Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Not An Ancient Chinese Secret!

I (Matthew) have said in my bio that I LOVE fortune cookies. There’s a lot more to them than sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, and a scrap of paper with a cryptic message inside. As I am prone to doing, I will now proceed to bore you with a lot of inane facts about fortune cookies…they are not particularly good, although I did purchase some chocolate-covered cookies last year for Valentine’s day, which made them HIGHLY edible. So does deep frying, for that matter, but I don’t think the paper fortune would fare too well.

The first cookies were either invented in Los Angeles or San Francisco, in 1909 or 1918, depending on who you believe, and it was not by anyone Chinese, but actually Japanese. This dispute actually went to the Court of Historical Review (in San Francisco), and (funny thing) ruled in favor of the San Francisco origins.

There are some great fortune cookies stories, among them being the U.S. Powerball Lottery in 2005 where 110 second-place winners got to split $19.5 million dollars. The lottery officals initially suspected fraud (how can so many people be so lucky), when they traced the winning numbers to a fortune cookie factory in Long Island, New York…it might actually pay off to pay attention to those numbers in your cookie next time! I won’t even get into the old story about the message: “Help! I’m being held prisoner in a fortune cookie factory!”

The messages are so odd sometimes. Some seem vaguely threatening, something that quite a few people don’t find to be a great quality in a dessert item… “There may be a crisis looming, be ready for it.” I imagine a sweatshop somewhere with a lot of bitter writers. I have saved hundreds of fortunes, but have only a few doubles- it’s pretty interesting how many fortunes one can have.

One year, I had a Halloween party. Initially, I wanted to have misfortune cookies, and didn’t know how to go about getting any (this was the age before the internet. Now, you can custom-order fortune cookies for any occasion, authoring the fortunes yourself- making them all good or bad- you have the control! Quite a number of pages exist for getting a fortune out of a virtual cookie, without the calories…check this link out for some really funny fortunes without having to resort to eating a crunchy cookie.

Some of the great rituals involved in reading your fortune are pretty funny as well: some people think that if it’s a bad one, you shouldn’t eat the cookie. I recall in Japan that once you had a paper fortune, you should take it to a temple or shrine and tie it on a string and leave it with a prayer. Some believe that one shouldn’t read the fortune until after eating the cookie. Some believe that if you read it aloud, it will not come true. However, this method would not work for those who involve ending the reading of the fortune with the phrase “in bed” or “behind the barn,” which creates a new fortune such as “Speculations will turn out well in bed.” Incidentally, and perhaps not coincidentally, my sister and I delightfully discovered during church as children that this method also worked for hymn titles: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Behind The Barn.” I would not recommend introducing this to children, as it does encouage a fair amount of giggling during inappropriate times during a church service.

One other thing that I found out while doing some research: Apparently there is a dud of a film from the 60’s called “The Fortune Cookie.” It starred Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and a woman with the biggest hair ever. Conversely, there is also “Cookie’s Fortune,” which starred Patricia Neal, and was pretty fun to watch, though it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen it. There is also “The Wrong Fortune Cookie,” which I was unable to find any information about, so it must have been a real stinker.

In any case, I hope I’ve given you something to think about, and if not, click here for a fortune to consider.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


We've Got It All Covered!

You know, wallpaper, as I remember it as a child in the 70's either involved American Revolutionary War Soldiers and Rifles, the Liberty Bell; Bright Orange Mushrooms; Red Velvet Regency Patterns on wacky background; or the odd Bright Red Ford Model T's and Stutz Bearcats on a white background. I used to cringe at the mention of "wallcoverings."

Wallteriors has changed all this. We've used it in our own home, where it looks great with granite countertops in the kitchen and blends in with the travertine floors. Their handmade papers can be used in large or small spaces effectively, such as in a wall niche, applied over smooth or textured wall surfaces, installed with non-conventional ideas (such as on a diagonal, torn edges, in overlapping squares, etc.), and wallteriors will also customize colors for
you if their extensive collection does not suit your needs, although all of their wall coverings are made to order. We recently used it in our 22 Ambassador house in the master bedroom. It is quite spectactular, and we always take note that people want to touch it, and are curious about how it is made. For more information about including this product in your home, contact us at our office, or view Wallteriors website. We love this particular patterm, as it looks like cork or a fine wood veneer. They also have some great block print Kanji (Japanese) calligraphy patters as well as a great subtle large Hollywood Regency prints.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Family Life and Interior Design Circa 1957

The postwar "Baby Boom" both reinforced and challenged the traditional definition of the American family. Peaking in 1957, the Baby Boom helped the nation's population grow by 30 percent--nearly 40 million people. Young parents moved to the suburbs to raise their large families in homes purchased with the aid of government-subsidized and -insured loans. Between 1945 and 1960, the proportion of homeowners in the nation increased by 50 percent. well. The Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert area also experienced a building boom during this time to accommodate weekenders and growing families as the stereotypical image of a commuting breadwinning husband and father, stay-at-home wife and mother, and playful, happy children was consistently portrayed in the popular media. Yet the overall percentage of women working outside the home increased during the 1950s, as families faced higher costs of living caused in part by rising expectations of comfort and conformity that went along with the new prosperity.

Uniquely American, "teenage" entered everyday usage only at the end of World War II. For the first time in the nation's history, teenagers were the focus of the nation's attention. By mid-decade, parents and teachers, fearing the loss of their authority, warned of the perils of teenage sexuality and juvenile delinquency. Advertisers and businesses, on the other hand, enthusiastically developed this affluent "youth market."
A variety of age-specific consumer goods, from clothing, cosmetics, and cars, to transistor radios, portable phonographs and rock 'n' roll records, satisfied teenagers' desires to create their own identities for themselves and for their peer group.

Style and Color in the home of 1957

Early in the decade, domestic design echoed military stiffness and order through the use of spiky, angular forms. New materials such as plastic, plastic laminates, and latex foam, developed through wartime research and application, inspired designers' conceptions for the shape and manufacture of household goods. By the end of the decade style had become more organic. Biomorphic forms, such as the kidney-shaped coffee table, represent the Contemporary style many American manufacturers--and purchased by families for their suburban homes. High style was popularized in such do-it-yourself leisure activities as paint by number and designing and building a recreation room. The basement "rec room" offered a space for creative and indulgent fantasy. Fathers and sons together recreated the "Old West" or a "Paris cafe" or another exotic locale in which to entertain or to relax. When Carmel Snow, editor of Harper's Bazaar, labeled Christian Dior's first postwar fashion collection a "New Look," little did she think that the term would become popular coinage and last well beyond the Dior fashion phenomenon of 1947. Many manufacturers aligned their goods with the fashionable term; in fact, in 1955 the Tupperware Corporation introduced its new "TV tumblers" by asserting "Christian Dior isn't the only one coming out with a 'New Look' these days!" In the form of the suburban Tupperware party, housewives sold and purchased goods as stylish as their dresses.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...