Tuesday, December 1

Thursday, November 30

Today we give thanks, in 1933, for the last time officially on the last Thursday in November. By the next time this is due to happen, the President himself will proclaim that Thanksgiving shall be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. And then it was so. This reflects the evils of federalism. Why should Washington get to decide when we should celebrate Thanksgiving? Ah, but the sheeple passively agree, and alter their plans accordingly. Bah! Macy's sponsors a parade, and there are a couple of big balloons, but mostly it's like this. You gotta remember that television had not yet entered our lives with it's insidious influence on everything, including on the number of big balloons in the Macy's parade. Philatelists enjoy stuff like this, I suppose. It's a letter sent fro...

Wednesday, November 29

What are these strange attractions, such as jumping from great heights? This daredevil fell seven miles and landed safely. Planes and rockets couldn't reach that altitude in 1933, but a balloon could do it. The Governor of California stated that he would pardon anyone prosecuted for the San Jose lynchings, as he believed that they were completely justified. Some people not only felt great about it, they wanted a keepsake of the event. Strange. They weren't even racists or Nazis. They hadn't yet declared the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas a mandatory consumption period, so Thanksgiving was allowed to fall on the last Thursday of the month in 1933. This obviously shortened the shopping season, and did so at a time when everyone from FDR down was encouraging people to spend,...

Tuesday, November 28

I doubt that this was the first ratchet wrench invented, but because it was granted a patent on this date it must have been an improvement on the existing wrenches. I've used some like this one, you change the direction using a toothed dial on the back of the head. Incremental changes. This museum had no official opening. So many curious people were just wandering through while it was being built that they decided to let the public in despite the fact that it wasn't finished yet. So it goes with museums- they're always changing. Same with engineering. This drawing details the stresses on an existing dam and proposes new buttresses to strengthen it. People with things like slide rules calculated these forces by hand in 1933. Now you could just use the dam stresses ap on your phone...

Monday, November 27

A high school is either burning or has burned in Texas in this photo. It appears to be engulfed in flames at night but if you look closely there are a bunch of people standing casually in front of the building, no firemen in sight. Sunlight is falling from the upper left, casting a shadow of the front wall at the feet of the rubberneckers. It's hard to know what's causing the "light" coming from the upper right of the photo, but I don't think it's fire- I guess it will remain a mystery. "Where's Waldo" from Australia. There's a man sitting on a boulder in the picture. Looks like a rough place. I've seen a lot of comics from 1933, but this is the first Mickey Mouse strip I've come across. Maybe it's because the tall dog isn't wearing any pants, I don't know. You can see that the c...

Sunday, November 26

I don't like seeing this any more than you do, but the waves of time break where they will. The incident was the lynching of two confessed kidnappers who murdered their victim and dumped his body in the bay. After that they demanded a ransom. When they were caught a week later and put in jail pending trial, a mob broke in and took matters into their own hands. It just makes me wonder who in that mob knew enough about killing to carry this off? Ships pass through the Golden Gate, including the U.S.S. Constitution as she tours the West coast. On the near side of the strait pilings and fill can be seen which lead to the South Pier construction site. Enjoy this unobstructed view while it lasts, folks. A man on a hill in San Francisco in August. Nothing much more is known about this p...

Saturday, November 25

Up, up and away. Soviet rocket work is progressing nicely. While they're still sometimes burning through the sides of their engines, they're using liquid oxygen and alcohol for fuel. They will continue to experiment with more powerful fuel combinations, including the use of powdered metal. The USGS is examining the earth under American feet, and use this unique sort of tower within a tower to isolate sensitive surveying instruments from the movements of workers. Hey, I don't see any PPE on that guy! His Reverence is moving just high enough up this particular ladder to be seen and heard. It's an interesting look at ordinary Parisians on a day when unmarried women wear funny hats. These clowns are releasing "Dirty Work" today. They are at their height. the sky's the limit, here....

Friday, November 24

Vice in 1933 America was basically any fun that was proscribed by the church. What church? It didn't matter, they were all pretty much in agreement, and because the definition of vice was "I know it when I see it", it was a flexible thing. Kansas City was famous for vice, I guess because there in the Bible Belt it was confined to certain places. Yeah right. These crusaders did a quick survey and found 98 houses of prostitution in one quarter of the city. There were 392 "girls" working there. Seeing as you had to know somebody to gain admittance to these houses, it must have taken the crusaders a considerable amount of time and effort to gather this information. And that's without considering the numbers racket ("policy tickets"), slots, indecent literature, drinking, and lewd ente...

Thursday, November 23

A young Lama, from the looks of him. Photograph by Elizabeth Meyer. This is taken from a trove of public domain photos I found this morning- excellent high quality scans of mostly Scandinavian subjects. But not this subject. A man in a motorboat. There's no further information about him, other than the photo was taken in 1933. I like the clarity and detail of the workings of the thing, and his expression. He seems proud of his boat- did he devise that steering gear himself? Two workers in a pit. The odd caption on this one explained that they were gas workers in Berlin demonstrating to use of protective suits which could be worn to repair- bomb damage? Looks about right. Franklin is taking a break at his estate in Warm Springs. He doesn't golf, so he gets to meet a lot of folk...

Wednesday, November 22

Noted Afghani Mahmud Tarzi died on this date in 1933. He was instrumental in efforts to modernize Afghanistan during the early 20th century. The politics then were, as now, complicated, but he managed to navigate through. Sheriff Smoot strikes a hard-ass pose. He nearly succeeded in bringing down Clyde Barrow and his "wife" Bonnie in a night-time shootout near Dallas. Though badly injured, they managed to escape the ambush, hijack a working car, and retreat to a safe house to recuperate. Called the world's largest over-land airplane, the Soviet K-7's development was shrouded in secrecy until the prototype crashed on this date. Somehow that news broke immediately. The investigation into the crash suggested sabotage. Somewhere in France, golfers stretch to retrieve a ball. Just st...

Tuesday, November 21

It's all frost and harvest in the Northern Hemisphere, but it's warming up down under, where a pier full of people are enjoying the sun. The Akaroa looks shiny and clean, and I see they have the rat-guards on the lines. There's a lot of preparation involved in putting out to sea. In England, the Queen is required to open Parliament so that the official mechanisms of government can be set in motion. By this point I'm fairly certain that those machines are running all the time anyway, but the people will have their traditions. Field hockey is an underrated sport, somewhat arcane like cricket, low-scoring like football (soccer) and technical. In 1933 collegiate play the uniforms weren't helping to make things any more interesting, and there's a distinct lack of spectators at this title...