Category Archives: History

The Whistle—Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Some of the most famous lines in cinema history were uttered by Lauren Bacall to Humphry Bogart in the 1944 Film “To Have and To Have Not.” The scene has Bogart’s character Harry “Steve” Morgan, a fishing captain in Nazi-occupied France refusing to smuggle members of the resistance on to his boat. Bacall, playing Marie “Slim” Browning, flirtatiously tries to change his mind. Just before exiting the scene, she passionately kisses him and says, “You don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together, and blow.”

Continue reading The Whistle—Extraordinary Ordinary Things

SCISSORS: Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Have you ever needed a pair of scissors and couldn’t find one? No doubt you were extremely frustrated. Although scissors are one of mankind’s most low-tech inventions (two strips of metal joined at a pivot point), their uses are manifold and there seems to be no substitute. Imagine trying to cut a piece of paper without a pair of scissors, cutting out an article from a newspaper or magazine without scissors, opening a package tied up with string without scissors, etc.

Continue reading SCISSORS: Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Soap: Extraordinary Ordinary Things

I remember as a child my parents always insisted I wash my hands with soap before sitting down to eat. I have never forgotten this, and sometimes get odd looks because of it.

In a restaurant, I always go wash my hands before the food is delivered even though no one else at the table does. Worse, when I visit friends in their homes, I do the same thing. I imagine they must think I have some kind of mania about cleanliness on a par with Lady Macbeth: “Out, out, damned spot!” While the good lady does not explicitly mention soap, there is a Lady Macbeth soap on the market anyhow. I don’t have a cleanliness mania. But I do have due consideration for the advice I received from my parents—and continue to receive from the medical community.

Continue reading Soap: Extraordinary Ordinary Things

The Fork—Extraordinary Ordinary Things

If you are anything like me, when you hear the word “fork,” you probably automatically think of “knife” because the two go together like bread and butter, ham and eggs, shoes and socks, New York and skyscrapers, New Year’s and resolutions, and a host of other tightly conjoined tandems. However, the idea of a fork and a knife working together in common cause, e.g. eating, is relatively new. The knife in human history preceded the fork by many centuries. In its earliest manifestation, the eating fork was once a multi-bladed knife.

Continue reading The Fork—Extraordinary Ordinary Things