23 Degrees South by Neal Rabin

The Book

23 Degrees South: A Tropical Tale of Changing Whether

23 Degrees South follows two 23 year-old childhood pals, Hart and Simon, on a twisting and unexpected adventure of force-fed self-discovery. The story departs from the tennis courts of Southern California traveling to the back streets of Sao Paulo, through the treacherous jungles of Brazil, then back again. Meet an eclectic collection of characters, including a Capoeira Master, a Jesuit Priest, and a geriatric Nazi, who all weave their way in, out, and around the path of our two heroes.


Salt clumps; especially in humid weather. You reach for the shaker, tip it over, yet nothing emerges but frustration and disappointment. The problem dates back to Babylonia where the salt shaker was first discovered. By 1911, The Morton Salt Company figured that modern man had suffered long enough at the hands of insidious, invisible water vapor.

They dispatched Prescott and Milo Proctor, two of their finest minds, to the lab. They were granted an unlimited budget along with a career-threatening one-month time frame. Thinking grand, the scientists requested a custom-built fifteen-foot blackboard, ten boxes of the highest quality chalk, plus five hundred pounds of mounded salt for testing. They floundered for weeks.

During one particularly lengthy all-night session, exhausted and under pressure from their approaching deadline, a slap-happy Milo Proctor tossed a mountainous pile of chalk dust in the face of his sleeping brother Prescott. The dust floated everywhere. Prescott awoke screaming and furiously rubbing his stinging eyes. Suddenly guilty Milo grabbed a pitcher of water and threw it in his brothers face. The rest is inadvertent history. Chalk, or magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), was all they ever needed. As Prescott toweled dry, he noticed that a nearby pile of chalk-dusted, water soaked salt had not clumped.

Adding a few thimbles of MgCO3 to the signature saltbox absorbed every single drop of water before the salt had a chance to take its first clump-generating sip. Morton ran an ad featuring the very first Umbrella Girl, carrying the round blue container under her arm in the rain.

Below her image rests the iconic slogan: When it rains, it pours. And so…

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