There's a few threads of connection between Downton Abbey and other British fiction. Yes, Marla and I enjoy Downton, despite John Green calling it "
crack cocaine for old people". But on to the threads:
Downton's set in the Yorkshire Dales, and occasionally the signposts point to, or the characters refer to the nearby village of Thirsk. Thirsk is a real village, where the real Alf Wight went to practice as a vet. He wrote about those experiences in what eventually became All Creatures Great and Small under the pen name James Herriot. He fictionalized the name of the village as Darrowby. I wonder if in a few seasons of Downton Sigfried Farnan will be tending the Earl of Grantham's horses? Or that Tristan would care for the pigs?
Downton is filmed at Highclere Castle, where another period piece was filmed, this time a comedy: Jeeves and Wooster, based on the stories by P. G. Wodehouse. Yes, House fans, Hugh Laurie is hilarious. I can imagine the feckless Bertie Wooster coming to call on Lady Mary. Perhaps Violet, the Dowager Countess, is one of Bertie's great-aunts. If I had time and video editing talent, it'd be fun to intercut scenes from Jeeves and Wooster with Downton. I do imagine that Jeeves and Mr. Carson would get along famously, though.
A video series similar to Downton was Upstairs, Downstairs, set circa 1930. The premise is similar: the comings and goings of the aristocrat family contrasted with those of the servants. I'd like to recommend it, but I really don't think it holds a candle to Downton. Upon reflection, the main reason is the title character, Downton Abbey itself. Upstairs, Downstairs was filmed in what was obviously a BBC studio, and as such, can never really capture the texture and richness of the landed gentry the way the actual locations of Downton can.
I know what corn-fed beef is, it's when you feed the cow with corn. So what's vegetarian-fed turkey? Is it when you feed the turkeys with vegetarians? Maybe we could stretch it to mean that the vegetarians give the turkeys their food, but I don't know! What a horrible fate for a deceased vegetarian, to be fed to turkeys! Also, I don't think I'd want a sandwich made of such.
At the Waffle House the other day, I saw this against the wall. Although it claims to be a jukebox, I have my doubts. Jukeboxes in my childhood had records that actually spun as reward for an inserted quarter. Then came jukeboxes that appeared to have CDs inside, and now no pretense of rotating media remain. This thing has a touch screen and slots for dollar bills! no quarters allowed. It even has an app so you can control it from your smartphone. This appears to me to be an iPod Touch, enlarged a thousand times.
For perspective, from today's Writers Almanac:
It was on this day in 1889 the jukebox made its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It was called a "nickel-in-the-slot player" and was built by the Pacific Phonograph Co. and installed by entrepreneur Louis Glass and his business associate William S. Arnold.
The jukebox consisted of an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph inside a free-standing oak cabinet to which were attached four stethoscope-like tubes. Each tube could be activated by depositing a coin so that four people could listen to a single recording at one time — the sound equivalent of the peep-show nickelodeon. Towels were supplied so that Palais Royale patrons could wipe off the listening tubes between uses. Despite competition from player pianos, this primitive jukebox was a big hit across the country. In its first six months of service, the nickel-in-the-slot earned more than $1,000.
I finally got tired of fighting WordPress, so I converted my site to Joomla. It's Joomla 3.2.x, The Wright template from JoomlaShack, fonts are Bakserville over Garamond. All in all, the process was fairly painless thanks to JConverter which I got for $19. Hope you (and Google) enjoy it. Thanks for your support.
I got an interesting email the other day from LinkedIn.com. It said that my profile was one of the top 10% most viewed profiles in 2012. Really? I had no idea, and wasn't even trying. It made me feel special. But then it went on to say that LinkedIn now has over 200 million subscribers. So the top 10% would be... 20 million, right? So I'm one of the top 20 million most viewed profiles. Suddenly, I don't feel quite so special. I'm just one of 20 million.
Yesterday Marla and I treated ourselves to supper at the local Waffle House. (#1720 to be exact) We were talking with the waitress who had worked the local snowstorm. WH had put its employees up at a local hotel and transported them to work. She was amazed that they turned over about $1,000 per shift. She said a usual shift ran only about $500. I compared this with where one of my sons works: at a Pappa John's near downtown Atlanta. He said that during the snow they just did carry-out one day and did $6,000 worth. Several times a month they'll do gross receipts of over $10,000. I was struck that a good day at Pappa John's is over three times the dollar volume of a good day at Waffle House. Is there any compendium that lists the average gross dollar volume of various franchises like this? I'm sure there must be, but it's probably an expensive paywall-guarded report.
There was an old saying in datacom: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of mag tape." I've updated that over the years: in the '90s I figured the bandwidth of a minivan full of CDROMs, in the 2000s, a SUV full of DVDs, and now I've updated it for this decade by figuring the bandwidth of a Prius full of thumb drives. Have fun!
We've already gotten more rain this year than we did all last year, and almost a whole year's worth through mid-August. See:
Sometimes makers in the Atlanta area ask where a good salvage place is. I've driven past this one a number of times and finally stopped in for a visit. Here's my photo album of the place. It's on highway 129 outside of Gainesville, GA on the way to Athens. As with any salvage place, the things you'll see when you visit won't be the ones depicted here, but it should give you a flavor of what's available. Have fun, and happy hunting!
This morning after breakfast at the local Waffle House, I asked the waitress about the new touch-screen Jukebox. Did people actually use it? Not really, only the employees. Why? Because the old jukebox would spontaneously play a song every half-hour or so. This let everybody in the place know "Hey I'm a jukebox over here. I play nice music." It was an advertisement. After it played a song, someone would generally saunter over and stoke it with legal tender (extra points if you know what story-teller coined that phrase, pun intended). But the new jukebox never plays a free song, so people don't think about playing music at the Waffle House any more.
I Googled for the phrase "mournful banjo" and came up with pages of results. Mournful banjo? All the banjo music I've ever heard has been upbeat and happy. I actually listened to a couple of tracks that claimed to be mournful, but they didn't seem that way to me. What say you?