Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sure-Fire Way to Read Minds

Interested in mind reading? It's easy. I can show you how.

Okay, read the following quote:

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

That's a sentence attributed Sun Tzu, written around the sixth century B.C. - or about 2,500 years ago. One version of this saying was found on these 2,000 year old bamboo slips, pictured below, protected in glass tubes.

"Inscribed bamboo-slips of Art of War" by AlexHe34 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So this guy from 2,500 years ago had these thoughts and transmitted them into your brain. All he had to do was write them down in some form. Those thoughts were then passed on, transcribed from one media to another, translated, re-translated, and transcribed again. One of the places that thought ended up was above. in this blog post. I passed a 2,500 year-old thought on to you.

In other words, you read someone's mind.

See how easy that was?

And you do it every time you read a book or article or Facebook status or tweet or blog post.

You are a mind reader. Congratulations!

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

1937 Vintage Road Trip Scrapbook, Part 14 - Los Angeles (b)

(for part 1, click here)

Los Angeles - Grauman's Chinese Theatre

While in Los Angeles,  the Johnson family made a pilgrimage - as many still do today - to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The movies playing at the theater that day (after the Fox Movietone News, with Lowell Thomas announcing) were Married Before Breakfast, with Robert Young and Florence Rice, and Slave Ship, starring Elizabeth Allan, Mickey Rooney and Wallace Beery. (I linked the movies to their IMDB pages, in case you're interested.)

How do I know this? There's a program from Grauman's inside the scrapbook called The Playgoer! It's a 8-1/2" by 5-1/2" saddle stapled, 22-page program. 

In the scrapbook, there are a lot of newspaper clippings dedicated to Slave Ship. Our industrious scrapbooker pasted many clippings from the movie not only inside the scrapbook, but also in the theater program. Maybe the Johnsons only saw one movie that day, or perhaps Slave Ship made the biggest impression on our scrapbooker. Hard to say.

In the above scrapbook page, (dedicated to Slave Ship and, for some reason, Sonja Henie) you can see that racism was alive and kicking. In the clipping just below Ms. Henie, the caption reads "Black cargo is stowed aboard the Albatross." And by black cargo, they mean slaves. People.

My favorite things about the theater's The Playgoer booklet are the advertisements. There are ads for dress shops, French restaurants, the Sunset Club, flowers, candy, golf, wedding shoes, Nutburgers ("Hollywood's Most Famous Sandwich") Ron Rey Rum, fur storage vaults, the Tropics (to which "your host 'Sugie' invites you to") Holly Ho Chop Suey, Schwabs, Clarence's Cafe (whose specialty is chicken liver saute) and other fine establishments.

Above is the back of The Playgoer, with more newspaper clippings of Slave Ship glued on.

Grauman's is now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre. It was also once known as Mann's Chinese Theatre.

Above is another page in the scrapbook. There's a clipping of Ginger Rogers. Up top are a couple of what I believe to be fortune cards from a J.C. Penney store. They are both dated July 1, 1937. The top one says, "You are well balanced and reasonable and not easily swayed by passing fancies." The one below that says, "When you have a duty to perform, you are never happy until you have accomplished it." So sayeth the Great J.C. Pennies!

The black and silver postcard at top is from the Hollywood Hotel, a famous spot for celebrities and royalty. It was located near Grauman's, and torn down in 1956. The site of the Hollywood Hotel is now occupied by the Hollywood and Highland Center, where the Academy Awards are currently held.

I'll end this post with a Youtube video of the Fox Movietone News from 1937. Not sure the date on this one, just the year, so it might have been the one playing at Grauman's when the Johnsons were there. Aw, heck, let's just pretend it was!

Next up, the Johnsons visit Forest Lawn Cemetery!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

1937 Vintage Road Trip Scrapbook, Part 13 - Los Angeles (a)

(for part 1, click here)

Los Angeles - Evangelists and Movie Stars, Oh My!

The Johnsons have seen quite a lot on their road trip so far; Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Pike's Peak, Cave of the Winds...but they still have a long way to go!

From Zion National Park, Alden, Velma, Joan and Marilyn drove their LaSalle 427 miles, taking Hwy 91 through Utah, Vegas and part of California. At San Bernadino, they turned onto good 'ol Route 66 for a short jaunt that took them to Los Angeles. By the number of scrapbook pages dedicated to the area, it appears they did quite a lot there, so I'm breaking up their LA area visit into three parts (a,b,c).

It looks like they stayed at the Fletcher Auto Court, 204 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles. I Googled the auto court, and found scant mention of it, so I'm quite sure it no longer exists. I did find this interesting tidbit, however, dated April 28th, 1942:

Don't know for sure if it's the Fletcher of Fletcher Auto Court, but it sounds like it could be. It's interesting how they skirt around the whole 'affair' aspect of the situation.

The Merry-Go Round Cafe no longer exists. It was a unique concept for a restaurant, with conveyor belts moving past customers who would grab their food off of them. One conveyor belt took away their dirty dishes. The land it was on eventually became Angel's Knoll Park, which was closed recently. I found an image online of the Merry-Go Round Cafe's menu from 1937:

The postcard at the top of this page is of the Glendale Hyperion Viaduct.

On that same scrapbook page we have two more postcards. The one on the left is titled Looking West on 7th St, Near Hill, Los Angeles, Calif. The postcard next to is is Angelus Temple, Church of the Four Square Gospel, Los Angeles, California.

The Angelus Temple is still there, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992. It was built in 1923, the "largest construction of its time in North America" according to Wikipedia. Its construction was overseen by Aimee Semple McPherson, who was still preaching there in 1937 when the Johnsons visited. Here's an autographed picture of her inside the scrapbook, though whether or not they received it in person, or purchased it from a gift shop is hard to say. Due to her inclusion in the scrapbook, I'm guessing they attended one of her services.

Aimee Semple McPherson was quite a character. Her Wikipedia page is long and makes for interesting reading. She was considered a faith healer, was purported to have affairs, suspected of faking her own kidnapping at one point, and died of a drug overdose in 1944. There have been novels written about her, movies made about her, musicals, plays...I recently read Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry (highly recommended, by the way!) and just learned that one of the characters in the novel was based on McPherson.

Back to the scrapbook!

Though it's hard to see in the picture below, the date stamped on the Johnsons' DMV's Facts for Tourists is June 27, 1937.

Despite some of the maudlin information I shared above, I'm guessing the Johnsons were having a grand old time. Mr. Fletcher was still alive and kicking, and Aimee Semple McPherson was still a giant media personality.

When mid-westerners head to Los Angeles, a big thing on their minds is often movie stars, and I don't think the Johnsons were any different. Here's a sheet in the scrapbook, double sided, with points of interest on one side (hand numbered and checked off by the Johnsons) and directions to celebrity homes on the other side:

Hard to see here, but some of the celebrities include Will Rogers, Lionel Barrymore, Buster Keaton, Tom Mix, Chas. S. Chaplin (!) and Harold Lloyd.

I wonder if they spotted any movie stars walking up and down a sidewalk on Rodeo Drive?

Next up is Los Angeles' Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the movies the Johnsons saw there!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1937 Vintage Road Trip Scrapbook, Part 12 - Zion National Park, Utah

Part 12 - Zion National Park

Below is one of my favorite pages in the Johnson Family scrapbook. I just love the layout, variety and color. Doesn't it just make you want to go explore those canyons and colorful rock formations?

Here's the page in a little more detail. There's the car decal and a couple postcards titled 'Eastern Portal Zion - Mt. Carmel, Highway Tunnel, Zion National Park, Utah' and 'Zion Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah.'

Below is a beautiful postcard titled 'The Temple of Sinawava, Zion National Park, Utah.'

On the bottom right-hand side of the page was a matchbook cover featuring Zion's Great White Throne!

Next are a couple of items clipped from some publication or other. Below is 'One of the six openings in the famous Zion - Mount Carmel Highway, a world wonder.'

Below is a clipping of the Great White Throne. Plus, it looks like the Johnsons bought something made from the wood of a cholla cactus. The little thing with the green string explains what a cholla is, and how they can grow to be very old. I wonder what their souvenir looked like.

Here's what cholla wood looks like, by the way:

By now, I'm guessing the Johnsons may be tired of the open vistas and long, endless road. Not tired of the wonder of it all - who can ever get tired of that? But maybe they're missing home right about now, and the good ol' LaSalle is feeling a bit cramped. Maybe Joan and Marilyn are getting on each other's nerves. Hard to say. 

But next stop: Los Angeles, California. That's right - the big city, the city of angels, the big kahuna, etc, etc, where they'll spend quite a bit of time.

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1937 Vintage Road Trip Scrapbook, Part 11 - North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Part 11 - the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

The Johnsons have been getting an eyeful these last few days. Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and soon Zion. Today they're visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Above we see a reminder of the service oriented society of yesteryear, next to a post card titled 'Grand Canyon from Point Imperial on North Rim.' Next to that, our industrious scrapbooker has written, "Point Empirial (sic) on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 8,801 ft in elevation and is the highest point on either rim."

Below we have a glossy black and white photo titled 'Bright Angel - North Rim - Grand Canyon', and handwritten to the left of it is "Fredonia, Arizona." There's a list of activities 'offered to visitors without charge' and a cutout of an elderly couple, underneath which says, 'The Toscaninis view the Grand Canyon.'

The Toscaninis appear to be the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini and his wife Carla. I wonder if they were at the Grand Canyon at the same time as the Johnsons. Perhaps that would explain their inclusion in the scrapbook.

Below the activity list is another motor vehicle pass, this one dated June 24, 1937. Not much of international significance happened on that date, other than the release of the Looney Tunes' Porky's Badtime Story.

The page below has a few items about the Grand Canyon ('It's a living, changing, flushing rainbow cut straight down into the earth.')

And last, but not least, a clipping of a Ripley's Believe It or Not cartoon. It says, "Post Haste! The North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado is only 10 miles across from the South Rim - yet a letter addressed from one side to the other requires 1044 miles of travel and must pass thru 4 states! Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah."

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