Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gratitude, Three times Seven, #3

Continuing the Seven Days of Gratitude...

The last big picture he made
I love winter, and all that comes with it...the chill, the downright cold, the need for wool sox and long johns and scarves and stocking caps and gloves and all that.  You can always put on more clothes if it's cold.  This also entitles me to dislike summer like Nick Nolte dislikes having his picture taken. I do not like heat or humidity or gnats or mosquitoes or any of the 101 horrible things about the season that everyone else loves, leaving me alone to love winter, the ugly stepsister of all seasons.  Therefore I am grateful to Willis Haviland Carrier (November 26, 1876 – October 7, 1950), father of modern air conditioning, and the man who made it possible to survive summer south of the Yukon. Not that I would want to make this choice, but if it came down to having a stereo in the car or A/C, I'd do the singing for myself, windows up and cool.

Farnsworth in 1939, looking miffed
because nothing good was on TV
 that night

While we're thanking great people of industry and invention, let's mute the TV for a second and give it up for Philo T. Farnsworth (August 19, 1906 – March 11, 1971), holder of some 165 patents, many of which were crucial to the development of television. Without Mr Farnsworth, what would we know of the magical world of professional football, giant spinning wheels of fortune on game shows, and news accounts of "people who make a difference" in their communities? Television makes it possible for an entire nation to be terrified of the same things at once!

And we all can be proud to live in the land that was home to Henry Ford, inventor of the new car smell! Fun fact: when you load up the briquets in the charcoal grill this Labor Day, remember that the charcoal industry was started by Henry and a distant relative named E.G. Kingsford as a way to get rid of the wood scrap generated in the Ford Motor Company plant in the 1920s. Ford hated waste, and when he saw wood chunks being tossed out from the assembly line, he said, "Let's scorch the wood and grind it up and add coal and sawdust and borax and I don't know what-all else and make little briquets that will burn in a bowl-shaped metal tub, so that everyone can enjoy a smoky hamburger outside." Henry is also thought to be the first man ever to say, "Don't be getting all up in my grill."

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