Friday, March 8, 2013

A History Lesson: The Hard Way.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families
used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken &
Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive
you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't
even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to
piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain
because the water temperature isn't just how you like it,
think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their
yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by
June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... .
Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man
of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then
all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so
dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the
saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no
wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get
warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)
lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and
sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof...
Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where 
bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. 
Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top 
afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other
than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had
slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, 
when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.
Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big
kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit
the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly
vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the
stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew
had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence
the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas
porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could
obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home
the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests
and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. 
Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to 
leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. 
This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the 
next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt
bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests
got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination
would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. 
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and 
prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table 
for a couple of days and the family would gather around and 
eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. 
Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running
out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins
and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the
grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins
were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they
realized they had been burying people alive... So they would
tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
(the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone
could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Story In 900 Words or Less....

The first day of October 1970 at 1:08 am, I was born In Weldon, Arkansas. I was raised in a farmhouse with one brother on a small lot that my dad rented in exchange for maintenance duties. My father was factory worker, my mother worked in the cafeteria as a cook at the local high school...he was 21 and she 19. My first job was at age 6, picking up pecans in a pecan orchard for 25 cents a pound...back then, a quarter would buy lots of candy and Yoohoo chocolate picking up as many pecans as possible was a must. My thirst for capitalism had officially began. 
As years past, talent shows were my mom would dress me up in cowboy hats and funny plaid suits and enter my name in those shows to sing and dance and unfortunately....I would win...almost every time. Drawing, singing, dancing and being a happy kid was my life....and I thank them for it. My second job was at a small grocery store where I made $3.35 cents an hour sacking groceries and mopping floors. It wasnt much, but just enough to take my freckle-faced girlfriend out to a movie on Friday night and buy her a pizza and a strawberry milkshake.

Fastforward 18 years after winning every art award possible in high school, I left for college on a Pell Grant with $26 in my pocket. When I arrived at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, I really had idea what to do next....but get a job. For the next five years, I became a dishwasher, table busser, and line cook in the fall and in the summer I would travel back home (while every other student in world was in Florida on Spring Break) to work on a loading crew for the local flying service.  What is a flying service you ask? That's 100+ hours a week putting chemicals and pesticides into a cropduster airplane in 100 degree Arkansas heat....for $3.75 an hour. It was the most grueling, dangerous, exhausting and dirtiest job on planet earth...but it made a man out of me...and got me through college. And most importantly, fueled my desire to do get through college and hope for a better life.

After years of trying to decide my major and what I want to do, I finally decided to go with what I knew best. I was determined to make a living with my creative, artistic talent. In the Spring of 1993, I graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in computer graphics and a minor in Spanish. With my degree in hand, I set out to find a job to no avail in the great state of Arkansas, when a friend who had just came through Nashville, TN handed me a classified section of the local newspaper there. I opened it and found my calling... "graphic designer needed" the ad said. I applied, got the phone call and with three shirts, two ties, two pairs of pants, one pair of shoes, a worn out pickup truck and lots of hope, I headed out for the big city and never looked back. That was almost 20 years ago and mom and dad are still alive, well and together to this day.

Upon arriving in Nashville, the shock was pretty overwhelming. I had landed my first job at the corporate headquarters of Service Merchandise, Inc. as a catalog designer. The place was huge and had over 1000 employees....there wasnt that many people in my hometown. I had never parked in a parking garage and didnt know how.....never heard of sushi....never seen the ocean or a skyscraper building and had no idea that a hamburger and fries could ever cost more than 5 
dollars (drink included). It was all new to me...but without a choice, I adjusted.

After working my way through different jobs, moving up the ladder and learning from each one, I decided to become a freelance designer...that is, working from my own office doing computer graphics as a contractor through different companies. Almost 15 years later, I continue to offer my graphic design services to over 30 clients nationwide...ranging from telecommunications and healthcare to large global restuarant chains like Subway and Pepe's Pizza. In the year 2000, I opened a nightclub with a business partner and 12 years later, it continues to thrive as well.
By treating people right, being honest, hard-working and fair, I have come a long way as a business owner in Tennessee since my humble beginnings here...and I am grateful to all of the wonderful people and connections I have entrusted along the way. There are more details..but this will do for now. 
Thank for reading. -SB