On October 25,1954 Life magazine wrote about the installation of the Hereford Sculpture in Kansas City.
A trailer truck rode through Kansas City, Mo. last week bearing a bull destined to achieve great heights. The bull, a Hereford from New Jersey, stands 12 feet high, weighs 5,550 pounds and has plastic flesh atop steel bones. It was designed to stand atop a 90-foot pylon in front of American Hereford Association headquarters near the stockyards. First the association mock-solemnly debated whether the model would present its white fore or its ample rear to nearby Kansas City, Kan, Then the great model was ceremoniously hoisted to its strictly neutral north-south position where, illuminated from within by intestinal neon tubing, it will doubtless provoke countless cornfed jokes about beef being still high.
In December of 1979, when my age was barely in the double digits, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan didn’t really make a big splash on the the government-run news. The New Year 1980 celebration was coming up, people were busy buying presents and stocking up on hard-to-find delicacies for the holiday table; and the TV mumbling something about helping out our Afghan brothers sounded exactly the same as it did every other time the Soviet Union was fighting a remote Cold War battle by proxy. I don’t think that many people knew then that these events will affect the country for the next ten years, destroy tens of thousands of Soviet and millions of Afghan lives, and ultimately contribute to the end of the USSR.
I wondered how the first days of the invasion were covered in the American press, so I stopped by the library to look at the old newspapers. Looks like it made front page news almost right away but there was some uncertainty about the extent of the Soviet military deployment. In less than a month it made it to the cover of the Time magazine. In Kansas City the invasion coincided with the firefighters’ strike so most of the front page space was dedicated to the coverage of the union negotiations and how the city was handling the lack of fire protection.
All the articles should be large enough to read if you click on the image. The microfilm quality is not the best, but it has nothing to do with me.
Continue reading →
On this day in 1941 Germany attacked the USSR beginning the 1,418-day part of the World War II known as the “Great Patriotic War“.
All of the appropriate songs are in Russian, but this video, which I linked before doesn’t need translation.
The video uses several songs about the WWII, the first one is the Sacred War, signifying the beginning of the war in her story. If you watch it to the end, the phrase she writes is “You are always near!”.
Few words before this post. No, I did not become a fan of weddings, but I thought that the fact that this wedding happened exactly 63 years ago today is the neatest thing; people in these photos should be in their 80’s so it’s not impossible that someone would remember being there or hearing about it. None of the text below belongs to me, it was reproduced from the Life Magazine article from July 14th, 1947, which has many additional photos and a detailed description of the preparations and the ceremony. Although my friend Hyperblogal was already operating his photography business in 1947 these photos were not taken by him; a famous Life Magazine photographer Nina Leen gets the credit for them. Lastly, this is going to be long, so keep scrolling. More photos can be found here.
The boom in weddings, which was set off at the end of the war is still going strong. Last month it was responsible for a bumper crop of brides throughout the U.S. Some of the weddings were big and grand, others small and quiet, but every one was a major event in the lives of the participants. As a tribute to this burgeoning romanticism, Life herewith presents a picture album of a U.S. wedding which took a place in Kansas City, Mo. on June 21 (*1947).
The bride was blue-eyed, blond Barbara Winn, 23–year old daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Edward Lawrence Winn of 1022 West 64 Street Terrace, Kansas City. Her father is well-to-do contractor. The groom was Thomas Ferrel Bailey, 23, of Topeka, Kan., whom Barbara first met at a New Year’s Eve party in 1945. Tom had just been discharged from the U.S. Army Air Forces as an air cadet and was returning to complete his studies at the University of Kansas, from which Barbara graduated in 1945.
When Barbara and Tom announced their engagement, they decided that they wanted a big wedding to entertain all their friends. Barbara’s mother particularly liked the idea because she had eloped herself and had missed the excitement of a big church ceremony. And since Barbara was his only daughter, her father was anxious to make the wedding a resounding success. For the groom the wedding preparations were pretty hectic because he was being graduated form the University of Kansas on the Monday before the Saturday ceremony and was piloting his owe plane back and forth to his home in Topeka on countless last-minute errands.
A large wedding like Barbara’s is one of the modern society’s elaborate rites. In staging it Barbara was constantly helped by her parents and her brother Larry, but like most American girls she made all the decisions herself. It was in fact a full time job. How she brought it to a happy conclusion is shown below.
It always bugs me when people in their desire to call someone a war criminal, to point out crimes against humanity, to pile on international statutes under which said person should be prosecuted, somehow fail to bring up the fact that said criminal is just another one in the long line of many who preceded him and probably will follow him in the future. I understand that this sad fact is not a justification for someone’s breaking laws and moral codes but at the same time what’s the point of plucking an evildoer from a lineup other than personal feeling of hatred.
For the record I don’t care what happens to George W. Bush, but my feeling is that there will not be any kind of investigation or charge against him, since there are other ex-presidents still alive who are just as guilty, and many of the “public servants” who signed off on the criminal policies and actions are still happily serving in the government. I am often disputed when I point out that America used torture, deceit, murder, bribes, blackmail and other means to achieve it’s geopolitical goals, and many times I hear “we are better than that”. I would argue that there isn’t a country in the world which inflicted more lasting damage both economical and humanitarian in the past 50 years than the United States. Many modern states are still struggling to overcome what a few CIA officers and a few million dollars did to them in order to control their ideology or resources. These covert and overt actions happened under beloved presidents like Ike and JFK as well as under the hated ones like Nixon and G.W.Bush.
I am not a historian but I can copy,paste and link with the best of them, so I will write a post or two about history that somehow touched my life and maybe point out a few facts that your selective memory may have left behind.
I bet everyone who grew up in the USSR during the 1970’s knows about comrade Luis Corvalán – “the heroic leader” of the Chilean communist party (who lived in exile in Moscow) and Victor Jara – a brave patriot and a famous singer who was murdered by the bloody Pinochet’s Junta backed by the no-less-bloody military-industrial complex in the USA. I wrote before about the Soviet propaganda and how most people tuned it out, but in this case many years later I found out the the Soviets weren’t far from the truth – the United States financed and executed an operation to depose a democratically elected president Salvador Allende and created favorable conditions for the military coup. The ironic fact was that Chile was an established democracy since 1932 and the CIA had a lot of trouble influencing Chilean democratic politicians and military. After the coup the US kept members of junta on the payroll and continued to support the junta until the end.
“There is no doubt”, the agency (CIA) confessed in a statement to Congress after the cold war ended, “that some CIA contacts were actively engaged in committing and covering up serious human rights abuses.” Chief among them was Colonel Manuel Contreras, the head of the Chilean intelligence service under Pinochet. He became a paid CIA agent and met with senior CIA officials in Virginia two years after the coup, at a time when the agency reported that he was personally responsible for thousands of cases of murder and torture in Chile. Contreras distinguished himself with the singular act of terror: the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier , who had been Allende’s ambassador to the United States, and an American aide Ronni Moffitt. They were killed by a car bomb fourteen blocks from the white house. Contreras then blackmailed the United States by threatening to tell the world about his relationship with the CIA, and blocked his extradition and trial for the murder*.
United States’ actions in Chile were personally ordered and controlled by president Nixon and previously (in 1962) by president Kennedy. They resulted in 3,197 deaths or disappearances between September 1973 and March 1990 at the hands of state agents. Of these, 1,102 were classified as “disappearances” and 2,095 as deaths. The American position was summarized by Henry Kissinger:
“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
Incidentally there was some talk about charging Kissinger with crimes against the people of Chile but it looks like he will probably peacefully die here and will be given a state funeral when his time comes.
Once in a while my childhood memories about Chile come back: unbelievably, a sister-in-law of my childhood friend is now a top model and actress in Chile (I remember her when she was my daughter’s age); in a movie I recently watched “Blame it on Fidel” the parents of the main character become communists and active supporters of Allende in 1970’s France. My favorite quote from the movie is when the child who hears her parents talk about “group solidarity” and “sheep behavior” asks what’s the difference between the two. I still can’t answer that.
The movie also reminded me of the song El pueblo unido jamás será vencido which I often heard when I was a kid, I think it was even translated in Russian. It became an anthem of resistance in Chile and around the world.