Friday, October 9, 2020

Funny Vintage Ads (43)

 Advertising has always been an interesting way to look at history. But when you see these vintage advertisements, the past seems a lot stranger than you thought.

Vibrator Bra
Hey, this is not just any Vibrator Bra. This is a "Secret Agent" Vibrator Bra that "helps give strength and vitality to weak and frail breasts!"
Surprise Package
Are you willing to pay 75 cents for whatever leftovers we decide to send you?
Bonded Knit Slacks
"Wait till you feel the butter-soft luxury of 100% acrylic fabric..." Acrylic fabric is also flammable and can be extremely difficult to extinguish.
Atomic Rocket Cap
 "...made of green felt with colorful aerials and a propeller that whirls and whirs most convincingly as Junior runs!"
Bette Davis - Dainty
Bette Davis was a lot of things; smart, gorgeous, tough, demanding, but she was never "dainty." 26
Mars Bars Doctor
Has your doctor ever told you that candy bars were a "fine source of quick energy?" And then directed you to buy a certain brand, and change grocers if they don't carry it? Hey, stay in your lane, Doc.
Tania and Kirsoff
Tania and Kirsoff appeared in the mid-1930's around the United States with their "new, unique and sensational Dance of the Forbidden Necklace, 'The Snake Dance.' " Their act was apparently not popular everywhere; one club owner told a local newspaper, 'When a customer has had a few highballs, he doesn't want to see blue snakes.' "
Monster Briefs in Color
 "Creepy" would be the best choice.
Sargol makes you nice and plump
Sargol is a type of Persian saffron that comes from the very tip of the saffron thread. Advertisements like this were common in the early twentieth century, when a little extra weight was considered a sign of good health and prosperity.
Maytag Electric Washer
The Maytag Washing Machine Company was founded in 1893 by businessman Frederick Maytag. By 1921, electric washing machines were efficient at washing clothes, but you still had to run the wet items one at a time through a wringer.
Fake Barf toy
Fake vomit first appeared in the 1950s. Made of flexible plastic, it was designed by novelty manufacturer Marvin Glass, who also designed the chattering teeth.
American Field Service
American Field Service
was created in World War I as a volunteer ambulance and medical corps supporting the Allied war effort.
Asphalt and Asbestos Roofing and Siding
Fireproof asbestos shingles soared in popularity beginning in the early 1900s until health risks associated with the material became widely publicized. But they weren't actually banned nationwide until 1989.
Jack Cornell for Sheriff San Diego
"No Stool Pigeons" was apparently a good campaign slogan when running for Sheriff in San Diego in the 1930s.
Moon Rocks
You could chemically grow colorful crystals with the Hasbro Magic Moon Rocks kit from the 1950s.
98% of all Procurable Women have Venereal Disease
This WW2 poster might be overstating it a bit. Britain and the US were the only countries who didn't issue condoms to their soldiers during WW1 and they paid a price for it. They issued condoms in WW2 and also relied on scare tactics like this.
Alcoa Wrap - Be a Bright Little Wife
Who wants to be a "bright little wife" this Thanksgiving?
 American society is still patriarchal, but not quite as bad as when this ad appeared in the 1970s.
Jackie Gleason Bus Driver's Outfit
"To the moon, Alice!"
The Jackie Gleason Bus Drivers Outfit came with with cap, money changer, ticket puncher, bus transfers, and coins.
Gimbels Funtimer Slippers
Gimbel's Funtimer Slippers and not your ordinary slippers because they have real foam rubber tires.
Yvette and Her Original Muff Dance
 Did Yvette really need Sligh & Tyrrell in order to do her "Muff Dance?"
Seagram - Should you drink if you are pregnant?
That's a hard NO, but Seagram thought there was a little wiggle room. Later, deep in the text that people are likely to miss, they suggest putting "a hold on the drinking" while pregnant.
Finger Supporting and Exercising Device
If you need this device to hold your fingers in the "proper" position, then piano is probably not the instrument for you.
PDT-90 - Not My Kid
How to wreck your relationship with a teenager.
RCA - The Two Thousand
In 1969, RCA invited the American public to "take a leap into the year 2000" with a new television set called The Two Thousand that cost $2,000. That's about $14,000 in 2020 dollars for a set that would never last to the year 2000.
Mary Kay Skin
"Every skin is different" There is white and there is tanned, but there are no people of color.
Royal Enfield Bicycles
The company that would become Royal Enfield began manufacturing bicycles in the 1880s in the UK.
In 1893 they won a contract to supply precision parts to the Royal Small Arms Factory of Enfield, Middlesex. To celebrate this prestigious order, they renamed their business the Enfield Manufacturing Company and adopted the trademark "Made Like A Gun."
Space Patrol Belt
"Made of rugged simulated leather to stand up to out of this world action."
Kellogg's Live Wire
He's a live wire alright. His cheek muscles are on the outside of his skin!
Big Pay Musician
Learn the tenor banjo and you'll be paid "fancy prices."
Karswood Creosote

Creosote is a thick and sticky black tar that is a byproduct of burning wood or coal.
In the 1890s, it was common ingredient in quack medicine cures for colds, flu,  bronchitis, Whooping Cough, Hay Fever, Croup, Asthma and Tuberculosis.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Still Votin' Trump -- No Matter What

Still votin Trump

Why do people continue to support Trump no matter what he does? Simple. They don't care what he does. They support Trump because he hates the same people they hate.

He can do pretty much anything and they'll explain it away. Or they will just laugh it off because they truly don't care what Trump does or they chalk it up to "fake news."

Trump Supporters - profile
How liberals see Trump supporters - it's not that simple


The one core value that Trumpsters celebrate above all others is hatred for weakness. Refusing to wear masks to protect oneself and others from COVID has been turned into "freedom" but it's really about exposing fear. They're playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches is a "weakling."

Their passionate hatred for weakness is what proves to them that they are strong. 

Kindness = weakness. 

Honesty = weakness.

Compromise = weakness.

They believe themselves superior in every way to anyone who doesn't hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people who are inferior to them, "takers instead of makers"  but they also know that they are outnumbered and that is why they will condone "any means necessary" by their side to retain power.

If you could reason with Trump supporters there wouldn't be any Trump supporters


Psychologists have identified several key traits that most Trump voters share:

1.  Authoritarian Personality Syndrome - characterized by extreme obedience and unquestioning respect for and submission to authority.

2. Social dominance orientation -  a preference for a societal hierarchy of groups in which the high-status groups dominate the low-status ones.

3.  Prejudice - Not all of Trump's supporters are prejudiced against ethnic and religious minorities, but those who are prone to prejudice have found a home in the Republican Party and Trump has welcomed their support with plenty of dog whistles.

4. Minimal Intergroup Contact - Contact with those outside one's own group tends to reduce prejudice.  Trump’s white supporters have had significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. 

5. Relative Deprivation - the experience of feeling that one is being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled; like jobs going to "illegal aliens" or shipped to Mexico and China, etc.

6.  Practicality Trumps Morality - Trump offers tax cuts for the rich and reducing government regulations that get in the way of businessmen making money. By tying tax cuts and reducing regulations to job creation, Trump appeals to blue collar workers in the rust belt as well. In essence, their attitude is that as long as Trump benefits me financially, I don't care what else he does.

7. Easily manipulated by fear - Science has shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening.

8. Mental health problems - people who are already borderline are being cynically manipulated with propaganda that further damages their mental health

9. Collective Narcissism - "American Exceptionalism" The mistaken idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous is comforting to many Americans. Trump exacerbates the collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalistic rhetoric.

Trump Voters are in a Cult of Personality

Many people vote Republican because Republicans offer the appearance of "moral clarity" — a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep-seated fears. Right Wing news and opinion outlets manipulate their followers' despair and confusion, and massage those emotions into self-righteous anger and hate. They have been convinced by their leaders that a Democrat victory will lead to the destruction of America and everything they hold dear.

Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason and do so with long-winded explanations.

Many people love Trump because he flouts all the rules about what you can say and how you can say it. They love him for this even when they disagree with what he’s saying and how he’s saying it. Being politically incorrect is the important thing, because Trump is doing what they wished they felt free to do.  

Challenging a Trump voter on their facts doesn't work because it threatens their entire world view. When we challenge Trump voters with factual evidence, they discount the evidence, no matter what the source, and then generate new rationalizations for why they are right. The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and echo chamber, including Fox News, is especially adept at giving Trumpsters rebuttals that they can use to minimize their discomfort with bothersome, contradictory facts.

Conservatives blame immigration and changing demographics for creating the political and social environment where their views are defined as stupid, bigoted, and hateful. So, Trump’s attacks on Mexican and Muslim immigration are part of the same message. They think Trump will reverse this trend and make it safe for people just to be themselves again. 

Leaving Trump would be tantamount to an admission that they were wrong about him all along. Every new revelation of Trump's wrongdoing, along with what I like to call Trump's "daily outrage," where he keeps the media lurching from one drama to the next, increases the investment his supporters have in him and it makes it that much more difficult for them to finally decide that they have had enough of Trump. 

"This is Fine" -- Matt Wuerker


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Voter Intimidation 2008 and 2020


Voter Intimidation 2008 and 2020

In 2008, conservative media went nuts when a video surfaced showing two New Black Panthers at a polling location in Philadelphia. One individual was carrying a billy club and was asked to leave. The other was actually licensed as a poll watcher and had a right to be there.

They were both sued by Obama's Department of Justice on claims of voter intimidation . Much later, and after a lot more drama from the Right, all the charges were dropped. Republicans weren't satisfied with that and conducted an investigation into why the charges were dropped. Nothing more materialized and eventually it was forgotten.

And now in 2020 we have Trump telling his supporters to "patrol" the polls looking for fraud. He has them stirred up and charged with righteous indignation. It's freakin' scary already, and Trump is just getting started.

Trump is not the real problem. It's important to remember that Trump's enablers are the ones making all of this possible. And it's not just the Senate. His enablers include some 42% (or more) of the population who are ready to vote for him again, no matter what. 
These people -- our neighbors -- are ready to fall in line for Trump for another four years, of even worse abuses. They are authoritarian personalities who have found their demagogue. The more outrageous Trump's behavior, the more they are invested in him. This can't possibly end well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I'll Never Vote in a National Election Again

George Carlin - Voting is a meaningless exercise

 “Voting is a meaningless exercise. I’m not going to waste my time with it. These parties, these politicians are given to us as a way of making us feel we have freedom of choice. But we don’t.”
— George Carlin

After 2020, I won't be voting again for any candidates for President, House, or Senate. Why should I bother, when my vote really doesn't matter? Don't try to tell me "every vote counts." Maybe in some swing states they do, but not in California. I live in a solidly Democratic district in a solidly Democratic state. Gerrymandering has made my vote for representative meaningless, while the Electoral College makes my vote for president meaningless, because California is a "winner take all" state. California will have two Democratic Senators for the foreseeable future, and so my voting for Senator certainly won't ever change the outcome.

The System is Broken

The ideal of one person, one vote completely disappears in the Electoral College and the Senate. Right now we have a president who lost the popular vote in 2016 and a Senate where there is a 53-person Republican majority that represents tens of millions fewer Americans than the 45-person Democratic minority and 2 Independents.

The Senate greatly magnifies the power of small states. GOP controlled Wyoming, population 582,000, has two senators and so does Dem controlled California, with a population of 38.8 million. As a result, California's Senators represent 66 times more voters than Wyoming’s. 

The GOP enjoys many institutional advantages that have allowed them far more power and control than they deserve.

  • Electoral College -- a relic of slavery compromises.
    red states represent far fewer actual voters
  • Gerrymandering -- both sides do it and it means few seats are actually at risk in each election
  • When voting takes place on a workday, the party with older and more-affluent voters enjoys a boost at the polls.
  • Two-party system means that Republicans who don't want Trump have nowhere else to go
  • Republicans control voting in the "Red" states and engage in voter suppression, via Voter ID, purging voter rolls, limiting polling hours and places, etc.

Republicans have won the popular vote in presidential elections just once in the last 30 years. Much of the Republican base views defeat as catastrophic. White Christians are losing more than an electoral majority; their once-dominant status in American society is eroding. They have reacted to perceptions of an existential threat with a win-at-any-cost mentality.

Even when Republicans lose they employ any means necessary to hold onto power. After losing the governorship in North Carolina in 2016 and Wisconsin in 2018, Republicans used lame-duck legislative sessions to push through a flurry of bills stripping power from incoming Democratic governors. 

Needless to say, Republicans will never give up the institutional and structural advantages that allow them to control the US government with a minority of the popular votes. 

Meanwhile, Democrats in safe House and Senate seats, like my representatives, don't have to do what's best for their constituents, because just like the so-called "moderate Republicans" Liberals and Progressives have nowhere else to go. As a result we have "corporate Democrats" who pay lip service to progressive goals while continuing to do the bidding of giant corporations. 

California has one Senator now -- Diane Feinstein -- 87 years old and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who should never have been re-elected in 2018 because she was already notably slipping mentally and she has only gotten worse. Not to mention that she has been way too conservative for California for at least the past 12 years, but she was re-elected anyway because the Dem primary is too much of an uphill battle for challengers.

In short, while one can expect at least some positive changes over time, the overall trend is mostly negative. America had already become an oligarchy long before Trump ever took office, and Trump has added demagoguery, authoritarianism and kleptocracy. The divide among Americans continues to grow and the future looks very bleak indeed.

Authoritarianism on the rise

And it's not just happening in the US. Much of Europe is heading in the same direction, not to mention China, Russia and the rest of the world. 

You do what is right for you. If I lived in a so-called "battleground" state my votes for national office would matter. I don't and so I don't see any point in it. I'm not getting my hopes up or validating the current broken system with my votes. However, for what it's worth, I will continue to vote on local representatives and issues that I can still influence.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Funny Vintage Ads (42)

 Advertising has always been an interesting way to look at history. But when you see these vintage advertisements, the past seems a lot stranger than you thought.

How to Attract Women
Just get a giant magnet and point it at that metal plate in her head. 
Drink Thunderbird Instead
Thunderbird is a fortified wine, also known as a "bum drink"

that has been described as a hangover in a bottle that tastes like cough syrup.
Army Steady Jobs
Since the US Army became all volunteer in 1973, their best recruiting tool has always been high unemployment.
Stillman's Freckle Cream
Stillman’s Freckle Cream contained toxic mercury compounds until the 1970s, when restrictions or prohibitions were placed on the cosmetic use of mercury by the FDA.
Larger Than Life Poster of Yourself
She doesn't need a "larger than life" photo because she is already scary enough with those raccoon eyes.
Cube Lube
Just solving the puzzle is the easy part. How quickly can you do it?
Here's what we'll wear -- in space
This is what the experts came up with for astronauts to wear in case a space ship depressurized.
Barnum & Bailey trained pigs
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, "
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
Radiation Cook Book
Radiation in this context meant radiant heat.  A Regulo-Controlled Gas Cooker controlled radiant heat with a thermostat and
a "Radiation Recipe Book" was included with each sale.
Bombardier Cockpit
"The pilot's physical fitness, eye test and coordination tests are included" so you don't crash your cardboard cockpit.
Miss your mom? Call her long distance
On February 12, 1877, the first long-distance phone call in history was made from Salem to Boston, MA. They had to wait till after 6PM when the rates went down.
Blatz - Liberace
Liberace didn't seem like a Blatz beer kind of guy.
Sleep With Donald Trump
In the 1990s, Playgirl ran a contest (Probably paid for by Trump) where the grand prize was a pillowcase with Trump's picture on it.
Monkey Brand
Monkey Brand soap was introduced in the 1880s as a household scouring and polishing soap. Each package included the admonition, " Not to be Used on Clothes!" because the soap included pumice.
Raise Giant Frogs
The Goliath frog can grow up to 13 inches in length, and weigh over 7 lbs. During the Depression of the 1930s, people were encouraged to grow "Giant Frogs" for fun and profit.
watu wazuri use afro sheen
"Now that you've decided to be beautiful"
Huh? You can just decide to be beautiful?
Remco Exploding Booby Trap and Mine
The Remco "Monkey Division -- for Jungle Warfare" line of weaponry and accessories, including 2 different bazookas and a mortar was introduced in 1963.
Atora Beef Suet
Suet is raw beef fat from around the joints and kidneys. Beef Suet pudding is a traditional British recipe. Doesn't that look delicious?
Prophylaxis prevents venereal disease
Apparently only "loose" women spread venereal disease.
Black Cat Cigarettes

Carreras Tobacco Company was founded in 1788 in London by a nobleman from Spain, Don José Carreras Ferrer.
Rectal Disorders
And who doesn't want a free "illustrated" book of rectal disorders?
Dr. A. S. McCleary founded the McCleary Clinic and Hospital in 1901, which specialized in rectal and chronic diseases.
Bashful -- Richard Blackstone
"Shame on you!"
Published in the March 1929 issue of Physical Culture magazine.
New Cordless Body Vibrator
"Fantastically Exciting...Deep penetrating relief to your body never before experienced." Obscenity laws prevented companies from advertising devices for sexual pleasure until the 1970s.
Alaska Down Bustle
Exaggeration of the feminine posterior has been a common theme in Western fashion. The bustle was first patented in 1857 and was popular until the 1890s.
Kanekalon -- Keep easy hair
Kanekalon -- for that helmet head look!
Indoor Toilet
A chemical toilet in your house is probably not going to be "odorless."
Gay Book Magazine
 Gay Book (1933-1945) was a magazine for men that featured cartoons, pin-ups and sexy stories.
Budweiser - Where there's life there's Bud
 Budweiser - Where there's carb-loading there's Bud!
Frigidaire Stereo Cooling
"Stereo Cooling" 
 Instead of blowing cool air directly at you, this Frigidaire air conditioner directs the cooled air away from you. Genius!
I Love Lucy Baby Doll
 "She drinks, wets, blows bubbles, can be bathed, CRIES with a lusty voice and real tears"