Friday, May 15, 2009

You Don't Need A Weatherman

"You don't need a weatherman* to know which way the wind blows," Bob Dylan sings in "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

Indeed not. In fact, I'm thinking that Bob actually had one of these things over there on the left. There, that explains the song in a whole new way, doesn't it?

Now, "outguessing the weatherman" is really not on my list of Exciting and Fulfilling things to do on any given day (I can't speak for Bob Dylan, of course).

Having said that, I do like this 1949 Swiss Weather House. Because I'm trying to imagine how it predicts the weather a day in advance. I'm assuming that the little Swiss people come out and - tell you stuff:

"It's going to rain tomorrow. For sure."

And then the other door opens and the other one goes, "Oh, listen to the big expert! Like you've ever been outside! You're a little wooden guy sitting in a box all day. It'll be sunny and hot, that's what I'm thinking."

"Oh, like you don't sit in a box all day. At least I look out the window occasionally. I say cold and rainy."

"Yeah, right. Don't listen to him."

Then the third one, the mediator of the bunch, comes out and says, "Well, maybe you're both right. After all, we're just some little guys in a birdhouse. We're just faking it in here, really. Outguessing the weatherman is still guessing, you know...So let's just go with: warm and sunny, getting colder with a chance of rain. Possibly. We don't really know."

Just like real weathermen.

And if that's not enough to send you on your way feeling on top of things, you also get a Good Luck Leaf** that grows into a bizarre organism of some kind. And it lives on air alone. It's the supermodel of the plant world. But you only get this if you are prompt in sending in your order. Oh, and money. Send that money! Today! Right now, in fact. If you run to the mailbox now you can avoid the rain. The clock people said so.

Ad from Wikimedia.

* Yes, as in the 60s radicals the Weathermen, not the guys on TV with helmet hair and pointers. Actually they got their name from Dylan's song and not the other way around.

**Insert 60s marijuana joke here.

Note from the Department of Fruit Salts:

A thousand thanks to Bill of Life On Planet Bill for spotting this incredible recipe for rice cakes using - yay, Eno's Fruit Salt! Who would've thunk it? Wikipedia says that people actually do use it as a substitute for baking powder, though. Yum.

The Eno's ad on the right is from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Britain site, where there is a nice page about James Crossley Eno, the fellow we have to thank for all this bounty of medicinal goodness, not to mention cakes.

I checked and I am pretty sure they won't mind me using it. If they do I will yank it right off the post as per Kitchen Retro policy. Which is to say I will try my best to find and ask anyone about whether I can use an ad. If I can't find a contact I go ahead if I think it is all right, linking away of course. So far everyone seems OK with this.

And if all this has whetted your reading appetite for salt, you can get another dose or two here:

Before and After Fruit Salt
Inner Saltiness
Mother Always Uses Andrews Liver Salt (which explains a great deal...)
Before and After Fruit Salt


Tori Lennox said...

Outguessing our weatherman wouldn't be that difficult.

And I see this is Another Fine Product from Chicago. *g*

feefifoto said...

I actually had one of those houses. My parents brought it home from a trip and I adored it; I was constantly winding it and fiddling with it. It never worked the way it was supposed to, and eventually I broke the mechanism by winding it too tightly, but I still loved it.

Amanda said...

You can buy one of these for about $30 at Vermont Country Store.
I'm not exactly sure how they work. They must pop out of the house if it's rainy or something.

Beth (Margie and Edna) said...

Love the weather-predicting wooden people (and their imaginary dialogue)! ;)

Incidentally, those "good luck" leaves really do grow plants like that. When I was growing up in Florida, my parents had a bunch of those plants in our garden, and my sister and I used to bring the leaves inside and grow little "air plants" on the windowsill. The mature plants produce rosy-colored, bell-shaped blooms. Unfortunately, I don't actually know what the plant is called. Thanks for a blast from the past! :)

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Holy cow!! We had one of these things growing up!! I totally forgot!! How cool is that?!

Lidian said...

Tori - Oh my, I didn't see that. I need a Chicago tag I think...

feefifoto - How did it work, when it did work?

Amanda - Thanks for the link! I had no idea.

Beth - And thank you for the enlightenment about the plants - I couldn't imagine what they were.

Mary - Do you still have it? It would be such a collector's item, I'll bet.

Bill said...

I remember these! I think every old lady in Iowa that I visited as a child had one. I think they're great...I'd hang one on my wall today, and stop watching the local weather on TV.

Lidian said...

Bill - I would love one of these too, a retro circa-1949 one...I wonder how hard they are to find?

Amy said...! my grandparents use to have one of these in their house when i was little. It was made of a type of cheap wood and had two little people that use to come out.

Lidian said...

Amy - I'm really amazed at how many people remember seeing these when they were kids! Makes me wish my relatives had had one too :)

Hairball said...

I remember seeing these too when I was just a fuzzball!

Here's my free weather prediction:

Tomorrow, there will be some kind of weather.

I also remember an air fern being advertised.

Lidian said...

Hairball - That's a good prediction, I like that. I'll have to remember it for next time someone asks me what it's going to be like out tomorrow...

Marcheline said...

I hear Richard Simmons is a big fan of that fruit salt...

Dimestore Lipstick said...

These are basically aneroid barometers--when the barometric pressure falls, the "rain" character comes out of the little house. When the pressure rises, the "fair" character comes out.