Tag: World War II

You know something else Hitler ruined?

You know something else Hitler ruined?

Funny Stuff
I'll tell you what - he totally ruined yelling for German people.  Seriously, I can't look at any German getting all foamy at the mouth or maybe even pounding a table without thinking of this: So after all that business with World War II, how can any German politician give a really powerful, emotional speech and not be compared to Hitler?  It doesn't even matter what he's talking about.  He could be going on a rant about something trivial, like his favorite Scorpions song, and if he starts getting too loud all the Germans would be like, "Woah dude, calm down, we don't want to be invaded again or anything." Think I'm exaggerating?  Check out this classic internet meme, the Crazy German Kid: Logic tells you that this kid is just a spaz, but admit it - you were just a little
The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

Ephemera, History
One of the really cool things about the internet is that now everyone who can get there can get access to a treasure trove of historical documents and photographs that were previously the domain of hardened researchers or supergeeks.  All you need is some time to spare and the desire to take a look at our country's not-so-distant past, and some great stuff is there for the asking.  Case in point, the Library of Congress WPA poster gallery I highlighted a few years ago. This time we're going to look at something even cooler - highlights from a LoC collection of photographs from the 1930s and '40s... in color!  While the subject matter isn't necessarily scintillating on all these, the opportunity to see life as it really looked back then is a rare treat indeed.  Something about seeing a s
View-Master’s 1952 New York City – 2 of 4

View-Master’s 1952 New York City – 2 of 4

Ephemera, History
Our journey through Ye Olde New Yorke continues - from the air!  This image, quite obviously taken from a shiny prop plane, is of the departure of the famed cruise ship RMS Queen Elizabeth.  The really cool thing about this photo is the scale.  You can get a good sense of just how huge this ship was when compared to not only the other boats around it, but even the buildings on the shoreline.  Incidentally, the ship held the record as the largest passenger liner ever built for 56 years. Launched in 1938, the Queen Elizabeth was originally designed for use as a cruise liner but owing to World War II, she was instead fitted as a troop transport.  She avoided destruction at the hands of the Luftwaffe by bypassing Southampton on her maiden voyage and instead sailing directly to New York.
Album cover of the week: Underground

Album cover of the week: Underground

Album Cover of the Week
Thelonious Monk isn't the first name you think of when conjuring up images of the French Resistance movement during World War II (it isn't even the 100th name, in fact), yet it was precisely that motif that was used for his under-appreciated 1968 album, Underground.  And that motif turned out to be so good that it took the Grammy for Best Album Cover in 1969. Even more notable than this evocative image (featuring a tied-up Nazi, no less) is the fact that Underground was one of the first Monk albums in years to contain so much new material, and was also one of the last he recorded in the studio before largely disappearing from public view throughout the 1970s.
Book report: The ODESSA File

Book report: The ODESSA File

Books
Having only ever read one other Frederick Forsyth book (his 1971 debut, The Day of the Jackal), I had high hopes for The ODESSA File.  And while it isn't quite the classic that his first novel is, it's a damn fine yarn just the same.  It did prove, without a doubt, that the greatness of Jackal was not a fluke.  Of course, his long and successful career proves that too, but I digress. The story takes place in 1963-64 and centers on a young freelance German reporter, Peter Miller.  Miller drives a flashy car, makes a lot of money, and sleeps with a stripper.  He knows little of the Nazi atrocities committed during World War II and, like many Germans of his generation, really doesn't want to know much. That all changes when, totally by chance, he comes into possession of a diary wri
Movie Review: The Great Escape

Movie Review: The Great Escape

Movies
Due to time constraints I wasn't able to enjoy yet another Band of Brothers marathon over the Memorial Day weekend. But all was not lost as I finally got to catch a viewing of The Great Escape, which I had never seen before. And I'm pleased to say that for the most part, the film's reputation as a classic is well-earned. The basic premise of the movie is thus: It's World War II and the German High Command, tired of dealing with the expense and effort involved with keeping some of their most escape-prone POWs imprisoned, has designed a newer and supposedly better prison camp (Stalag Luft III) where it sends the craftiest Allied prisoners. Seems like a swell idea on paper, but what it effectively did was to help the smartest and most resourceful POWs pool their resources and concoct an ev...
Interesting stuff I now know thanks to Wikipedia (Vol. 1)

Interesting stuff I now know thanks to Wikipedia (Vol. 1)

Listcruft
Sherlock Holmes has an older brother, and his name is Mycroft. At 727 feet, the Renaissance Center is the tallest building in Michigan (the Empire State Building, by comparison, is 1,250 feet). Geraldine Doyle is the model for the iconic WWII "We Can Do It!" poster, but didn't even know it until 1984. Gargoyle originates from the French word gargouille, originally "throat" or "gullet". California currently has 53 congressional districts in the US House of Representatives, the most in the country. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming each have one. Washington D.C. has one non-voting delegation. The Persian word for snow is rendered in English as barf, and is a product line of soaps in Iran.
Posters of the WPA

Posters of the WPA

Ephemera
Back in the day (1935 to be precise), President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA), an enormous government program aimed at providing employment for millions of Americans affected by the Great Depression. The legacy of the WPA is a host of public works (bridges, roads, etc.) and cultural projects. That's all well and good obviously, but what I really care about are the cool posters designed to promote many of the WPA's programs. All of these images and hundreds more are available as part of the Library of Congress's "Posters of the WPA" collection. I've simply picked what I feel are some of the most visually appealing and added my usual pithy commentary. As you'll see, these great images are very much of their time and most display an Art Deco sensibili...