Author Archives: Bert

The Politically Incorrect Postage Stamp

U.S. Postage Stamp – “Retarded Children Can Be Helped”

Don’t dare call somebody retarded unless you want scorn heaped upon you.

In the twenty-first century the word retard has been put on a list of verboten words never to be uttered, unless you wish to appall your fellow conversationalist or intend to incur the wrath of the word police. It wasn’t always this way.

The United States Postal Service issued the Retarded Children Can Be Helped stamp October 12, 1974. Over 150 million Continue reading

When A Man Tried To Enlist In The Navy’s WAVES -1965

A 1965 Civil Rights Test – For All The Wrong Reasons

In these peculiar times where rules (and logic) are constantly challenged when it comes to gender, sex and discrimination, we are often oblivious to historical precedents.

In 1965 the idea that a man could be a join an organization, team, or club exclusively comprised of women (and vice versa) was considered unacceptable by consensus. Today, the situation Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #151 – Laurel & Hardy Among Actors On WWII Victory Caravan

Hollywood Stars Support World War II Effort – 1942

Los Angeles, CA – It’s forward march for the Hollywood Victory Caravan. A squad of 22 top film stars and eight starlets who will take a three hour tour variety program to Washington, D.C., and twelve other large cities in the interests of Army and Navy Relief, marches toward their special train in Los Angeles between honor guards of soldiers and sailors. In the squad can be seen Eleanor Powell, Rise Stevens, Charlotte Greenwood, Joan Blondell, Desi Arnaz, Katherine Booth, Pat O’Brien, Frances Langford, Charles Boyer, Fay McKenzie, Cary Grant, Marie McDonald, and Jerry Colonna. In the foreground, left and right, are Stan Laurel and Babe Hardy. April 27, 1942 photo: Acme

The patriotic stars forfeited their salaries for a month to support the Army Emergency Relief and The Navy Relief Society. The goal was to raise to $250,000. Continue reading

1970 New Yorker Cartoonist Book Defines What It Is To Be A Boy Or A Girl

New Yorker Cartoonist Whitney Darrow’s 1970 Children’s Book Emphasizes The Differences Between Boys And Girls

Up until the 1960s men were men, women were women and children’s books steadfastly reinforced that boys are boys, and girls are girls. Not just anatomically, but in professions, expectations and capabilities.

“Because he was naughty, dear.”

Whitney Darrow Jr. (August 22, 1909 – August 10, 1999) was Continue reading

Surviving 29 Hours In The Shark Infested Atlantic With No Life Jacket

No One Saw How Or When Arne Nicolaysen Went Overboard

The Astonishing Story Of A Seaman Who Was Alone In The Ocean For A Day and Two Nights With No Life Jacket, Food, Water Or Anything To Hold On To

Arne Nicolaysen holding life preserver on British ship Surveyor

Reading the story entitled “Man Overboard” about Arne Nicolaysen in Robert Littell’s 1961 book It Takes All Kinds (Reynal & Compnay) you come to the realization that some human beings are incredibly resilient.

Nicolaysen was able to survive an agonizing 29 hours in the ocean without any flotation device, food or water, while sharks kept approaching him. The fact that it was hours before anyone on his ship discovered that Nicolaysen was missing, made his rescue seem even more unlikely. Between 15 – 20 ships passed by without hearing his calls for help or spotting him bobbing up and down in the endless expanse of the ocean.

Nicolaysen’s story is frightening, dramatic and ultimately inspiring. Continue reading

Solving A Phone Booth Problem

A Little Person In A Phone Booth – 1977

photo APLake George, NY, Aug 5 – SHORT CIRCUIT
Three-foot high Ruthie Soucek solves her height problem by utilizing the shelf in a telephone booth at Lake George, NY.  She is a member of a performing group appearing in this community. – AP Wirephoto 1977

Another slow news day photograph. So if a newspaper had some extra column space to fill, this photo and caption might appear. Unfortunately the photographer is uncredited. Continue reading

100 Years Ago Today The World Learned Of The Discovery Of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb

November 29, 1922 The World Is Told About The Discovery Of King Tut’s Tomb

Hussein Abdel Rasoul, a water boy for an archeological expedition came across something unusual. As he was swishing around sand to make bottles stay upright, he noticed the surface he had uncovered looked like a sculpted stone. It turned out to be a step. The first step leading to a blocked entryway.

Hussein the water boy wearing a scarab necklace found at King Tut’s excavation site

Hussein’s discovery occurred early in the morning of November 4, 1922 in the Valley of the Kings, just outside of Luxor, about 450 miles upstream of Cairo, Egpyt.

The expedition’s lead was archeologist Howard Carter who in the past had other significant finds under his direction. Carter was spending another year digging and looking for treasures, but without progress. Continue reading

Do American’s Obey Laws Because Of Religion?

Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen On Americans, Democracy, Laws & Religion

The late Clayton Christensen (1952-2020) of Harvard Business School made this one and a half minute video in 2014. Considering the breakdowns in civility and law we are witnessing today it is well worth watching.

My personal views not withstanding, a friend once said religion “is the opium of the people.” Oh, sorry that wasn’t my friend, that was Karl Marx in his critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right.

My real friend said that religion prevents Continue reading