Saturday, November 28

Tuesday, June 20

It took years and it ended up being too narrow to be really useful, but Stalin had a new talking point when the White Sea Canal was completed. Meanwhile, back in the states, it took decades and helped cause several major floods and fish kills, but the Illinois Waterway was finally officially opened as well. The dream of linking the Gulf to the Great Lakes by water was a reality. Let it flow here.

Monday, June 19

The actions proposed by the Roosevelt administration were controversial, but they were actions. Farm subsidies were a form of state control, and while many opposed them on ideological grounds, they had no alternatives other than "let the market correct itself". This wasn't the answer, at least, the pain and suffering this proposal caused were intolerable under the American form of government. Public opinion was strongly in favor of action. Austrian Premier/Dictator Englebert Dollfuss was also exerting state control in his continuing efforts to maintain Austria's existence as a country. In many ways he mirrored the moves Hitler was making in Germany, but seriously, look at this guy waving hi to the crowd. His idea was to offer the hardliners a version of fascism lite, without the Jew...

Sunday, June 18

Assassinations and attempted assassinations were the normal mode of business in much of the world- in 1933. The threat of being killed for speaking out is certainly asymmetrical. The more brutal the regime, the more likely they are to use this particular tool of statecraft. I wonder if the Dali Llama ever put out a hit on someone? I find it interesting that a) someone knew enough and bothered to post a reference to Yang Xing Fo's death in WikiPedia, and that b) there is practically no other information about it online. This is why I've included the book excerpt- the circumstances surrounding his assassination were well known at the time, and widely denounced, but references to it and even photos of Yang Xing Fo seem to have disappeared into the memory hole. Of course, I have no evid...

Saturday, June 17

Hiding in plain sight. A local commissioner wondered (on Twitter) why anyone would consider it "OK" to vandalize a public statue. He assured the public that the red paint had already been removed from the bust of Columbus in Lancaster. I saw some click-bait for "Device Makes Dull Knives Sharp" with a picture of someone using a stone to sharpen a knife. And today's 1933 theme presented itself with the simultaneous publication of the June 17 Argosy magazine and the start of the annual Prayer of the Padre pageant in San Fernando. It made me consider something people under the sign of the crescent like to do on an annual basis. I know, it's too "on the nose" but sometimes things are like that. It's also a day when the unfortunately nicknamed "Pretty Boy" Floyd the outlaw and his gang k...

Friday, June 16

There's nothing like a good conspiracy theory, and the murder (or assassination) of the Head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency in Tel Aviv on this date is surrounded by at least three. (Chaim Arlosoroff is the nervous looking guy in the middle sitting in front of Nixon) No one alive knows the truth, but that didn't stop the leader of the "revisionists" from holding an investigation which absolutely, resolutely declared that the Revisionists had nothing to do with it. My favorite theory was that it was a jealous Joseph Goebbels what done him in (by proxy). Next, some of that bad art so prevalent in 1933. I like Miro a lot, but yeah, this one is pretty bad. Funny though- see if you can find the trap set by the dog to catch the mouse... Now, in Chicago, they know real a...

Thursday, June 15

OK, so you've invented some kind of what we now call a rail gun, which uses electromagnets to propel steel bullets. You're justly proud of your accomplishment, and Popular Mechanics wants to include a photo of your device in their June 1933 issue. So naturally you include your kid in the picture. Naturally. Hard to believe that this bill lasted as long as it did. But the minute you remove banking restrictions you get a lot of hanky-panky going on. What can you do? Bankers gonna bank. Marcus Garvey roared through the twenties, but he had overspent his budget and by 1933 he was promoting a "go fund me" to keep himself afloat. Here's an artist's conception of the guiding light of the Chicago World's Fair who looks suspiciously like a certain president of the United States. Who's ...

Wednesday, June 14

Here's another little remembered aviator, who in 1933 was making headlines as he "battled" Wiley Post for the solo 'round the world record. Jimmie Mattern had wealthy oilman backers, a plane painted to resemble an eagle and named the "Century of Progress" and plenty of brains and determination. What he didn't have was good luck at the time, crashing in Siberia on his second attempt. On the other hand, he was rescued from that inhospitable place and went on to a long and productive career. Wiley Post went on to crash in Alaska, taking Will Rogers with him. Meanwhile, there's a little bike race going on in France. Here's the official song of the World's Fair in Chicago. This illustration shows the official spirit of the fair, the "I Will" lady, with the bored goddess expression that...

Tuesday, June 13

Everybody is crazy about airplanes. Little Terre Haute, Indiana (Terre Haute being French for a fashionable woman's hat) can bring out the whole town and marching band for so much as renaming the local airport. The press coverage was extensive, which led to one of those situations where one photographer has taken a picture of another photographer taking a picture. It happens fairly often, actually, but getting both photographs is rare. So at the top, we see some dignitaries, all in their summer duds (except for the undertaker, who is undertaking to pull the rope to reveal the new name of the airport) looking up to see what's holding things up. Security is tight, and this group is guarded by a large son with a billy sticking out of his pants pocket. I'm really disappointed with this ...

Monday, June 12

Time, the weekly news magazine, had a nifty slogan for its section of miscellaneous stories- "Time Brings All Things". Today I Post a Look inside Time, as Fortune would have it, but that's Life. The cover features a Senate investigator, and inside, Time contrasts and compares the investigation he's running with some earlier Senate deals. They seem to be suggesting that it's a fishing expedition, and in doing so, raise reader's sympathy for poor old J.P. Morgan, who has been forced to be present for a week without being called to testify. This is causing him and his friends some rather large expenses at a local hotel, but Time assures us that when Senators accept his cigars they feel no sense of obligation toward the businessman. Business is the focus of Time, whose ads are about even...

Sunday, June 11

Here's another disaster without much evidence on the net. A sight-seeing plane crashed while viewing the Century of Progress. Was there an effort to keep this sort of news out of the papers? The crash site photo was found in some newspaper's archive and put up for sale recently, but I found nothing online that had been published at the time of the crash. Probably just a coincidence. Why bother people with uncomfortable news like that? Since that covers the news out of Chicago for the day, I went a little farther afield and put up one of many photos taken by Robert Platt in South America in 1933. I'm not sure if he was a professional or a casual photographer, but they are the kind of photos I like to see- everyday things like cattle in fields, bananas being loaded onto boats, and th...