Archive for August, 2014

1894 bugeatersThe 1894 Bugeaters

Yesterday afternoon the Nebraska Cornhuskers reminded me of teams of old (not “old” as in the picture but “old” as in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s). Granted, their opponent–Florida Atlantic–was a cupcake (albeit a well-paid cupcake–FAU got one million bucks for making the trip to Lincoln).

A final score of 55-7 and 782 yards gained were sort of business-as-usual during the latter years of the preceding century. Big Red rolled up lopsided scores every Saturday during those years against teams that were definitely not cupcakes–Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama.  But Nebraska had not collected 700 yards during a game since 1991, and the team fell on really hard times after Eric Crouch won its last Heisman award in 2001.

Until yesterday.

Ameer Abdullah racked up 232 yards all by himself yesterday:

hi-res-9bbb2aec7bcc68f580f719642e1bbe08_crop_northWatching this guy run is sheer pleasure.  I thought the coach might take him out of the game during the second half to avoid injury, but apparently, Abdullah wanted to just keep on running.

And then there was the butt catch:

5402a43e7cf05.preview-300This is Jordan Westerkamp, the same guy who caught the “hail mary” pass against Northwestern last year.   This time he saw that the ball had been tipped by a teammate. He somehow managed to escape his pursuer, get a good grip on the ball with his right hand and roll it around to his front side before being pushed out of bounds, thus making a substantial gain.

The young quarterback, Tommy Armstrong, seems to be smart and accurate;  he also seems dependable, which is a great relief to fans after the last few years of never knowing who was going to show up under center on a given day.  And perhaps more important, the offensive and defensive lines both held their own yesterday, and they seem to be deep enough to see the team through the season.

As you can tell, I’m jazzed.  For the first time in several seasons of inconsistent play from the Huskers.  And if they fall into their old ways as the season moves on, well, there’s always the tape from yesterday.




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Tomorrow . . . Tomorrow!

nebraska-red-balloonsHooray!  The long wait is over!

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Poe’s Law Illustrated

a8bqynz4ddv55tjalgf8Stolen from Lawyers Guns and Money, who stole it from a website supporting Darren Wilson–the cop who killed Michael Brown.  There’s great snark about this image over at LGM.

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Al Sharpton_02-08-2014Whatever your opinion of the Rev. Al Sharpton, even the most jaded among us must admit that he is one damn fine rhetor.   In just a few sentences spoken this morning at Michael Brown’s funeral, he had the congregation ready to rise up from their seats and go out to change the world.  Hell, after listening to the Reverend Al I’m ready to get up off my sofa and go out to change the damned world.

Which is the point of rhetoric, after all.

I hope recordings of his remarks will be available soon.  They are worth hearing if only to see what can be accomplished when a skilled person speaks well.

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More Patsy

compopatsyThis lovely compo Patsy shows off her her typical coloring and costuming.  She’s not mine but I wish she were!

As promised, here are some Patsy dresses I made from very old patterns.  Here is my Patsy Joan in her onesie:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was standard underwear for little girls of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties.  Here are the dress and bonnet that go with the onesie:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made the dress from lavender voile.  It is trimmed with lace I bought when we visited an Amish town in Iowa, Trep.

oldHere is an image of a vintage pattern–McCall’s 1918, dated 1932–which places its publication smack dab in the middle of Patsy’s period of popularity.  The cover announces that the envelope contains a”Patsy Doll Outfit,” as though we couldn’t tell for whom it was intended from the rosebud mouth and short red hair on the dolls in the illustration.  The back cover of the pattern proudly claims that it was printed by means of a trademarked process called “PrintoGravure.”  Does anyone know what that was?

I may have modeled Patsy Joan’s dress on the blue one in the upper right (it’s been awhile), and if so I added a square yoke and longer sleeves.  However, I don’t have sufficient imagination to invent that hat, so I suspect I actually used pattern pieces from a book collection called Sewing for Twentieth-Century Dolls, which is a treasure trove of patterns for older dolls.  The onesie is definitely derived from the pattern depicted here, though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere Patsy Joan models a cotton dress and bloomers made from a Simplicity pattern (number 1901) originally published in 1930.  Simplicity reissued the pattern in 2007, no doubt to cash in on Patsy’s renewed popularity after Robert Tonner purchased Effanbee’s catalog in 2002.

simpHere is an image of the vintage pattern, which I used to make Patsy Joan’s dress.  I had an awful time getting the thing to hang right–as you can see the yoke and the center pleat are all one piece, which complicates things if the pattern doesn’t fit just right.  So if I make this again (yeah, sure) I’ll use the newer issue of the pattern.  I was interested to note that while the vintage pattern had to be purchased in a single size, the contemporary one comes in three sizes.  Has Simplicity softened up over the years?  Nah, probably not.

And here is my favorite dress for Patsy Joan:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause the fabric is so busy you can’t see the princess lines very well.  So here is an image of the vintage pattern:

dubarryHere you can see the lovely princess-style cut of this dress.  I haven’t dug around enough to determine a date for this pattern.  Given the curly blonde hair, I suspect it was made for the Shirley Temple doll, which was very popular during the 1930s.   This is the only DuBarry pattern I own, although I’ve found some others on the intertubes–for example the company issued this pattern sized for little girls  as well.  As you may be able to see, their patterns were also sold in Britain.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of depression-era toys.  If not, thanks for hanging in!








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Tell It

BvaS33dIUAA1gLg.png largeThat could have been any one of us,” free safety Ryan Clark told WNEW. “That could have been any one of our brothers, our cousins. … When you get an opportunity to make a statement, and be more than a football player, it’s good.”

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a7f8a93ab4afc2d88f0ae41dadf03a91This photo from Theriault’s shows a group of Patsy dolls from the early twentieth-century, complete with original clothes and shoes.

Patsy first appeared in 1928, manufactured by a company called “Effanbee” (its name was derived from the last initials of its founders, Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum).  She was designed by Bernard Lipfert, who also designed the very popular Shirley Temple and Toni dolls.  Early on, Patsy dolls  were made of a substance called “composition” which was bits of wood and other stuff glued together and coated, then painted.  Composition was thought at the time to be indestructible, which turned out not to be the case–much to the chagrin of contemporary collectors.  That’s why an auction house as prestigious (and pricey) as Theriault’s is showing these apparently perfect specimens.

As you can see, Patsy was manufactured in many different sizes, from the large Patsy Lou (22 inches) to the tiny Patsyette (9 inches).  Patsy was designed to represent a three-year-old girl of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties.  The white version was always shown with short red painted hair, although later on the company made wigged versions.   The rosebud mouth is typical of the period.  Her dresses were usually made from voile or other light cottons, in keeping with the styles of the time.  The tiny embroidered ruffles on the pink dress represent the care that was taken with Patsy’s clothing.

Baum died in 1940, and the company fell on hard times during the war years.  It was sold in 1946, and various other owners marketed Patsy dolls under the Effanbee name throughout the century.  After the war, plastic and vinyl became available and replaced composition as the favored medium for dolls, including Patsy.  Robert Tonner, an extremely successful doll designer, bought Effanbee in 2002, thus rescuing it from financial trouble.  Luckily, he loved Patsy enough to reintroduce her to collectors, and that’s how I discovered her.

Here is my collection, ineptly photographed as usual:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see, there is a Patsyette, wearing one of the outfits that came with her in a tiny hatbox.  She is flanked by 16-inch Patsy Joan, who also wears a purchased dress (the matching coat is behind her).  The 13-inch Patsy seems always to have been collectors’ favorite, and I’m showing her in her bathing suit so you can see the chubby body that Lipfert sculpted for her.  My current favorite, though, is 18-inch Patsy Ann, wearing a school outfit designed by Tonner.  She represents my memory of my late sister, who was named Patricia Ann and who was born in 1930.  Pat loved dolls–it was she who introduced me to collecting.

I’ve made some clothing from vintage patterns for these dolls.  Pics to come in a subsequent post.




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