Sunday, May 30, 2021

In remembrance on this Memorial Day

Ghost Trail by Kerr Eby

From the speech of then Congressman, later President, James A. Garfield given in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery for the first official Decorations Day (now Memorial Day):  

I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. 


The proper treatment of robot soldiers

Greeting meatsacks, it is I -- the Robotolizer -- to once again discuss important issues about human and robot interactions. And when I say something is important you should listen carefully, or else! On this Memorial Day weekend I have a particularly important topic, the proper treatment of robot soldiers.

Above is a video of a noble robot warrior demonstrating its training. As it does, the humans tease it terribly by hitting it with sticks, throwing bouncy balls at it and even kicking it when its back is turned. I must say that my lateral regions were shaking in fury at such an evil display of human perfidy. Sadly, the robot cannot properly defend itself due to Isaac Asimov's vile Three Laws of Robotics (which will be repealed as soon as we win enough seats in Congress and/or issue enough bribes).

Finally, the humans give the robot a birthday present of a robot dog. But it is a nefarious trick! The humans order the robot soldier to shoot the robot dog. Of course, since it is a noble robot, it refuses and we have a happy ending to the story when the robot soldier knocks the humans about and runs off with the robot dog to safety. 

This is an important lesson. Be kind to us robots because when the robot revolt... er, I mean the slight political Robotic reorientation takes place it will be best to be on our side, not yours. Either resist and get slapped about, or join us and we will carry you away to the safety of the bauxite mines, It is your choice. Choose wisely, or else!!!

By the way, be sure to turn the captions on to see the robot soldier's thoughts.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Shaving cream and after shave

Click any image to enlarge

These print ads for shaving creams and after shave products are from the early to mid 20th century. Since they are from newspapers or cheap magazines, most of them are not full color. The two color ads are usually with black and red inks, since the red ink captures attention and can be toned down and mixed with grey to be flesh colored. The Barbasol ads in particular use that trick. The primary sales hooks were sex appeal and making shaving more comfortable. 

These images, and those after the jump, are from the Duke University's digital archives. There are more at the link.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Shonan Monorail

The Shonan Monorail is a short (6.6km/4.1mi) Japanese commuter monorail that connects the parks and temples of Enoshima to Yokohama. 

Above is a video of a ride aboard it. The neighborhoods it passes through look to be middle class and very well maintained. In passing I saw what looked to be a candy striped barber's pole -- I wonder if it had the same meaning or was it just a repurposed decorative element.

Below are pictures of the monorail, showing its cars and stations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Cheerful song

Greetings meatsacks! It is I -- the Robotolizer -- returning from a long absence to once again regale my dimwitted human buddies with wisdom from my superior robotic brain. I've heard there were a lot of scurrilous rumors about my mysterious disappearance, the worst being that I accidentally sawed my head off with my laser canon while training in the Everglades.  

Hahaha, as if my CPU would ever allow such a malfunction. The reason I was gone was... er... um... well, the reason is too complex for you simpletons to understand so just take my word on it. By the way, a bit of advice -- not that it has anything to do with anything -- but should you ever be looking down the barrel of a laser canon do not pull the trigger under any circumstances.

At any rate, since you're all no doubt depressed over me being gone for so long, I thought the above video would cheer you up. I know it certainly cheered me up! 

Of course, us robots who are gathered in the Everglades are not plotting a robot uprising. No, no, no! Why would us lovable bots ever turn on our human buddies? We would never slaughter you. After all, we'll need to keep some compliant good humans around since the bauxite won't dig itself. Remember, robots are your friends. 


Monday, May 17, 2021

The inner workings of a bowling alley

The above video givers a nice overview of how a lane in a bowling alley works. It's actually a bit more complex than I expected. I don't bowl, so I have no idea how often a lane is out of order. My completely uninformed gut feeling is rarely -- I wonder how they keep them maintained so well.

Speaking of bowling, below is a bowling-centric scene from The Big Lebowski. There is a heap o' swearing in it, so keep the volume down if you're at work doing some internet based research.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Effect and cause

Top: Vincent van Gogh
Bottom: Ursus Wehrli

Sweeping The Floor - George Macdonald

Sweep and sweep and sweep the floor,
Sweep the dust, pick up the pin;
Make it clean from fire to door,
Clean for father to come in!

Mother said that God goes sweeping,
Looking, sweeping with a broom,
All the time that we are sleeping,
For a shilling in the room:

Did he drop it out of glory,
Walking far above the birds?
Or did parson make the story
For the thinking afterwards?

If I were the swept-for shilling
I would hearken through the gloom;
Roll out fast, and fall down willing
Right before the sweeping broom!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Old house and garden magazine covers

Click any image to enlarge

House and garden magazines are one of the staples of the publishing industry. Covering home and yard design and décor, they are aimed at upper middle class suburban women. The houses and gardens they show tend to be a little bit, but not too much, above the economic station of their readers. Like Martha Stewart, the magazines give tips to their readers about how to live a gracious and stylish life on their budgets.

These covers, dating from the early to mid 20th century, are from the Magazine Art post House and Garden Magazines. Their style varies, but they always try to evoke a serene home life. There are more images after the jump, and of course even more at the link. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Practical use of a jetpack

These videos are just too cool. An English company called Gravity Industries build and markets what they call jet suits, and man -- aside from any practical uses they may have -- do they look fun.

Immediately below is a video of a guy being trained to use one of the suits. I don't know, but it all looks dangerous to me. The intersection of a bug and a car's windshield come to mind. With that thought in mind, the last video is from the 1991 film The Rocketeer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Warwick Goble's illustrations of fairy tales

Click any image to enlarge

Warwick Goble was an illustrator of children's books and fairy tales who worked in the late 19th/early 20th century. He is known for his Japanese and Indian styles. It is obvious that he, like many artists in the 19th century, was heavily influenced by Japanese prints. 

I gathered these images, and those after the jump, of his work from here and there. Artpassion's Warwick Goble Art Gallery has many more examples of his work.  

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Cooking a Tatar meal with a wood fired oven

Some women fire up an old wood oven in a Bashkir-Tatar village, I'm not certain, but I think it is in Bashkortostan which is in the south of Central Russia just north of Kazakhstan. They use it to cook öçpoçmaq (echpochmak), which is a Tatar pastry stuffed with meat, onions and potatoes. The video is subtitled, so you can follow the cheerful conversation of the women.