Tuesday, August 4

Thursday August 3

After the flood? The U.S. Government Printing Office claimed to be the largest printing establishment in the world. The Congressional Record alone required several presses to produce enough copies to fulfill the requirements of the law. But that's just the tip of the iceberg- there were entire departments dedicated to producing pre-paid postal forms and other paraphernalia, not to mention all the unique reports and findings by various commissions. Information was being provided, in a flood. On the other hand, private enterprise was responsible for irrigating land above Denver, Colorado, providing food for the growing city. And the dam which provided the water for that irrigation lasted for decades, even though there was water actually flowing through it. It took days of heavy rain ...

Wednesday August 2

A lot of young folks in brown uniforms are gathering in Eastern Europe to celebrate their organization. Yes it's a Scout Jamboree. Some of the founders will be there, and scouts from all around the world. There will even be a replica of a mosque! Seems the official opening of the White Sea Canal in the Soviet Union occurred today. I thought it was last month. Time blurs out over time, dates aren't so clear on the internets, but this picture of the brass band playing for the conscripted laborers is worth a look. I wonder what was on the song list? And in Chicago, it's Ireland vs. America. come together here.

Tuesday, August 1

It isn't just the eagle, it's the message of common purpose behind the propaganda that is striking. If 1933 was about fascism, it was also about the dissolution of norms, and fear of the strange. Why can't things go back to normal! What kept the United States from falling into a dictatorship- or did it? If you read the National Recovery Act you may be astonished at the breadth of government control of business, economics, and individual rights that it established. But of course, much of this was overturned in court. Aptly named Fortune Magazine did us the service of mapping out Bananaland. A real territory, for sure. Curious about the prominence of the Tropical Radiotelegraph Company & affiliated companies. Sounds a little like intelligence work to me. Some colonies aren't g...

Monday, July 31

Listen to the linked broadcast of the 1942 version of the long-running radio series "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy". If you are familiar with a more recent bit of obscure audio culture I'm sure you'll recognize the models for Porgie and Mutthead (and... Bottles!), even though their names were based on the Archie comics. It's the Firesign Theater, folks. Those kids attended Communist Martyrs High School. Eat it raw! The rock-jawed justice fighter is certainly exemplified by Mr. Hoover (not the 1930's president, the other one). I like knowing that while he was signing orders which would destroy lives, while he was fearlessly pursuing pinkos, he may well have been wearing lacy pink panties. Would he be a different person in our culture? I mean, as in, would he assume a differe...

Sunday, July 30

Cover art is a hook. The dozing yokel is being hooked by the Naiads, just as we are being hooked by the illustration. Any second now that large son will be sputtering in the water, wide awake and flailing. Why are we laughing? We are easily hooked. The romance of the sea, its mystery and power, something we feel that we can dream on. It will draw us in. Here's the home of the gods. Mount Olympus. This was a time when mythology, while as much a joke as it is now, was much closer at hand. We had to build some walls to keep it at bay- unless, of course, you were among those who hunted in those waters. How could anyone looking up at the new RCA building not believe that those working in it were entirely in control of our mythology? They had all the technology at hand to contain it...

Saturday, July 29

There were several battles this month in the little war between Bolivia and Paraguay over a remote patch of jungle. Oh, there may have been oil under that jungle, you understand. The Bolivians had a General from Germany, the Paraguayans only had the advantage of being there first. If either side could have afforded landmines they could have used one of these home-made contraptions to detect 'em! As it was, the Bolivians used a medieval tactic, digging a "mine" up under the the Paraguayan fortifications, filling it with explosives, and blowing it up. They didn't dig quite far enough however, and eventually lost that round. There were all kinds of do-it-yourself projects available in '33, such as this $700 home. Cozy. There was even a provision for turning the bedroom closets into...

Friday, July 28

The polo club has a new pool. This seems incredibly large for a private pool- it must have been a popular club. Jolly old England, wot? I like the chalkboard indicating temperatures at different times- is this a prediction, or a record? Seems like a perfect July day there, there seem to be shadows, and actual sunshine. Old New England is getting surveyed by some water authority. The pipes gotta go through there. You can see stakes in the picture, with ribbands tied on. The caption is sort of mysterious, as is the print, which looks like it used some automated process for development. Happy switchboard operators, in honor of the first singing telegram sent on this date. It was actually delivered by phone, so the Hollywood version has some otherwise ordinary phone worker discoveri...

Thursday, July 27

The American religious lost another one today. Talmage, like Tindley yesterday, was a man of wide-ranging interests and accomplishments. It's ironic that Tindley wrote hymns of things of greater value than silver and gold while Talmage literally assayed ore. Each serving their community. The Mollisons were an interesting pair. There was a lot of competition in the aviator/aviatrix game, and one thing that set them apart was that they were a married couple. Sort of, anyway, because that darn Lindberg and HIS wife were taking jaunts all over the place, but Amy Johnson Mollison was a qualified pilot and record holder in her own right. As well as being photogenic. At least before the accident. Pincushions were the sort of souvenir you could pick up at the Fair to fulfill your promis...

Wednesday, July 26

What can you do when you have nothing? The story of Charles Albert Tindley is told to witness redemption, to witness a greater power, because he started out with about as little as it's possible to have. With no education and no home to speak of he raised himself up to become a great man, a healer and an educator. Our culture teaches us to value self reliance, hard work and self discipline, then it gives us such examples as Henry Ford and Bill Gates to emulate. It's nothing but the worship of silver. Meanwhile, here's Afghanistan, just waiting for us. Here's a fine automobile, the Silver Arrow, of which 4 were produced in 1933. It wasn't due so much to the styling, which I think was pretty fine, but the $10,000 price tag may have been a stumbling block for potential buyers. That a...

Tuesday, July 25

I'm sure that there were treadmills from way long before 1933, but this one is electric. As far as I can tell from this drawing there's no internet connection, but it does have vacuum tubes, which means that it's not only electric, it's electronic. Something is going on in there which may involve a feedback mechanism, a servo, which might adjust the speed of the tread to your pace. Whatever, the most important feature is the reading stand- gotta keep the brain occupied while exercising. They invented the treadmill, but not the jogging suit. However, in France they have all kinds of suits, and isn't Miss Europe all dolled up for a trip on a trolley? My favorite part of this publicity shot is the dude with the ultimate Gaulish expression of "eh- she's not so much". Yes it's hurricane...