Newt Gingrich’s surprise trip back to political relevance got me thinking about other old-fashioned (or vintage, if you prefer a more positive spin) American topics.
As a guest on Jay Leno’s show this week, Ron Paul gave an unusual answer to a standard question: Who’s your favorite president? Paul cited Grover Cleveland, which surely wasn’t what most viewers expected to hear. But the libertarian Republican has expressed his admiration for the 22nd and 24th president before:
“I like Grover Cleveland…. He endorsed the foreign policy of nonintervention; he was a gold-standard person. He loved the veto….
Cleveland was the only Democratic president to serve between 1869 and 1913, a period when Republicans dominated the Congress. He vetoed more bills than any other president except for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Love him or hate him, Ron Paul does think for himself. During Thursday night’s debate in Sioux City, Paul refused to name a favorite current Supreme Court justice. All of the other candidates named one of the usual suspects.
Christmas and Chanukah are almost here, and the holiday season is a popular time to revive traditions. Giving friends and family home-made food is one custom that never goes out of style. It’s also a good gift for people who don’t need or want more “stuff.” If you have any favorite holiday recipes, share them in this thread.
Speaking of the Christmas season, I learned recently that contrary to what you may have heard, advertisements for Coca-Cola did not invent the modern image of Santa Claus.
Santa hasn’t changed much in pop culture through the decades, but check out these vintage weight gain ads (courtesy of the Retronaut blog). These quotes are genuine:
“Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny, but…Since I gained 10 pounds this new, easy way, I have all the dates I want.”
“No sex appeal to that beanpole. Let’s vamoose.”
“If you want to be popular, you can’t afford to be SKINNY!”
“Amazing scientific plan adds new attractive pounds and inches”
The more things change, the more they remain the same: advertisers will never stop trying to hook women on making their bodies more attractive to men (as opposed to healthier).
Here’s another funny bit of retro marketing: vintage wallet inserts (courtesy of the Cheeze Blog). I especially loved the “approved” identification card, which suggests that you fill out not only your name and address, but also sex, age, weight, hair and eye color, blood type, employer, and Social Security number. I guess identity theft wasn’t a big problem back in the day.
This is an open thread. All topics welcome.
UPDATE: Vaclav Havel died Sunday. It’s hard to overstate the influence of Czechoslovakia’s leading dissident and first president of the post-Communist period. I’m rereading excerpts from his classic dissident essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”
SECOND UPDATE: Breaking news from Science Digest magazine in April 1958: Girls Could Help Fill Science Need.
In the hue and cry for more scientists America should look to its gifted girl students, a Michigan State University researcher has indicated.
Girls have shown the same ability as boys to do high-level work of a scientific nature, according to Dr. Elizabeth Monroe Drews, who made a four-year study of gifted adolescents in Lansing. Mich. […]
In the pre-Sputnik-era tests, three-fourths of the gifted boys said they planned careers as scientists or engineers. All indicated they planned to graduate from college and two-thirds of them expected to do graduate work.
With the girls it was a different story, Dr. Drews commented. Although the gifted girls averaged about four years ahead of their class and could match the gifted boys in scientific ability, the gifted girls chose occupations which were only only those of the average girl.
“Often, girls do not take the courses to prepare them for scientific careers and there seems to be very little encouragement in our society for them to go on to work in that area,” the MSU researcher remarked.