BLAST FROM THE PAST
May 20, 1873
In an early milestone of American branding, San Francisco dry-goods merchant Levi Strauss (1829- 1902) and Reno tailor Jacob Davis (1831-1908) receive a U.S. patent for Davis’s signature technique of reinforcing trousers with copper rivets.
May 21, 1927
Charles Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget Field in Paris, ending the first solo trans-Atlantic flight and igniting off a world-wide frenzy of hero-worship and Lindy-mania.
May 24, 1844
Samuel Morse sends the first electric telegraph message from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. The message is “What hath God wrought.” (The quotation comes from Numbers 23:23. The full verse is, “Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!”) In 2004, North Korea will mark the anniversary with unintended irony by initiating a five-year ban on mobile phones.)
May 26, 1897
Bram Stoker (1847-1912) publishes Dracula, launching the greatest horror franchise the world has ever seen. May 27, 1962 In a pre-Memorial Day cleanup, volunteer firefighters in Centralia, PA, set fire to a town dump. Embers from the blaze find their way into abandoned coal mines underneath the town, starting a fire that eventually consumes whole blocks from below and eventually forces residents to evacuate. The mine fire—now eligible for AARP membership— continues to this day.
May 30, 1879
Railroader and heir William Henry Vanderbilt opens Madison Square Garden (previously called Gilmore’s Garden) at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. The peripatetic Garden will move to 8th Ave. and 49th St. in 1925, and to 8th Ave. and 31st St. in 1968.
May 31, 1927
Ford Motor Company finishes its 15,007,003rd— and last—Model T. Ford built the iconic autos from 1908 to 1927, in the process transforming American manufacturing, marketing, and society. —Douglas McCormick
COME FLY AWAY
With the summer travel season upon us, airlines merging, and fuel prices soaring, the challenge of staying both mobile and solvent grows more acute. CNN writer Katia Hetter put together a comprehensive guide to doing both as we cope with airfares that are up 10% overall and doubled on some routes (see bit.ly/KaJm5o). It boils down to two imperatives: Plan ahead. Be flexible. Here are some of the other commandments of affordable travel.
There seem to be dozens of low-cost travel sites, with more joining the fray daily. Spot the routes you want and register for e-mail and Twitter notifications when deals pop up. These come and go like summer showers, so be sure you are prepared to act quickly. Resources to watch include: AirfareWatchdog.com, CheapAir.com, CheapoAir.com, Expedia.com, FareCompare.com, Groupon.com, HotWire.com, Kayak.com, LivingSocial.com, OneTravel.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com, and Travelocity.com.
“Airlines often include deeply discounted airline fares as part of a package deal,” Hetter writes. Be familiar with the prevailing hotel and airfare combo prices, so you can spot the deals.
Compromise to economize.
Sure, you’d like to bask in Daytona…but won’t the sunshine feel just as sweet in Pensacola if you spend a fraction of the money?
Time is money.
Keep your mind…and calendar…open. Cheap fares often crop up on Tuesdays and Wednesday; expect high prices on Friday and Sunday. Fly early or late in the day. And, of course, changing planes can save you money. (But never, ever, plan on a 30-minute connection to the last flight of the day out of Atlanta Hartsfield—unless you really like spending the night in an airport hotel.) —D.M.
Not having as much fun as you used to with that Cessna gathering dust in the hangar? Consider two alternatives: Terrafugia’s Transition Street-Legal Airplane and Hammacher Schlemmer’s Flying Hovercraft.
In Plattsburgh, NY, on March 23, the Transition completed its first successful flight. The vehicle is a two seat personal aircraft “capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single car garage, and flying with unleaded automotive fuel.” The test flight is a milestone in the drive towards full air-and-road certification and commercial delivery, which the manufacturer expects within the next year.
The eight-minute maiden flight reached an altitude of 1,400 feet. The company plans six more phases of flight testing to comply with Light Sport Aircraft standards.
The car-plane has a top speed of 115 mph and cruises at 105 mph, a range of 490 miles, and a 460-pound payload…with a fuel efficiency of about 35 miles per gallon. The anticipated list price is $279,000. Sign up now with a (refundable) $10,000 deposit. (See bit.ly/14KJw.)
Can’t wait? For $190,000 (about the price of a 30-year-old, single-engine Cessna Centurion), Hammacher Schlemmer will send you a winged hovercraft that glides over land and water at up to 70 mph, tackling inclines up to 30%, leaping obstacles up to 20 feet high, and carrying you over waves as tall as a man. A turbocharged, 130-hp twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine drives a 60-inch thrust propeller and a 1,100-rpm lift fan, pushing payloads of up to 600 pounds on adventures of up to 160 miles over pathless wilderness. Requires registration as a boat. (See bit.ly/IQoBxZ.) —D.M.
The Stress of Caring for Others
We take care of our own, and we’re paying a price. Some 44 million Americans now care for someone age 50 and older (including more than 15 million who tend to a victim of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia). And almost three-quarters of these caregivers say that the demands are taking a toll on their own health, according to a Harris Interactive survey conducted for the American Academy of Family Physicians. In the survey, 234 caregivers (among the 2,200 adults polled) reported that:
88% “felt one or more stressors associated with caregiving.”
60% said caregiving caused them to lose sleep.
72% said caregiving had at least some impact on their health.
52% said that caring for others made them neglect their own health needs, errands, household chores, and other family and friends.
Nearly two-thirds of caregivers looked to healthcare providers for more data. Of those, 96% turned to a primary care physician, and 57% also looked to the Internet. Overall, more than half (56%) lamented that there is no single online resource for highly credible health information on caregiving. AAFP (and its affiliate, FamilyDoctor.org) says the results demonstrate a need for a comprehensive clearinghouse of information for people who take care of others. —D.M.