Sunday, September 27

Tuesday, May 30

Louis Meyer wins the second of his three Indy 500 races. It was a deadly year at Indianapolis, five were killed. Tourists continue to visit exotic locals. Another view of the Sky Ride in Chicago. today's crop of photos is here.

Monday, May 29

The man on the right is smiling. He looks like he knows that he's just closed the greatest deal of his life. I'm wondering how the Standard Oil Company of California knew about the potential reserves on the Arabian peninsula? Did they just take a wild-assed guess? Was the deal so cheap that they could afford to sign these concessions with every emerging nation, on the off chance of success? Or did they have information, some earlier geological data, that led them to this point? It really doesn't matter much. The American corporation was able to extract a fairly one-sided concession from the young country, which probably was the best sort of deal they could expect. At least they weren't being invaded and colonized, which would have been "Standard" operating procedure in a bunch of ...

Sunday, May 28

Ginger Rogers at the age of 21 is streaking to the top. Talent, hard work, good looks, and some luck was all it would take, but if you didn't know that this photo was the famous star of stage and screen, if you were seeing her for the first time you'd say that this dame was the embodiment of the heartless "Gold Digger". It's not a photo that Rogers fans like to acknowledge, but it's my favorite picture of her. Her and that cigarette, that gold dollar jacket. That look.Ah, but spirit is victorious over flesh, as the New York Times reminds us. You may have forgotten about poor Mr. Gandhi- he's been on a fast for the month of May, seeking recognition and basic human rights for some of the poorest people in the world, the "untouchables" of India. He'll win his point this time, due to hi...

Saturday, May 27

Chasing the Devil around a StumpBy invoking the Federal Government's ability to regulate trade between the states, and by defining "interstate commerce" to include any activity that involved so much as a phone call across state lines, Washington was able to require complete disclosure of the underlying value of stocks. Not only did this generate forests worth of paper that few could understand, it kept legal scholars gainfully employed. A phrase about chasing the devil that popped up in my search this morning seems an appropriate description of the difficulties involved in trying to keep people from making money by deception.What we have here lies at the crux of the American experiment. If the first European land grants in this nation were not essentially based on deception I don't kno...

Friday, May 26

I don't like writing about a day like this. Not because someone died, but because Jimmie was only 35 years old and had just completed a recording session at RCA in New York City. It pretty much killed him. TB. Boomers think dying young was something that was invented in 1970, but they had plenty of it during and after WWI. Bullets and shells, mustard gas, influenza, tuberculosis. Lots of TB. It was considered a romantic way to die- poetic even. Wasting away. But look at this photo, taken a day before he crossed over. Jimmie Rogers was always smilin'. I like to think of how he felt in the sun there, warm at last, feeling like the sun could heal him, might save him. I like to think of an alternative universe where he survived, got into the uptown Manhattan hep scene, eventually ...

Thursday, May 25

Frank with TroutI've been re-watching the David Lynch soap Twin Peaks lately, picking up on things that I missed the first time around. The dream-like qualities sometimes ran afoul of my expectations. Seeing it again I recognize the moment when I lost the storyline. There's an episode portraying events which are supposed to have occurred in a single day, which, though technically possible, is totally implausible. While now I can appreciate it as a great way to tell a story, it lost me at the time. It wasn't following the comfortable dramatic arc I expected. Today's slice of 1933 began with a simple historic fact gleaned from Wikipedia. On this day, the Marpole Midden was recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada. What struck me was that, even though this place had been decl...

Wednesday, May 24

Gratuitous sex day. You might not have guessed it, after the general retreat from the wild abandon that was the 1920's, but people were still absolutely obsessed with sex in 1933. As they have been each and every year, ever- proving conclusively that time is both a wave AND a particle. But there are all different kinds of obsession. To begin, Max Earnst, the surrealist, the prankster. He was making a lot of art at this time, and it was wide-ranging in form. This work demonstrates just how ugly art it could get in 1933. Strangely fascinating though, innit? Next, a sweet little bronze (I think?) by Jean Arp, who was also very productive in '33. On this two-part sculpture, the "head" is balanced on a spike coming out of the "shell". This was a favorite plaything of Mrs. Vanderbilt,...

Tuesday, May 23

During a Congressional hearing, it is revealed that J. P. Morgan legally paid no taxes in 1931 and 1932. This caused a great public outcry, the result being that the scene in the hearing room was chaotic. "We are having a circus," complained Sen. Carter Glass, D-Va., "and the only things lacking now are peanuts and colored lemonade." Not sure what he meant by "colored" in this case, but at any rate, a savvy P.R. man for Barnum and Baily showed up with diminutive Lya Graf, a performer for the concern, and dropped her in Morgan's lap one morning. Seems like everyone enjoyed the joke. The photo made all the papers. The only thing missing was T.V. coverage, but this is well on its way, as you can see from the RCA test screen. Yes, it's a little warped, but completely recognizable- the ...

Monday, May 22

Leading off with a classic poster. The more I see of '33, the more I see that this particular graphic is a throwback to the nineteen twenties. It's good, but from the Italians I expect something more. From America, another Time cover boosting one of the "right" people. Dawes had famous brothers, was from a family who proudly traced themselves back to a Revolutionary War general or something, and after making a lot of dough in the late teens and early twenties he and his wife devoted themselves to civil service- not the kind that bureaucrats do, but the kind that gets your picture on the cover of Time magazine. This is to be expected. Then there is this interesting collage of "candid" photos of John Dillinger, found on an F.B.I. website. It represent the muscle the media could displ...

Sunday, May 21

Noted intellectual Langston Hughes called him an entertaining huckster. Harlem's Rev George Wilson Becton encouraged his flock to contribute a dime a day to his church, and he lived well on the income, telling people that "God ain't poor". Tapping into the limited income of these folks may be why he ran afoul of the policy racket, aka "the numbers". It's a mystery who did the job or why, but he was gunned down in Philly on this day.Searching for a color for the Reverend's background, I recalled artist Reginald Marsh, and found that he was indeed active in 1933- in fact, his art plays wonderfully at the edge of ugly that predominated in '33 artwork, and I think it's due largely to the vibrancy of his palette. He steers clear of murkiness. And then there's an ad for lost shoes- wouldn...