Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vic Knows ‘Watt’ He’s Talking About

In the July 11th, 1944 episode, “Don’t Scrape off the Watts!” Sade buys Vic a new light bulb.  It’s supposedly super powerful (1 million volts).  Vic, being a gadget-guy, quickly opens the package and begins to examine it.   He cleans the contacts with his pocket knife.   There’s a lot of discussion about electricity in this episode.  Since I am an electrical engineer, it’s one of my favorites.    Let’s look at that light bulb from the perspective of an engineer.  I am reminded of the Chevy Chase quote, "It was my understanding that there would be no math.”  I know that this may be a dry subject, so I promise to keep the math to a minimum.  
There is a simple law that is the basis for all electrical engineering; it’s called Ohm’s Law.  You’ve heard the terms current, voltage, and resistance.  These terms are all related to each other via Ohms’s Law.  Before I describe Ohm’s Law, consider this analogy:  

You have a garden hose.  “Current” can be considered as the volume of water flowing from the hose.   “Voltage” can be equated to the water pressure.   Put your thumb over the nozzle of the hose and you have “resistance.”   Voltage, or water pressure, is generally fixed.  In the case of the hose, it is fixed by the height of your local water tower.  In the case of electricity, it’s fixed by your local utility.   As your thumb covers more of the nozzle, the resistance is increased and the volume of water coming out of the hose drops.  The same is true with electricity; the more resistance there is to the flow of the current, the less current that will be able to  flow.  

Ohm’s law describes these three concepts:   Voltage (volts) = Current (Amps)  * Resistance (Ohms)   Eqn 1

And electrical Power is simply:    Power (Watts) = Voltage (Volt)  *  Current (Amps)    Eqn 2

Changing any one the terms in these equations will result in the other terms changing as well, to keep the equations balanced.

In your home, the voltage at the outlets are fixed at 120 Volts.   What Vic is doing by cleaning the lightbulb’s contacts is reducing the resistance, since copper oxide is more resistive than copper.  If the resistance of the contacts goes down, and the voltage is fixed at 120V, then the current must increase to satisfy Ohm’s law (Eqn 1).  
With the current increased and the voltage fixed at 120V, the power dissipated in the bulb must be larger to satisfy Eqn 2.  More power results in a brighter light.  

Vic, per usual, knows exactly what he’s doing.  Cleaning the contacts will result in a brighter bulb.  Vic explains it better than I can, “I wanna make these contact points shine up good and bright, that way more electricity can get through an’ we’ll have a brighter light.”

Sade is completely lost on this topic and has no concept of electricity.  Sade’s lack of interest in learning about how things work (recall that she had no interest in understanding how her wash machine worked either) is disappointing to me, but I see this mindset frequently in my personal life.  Russel gets it, but his conversion from horsepower to Watts is inaccurate.  One horsepower is equal to 756 Watts, not 764 Watts.

This episode ends with a sort of sappy appreciation of Sade—maybe a little too sappy.  My mother, although not technically inclined, was always interested in learning and trying technical things.  I recall that she once attempted to work on her car and filled her radiator overflow reservoir with windshield washer fluid.  After realizing her mistake, my father convinced her that we’d have to turn the car upside-down to get it out!

-- Dave from Wisconsin
Wisconsin Professional Engineering License No. 26150-6

Double Feature in... Wisconsin?

Mega-fan “Dave in Wisconsin” Duckert had an idea. What if he foisted “Vic and Sade” on some family and friends and caught their audio reactions? A great idea, but 78 years late!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Yes, Bluetooth Can Sue the Bijou!

In the April 5, 1940 Vic and Sade episode titled “Can Bluetooth Sue the Bijou?” Rush gets Vic’s opinion on Bluetooth’s chances of successfully suing the Bijou motion picture show.  Bluetooth fell through a defective theater seat and suffered “possible nervous shock and possible high blood pressure”.   As the episode progresses we learn that the reason the seat was defective was Bluetooth’s own doing.  
I often wonder how Paul Rhymer came up with these strange plots for Vic and Sade episodes.  Obviously, he was an incredibly creative guy.  But in this case, I wonder if the seed of this episode was something that was reported in the news.  In 2017, we’re used to people suing at the drop of hat – for the silliest of reasons.  But in the 1940’s, I suspect that suing a theater over a defective seat was a bit unusual and probably newsworthy.  

Consider the court case [1] of Fox West Coast Agency Corp. vs. Jean L. Forsythe. On March 24, 1940, the plaintiff,

Jean L. Forsythe, entered the United Artists Theater in Los Angeles, California. According to the complaint,  “…the seat collapsed causing her to be thrown violently to the side and down.” She was seeking damages of  $2500 for injury and suffering.

The defense countered with “…was an unusually large and unusually heavy woman weighing approximately from 275 pounds to 300 pounds, and negligently and carelessly failed to take into consideration the fact that the seat was, and all of the seats in said theater were, designed to accommodate persons of average bulk and weight and negligently and carelessly failed to control her body and the manner in which she forced her body into said seat.”

The plaintiff, maybe a bit offended by these remarks, countered “My body was firm…. it was not the flabby kind of fat that would give away at the poke of a finger. It was good hard flesh.” [I’m not kidding, it’s in the court records…]

I wonder if this story was in the news in March of 1940 and served as the seed for Paul Rhymer to write this episode? There’s no way to ever know. I searched Chicago newspaper archives and did not find it. The timing is right, as this episode aired in April of 1940, one month later. Or it could just be coincidence.

Even back in the 1940’s the world was a crazy place, but leave it to Paul Rhymer to make it even crazier in the wonderful world of Vic and Sade. I rest my case!

-- Dave from Wisconsin
[1] Case Law: United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit 
(search this file for “fox west”)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I’d Like to Buy the World a Chokewood Fool

When I was a kid my father had a cabin in northern Wisconsin.  This part of the state is mostly forest land.  When at the cabin, we would occasionally go for a drive to the “spring”.  After traveling many dirt roads we would come to a non-nondescript spot in the woods.  A short walk would bring you to a natural spring.  Clear and cold water bubbled-up into a small rock formation.  Someone had left an old rusty “dipper”, which was just an old sauce pan.  Back at the cabin we had well water, which you pumped by hand into a pail for drinking and washing.  But this spring water was even better, not only did it taste better but you didn’t need to manually pump it up from the ground.   And that’s what passed for entertainment in northern Wisconsin – driving to the spring to get a dipper of spring water!

In the November 11, 1943 episode of V&S titled, “Stingyberry Jam“, Uncle Fletcher relates a story of a man, Sam E. Honker,  who hated well water “worse than a snake!”  But he “cultivated a taste for well water” and would holler “bring me a dipper of well water”.  Uncle Fletcher goes on to say that Sam E.Honker liked well water more than warm lemonade, choke wood fool, or a muskmelon cordial.   It got me to wonder, what’s a Choke wood fool?  What’s a muskmelon cordial?  Warm lemonade?

What’s a Chokewood Fool?
Let’s start with the “chokewood” first.  I suspect this refers to chokeberries.  Sometime these are erroneously called Chokecherries.  Chokeberries, formally called Aronia3, are small round berries which resemble blueberries (although they can also be red, black, or purple in color).  They can be eaten and are often baked in breads or turned into juice.  So, I think chokewood actually refers to chokeberries.  

Now consider the "Fool" part.  From Wikipedia1:
“A fool is an English dessert. Traditionally, fruit fool is made by folding pureed stewed fruit (classically gooseberries) into sweet custard. Modern fool recipes often skip the traditional custard and use whipped cream. Additionally, a flavouring agent like rose water may be added.

Foole is first mentioned as a dessert in 1598 (together with trifle), although the origins of gooseberry fool may date back to the 15th century. The earliest recipe for fruit fool dates to the mid 17th century.” 

So a chokewood fool is probably a dessert-like drink made from chokeberries. 
So what’s a Muskmelon Cordial?
A non-alcoholic cordial is sometimes called a squash.  From Wikipedia2:

“Squash (also called cordial or dilute) is a non-alcoholic concentrated syrup used in beverage making.

Traditional squashes may be flavoured with elderflowers, lemon, pomegranate, apple, strawberry, chokeberry (often with spices such as cinnamon or cloves added), orange, pear, or raspberry.  Modern squashes usually have simpler flavours, such as orange, apple, summer fruit (mixed berries), blackcurrant, apple and blackcurrant, peach, pineapple, mango, lime, or lemon.”

It’s not hard to imagine a squash (cordial) made from a muskmelon (also called a honeydew melon).

Warm Lemonade?
From Wikipedia4:

“Generally served cold, cloudy lemonade may also be served hot as a remedy for congestion and sore throats, frozen, or used as a mixer.”


That almost sounds good to me, warm lemonade on a cold Wisconsin night!  Although I’m sure that Vic would disagree.  In the October 20th, 1942 episode titled “Fred's Concrete Floor” Fred Stembottom tries to lure Vic over to help with his concrete garage floor project using warm lemonade, which Vic vehemently insists he hates!

So these drinks may sound a little strange to us, but they aren’t fictitious, there really is a Chokewood Fool, a Muskmelon Cordial, and Warm Lemonade.  Cheers!

-- Dave from Wisconsin


Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Dollars and Eighty Cents was a Lot of Money!

In the "Vic and Sade" episode “Milton’s Dirt in Fruit Jars” of 4-15-40,  Rush explains his idea for a business venture to Vic.  The idea is to supply Milton Welch with additional jars of dirt.   Milton is collecting a jar of dirt from every state in the union (48 states at the time).   Uncle Fletcher wasn’t in this episode but somehow I hear him saying “Iowa, Vermont, Florida, Virginia, all them states, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, sure, all them states.”  Milton only has 10 of the 48 states in his collection so far and Rush hopes to leverage Vic’s connections in the Lodge and at the Consolidated Kitchenware Company to provide the remaining 38.   Adding Washington D.C. makes 39!  At 10 cents per jar it’s a windfall for Rush.  There’s a lot of talk about of the cost of things as Vic slowly and delicately dispels Rush’s idea. 

The accounting looks something like this:
                                                                  One Jar                                              39 Jars
Gross Sales                                                $0.10                                                  $3.90

Cost of Goods
Postage to state (1 oz)                   $0.03                                                  $1.17
Notary Fee                                     $0.25                                                  $9.75
Return postage  (30 oz)                 $0.90                                                  $35.10
Net Profit (Loss)                                      ($1.08/jar)                                          ($42.12)

·        A filled canning jar weighs about 30 oz.
·        Package postage is 3 cents/oz. 

So this endeavor would have resulted in a net loss of over $40 for poor Rush. 

I recall playing this episode for my son when he was only 6 or 7 years old.  I think the light went on in his head too, but he realized that his problem was going to be the lack of a customer!

Let’s look at what this would cost in 2017. 
            Cost of Goods                               One Jar                                             
Postage to state (1 oz)                    $0.49                 Standard postal letter rate                                         
Notary Fee                                      $5.00                 Average notary fee                        
Return postage  (30 oz)                  $7.35                 Standard postal rate                                     
Total Cost of Goods                                 ($12.84/jar)                                     

How much is that in 1940 dollars?

Fortunately, there is an inflation adjusted value tool in the internet1.  Enter a dollar amount in today’s dollars and it will calculate the equivalent amount for some time in the past.   $12.84 in 2017 dollars is equivalent to $0.74 in 1940.  Not too far from Rush’s cost of goods of $1.08!

I love the way this episode ends [ !SPOILER ALERT! ].  After Vic delicately dispels Rush’s money making idea, he senses the disappointment in Rush and gives him $3.80 “outta my own pocket”.     
[1] That $3.80 in 1940 is equivalent to $65.91 in 2017 dollars!  

Also, consider the 1941 episode “Strictly Business ChristmasLoan” where Vic gives Rush $25 for him to purchase Christmas gifts.  $25 in 1941 is $394 in 2017 dollars!  In that same episode, he gives Hank Gutstop $2, which is the equivalent of $31.54.

This demonstrates Vic’s generosity.  Vic is a good guy. 

-- Dave from Wisconsin

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Preface to Vic and Sade

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fan Dave Duckert provides fun audio

Dave Duckert is something of a super fan of "Vic and Sade", I'd say. You might remember that he's done a few things for the web sites and it all helps in establishing a great foothold for new and old fan alike.

I want to thank "Dave in Wisconsin" as he sometimes calls himself and allow you to listen to two pieces of audio he sent me recently, which I put on Monday's Overnightscape Central podcast; that's two weeks in a row that he's been on the "Central" and I was proud to have him there.

Dave spoke about the "Vic and Sade" radio show and he's a great storyteller and has a nice, soothing voice.  I'm sure you will agree when you hear these audio pieces.

Check out what he had to say:

audio clip 1
audio clip 2

Why Was Vic an Accountant?

I got to thinking about Vic the other day. Specifically, Vic’s job. I’m beginning to wonder if Vic had the right job. Here’s what got me thinking about this..

I work with many engineers and a few accountants. I don’t like to stereotype, but there is a noticeable difference in each professions’ skills and interests. For example, accountants can look at page of numbers (for example a balance sheet or a cash flow statement) and glean all sort of things about the performance of an enterprise. It’s a skill that takes a lot of training and years to develop. Accountants usually don’t care much about the underlying technology of the products a company produces, but rather their interest lies in more holistic view of the firm and its financial health.

Engineers are naturally curious. They see something and they immediately want to know how it works. Often this means they’ll take it apart! They generally don’t have an appreciation for the larger view of the firm and its economic performance. Rather they are fully consumed by the technology and the underlying engineering principles that support it.

It’s not always the case but there is a marked difference in the way each profession thinks and in the way they approach problems. It’s not good or bad, it just is. (full disclosure: I’m an engineer)

Now consider Vic. We know he likes to take clocks apart and we know he likes to explain mechanical things to Sade, like the operation of a washing machine (oh ish!). While he never seems to get the clocks back together again, he seems to have a genuine curiosity about mechanical things. He also like to spend time tinkering on cars in Razorscum’s garage. He even makes the distinction to between just working on a car and tinkering, in that tinkering is more exploratory, more cause and effect, and more scientific - whereas swapping out tires on Fred’s car is just uninteresting manual labor.

Vic’s accounting work often seems trivial – adding and copying columns of numbers or reconciling invoices. This doesn’t seem consistent with his title of Chief Accountant. I suspect that since Vic worked at Plant #14, his role was more about cost accounting for his local factory, with the roll-up and company performance accounting being done by the corporate office. He often seems a bit annoyed with this work – especially when he brings it home from the office (admittedly, the Gook household often conspires against him when he “brings home a job from the office”).

Clearly Vic has a head for numbers and math, which is a prerequisite for both engineering and accounting. But given his interest in mechanical things, I imagine him wandering around the Consolidated Kitchenware factory being curious about how the machines worked that made the kitchenware products (and maybe less interested in his accounting work). So, I’m wondering – would Vic have been happier as an engineer?

Apologies to all the engineers and accountants that I’ve offended!

- Dave Duckert

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Can GENIUS be found in Vic and Sade, randomly?

The other day, in the tremendous (if I may say so) ONS Central podcast, I mentioned that you could probably take 2 minutes of random "Vic and Sade" episodes and find 'genius'. I'm not sure if I said those words exactly, but I pretty much said that.

So I sat down and picked 10 random episodes of "Vic and Sade". It just so happens that 9 of 10 ten of these are from 1939 and 1940. But again, it was random. Then I chose 2 minute segments out of each.

Five of the episodes I chose the time segment 2 minutes to 4 minutes. The remaining episodes, I chose clips from the 3 minute to 5 minute mark.

Can 'genius' be found?

See for yourself.

Newly-found Bill Idelson interview, but...

Vic and Sadecast coming this weekend?

After a "vacation", there's a very good chance that a Vic and Sadecast is coming your way this weekend.  We won't be going over and rehashing episodes: we'll be speculating about this and that.  There might be a special guest too, so you'll want to keep a lookout for this.  I could give you the topics we are exploring but then I'd have to lock you in a 25 cent barbershop all night.  So it will remain a surprise.  But rest assured, we explore some fun stuff.

PQ Ribber will be co-hosting.

Would you like to be a part of a future Vic and Sadecast?  Would you like to present audio about Vic and Sade, exploring your own topic?  Feel free to let me know or submit materials to me, I promise you, the stuff will be used to further "Vic and Sade".

You can find my email address on the left-hand side of The Crazy World of Vic and Sade.

In case you've missed it...

You know, The Crazy World of Vic and Sade is a huge place.  Even *I* overlook a lot things there.

There's a good chance you know this already but just in case, check out the section: Original, Written Pieces on Vic and Sade.  That's where you will find stuff written by fans of the show. Lots of great ideas are flowing there.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In defense of Sade - heart-shaped faces and wide-brimmed hats

As fans of "Vic and Sade", we are blessed to have so many fans in the community with great skills.

In this instance, I am referring to Dave Duckert.  You might remember that not too long ago, he and his family read the script about Sade mending Rooster's pants, which was a lot of fun.  He's back again, having written an article about heart-shaped faces and wide-brimmed hats - and defends Sade using internet "proof"!

It has to be seen to be appreciated (PDF file).  Please let Dave know how much you enjoy this, maybe we can entice him to do more of these type things!

Thanks Dave!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Do not miss this Vic and Sade extravaganza!

Here's a podcast that's almost 4 hours long but it's worth your time,  It's packed with Vic and Sade talk, including viewpoints I have never heard before, Vic and Sade "parody commercials" and all kinds of cool stuff.  Download it and listen a little at a time if you need to but do not miss this!

Check it out!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Silly Vic and Sade songs and other news

Look, I'm a terrible singer but I have written quite a few songs about "Vic and Sade" over the last couple of years. If your ears can stand it and you want your dogs to howl, go grab a copy. :)

Also, sometime April 10, I will upload an ONSUG CENTRAL about "Vic and Sade". A couple of you have sent in stuff so far and the ONSUG crew loves "Vic and Sade" so it should be a fun fest. I'll give more specifics later.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Okay, so don't talk about Vic and Sade

Well... not one person seems to want to record a piece for an audio show I want to do about Vic and Sade. No matter, I'll simply do it without my Vic and Sade site fans and get the ONSUG people to do it. There are fans there too.

Next week, I will assemble the show. Unless you contact me this week, I hereby will null and void my previous offer of accepting audio pieces about the show.
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