Friday, October 22, 2010

The Neck Bone's Connected to the..

A Tampa couple bought a fake skeleton to enhance their Halloween decorations, only to discover it wasn't so fake after all.

They bought the skeleton for $8.00 at an estate sale, thinking it was made of plastic. But as they set up their decorations, they got the creepy feeling the bones were real. They called the Sheriff's Office.

The county medical examiner determined the bones were from a professionally prepared human anatomical skeleton, likely used for a medical school.

The couple won't be getting their $8 skeleton back. Trafficking in human bones is illegal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounding the Alarm

Recently, during a high school reunion in Bergen County, a returning classmate took the accompanying photograph, a nostalgic reminder of her youth. If you are of a certain age you remember these fire alarm call boxes.

Originally installed before the widespread use of telephones, these boxes used a telegraph system to relay the alarm to the firehouse. Pull down the white door to activate the box, in which a spring-loaded wheel would then tap out a telegraph code that indicated the location of the box. When the firemen arrived, the assumption was that someone would still be at the box to direct them to the fire... or that visible smoke would be sufficient to direct them to the blaze.

The systems began to be considered as outdated once every residence had a telephone, and moreso today with the near-universal adoption of cell phones. But these boxes remain in use in certain cities and towns. The systems continue to work under circumstances where telephone and cell phone service might not, and they prevent any misunderstandings that might arise from the great variety of languages spoken in immigrant communities.

This October 2010 photograph shows that this 150-year-old technology still has its place in modern firefighting.