Well, it’s been a busy and costly 36 hours - a tale I’ll tell tomorrow. It’s not really a “sick dog” story, but a “3 AM in distant suburbia” story. Because I was spending all the time and money on the perturbations of canine intestines, I was not able to troubleshoot today’s update as much as I would have liked.

You’ll take it and you’ll like it, as my favorite tough-guy line has it. BTW: I heard an old radio promo the other day for an upcoming “Suspense” show about a Dangerous Gunsel, a hired gunman who crossed the wrong woman, etc etc. They equated Gunsel with Gunman, a direct result of Bogie’s offhand like to Wilma in “The Maltese Falcon.” Cheaper the gunsel, gaudier the patter. But I don’t think “gunman” was the original meaning.

It was changed by the force of one actor in a movie. I think.

Anyway. Today is the release of the last segment of the Decades Project the 50s. The site is gargantuan. It’s mostly done. It’s about 600 pages. At the usual rate of release, that would be four years of updates, to the exclusion of all other Decades updates, so I’ll be dumping this one out in huge chunks for the next year. Lucky you! The biggest sections are Ads and Interiors, but for this week I advise you to go to the Miscellany section, the TV section, and the Radio section. Yes, for once a site doesn’t stagger on the scene as thin as Frankie. There’s lots there. There will be some sundered links and typos, because I didn’t have the time today to polish; give me some time, by noon, and it’ll be better.

You could say I’ve been working towards this since the site began. The mid-late 50s / early 60s is the cultural lodestone for lileks.com - one of the reasons I spent so much time and space on other decades, just to keep myself from fixating on a particular time and valorizing it excessively, perhaps. What’s interesting, and perhaps unsettling, is how the tone and approach of the site is out of step with contemporary thought. At the beginning of the internet, it would have been a Cool Site of the Day, or gotten a Retro Award I could put on my Home Page. Now the idea of unrolling all these ancient scrolls without interrogating and decolonizing is suspect, to some.

But I’m not going to do that.

Bring to these images what you want, and take away what you wish.

Link at the bottom. As I said, it’s going to be a long project to unload, but I think you’ll like it.

Here's a preview! Because I am a generous man.

Or, 30+ years from now. Let's look at some predictions.

"A round of Corby's." Yes, it's a liquor ad.

Zoom on the Moon in thirty-eight years? Mars, for that matter. But it won't be Zoom. It'll be something that came along in 2047, was bought by someone else in 2051, became the standard, and stagnated ever after.

Okay, no. No all around.

The farmer had a "Storm" button in case he wanted to cash in on the crop insurance.

Rather Jetsonesque, no? But this was a common vision of the fanciful future. Good news: your spacecar would have space for drying enormous Space Easter Eggs!

Uh -


Well, they thought the ice would melt for various reasons - nuclear testing, or pollution that trapped the sun's heat.

Why not use boats, like Venice?


So far, so good: they're still around and thriving. They handle Absolut in Canada, and other brands.



It’s 1974, and may God have mercy on our souls.

All’s set for the Pottery Fete!

French Force Frappe Flap:

The French would test until 1996. About the publisher:

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, often referred to as JJSS (13 February 1924, in Paris – 7 November 2006, in Fécamp), was a French journalist and politician.

He co-founded L'Express in 1953 with Françoise Giroud, and then went on to become president of the Radical Party in 1971. He oversaw its transition to the center-right, the party being thereafter known as Parti radical valoisien. He tried to found in 1972 the Reforming Movement with Christian Democrat Jean Lecanuet, with whom he supported Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's conservative candidature to the 1974 presidential election.

As for his party, here’s something for everyone who hates the two-party system:


As for his party, here’s something for everyone who hates the two-party system:

Founded in 1901, it was the oldest active political party in France at the time of its dissolution. Coming from the Radical Republican tradition, the Radical Party upheld the principles of private property, social justice and secularism. The Radicals were originally a left-wing group, but with the emergence of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) in 1905 they shifted gradually towards the political centre. In 1926, its right wing split off to form the Unionist (or National) Radicals.

In 1972, the left wing of the party split off to form the centre-left Radical Party of the Left (PRG). The Radical Party then affiliated with the centre-right, becoming one of the founder parties of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) in 1978. In 2002, the party split from the UDF and became an associate party of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and were represented on the Liaison Committee for the Presidential Majority prior to launching The Alliance (ARES) in 2011 and the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) in 2012.




William Crawford was the cartoonist.

Of all the things on the op-ed page - standard stuff, no surprises - this stands out, just as an example of its times.

Are shirts the source of the "hard-boiled" cliche about cold cruel temperments, not eggs?


The Road to Wellsville has lots of nice shiny pennies:

Why was there a penny shortage?

In 1974, the United States suffered through a major penny shortage. Over the previous 15 years, the U.S. Mint had produced 62 billion pennies but only about 30 billion were in circulation. So, what happened to the other roughly 30 billion tiny coins? Many of them had been squirreled away in piggybanks and old pickle jars, while others were lost in the bottoms of pocket books, in cluttered drawers, and under sofa cushions. The real cause of the shortage, however, was that a large number of pennies were being intentionally hoarded.

I have a dim memory of this.

In the early 1970s, the price of copper started to rise and speculators began hoarding pennies. The thought was that, eventually, the value of the copper in the penny would be greater than its face value. If the copper was extracted and sold, then the speculator would make a profit.  In April 1974, the demand for pennies was double what it had been a year earlier, due primarily to such speculation, and the Treasury Department decided to act. It tried to put a halt to the hoarding and destruction of pennies by imposing stiff penalties for melting down the coins for their copper content. Offenders faced the possibility of up to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.

Wonder if anyone actually went to the big house for that.

If you didn't want to bank there . . .

  They renamed it after George Bailey sold the place


Ha ha the world is becoming uninhabitable

What’s the point of education at all, everything is dying

Stripper’s Guide:

The creator of the new strip, Larry Lewis, was a cartoonist in his 40s with a mostly commercial background. He sold NEA on the strip strictly through a mail-in submission, much to his amazement.

Lewis stated that he was able to keep up on the current campus scene because his wife was a college teacher, and his daughter a student. While the strip did make an occasional effort to reflect current events, however, few of the gags would have seemed out of place in a 1930s issue of College Humor.

The strip was further hobbled by having no strong characters; the lead, Bimo Burns, is an everyman with no discernable personality.

That was a problem sometimes.


That'll do; see you around. Oh - one more thing. Forums!




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