Tuesday, October 27

Monday, October 16

Machines are getting traction. I always like the cartoons with a bit of whimsy to them, as if! A football team could run a tank against their opponents! It's the "winning is everything" approach. By any means necessary. Nothing in the rules specifically against the use of tanks, you see. Also nothing against the use of dual rear wheels on your speedster. It occurs to me that the adjustment of tyre pressure could be a real nightmare with that arrangement, and that maybe it only helps if your race is along a straight line. Also too, in the rain. Getting traction in the dirt is not so easy either. It would be interesting to know why this particular "free program" was saved and somehow survived to be offered for sale recently. The obscure connections to 1933 feel just as important ...

Sunday, October 15

The Nazi attempt to direct the course of art in Germany got off to an inauspicious beginning today when Hitler's Silver Hammer broke on the third stroke (one stroke for each Reich, see) on the cornerstone of the new House of Art in Munich. Never the less, he persisted, and when it was time to unveil the new building, there was a distinct lack of art deemed both properly upholding the principles of Nazism and worth looking at. So they cooked up the idea of holding a simultaneous exhibition of "degenerate" art nearby. Naturally, the degenerate art exhibit drew ten times the number of people who attended the officially sanctioned art in the new House of Art. Most of the degenerate art had simply been confiscated by the state for the show, and later lost or destroyed. Today I have poste...

Saturday, October 14

Take a snapshot and there's 15 million people on welfare in the United States in 1933, That was about 18% of the population- but that's just at one moment in time. Poverty was sweeping across the country like a searchlight. It could find you and light you up for years, or only for a few months. I don't have a statistic for it, but the total number of people who ever needed welfare over the course of the depression was certainly much higher than 15 million. I'd guess somewhere between a quarter and half the population. And even that wouldn't begin to touch the number who felt the hard times. Millions were living rough looking for work and didn't fit into the system. But that old entrepreneurial spirit could pull you through! You might have a guitar to sell that could help keep yo...

Friday, October 13

In 1933 on this date there were reported to be 15 million people on the welfare rolls in the USA. That was 12% of the population. But being on welfare wasn't a guarantee of having enough to eat or a place to live- just like today. Still, it was better than nothing. I'm sure some folks considered them to be lazy bums, enjoying a vacation. Lucky duckies! In the British Protectorate known as Mandatory Palestine, there was a street demonstration by "Arabs" against Jewish settlements. The British, vastly outnumbered, countered with force and broke it up. For the moment. Interior design gets a little whimsical, with this bedside lamp. Of course, I enjoy looking into the reflection in the top and seeing how the photograph was taken. Sheets! More labor action in the States. The Natio...

Thursday, October 12

First released in 1909, Norman Angell's The Great Illusion makes the argument that a modern war would be so costly, and produce so little in spoils, that no one could possibly support it. Logical and well argued, it was a big seller and all the great minds agreed. 5 years later, World War I. Well, Angell decided to update the book in 1933. His thesis remained the same, however. 6 years later, World War II. Somebody, please take his typewriter. Some folks think the real war started sometime in the Middle Ages and it's still on-going. These Lawrence Mass crusaders didn't have nearly as many domestic Muslims to hate as today, but they appear to be ready for battle. Never forget! The hammer drops on the Machine Gun and his spouse- it's life for him. He doesn't seem terribly upset w...

Wednesday, October 11

There was a king in Siam, but there was also a popular uprising which established a republic. The king remained as a symbolic representative of the country, but when the republic began to make plans to turn over land to the common people, certain interests staged a counter-revolution in order to return power to the king- who would keep things much as they were. Well, this led to a counter-counter revolution, with a General Boworadet leading troops in the provinces against the central government. As in Cuba, factions formed and sides were chosen, but nobody really wanted a civil war. By the end of the month Boworadet was wrestled out of the country. Tarzan chooses a Jane, and they take a swim. The flying Lindberghs are checking out northern Europe all summer and have just arrived in ...

Tuesday, October 10

There is a lot of labor action happening around the USA in 1933. On this day, three were killed by farmers trying to break a strike by migrant cotton workers, who were being paid starvation wages. Pesky workers! Always wanting to feed their families. Some are flying high. United Airlines was able to maintain its schedule even while operating at less than 50% capacity. Unfortunately, as it turned out, for the four passengers on a flight to Chicago, the first confirmed domestic plane bombing in the states. Forensic science was pretty good though, as they traced the location of the bomb to a pillow compartment at the rear of the plane. They never learned who put it there, or why. I went to grade school with Margaret Brundage, but not the one who was creating covers for Magic Carpet ...

Monday, October 9

Seeing = believing. To look at Gus, knowing he was a Chicago "contractor", it's easy to suppose he was just another goon, shaking down the local grocer. But that face was sculpted by an auto accident, something that could of happened to anybody. Fact was that Gus, while indeed a murderer, was also a clever fellow, who played off the cops and gang bosses like Dillinger for years. But yeah, his end came, as he knew it would, in a hailstorm. He may have had the last laugh, because years later, G-man #1 Melvin Purvis would shoot himself (accidentally or on purpose) with Gus's pistol, given to him by the F.B.I. as a souvenir on his retirement. There has been a lot of spilt milk in America this year, as dairy farmers strive for higher prices. Here's a photo of cops forcing strikers away...

Sunday, October 8

The young chap in the middle there has just been promoted King. The Kiingitanga, or King Movement in New Zealand began as a response to the invasion of their island by colonists. Rather than see their culture dissolve into Westerness, they created a position which represented what it meant to be Māori, and this person, man or woman, ran interference for the people. At least, that's how I interpret it. The 5th king felt unprepared for this responsibility, but he accepted it, and made sure that his children were well versed in Western ways. What's interesting is that he had no real power, the way we think of kingship, but he was the spokesman for his people. Pretty smart idea. Meanwhile, in the West, everyone assumes that the world will end with a bang! Here's a fabulous illustratio...

Saturday, October 7

It's a good time to rest, to contemplate the world around you. Take the dogs out, it's brisk and refreshing. It's all just a dream. Here's to that real woman's home companion- the paper towel. Pre-folded individual paper towels had been around since the 1920's, but here's a patent for making a continuous sheet of paper towels. It's pretty clever- see if you can figure it out from the drawings. Contemplate the world around you. I wonder who got the million dollar idea of putting them on a roll? Joan Miró is throwing vaguely sexy body parts together, placed seemingly at random all over the place. Tag yourself. I'm the angular black cat in the upper middle. I've got one really long whisker. This weeks Science Weekly will (not) help you figure out where you are. Is this what Col...