Archive for the ‘ Miscellanea ’ Category

Creature Comforts…

The sign said, “We Care,” but I’m not sure they do.

Frankly, I think they may be lying.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend more time than usual in a Doctor’s waiting room.

I’m the one waiting, not the one seeing the doctor.

Yes, over the past six weeks, I’ve seen a waiting room or two, and they all offer a substantial television screen turned to, some would say, innocuous fare like Kelly and Ryan or some local news program.

There are the months old People, Time, and other magazines of course.

And a fake orchid or two.

Then there are the chairs:  butt itching, ass-numbing, monstrosities that leave the sitter wishing for a better settee.

No, I don’t think they care.

If they did, they’d have gone to Lazy-Boy!

Art Is Not What You See…

…but what you make others see.

Edgar Degas.

Today is his birthday, I’m a big fan.

Keeping Your Cool…

It’s July.

I live in Georgia.

It’s HOT!

I remember when we got air-conditioning for the first time.  We were living in Ohio, and I was already in High School, or possibly, Junior High.  It seems it was 1966.

Prior to A/C, we lived with the heat, a few fans, and spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer.

I don’t remember being terribly miserable without it, but I do remember walking into stores and relishing the cool air inside.

These days, well, we’re spoiled.  Problems with the air are not only expensive, they are a major issue, and in some cases, a health hazard.

A/C had been around for a while prior to coming to our house.  It was actually invented in 1902 on July 17 by Willis Haviland Carrier.

Carrier was born in 1876 in the town of Angola, NY.  He went to Cornell and graduated in 1901 with a BS in engineering.

The following year, he came UP with a plan for A/C when he presented a drawing for a solution to a problem at a publishing company in Brooklyn.

His installation in the same year is considered the birth of modern air conditioning as it added humidity control.

You know, they always say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

Well, it’s both, and Carrier figured that out.

The air conditioning gods deemed that A/C should do four things:  1. Control temperature. 2. Control humidity. 3. Control air circulation and ventilation. And 4. Cleanse the air.

After about four years of tweaking and tuning and a field test or two, Carrier received U.S. Patent 808,897 for an “Apparatus for Treating Air.”

Around the same time he discovered that “constant dew-point depression provided practically constant relative humidity,” which created the Law of Constant Dew-Point Depression.  He used this principle to design automatic controls.  He got a patent for that too.

In 1911 at the Nerd Prom annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he presented a paper that became known as the Magna Carta of Psychometrics.  It wrapped it all UP in a neat little package tying together the concepts of relative humidity, absolute humidity, and dew-point temperature, which made it possible to tailor make A/C;  prior to that it was one size fits all.

This was a pretty big deal, it allowed A/C to come home, not just go to giant work places.

The Great War and the Great Depression slowed things down in the A/C field.  People were busy wiping out the Gerries in Europe and trying to stay alive back home in the Dust Bowl.  It was hot and everyone realized though there was A/C out there, it would have to wait.

Carrier did start his own company with a group of engineers in 1915 calling it Carrier Engineering Corp.  It merged a couple of times during the Great Depression and would UP as the Carrier Corporation with Willis as the Chairman.

Sales were bleak during the depression.

But all was not lost.  After spreading things out to stay afloat, Carrier moved to Syracuse in 1937, and became one of the largest employers in NY State.

Willis debuted his Igloo at the 1939 World’s Fair giving folks from the farm a look into the future, but before it could take off, those darn Germans stirred things UP again in Europe, the boys went off to war, and well, things would have to cool down over there before they could really cool down back home.

Once the Hun had been harried into submission, A/C became bigger than bobby socks at Boarding School.

The 1950s showed a tremendous boom in A/C sales, and nowadays, well, stores, homes, and cars without it, well, they just aren’t too popular.

Carrier globalized his company in the 1930s taking his trade to Japan and Korea.  South Korea is the largest producer of A/C in the world.

His cooling machines changed the way we live.

By making temperatures bearable, factories were able to work in the hot summer, increasing production.  Places like Florida and Arizona became much more attractive for year round living and the migration to the Sunbelt began.

Carrier married three times, was twice a widower, and died in 1950.

Frankly, now that I know this, he’s my new hero!

UP to Parr

On July 12, 1543, King Henry VIII of England married his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr.

She’d been married and widowed twice before, and would marry one more time after Henry died and left her a widow for the third time.

Henry and Catherine via their maternal ancestry were third cousins once removed.

Kissin’ cousins, if you will.

Catherine gets little press, and much of it is trivialized or more often dramatized, but she was really an important figure in the history of the Church of England.

Henry, already dying when they married, went on his last and once again unsuccessful campaign to France in 1544, leaving Catherine back home to run things.

He’d actually named her his regent.  Her regency council consisted of relatives and others who sympathized with her beliefs allowing her to rule pretty much as she wanted to.

She was not only the Queen Consort; she was de facto, Queen Regent.

She took care of providing for Henry’s invading army, kept Scotland in line – no easy task – and schooled her step-daughter, the future Elizabeth I, in her strict Protestant religious beliefs.

Catherin’s religious views were suspect to much of England as she was rabidly Protestant and even more rabidly anti-Roman Catholic.

Bear in mind, the Church of England then and to some extent now, was Catholic-lite; Catherine’s views were radical for the time.

After Henry’s death, she published her second book, Lamentations of a Sinner, which promoted Protestant tenets such as justification by faith alone, and eschewed transubstantiation.

Radical for the time.

Before his death, Henry granted Catherine and allowance of £7,000 per year, and enormous sum then, and ordered that she be known as Queen Dowager and given the respect due a Queen of England.

Knowing she wouldn’t be all that favored in Queen Mary’s court should the sickly boy king die, she left the court after the coronation of her step-son King Edward VI.

The King’s widow once again renewed her relationship with her old love and the new King’s uncle, Thomas Seymour.

He proposed, she accepted, but knowing the regency council wouldn’t allow her to marry so quickly after the king’s death, they married in secret.  Not just an elopement, but a secret wedding, as in secret for months.

When the news of their nuptials got out, it was the scandale de jour.

The boy-king and his Catholic sister, Mary, were peeved to say the least, and Mary became more so when Seymour wrote asking her to intervene on the couple’s behalf.

Events worsened as Catherine began a feud with her brother-in-law, Edward Seymour, another uncle of the king who by the way, was Lord Protector.

Edward was incensed at his brother and Catherine when Catherine refused to give UP her jewels, which belonged to the “wife of the king.”  As the wife of the Lord Protector, Anne Seymour felt they belonged to her.

At the end, Anne won, Catherine had to turn over the rocks, their relationship “worsened,” and a family feud was on like donkey kong!

Catherine went back home, invited her niece, Lady Jane Grey to come visit, and schooled her in Protestantism, the future Queen Elizabeth came for a while as well.

In 1548, at the age of 35, Parr became pregnant, a total surprise as she’d never conceived during her first three marriages.

Mary Seymour was born on August 30, 1548; Catherine died six days later of “childbed fever,” a common illness due to lack of hygiene.

But of course, rumors started that her husband had “done her in” so he could pursue the Lady Elizabeth, the boy-king’s sister.

Thomas Seymour was beheaded for treason (totally different charges and nothing to do with his wife’s death) in 1549, Mary went to live with a close friend, the rest of Catherine’s jewels were sent to the Tower of London, later to be returned to her daughter.

It is believed that Mary Seymour died in childhood, but historians are not sure of her fate.

Though Catherine left no progeny that we know of past Mary, her impact on the Church of England remains to this day.