Girl History Month – “Carolyn Keene,” Author Of The Nancy Drew Mysteries

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I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was growing up. I imagined that the author of the series, Carolyn Keene, was a sophisticated New York socialite who dashed off books for girls like me in between drinking Champagne and eating caviar.

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When I grew up, I learned that “Carolyn Keene” was the pseudonym of multiple authors who wrote my beloved mystery stories for the ominously named “Stratemeyer Syndicate”.

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Apparently, Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Syndicate, hired writer Mildred Wirt, later Mildred Wirt Benson, to write the manuscripts for the Nancy Drew books. Mildred was paid $125 for each book and was required by her contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality.

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Mildred and Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer’s daughter) are often credited as the primary writers of the Nancy Drew books.  Also involved in the Nancy Drew writing process were Harriet’s daughters, who gave input on the series and sometimes helped to choose book titles.  The Syndicate’s secretary, Harriet Otis Smith, invented the characters of Nancy’s friends Bess and George.

I still think Carolyn Keene exists out there somewhere.  🙂

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Honey Waldorf Salad

This salad was created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the 1890’s not by a chef but by the maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirky.  It was an instant success.

The original version of this salad contained only apples, celery, honey and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts later became an integral part of the dish.

Waldorf salad is usually served on top of a bed of lettuce. This recipe is one of many variations of the original 1890’s recipe.

  • 2 cups (2 med-large) diced un-pared apples (I use Honeycrisp or Gala)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 heaping tablespoonfuls mayonnaise, homemade or Hellmann’s
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • dash lemon juice
  • seedless grapes

Stir together the mayonnaise, honey and lemon juice.

Combine all ingredients together and chill until ice cold.

Serve on lettuce and garnish with seedless grapes.  Serves four.

The Amazing Nikola Tesla And The Bees

English: Nikola Tesla color

English: Nikola Tesla color (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nikola Tesla was a true genius: Not only did he invent that coil and alternating-current electricity (which you’re probably using right now to read this), but he also researched death rays, time-travel, and peering at memories stored inside the human brain.

He also propounded a fascinating theory that women would become the rulers of the future like “Queen Bees”.

Tesla worked for Thomas Edison and was promised a huge bonus if he redesigned his electric motors and generators. He did so, and gave Edison several patents as an employee, but Edison never paid out. Tesla quit and developed the more efficient “alternating current” that opposed Edison’s “direct current” and eventually became the standard electrical current that we still use today.

He was one of the first people to work with x-rays, and he invented an “X-Ray Gun” that you could use to fire x-ray beams at someone with, and it would develop on unexposed film hung behind the subject. A favorite target of this gun? Mark Twain.

He thought that memories and thoughts were recorded on the brain and could be watched, like a movie, through the retina.

He thought he could control the weather, and attempted to develop this technology. Eventually he was able to produce spectacular artificial lightning bolts.

He developed the first radar system.

He built his own wireless radio transmission tower in New York in conjunction with a German company named Telefunken, but the government tore it down in 1917 for fears that the Germans would use it to spy on the U.S.

He transmitted radio waves before Marconi, but was never seen as the “father of radio,” even though the Supreme Court decided to uphold his radio patent over Marconi in 1943. He died before the case was heard.

He tried to develop anti-gravity airships, teleportation, and time travel after becoming fascinated with idea of light as both a wave and a particle.

He put a lot of theoretical work into Tesla’s Flying Machine, which would have been an ion-propelled airplane.

There is a crater on the moon named after him.

He was developing a way to harness energy from space, and said that one day all of man’s inventions would run on this energy.

He developed something late in life called Nikola Tesla’s Death Ray, and had a press conference to publicize it, stating it could “send concentrated beams of particles through the free air, of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation’s border and will cause armies to drop dead in their tracks.” It later became the basis for the Strategic Defense Initiative or “Star Wars” satellite defense system that is still being developed today.

He died alone and in massive debt in his New York hotel room in 1943 at the age of 86. Upon his death, the FBI declared all of his papers and research to be “top secret” and seized them. Eventually, some were returned to his family. Some have never been found.

He believed that women would become the dominant sex in the future, and that they would rule over mankind like “Queen Bees.”  The following article was published almost a century ago.

Was Tesla right??

WHEN WOMAN IS BOSS

An interview with Nikola Tesla by John B. Kennedy

Colliers, January 30, 1926

The life of the bee will be the life of our race, says Nikola Tesla, world-famed scientist.

A NEW sex order is coming–with the female as superior. You will communicate instantly by simple vest-pocket equipment. Aircraft will travel the skies, unmanned, driven and guided by radio. Enormous power will be transmitted great distances without wires. Earthquakes will become more and more frequent. Temperate zones will turn frigid or torrid. And some of these awe-inspiring developments, says Tesla, are not so very far off.

AT SIXTY-EIGHT years of age Nikola Tesla sits quietly in his study, reviewing the world that he has helped to change, foreseeing other changes that must come in the onward stride of the human race. He is a tall, thin, ascetic man who wears somber clothes and looks out at life with steady, deep-set eyes. In the midst of luxury he lives meagerly, selecting his diet with a precision almost extreme. He abstains from all beverages save water and milk and has never indulged in tobacco since early manhood.

He is an engineer, an inventor and, above these as well as basic to them, a philosopher. And, despite his obsession with the practical application of what a gifted mind may learn in books, he has never removed his gaze from the drama of life.

This world, amazed many times during the last throbbing century, will rub its eyes and stand breathless before greater wonders than even the past few generations have seen; and fifty years from now the world will differ more from the present-day than our world now differs from the world of fifty years ago.

Nikola Tesla came to America in early manhood, and his inventive genius found quick recognition. When fortune was his through his revolutionary power-transmission machines he established plants, first in New York, then Colorado, later on Long Island, where his innumerable experiments resulted in all manner of important and minor advances in electrical science. Lord Kelvin said of him (before he was forty) that he had contributed more than any other man to the study of electricity.

“From the inception of the wireless system,” he says, “I saw that this new art of applied electricity would be of greater benefit to the human race than any other scientific discovery, for it virtually eliminates distance. The majority of the ills from which humanity suffers are due to the immense extent of the terrestrial globe and the inability of individuals and nations to come into close contact.

“Wireless will achieve the closer contact through transmission of intelligence, transport of our bodies and materials and conveyance of energy.

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.

“We shall be able to witness and hear events–the inauguration of a President, the playing of a world series game, the havoc of an earthquake or the terror of a battle–just as though we were present.

“When the wireless transmission of power is made commercial, transport and transmission will be revolutionized. Already motion pictures have been transmitted by wireless over a short distance. Later the distance will be illimitable, and by later I mean only a few years hence. Pictures are transmitted over wires–they were telegraphed successfully through the point system thirty years ago. When wireless transmission of power becomes general, these methods will be as crude as is the steam locomotive compared with the electric train.

Woman–Free and Regal

ALL railroads will be electrified, and if there are enough museums to hold them the steam locomotives will be grotesque antiques for our immediate posterity.

“Perhaps the most valuable application of wireless energy will be the propulsion of flying machines, which will carry no fuel and will be free from any limitations of the present airplanes and dirigibles. We shall ride from New York to Europe in a few hours. International boundaries will be largely obliterated and a great step will be made toward the unification and harmonious existence of the various races inhabiting the globe. Wireless will not only make possible the supply of energy to region, however inaccessible, but it will be effective politically by harmonizing international interests; it will create understanding instead of differences.

“Modern systems of power transmission will become antiquated. Compact relay stations one half or one quarter the size of our modern power plants will be the basis of operation–in the air and under the sea, for water will effect small loss in conveying energy by wireless.”

Mr. Tesla foresees great changes in our daily life. “Present wireless receiving apparatus,” says he, “will be scrapped for much simpler machines; static and all forms of interference will be eliminated, so that innumerable transmitters and receivers may be operated without interference. It is more than probable that the household’s daily newspaper will be printed ‘wirelessly’ in the home during the night. Domestic management–the problems of heat, light and household mechanics–will be freed from all labor through beneficent wireless power.

“I foresee the development of the flying machine exceeding that of the automobile, and I expect Mr. Ford to make large contributions toward this progress. The problem of parking automobiles and furnishing separate roads for commercial and pleasure traffic will be solved. Belted parking towers will arise in our large cities, and the roads will be multiplied through sheer necessity, or finally rendered unnecessary when civilization exchanges wheels for wings.

The world’s internal reservoirs of heat, indicated by frequent volcanic eruptions, will be tapped for industrial purposes. In an article I wrote twenty years ago I defined a process for continuously converting to human use part of the heat received from the sun by the atmosphere. Experts have jumped to the conclusion that I am attempting to realize a perpetual-motion scheme. But my process has been carefully worked out. It is rational.”

Mr. Tesla regards the emergence of woman as one of the most profound portents for the future.

“It is clear to any trained observer,” he says, “and even to the sociologically untrained, that a new attitude toward sex discrimination has come over the world through the centuries, receiving an abrupt stimulus just before and after the World War.

“This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior. The modern woman, who anticipates in merely superficial phenomena the advancement of her sex, is but a surface symptom of something deeper and more potent fermenting in the bosom of the race.

“It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.

“Through countless generations, from the very beginning, the social subservience of women resulted naturally in the partial atrophy or at least the hereditary suspension of mental qualities which we now know the female sex to be endowed with no less than men.

The Queen is the Center of Life

“BUT the female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose. Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.

“The acquisition of new fields of endeavor by women, their gradual usurpation of leadership, will dull and finally dissipate feminine sensibilities, will choke the maternal instinct, so that marriage and motherhood may become abhorrent and human civilization draw closer and closer to the perfect civilization of the bee.”

The significance of this lies in the principle dominating the economy of the bee–the most highly organized and intelligently coordinated system of any form of nonrational animal life–the all-governing supremacy of the instinct for immortality which makes divinity out of motherhood.

The center of all bee life is the queen. She dominates the hive, not through hereditary right, for any egg may be hatched into a reigning queen, but because she is the womb of this insect race.

We Can Only Sit and Wonder

THERE are the vast, desexualized armies of workers whose sole aim and happiness in life is hard work. It is the perfection of communism, of socialized, cooperative life wherein all things, including the young, are the property and concern of all.

Then there are the virgin bees, the princess bees, the females which are selected from the eggs of the queen when they are hatched and preserved in case an unfruitful queen should bring disappointment to the hive. And there are the male bees, few in number, unclean of habit, tolerated only because they are necessary to mate with the queen.

When the time is ripe for the queen to take her nuptial flight the male bees are drilled and regimented. The queen passes the drones which guard the gate of the hive, and the male bees follow her in rustling array. Strongest of all the inhabitants of the hive, more powerful than any of her subjects, the queen launches into the air, spiraling upward and upward, the male bees following. Some of the pursuers weaken and fail, drop out of the nuptial chase, but the queen wings higher and higher until a point is reached in the far ether where but one of the male bees remains. By the inflexible law of natural selection he is the strongest, and he mates with the queen. At the moment of marriage his body splits asunder and he perishes.

The queen returns to the hive, impregnated, carrying with her tens of thousands of eggs–a future city of bees, and then begins the cycle of reproduction, the concentration of the teeming life of the hive in unceasing work for the birth of a new generation.

Imagination falters at the prospect of human analogy to this mysterious and superbly dedicated civilization of the bee; but when we consider how the human instinct for race perpetuation dominates life in its normal and exaggerated and perverse manifestations, there is ironic justice in the possibility that this instinct, with the continuing intellectual advance of women, may be finally expressed after the manner of the bee, though it will take centuries to break down the habits and customs of peoples that bar the way to such a simiply and scientifically ordered civilization.

We have seen a beginning of this in the United States. In Wisconsin the sterilization of confirmed criminals and pre-marriage examination of males is required by law, while the doctrine of eugenics is now boldly preached where a few decades ago its advocacy was a statutory offense.

Old men have dreamed dreams and young men have seen visions from the beginning of time. We of today can only sit and wonder when a scientist has his say.

More About Dahlias

On my recent dahlia post, fellow blogger and organic gardener Oceannah commented:

Dahlia’s never do very well here and I’ve stopped growing them. It may be the cool mountain nights, not sure.

Oceannah lives in the mountains of New York.  I live in the hot and humid Ohio valley.  Dahlias grow like weeds here, while I struggle to get a few blooms from my foxgloves and delphiniums.

That started me wondering about the history and origins of dahlias.  What I found was very interesting!

Dahlias are warm weather plants, occurring naturally in Mexico and South America, where the Spaniards first “discovered” them. They are the national flower of Mexico.

The earliest reference to them occurred in 1615, but were then considered as an edible tuber rather than an ornamental flowering plant. At first, they didn’t attract much notice in Europe and weren’t recorded again until the late 18th century when the first tubers were sent back to Europe.

The dahlia was considered primarily an edible plant until 1815 when the first double flowered varieties were bred in Belgium and they quickly became a popular garden plant. They hybridize very easily and by the late 19th Century more than a hundred different varieties were listed.

 
They were common in the Victorian gardens, and persist as a popular cottage garden plant. They are easy to grow in fertile, well-drained soil. They favor sunny locations, and thrive in heat and humidity.

 
Today there are over 50,000 different dahlias in cultivation, and to try to bring a degree of order to the bewildering array of shapes, sizes and colors of dahlia flowers they are classified in ten different groups, ranging from Single and Anemone Flowered types to Pompoms, Large Decorative and Cactus flowered dahlias. At this point the classifying committee seems to have given up, and the tenth group is named simply “Miscellaneous”.

Dahlias love heat, humidity and sun, all present in abundance in southern Ohio. South America’s gift is much appreciated in my garden!!
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Bees Check In To The Waldorf

Honey bees are checking in as permanent guests of one of Manhattan’s snazziest hotels!

Later this month, the Waldorf Astoria will join a growing number of its peers—including its neighbor The InterContinental New York Barclay—and begin raising honey bees. It will start with 45,000 and aims to have 300,000 bees by the end of the summer.

The historic property, known as the inn of choice for heads of state, is installing six beehives in a rooftop space on the 20th floor that will also serve as a chef’s garden.

A few guest rooms will have a view of the hives, and the property will offer to show folks around their on-site honey production.

“We look forward to eventually housing enough bees to not only aid the environment but also supply fresh honey in the hotel’s food and beverage outlets,” General Manager Eric Long said, in a statement.

Not to be one-upped, his counterpart at the InterContinental, Herve Houdre, said he was aware of the plan and that his hotel will have more bees, or seven hives to be exact, and one that will be used for observation. The InterContinental’s beehives are on the roof of the 15th floor, where the hotel also maintains an herb garden.

The Waldorf Astoria’s director of culinary operations, David Garcelon, is spearheading the initiative and said he wants to incorporate the honey produced by his bees into dishes served at the hotel’s restaurants.

The Waldorf is the latest in a long string of hotels taking in bees. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, for instance, has more than a dozen properties with beehives on-site.

Hotels are increasingly adding locally sourced food to their menus, and beekeeping allows them to produce organic honey for food and cocktails. The hotels also say they are helping to save the species.

The Waldorf will ask the public to help name the beehives through a social media contest this month. For more information, visit www.waldorfnewyork.com.