Saturday, December 22, 2012

No Room at the Speakeasy, or, I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas

Barring a Christmas miracle, I'll be away from the computer on the 23d, 24th, and 25th. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday as it was celebrated in the 1920s (in pop culture, at least):

By John Held Jr, probably the most popular cartoonist of the era.


Clara Bow, "The It Girl."

Christmas card.

Didn't that company just go belly up?

 A Salacious Santa.

You never know what Santa might have picked up after a trip around the world


Gloria Swanson is ready for her close-up, Mr DeMille.

Christmas at the Fitzgeralds.

Here's an Italian postcard. They had flappers, too, though they seemed to dress a little warmer.

The automobile had become more commonplace.

Why, even Santa was driving one.

Christmas in LA.

Prohibition did put a damper on things. If you're not familiar with 1920s fashions, I can assure you what that gentleman holding the spray bottle is wearing was way out of style, even back then. But maybe that's the whole point. It's the fogies who want to spoil all the fun.


Mary Pickford.

That "wotever it is" looks like a paint roller brush, doesn't it?

OK, I see a keyboard, but where's the screen?

Louise Brooks.  Her signature bob hair style defined the flapper look. Speaking of flappers...

...not everyone had a positive view of them.

OK, I've shown you the side of the 1920s that the purveyors of popular culture wanted you to see. They wanted you see it back then, and they want you see it now. But for most people, it wasn't as glamorous as all that. Here's some pictures of ordinary people celebrating Christmas:

OK, enough with the ordinary people already. One last look at Clara Bow:

All of the above photos were culled from various places around the Internet (unimaginable in the 1920s)

This was fun, and I might do it again next Christmas. To avoid repeating myself, though, I'll have to jump ahead ten years to the 1930s.

Expect a lot of Salvation Army Santas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Daniel Inouye 1924-2012

Politician. Democratic senator from Hawaii 1963-2012

"In 1941, the date December 7th was a day that evoked anger, fierce patriotism and dangerous racism. Soon after that day, I suddenly found myself, pursuant to a decision by the government and along with thousands of Japanese Americans declared 4C, enemy aliens. It was a difficult time. I was 17."

Enemy alien or not, Inouye enlisted in the US Army, and lost part of his right arm during a charge on a machine gun nest in Italy.

“This is my country...Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that. Many are now struggling today from Harlem to Da Nang that they may say this with conviction. This is our country.”

--Keynote address to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Yes, THAT 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

"There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force,
its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and
the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest,
free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."

In the late 1980s, Inouye chaired a special committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quips and Quotations

Random violence is incredibly infectious.

--Nicholas D. Kristof

We are a country of excess. So it's not the violence, per se, but the exacerbation and constant repetition.

--Norman Lear
Anyone with a gun can go out and commit an act of terrorism, even without a political affiliation.

--Aaron McGruder

What does it tell you that applications for guns since the shooting are up 41 percent in Colorado, and that our cameras found about 50 people in line at one gun shop yesterday outside Denver?

--Brian Williams, shortly after the shootings at Columbine.

Eighty-six percent of the gun death of children under the age of 14 internationally is right here in the United States of America. It is madness.

--Congresswoman Nita Lowry (D-New York)

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.

--Isaac Newton

Pain is real when you get other people to believe in it. If no one believes in it but you, your pain is madness or hysteria.

--Naomi Wolf

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.

--James A. Baldwin

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.

--C. Wright Mills
In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.

--Carl Sandburg

Friday, December 7, 2012

This Day in History

On December 7, 1941, one empire inadvertently begat another:


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quips and Quotations (Apocalyptic Arias Edition)

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.
Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.
I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.
Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.
Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.
Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

--John Fogerty

When the saints go marchin in
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
And when the sun refuse to shine
And when the sun refuse to shine
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the sun refuse to shine
And when the moon turns red with blood
And when the moon turns red with blood
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the moon turns red with blood

--19th century spiritual and 20th century jazz standard (go figure.)

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy]
And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.
-- P. F. Sloan, by way of Barry McGuire

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes,
an aeroplane - Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn,
world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs.
Feed it off an aux speak,, grunt, no, strength,
The ladder starts to clatter with fear fight down height.
Wire in a fire, representing seven games, a government for hire and a combat site.
Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck.
Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing!
Fine, then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do.
Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right - right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

--Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe

I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my god and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
'Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time,
So I can end my time with you!!

--Jim Steinman, by way of Meat Loaf

In time the Rockies may crumble,
Gibraltar may tumble,
There're only made of clay,
But our love is here to stay.

--The Gerswhins