Tuesday, August 4

Monday, May 15

Took a little trip along the trolleys of Maine this morning. They were still running there up through the late 30's at least, maybe later. I would not have thought that trolley lines (that is, inter-urban lines) were still a thing then, but a look at a schedule shows that it was a pretty cheap way to travel if you didn't have a car (and if you didn't mind a 40 mile trip taking 2 1/2 hours!)Anyhoo, Adventure! I like that there were maybe a dozen of these pulps out there in 1933. I enjoy looking at the covers and imagining the storylines they illustrate- the thief in the Arabian Bazaar, the Canadian Mountie after his man, or the old, old favorite, the Highwayman.We love stories of highwaymen, mainly because we like those who flout the law (as long as they're only robbing from the rich, ...

Sunday, May 14

Science fiction was science fact in 1933. Sure, many scoffed and laughed at the little rocket clubs with their dreams of interplanetary flight. Zucker had what might have been a practical plan of delivering mail to remote islands via rockets- in fact he nearly sold the British Postal Service on the idea. But lacking any real understanding of propulsion and guidance he wasn't enough of a rocket geek to actually figure out how to do it.Wernher von Braun was the geek to do it, and his rockets delivered a lot of "mail" to Britain toward the end of WWII, but of course, he's become something of a hero now. Would have been interesting if he had refused to create death machines, right? There's another interesting bunch of geeks who were getting it on out in sunny California at this time. T...

Saturday, May 13

Browsing through the May 6, 1933 issue of the New Yorker I was struck by this short story. It has a "voice" that you don't hear these days, although it was one which was highly regarded when I was growing up. It's sort of dispassionate, sort of removed, what you might call an objective voice. Matter-of-fact.I've written a short story in this voice. I worked hard on it, trying to capture the intensity of an experience I'd had. When I had the thing written as clearly as I could, when I had honed and refined it until I felt like "yeah, this is it!" ----I gave it to another writer to check out. She said "it reads like stage directions." Not so good, not the effect I was hoping for. "The Short Life of Emily" is the sort of thing I was hoping for. I didn't expect it in a magazine from ...

Friday, May 12

Under Roosevelt, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration was tasked with granting money to the states for the purpose of giving jobs to people. There had been relief programs in place before this, but it's above my pay grade to explain the differences- maybe it was a question of scale. Over the next 20 months this program distributed the equivalent of $55.4 billion for programs to train and provide employment to people. The New Deal's success or failure and its implications for "Free Enterprise", "America", "Democracy", or "Economics" are now more a matter of opinion than of objective reality. The reality that I understand is that through this program people were given, more or less directly, a means to live honorably, which "The Market" had failed to provide for them. As always,...

Thursday, May 11

On this day the House of Saud invested a Crown Prince. Sadly, I can find no photographs of Saud of Saud at his investment, but in general the royals seemed to love their children, and had a lot of them. This young man had to wait 20 years to become King. There were more tornadoes in the USA today, killing 54 people in Tennessee and Kentucky. This was the seventh major storm series already in 1933. Quite a bad season. I'm posting less date-specific images today however. The cartoonist who produced the hilarious image of Emily Post sipping tea with her feet up on the table created the Tree of Modern Art with its upper branches entwined. Miguel Covarrubias is well worth a goog, he's smart and funny and seems to capture the off-balance feeling of the times.The photograph below the tre...

Wednesday, May 10

Two public protests, driven by very different motives- opposite motives? It seems easy to juxtapose these images for a sort of whipsaw effect, but what jumped out at me was the "Death to Lynchers" sign.The book burnings were encouraged by Goebbels- in fact, he's shown speaking at one of them- but they weren't his idea originally. Some students had come up with this on their own. Goebbels saw the potential and provided fuel.Meanwhile, back in the states, nobody in power was interested in fueling up any public demonstrations. They'd only recently sent General Douglas MacArthur into D.C. to bust the heads of the Bonus Army. Still, the arc of the moral universe may be bent toward justice.

Tuesday, May 9th

Today's central image is the central panel of a mural by Diego Rivera, called "Mankind at the Crossroads". It was intended to be displayed in the newly constructed Rockefeller Plaza. But that mural was plastered over, and later destroyed.Could this moment be the very axis of the core of time? Or just one of many?I've taken the background colors of all today's images from Rivera's mural. In doing so, I noticed that it's a very dark palette- the areas that look bright are only bright in contrast to the rest. And this is in contrast to what I would expect from Mexican art- so there's something I learned today.My use of background colors continues to evolve. They correlate with the images, in sometimes obvious ways like Tuscan Red being used for images of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, but us...

Monday, May 8th

Gandhi. How can you not be affected by this guy? And such a fine actor! It's hard for me not to get emotional about the "little brown man" who chased the British out of India, mainly by not eating. If you want to consider what we mean when we use the word "saintliness", here's a good reference. A Christ-like figure, but probably Jesus would have been called Gandhi-like if Gandhi had come first, right? The way time works, it doesn't much matter. So, this particular lump in the blanket of time deserves the color white, and deserves a full page. The only other notable thing I've found on this date so far was that Uncle Joe Stalin told his crew to "stop unwarranted mass arrests" because "Everyone who feels like it, including people who, strictly speaking, have no right to do so...