Category Archives: Commentary

Salary – $6,500 A Year

Ad Says, $6,500 Per Year.  That Was A Good Salary?

It Was.

When?

Bad Timing, Just a Few Months Before the The Crash Of 1929

1929 almanac ad $6500 per year jobThis ad appeared in the 1929 World Almanac

Here is the snappy, convincing text form the ad.

I used to know him when he was a kid—we went to grammar school together. Then his father died and he had to go to work, Got a job with Brooks & Co., but couldn’t seem to get ahead. Then something seemed to wake him up. We could all see that he was doing better work.

“Then Old Man Brooks became interested—wanted to know how Ned happened to know so much about the business, Ned told him he’d been studying through the International Correspondence Schools. ‘H’m,’ said Mr. Brooks, ‘I’ll remember that.’ .

“We did too. Put Ned out on the road as a salesman for a year or so and then brought him into the main office as sales manager.

“He’s getting $6500 a year now and everybody calls him ‘the new Ned Tyson.’ I’ve never seen such a change in a man in my life.”

An International Correspondence Schools course will help you just as it helped Ned Tyson. It will help you to have the happy home—the bigger salary—the comforts you’d like to have.
At least find out how before the priceless years go by and it is too late.

Mail the coupon for the free booklet.

$6,500.

In 1929 it was a grand salary.

This advertisement is similar to what online colleges do today. Just take courses through a correspondence school. The inference is that you too could be making $6,500 per year. That may not sound like a lot of money now. Adjusted for inflation by the consumer price index that’s the equivalent of $97,464 in 2019 dollars.

The problem with Ned’s job and millions like it, is the stock market crash would occur just months after this ad ran. Continue reading

George Kell & Yogi Berra – Try To Strike Us Out!

The Most George Kell Ever Struck Out In A Season Was 37 Times, Yogi Berra 38

George Kell Is Out At Home Plate Yogi berra Applies the tag 1955 Both players rarely struck out.

Calling While He’s Out

Chicago: Umpire Ed Hurley (left) calls White Sox George Kell (second from right) out at home on Kell’s try at scoring from first base on Walt Dropo’s first inning double against the Yankees July 20th in Chicago. Yogi Berra (right) makes the putout. In foreground is Sox player Jim Rivera.  Chicago won 8-6. Credit: United Press Telephoto 7/20/55

Yogi Berra and George Kell were both described by sportswriters as “short and chunky.” Proving that appearance doesn’t reflect talent, both players were inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, Berra in 1972 and Kell in 1983.

The Hall of Fame is not the only thing the two players had in common.

While today’s players don’t seem to give a second thought to striking out five times in a game, Berra and Kell rarely heard the words “strike three,” from an umpire. Continue reading

Walt Whitman & James Bond At The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair 2019Customers at Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair 2019

While rare books abound at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, you can spend as little as $10 for something very readable and collectable.

Or you can plunk down as much as $85,000 and walk away happy with your purchase. The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, going six years strong, is currently at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, 72 Noble Street.

Greenpoint – Franklin Avenue

Greenpoint, if you haven’t been there recently, is worth the trip alone. It is hip and revitalized with many unique shops and trendy restaurants filled with customers. The pubs in the area lure you with sweet aromas of barley and hops with their Brooklyn craft beers. Flea markets are nearby and you have great views from the waterfront.

Getting back to the fair, I didn’t spend $85,000 which was the asking price of a magnificent first edition copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Continue reading

How Men And Women Think Differently As Seen In A 100-Year-Old Illustration

100+ Years Later-  What is the “Difference”?

A while ago, browsing through old news sources for verification of a story, I came across an illustration from Harper’s Weekly from the early 1900s.

If there is an artist’s signature, unfortunately I could not find it.

Harper's Weekly man and Woman illustration How each sex think's differently.The Illustration taking the entire page is titled “The Difference.” It might be construed by some people today as politically incorrect, totally sexist or completely accurate. Continue reading

A Klingon In The 1964 Topps Baseball Card Set & Other Strange Musings

Some Random Observations On 1964 Baseball Cards and Players

Joe Torre 1964 Topps looks angry

Take away the cap and Joe Torre is not a ballplayer. He looks like a tough Brooklyn badass who you wouldn’t want to mess with.

The 1964 Topps baseball card set could be known as the mug shot set. Boring head shots predominate with few players pictured in full body or action poses. Continue reading

Signs In French

Real Signs In France

The French have a different way of doing things. Especially with their signage.

Here are three signs that caught my attention.

baggage troubles french sign sillyThis one was on a train going from Paris to southern France. It says:

Forgot Your Luggage? Worries Guaranteed!

Now I’m not quite sure if they literally meant it. That if you lost or left your baggage on the train that you would be worried. Well of course you would! Or is this the French way of saying, “You are screwed if you lose your luggage. So don’t lose it!”

Something definitely got lost in translation. Maybe hire a proofreader who understands English when the next version of this sign is created.

The next one doesn’t need any words, even though it had them only in French. This was near the beach. Continue reading

Loyalty, Oaths, Patriotism & The Forgotten 1919 New York City High School, Anti-Bolshevik (& Everything Else Un-American) Pledge Of Allegiance

Would Having Graduating High School Students Take An Oath Of Allegiance Be Held Unconstitutional Today?

New York City schools in September 1902, "Saluting The Flag" photo: Florence Maynard

New York City school children in a display of patriotism, September 1902, “Saluting The Flag” photo: Florence Maynard

After World War I and the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, declaring your loyalty to America was not taken lightly. In 1919, President of the New York City Board of Education, Anning S. Prall, set a requirement that all graduating New York City High School children recite a pledge of allegiance to the United States before receiving their diplomas. This is quite different than the pledge most Americans know by heart.

Prall’s pledge:

“I will reverence my country’s flag and defend it against enemies at home and abroad.”

“I will respect and obey the President of the United States and the law of the land.”

“I will support, in school and out, American ideals of justice and fair play, including the right of unhampered opportunity under the law for all.”

“I will hold the ideal of rational patriotism above loyalty to any individual, political party, social class or previous national connection.”

“I will actively oppose all revolutionary movements, such as Bolshevism, anarchism, I. W. W.-ism, or any movement antagonistic to the laws of the United States or tending to subvert the Constitution of the United States.”

How long Prall’s allegiance pledge was retained is undocumented. But in 2019, can a student refuse to say a pledge of allegiance in school? Continue reading

A 21st Century Woman In The 19th Century – Maverick In Mauve

Book Review: Maverick In Mauve The Diary Of a Romantic Age

Maverick In Mauve book coverLifelong New Yorker, Florence Adele Sloane kept a diary from 1893 – 1896. That in itself is not unusual. What is out of the ordinary is that the diary covers Florence’s life from the age of 19 through 23 and her observations on life and her surroundings are written with astute wisdom beyond her years. Continue reading

Over The Last 20 Years Ebay Has Lost Its Original Customers

Why Ebay Lost Its Original Customers

I remember when I was first was told about eBay 23 years ago. Ebay was a great platform to bid and possibly win at auction interesting, older items. Many times rare purchases could be won for a bargain.  Books, ephemera and unusual items. At least that’s how it started for me.

Over the years eBay evolved from a relatively small community user-based auction site to a worldwide commercial behemoth store. And it’s not a very good one. Along the way they lost their original customer base.

Why? Continue reading