Friday, November 21, 2014

Handsome men

Stuart in Berlin, 2014; by Jean Baptiste Huong

Courtney Grant

Guilherme Melo, by Kiu Meireles

Henrique Hansmann, by Cristiano Madureira

Alesandro, by Fedya Ili

Romain, Paris 2014, by Jean Baptiste Huong

Rob Polmann

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy birthday, James Buchanan

James Buchanan, utterly worthless as president
Today, April 23, is the birthday of America's worst president.

Ever since historians have been polled on the issue, James Buchanan consistently rated among the top three stinkers, presidentially speaking. Lately he has been drifting to the nadir, behind Warren G. Harding, who had a nicer personality.

(It's interesting to note that two of worst three presidents--James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson--bracket the best president, Abraham Lincoln.)

In his inaugural address in 1856, Buchanan called the territorial issue of slavery "happily, a matter of but little practical purpose." Slave states, he argued, should be free to conduct their affairs as they saw fit. (Never mind the abomination of enslaving another human being.) As slave states began seceding from the Union in late 1860, Buchanan dithered. He was overjoyed to leave the issue for Lincoln to handle.

Buchanan lived to see the end of the Civil War. Just before his death in 1868, he said, "History will vindicate my memory from every unjust aspersion."

Wrong again, Jimmy.

By the way, Buchanan was the only native Pennsylvanian to be elected president. Pennsylvania has not produced a presidential nominee since then. Nor should we try, lest we embarrass ourselves again.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Retro life

Mid-century living room, by Viviana Agostinho

Coupe at a drive-in, 1960s

Newsweek, November 23, 1959

Woolworth's Record Department in Utica, New York, 1958

'Technology Meets Pop Culture'

1959 17-inch Sylvania Dualette from Vintage TV Museum

Movie marque in San Jose, California, 1970s

Popular Science, 1977

New Zealand fitness poster, 1940s-1955

Bell Telephone System, 1958

Great Falls, Montana; returning from three-week vacation, July 27, 1964

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sex sells even with old-time packing crates

Before the introduction of Playboy in the 1950s, horny straight men had to get their jollies through advertising that was suggestive. These ads included the labels affixed to the ends of wooden crates of fruits and vegetables. (Keep in mind that the open crates were placed right on the store shelves--no fancy point-of-sale displays that you see in today's supermarkets.) Growers and distributors got the idea that they could sell more perishables to grocers if they used sex on the labels. Why? Housewives usually did the shopping back then, so that can't be the reason. But male grocers? They might enjoy seeing sexy female images on the crates. So, if the grocer has only a limited amount of shelf space, why not choose a crate that he finds attractive?

And they grew apples in Hawaii?

Friday, July 12, 2013

A trip through the Way Back machine. And a lot was not pretty then

Mr. Peabody and Sherman with the Way Back Machine, early 1960s

Boston 1949, photo by Cornell Capa

A Nike missile battery, late 1950s and early 1960s

Early Burger King restaurant in Tampa, Florida

Pink was the rage in the early 1950s

Zebras drew carriages in New York City in the 1890s until the early 20th Century

The 'American Way' in the 1950s. Today economic disparities are again widening.