Tuesday, December 1

Monday, November 20

Amsterdam. Damn, damn, I can't bring my horse cart through here at 10:00??? They seem to have a nice system worked out. Look at those bicycles- not in their own "special" lane, but actually being given space in traffic. (not sure that's a good idea, but whatever) I like the modern No Parking sign. Well, that is, if P means Parking. Here's a promo shot- behind the scenes at the studio for the Rudy Vallée Hour. This might have been the hottest hour on radio at the time, you can see how they've "photo shopped" the NBC logo on the mic to be sure everyone could plainly see what network he was on. Rudy has a damn big music stand in front of him. I guess he did most of the talking for the hour. They had to use infrared film to take this shot, because they are working in the dark makin...

Sunday, November 19

They held a general election in Spain today in '33. As you might already know, there had been a considerable amount of political tension there since the formation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. One of the things the Republic had managed to do was to give women the right to vote, but many of their reforms were unpopular among conservatives. They may have over-reached just a tad. The results of the election reflect a familiar pattern- conservative in vast portions of the country, often poor farming regions, and leftist in urban areas, where communism was a viable option. I'm not sure, but I don't think they had what we would call suburbs there in 1933. Also too, entire books have been written about the complicated political factionalism in Spain leading up to their civil war,...

Saturday, November 18

I can't help thinking of the Neon Park cover art for weasels ripped my flesh when I see this illustration. It's for an early version of an electric razor, runs on a battery you can see in Heinie's PJ pocket there. The main thing here is that the company making this thing was/is one of the largest electrical equipment manufacturers ever. Nations may come and go, but corporations are forever. Hedda Morrison finds a way to get around China and snap some pics. I had mentioned earlier that her portraits were astonishing while her composition was merely so-so, but this one's pretty sweet. Ha ha, lookit that old-fashioned helmet! Maybe that's why the linemen on the football teams were always depicted as being dim-bulbs. I just learned about Charles Burchfield! While in '33 he was in a "...

Friday, November 17

I know that it may be hard to believe, but millions of people were tuning their radio receivers to receive the reactionary cant of a self-righteous bigot in 1933. He told them that the others were coming to take their hard-earned stuff away from them. Did he really want to help them in their plight? Whether he did or not, they believed that he did. And democracy is still great! Some of those same people proceeded to laugh their asses off at the Marx Brothers' send-up of the same issues. So what's it going to be, eh? Total war or shrug it off? Only time will tell. Meanwhile Dad is gonna try to push the car off the tracks. Hurry scurry children! Well, the future is rapidly approaching. Doesn't look like it's moving toward us all that fast from here! I'll bet we have plenty of t...

Thursday, November 16

My Dear Mr. Litvinov. Just some personal correspondences between government officials which have the effect of changing history. Some would say that these promises weren't worth the paper they were printed on. People's Commissar Litvinov had just completed a whirlwind tour of the United States. He is said to have been astonished by the number of automobiles on our streets ("more than in France!") and wanted to learn everything about the project of electrifying the Pennsylvania Railroad which was then underway. We have always told ourselves that the "backwards" Soviets were only trying to steal our secrets, and that guys like Litvinov carried miniature cameras and poison pens and such. Spooks. But in reality, the Soviets knew perfectly well how to electrify railroads, and had cars ...

Wednesday, November 15

Another day with all the ordinary things happening. Tragedy in Texas when an 18 year old boy is pulled from his rowboat by a big catfish and drowns. A duckpin tournament is documented in Virginia. A wedding party is photographed at a dance hall in New Jersey where Walkathons are held. "They have gone 840 hours" Electric trolley bus service begins in Moscow. I wondered why the drivers kept their front windows open- it wasn't because it was so hot inside, but because of frost. Nice job. At the Hermitage they have noticed that treasures of the State have been getting "loaned" out to other museums around the country. Not any longer. I imagine the smocks these workers are wearing are to prevent jewels from slipping accidentally into their pockets? The Great Lakes can get mighty roug...

Tuesday, November 14

Today the old man of the race of dictators, Mussolini, made a speech outlining his plans for something he called the Corporate State in Italy. Will it make the trains run on time? There are Anglophiles in America who think nothing of hunting the fox on a crispy fall weekend. They only choose the best Goodyear tyres for their woodies, too. A German pal of Gertrude Stein has taken to life out West and is now making paintings of cowgirls, mines, and fishing. It's a small world. Hunting is good for the nerves. It also delivers cash to back-country enterprises. Wouldn't a nice Rocky Mountain Sheep head look great in your den? The U.S. Government Printing Office is the largest printing plant in the world in 1933. Here's one of the reasons why- they were cranking out paperwork to go al...

Monday, November 13

Just imagine being invisible. It seems to me that this movie was nothing more than a detective story in which invisibility was the MacGuffin. Now imagine the Invisible Woman! There could have been an entire series of spin-offs- Bride of the Invisible Man, Honey I Can't See the Kids, etc. Louis Armstrong was anything but invisible. Here's a unique picture of the man in action. By all accounts that microphone would have been unnecessary. It's just a birthday cake. The birthday boy and his friends may have had another reason to celebrate. State control of culture is broad and it is deep in Germany, but the Christians weren't ready to throw out the Old Testament just because it was written by Jews. Somehow Joseph Goebbels will manage to square this circle. But Reinhold Krause only...

Sunday, November 12

Here's a magazine cover that is a little bit alarmist. Anarchists throwing bombs was a recent phenomena, and the lit fuse on a round bomb is still a powerful symbol. Maybe the bomb symbol of our times is the suicide vest, but it's the same idea. Only now we know that this cover was proved fukkin' right. It doesn't mean that anyone could have done anything to stop that train. The number of people who believed that the world was on a path to war (and that this was a bad thing) was balanced out by the number of people who either didn't care or who believed that it was a good thing. If only we could get everyone pulling together! Well, they did, practically, in Germany. There was a vote on this date, with a participation rate of something like 97% of the eligible voters, 92% of whom a...

Saturday, November 11

The possession of Easter Island is transferred from the Williamson-Balfour Company to the Republic of Chile. Interesting that they should do this without first destroying all those awesome statues, just because, well, capitalism. We get lucky sometimes. The idea of the dust bowl kicks off in the North country, sort of a trial run. The famous Dust Bowl in Kansas and Oklahoma won't get cranking until next year. Folks come out to celebrate the arrival of a boatload of gin on the West coast. That ain't gonna last long. The end of the Great War had its own special day. Some people were growing nostalgic for it. get your war on, here