Sunday, September 27

Thursday, September 7

The Rape of Europe may have seemed inevitable to some folks in 1933. But the counter argument- that the Great War was so terrible that no one would ever consider going there again- seemed undeniable. Trouble is, some folks like seem to like it. Or profit from it. So how much does it cost to keep a battleship, a heavy cruiser, and 28 support vessels on station for a day in '33? This may have seemed like a bargain to certain "American Interests" with skin in the Cuba game, but hell, they weren't actually paying for it. And in case you're wondering, yes, that's the same USS Indianapolis that will figure in a memorable scene in a movie about a giant shark. Some survivors of the original inhabitants of the California coast. Old timers! But there's modern architecture in the U.S.S.R., ...

Wednesday, September 6

For every American who packed a bag and headed for the big city in '33 there were probably 20 who did not. Not bold enough, or desperate enough, or bored enough, or folks held in place by family duties- or by a lack of imagination? It seems that there was plenty of imagination. The cover price of these particular monthlies was on the upper middle of the range for magazines. The content wasn't meant for kids, but for dreamers. Ain't that America?

Tuesday, September 5

The Revolt of the Sergeants, day 2. Five co-rulers are selected to run the government after the Cuban President dismisses his cabinet and resigns. Say, who is that tall American diplomat on the left? Sumner? So apparently he was in the thick of things, or at least, was in close contact with the revolutionaries. Other news reports that a US cruiser and two destroyers arrived to "protect American interests" in Havana. The marine's letters to home describe his experiences of the past several weeks. Lucky they didn't have to shoot any of the "natives". Do you wonder what sort of reality that young marine was raised up in? Here's a picture of a class from a school in Texas, where he was from. I guess they didn't encourage kids to smile for the camera there. At first I thought that a...

Monday, September 4

The Revolt of the Sergeants begins in Cuba. Imagine, living in a country where people have taken to the streets forcing their corrupt leader and his cronies out of the country and causing the hated head of the secret police to commit suicide, then getting hit with a natural disaster that reveals just how weak the interim government is. Stars have aligned for a certain non-commissioned officer. Meanwhile, there are two U.S. Navy destroyers in the harbor, and gee, I don't know where that American diplomat Sumner Welles got to. The question isn't whether this could be a tipping point, it's who is doing the tipping. Seems to me that there was a little spook craft going on behind the scenes here, maybe some encouraging words spoken into someone's receptive ear? It's good to be king. ...

Sunday, September 3

Not everyone in America can make it to the Chicago World's Fair so they decide to hold thousands of smaller fairs all around the country. None of them will have such an astonishing array of souvenirs, however. There's an unusual sort of causeway down in Texas, which must have been a lot of fun to take your date over and hear her scream as you take your hands off the wheel and hit the gas! Gotta sound the klaxon to warn the folks fishing though, so they could move over to the other side and let you pass. This will be your last chance to enjoy it- there's that storm coming across the gulf from Cuba. The Blueshirts in the Irish republic were banned. Quite a unique occurrence in 1933, to have a fascist organization banned rather than elected as leaders. They burrowed into the arms of a...

Saturday, September 2

J.P. Morgan succeeded in getting a British publisher to withdraw "all traceable copies" of Hitler as Frankenstein and insert a note denying the truth of an assertion therein. This fun fact led me through a forest of assumptions.My initial response was "sure, big money can squash the truth, man!", but because of the Senate hearing earlier this year with Morgan and the midget, I was willing to cut him some slack. I found an online copy of the book, and found both the note and the passage in question, and in conclusion? Still no decision. The accusation is pretty strange, because author Steel includes other, unnamed, institutions. For him to call out JP Morgan by name you would think he had solid evidence for it. I dunno, maybe it was an oversight, maybe they thought Morgan would let i...

Friday, September 01

An epic American saga begins as author Upton Sinclair announces his campaign for Governor of California. Talk about having a plan for that! He begins by doing what he does best- writing. His campaign pamphlet takes us to a time in the near future, and it's a socialist world. Workers own and control the course of major businesses. No one need live in fear of poverty or hunger. Imagine. States are voting on the repeal of Prohibition. States that have voted to approve are shown in white, and states not having voted yet in black. I suppose it wasn't necessary to have a color for states that voted against repeal. A major hurricane travels the length of Cuba. Boy, I sure hope our brave sailors in their destroyers in Havana Harbor are safe! Looks like quite a surge there. Even back ...

Thursday, August 31

A long month draws to a close. I hadn't known about this fellow Theodor Lessing before, but he is said to have argued that "history, having no objective validity, amounts to a mythic construct imposed on an unknowable reality, in order to give it some semblance of meaning." Perfect. Like Leonor Fini, he liked cats. He also liked to argue about things, and this led him to denouncing a town ordinance which sought to exterminate all cats after a family of four was bitten by an angry one. This eerily presaged his own murder by Nazis, who would of course eventually pass national ordinances seeking to exterminate various humans. Speaking of Nazis, young Leni was starring in what I believe was her last acting role- at least, acting in the movies. She would assume a larger role as the dire...

Wednesday, August 30

While pulling on the threads of the waves of time, a small knot came unraveled yesterday. Several years back I had come across some photos of a couple playing in the nude in the water, taken in 1933. I didn't know who the photographer was, or who the people were- well, the internet is like that most of the time. So I was looking at a collection of photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson and yo! There were these pictures! Because Henri was famous for his candid shots, and because these were obviously not so candid, I had to wonder what the connection was. Turns out that in the European art scene everybody knew everybody else, and the woman in the pictures was an up-and-coming surrealist, Leonor Fini. Her LES AMIES which I see anglicized as "Girl Friends" is an early work, from '33. Can you...

Tuesday, August 29

There were more ads for tires than any other single thing in '33, except maybe for soft-drinks. Back then all auto tires had tubes, so flats were a lot more common. Think of how many people worked as sign painters- nice healthy outdoors job!A lot of claims were made for beverages that would keep you awake, give you pep, or were just plain good for you. The White Rock folks are running a try-hard campaign, for sure. I mean, "It thinks of tomorrow"?Now Camels- don't ever change. What kind of a looser smokes Spudz? Light 'em up here.