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01/20/2022 1940 in a Nutshell   Leave a comment

I stumbled upon a stack of old books recently which were reviews of 1940, 1941, 1945, and 1946. I thought it would be kind of fun to drop back into 1940 and get a handle on how things were then right in the middle of a war. It might give us a little context that we don’t have these days except for the damn pandemic.

A couple of famous celebrities were born in 1940, Jack Nicholas on January 21, and John Hurt on January 22. In 1940, Whitman Samplers were the cats-meow for that special date. The men wore wool suits and women wore uncomfortable dresses in order to fit in with current styles. Formal dancing, accompanied by the big band sounds of the day, was always a good way to conclude a celebrity event. Also, roller skating was a popular activity as well as school and church outings. Even in those activities men usually dressed in suits and ties while women dressed a bit more casually.

Now let me supply you with a few movies of that period that were tops at the box office. Boomtown, Fantasia, His Girl Friday, Knute Rockne All American, The Mark of Zorro, The Grapes of Wrath, Northwest Passage, and a kids favorite, Pinocchio. Walt Disney’s Fantasia initially was a financial disappointment. However, in subsequent years the film was edited several times, and eventually became one of the most noted and classic of all the Disney films

Fran Tarkington, a well-known football player was born on February 3. Smokey Robinson rolled in on February 19, and Peter Fonda followed on February 23. A more infamous birthday girl was born on March 26, good old liberal Nancy Pelosi.

With the depression over, consumer food intake became more dependent on canned foods such as soup, meat, and vegetables. Before Spam there was Prem, a tasty and delicious meat made of genuine sugar-cured pork.

The war in Europe continued. 1940 was a pivotal year for England when on July 10, Britain’s factories and military facilities were being bombed by Hitler’s Air Force. The ban on bombing British cities was lifted by Hitler and the blitz began and continued off and on throughout the year, destroying many parts of the cities. Hitler also began marching west and slowly but surely began taking over most of Europe. The British troops were contained at Dunkirk and due to aid from a massive flotilla of private boats were able to be saved from destruction and returned to Britain.

The 1939-1940 World’s Fair was held at Flushing Meadows in New York and was the largest world’s fair of all-time. It featured exhibits like a keyboard operated speech synthesizer, color photography, nylon, air-conditioning, the View Master and the later unsuccessful Smell-O-Vision, among many others.

Sports checking revealed the National Football League, where the Chicago Bears of the Western division defeated the Washington Redskins of the Eastern division 73-0, in one of the most one-sided games in professional football history.

Alex Trebek was born on July 22 and Ringo Starr was born on July 7. The Saturday Evening Post magazine was the biggest seller in those days.

Roadways would be constructed at a fast pace. The Pennsylvania Turnpike, the first tunneled United States superhighway, opened on October 1, 1940. The Arroyo-Seco Parkway was dedicated in December and became the first Los Angeles freeway. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel in New York opened on November 15. Unfortunately, it was also the year that the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapsed only months after its completion, earning the nickname of “Galloping Gertie”.

Last but not least let’s address some food issues. On May 15 the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald. A loaf of bread cost $.08 cents, bacon $.27 a pound, butter was $.36 a pound, and eggs $.33 a dozen. A 5-pound bag of sugar was $.26, gasoline was $.11 a gallon, postage stamps were $.03, a new car averaged $990, and last but not least a single-family home listed at $2938.00. The average salary for a full-time employee was $1200.00 a year with a minimum wage of $.30 an hour. The US population at that time was 132,122,000 and FDR was our president.

WAS IT BETTER THEN??

07-29-2013   2 comments

Since this week has been so traumatic and disturbing I’ve decided to lay some more really useless information on you.  I’m just not up to writing anything too serious today because I’m still a little unfocused with everything that’s been going on.  These facts are somewhat odd but still interesting and I hope you enjoy them.

  • Cats urine glows under a black light.
  • Blueberry jelly beans were especially made for Ronald Reagan.
  • In every episode of Seinfeld there’s a superman somewhere.
  • Checkmate comes from the Persian phrase "shah mat" which means the king is dead.
  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds while dogs have only ten.
  • 91% of Americans lie daily.
  • When you sneeze water can come out of your mouth at speeds of 60mph.
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
  • On a Canadian 2 dollar bill the flag flying over the parliament building appears to be an American flag. It’s actually Canada’s earlier flag of the Red Ensign.
  • Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
  • There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
  • Almonds are a member of the peach family.
  • A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
  • Sloths are actually fast, they just prefer to move at a slow pace.
  • There are only two families who produced a father and son who were US presidents: Bush and Adams.
  • A pig’s orgasm lasts for 30 minutes.
  • Humans and horses are the only two animals that have hymens.
  • Polish is the only word in the English language that has two completely different meanings when the first letter is capitalized.
  • The longest word in the English language is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
  • Margaret Kerry was the live action model for Walt Disney’s Tinkerbell.
  • The average human lies at least twice a day.
  • Before Late Night Television, Jay Leno appeared in an episode of Laverne and Shirley.
  • In "American Graffiti", the license plate on Richard Dreyfusses’ car is changed every time you see it.

That should just about do it for today.  I’m on my way to begin the search for another vehicle for the better-half.  She’s still in morning for the loss of her little yellow car and the only way to help her along is to find another car as soon as possible.  I’m actually surprised she didn’t want to bring the remains home so we could bury it in the yard next to our previous pets.  She gets attached to the weirdest crap.  It can be amazing, unbelievable, and disturbing all at the same time.

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