We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Althouse's post on ticks reminded me of the Kit Cat clock I had on my wall as a kid. It was a Christmas present, as I recall. I wanted a clock in my room, and kids did not have watches in those ancient days. Did its tail and eyes move and did the eyes and numbers glow in some radioactive way, or am I remembering wrong?
That memory of my Kit Cat clock was like a Madeleine to the sentimental Proust in me. I see my room, the window overlooking my Mom's hosta garden, my bookshelf-turned-rock-and-fossil collection, the Revolutionary War prints on the wall, my little desk and chair with my chemistry set in one of the drawers, my first precious little transistor radio, the big aquarium set up with rocks and sand for my various lizards, and my bed that I hid my forbidden Mad Magazines beneath to read with a flashlight after lights-out.
And I remember Question Time as a young lad.
Every night, at lights-out time, my Dad would stand silhouetted in the doorway to invite one question. It would be things like "Why do snow crystals vary when quartz crystals don't?" or "What's this new Continental Drift idea?" or "How do birds navigate?" or "How do sails work?" (We sailed quite a bit.) Being a Harvard guy, an MD, and highly curious about everything in this world, he usually had an answer.
Oh, I also remember asking "Where do babies come from?" (My parents were constantly making annoying new babies, it seemed.) The answer, as I recall, sort of freaked me out but he always did - and still does - say it straight. Except when he doesn't want to. When he was young, he looked like Gary Cooper, was 6'3, never tolerated fools, had Commie politics, and was inner-directed to a fault. The latter three still apply to the laconic and enigmatic old Yankee guy, who would be still working today if his eyes and ears hadn't worn out.
But back to the clock. Remarkably, you can still buy them, but the new ones need batteries. The originals plugged in, which made much more sense because time marches on whether you can find any C batteries or not.
My sister and I had the same clock in our room back in the sixties. If I remember correctly my mother got it with "blue stamps" that you would collect at the supermarket and then go to their store to cash them in.
Interesting to get this perspective. Being a tad younger, my memories of this clock revolve around its use in many movies as atmosphere/tension builder. Close Encounters, Cujo etc.
The tail does move, but the eyes do as well and I gotta tell ya, that's where the creep out comes from. I always assumed that's why it was used. To understand now that it was also a fond memory from childhood for many of a certain age...I was not getting that angle before. Now it's presence in so many movies makes a bit more sense.
Seriously, as little kids these things didn't creep you out? Just a bit? Those soul-less, mechanical eyes. Falling on you, looking away only to fall on you again as if aware of your existence in the corner of it's vision.
When were these popular? Were they regarded as items for children only, or would one see them elsewhere. I'm betting most screenwriters that made use of it had one as a child.
Another light bulb moment (ok; a very small one) from Maggie's!
I have one of these clocks. When one of my friends was very young, I would pick her up and and she would smile and laugh at Mr. Kit Cat. When she grew to be a teenager, she asked me why I still had that stupid clock. I told her that when she smiled, I smiled and Mr. Kit Cat always made her smile. When she turned twenty, she quit smiling forever. So did I.