Monday, April 28, 2014

Ribbit! (or: Hello my baby, hello my honey)

(The above article is some sort of propaganda for the frog industry. I've seen other articles that claim it's impossible to raise frogs anywhere in the United States, which is why 90% of them are imported from the Orient. Elsewhere I read that frogs ARE raised in the Southern United States, but "in secret". It's something they don't talk about. God knows why, I guess it's stigmatized to have to stick a nail through an amphibian's primitive skull. Not to mention eating their legs. Blecccch. Anyway, this is a transcript of the above newspaper article, followed by, as they say, "the REST of the story".)

Big Profits in Back Yard FROG Raising
A back yard is large enough to start the thriving business of frog raising. How to build up a big income with a very small investment is told in the following article. The white meat, with a taste similar to a tender, juicy squab, is greatly in demand.
WHEN Charlie, of the De Luxe Cafe, told me that he would have to discontinue serving frog leg dinners because his wholesaler couldn’t supply the frogs, I became vitally interested in an industry that has proven to be more profitable, entertaining, and healthful than any other I have ever known.

No frog farmer need search for a market, his crop is virtually all sold before it is raised. I could sell one hundred times my present production in a single week, and am expanding my ponds so, eventually, I expect to have 1000 acres utilized solely for giant bullfrog culture. I sell tadpoles at five to ten cents each by the hundred. They are used to stock farms and for aquarium purposes.
Frog Meat Is Delicious
Bullfrogs, that cost me less than one cent per year to feed, wholesale at $3.00 per dozen in large quantities. Smaller frogs, of which only the legs are used, sell for as high as seventy cents per pound. Each frog gives a pound of delicious white meat that has a taste similar to a tender, juicy squab. The whole frog is used, the front quarter being just as delicious as the legs.

Just one pair of breeders lay over 10,000 eggs each season; usually over seventy per cent hatch and develop into small frogs.
The advantage of frog farming is the fact that you can start practically anywhere and expand gradually as your profits mount. A vacant city lot, an old orchard or even a back yard can be utilized. Due to the cannibalistic nature of adult frogs, the frog farmer needs three separate ponds, segregating the breeders, tadpoles, and small frogs.
I have found a pond, 20×20 feet, water area, with bank space of six feet on all sides, to be capable of keeping six pairs of breeders. The water depth should not exceed 18 inches except for a pit in the center of the pond where the frogs hibernate in the winter time.
Confine With Poultry Wire
Ordinary one-inch mesh poultry wire four feet high with burlap sewed on the inside to prevent injury and to confine the smaller frogs, is the most sensible fence a frog farmer can use both for breeders and small frogs. Frogs breed from April until August.

At this time, the frog farmer must have a small pond about 10×15 feet planted with arrowheads, water moss and other aquatic plants, in readiness. The pond should be not less than three feet deep to take care of the thousands of tadpoles.
The egg mass must be immediately transferred to the small pond, using a scoop to handle them. In five days, each cluster becomes a wiggling, living mass of tadpoles. Tadpoles are scavengers, eating anything from table scraps to water moss.
In six to eight months, the tadpole begins to develop legs and in a short time is a small frog. At this time, its diet changes from that of a scavenger to being satisfied only with a live or moving food.

The growing pond for the offspring of six pairs should embrace about two acres, including shore line. Water in the two acre tract should cover not more than one-half of the entire area.
Feeding the Frogs
I have raised frogs on liver and other domestic meat but I found it impractical to consider this method of feeding on a large scale.
Small bullfrogs can be supplied with an abundance of insects, especially flies, by simply concealing several fish heads in the vegetation along shore. Common crabs, found in most any ditch or stream, and good food for frogs, can be placed directly into the growing pond where they will reproduce in enormous quantities.

When ready for marketing, the frogs are caught at night by blinding them with a search light. When the catcher gets a frog he puts it into a burlap sack with others. They are then put into small pens awaiting the dresser who grabs them by their rear legs and pierces the head with a nail by a downward stroke of the hand. The entrails are removed and the frog is ready for shipment in barrels of cracked ice. 

They Came from Hell: the strangest dolls in advertising

I apologize for this, but I had to load it up-front to get you used to the flavor of this post. My obsession with old comic book ads knows no bounds, and on my recent trawl I found some pretty good ones - push-up bras made of baling wire, memberships to secret mystical societies, ads for starting your own frog ranch, circuses for a dollar starring a performing "actual live" chameleon, etc., along with classics like Grog Grows Own Tail and the chihuahua in a teacup plaintively asking, "Will you give me a home?"

But I ruthlessly cut these out of the mix when I saw the number of creepy doll ads. Like clowns, there is something inherently squickish about the doll as an object, human yet not human, and often grotesque even in its supposed cuteness. "Lifelike" is the word that comes up again and again to describe a lifeless object.

I won't get into "reborn" dolls either, often made of rubbery silicone so that their arms and legs jiggle and quiver. Some of these actually have heaters in them, heartbeats, and miniature sound systems to emit baby noises (though Edison obviously got there first). No one wants to think about the next innovation.

I've written about these incredible '60s artifacts before, but there's an update which shocked me. I used to wonder about this ad, how they could ever get away with it, and what "Lilliputian cuteness" meant (I wasn't into Swift at age eight). I tried to picture a hundred rubber dollies a few inches high, but after a while the whole thing was shoved away in a back room of memory.

Then, the wonder of the internet led to this revelation:

Someone had actually ordered these, all those years ago, and kept them in their original box. These reminded me of those little plastic ornamentations you find in cocktails, only thinner, more toothpicky. And yes, it looks as if there's quite an array of them, but the thing is, calling them "dolls" is a real stretch. Apparently in one incarnation, they came with paper clothing, but it's hard for me to imagine how that would work.

And then I found this. . . 

This is obviously the same product, but all of a sudden they're five bucks! The type is too small to read, but presumably they had dropped the Lilliputian bit. I have no idea what year this version came out. But it's ripoff times five.

There's a whole category of moving dolls, the type that emit the most godawful grinding-gears sound as they inch along. 

Some of these look like cheats. I think you have to stand behind this one and "walk" it, so it's incapable of independent movement. And any doll that costs 50 cents - I don't know. Maybe, like the 100 dolls for a dollar, she's really only an inch high, a prototype version of nanotechnology.

Botteltot just has such a strange name. You'd think the manufacturer could come up with something better, more descriptive, such as Cindy Pees-a-lot. And I just don't get Toodles. Nobody costs 44 cents, with a 19-cent "layette". Maybe, like the Walking Doll with the checkered skirt, she came with boxtops from Joy Liquid - or whatever. 

We don't have to know what the text means, which is good, because I don't. The sad purse-mouthed expression on Grasitas's face kind of says it all. And that sure is a strange diaper.

Noma the Electronic Doll is manufactured by Effanbee, which somehow makes me uncomfortable. Noma was the brand of our old Christmas lights, the ones that used to electrocute you or give you third-degree burns. Though the ad gives the impression that Noma walks, she doesn't. But she prays, which is maybe a good thing for everyone.

Does this doll resemble Regan from The Exorcist, or Carrie, or - Good God! Feel my ribs? Hear my voices? Somebody call Stephen King.

Here is a ventriloquist's dummy - always a staple of the Twilight Zone series of the '60s - who not only talks (in your own voice, of course) but SMOKES. And he's under three bucks,so what can we lose, except maybe sleep?

And here is Sandy, endowed with Rubber Wonderskin and hair you can "wave", along with the usual accoutrements (bottles with rubber nipples, etc. - though with hair like that, she can't be the right age for diapers). Someone must have believed this advertisment would attract Mommies enough to want to shell out four dollars (C. O. D.!) to scare their daughters half to death.

The Edison Talking Doll was a flop. It stopped talking after little girls had cranked it a few times, and once the public saw its inner workings, they were too creeped out to want it. The whole concept was flawed from the beginning, but I don't think it mattered to Edison. It was just another way of getting attention for his REAL phonograph, which he stole from a guy in Germany. The Berliner Talking Doll just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press