History of Mad _______

Hey, Camp Fans!

When you deal with so many interesting products like we do here at Everything Summer Camp, you can’t help but get a little curious about the origin of the gear, supplies, toys, and other items that we handle on a daily basis. That’s why I’ve started writing these History posts in which we investigate the back stories behind specific gear and other products. A lot of the products we sell have histories that go way back, even to ancient times.

Today, however, we’re going back only 64 years ago, to 1953. Today we’re looking at the history of Mad Libs.Get ready to hold onto your funny bone!

This unrivaled, classic, fill-in-the-________ word game was an overnight success! By removing parts-of-speech and replacing it with a different, random noun, verb, adjective, etc., Mad Libs transform simple stories into hilarious laugh attacks. The best way to give a group a big case of the giggles is with an uproarious tale from a Mad Libs page.

The concept for Mad Libs was born that fateful night back in 1953 when their co-creator, Leonard Stern was looking for the right adjective in a script he’d been writing. After he had struggled in the search for half an hour on this single word, his best friend Roger Price walked in. Evident to Roger that his friend was in deep frustration, he asked what he could do.

Leonard confided in his friend over this elusive adjective that he could not track down for the last 30 minutes. When Leonard asked for help, his friend Roger blurted out “clumsy and naked” which, as incorrect as it was, at least made Leonard laugh. The pair almost immediately recognized the potential behind this hilarious description of somebody’s nose (as Leonard’s script had been calling for).

Leonard commenced to leave the script where it was for the rest of the night and went to work with his friend Roger writing short, page-long write-ups with key words missing. You can find awesome, camp-themed Mad Libs and other fun ones right here when you shop our website! Enjoy laughin’ it up with your friends with Mad Libs and, as always, thanks for reading.

- JohnGet these stories for a riot at summer camp.

Brush those chompers, Kids!

Hey, Camp Fans!

Do you ever find yourself wondering about the origin of some inventions? When it was invented. And why? We do here at Everything Summer Camp. We offer a number of items that have interesting back stories, which is why I like to take a day here and there on this Blog to investigate the origins of specific gear and other camp supplies.

Today: the toothbrush.

People have been doing the best to their abilities for about as long as history can tell us to make some attempt at dental hygiene. Artifacts that date back well over 5000 years agPeople chewed before they brushed.o have been found and recorded as ‘chew sticks’. People would use pretty much whatever was around. A twig or branch was typical to chew on and work around in the mouth.

Roughly 1400 years ago, the first bristle brush came around. Invented in China, Tiny holes were bored into a hard-handled object—likely bone or bamboo—and then coarse horse tail or hog hair was inserted into the holes. Yep. You read that right. People actually brushed their teeth with animal hair! Hogs in Northern China grew very coarse hair to protect themselves against the cold climate which made for sturdy brushing material.  Toothbrush were as simple as this after the chewing sticks.

This may seem pretty primitive compared to our modern methods, but, if you ask me, I’d rather brush my teeth with animal hair than do what they were doing in Europe at the time!

These guys rolled rags in salt or soot and then proceeded to rub their teeth with these rags! In the year 1780, an Englishman by the name of William Addis is credited as the inventor of the modern toothbrush. Jailed over a dispute that grew out of hand, Mr. Addis found himself in a dim-lit and dirty jail cell where he sat with horrible breath. Inspiration struck him along with the recognition of his breath problem.

He pried up a bone that was embedded in his jail cell floor, somehow managed to drill holes into it and was able to get bristles from one of his jailers that recognized Addis’ invention as something to benefit mankind. The material of the bristles is unknown, but it certainly wasn’t animal hair. Eventually nylon became the choice material to use and this allowed for cheap, mass-production.
A French advocate of the toothbrush
Even so, daily dental hygiene wasn’t practiced as a popular habit until after World War II when soldiers brought the required dental regimen back home with them. Can you imagine the breath they had before then? Remember to brush your teeth, kids! It brightens your smile, cleans up your mouth’s odor, and you don’t have to do it with animal hair anymore!

Everything Summer Camp is proud to promote the habit by providing the very awesome and very first portable, battery-operated toothbrush from VIOlife. Vibrating at more than three times the speed of the fastest electric toothbrush, the Slim Sonic brush is fun to use and habit-forming! Check it out right here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- JohnIntroducing the first ever portable, battery-operated toothbrush! Go nuts with your dental hygiene!

What was up with King George?

Happy Fourth of July, Compatriots!

For 240 years, we have been celebrating our freedom from the rule of any other country but ourselves. That’s why we make it a pretty big deal once a year to enjoy our freedom on the Fourth of July. Back in the colonial days, around the 1750’s, our ancestors madeThe original 13 before the other 37. settlements in ‘The New World’ in an attempt to flee the unjust government of Great Britain under the rule of King George III.

But still pulling the colonial strings from across the Atlantic Ocean, King George implemented unfair taxes and unfair laws over the colonies. To much dismay of George, the settlers increasingly felt that they were able to be its own government—independent of British rule. They fought back.

Couldn’t we all just get along? Well, ol’ George was turning into quite a villain as he continued to make life pretty unfair for everyone in The New World with his unrelenting taxes and unjust laws. He acted so brasThe original 13 before the other 37 came along.hly that modern historians have started posing the question, ‘What was up with King George anyway?’

Known as ‘the mad king’, many agree that George must have been crazy to have driven 13 colonies out of the British Empire. Was he literally crazy? Yes, he was. It turns out that George battled with insanity throughout his life. In fact, his condition reached levels of such severity at one point that he was restrained in a straitjacket. He’s recorded to have had fits of rage, shouting, hallucinations, confusion, and extreme pain.

The cause of his mental state is thought to be connected to a metabolic disorder called porphyria. Porphyria attacks are known to create extreme agitation and confusion. They The king was off his rocker, for sure!can cause nausea as well acute pain in the abdomen and make speech difficult for the victim. By the end of his life, the mad king had gone blind, deaf, and absolutely mad.

So, poor George may not have been such a bad guy after all—just absolutely nuts. In any case, he certainly was not fit for kingly duties and we owe our independence to the colonists who recognized the injustice of their situation and aimed to correct it. Happy Independence Day to our fellow Americans and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Rubber E R A S E R Day!

Hey there, all you mistake-makers!Erasers are magical little wonders of technology, explained here on today's Blog post.

Don’t worry—everyone makes mistakes. In fact, I’ve already hit the ‘Backspace’ button at least five times just typing to this point in the post. Mistakes are inevitable—bound to happen multiple times on a daily basis. They come in all shapes and sizes, transpiring on a small-scale or as a grand goof-up. Typically, the bigger they are, the harder they are to reverse, but, luckily, a lot of small mistakes can be undone.

Today is National Rubber Eraser Day—a day where mankind’s triumph over written mistakes are celebrated! Thanks to this rubber invention, we can make all of our spelling errors, math mistakes, and drawing slip-ups disappear with just as much ease as when they first showed up. Here’s how the mighty eraser works:

When you put marks down on a piece Here's a close look at what's happening when you leave penciil marks on a piece of paper.of paper, flakes of pencil lead are dragged across the paper’s fibers and cling to them along the way. Those flakes will stick around for decades so long as they’re left undisturbed, but erasers are able to pick those flakes up from off the paper fibers because the rubber of an eraser is stickier material than the paper fibers and the flakes of pencil lead find their new home on the eraser.

Boasting a near-magical capability, erasers may surprise you for how long they’ve been around. While rubber erasers have only been in production for the last 250 years (roughly) other means of erasing have been around since ancient times. Erasers were not originally made of rubber, but instead of a food that’s probably in your house right now—BREAD!

But unless you’re looking for a snack while you’re undoing some mistakes, rubber erasers are definitely the way to go.

Certain trees excrete rubber to discourage insects from making a feast out of them. This excretion was discovered back in 1770 by a man named Joseph Priestley who noted that a specific type of ‘vegetable gum’ had a great ability to ‘rub out’ pencil marks.

This ‘rubbing gum’ eventually developed the name rubber, so erasers spawned our name for this material. The word ‘eraser’, however, is really only common in the US and Canada. Almost anywhere else you go, people call them ‘rubbers’. Make sure to appreciate the magical abilities of erasers today, and, as always, thanks for reading.

- JohnSorry, it was a mistake.

Who’s on the $2?

Hey there, History Buffs!

If you really ARE history buffs, then you probably already know what today is—the birthday of our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson. An irregular president and rather intriguing man, I thought I’d share just a few facts with you about this infamous character who adorns the rare $2 bill as well as our American nickel. I’ve compiled a list of—what I think to be—this president’s most interesting qualities. Our nation's third president is also on the nickel.
It's Thomas Jefferson on the rare $2 bill

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1)    To start things off, he was nicknamed the ‘Man of the People’ as our president because of his informal apparel when he greeted visitors of the White House. He would sit to meet with powerful men of the time in his robe and slippers without concerning about his reputation—after all, he was already the president!Our nation's third president.

2)    More admirable than his love for lounging, Jefferson loved books. He loved them so much that when British troops attacked the US Library of Congress and burned all the books in 1814, he restocked its shelves when it was rebuilt a year later with 6,587 books from his own personal library. He loved to read and loved to encourage literacy across the nation.

Strange for the third president of a newborn country not to bother its inclusion on his tombstone inscription...l

3)    Last, and most interesting, is the inscription of Jefferson’s headstone: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.”—nothing about being the third president of a new nation. Why didn’t he bother to include his presidency? Possibly because he wasn’t sure how he felt about politics in the first place.

Yes, Jefferson had more interest in science and reading than he did politics, but, nevertheless he led our nation for two full terms from 1801 to 1809. There are lots of other quirky things you can learn about this former president (like his obsession with Mastadons, for instance, which he confused for Mammoths). Enjoy learning about ol’ Jefferson and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Super Bowl Sunday

Hey, Football Fans!

Over the course of the last 50 years, the Super Bowl has taken the nation by storm! It certainly has become a leviathan of championship sporting events. Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football has quickly become the nation’s most popular sport.The 50th Super Bowl is tonight!

Excited fans have been chomping at the bit in the post-season to see who will face off in this season’s Super Bowl. Now we know the Carolina Panthers are going up against the Denver Broncos today and the excitement is through the roof!

Super Bowl L (or 50 if you don’t know your roman numerals), is bound to be a record-setting televised event! Only seven shows in the history of television have been able to draw in over 100 million viewers: there was the M*A*S*H series finale in 1983 and the other six were all Super Bowls!

Today, the Super Bowl means a packed stadium, extravagant halftime shows, and funnier commercials than you’ve seen all year. But it may surprise you to know that the first Super Bowl was nothing like the Super Bowl that we all know and love today. No, it was VASTLY different…

Empty seats were plentiful, the halftime show was put on by marching bands and flag girls, and the game was broadcast (for the first and only time) by two different networks (CBS and NBC). It’s true! The Super Bowl just wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as it is now.

The original Super Bowl.In fact, the original tapes of the game have been lost forever (recording live broadcasts was quite expensive back then, and so the networks recorded soap operas over their tapes)—that’s how small of a deal the Super Bowl was back in 1967!

With an old recording of the game having resurfaced in a dusty attic in Pennsylvania, the NFL has recently aired it as much of the game as we have (which doesn’t include the halftime show or bits of the third quarter). But it was the very first broadcast of this game in 50 years!

With this recent airing and today being Super Bowl Sunday, the frenzied Super Bowl excitement is more than it’s ever been before! Be sure you enjoy the game tonight and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Wring out the old; ring in the new!

Hey, New Year Lads and Lasses!

New Years Eve Day is upon us and everyone is getting ready to ring in the new year! At 12 o’ clock tonight, we shake the dust of 2015 off our shoes and celebrate the arrival of 2016! At first glance, there isn’t much to explain about the New Years Eve tradition—stay up until midnight and countdown the hours, minutes, and seconds to the beginning of the coming year.Wring out the old; ring in the new!

One might not expect such straightforward traditions to have changed much throughout the last 4000 years, however, that’s quite a long time to keep a tradition going exactly the same way that it had started. Things were bound to change a little, right?

Well, yes and no. See, the tradition of staying up until midnight has always been the New Years tradition. So if the tradition didn’t change, what did?

The date.

What?!! How can that be? How does the date of the new year get changed? Well, it’s not so much that the new year changed days as much as it was that people started using different calendars (and even making up their own). For instance, the ancient Babylonians used to celebrate their New Year’s Day late in March around the vernal equinox.

Originally, the Roman calendar only had 10 months and consisted of slightly over 300 days. But in the year 46 B.C., when Julius Caeser first introduced his Julian calendar (which most resembles the Gregorian calendar that we all know and love these days), he had to add 90 extra days just to make it all work!

But no matter whether people based their calendars off of earthly matters or the motion and arrangement of heavenly bodies, the important thing is that we continue to celebrate the passing of the old year and the coming of the new one with warm hearts and the company of those we love.

From Everything Summer Camp—Happy New Year’s, Everybody! And as always, thanks for reading.

- JohnHappy New Year to everyone!

The Monster They Call Frankenstein

Hey, you Monster Lovers!This monster's name is NOT Frankenstein. Learn why.

Maybe the most popular monster of them all, today is Frankenstein Day. Everybody knows about Frankenstein—or thinks they do, anyway. However, this incredibly popular and iconic, ‘Halloween’ creature has been so warped by retellings and modern, Americanized, Halloween culture. Although everybody refers to this monster as ‘Frankenstein’, this is actually the name of the scientist who created the monster. And the monster itself doesn’t have any name at all.

According to the original, classic tale, written by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, an advanced scientist, has understood the mystery of life and, in an attempt to create a perfect being, the scientist creates a terrible monster that follows its creator throughout great travels, haunting him. The story of Dr. Frankenstein's monster coming to life.But this post isn’t about the story of Frankenstein. It’s about the story of the story of Frankenstein which began in the summer of 1816. Mary, her fiancée, her step-sister, and a friend went to visit a mutual friend they all had in Switzerland, Lord Byron—a famous writer. With drab weather throughout their visit, the group was forced to stay indoors. So, they passed the time by reading German ghost stories.

After an evening of ghost stories, their host, Lord Byron suggested a writing contest in which everyone wrote their own scary story to see who could come up with the best one. Everyone jotted down a few ideas and went to bed to sleep on it. When Mary went to bed that night, she dreamt of a corpse that was brought back to life. And from that dream, she crafted the classic monster story ‘Frankenstein’.
A slightly more classic image of Frank.
With so many retellings and adaptations that have been made since Mary Shelley’s original story, it’s no surprise that we have such a misconstrued conception of the Frankenstein monster. I posted a silent movie below from 1910—produced by Thomas Edison and loosely based on the novel. Enjoy! Happy Frankenstein Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

To give you a better idea of Mary Shelley’s work, I thought I’d share an episode of the PBS TV series Wishbone below called, ‘Frankenbone’.

What’s in a Native American Name?

Hey, Camp Fans!

Today is the fourth Friday of September: Native American Day—the day we set aside in honor of the Natives of this country, the original American settlers. With a long past to their culture and peoples, it’s important to understand their history. Summer camps all over the country embrace Native American history and culture by adopting Native names.

Commonly referred to as American Indians due to a mistake made by Christopher Totem poles are a native american tradition.Columbus (having thought himself to be in India when he met them), Native Americans have a plethora of names from which to borrow. Why is that?

Because: the Native Americans were spread out across the entire North and South American continents; to say, ‘The Natives’ spans a vast number of similar people who all had different languages, customs, and beliefs among themselves. The Natives lived in small, spread-out ‘neighborhoods’ that were more like separate nations. A slew of tribes and varieties among them spawned many different names.

At Keystone Camp, you’re an Apache, Cherokee, Shawnee, or Seminole. Camp Ton-A-Wandah (which means ‘by the fall of water’) splits its campers into three tribes: the Cherokee, Navajo, and Mohawk tribes. Camp Netimus itself is named after an 18 century Indian chief of Delaware.

So why do summer camps use so many Native names? It’s a tribute and a desire to emulate the Native Americans. After all, they were the first campers! They camped before camping even existed! Back then it was just how they lived, roughin’ it and living off the land—all day, every day.

It just goes to show that even though everyone lives in houses now, it’s still a vital and deeply essential skill to be able to survive off the land. To Natives all across the land, Everything Summer Camp and summer camps across the country honor you today. As always, thanks for reading.

- John

Patriot Day

Fellow Patriots,

A country will have its share of joyous occasions along with its hardships and sorrows. Being involved and remembering those times is what being a patriot is all about. Not to be confused with Patriot’s Day—which celebrates a battle during the Revolutionary War—Patriot Day memorializes the loved ones we lost on that horribly tragic morning 14 years ago.   Patriot Day never forget

On Patriot Day, we remember the horrible attacks our nation suffered on September 11, 2001 as well as the heroes who sacrificed themselves to save the lives of others. Having hijacked four, large passenger planes, the terrorists responsible for 9/11 crashed two into the Twin Towers and another into the Pentagon.

The passengers in the fourth plane managed to force their plane to crash into a field in Pennsylvania, preventing any further damage the terrorists would have otherwise caused.

Communities and individuals demonstrate their remembrance and patriotism in a number of different ways. Flags are flown at half-mast, bells are tolled, presidential speeches are given at the locations of crash sites. The most important and impressive part of the observance, however, takes place at Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers once stood.

A moment of silence is held at 8:46am (eastern time)—the time when the first plane struck the North Tower. This time is meant not only for remembering the victims of these terrible atrocities, but also for reflecting on the heroes who helped save lives that day.

Another important, commemorative element at Ground Zero is the Tribute in Light, inWe wil never forget the tragedy of terrorism 14 years ago.stalled six months after the attacks. Two beams of light shine straight up into the air from the two reflecting pools, perfectly matching the footprints of the Twin Tower buildings. Inscribed in the bronze panels found around the outside of the pools is the name of everyone who died in the attacks.

Join the nation in our remembrance of this unfortunate anniversary. Thanks for reading.

- JohnTribute in Light