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Proto-Atkins, suction & ‘the rack’: Weight-loss fads in 50s Britain were as stupid as they are now
07.25.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
diets


 
Nothing is quite so reassuring as proof that the neuroses of humanity remain historically unchanged. Despite the prevailing myth that at some magical point in time, people were both naturally healthy and naturally hot, diet and exercise fads have always existed. This 1958 footage from British Pathé—which leads with “Take heart, girls, you can reduce without starvation diet!”—has a couple of super-weird “human interest” features on how to keep skinny.

There is a sort of pre-Paleo, proto-Atkins diet from a doctor who guesses that we were way healthier before the advent of agriculture gave us delicious, wonderful potatoes and bread (if you can’t tell, I have no patience for such chicanery). There are models doing what looks like the most genteel, ladylike, and totally ineffectual exercise ever. There’s a terrifying suction machine, and my favorite... “the rack,” which stretches out your body to “tone muscles” and is named after a popular pre-Enlightenment torture device.

You laugh, but I’m sure you’ll see at least five ads for a purportedly magical diet food on the Internet today—at least the old fashioned rack doesn’t preclude mashed potatoes. Just beware of the Spanish Inquisition when you’re using it, okay?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The strange, but true, story behind the Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’
07.24.2014
11:29 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 

John and I wrote “She’s Leaving Home together.” It was my inspiration. We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our song-writing we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.

While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents. Then there’s the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in “Yellow Submarine”, they weren’t real people.

—Paul McCartney to Barry Miles in 1997

The Daily Mirror story that inspired “She’s Leaving Home” was about Melanie Coe, then aged 17. “Wild child” Coe snuck out of her parents’ comfortable North London home in February of 1967. She was pregnant and afraid of what her mother might do, but had not run off with the father of her unborn child—or “a man from the motor trade,” for that matter—but rather with a croupier she’d just met. They shacked up for ten days before her parents found her. She returned home and had an abortion.

But here’s the weird part: three years earlier Coe had actually met Paul McCartney when he was the judge of a miming contest that Coe won on Ready, Steady, Go! Coe mimed to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump The Broomstick” and Macca gave her the award. Winning the contest meant Coe would be a dancer on the show for an entire year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The first film footage of Palestine circa 1896
07.23.2014
07:53 am

Topics:
History
Movies

Tags:
Palestine
Lumière Brothers

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Like an early Google Street View, the French movie pioneers brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière sent cameramen over to Palestine in 1896 to shoot the first moving images of life in the region. 

At this time, Palestine was a remnant of the Ottoman Empire with around 500,000 inhabitants—30,000 of whom lived in Jerusalem. 85% of the population were Muslim, 10% Christian and 5% were Jewish. All were subjects of the Sultan of Constantinople.

This incredible footage comes from the 93 reels recovered by Lobster Films, a film preservation company based in Paris, in 2007. Serge Bromberg, the company’s co-founder said:

…this year, we have something very special to show. In an antique shop, we have discovered 93 wonderful little camera negatives from c. 1897, all shot in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt.[...] etc), that would form an ideal 80 [minute] program of what could be among the earliest films shot in the region still in existence. … They are in wonderful condition … Not a scratch, no decomposition, and those little sprocket holes typical of the films of that year.

The clip of the Lumière’s footage shown below comes from the documentary Palestine: histoire d’une terre 1880-1950.
 

 
H/T Sabotage Times

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Hitler’s fake passport
07.23.2014
05:32 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Adolf Hitler

hitsocimglersmall
 
Adolf Hitler’s fake passport as created by the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

The SOE was established in July 1940 to organise resistance in Nazi-occupied countries. British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill ordered the SOE to “set Europe ablaze.” Hundreds of agents were sent over to France to infiltrate, spy and cause disruption to the invading German army. Key to their success was the manufacture of counterfeit identity cards and passports. These were of such quality that the SOE produced a fake passport for Adolf Hitler, which identified the Nazi dictator as Jewish “with a little moustache” and giving Mr. Hitler entry into Palestine.
 
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Via the National Archives.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER’: The speech Nixon would have given if lunar landing had failed
07.21.2014
07:53 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
NASA
Richard Nixon
Apollo 11


 
Prior to the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing, one of President Richard Nixon’s speechwriters, William Safire, who later became a long-standing political columnist, wrote a speech for Nixon to give in case the mission failed and the astronauts were stranded on the Moon. “In Event of Moon Disaster” was originally sent as a memo, dated July 18, 1969, to Nixon’s chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and is yet another argument against the moon landing being a hoax:

IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT:

The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.


AFTER THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT, AT THE POINT WHEN NASA ENDS COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE MEN:

A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to “the deepest of the deep,” concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.

 
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NASA’s 45th anniversary of moon landing original resource reel:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Communism in textiles: Soviet fabrics from the 20’s and 30’s
07.18.2014
08:31 am

Topics:
Art
Design
History

Tags:
Soviet Union
USSR
communism


 
If you walked by a set of curtains made from one of these fabrics, you might not pick up on a communist star or the CCCP acronym. Many of the designs below are thematic of classical Russian art; you see lush color, dense scapes and even the odd Orientalist trope (note the pattern with the camels).

Anything more than a quick glance however, might reveal romantic depictions of farmers and factory workers, often rendered in the angular, geometric lines of Soviet Constructivism. Even more explicit are the references to Soviet ambitions of modernization. We see tractors, cars, airplanes, trains and smoke stacks—all the promise of an industrialized workers state.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More Soviet textiles after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘The Executive Coloring Book’ is a vicious satire of post-war America (and self-important jerks)
07.11.2014
03:09 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs
History

Tags:
The Executive Coloring Book


 
I had a pretty good laugh reading The Executive Coloring Book published in 1961 by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman, and Martin A. Cohen. Even though this book is well over 50 years old, it’s witty, smart and still kinda… relatable? Who doesn’t want to pop a “pink pill” at the end of the day after working at a dull job? That’s evergreen. Timeless!

According to A Hole in the Head blog:

The early 60’s showed the strain on an America post-war populations that were struggling with the idea that they fought for freedom only to be forced to live in glass buildings and conform to the ‘status quo’. It was the age of The Apartment and The Sweet Smell of Success.

While some of its humor is dated, I got a kick out it. Maybe you will too. You may even want to print out these puppies and color them in all grey…


 

 

 

 

 

 
Read the rest after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Medieval Times: Attack of the giant killer rabbits!
07.11.2014
07:17 am

Topics:
Animals
History

Tags:
rabbits

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So, you thought rabbits were cute, cuddly bundles of fun? Well, don’t be fooled, for underneath their furry exterior is a ruthless psychopath just twitching to wreak bloody vengeance with swords and axes. As academics will tell you, those who fail to learn from history are cursed to repeat it. Just look at these panels from medieval manuscripts which clearly prove giant killer rabbits did once roam the Earth battling humans for its control—and you thought Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘s “killer bunny” was a joke?

Yes, we were warned by these medieval writers, and warned again by The Night of the Lepus—which as we now know, was not just a bad trashy B-movie horror but a guide to saving the world from giant killer bunny rabbits!
 
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Rabbits lay in wait for the human to kill their dreaded enemy the dragon, before killing the brave knight.
 
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The rabbits prepared for battle.
 
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They were led by the evil killer Thumper.
 
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The giant killer rabbits showed the humans no mercy.

More Medieval killer bunnies after the hop….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Ghosts’ photobomb portraits of their loved ones

1ghoshope.jpg
 
Con-man and so-called pioneer of “spirit photography” William Hope made a tidy sum with his corny pictures of ghosts photo-bombing loved ones’ portraits.

Hope started his career in England as a carpenter, but in 1905 he quickly wised up to the potential fame and fortune that could be made from passing off double-exposed pictures as “genuine” images of ghosts. His photos achieved considerable acclaim with some notable fans including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who penned The Case for Spirit Photography in support of Hope’s work. Mind you, the creator of Sherlock Holmes was unfortunately someone who believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Yet, the need of many to be reassured of life after death encouraged Hope to form the Crewe Circle—a group of like-minded spirit photographers, which included Archbishop Thomas Colley—to make money out of bereaved families after the slaughter of World War One.

Thankfully, Hope was eventually exposed as a fraud in 1922 by “psychic investigator” Harry Price, who marked Hope’s photographic plates, which when printed proved Hope was double exposing negatives to achieve his famed spirit portraits. Price wrote in his report:

William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter… It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes.

It’s easy to think our super-smart minds wouldn’t have been fooled by Hope’s fakes (ahem), but one need only turn on the television to witness a host of TV mediums claiming they can talk to the dead to appreciate we’re just as dumb.

Looking at these photos, it’s not the Scooby-Doo like phantoms that intrigues me, but the faces of the sitters, and their dress—heavy wool and Tweed clothes—which must have made the wearer uncomfortable and no doubt highly odorous.
 
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More ghostly portraits, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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British Falklands War telex reads like dialogue from ‘Dr. Strangelove’
07.09.2014
06:31 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Falklands


Say what you will about this, but I’d believe Thatcher in a tank over George W. in a flight suit any day.
 
There are moments of historical record that are just so farcical, they inspire immediate concern for the competence of those who hold political and military power. Below is the final telex exchange between London and the Falkand Islands, just before the invasion was confirmed in the UK. The correspondence took place around 4:30 pm, April 2nd, 1982—well after Argentinian troops had gained control. However, the Ministry of Defence operative in London just couldn’t seem to wrap his head around the idea of an invasion. You can somehow hear the irritation from the Falklands end as they attempt some pretty easily decoded subtlety. Unfortunately, the London telex appears to be manned by the most literal human being on earth

LON: (London): HELLO THERE WHAT ARE ALL THESE RUMOURS WE HEAR THIS IS LON
FK: (Falklands): WE HAVE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS
LON: WHAT ABOUT INVASION RUMOURS
FK: THOSE ARE THE FRIENDS I WAS MEANING
LON: THEY HAVE LANDED
FK: ABSOLUTELY
LON: ARE YOU OPEN FOR TRAFFIC IE NORMAL TELEX SERVICE
FK: NO ORDERS ON THAT YET ONE MUST OBEY ORDERS
LON: WHOSE ORDERS
FK: THE NEW GOVERNORS
LON: ARGENTINA
FK: YES
LON: ARE THE ARGENTINIANS IN CONTROL
FK: YES YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH THOUSANDS OF TROOPS PLUS ENORMOUS NAVY SUPPORT WHEN YOU ARE ONLY 1600 STRONG. STAND BY.

After that the line went dead, because the Argentinians fucking cut it. This is because—and I’m not sure if you caught this—Argentinian troops had descended upon the island and they are in control now. Where is your common tongue, Falkland Brits? There can be no *wink-wink-nudge-nudge* in war time! Did you learn nothing from the candid diplomacy of President Merkin Muffley?!? This is why the sun now sets on the British Empire!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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