Disappearing Jobs, A Look Back

We’re all aware that technology has changed the jobs many folks do. But a good many jobs disappeared long before high-tech invaded our lives. Take a look back and see how many jobs have vanished, or nearly vanished, from our lives. In a few cases, the same jobs may still exist today, but not by the names they were once known.

You would think farmers would sell their own produce during the Market Revolution, but nope! Badgers were the middlemen who would buy produce from farmers and then up-sell it to customers at the farmers’ market. The phrase, “to badger someone” may have come from a badger’s persistent sales tactics. Middlemen exist today, but the term “badgers” does not.

Billy Boy
In the ’50s and ’60s, Billy boys were young apprentices in training that would make tea for the other men at work. Seems strikingly similar to an intern grabbing a load of Starbucks, right? Some things never change.

Bowling Alley Pinsetter
If you loved to play games and needed some extra change, a pinsetter position at a bowling alley was right up your alley. The workers usually manually organized the pins for every game. The job was sent to the gutter once the mechanical pinsetter was invented by Gottfried Schmidt in 1936.

Deriving from the old english word “cace-” and the medieval Latin word “pullus” (a chick), the job title catchpole, a.k.a. a debt collector, was born. There are still debt and tax collectors today, but none that go by this old British title.

Chimney Sweep
This job has been around for hundreds of years, peaking during the Industrial Revolution and then falling into a steep decline after the adoption of electric and gas alternatives. Door-to-door chimney sweeps were called knellers. There still are a some chimney sweeps around, but the numbers are far below what they once were.

A clockwinder did exactly what the name insinuates – wind clocks. It was only a matter of time before electric clockwinders, which required less maintenance and fewer repairs, were produced during the Industrial Revolution.

If you’ve seen the movie Hidden Figures, then you know what a computer is – and no, it’s not the technology that you’re using right now. Dating back to the early 17th century, computers, usually women, would calculate figures and crunch numbers all day long by hand. Yup, that’s right, no calculators allowed.

We’re not going to lie, there’s nothing too eggsquisite about this job. The egg carton was invented in 1911, and Egglers began to sell bulk batches of eggs and sometimes switched it up with other poultry. At the end of the day, they couldn’t wing it with just eggs and poultry and added other food to the mix. Today, you can find these some of these folks at farmers’ markets.

Elevator Operator
Elevators didn’t always move with the simple push of a button. Back in the day, elevator operators were in charge of controlling everything from the doors and direction to the speed and capacity of the elevator car – a lot of layers, or should we say levels, to the position. In the ’50s, automatic elevators became more common and individuals had to push their own button.

A fuller is a job that every parent can relate to – washing clothes. In the medieval era, fullers cleaned cloth to rid the textiles of oil and dirt. Afterward, the material was bound together to create clothing and other items.

Gandy Dancer
A gandy dancer actually has nothing to do with moving your hips. The title is slang for a railroad worker who maintained the tracks years before the work was done by machines. Some of them lived in converted boxcars that carried them along to where the work was to be done.

Gong Farmer
This job sure did stink! A gong farmer was someone who dug out and removed human waste from privies and cesspits during the 15th through 17th centuries. As modern sewage systems became more widespread, gong farmers disappeared.

Back in the day, mothers would stop by a haberdasher to pick up sewing tools such as buttons, ribbons and zips. In 1818, Brooks Brothers became one of the first haberdashery establishments. The odd title got its name from haberdashery, a.k.a notions. Selling these little accessories only last so long and the position was wiped out when larger arts and crafts stores were launched.

We wish we could tell you that hackers (computer hackers, that is) no longer exist, but unfortunately, these working men were more handy with trees than computers. Hackers were known as woodcutters and were axed due to technological advancements.

We assume a hobbler got its nickname in the mid-1800s from hobbling around and balancing on boat decks, but the real job was to tow river and canal boats. Similar deckhand positions still exist today, but they don’t go by hobblers.

Hush Shopkeeper
Sneaky hush shopkeepers got their name from keeping their liquor sales on the hush-hush during prohibition. Now, you can find a cocktail after a stressful day of work just about anywhere. Cheers!

In the early 1800s, ice cutting was the common task of hand-sawing individual ice blocks from lakes and rivers to help store cold food throughout the winter. Then refrigerators were invented and the heavy-lifting job chilled out.

Before the first mechanical alarm clock was invented in 1847, people hired knockeruppers to help shoot peas at their windows or tap the glass with long poles so they didn’t oversleep for work or during an afternoon snooze. Then the alarm was born, which we all now have a love-hate relationship with.

A lamplighter in the late 1800s and early 1900s was precisely that – someone employed to light street lamps. Only a small number still exist today as the majority of street lighting is now electric.

We all can relate to needing a little distraction at work. Well, lectors were the source of entertainment back in the ’20s. They read news and literature out loud to employees, almost like an adult bedtime story without the bedtime. Although some pastors and educators are called lectors today, this type of lector was dismissed for most-likely being too distracting at work.

Leech Collector
In the 19th century, medicinal leeches were thought of as medical miracles that would suck toxic blood and disease from the body. The profession was stopped as even more disease began to spread, sucking the life out of the entire leech-collector operation.

Linotype Operator
Life without a backspace? We can’t even imagine, but former linotype operators definitely can. These highly skilled workers used the linotype, a hot metal typesetting system, to produce the daily newspaper in the late 1880s. Phototypesetting was created in the early 1960s and rapidly replaced all operator positions.

Log Drivers
No, this doesn’t just refer to the log ride at Six Flags. Up until the 1970s, log drivers helped move huge tree trunks from the forest to sawmills for construction purposes. The job didn’t make the cut as modern transportation progressed.

Ironically, “lungs” were people employed to fan the fire in alchemist shops, primarily from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Due to all the toxic materials in the labs, the worker’s actual lungs became blackened, and the job was put to rest.

Every morning in the 1950s, like clockwork, the milkman would deliver bottles and jugs filled to the brim with milk. If you were lucky, sometimes he would even deliver other kitchen essentials like eggs and butter. With the rise of home refrigeration the milk stayed, but the profession expired.

Typically an occupation dominated by those in extreme poverty, mudlarks scavenged through river mud in search of valuable items that were resold to the public. In 1904 this job was viewed as unlawful and was frowned upon.

Necessary Women
Necessary women were, well, definitely necessary before the colonial period. These women were known to empty chamber pots filled with waste throughout the day. It wasn’t until the end of the colonial period that indoor bathrooms became commonplace, and the job was flushed down the toilet.

Phrenologists were considered ahead of the game because they were masters in “the only true science of mind,” or in other words, reading intelligence based on the shape of your head. This practice fizzled and eventually faded away in 1967.

During the Age of Sail, young men on warships who stuffed gunpowder in cannons were dubbed powdermonkeys. “Monkey” could’ve stemmed from monkeying around, but we’re not certain. As artillery innovation spurred, the powdermonkey position went kaboom!

We take things like heavy-duty construction equipment for granted these days. In the late 19th century, quarrymen rocked construction sites, mining stone that was used for other home-building purposes.

According to Mental Floss, in the Victorian Era, ratteners would capture and sell rats to pubs where they were eaten by dogs and played with for entertainment.

By the 1700s, American redsmiths were caught redhanded with loads of copper artifacts because that was their job! The term redsmith comes from the shiny bronze color of copper and there are still a handful present today. However, the job title “metalsmith” has become more commonplace.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, medical students needed bodies to practice on and resurrectionists came to the rescue – they would literally dig up dead corpses and sell them to medical schools. We’re not positive what ever happened to the occupation, but we rather suspect the job was banned due to ethics.

A signalman helped manage multiple switches and levers by hand to ensure all trains were moving in the right direction. Once railways were computerized in the late ’60s, signalmen got the caboose!

Switchboard Operator
Switchboard operators connected long-distance calls and directed communication before digital exchange switched up the game. By the early 80’s the position became obsolete.

Town Crier
A town crier was in charge of screaming important news from street corners – a tradition dating back all the way to the 18th century. Their booming voices paraded down the streets with bold presence … and then radio, TV and Twitter happened.

Typists are still in-demand today, just without the typewriter. In the 1940s, typists were popular positions within the publishing, administrative and clerical industries. The role today has simply been upgraded with computers.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Dealing with flies and mosquitoes likely is the biggest nuisance to have at home. Nothing is more bothersome than having a fly take first dibs of your food or getting irritating, itchy bites on your skin.

With summer in full bloom, these pesky flying creatures aren’t going away anytime soon. You need a plan to keep them at bay. The folks at Houzz.com suggested five tips to exterminate these annoying bugs from your home.

Turn On Your Ceiling Fans – “Flies and mosquitoes do not like moving air,” says Laura Gaskill, a Houzz contributor. Get rid of these insects by installing ceiling fans.

Cover Up With Screens – Putting up insect screens sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s important to cover up areas that can easily get overlooked. “Don’t forget to install screens underneath your porch, so these little buggers won’t crawl up from underneath,” says Becky Harris, Houzz contributor. “The best type of screens to get are are ones that can be stapled on, with the edges covered up with wood.”

Use Mosquito Netting – It’s wise to invest in mosquito netting. Netting can be made from cotton, polyester or nylon. Houzz contributor Sara Rivka Dahan says a mesh size of 1.2 millimeters is more than enough to block mosquitos, but you’ll need a smaller mesh of 0.6 millimeters to stop very small insects. Insect repelling abilities aside, the netting can also add a light and decorative touch to your home: “Consider dip-dying the ends for some added drama,” she says.

Repel With Plants – Catnip isn’t just for cats: It’s a natural mosquito repellent that grows in most areas as an easy-growing perennial. Marigolds also have a distinctive smell that is unbearable to mosquitoes. “Try planting these in pots around your patio and next to windows, and the smell will prevent mosquitoes from hanging around,” says Matt Kilburn, a Houzz contributor and landscape architect.

Cover Food, Trash and Compost Bins – The best way to keep vermin away is to not give them any reason to come back. “To control fruit flies in your house, it’s best to cover the odors of ripening fruit,” says Mitchell Parker, Houzz editor and writer. “This means, among covering up any exposed food, keeping a lid on your compost bin.”

Hasbro Predicts Hot Items for Christmas 2017

Christmas is but five months away. If you’re going to be looking for the hottest toys, you can’t start early enough. Hasbro has released a list of what they think will be the most popular toys come December.
“Hanazuki” MoodGleam Wearable, $20. Colors change to reflect the mood of the wearer, just like the bracelet worn by the popular cartoon character, Hanazuki. For ages 6 and up.

Play-Doh Letters and Language Set, $20. Kids can practice letter recognition and pronunciation using the alphabet stampers and play mats. For ages 2 and up.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Vulture Attack Set, $45. Help Spider-Man defeat Vulture in this Queens, New York, street scene playset that lets kids play out the battle however they imagine. For ages 4 and up.

“Star Wars” Black Series Poe Dameron Electronic Helmet, $80. Although they have yet to test, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute love the interactive aspect of this role-playing helmet. Put the device on and the surround sound will immerse you in the life of skilled X-Wing fighter pilot, Poe Dameron. For ages 8 and up.

Littlest Pet Shop Cruise Ship Playset, $40. This playset will let the Pet Shop crew set sail on a luxurious cruise. The kit comes with three new pets as well as nautical accessories. For ages 4 and up.

Marvel Legend Series 12-Inch Figures, $50. Add to your child’s super hero collection with these extra-detailed 12-inch figurines from the Legend Series. The “Deadpool” character is available now and Thor and Hulk figurines will join in the fall. For ages 4 and up.

Pie Face Sky High, $25. The original version of this hilarious game was a favorite in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Toy Test last year, so we’re excited to get our hands on this edition. Inspired by the Strong Man carnival game, this new rendition has a mask that is three feet tall. The speed at which the pie will fly all depends on how hard the player hits the launcher with an included plastic hammer. For ages 5 and up.

Coinhole, $15. Available this summer. Players compete in this game by bouncing coins off the table, onto the board and into the hole. The first to sink all of their coins wins! For ages 8 and up.

“BeyBlade” Burst Avatar Attack Battle Set, $50. Available in August. Let it rip and unleash your attack! Inspired by the series Beyblade, players launch their spinning tops into an arena to compete against one another to spin the longest. The last one standing takes the winning title. For ages 8 and up.

Disney Princess Dance Code Belle, $120. Available this fall. We know that Belle has always been a curious learner, but now she is dabbling in coding. Through an app, kids will learn basic techniques with her and can even connect the dots to program a dance routine for Belle to perform before their eyes. For ages 5 and up.

Furreal Roarin’ Tyler, the Playful Tiger, $130. Available this fall. Furreal has been a hit in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Toy Test in the past and our engineers are excited about the new interactive tiger for kids to play with this holiday season. For ages 6 and up.

Furreal Makers Proto Max, $120. Available this fall. Another new toy from one of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s favorite brands, this futuristic dog comes with a customizable personality that makes each pup unique. For ages 6 and up.

Get a Grip, $20. Available this fall. Find out just how useful your thumbs are in this game that has players attempting to complete dozens of tasks without using their thumbs. For ages 8 and up.

Marvel Legends Series Star-Lord Electronic Helmet, $100. Available this fall. The most gleaming features of this helmet are the LED light up eyes, authentic sound effects and the fact that it is Bluetooth compatible, meaning you can sync up your music to the built-in speakers and rock out. For adults only.

Hearing Things, $20. Available this fall. Hilarity will ensue in this game that challenges players to put on noise-cancelling headphones and read the lips of their teammates. The challenge is to guess as many phrases as possible before time runs out. For ages 12 and up.

Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” Gladiator Hulk Interactive Figure, $35. Available this fall. Fans can have their own 13-inch electronic Hulk figure that they can control by the push of a button. This version of Hulk also interacts with the electronic Thor figure. (Sold separately). Ages 4 and up.

Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” Rumble Strike Hammer, $20. Available this fall. The foam edges will let your child channel the strength of Thor without actually wreaking havoc on your house. For ages 5 and up.

Nerf Nitro Motofury Rapid Rally, $50. Available this fall. The newest member of the Nerf family comes with one blaster, one high jump ramp, one long jump ramp, nine Nerf Nitro foam cars and 12 obstacles, leaving your child with a hands-on game safe for both inside and outside. For ages 5 and up.

Pour Taste, $20. Available this fall. Kids who love weird food combinations will get a kick out of these challenges. Players pick their liquid ingredients, spin the spinner and the game tells them which they have to mix up. From there, they can choose to drink up the crazy concoction or take a pass. For ages 8 and up.

“Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” Adventure Figure & Friends Assortment, $25. Available this fall. R2-D2 makes the perfect companion to the Princess Leia Organa figure for your child’s collection from the galaxy far, far away. Each comes with their own unique heroic action moves to prepare them for their galactic missions. For ages 4 and up.

“Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” 11-inch Adventure Figure Assortment, $20. Available this fall. Similar to the one above, the 11-inch action figure assortment includes Princess Leia, as well as Rey of Jakku, Jyn Erso and Sabine Wren. Each is sold separately and, unlike the other, don’t come with any little companions (like R2-D2). For ages 4 and up.

Baby Alive Sweet Tears Baby Doll, $50. Available this fall. The newest model from the Baby Alive line is the most expressive yet with the ability to frown, cry real tears and show signs of a cold. For ages 3 and up.

“Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” Bladebuilders Extendable Staff, $20. Available this fall. Kids can pretend that they themselves are the heroic scavenger Rey of Jakku with this extendable staff. It’s compatible with Bladebuilders Lightsabers, making for even more creative methods of defense. For ages 6 and up.

Tickle Me Elmo, $30. Available this fall. Elmo’s hysterical laugh is back for a new generation of fans. This new Elmo is a little smaller, lighter and softer than he has been in years past, but still comes with that infectious cackle. For ages 18 months to 4 years.

Marvel Legends Series “Thor” Mjolnir Electronic Hammer, $100. Available this fall. Made for elevated role-playing, this die-cast metal pommel hammer features intricate detailing , SFX and light up lightning effects. For adults only.

Big City, Small Town

If you are from a small town, whether it be in the Sandhills of Nebraska or the north of Saskatchewan, you experience the world differently than folks from the big cities, like New York or Toronto.

Small town folks learned to drive at 11. Big city folks likely don’t own a car and if they have a license to drive they got it in their 20s or 30s.

Small town folks are most comfortable with their legs swinging from the rear end of a pickup truck. Big city folks depend on public transportation – a bus, subway or Uber ride – to get to the newest “in” place.

In a small town the mayor used to be your gym coach and the checker at the grocery store was last year’s prom queen. Big city folks have to tell their country cousins that they have not met that famous person who lives in their city. The country folks believe their city cousins are constantly kicking it with the rich and famous.

Small town folks knew the name of every person in their high school graduating class. Big city folks have no idea who most of their 700 fellow graduates were.

Getting mentioned in the local weekly paper is akin to winning an Oscar for small town folks. If the big city daily mentions someone, that’s nearly as bad as being the subject of a wanted poster on the post office wall.

In a small town, the cop who just pulled you over used to be your babysitter. In the big city, the cop that starts asking you questions is looking for someone like Jack the Ripper.

Small town folks might start their out-of-the-nest residency in a roomy 95-year-old farmhouse that they rent for $350 a month. Big city folks settle into an 800 square foot apartment for around $1,000, or more, per month.

Living in one-bedroom apartments and studio spaces in the big city doesn’t make for an ideal living situation for a dog. At most you can hang out with a cat. When you see someone walking around the park with a basset hound, you can’t help but wonder what palace they must live in. In a small town, your two dogs and three cats have plenty of space – inside and out – to roam.

The Statue of Liberty, Royal Ontario Museum and Shedd Aquarium are all amazing places to visit – for small town folks. Big city folks haven’t been yet and aren’t that interested in going.

To note that the neighborhood is really changing in a big city means you just got back from vacation and found that construction on a 12-story luxury condo building has started on your block. In the small town, change means that a kid from a town 10 miles away has just moved into the apartment above the drug store.

Biometric Monitoring May End Passwords

The average computer user has 27 passwords, and it can be tough to keep track of them all. But a solution that some consider creepy may be at hand, CBS News reports. With sensors that can read all kinds of identifying information about us, biometric data may be the key to our online world, putting an end to the password.

Professor Vishal Patel asked a student to walk across campus at Rutgers University, then hand his phone to another student, who walked back. The difference in how they walk was “enough to identify who the person is walking,” Patel said. To the phone’s accelerometer — every smartphone has one — the walking signals looked different.

Just two years ago, in “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” this was science fiction. But researchers like Patel are making biometrics real and trying to use them to make our devices more secure with a process called “active authentication” that constantly and passively monitors the user.

The phone was also trained to recognize the unique way its owner scrolls down the screen. The time between specific keystrokes also gives you away, as well as the words you choose and the way you punctuate them. Move a mouse and the path of the pointer can identify you and so can the way you click.
No one method works well enough, but combining several should, as Google showed in a 2015 test claiming “a new method of authentication that may prove to be 10-fold more secure than the best fingerprint sensors.”

Much of this work has been funded by DARPA, the research group within the U.S. Department of Defense which is overseen by Angelos Keromytis. “We have a lot of passwords, and as you’ve seen in the news, we get targeted same as everybody else, and we think we can do something better than passwords,” Keromytis said.

So DARPA called on a dozen universities and private companies for creative solutions. Some are hard to believe. “Your phone has a number of radios: wifi radio, cellular radio, Bluetooth radio. These emit signals, the signals from a close up distance reflect off your skin. Well, it turns out they don’t actually reflect off your skin. They actually penetrate the skin a few millimeters,” Keromytis said. “So one of our performers figured out a way of not only sensing heartbeat but also extracting a high-fidelity signal that could be used to authenticate a user based on their individual heartbeat.”

So why isn’t this active authentication active yet? It could drain our batteries too quickly or fail to work in certain settings – and some of the methods, like tracking our pattern of life, could turn off users. “Once you have this information you can sort of learn where the person will end up in the afternoon or at night,” Patel said.”It is creepy, but it is very powerful,” Patel said.

Joseph Atick helped invent facial recognition technology 25 years ago. Today, he said, tracking users is so valuable to marketers that tech companies can’t be trusted to self-regulate their use of biometrics. “You broke my password, I’m going to change it,” Atick said. “I can’t change my face, I can’t change my fingerprints. I need some mechanism to protect me.”

That mechanism would be a guarantee that all the biometric information stays on the device.

A Canadian Word Tour

Hey Yanks, if you have visited your upstairs neighbors you likely know that Canadians have a number of expressions that aren’t quite the same as those used in the States to describe a variety of things.

Several such words or phrases have to do with alcohol. Here are a few of those:

Mickey: A 375 ml (12.7 oz) bottle of alcohol. Usually shaped like a flask but slightly larger, they fit perfectly in a purse.

Texas mickey: A 3 liter (101 ounces) bottle of alcohol.

Gong show or gonger: A situation that gets way out of control, often in a funny way. A total disaster. Sometimes used to refer to a party that gets out of hand.

Two-four: A case of 24 beers.

Pre-drinking: What Americans refer to as “pregaming” – having a drink with friends at someone’s home before going out to a bar or club.

A “pull” or a “boot”: Both terms are used to describe someone who is of drinking age who buys alcohol for those who are underage. In British Columbia and Alberta, the term “boot” is used. In Saskatchewan, the term is “pull.” Neither is prominent in eastern Canada.

Another batch of words or phrases have to do with foods.

Homo milk: Homogenized milk, also known as whole milk. In Canada, it is very normal for a parent or spouse to ask you to pick up some homo milk on your way home

KD or Kraft Dinner: Kraft mac and cheese.

Timbit: A donut hole from Tim Hortons or from any other restaurant in Canada.

Nanaimo bar: A popular rich dessert that requires no baking. Named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Rockets: The candy that Americans call “Smarties.” In Canada, “Smarties” are candy-coated chocolates made by Nestlé that are closer to M&Ms.

Freezies: A favorite summertime treat that consists mostly of sugar and water frozen in a clear plastic tube.

Here’s a variety of other uniquely Canadian expressions:

Keener: A person who is extremely eager or keen. Used interchangeably with terms like “brownnoser” and “overachiever.”

Chirping or beaking: Making fun of someone. (Chirping is used in eastern Canada; beaking is used in parts of western Canada.)

Gotch, gitch or gonch: Tight men’s underpants known elsewhere as tighty-whities – e.g., “Do you separate your gitch from your socks when you do laundry?”

Stag and stagette parties: Bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Give’r: To exert as much effort as possible. Often used in the context of extreme sports.

Hang a Larry: Turn left.

Hang a Roger: Turn right.

Toque: Pronounced “toohk,” a toque is a winter hat or knit cap, like a beanie. It often refers to the type of beanie that rolls up at the bottom.

“Out for a rip”: Going out for a drive. Or a snowmobile ride. Or any other kind of excursion, really.

Dart: A cigarette.

Decked out: An adjective used to refer to someone who is dressed up or something that has been decorated. This one often is heard in parts of the States, too.

Gravol: The Canadian equivalent of Dramamine, the over-the-counter drug for motion sickness.

Runners: Running shoes. Or, really, any kind of athletic shoe, like a tennis shoe.

Chesterfield: A couch or sofa.

Garburator: An electric device underneath of a kitchen sink that breaks up food so it can be washed away. Americans call it a trash disposal or a garbage disposal.

Washroom: A polite word for bathroom. The Canadian version of “restroom.”

Housecoat: A bathrobe.

Pencil crayons: Colored pencils.

College: This refers specifically to community colleges in Canada. Any institution that awards degrees is referred to as a university.

Haligonian: Anyone from the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bunnyhug: Used exclusively in Saskatchewan to refer to a hooded sweatshirt, or hoodie. But only in Saskatchewan.

Dep: A convenience store in Montreal and other parts of Quebec. It’s short for the French word dépanneur.

“Hey” vs. “eh”: In some parts of western Canada, the term “hey” is used more commonly than “eh.” Importantly, Canadians do not intersperse either word at random throughout sentences. Both are used like the word “right” at the end of a sentence.