Tuesday, July 27

Thursday, December 21

What is it, a milestone? It's an arbitrary location, it tells you where you are, relatively. A solstice is a kind of milestone, except we don't know what it's relative to. We can't expect the earth to go on circling the sun forever, and we can't know exactly when the first solstice occurred. The endpoints are unclear. At least geographical milestones pretend to have definite positions along a path. Celestial milestones are, however, not arbitrary. They can be precisely measured and described as points in space where certain relationships shift. After a specific moment today, the sun will begin to illuminate the Northern hemisphere of the earth for longer periods. This has a definite effect. For many complicated reasons, our culture doesn't choose to define a year's beginning as ...

Wednesday, December 20

American heroes. What America thinks of itself is so fucked up that it's hard to know how to begin to describe it, but the 1933 flight of the Lindberghs is an interesting place to start. You know Charles, of course. The "Lone Eagle" who was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic. Packed a couple of baloney sandwiches for the journey, as the movie has it. Started the idea of the ticker-tape parade. The very image of the American hero. Charles marries Anne Morrow, whose genes make her a good breeder in Charlies' opinion. He's got experience with livestock, you see. It probably doesn't hurt that she's the daughter of his financial adviser, a partner at J.P. Morgan and Co. So far it's a great story. Freedom and liberty loving America loves its aristocracy. Farm boy makes good, ...

Monday, December 19

A truce has been declared in the war in South America. The Paraguayan forces "captured the flag" of the Bolivian command, and feel that they are in a position to set terms. Discussions to ensue, but Merry Christmas! News of interest in the States as well. What's up with the bombings in St. Louis? This was a smallish item, sort of mentioned in passing, but it sounds like it's been a thing for a while. Also too, imagine how cable news anchors would be leaping out of their highchairs if someone had taken a shot at a mail truck near the White House in our times! Just another day in '33, apparently. The FLOTUS consults with St. Nick. Looks like you can't miss with a Highland Terrier this year. Dollies are always warmly received, but you know that they are high maintenance, always in...

Monday, December 18

What a year! In 1933, not only was Thanksgiving allowed to fall on the 5th Thursday of the month, thus delaying the start of the Christmas season, but Christmas itself fell on a Monday, meaning, in those days, that the previous Saturday would be the final shopping day. Sundays being holy days back then. So that's probably why the Spiegel Santa has a particularly hard look in his eye as he displays YOUR bank book in his sack. Yes, he's got you by the short and curlies, and you know that you must put large sums on account in order to make this a merry Christmas. Just frikkin' do it, consumer! Only 5 shopping days left! The reindeer have already achieved liftoff. FDR has a lot on account for the nation. The cry "but how are we gonna pay for it!!!" hasn't been heard much, as the Rep...

Sunday, December 17

Seasons are ending. Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal, the 13th Dalai Lama, died on this day after a 38 year rule of Tibet. He'll be back, they say. Omar Palmer is very popular in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas as an herb doctor, seeing hundreds of patients a day. I wonder what his treatment was for snake bite? There was a sportsball championship in Chicago. Two football teams met on a baseball field. They will have this figured out in a couple of decades. Aging Orville Wright shows off his engine to young Amelia Earhart. She seems amused at the span of his rockers. Still, overhead valves in 1906? Not too shabby, Orville. Popeye has a big Christmas movie out. He's had a pretty good season. I'll bet she falls through here.

Saturday, December 16

It's a long way to the 40's, but I can see some of that era's pin-up girl in the Maclean's December cover. It takes a moment to notice the mistletoe for some reason. With covers like this one, who needs television? That was Canada, next is England. I like that circus's were (are?) a part of the holiday traditions there. It's for the kiddies, you know. I've come across a great photo (not from '33) of Winston Churchill and his grown daughter laughing out loud while attending a Christmas circus- in fact, there are no children to be seen in that photo. Who needs television? Here's the real meaning of Christmas for some folks. Piles of Christmas presents, waiting to be ripped open. The presents are neatly aligned, almost as if they were rolling along on a conveyor belt. Industrial l...

Friday, December 15

It isn't actually winter yet, but there's a lot of anticipation. The best part about the Winter Solstice is that the days begin to get longer. Sunshine is good. The Vogue lady is enjoying her hand-rolled on the slopes- dreamy. They have winter sports in Bombay too! Here's the site of the first cricket Test Match. India joins an exclusive club. More women on the slopes. Some of us only get to shovel it. I'm having a really hard time getting my mind around Snoqualmie. It seems to start with snow. Anyway, they had an oil barge crash into the piling and burn. Can burning fuel oil melt steel? Apparently it can soften it up enough to bend loose. Some editors in New York City got together and formed the first newspaper union in America today. It seems to have started at the level ...

Thursday, December 14

It will be years until Marshall McLuhan informs us that the media IS the message. Meanwhile, we'll go on peering at stuff, listening intently, thinking hard, trying to understand what they're saying. But it's just there. The radio operator understands it. The code she's sending could be a declaration of war or the results of a soccer match, but that won't change the requirements of the technology required to send it. It would be possible to send a novel via telegram, as it seems that Harry Hopkins was attempting to do. Would it be better than "Watson- come here"? Do you imagine that any professional cinematographers were buying this magazine? They are selling that sizzle with their "for the amateur" heading. It's true, as far as it goes. The Rabid Reveries strip was a one-trick ...

Wednesday, December 13

The Nazis wasted no time solidifying their hold on the public imagination in Germany. Hans Westmar was the third of a trilogy of movies romanticizing the rise of the movement during the lean years of the 1920's. Based on the real-life Horst Wessel, the original version was banned by Goebbels as soon as he screened it- it depicted the hero as having come from the rather too realistic world of street crime and prostitution. Renamed, reborn as a legend, Hans Westmar. Where can we see the original?Now, out in Iowa, the kids are brought up right. I'm sure nobody posed this lad shoveling coal in a suit! But it's all in fun, of course. I like that there's a modern-looking cat in the photo. Any day now trains will be hurtling along marble racetracks at 190 miles per hour! Nice to know th...

Tuesday, December 12

Nazi porn was a thing even then. The Chicago Tribune reproduced this German poster- with translated captions- in their graphics section in the Sunday edition. The tiny caption at the bottom begins "Putting masculine Germany into uniforms of the types portrayed above is only one aspect of the complete regimentation of the German people-" but despite this warning, you know that for a certain percentage of their readers this page was going to wind up hanging in bedrooms and basements and garages. The Trib knew its business. And they weren't the only ones who knew their business in Chi. When the Ukrainians of Chicago staged a protest against Soviet policies in their homeland they were met by a group of "Communist" thugs who proceeded to kick ass and bust up the parade. I only have this ...