Archive for the ‘Signs of the Times’ Category

The World In 1957   2 comments

Thanks to the despicable invention miracle of Facebook, I have been noting the recent and inexorable parade of classmates’ birthdays.  Like millions of others I type in the obligatory, “Happy Birthday, your name here!”.  A somewhat heartfelt gesture and momentary delay of my second swig of coffee.  Actually, birthday wishes are deeply ingrained in my morning routine of finding ways to avoid doing actual work.  After all, if there are no birthdays on which to comment I must find another 5-second avoidance activity to fill the gap.  Come to think of it, it practically ruins my day.  This is why I never follow through on threats to drop Facebook.  I’d have to do more actual work.  (To all my friends and relatives to whom I have recently wished a Facebook happy birthday, it was a heartfelt gesture.  No, really, seriously.  Ah, hell.)

I digress.  So as we stare down the barrel of our 56th such celebration I can’t help but wonder what life was like back then (or way WAY back then as my kids would say).  This happens once a year, and I really have no control over it.  I do Google image searches (I’m too ADD to read the content) and click on whatever catches my eye.  This usually elicits a bevy of Holy shit! responses.  This year I have the urge to share those Holy shit! findings.  Sorry.


The world was, shall we say, a bit nuclear obsessed in 1957.  The U.S. detonated multiple nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert and even brought in Marines for a little live-action training.  Many of these blasts were within 65 miles of Las Vegas, which in that great American free-enterprise tradition created . . .


. . . Atomic Blast Weekends in Las Vegas!  (Note mushroom cloud in background).  Yes, you too could pay premium rates for a room facing the test grounds on a scheduled blast weekend!  Radioactive fallout worries?  Wimps.  Go to the Jersey Shore if you can’t take a little radioactivity.


But wait!  It gets better.  America had a “Miss Atomic Bomb” in 1957!  Her name was Lee Merlin, a Copa Room showgirl complete with cotton mushroom-cloud bathing suit.  Hah!  Take that Soviet Union!  You may have conducted 4 atmospheric nuclear tests in April alone, but our Miss Atomic Bomb was surely better than any furry-hatted Kremlin babe.

On a side note and as a photographer, I really appreciate the camera angle and use of perspective in this photo.  I mean, not only is “Miss Atomic Bomb” much more shapely and beautiful than anything the communists could conjure up, but she is apparently 300 feet tall and designed to strike fear into the hearts of every living Bolshevik.  Take that, comrades!


Speaking of beautiful women (this is where I switch over to saying “beautiful women” instead of “babes”, lest my wife point out the error of my ways), just like today they were used to sell cars back in 1957.  Except, you know, with more clothes on.  A lot more clothes on.  And pantyhose.  And goofy poses.  Come to think of it, what the hell?


On April 13th (Hi Denise!) the US Postal Service temporarily halted Saturday deliveries because of . . . wait for it . . . lack of funds!  On April 15th Congress appropriated $41 million (hah! chump change) and Saturday delivery was restored.  And who says history doesn’t repeat itself?  In the words of Yogi Berra (who was still with the Yankees in 1957), “It’s deja vu all over again.”


In 1957 the schools in a place called Little Rock were desegregated.  As we all know (or should know), President Eisenhower sent several thousand National Guard soldiers to Little Rock to assist the kind citizens of Arkansas in complying with federal law.


But in other news, Elvis decided to renovate Graceland and installed this metal music gate.  Because, why not?  When you’re Elvis, it’s what you do.

The Beatles 1957

Speaking of music and 1957, these guys were in a band.  It was called The Quarrymen.  Anyone else think McCartney looks like Alfalfa from The Little Rascals?


And some guy named Ted Geisel published a book.  One that thankfully was the beginning of the end of the excruciating “See Spot run” method of teaching reading.


But we were still a cranky nation because of things like this.


So we held parades in Washington D.C. to show that we had things that could fly, too.


And because we were really afraid of this . . .

A Swissman in Moscow Leonard Gianadda, 1957 (14)

. . . and of looking like this cheerful bunch . . .


. . . the House Un-American Activities Committee held the author of this play in contempt of Congress for not ratting out his friends.  But he probably didn’t notice . . .


. . . because he was married to this woman at the time.  I mean, God bless America!  Amiright men?


But all’s well that ends well because we had a new toy called “The Pluto Platter”!  Of course those heathens in 1958 ruined it by rebranding it as the “Frisbee”.  But we 57’ers know the real name.

Happy Birthday, (your name here!) to everyone else born in that golden year of 1957!  The good ol’ days?  I’m not so sure.  And Holy shit!, do I feel old . . .

Posted April 12, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times, Uncategorized

Photographer Arrested, Photo Deleted   Leave a comment

No, not one of my photos.  A photo that an activist named Clark Stoeckley took in Penn Station in NYC.

His photo subject?  MTA officers, in public view (and carrying semi-automatic weapons), which got Stoeckley detained and arrested.

The charge?  “Because you’re a dick,” according to the arresting officer.  Oh yeah, his cell phone was eventually returned sans photographs —  the only real crime that occurred in the whole encounter.

Now I can’t say for certain, but I’m guessing that if being “a dick” is truly an offense for which a person can be arrested, then a good percentage of the U.S. population should be behind bars right now.  I do know for certain that a law enforcement officer summarily deleting a photograph is both a crime and a violation of the photographer’s constitutional rights.

I’m not a fan of in-your-face photography, but I absolutely hate it that in the United States a citizen can be arrested for being “a dick” and then have his or her first and fourth amendment rights violated so blatantly.

Posted April 27, 2012 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Signs of the Times, Street

There’s A Test?   Leave a comment

Who knew?

Posted January 7, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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You Know You Are In Lancaster When . . .   Leave a comment

Just part of the Saturday selection at market in Lancaster.  That’s really expensive — somewhere around the price of an expensive cut of filet mignon — but I’m betting the lamb from whence it came would believe that it’s priced not nearly high enough.

I’ve tried a lot of different foods in a lot of different countries, but there’s absolutely no way . . .

Posted October 22, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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Evolution of a Photo   2 comments

Things you can do to a single photo using software . . .

Here’s the original photo that I took this morning of a plaque on an old rusted cast-iron-and-stone grave cover.

The message says “MAY THE FAITHFULL DEPARTED REST IN PEACE” (and yes, they spelled faithful with two L’s)

Here is the same photo, now cropped and with a slight color saturation increase.

Finally, here is the same photo processed first with Topaz Adjust software (HDR Detail setting) and then with Topaz Black & White Effects software (Low Contrast Detail setting with dark corner vignette applied).  A nice photo for Halloween!

Posted September 10, 2011 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Signs of the Times

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Sign of the Times   1 comment

After a couple hours of playing I estimated that the young couple had forty or fifty dollars.  Replacing a timing belt unfortunately costs a lot more than that.

Posted September 4, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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Street Sign, St. Andrews, Scotland   Leave a comment

Melanie rolled her eyes and pretended that she didn’t know me, but c’mon.  Who wouldn’t snap this shot if they had the chance?

Posted August 28, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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Queen Street Bus Station   Leave a comment

A handheld grab shot of the Queen Street bus station in Lancaster city, taken Friday evening.


Posted July 4, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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No Respect   2 comments

Lancaster — like many cities — has a parking problem.  :o)

Posted June 14, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

Stuff for Sale   1 comment

And there you have it.  Short and to the point.

Posted May 6, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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Same Subject, Two Different Stories   Leave a comment

A photo can tell a story.  Including the sign in the photo changes the story, don’t you think?

Posted April 28, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times, Travel Photography

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Argue – Buy – Sell – Trade – Barter   Leave a comment

Does anyone really barter any more?  Maybe at the auctions, the flea markets, the yard sales. Maybe even at this store — which is still open.  But not at the Big Box.

Posted April 17, 2011 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Signs of the Times

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Opportunity Lost   1 comment

Independent retail.  Gone.  Replaced by Big Box.  More things.  Less wealth.  American dollars overseas.  Americans work.  For minimum wage.  At Wal-Mart.  To buy more things.

Posted April 16, 2011 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Signs of the Times

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Stun Guns 4 Sale   Leave a comment

Thirty-plus years ago my college apartment landlords owned a store known for its eclectic offerings.  They preferred to be paid in cash.  And they’re still there.  This is the outside of their store in the autumn of 2010.  Gotta love the free enterprise system.

Posted April 12, 2011 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, Signs of the Times

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Pop Photo Prediction, circa 1946   1 comment

Yeah, that one didn’t work out so well.  There are exactly zip, nada, zero cameras manufactured in the USA today.

Posted April 8, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

Preying On The Working Poor   2 comments

According to, “Tax preparers, both independent operations and major chains, charge interest rates that can run on an annualized basis well into triple figures, all for the privilege of getting money a few days earlier.”  How do these companies get around state interest rate caps (called usury rates)?  By partnering with banks in states like Delaware or South Dakota where there are no usury rate caps.

Posted April 3, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Signs of the Times

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