Archive for the ‘History’ category

Smoking

March 15, 2018

So i have been watching the mini-series “The Crown” on Netflix. In the past few weeks I have watched all of season 1 and yesterday I started in on season 2. This is the story of Queen Elizabeth II from the time when she becomes the Queen of England back in the early 50’s It’s a great show and I love watching it.

But here’s the thing. They’ve done a great job of displaying what it was like to be in England in the 1950’s. What struck me was that everyone was smoking all the time. The first few episodes had Winston Churchill smoking a cigar all the time. There was hardly a time that he didn’t have a cigar in his hand. Winston was played by John Lithgow (he really did a great job, btw) and I read that he got quite sick from all the smoking that he had to do during the filming.

Princess Margaret was constantly smoking. There was hardly a time on screen when she didn’t have a butt in her fingers. However, Queen Elizabeth did not smoke. I kept expecting her to tell Margaret to put the butt down.

So the picture tells the story that even our doctors were selling tobacco. Amazing and it wasn’t that long ago.

We seem to have forgotten how it was like back in the day before smoking became so odious. I remember one of the engineers I worked with who constantly smoked at work. His computer terminal was a sickly yellow instead of the usual white.

There were cigarette vending machines at work and in bars and restaurants. It took a long time to get to where we are today. We had to suffer through smoking/non-smoking sections on airplanes. We now have smoke-free environments on aircraft, at work and anywhere else the public might visit.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Joe

The Post

February 9, 2018

The-PostDate night tonight. We went out to see “The Post“. This is a film about the Washington Post’s handling what became known as the “Pentagon Papers”. The movie stars Meryl Streep as Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post.

Anytime I see Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks I expect that I will be seeing great performances. I was not disappointed this evening.

The movie is set in Washington in 1971. Daniel Ellsburg had stolen the pages that documented failures of the Vietnam war in a document that became known as the “Pentagon Papers“.  I have provided a link to the Wiki pages on the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon White house tried to block the publication but the case was heard by the US Supreme Court. And the rest is history.

Post 2

I loved the set decoration on the film. Where’d they get all of the dial telephones and the pay phones. I felt like I was going back in time. One really gets the feeling that you are in newspaper news room. Presses and Linotype machines too. Reminds me of a tour I took of the Boston Globe facility on Morrisey Blvd. in Dorchester when I was in high school. Only thing missing was the smell of machine oil and ink.

The film ends with the break-in of the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.

Stopped at KFC for some chicken take-out.

Good film. Go see it.

Joe

The Last Supper

June 25, 2017

So today at church, our minister was talking about the gospel of John, chapter 14. Chapter 14 contains much of the detail leading up to the last supper. While he was talking he had a picture projected of the “Last Supper” up on the overhead screen. So that got me thinking. Sometimes, when Jacques preaches, my mind begins to wander. Today was no different. I started thinking about the paintings of the “Last Supper”.

So I pull out my trusty iPhone and switch from the Bible app to the Google app. (Our church has excellent WiFi by the way.) I did a search on the term “last supper paintings”. I was first trying to find out who painted the particular version of the painting up on the screen. Couldn’t find it. I found one that sort of looked similar but had some slight differences.

Suffice it to say, there has been a ton of stuff done on the “Last Supper”. The first painting to come to mind was the one by Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” it seems was the prototype that all others are compared.

Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5

Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” was painted between 1495-1498. It is not in very good condition. It was done as a mural at the Convent of Santa Maria del Grazie in Milan. For more story about the Da Vinci work go to the Wiki page. Da Vinci’s work has suffered from environmental issues.

Here’s another image of a work done in oil by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli in 1520 that is a lot clearer.

Giampietrino-Last-Supper-ca-1520

So we all know that Jesus is seated in center of the table, we all get that. The disciples are seated in groups of three (allusions to the Holy Trinity, of course). Supposedly, Jesus has just told them that someone would betray him.

The first three on the left are surprised. They are Bartholomew, James and Andrew.

Second group of three includes Judas Iscariot, Peter and John. Judas looks like he has his bag of silver in his hand. Judas (dressed in green and blue) is looking withdrawn.

Next group of three include Thomas, James the Greater and Phillip. Thomas is clearly upset.

Last group of three are Matthew, Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot. Matthew and Jude Thaddeus seem to be looking to Simon asking for more information.

There also was a suggestion towards the end of the article that the effeminate person on Jesus’ right was Mary Magdeline, Suggested by author Dan Brown and others, and disputed by other art historians. Hmmm, interesting.

This is about the point that I get an elbow from Paula and gives me the look. ( I should be paying attention to Pastor Jacques). Hey, at least I wasn’t looking at Facebook.

Interesting stuff. Go read the wiki article. You won’t regret it.

Write Me a Letter

July 10, 2016

We spent Saturday doing another deep dive at the storage locker. We took a lot of glassware to the Goodwill. We threw a bunch of stuff into the dumpster. And we brought back a couple of boxes of pictures and memorabilia worth looking into. We continue to struggle with lack of dates and info on the back of pictures. We found a bunch of black and white pics from the 40’s and early 50’s. Paula didn’t recognize anyone and I’m sure that Mary won’t have a clue. Also, the pictures were too small to bother with scanning. So in the trash they go.

We did however find some treasures. We found a couple of pictures that I had taken during a vacation trip in Maine and PEI.

EPSON MFP image

The other interesting tidbit was a letter sent by Pvt. Paul Stanley (Harold’s Father) to his wife (Mimi). The letter was sent in November 1942 from Midland, TX where Paul was in the Army. We’re not quite sure exactly why Paul was in the army. He was a bit old for active duty (he was born in 1898). So here is the scan of the envelope. Two thing to note. No stamp. Postage was free for personal letters home. Addressed to Mrs. Paul Stanley, not Mrs. Mimi Stanley. Married women were always referenced as Mrs. [husband’s name] [husband’s last name.]

Apparently Valley Falls, KS was a small town. No other address info. I suspect that the letter reached the intended recipient without any trouble.

Apparently, Mimi (aka Mabel) joined Paul in Texas soon after the letter was sent because there was an ID card for Mabel at the Army Air Forces Bombardier School in Midland issued in Jan. 1943. So at this point, Harold was 24. Harold was born in August of 1919. Paula tells me by that time he was working at the Douglas Aircraft Co in Long Beach, CA. Interesting how people moved in those days to help with war effort.

So Mabel was 43. Her statue was listed as “Stout”. There’s a euphemism for you. That’s what you called someone who 5’2″ tall and weighed 156 lbs. The letter begins, “Dear Mother”. To which I replied, Huh? Apparently a term of endearment. I guess.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP image

By the way, Paul (or Paw-Paw) as Paula called him, died of a massive heart attack in the summer of 1954 while traveling up to Lassen National Park in Northern California.

Anzio

May 16, 2016

Time for another dive into the records and archives of the Stanley family. Paula discovered an envelope in one of the albums that several artifacts including newspaper clippings, photos and letters. This post is about one of Harold’s cousins, Orin Taylor.

Orin was a couple of years younger than Harold and both of them grew up in Lawrence Kansas. The first item that I have scanned was a high school graduation announcement in 1938. So our estimate, is that Orin was probably born around 1920. Here’s the graduation announcement and picture.

Oren Taylor Grad Invite 1938-page-001

EPSON MFP image

 

So Harold received a letter from Orin in November 1942 while Orin was in the US Army. At the time he wrote the letter, Orin was stationed in South Carolina for training. We don’t actually know when Orin joined the army. Perhaps, he joined after Pearl Harbor. Perhaps he went to college for some of that time seeing as he was an officer. Here is the scan of the letter to Harold.

Letter to Harold 1942-page-001

Harold never served in the Army during WW2. He had hearing problems dating back to his childhood. He had many ear infections some of which grew into mastoiditis (infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear.)Lt Oren Taylor Death Notice-page-001 In those days, there were no antibiotics to knock out the infection. He did his part in the war effort working for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach where of course we know that’s where he met Mary.

So the next point that this story picks up is the Battle of Anzio in Italy. Orin died in the Battle of Anzio in January 1944. Here’s the death notice and action report. Unfortunately, there weren’t any dates on the clippings.

We didn’t find any other clippings on Orin’s life and death in the US Army. From his letter, life in So Carolina was pretty good. Once they shipped out for Italy, my guess that things got serious fast.

Newpaper Article part 1 - 1942-page-001Newspaper Article part 2 - 1942-page-001

That’s all for now.