Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for November, 2013

Adolf Hitler reviewing the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in December of 1935

I love that camp hand. "Heeey Hansi, loved your uniform at the ball last night"

I love that camp hand. “Heeey Hansi, loved your uniform at the ball last night”

I wonder how many of those guys were alive in 1946.

The biggest fire in Swedish history left the city of Sundsvall in ruins, 1888.

It took 9 hours for the fire to bring down the whole city. Five people died that day and more than 9000 people became homeless.

It took 9 hours for the fire to bring down the whole city. Five people died that day and more than 9000 people became homeless.

A Boy and His Dog, 1922

To think, the dog was dead by WWII and there's a pretty decent chance the boy went to war and didn't come back either.

To think, the dog was dead by WWII and there’s a pretty decent chance the boy went to war and didn’t come back either.


Kagoshima City Japan Covered In Ash After Volcanic Eruption 1914


WW1 German Bicycle Infantry on the Western Front, 1914

Those guys had silly mustaches and single speed bikes before the word hipster even existed.

Those guys had silly mustaches and single speed bikes before the word hipster even existed.

A large crowd celebrating Great Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in Trafalgar Square, London, 1914.

"We're all gonna get mowed down by German machine guns! YAAAYY!!"

“We’re all gonna get mowed down by German machine guns! YAAAYY!!”

These people really had no idea what they were getting into…

Josef Stalin among Bolshevik workers 1930’s Moscow

What was Sting doing there?

Is it just me, or do most of the heads/faces look altered?

Look up pictures of Stalin when he was younger. You’d be surprised to how good looking one of the most evil man in history was back in his youth. (link for the lazyA truly inspiring leader.

The only known photograph of Mother Tereza (real name Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) in her youth c. 1930


My favorite story about Mother Teresa is that often when people could join the Sisters of Charity and minister among the needy in Calcutta she would reply, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.” I think that’s just beautiful.

The Royal Castle in Warsaw burning after a German shellfire, 1939.


Thinking of all the amazing historic buildings and cities that were wiped out during WW2 makes me sad.


Unwanted babies for sale in France – early 1940’s

Unwanted babies for sale in France - early 1940's [489x700]


Dennis Potter – The Last Interview

“We tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense, and that nowness becomes so vivid that, almost in a perverse sort of way, I’m almost serene… Things are both more trivial than they ever were, and more important than they ever were, and the difference between the trivial and the important doesn’t seem to matter. But the nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous.”

[Legendary Television writer Dennis Potter’s last interview (not so much an interview… it’s almost a monologue.) It was filmed shortly after he learned that he had pancreatic cancer (which he named “Rupert,” after Murdoch) and was not expect to live more than a few more months. His inflamed hands can barely hold his ever-present cigarette (which he refers to as a “little tube of delight”), and he alternately sips champagne and swigs liquid morphine from an antique hip flask (to ease the pain.) Potter talks of the clarity and beauty of life that impending death gives. He faces squarely into the prospect of his life’s end. No sentimentality. No pathos. Just honesty and integrity and insight. His comments on the basis for his serenity are deeply moving. It’s truly remarkable.]


Lobster offering a pencil to the Gods.

Lobster offering a pencil to the Gods.

“Death would only end your agony…and silence your shame.”

Why are we so obsessed with “hard work”?

“Hard work” is an absolutely misguided concept. People don’t get what they want through hard work, you get that through irreplaceable work. The more irreplaceable you are, the more incentive others have to bend to your needs and wishes. People shouldn’t obsess over working hard, but with putting themselves in a position where you can make every bit of your inconvenience felt by others.

Even the concept of work that the general public has is misguided. If two men are pushing a box and one can’t move it, even though he is sweating and appears to be close to passing out, while the other guy moves it without any sweat, while chatting on the phone and enjoying a margarita, who is doing the most work? Most of the general public would say the first guy. People seem to think that the amount of work you do is equal to the pain you feel. It isn’t. Analogous to work in the physical sense, work is defined by how hard a obstacle is to push, and how far you move that obstacle. You can destroy your whole life and health trying to accomplish something, but if the obstacle is not budging, you arn’t doing any work. Eg. People who brag about how many hours they work or how “hard” they work, rather than what they have accomplished within that time.

I think the whole obsession people have over “hard work” is a sort of Nietzschean re-sentiment meant to protect the ego. It’s a sort of defense mechanism. Think about someone without any talent in a low end job that isn’t going anywhere. What are they supposed to do? How do you protect your ego from that reality? What virtue would you upheld that you make you come out on top? Hard Work! As useless and as imaginary as it might be, that’s the only thing you have.Image


The Russian imperial family in 1913. Five years later, all of them would be shot at the hands of the Bolsheviks


Archduke Franz Ferdinand with hunting party, circa 1890s

Is that sabertooth on the bottom right?

Is that sabertooth on the bottom right?


His assassination was when the world lost it’s innocence.

No wait, that was Lincoln’s assassination.

No wait, I mean the assassination of Henry IV of France.

Oh wait, I mean when Julius Caesar was knifed.

Meh. Never mind.

Annie Edson Taylor: the first person to survive going over the Niagara Falls in a barrel, and she did it on her 63rd birthday in 1901.

Hi, I'm Annie Taylor: Welcome to Jackass!!

Hi, I’m Annie Taylor: Welcome to Jackass!!

Picasso drawing with light in a photograph, Vallauris, France, 1949.

wow 1949, it looks like a photo from the 70s

Rather than a triple exposure, this is likely a long exposure where flash was fired three times while the shutter was still opened.

You can tell because the light-painting is one uninterrupted flowing line, and that Pablo shows up three times while he was tracing the shape with his light — each of the three Pablos represents each of the three flash pops.


Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten at the base of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the war. March, 1945

Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten at the base of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the war. March, 1945 [819 x 1024]

“Suddenly there was a sharp, loud report – a shot.”

“It all began so beautifully. After a drizzle in the morning, the sun came out bright and beautiful. We were going into Dallas. In the lead car, President and Mrs. Kennedy, John and Nellie, and then a Secret Service car full of men, and then our car – Lyndon and me and Senator Yarborough.

The streets were lined with people.- lots and lots of people – the children were all smiling, placards, confetti, people waving from windows. One last happy moment I had was looking up and seeing Mary Griffith leaning out of a window and waving at me.

Then, almost at the edge of town, on our way to the Trade Mart where we were going to have the luncheon, we were rounding a curve, going down a hill and suddenly there was a sharp, loud report – a shot.

It seemed to me to come from the right above my shoulder from a building. Then a moment and then two more shots in rapid succession. There had been such a gala air that I thought it must be firecrackers or some kind of celebration.

Then the lead car, the Secret Service men were suddenly down. I heard over the radio system ‘Let’s get out of here, ‘ and our man who was with us, Ruf Youngblood, I believe it was, vaulted over the front seat on top of Lyndon, threw him to the floor and said, ‘Get down.’ Senator Yarborough and I ducked our heads.

The car accelerated terrifically fast – faster and faster. Then suddenly they put on the brakes so hard I wondered if we were going to make it as we wheeled left and went around the corner. We pulled up to a building. I looked up and saw it said ‘Hospital.’ Only then did I believe that this might be what it was. Yarborough kept saying in an excited voice, ‘Have they shot the President?’ I said something like, ‘No, it can’t be.’

Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president aboard Air Force One Jackie Kennedy stands at his side 3:38 PM 11/22/63

Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as
president aboard Air Force One
Jackie Kennedy stands at his side
3:38 PM 11/22/63

As we ground to a halt – we were still in the third car – Secret Service men began to pull, lead, guide and hustle us out. I cast one last look over my shoulder and saw, in the President’s car, a bundle of pink just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat. I think it was Mrs. Kennedy lying over the President’s body.

They led us to the right, the left and onward into a quiet room in the hospital – – a very small room. It was lined with white sheets, I believe.

People came and went – Kenny O’Donnell, Congressman Thornberry, Congressman Jack Brooks. Always there was Ruf right there, Emory Roberts, Jerry Kivett, Lem Johns and Woody Taylor. There was talk about where we would go – back to Washington, to the plane, to our house. People spoke of how wide-spread this may be. Through it all, Lyndon was remarkably calm and quiet. Every face that came in, you searched for the answers you must know. I think the face I kept seeing it on was the face of Kenny O’Donnell who loved him so much.

It was Lyndon, as usual, who thought of it first. Although I wasn’t going to leave without doing it. He said, ‘You had better try to see if you can see Jackie and Nellie.’ We didn’t know what had happened to John. I asked the Secret Service men if I could be taken to them. They began to lead me up one corridor, back stairs and down another. Suddenly I found myself face to face with Jackie in a small hall. I think it was right outside the operating room. You always think of her – or someone like her, as being insulated, protected – she was quite alone.I don’t think I ever saw anyone so much alone in my life.

I went up to her, put my arms around her and said something to her. I’m sure it was something like, ‘God, help us all,’ because my feelings for her were too tumultuous to put into words.”

[References: Lady Bird Johnson’s remembrance of the assassination is located in the National Archives, NLLBJ-D2440-7a; Manchester, William, The Death of a President (1967); United States Warren Commission, Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1964).]

Confederate and Union soldiers shake hands across the wall at the 1938 reunion for the Veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg.

How I imagine the conversation: "By the way, you missed." "So did you..."

How I imagine the conversation: “By the way, you missed.” “So did you…”

What grabs me most about this image is that it is a testament to the incredible ability we, as Americans, have to put our differences behind us and move beyond hatred and malice. Absolutely incredible that these men who fought in the bloodiest conflict on American soil were willing to shake each others hands and embrace each other as fellow citizens. If I could pick one thing that I wish the rest of the world could learn from America, this is it.


“A view of a whale’s fluke as it dives after being harpooned in Point Hope, Alaska”, September 1942

NGS Picture ID:996972

Lullaby by W.H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.



Soldier and his dog, Fort Thomas, Arizona Territory, 1885

Soldier and his dog, Fort Thomas, Arizona Territory, 1885 [2240x1325]


“How can the Dow hit a record today when most Americans are still on a downward escalator? Mainly because corporations are (1) squeezing payrolls (pushing down real wages and benefits) and (2) borrowing at bargain-basement rates to buy back their shares of stock. This strategy depends on continuing high unemployment so that (1) people with jobs are scared of losing them, and those without jobs will take whatever is available, and (2) the Fed will keep interest rates low.”