Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root"

That title got your attention, didn't it?

Living in Binghamton, I've been very disappointed by the pace and depth of "news." I'm definitely a news-hound, and, in Los Angeles, I eagerly read the L.A. Times cover-to-cover every morning, in addition to the Daily Breeze, L.A. Daily News, and several blogs (laobserved, mayorsam, L.A.'s homeless blog, etc.). On a weekly basis, I lived for the L.A. Downtown News, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Alternative Press, and others. I want to know, on an hourly basis, what's going on in my city, and I readily found that in L.A.

Here, our local "big city" newspaper is the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. It comes out daily, but it probably shouldn't: the articles are short (most front-page pieces stop right there) and not-so-newsworthy (don't get me started). As much as I used to live for that crispy L.A. Times on my driveway every day, I can't bring myself to subscribe to The Press. The New York Times is an amazing publication, and I read it online daily, but it gives virtually no coverage to upstate NY. I'll have to be happy splurging for it on Sundays.

I was so desperate to get some good coverage of Binghamton that I tapped into the historic archives of the Los Angeles Times online (so cool- I can access the full L.A. Times from 1881 to present). When I typed in "Binghamton," I got over 1,700 "hits" since 1881, which surprised me. I forget that Binghamton used to be New York City's "second city."

I learned a ton about Binghamton's history, but probably my favorite part was the advertisements- There were some Binghamton companies that advertised for comfy new teeth (FasTeeth) and some for itchy/scratchy dog powder of some sort (in the 1930s). But most notably, in the late 1890s/early 1900s, there was a local company that advertised very heavily in the L.A. Times. "Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root" was big stuff around here- the Kilmer family name is on lots of great old buildings, sort of like the "Bayer" of its time. Apparently, Kilmer's Swamp Root would heal whatever ailed your kidney, liver, mind, hair, toenails, psyche, etc. ,it's such good stuff. You can read more here.

4 comments:

Shangrila said...

Actually you can STILL buy Swamp-Root and it REALLY does work for a lot of things... it is made of 15 herbs and is good for you too! Check out www.swamp-root.com for much more info!

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