The worst kind of change is the sort that is thrust upon you. The best kind is the kind you choose yourself, because you probably don’t want change at all and so you set it aside. I’m the latter, alas, and also probably for good - restless people make bad decisions, that whole “inability of a man to sit by himself in a room” for a while.

Exact quote - “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Pascal. Never quite agreed with that. I always seem to pair it with Fizgerald’s quote: “In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.” Three o’clock is about right, wouldn’t you say? But why a dark night of the soul, and not the dark night of the soul? Why a real dark night? Does the line need “real”? Yes, if it’s conversational. Otherwise it sounds a bit melodramatic, a bit adolescent and emo, except that it’s Fitzgerald, and you know the guy had some dark nights. Some real dark night.

Well, no change today, and maybe no change tomorrow. Boats ceaseless carried on by the current, borne ceaselessly into the mid-day. In the actual dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the afternoon.

I hope I never have to explain what the hell I’m talking about.







Trust me, this is a TV Tuesday.

We don’t hear much about climate change these days. Or perhaps there’s just as much news, and we tune it out because that’s so . . . that’s so then. We’re working our way out of a sinkhole no one expected, and the free-floating alarmism of 2019 seems a quaint indulgence. It’s easier to tell people they’re going to have to stop eating meat when there’s lots of meat in the supermarket.

I am interested in previous periods of climate concern. Obligatory, weary disclaimer: yes yes I know the fact that they were wrong then doesn’t mean they’re wrong now. The 70s fear of the imminent Ice Age is often mentioned, usually by people who love to point out how the narrative did a pole-reversal, but the one that interests me is the 50s nuclear-testing weather worries. It shows up in some elements of the surviving popular culture - often in a radio show where it’s mentioned in passing, an observation, and you get the feeling that it was one of those things the smart, involved, thinking public knew about. Hence mentioning it without particulars was a sign you were one of the smart, involved, thinking public.

Here’s a few moments from What’s My Line, August 7, 1954.

They weren’t kidding.

Another time:

Five thousand people sleeping on the beach.

Anyway, the weather felt off, and surely all this nuclear messing-around was the cause. From The Weather Is Usually Unusual: Nuclear Weapons Testing in the Age of Atmospheric Anxiety, 1945-1963:

In February of 1946, the Nobel Laureate physicist Victor Hess gave a widely covered speech warning that the upcoming nuclear test series, Operation Crossroads, could potentially trigger a year of continuous rain across the Northern Hemisphere.

This was new to me:

Fear of our effects upon the atmosphere was not restricted to nuclear testing. The main culprit for extreme weather right after WWII was not testing but rather “cloud seeding,” or the inducement of rain through the atmospheric dispersal of dry ice or silver iodide, a technique that has, to this day, never been proven definitively to work. Public belief in the ability to modify the weather through cloud seeding merged with the idea of an atomic plume “nucleating” clouds to create a larger “inadvertent weather modification” controversy by the early 1950s.

A denier:

The popular columnist Dean Sherman suggested at the peak of the controversy in 1955 that the “latent hysteria” that these technologies were “rearranging the climate of the world” laid in the “unsound conjecture of ‘experts’ and commentators whose basis was imagination rather than fact.”

It's one of those things that appears in the pop culture of the 50s like background noise, and if you don't know the origin, you don't pick up on the anxieties. There's a lot of that. And more and more is forgotten every year.






It's 1973. As if you couldn't tell.

You know the economy and the advertising market is rather . . . soft when this is a big two-page ad in the Saturday Evening Post.


Or it could say something about the magazine’s changed demographics. It had the same readers it had at its height; it just hadn’t gotten any newer ones. Keep that in mind, perhaps.


A mouse

No a mandrill

Have this needlepoint mandrill in ice cream colors

Jonathan Livingstone, the Uncopyrightable concept

If you wore this it’s because you were a free spirit who longed for adventure and were very spiritual about the earth and stuff

I do, but this doesn’t really come to mind

“First editions by Arthur Court.”

First time offered in the Saturday Evening Post! Previously advertised in much better magazines, is that the implication?

$150 a pop for this dreck.

The Sun-Bonnet Babies were an also-ran in the Holly-Hobby world, I think.

Perhaps that’s because they were from the 1890s.

The Sunbonnet Babies have become iconic—you know the ones, those illustrations of children in long dresses and sunbonnets, their faces obscured. You may know them from quilts. People at the turn of the century would have recognized them from a dizzying variety of crafts, ads, and books. But where did they come from? Moira F. Harris dives into the history of the Sunbonnet Babies and Bertha Corbett, a woman entrepreneur who turned an illustration into an empire.

Grandma has time on her hands, is what I’m thinking.

Home from the Sea, and ready to pick up his career as a cu9t-rate Gleason impersonator:

The shift from "like" to "when" is one of the unsung tales of cigarette advertising.

Also home from the sea and stalking the other guy with his best gal, because that guy swindled him out of a load of tuna. He’ll follow him to the ends of the earth.



That'll do; off you go to Webeter 1919. Which is now in 1920.



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