Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dodging Bullets

This ad is for real, from a real website.

How ever powerful gunfire becomes, the technology of bullet-deflection will always need to match and surpass it. The weapons, in turn, become more powerful still. It’s an arms race, albeit inter-human, with no end in sight.

WIll the number of gun deaths decrease with legislation? Perhaps we will get to find out in the near future. In the meantime, some images of bulletproofing, which, sadly, is the only form of gun control we really have now.

And no, the BulletBlocker Backpack would not have saved the lives of those gunned down in Newtown.

"The best marksman of the New York Police is shooting at
a man behind bulletproof glass," 1931. (source)

Kevlar vest test

Another BulletBlocker product.

Soft-body armor testing

Library of Congress photo, 1923

Popular Science, April, 1933 (source)
Bullets crashed and ricocheted recently in an exciting test of a new shield for policemen at Chicago, Ill. Mounted on casters, the four-foot shield of specially hardened metal affords protection for one police officer in storming barricades or entering besieged houses in the face of gangster fire. As he pushes the shield forward on its casters, the policeman can look ahead through a slot in the metal and tire through a small loophole beneath it. The shield guards against machine guns.

Test for a bulletproof material called Dur-o-lite.

Handy BulletBlocker chart!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Keeper

I had no idea in 2001 that I would have a blog now, but for some reason, I knew to save Nigel Holmes's In Style Oscar infographic for the last 12 years.

Click image to view larger.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trade Signs: The Eyes Have It

“They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.”

“They,” of course, are the all-seeing eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, Fitzgerald’s fictional oculist from The Great Gatsby, whose weathered billboard gazed unblinking, over the “valley of ashes” (borough of Queens) and all who traveled between Long Island and Manhattan.

Perhaps I will eventually post the barber’s giant straight-razor advertising tonsorial services, or the dentist’s enormous tooth, but right now these disembodied eyes in their many incarnations are getting a post of their own.
(Images are from auction sites unless noted. TOP)

Two-sided sign, SOURCE

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Late-Afternoon Valentine

I collected these heart-shaped rocks from the beach this past summer on the island of Gotland, in Sweden. Weathered, scarred, and misshapen, the bad poetry absolutely writes itself.

I usually keep my hearts of stone in a box (you see what I mean about the bad poetry?), but I took them out today for Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Found Fashion Snaps

It’s Fashion Week in NYC--as good an excuse as any to run these anonymous snapshots from eBay. Gone are the identities and any personal connection to the subjects. The clothing has taken over as subject matter, much as an old car or landmark might.

This girl might very well be showing off a creation of her own, as these popular circle skirts were often homemade. Here's one for sale on eBay now!

Sure, it was junior's bar mitzvah, but mom was not
about to be upstaged.

Man after man promised they would make
her a famous movie star, and she
always believed them.

The Princess Di look to a tee.

Clearly, about to make the scene ...

Career gals

Wonderful button passages.

There was a time when young girls weren't allowed
to wear animal prints or black.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Save Grand Central

As we celebrate Grand Central Terminal’s centennial this week, I think about what I can’t help myself from doing whenever I’m there, which is to tilt my head back in surrender to that heavenly ceiling. Then, when my head returns to its straight-ahead position, I inevitably shake it in disbelief knowing that a mere 41 years after the building’s completion, greedy minds were already scheming to tear it down.

In 1954, a plan to replace the structure with an 80-story skyscraper was successfully thwarted, as was a plan proposed in 1960 for “Grand Central Bowl,” a three-story bowling alley above the waiting room. Within the next few years, Penn Station would be torn down and the Landmarks Preservation Law would be enacted. GCT was now protected--end of story, right? Well, no because we are dealing with prime New York real estate, during a development boom.

In 1969, Penn Central presented a plan for a Marcel Breuer-designed building that would effectively block out the terminal (right). Of course the plan was turned down by the City, but the railroad was not about to take no for an 
answer. Penn Central sued the City of New York claiming that landmark protection violated the part of the 5th amendment which states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The State Supreme Court of New York ruled in favor of the railroad, and GCT’s landmark status was overturned.

Breuer proposal

Enter Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who had already demonstrated a passion for preservation while she lived in the White House. It was now 1975 (as the design of the above button clearly indicates) and thanks to her involvement with the Municipal Art Society, the situation would finally command the public attention and outrage it deserved. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the landmarks law was upheld, confirming that the protection of historic buildings for the public good was indeed, constitutional. Read more details here and here.

The “Save Grand Central” button along with “Save the Bandshell” and “Save the Beacon,” are from the collection of the New York Historical Society.



These next two are from my personal collection. New Yorkers might remember them. In 1991 the City threatened to close the Central Park Zoo due to a fiscal crisis. The "radio" in need of salvation was WRVR, the only all-jazz radio station in the city, which turned out to not be as lucky as the polar bear. And can you guess where the big fundraiser-concert for the station was held? Why the Beacon Theatre, of course.

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