Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘1977’

White Out (as in “to erase”)

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2011

White out is the first comic book written by novelist Greg Rucka that tells the story of US Marshal Carrie Stetko’s investigation of a murder in Antarctica. A sequel, “White out: Melt” tells the story of the theft of hidden nuclear weapons from an ex-Soviet base.

However, when someone talks about a white out, what they are referring to is the loss of daylight visibility in heavy fog, snow, or rain, or changing or deleting something that has been previously put forth as a statement, or something that has been published or printed.

The correction fluid used to correct mistakes was invented by a young divorcee and mother of one, Bette Nesmith Graham in 1951.  It was originally called mistake out and was renamed liquid paper by the inventor, Bette Nesmith Graham. and in 1975, it was finally renamed white out.  Now deceased, She was the mother of Michael Nesmith, member of the Monkees.

Over time, the product name has come to mean to delete information regardless of whether it was typed on paper or printed.  With the introduction of computer technology, white out also came to mean an entry in a computer file systems that makes a file appear to disappear

From the “Back 2 Basics” CD released by Sway & King Tech, in the song “The Anthem” featuring Eminum, RZA, Tech N9ne, Xzibit, Pharoahe Monch, Jayo Felony, Chino XL, KRS-One and Kool G. Rap, Eminem raps:

This place is my house, I might as well erase my face wit white out
Cuz y’all can’t see me like Mase’s eyebrows (where you at?)
Climbed out of a nice house
Through the front window and heard this guy shout,

“Hey! That’s my couch.”

Back in 1999, the September 30 issue of Metro: Silicon Valley’s Weekly Newspaper ran an article entitled “Best Public Documents Written In Longhand” journalist Michael Learmonth wrote:

Inside 60 leather-bound volumes in a locked glass cabinet at the city clerk’s office, 100 years of San Jose municipal history is written–literally. In the early volumes, starting in 1855, the minutes of city council meetings are carefully written out in pen and ink–no smudging, no cross-outs and, of course, no goopy white-out.

The earliest use of the expression white out in this context was used in 1977 according to the Entymology Dictionary.

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Picture Perfect

Posted by Admin on November 23, 2010

When something is exactly as it should be, it is said to be picture perfect. So how did this term come about?

Back on September 6, 1977, the Montreal Gazette ran a story about NASA’s Voyager 1 lift off in Florida.  The headline announced:  “Voyager’s Start Picture-Perfect” as the first paragraph trumpeted:  “Voyager 1 blasted off towards the outer planets yesterday in a near-flawless launch, joining its twin space probe Voyager 2 on a 675-million-mile journey to Jupiter and beyond.”

A generation before that, readers of the Milwaukee Journal back on May 18, 1950 were delighted to find a recipe for Picture Perfect Strawberry Preserves printed in their local newspaper.  The description under the headline read:  “The whole fruit with  natural color and flavor make these out of this world.”  All it took to make Picture Perfect Strawberry Preserves was 4 cups of strawberries, 4 cups of beet sugar and 1/2 cup of water plus a lot of attention paid to just 3 ingredients while cooking up those preserves.

And a generation before that, the Reading Eagle newspaper published an advertisement for the Glen-Gery Shale Brick Brick Home on March 28, 1926.  The description read:

When you build your brick home make it a thoroughbred — brick footings, walls, bearing partitions, chimneys, and fireplaces.  And surround it with harmony that makes the picture perfect — brick walks, brick drive, and brick garage.  Banish painting, repairing and that “wish I had” feeling that comes when it’s too late.  Look for the “100% Brick Home” sign before you buy.  Cost?  Not so much more than for any type of construction.  You can even build with brick at no extra cost.  Come in – let’s talk it over.

In the end, however, the term “picture perfect” was coined in America at the turn of the 20th century. As early as January 1909, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper ran a story in its ‘Savannah Social News’ column that read:

Exquisite decoration made the setting for the wedding picture perfect, quantities of lovely flowers being used in the adornment of the four rooms.

Of course, all of this can be traced back to those who, when arranging a room just so during Victorian Times when family photographs were oftentimes posed in the parlour, insisted that the room and the subjects be “perfect” for the “picture” hence the term “picture perfect.”

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