Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Chicks Barn Sale

I stopped by the Two Chicks Barn Sale out at 36225 Columbia Road today. They sell antiques, primitives, furniture, etc.

Frankly most of the Knickknack stuff can be found everywhere. They do have a nice assortment of cupboards, tables and furniture items that seem reasonably priced.

They seem to only be open about 7 or 8 days a year. This must be a plus as people will flock to their barn to see the items as they know the barn won't have another sale until spring and the place was packed today. The down side is it makes you impulse buy. Knowing the place will only be open today you either buy or pass on it. I elected to pass on it.

Sputnik Haircut - 1958

In January 1958 this man created a hairstyle in honor of sputnik. In 1958 he was odd, today no one would give him a second look.

The real Sputnik 1, launched by the Soviet Union on Oct 4, 1957. It was the size of a beach ball and was destroyed on reentry in January of 1958. As I recall we use to stand outside at night and look for it as it circled the earth every 98 minutes and you could see it with the naked eye.

Auction City

Auction City, another short lived business in Delmar. It opened in November 1957 and was destroyed by fire in June of 1958. Auction City was a 70 by 300 feet cinder block building that sit at the intersection of Foskey Lane and Old Stage Road. Besides an auction it housed a wide variety of merchandise, from groceries and meats to furniture, wearing apparel, gift items appliances and it had a lunch counter. It was owner by L. H. Hamlet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

56 million people

Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey were flying on Obama's private plane.

Obama looked at Oprah, chuckled and said, 'You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy.

Oprah shrugged her shoulders and replied, 'I could throw ten $100 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy.

Michelle added, 'That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy.

Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot, "Such big-shots back there.
I could throw the three of them out of the window and make 56 million people very happy."

1952 Ad

Highway Radio Service, Thomas Smith at Freeney's Service Station
Highway Market, E H Elliott and Son.

Pfc. Robert B. Hayman - 1944

Picked up from This Day in Delaware History Nov 21;

1944 Pfc. Robert B. Hayman, age 20, and voted the "best all-around boy" in Delmar High School when he graduated, was killed in action in Germany.

These facts were compiled by historian Roger Martin and brought to you by the Delaware Public Archives.

The Stockmarket

Wow talk about watching a great stock portfolio go to hell. My wife and I moved some of our savings over to stock a few years back when Certificate of Deposits got down to 2% interest. At that time the electric utilities stocks were paying a dividend of about 4% to 5%. Our portfolio is mostly electric utilities and tobacco companies. A few that were not in that class like Lance and Oil Dri Corp have done well until recently. Then there are the three other ones that have become penny stock in the last month. In general the total value of all the stocks have dropped by 30% in the last six months. Since this is a long term investment I have not panicked yet, but when you see the stock value go down by 30% you do get nervous after all this thing should have bottomed out by now. The thing to remember about stock is you haven't gained or lost anything until you sell it so even thru the total value of our stock has decreased by 30% it means nothing. The only thing that means anything is the stock value on the day you sell it.

Home Finances in 1939

A group of Sussex County farm women kept a record of their home expenses for 1939 as a Home Management project for the University of Delaware extension office. The average Sussex County Farm family had 3.2 members (that was a surprise as I thought they had ten or so kids back then). Their records showed;
They paid an average of $238.86 for food.
They produced at home food worth $175.05.
They spent on an average $151.07 on automobile expenses.
They spent $83.15 on clothing.
Personal expenses were $21.89.
Medical expenses were $54.78.
Church, Gifts and welfare averaged $57.14.
The average total savings which included insurance, money in the bank or money paid on notices was $193.30. (a strange breakout of savings)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November Delmar Planning and Zoning Meeting

I went to the Delmar Planning and Zoning Commission meeting tonight and for once it was a short meeting, thank God. Some nights these meetings are like purgatory on the Mason-Dixon Line. None of the usual watching commission people thumbing thru 200 pages of plat plans tonight. It was over with by 7:30 and I was able to get home and watch Survivor-Gabon. Ed Ferro, Carl Anderton, Michael Houlihan and Joe Dixon were present. James Henderson, William Boyan and Joy Slabaugh were absent.

An addition and porch for 104 East Popular Street was approved.

Approval was given for two signs for Tropical Glamour Design. A new business in the liqueur store complex at 1 West State Street. It will be operated by Maria Melenciano. Since Joe Dixon was a principle owner in the building he did not vote on the matter.

1957 Ad - Reed's Texaco

Filling Bird Feeders

It is that time of the year again when I start putting birdseed out for the birds. I have a couple of cheap plastic feeders that have always been hard to fill. This year I think I hit on an easier method than what I have used in the past. I use a funnel to fill an empty wine bottle with birdseed and than use the wine bottle to fill the bird feeders. The bottle has a small enough neck on it so it can get the seed in the entrance of the bird feeders. So far it has worked well.

640 and 1240 kilocycles On Your Radio Dial

A while back, at an auction, I came across a radio from the 1950’s and on the dial was the two civil defense triangles marking the radio frequency spot where in the event of an attack by enemy strategic bomber aircraft we could listen to news broadcasts, in our fallout shelters, proclaiming the destruction of the USA by nuclear bombs. I am sure my two daughters would have no idea what the triangles were, not to mention they would have no idea what a radio dial looked like, since everything is digital readout today.

In 1953 all radios sold in the United States had to have two Civil Defense marks on their frequency dial to help listeners locate the two CONELRAD frequencies of 640 Kilocycles and 1240 Kilocycles.

two cool Emerson Transistor radios already tuned to 640KC must have been for use in the fallout shelter.

The theory behind this was when enemy bombers were approaching the USA they could use the commercial radio stations as beacons to follow directly to their targets. The CONELRAD system, which being government was “short” for Control of Electromagnetic Radiations, would have all AM and FM radio and TV stations go off the air and only select stations would broadcast on 640 KC or 1240 KC. These multiple stations on the same frequency would confuse the bombers and they would not know which one to home in on.

There were frequent tests made of the system. Usually the announcer would say we are now having a CONELRAD test and than you would hear an ominous tone for a minute or so than the announcer would come back on and life would continue. In some cases the tests would last for 15 minutes or more. In 1963 CONELRAD was replaced with the Emergency Broadcast System. In 1997 the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was replaced by the Emergency Alerting System (EAS.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1957 - Thompson's Market at Bacons Switch

One of the few businesses in Bacons Switch and it was short lived. It opened in February of 1957 and burnt in May of 1957. The General Store was totally destroyed, it was owned by Kendall Thompson.

Still Time to Join The Delmar Christmas Parade

The deadline to file your applications for the Delmar Christmas Parade is Fri. Nov. 28th.

Delmar's Christmas Parade is Saturday Dec. 6th with a start time of 2pm

Rain Date will be Sunday, Dec. 7th, same time.

The parade will run from Pennsylvania Avenue to 8th Street.

Applications for participation in the parade are available by calling the Chamber's voicemail at 302-846-3336 (leave name, address and phone #) or can be picked up at Delmar Town Hall during regular business hours.

This year's theme is the color RED. All participants are encouraged to use the color red throughout their entry.

Social Security in 1940

In June of 1940 there were forty-two Sussex County residents collecting Old Age and Survivor insurance (Social security). In Delaware total, there was only 338 people collecting Social Security. The average payment in Sussex County in 1940 was fifteen dollars a month. For a look at average social security payments in the United States look here. I wonder how many people are on social security today in Sussex County?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Surplus Cargo Containers

Another small indication that America is on the path to becoming a third world country is shipping containers. Sounds odd doesn't it but shipping of goods in and out of the country is an indicator as to if you are a world power or a third world country. In this case we import more than we export - no news there. It is not just that we export less (we could really export quite a bit more) but it is the type of goods we import and export.

First, the quantity of imports versus exports. America imports finished goods. It seems to have given up on manufacturing it's own goods. The finished goods come in to the United States on container ships. A container ship may bring in 3,000 shipping containers (those 40ft by 10ft steel boxes)of finished goods such as TV's, Camcorders, Computers etc. After it has unloaded and is reloaded with the material America is exporting. It can only load about 800 containers because what America exports is containers of raw material that weights more then a container of electronic items. So the ship meets it's weight limit at only 800 containers instead of 3,000. We end up with 2,200 containers sitting in the ship yard with no ship to take them. Yes, we could fill those containers as there is a demand for the food and scrap we produce, but there is no ship that will come in empty to pickup the containers.

Second, the type of goods we export. Food products, grain, rags, paper, scrap plastic, scrap metal, lumber, things that a third world country with no manufacturing capability would export.

Third, The cheapest form of transportation for exports is shipping. America no longer has a national merchant marine fleet, and is nearly 100% dependent on foreign owned and flagged vessels for all container and most bulk ocean shipping. A deep ocean merchant marine fleet is an essential component of domestic national interest and a necessity for successful economic policy.

So what to do with all those left over shipping containers? One web site I visit is Weburbanist and they show ways that the containers can be used for houses. Yes, much the like the homeless person sleeping in a cardboard box, America can now use these left over containers to live in. Now I am not impressed with the houses built out of them. After all the containers are only ten foot wide, uninsulated and quite noisy. After you have added insulation, wiring and plumbing you must be left with a width of about 9 ft. Some examples are here and here and here. Now there are some design concepts that will drive the Delmar Planning and Zoning Commission up the wall.

At least one place has tried them for Student Housing

I was impressed with the shopping mall;

In other parts of the world, places like Odessa, Ukraine already have the the biggest shopping mall in all of Europe which uses stacked shipping containers to form alleys throughout the 170 acre site. In Asia, the Dordoy Bazaar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan is almost entirely composed of empty shipping containers stacked two high and chock-full of inexpensive trinkets and toys. So, in other words, shipping container architecture is nothing new, but it is new when it comes to residential and office applications. I can see this would be good for flea markets and such.

Other suggestions made for the use of them are;
1. Construction Mobile field offices, storage of building materials, tool and machine shops.
2. Freight forwarding - One way, cargo worthy containers for one or multiple trips and large project movements
3. Manufacturing - Storage of raw materials and finished products, welding shops and generator rooms
4. Municipalities and Schools - Dry storage of grounds equipment, sports equipment, surplus supplies,hazardous chemicals and paints
5. Environmental Protection - Storage of hazardous wastes, i.e. asbestos, lead paint, and PCB's
6. Farming - Shelters for livestock, storage equipment surplus items such as feed or produce
7. Industrial - Storage and Transport of industrial materials
8. Utilities - Storage, modified field offices, tool rooms, works shops

Paving on the Maryland side of Town

Finally some work is being done on South Pennsylvania Ave and Foskey lane. It should be a big improvement once it is completed.

Sgt Samuel Bynum - 1952

From the Bi-State Weekly July 1952

Sgt. Samuel Bynum, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bynum, 107 Park St., Delmar, Del. recently graduated from the Seventh Army's Non-commissioned Officer's Academy at Munich, Germany.

The six-week course emphasized the use of weapons, Army administration, tactics, supply, physical fitness and organization. Student were carefully selected by their organization commanders before attending the school.

Sergeant Bynum, a member of the 370th Armored Infantry Battalion, entered the Army in March 1951

Drink the Kool-Aid

Thirty years ago today, the followers of Jim Jones in Guyana in 1978 drank grape flavored poisoned Flavor-Aid and died in a mass suicide. Depending on the source you read from 911 to 918 people died at Jonestown. Dover Air Force Base certainly made us aware of the event. The air base in Dover was picked to receive the bodies due to its previous experience in processing over 500 victims of an airplane crash at Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1977. To this day the suicide has many unanswered questions; from CIA involvement, to Jim Jones is alive, to why is the government information on Jonestown still classified, to why all I.D. was removed from the bodies and a delay of a week made rotting bodies impossible to ID, to why didn't we just bury all the bodies in Guyana.

Monday, November 17, 2008

School God and Country 1956

The Changing Values We have. Cartoon from 1956

Street Names - Delmar Delaware

Street Names change at the whim of the population so naturally Delmar, Delaware and Delmar, Maryland has changed the names of their streets a number of times. Looking at the Delmar, Delaware side of town here are some prior street names. The current name being given first followed by the older names.

Bi-State Blvd = Third street (also Route 13)
Pennsylvania Ave = Railroad Ave., Delaware Street
Delaware = Hastings
Lincoln = Mill Street
West Grove = Hitchens Street, Park Street
West Jewell Street = Park Street, Bird Street
Maryland = South St, North St.
Memorial = Mardel Street, Pine Street
York = Petoskey Place
First Street = Front Street

Delmar, Maryland has had a number of changes also and I will post those later. The one or two street(s), depends on how you look at it, I will mention, that has today a dumb name, is East East Street and West East Street. Prior to this name selection the street on the East side of the railroad tracks was East Street and the street on the West side of the railroad tracks was called West Street. It makes more sense.

Abandoned Boat Article

Recently there has been an Associated Press article in several newspapers about the problem of abandoned boats. In essence, the article says due to the failing economy some boat owners are simply abandoned their boats rather than pay slip fees, gas cost, and registration fees. Lets face it most boats are not used that much and in comparison to the maintenance cost and are pretty much a pure luxury hobby. Some boats are towed to the marsh, stripped of anything of value and left, some stay tied up at a marina with the slip fees unpaid, and some sit in storage with the storage fees unpaid. Unlike aluminium boats that can be sold for scrap value (matter of fact there is danger aluminium boats may be stolen for that scrap value) wooden and fiberglass boats do nor have any scrap value. Oil, gasoline, battery acid, and sewage from these boat leaks into the environment. The boat paint often contains chromium, lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals, and as a vessel deteriorates, the coating flakes off and settles on the sea floor or river bottom, where fish swallow it or it contaminates the storage yard grounds.

Around Delmar most of the boats are on trailers so they sit in our backyard waiting for the economy to recover or for us to hit the lottery and return to using them. Visitors to the Delaware shore areas however sometime store their trailer boat in a storage yard and the trailer, boat and motor are some times abandoned and the storage yard owner is left to think about how he can sell the boat/trailer with no title to recover his storage fees. This past weekend this ad appeared in Cragslist from a Texas storage yard owner;

FREE!!! 6 Abandoned Boats (Caddo Mills)
Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-11-15, 7:18AM CST

SATURDAY ONLY! 10:00 - 4:00

I have 6 boats that have been abandoned on my storage yard. I know absolutely nothing about them! They all have trailers, but I DO NOT have any titles. If you think you have a use for them, parts, etc, come by and pick them up!

Do not call or email me! I don’t know anything about them, so you’ll need to come & look. You must take the entire boat, I will not part them out.

From Dallas: Take I-30 East toward Greenville. Take Exit 85 and stay on the service road. The Home Store is on your right.

From Greenville: Take I-30 West toward Dallas. Take Exit 85 and cross under the interstate and take the service road back toward Greenville. The Home Store is on your right.

What I think is interesting is when you look at Yacht sales and Repossessed boat lists the asking price is still just as high as it was five years ago. Even the used boats in the classified ads seem to have a high price on them, considering the economy. I guess people think they have so much money tied up in their boat (like their house and car) they can still get a reasonable offer for the boat.

Of course if you have that classic wooden yacht and just want it removed from your yard you can advertise it on bone yard boats.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Teacher Slap Student - 1955

Summarized from articles in the Bi-State Weekly of June and July 1955

Willard H. Fisher, a teacher in Laurel, about June 1st in 1955 slapped John (Jack) Johnson, a student - age 14, in school for making certain remarks in the school hallway. On June 8th Master Johnson’s father, Martin W. Johnson, went to school and slugged Mr. Fisher for slapping his child. Mr. Fisher charged Mr. Johnson with assault and battery. Johnson later offered his apologies at a school board meeting but his apology was not accepted. The Laurel school faculty raised a legal fund for Mr. Fisher legal fees. Martin Johnson pleaded guilty and was fined $200 plus court cost (about $1500 by today’s inflation).

Willard Fisher was originally for Delmar. He had been a wartime Major who still had a bullet lodged next to his spine.

Now the interesting thing about these articles is; no where was there any question that Willard Fisher, teacher, had the right to slap a student and there was no reprisal or reprimand for Mr. Fisher slapping young Jack Johnson. It was simply the way things were done in the 1950’s.

Fishermen Dream - 1955

70 Bluefish off Chincoteague
Luther Mitchell II, Howard T. Waller, Luther Mitchell and Mrs Mitchell.

State of Delaware Auctions

The State of Delaware has a number of online auctions going at this time or coming up.

Ending 11/19 at 7PM is an auction for 13 trucks

Ending at 11/19 7PM is an auction for 2 generators

Ending at 11/19 at 7 Pm is an auction for 14 damaged police cars

Ending at 11/19 at 7:30Pm is an auction for 8 confiscated cars

Ending at 11/20 at 7Pm is an auction for 25 transit buses