Saturday, February 15, 2020

Gone fishing

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I'm going top be out of town for a bit and it is likely I won't be posting much for a week or two. Consider this post to be my postcard from my vacation paradise -- "having a good time, wish you were here, etc., etc.".


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Single screen movie theaters

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In the golden age of Hollywood theater chains were important for distributing films. Most of the theaters were single screen. In keeping with the glamor of Hollywood the theaters often had elaborate facades and interiors. As the industry evolved single screen theaters gradually gave way to multiplexes. Many of the old theaters still exist, some in disrepair, some functioning as art houses, and some now serving entirely different purposes.

These pictures, and those after the jump, are from the Library of Congress digital archive.


Sunday, February 09, 2020

Hugh Hefner and Lenny Bruce engage in a blabfest



In the late 1950s and early 1960s Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame tried to break into the weekend late night talk/variety show market. The premise of his show was that you were at a high-end cocktail party. The camera would wander through the party and you might see a famous musician playing the piano, or singers, or encounter celebrities just chit-chatting.

Above is a video of Hugh and Lenny Bruce talking amidst a group of admirers. I had never seen any of Bruce's work before and what was striking is how unfunny he was. Instead he came across as a bit of a doofus with all his hepcat talk and finger snapping.

It really wasn't a bad premise for a show, but a lot of its problems was Hugh Hefner always put a damper on things when he appeared. Even as a young lad he always struck me as a pretentious pipe smoking drip in an expensive suit whenever he was on screen.

All in all the above clip is an interesting look at an artificial fantasy land from a time long past. A reminder that trendiness always devolves into goofiness as the years pass by.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Steam power without fire


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Above is an illustration and a picture a soda locomotive. They were early steam engines that did not use fire to heat water into steam. Rather, they used a chemical reaction that generated heat when water and caustic soda were combined. They were dangerous, inefficient and had short range  before the soda became too diluted to provide effective propulsion.

They saw limited use in Germany and the U.S. during the 19th century, but fell out of favor quickly.

Below is a modern fireless locomotive. They use a reservoir of compressed air or steam to power the engine. They suffer the same drawback of needed to be frequently recharged. However, they have been used in mining and industrial environments.


Saturday, February 01, 2020

In plain sight

A beetle hiding among beetles at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
She spent an astonishing amount of time in attending lectures and demonstrations, distributing literature for the Junior Anti-Sex League, preparing banners for Hate Week, making collections for the savings campaign, and such-like activities. It paid, she said; it was camouflage. If you kept the small rules you could break the big ones. ― George Orwell, 1984

Friday, January 31, 2020

The voters triumph over the pencil pushers

Scene from an earlier Brexit protest
Against a backdrop of the tears of EU bureaucrats Great Britain has finally been able to implement the Brexit it voted for years ago. Screw you obstructionists. Here's wishing congratulations and good luck going forward to our friends across the Atlantic.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tarzan through the ages

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These are Tarzan movie posters, in chronological order from oldest to newest. Regardless, no matter what decade, he is a big, goofy guy in a loin cloth hanging around the jungle with pretty girls and his ape buddies. In most of the posters it appears that his jungle had a bevy of wild critters and a handy barber shop as well.

They are from 100 Years of Movie Poster's archive: Tarzan 1918-2016. There are more after the jump, and more at the link.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bo-Taoshi (and people wonder why women live longer then men)



The above video shows some Bo-Taoshi matches. It is a Japanese sport where the goal is to lower the other team's pole to 30 degrees or less. Each team has 150 players, 75 to attack and 75 to defend. It used  to be common at high school sports festivals, but is now banned by most, only the National Defense Academy of Japan still does it annually.

The parenthetical quote is from Emily Bluntt in the comments to the video. That pretty much sums it up -- it is the type of rough housing that appeals to the male brain. Looks like fun in a painful sort of a way.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Pictures from Scott’s 1911/12 Antarctic expedition

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These are pictures, taken by Herbert George Ponting, of Robert Scott's expedition to the South Pole in the early 20th century. The expedition was a failure, Scott was beat to the South Pole by Admundson by over a month and he and his companions died on the way back to their base camps. However, Pointing had not made the run to the pole and survived the expedition.

The pictures, and those after the jump are from Flashbak's The Great White Silence: Herbert Ponting’s Portraits from Captain Scott’s Antarctic Expedition. The are more pictures and details of the expedition at the link.


Monday, January 20, 2020

A cheap lunch in Russia



The above video is of a food court/cafeteria thingy attached to a department store in a small city outside of Moscow. The lady filming it does a nice job explaining the food and what each item costs.

The décor is utilitarian but, as a Floridian, sitting in a heavy winter jacket while eating  seems unpleasant. As for the food selection, my grandparents were Slovakian and Hungarian and I share their notion that the farther north you go in Europe the worse the cuisine gets. Then again, your taste buds may disagree with mine.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

All that there is

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It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive. - C. W. Leadbeater

Monday, January 13, 2020

Making big pieces smaller



An older expat and his Thai family run a small cottage industry where they cut bamboo into smaller sticks that are used as skewers for barbequing bits of meat. I liked the sounds of the family talking, the birds in the background and the rain on the tarp. However, the shot of the ants crawling on his legs and feet gave me the shivers.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Etchings by Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis was a 20th Century printmaker and artist. Like Edward Hopper, who he briefly taught printmaking techniques, he set many of his works in nighttime New York neighborhoods. The Great Depression ended his commercial career and he spent the later years of his life teaching printmaking in relative obscurity.

These examples of his work, and those after the jump, are from the Messy Nessy post Moonlight Etchings of the Forgotten Artist who Taught Edward Hopper. There are more at that link.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Fast food from a 7-Eleven in Singapore



A tour of a 7-11 in Singapore that shows us the food and drinks they have available. Needless to say, the choices are quite different then my local Floridian 7-11 with its hotdogs, cheeseburgers, Mexican foods, slurpies and what-not.

I must say, while who knows how good the quality is considering it is convenience store fast food after all, a lot of the stuff looked interesting. The elaborately packaged coconut near the end of the video was the most surprising to me.
   

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year

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Happy New Year to you all. 2020 is upon us, and hopefully this year the promises of the 21st Century will finally dawn. Enough with the dystopian non-21st Century hellhole years we've been saddled with for the last two decades. I want my flying cars, rocket ship vacations, conveyor belt sidewalks and form fitting future fashions clinging to 21st Century babes and I want them now!

Regardless, onward and upward is my motto. May this year be even more prosperous and better than the last.