years ago we were fortunate to see this still functioning timepiece thanks to a private tour from the residence manager.

The highlight of our visit was an introduction to the monumental clock. The term monumental clock applies to very large clocks placed on the face of a building or tower as focal points that can be seen from afar. These clocks are most often found on stadiums, waterfront properties, transit centers, and/or skyscrapers. 

That said, a monumental clock can also be an oversized freestanding, complicated, handcrafted clocks. Some two dozen of these were taken on tours around the U.S. and worldwide between 1875 and 1900. The clocks had animated panels, automated and mechanical music and often astronomical indicators. Monumental clocks of 19th-century America had classical and Christian symbolism with uniquely American characters and motifs. The clocks were popular not for time telling but entertainment. 
Engle Monumental Clock
The museum’s most impressive display is the first known American made monumental clock. Built by clock designer Stephen Decatur Engle of Hazleton, PA, the Engle Clock is monumental in size with dimensions of 11 feet high, 8 feet wide, 3 feet deep and weighing 1,049 pounds. Engle completed the clock in 1877 after 20 years of workmanship. It features time-telling, music,  and moving carved figures. But timing is everything and unfortunately this creation was finished several months too late for the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition.
The Engle clock indicates the day of the week, current month, and phase of the moon. It has three towers, two organ movements and 48 moving figures that include a unique cast of characters: Jesus Christ, the three Marys from the New Testament, the 12 apostles, Satan, Father Time, Death and a group of Continental soldiers who march past Molly Pitcher on their way to the Battle of Monmouth adds a distinctly American dimension.

This monumental clock toured the Eastern U.S. continuously for 70 years then disappeared after a 1951 showing at the Ohio State Fair. Museum members spent years searching before it was found in 1988 a barn in New York State. The clock's purchase and restoration by NAWCC members and volunteers was funded by donations from member chapters.

The museum includes demonstrations of the clock's mechanisms at two daily showings with a staff member advancing the time settings so visitors are not watching for a full hour. It's nothing short of amazing to see. To see the clock in action, you can check online as museum visitors have included videos on YouTube. The NWCM has one on Vimeo as well.

Here's a rundown of the action: On the hour, the skeletal figure of Death strikes a bone against a skull attached to the column of the clock. At 15, 30, and 45 minutes past the hour, Father Time strikes a bell with a scythe and turns his sandglass as the central figures of Youth, Middle Age, and Old Age revolve in the arch above the clock dial. At 40 minutes past the hour, a parade of Revolutionary soldiers and Molly Pitcher appear in the left tower and a barrel organ plays patriotic tunes. At 55 minutes past the hour, the three Marys come out of the center tower as a procession of apostles takes place accompanied by hymns from the barrel organ in the right tower. The soldier at the top of the central tower maintains a vigil while the clock is running.
Engle, who was more interested in invention than showmanship, turned over management of the clock to Philadelphia entrepreneur Captain Jacob Reid who promoted it as The Eighth Wonder of the World. Reid exhibited the clock throughout the Eastern U.S. charging 25 and 15 cents for adults and children.
The above image shows an advertising clock popular in the 19th century. These were made primarily of wood with spring-wound movements. Product or manufacturer information was painted directly on the dial, case or anywhere it could fit and be seen. The clocks featured three drums covered with advertisements connected to them, which would rotate every 5 minutes when the clock was running showing a total of 9 ads every 15 minutes.
Other companies advertised their products on the front of clocks.
Other museum rooms contain extensive displays of European clocks, German cuckoo clocks, vintage pocket watches and old and newer wristwatches. We looked at so many and keeping track of all afterwards is difficult. Each timepiece had some explanatory information.
Here's a couple examples of display cases with vintage pocket watches and novelty character alarm clocks. I wonder how if any child enjoyed waking up to a talking Batman or Bugs Bunny? 
There's a prominent local connection to watchmaking in this part of the state. The museum includes an extensive collection of models, drawings, and time pieces from the Hamilton Watch Company formerly based in Lancaster, PA, and now a part of Swatch.
Hamilton was established in 1892 and many of its timepieces gained fame as The Watch of Railroad Accuracy. While many industries required careful time-keeping, railroad accuracy could be a matter of life and death. In the early days of American railroads, there wasn't a common method of timing so accidents were frequent. As railroads became more popular, tracks became crowded and trains started crashing into one another. If one train was running early and another running late, they could be running on the same track at the same time in opposite directions. The precision of Hamilton pocket watches was reported to have helped this issue. Hamilton's first railroad watch was the model 940, with 21 jewels and about 200,000 were made.
In 1918, as aviation developed, Hamilton watches were used to keep the new coast to coast U.S. Airmail service on time and became synonymous with the world of aviation. In the 1930s, Hamilton was the official watch of the four major American commercial airlines.

In WWI, as an official supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces, Hamilton equipped soldiers with timepieces prompting a shift in production from pocket watches to wristwatches. In 1942, Hamilton halted consumer watch production during WWII. The company produced over a million timepieces from wristwatches to marine chronometers and earned an Army-Navy E award for excellence in manufacturing. 

In 1957, Hamilton revolutionized the watch industry with Ventura, the world's first electrical battery operated watch. In 1972, Hamilton Watch marketed the Pulsar Time Computer, marketed as the world’s first digital watch, which was marketing promo as it only told time. It produced only 400 pieces with an 18-carat gold case at a cost $2,100, more than a new Ford Pinto sold for then. 

Hamilton was known as the Movie Brand for almost 90 years. Its watches have appeared in over 500 major feature films since 1932. The Hamilton Watch Company ceased operations in 1980.

Another U.S. watch manufacturer predominantly featured in the museum is the Waltham Watch Company, which was based in Waltham, MA, and pioneered the mass production of watches with interchangeable parts. 
The company produced over 40 million watches, clocks, speedometers, compasses, time delay fuses, and other precision instruments between 1850 and 1957. Now defunct, the former factory complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

All puns aside, our visit to the National Watch & Clock Museum was definitely one of the most interesting museum visits in recent outings. We really lost track of time while inside.

We learned that there are other horology museums within road trip distances: The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT, and the Willard House and Clock Museum in Grafton, MA. Unlike the PA one these are focused solely on American-made timekeepers.

And now this post is definitely almost out of time.
But it's not quite over.

Just wondering about your preference in personal timepieces if you wear a watch. We both wear Timex battery-powered analog watches. This Timex (left) is my daily wear watch. A few pluses: the dial is easily read, there's a built-in light and, after nearly two years, is still powered by the original battery with no charging needed. I was surprised to learn that its current cost is nearly double that of my original purchase price (under $30 to slightly over $50).

The 1950s tag line in Timex commercials was this: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking" delivered by pioneering TV journalist John Cameron Swayze. The tagline has been replaced in recent years by: "Timex. Life is ticking."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday Funnies

Spellcheck, anyone?
Two identical notices were posted at the front registers in the local CVS retail pharmacy last week. Both with the same misspelling which was mentioned to the cashier, who told me that no one else had commented. (I didn't return this week so don't know if they were still posted.)

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Hope you're not inconvenienced

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

It's Come Undone

The 2021 Christmas 🎄holiday season is officially over—for Grenville & Beatrice as of this past weekend. 

Of course, we're a bit late as retailers, family and friends have finished with holiday decorations long before, some even before the start of this New Year. As we were away for 10 days before Christmas visiting out-of-state family and friends, we wanted to enjoy tree lights and decorations a bit longer. The Nativity would remain in place until Jan. 6 to celebrate the Epiphany (Feast of the Three Kings).

But, sooner or later, all good things come to an end, and so it was that our decorations were taken off the tree, containers came out of storage. We packed and stored everything. 
Our plan to reduce the ornaments count resulted in several being marked for donations. Then, we added a couple more (top ones below) as grands Bobby and Ellie annually provide new ones for our collection.
A friend kindly suggested there was no need to keep all, and, in time, some may go, but not quite yet. For the foreseeable future, we'll store and re-display these (and others). While the monetary value is negligible, their value in memories is priceless. 
There are also these personal ornaments that always will remain to recall our special memories and simply because we like them.
Our ornaments horde includes various Santas and snow folks, a few shown above. The fireman bear is a reminder of Grenville's former profession. Our firemen ornaments was once quite numerous, but is now down to a couple; this one remains a favorite.
These small wooden ornaments were displayed on the windowsill rather than on the tree. Most likely they will have a different location in the 2022 holiday season (no hints now).
The wagon packed with various moose toys sat under the tree as in previous years. Now, all have joined the bear couple for a long nap in the storage unit.
Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends sat with Big Bear for a year-end selfie before settling into their storage container as well.
After the interior holiday decorations were taken down and stored, it was time for winter decos to be placed outside the apt entry. Many of these are annual favorites.
Just in time for snowmen, winter ☃️ weather arrived on Friday. The season's first measurable snowfall in Nashua, NH, deposited 5 inches of snow from early a.m. hours to mid-day. 
Watching the snowfall from the comfort and warmth of our mill apt made it more enjoyable. We had no where to go and all day to not get there. The storm passed by noon and frigid temps forecast for early this week will keep it around for at least a few more days.

Your turn — a two-parter: Do you also have holiday favorites and/or do you remove decorations right after the holiday or wait awhile?

Friday, January 7, 2022

Friday Funnies

It's back — Friday Funnies has returned after a holiday hiatus; here's the first for 2022. 

As many readers of this blog know, we enjoy traveling. During a road trip for family visits over the recent holiday season we stayed in several hotels. In a couple of these lodgings, these interesting signs caught my somewhat warped sense of the absurd. See if you enjoy these too.

When I first saw this posted sign in an elevator (there were several) I immediately thought of a science fiction movie.
I've since learned that you can indeed purchase these electrostatic sprayers. In fact there's a wide variety of models and prices available on Amazon (of course) ranging in cost from under $20 to over $700.
Not only that, but, as you can see in the above collage, there's also a wide range of color choices. Since I wanted to learn more about these pandemic weapons, here's what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website stated: Electrostatic spraying has drawn increased interest through the public health emergency because of the need to disinfect large indoor spaces (schools, offices, businesses) or areas with many surfaces. Unlike conventional spraying methods, electrostatic sprayers apply a positive charge to liquid disinfectants as they pass through the nozzle. The positively charged disinfectant is attracted to negatively charged surfaces, which allows for efficient coating of hard nonporous surfaces. 

So now I know more than before, all because of that posted elevator notice.
And, then there was this sign posted in the hallways and other area in a RI hotel. Of course, many non-smokers are pleased to see such a notice, but what caught my attention was why the need to include 100% as opposed to say 75 or 98% ? In short, why the need to include any percentage, something is either all in or not, just saying.

So, just a couple of things seen to start off a New Year. In response to bloggers who have commented that I find the some interesting items for these posts, trust me they're around. Just take time to look for them and perhaps smile/wonder. It can make life interesting and often amusing. As always, my purpose is not to misrepresent/distort things in any way, but to show what I've actually seen. While I may not include a weekly FF post, I'll keep looking for life's absurdities because they certainly abound and everyone needs a chuckle.

Enjoy Your weekend, Everyone
Friday ❄️ snow ☃️expected here (finally)

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Love At the Movies

Our New Year's Day was spent at home wearing comfy clothes, snacking on leftovers from our New Year's Eve dominoes playing with friends, and watching binging on three films with a similar theme (mentioned in my last 2021 post). In short, we had a wonderful start to 2022. 

Several bloggers named a couple of the movies. Braggin' rights to Kathleen (Eggs In My Pocket) for naming all: Love Affair (1939) with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, Sleepless in Seattle (1993) with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Coincidentally, the first two films directed by Leo McCarey, 18 years apart, followed a nearly identical plot and dialogue. (McCarey, who had taken a trans-Atlantic cruise with his wife, said that when he devised the storyline after seeing the NYC skyline on entering the harbor.)

Only the first two films are alike. Sleepless in Seattle was in no way identical or even similar to the earlier ones. Instead, it was a tribute to the 1957 version by director Nora Ephrom. Clips and mentions in her film lead to subsequent viewings and sales of the 1957 film. 

The 1994 Love Affair film (Warren Beatty and Annette Benning) while modeled after the 1939 and 1957 films, wasn't quite the same or as well done. In it, the couple meet on a plane vs. ship. There's an aunt vs. an elderly grandmother. Beatty's character isn't a playboy, but ex-football player.

What stayed the same in all versions was the name and career of the female lead: Terry McKay was a singer in all. However, the name of the male lead differed. In 1939, Boyer was Michel Marnet; in 1957, Grant was Nick Ferrante; in 1994, Beatty was Mike Gambril. In all three films, the lead characters were engaged to or involved with someone before the meet-cute. (In film and TV, it's when a future romantic couple meet for the first time, often under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances.)
Love Affair (1939) with Charles Boyer Grant & Irene Dunne
Here's a synopsis of the 1939 film; watch it first and you'll know all about the 1957 film right down to the lines: 
French playboy Michel Marnet (Boyer) meets American singer Terry McKay (Dunne) aboard a transatlantic cruise. Both engaged to others, Marnet to an heiress, McKay to a businessman, they flirt and dine together and efforts to remain discrete don't go unnoticed by others. Stopping in Madeira, they visit Michel's grandmother, Janou, who tells Terry he's a talented painter who destroys paintings when they don't meet his standards. Disembarking in NYC, the couple plan to reunite at the observation deck atop the Empire State Building in July if they've ended other relationships. Michel says it will let him see if he can pursue painting. Terry continues a nightclub singing career. 

The date arrives, both head to the meet-up. In a crash scene, heard but unseen in both films, Terry is hit by a car. Told she may never walk again, she declines to contact Michel who had gone to the rendezvous, waited until closing and left. She begins therapy and teaches music as an orphanage (a school in the 1957 version). His grandmother dies, Michel returns to Europe. He's given a white lace shawl Terry had admired and which his grandmother wanted her to have.

Back in NYC, it's 
Christmas Eve and Terry's first outing since the accident. They meet after a theater performance both attended ends. She remains seated until he leaves and a wheelchair is brought out. Learning her address, he visits her apartment where she's reclining on a couch, legs covered. He brings up their failed meeting and asks if she went, lying that he did not. Terry evades the topic and never gets up. He gives her the lace shawl and getting ready to leave, tells her he painted her wearing it, and instructed the gallery owner to give it away (and was told he gave it to a woman in a wheelchair who admired it. Finally realizing why Terry has remained seated, he checks the apartment and finds the painting. Embracing her after realizing she was the woman in the wheelchair he asks: Why didn't you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?

She replies: Oh, it's nobody's fault but my own! I was looking up... it was the nearest thing to heaven! You were there... followed by the famously remembered final line by a sobbing Terry: Don't worry, darling, if you can paint, I can walk.

Were those last few lines a tad overdone? 
You bet they were, but often quoted.

Were they favorites of movie goers then and now? 
Sure enough and they can buy the shirt too!

In 1940, Love Affair received 6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Original Song (Wishing) song by Irene Dunne in the 1939 film. 

Unfortunately, it was in competition with other notable films, that year: Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights. It was beat out by Gone With the Wind for best picture. The Wizard of Oz won for best song with Over the Rainbow.
An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr
Director McCarey's 1957 remake, An Affair to Remember, is considered one of the top romantic films according to the American Film Institute. I read that it was renamed due a copyright on the original title. Unlike the 1939 version in which Dunne sang, Kerr's vocals was done by Marni Nixon, a “ghost singer” who didn't receive onscreen credit for her singing in famous musicals: Getting to Know You from The King and I, I Feel Pretty from West Side Story and I Could Have Danced All Night” and The Rain in Spain from My Fair Lady
An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Cathleen Nesbitt
Comparing both films some 65 years later, the 1957 film is the hands-down favorite. Grant was considered more likable than Boyer as a romantic bachelor; Kerr's character, Terry McKay, was considered feisty and feminine. And, unlike the 1939 B&W film, this one was in full color CinemaScope. Further contributing to the film’s popularity was its popular Academy Award nominated theme, An Affair to Remember or Our Love Affair sung by Vic Damone at the beginning of the film. It didn't win and was beat out by All The Way from The Joker Is Wild.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
The 1993 film, Sleepless in Seattle, Meg Ryan (Annie Reed) and Tom Hanks (Sam Baldwin) focuses on what happens after a widowed man's son (Jonah) calls a Seattle radio talk show on Christmas Eve to discuss his father's depression. The show host persuades a reluctant Sam to talk on air about how he misses his late wife (Maggie).

Thousands of women hear the program and write to Sam including Annie, newly engaged to Walter but unsure of their relationship. After watching An Affair to Remember, she writes to Sam suggesting they meet atop the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. Jonah, who reads Annie's letter, likes it but fails to persuade his father to do it, so Jonah replies to Annie as Sam and agrees to meet. Finding Jonah gone, a distraught Sam boards a flight and finds Jonah on the observation deck. Meanwhile, Annie in NYC with fiancĂ© Walters sees the skyscraper from where their dining, ends their engagement, and rushes to the Empire State Building arriving moments after the elevator door closes with Sam and Jonah heading down. The deck is empty, she finds Jonah's backpack, pulling out teddy bear, Howard. Sam and Jonah emerge from the elevator to retrieve the backpack and they meet. Sam offers his hand to Annie, all three enter the elevator, the doors close with Jonah smiling; film ends. (A personal opinion is that Hanks isn't as good a romantic lead as Grant or Boyer.)

Love Affair (1994)
The 1994, Love Affair, has Warren Beatty (as ex-football star Mike Gambril) and Annette Benning (once again singer Terry McKay). They meet on a flight from New York to Sydney, Australia and, after an emergency landing, wait for repairs to be done. The couple visit Mike's elderly aunt Ginny, played by Katherine Hepburn in her last film role film role at 86. To shorten the tale, they fall in love, agree to meet in NYC, and split with their partners. She finds work as an advertisements singer. He quits his job as an LA sports announcer, becomes a school coach, returns to painting and paints Terry . . . you can figure out the rest of the movie.

Admittedly, I only saw clips and read online synopsis of this version, which were more than enough for me. I'm not a fan of either Beatty or Benning. This version wasn't well received by moviegoers. Its poor box office receipts seemed to reflect that the public's reaction was somewhat similar to my views. 

Your Turn — If you've seen one or more of these films, what's your favorite ?

This is a (very) long-ish post for the start of 2022 in keeping with my tendency to expand on a topic. We'd seen a couple of these films before. It was our first viewing of the 1939 Love Affair. Re-watching An Affair to Remember after, it was enjoyable to see the same storyline with two different actors, an updated setting and in color. Sleepless in Seattle, a romantic-comedy, is hardly on the same level. The Beatty-Benning film held no interest to watch entirely; however watched (too) many online clips and read several reviews, some favorable, others not-so-much.

This week, I'll be catching up on your end of 2021and/or start of 2022 posts. Grenville and myself hope it's a better year for everyone than the previous ones.