HOW TO MOTIVATE THE MALE MORALE | THE PERSUASIVE POWER OF THE PINUP

Betty Grable, in what may be the most iconic pinup image of all time.  –Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though its origins can be traced further back, it was WWII that really put pinups on the map.  The pinup was a reminder to troops of what awaited back home, and as us men go, served as the ultimate motivator to the male psyche– T&A.  What can I say, we are simple creatures.  Maybe you see it as an objectification of women, but the fact is it kept soldier’s morale up in dark, harrowing and uncertain times.  It also served to launch the careers of many a young Hollywood starlet.

It’s an art form expressed through performance, photography, fashion, music, tattoos, etc., that is with us to this day.  It’s taken a decidedly more alternative bent in recent years with the popularity of Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese, Suicide Girls, etc., all of which have helped to keep pinup fanaticism front and center.  Long live the pinup.

May 18th, 1944 — A variation of the old Police Gazette, that used to keep customers happy in grandfather’s day, is this collection of pinup cuties adorning the wall of this barber shop at a U.S. Marine Base in the Pacific. Barber Joseph J. Perino, a Marine Corporal from New Orleans, Louisiana, and a veteran of Guadalcanal, here trims the locks of a customer, who uses the interim for a “dream on the house.” — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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Nov 23rd, 1943 — Here are members of the B-24 Liberator Bomber “Miss Giving” credited with making the longest flight mission from Australia while on photographic reconnaissance over a Japanese Oil producing city last October. The Ship fought its way through intense anti-aircraft fire and was intercepted by approximately nine enemy fighters, downing four of them in battle.  One engine was knocked out, but the plane returned to its base without injury to any crew members.  Left to right, front: S/Sgt. Aloysius Ziober, Chicago, Ill., Gunner; Capt. Jack Banks, Portland, Ore., Pilot; 2nd Lt. John Calhoun, Wenona, Ill., co-pilot; 1st Lt. Robert MacFarland, Philadelphia, navigator; 1stLt. Clinton McMillan, Chicago, Bombardier; Back Row: T/Sgt. James Ressguard, Seattle, radio-man; Sgt. Donald J. Ford, Kansas City, gunner; Sgt. James Murphy, Elkhardt, Ind., gunner; T/Sgt. Phileman Blais, — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

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Quonset Hut Habitats

 

Thanks to our friend over at A Time To Get for reigniting an old love– the military Quonset hut.  And wouldn’t you just know it– the LIFE archive has some amazing images of them being uniquely repurposed for life off the base.  If I do ever end up hitting the skids, at least I have a plan B for cheap and practical lodging.

 

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Quonset Huts rented out during a housing shortage for $32 per month for a maximum of three years. --1946

 

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OLD NAVY

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U.S. Navy recruiting poster– circa 1917.  She’s sporting standard naval issue enlisted dress blues– or “crackerjacks” as they were commonly called in reference to the sailor boy on the popular Cracker Jack box.

Women have served as an integral and invaluable part of the U.S. Navy since the establishment of the Nurse Corps in 1908.  Nine years later, the Navy authorized the enlistment of women as “Yeomanettes.” In 1948, the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was signed, making it possible for women to officially enter the U.S. Navy in regular or reserve status.

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It’s commonly thought that the “bell bottom” trouser was introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks– and to make it easier to remove them in a hurry when forced to abandon ship or when washed overboard.  Old Navy folklore has suggested that they may have also been used as a life preserver– by knotting the legs at the opening and filling them with air.

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Name, Rank, Serial Number and Much More.

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I’m writing this because of a recent experience I had.  A friend that is an avid antique collector handed me an old I.D. tag and said– “check this out.”  I wasn’t ready for the emotion and humility that overcame me as I held the old tarnished tag in my hand.  I realized it was much more than a piece of stamped metal– it was someone’s personal story of sacrifice,  for whom I may very well absolutely owe my own freedom too.  I stood there for a second, unable to speak.  

It was humbling to say the least. 

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The image above was taken in 1945, and shows American infantrymen lining up to drop their personal belongings (pictures and letters from loved ones back home, wallets, etc.) into boxes for safe keeping, and in accordance with regulations.  Any items (except dog tags) that could identify a soldier were strictly forbidden on special missions.  The soldiers here were stationed in Italy and preparing to embark on a night raid of German positions. Continue reading

JEEP | AMERICAN ICON CELEBRATING OVER 65 YEARS OF FREEDOM

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Call me crazy, but I sincerely believe in buying American products whenever I can.  Yes, even autos.  It’s important to support the American economy and our heritage brands.  However, I am not going to spend my hard-earned money on inferior goods or services just because it’s American.  Quality is paramount.  So it should come as no surprise that I drive a Jeep.  It’s a cool thing to drive down the road in your Wrangler- all the waves, nods, and peace-signs from other Wrangler and CJ drivers.  It’s a tight-knit community of loyalists, and I love it.  I also have a theory that a lot of Jeep owners may just be a little more patriotic than most folks, and that the contribution made to this country, particularly in war time is especially meaningful to them.  Of course a good number of them are probably just off-road fanatics, but I’m sure a lot of them must share my nationalistic sentiments.

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Jeep is perhaps the most American of all vehicles, and the world’s first mechanical horse.

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ROGUES, SAILORS & ANCIENT MARINERS A HISTORICAL VIEW OF NAUTICAL TATTOOS

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In the early 19th century, as more and more sailors returned from distant lands, tattooing had become highly popular in the British Navy. It spread even to the British admiralty, which has for a long time included certain royals who obtained rank. Field Marshal Earl Roberts is rumored to have expressed the opinion that “every officer in the British army should be tattooed with his regimental crest.” It not only boosted morale among the ranks, but it proved useful when identifying casualties. The Prince of Wales was tattooed with a Jerusalem Cross after visiting the Holy Land in 1862. Then, his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later King George V) were tattooed by the Japanese master tattooist, Hori Chiyo.

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Tattoo you.

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Although much of maritime tattooing took place on board ship, sailor to sailor– the craze spawned an industry of tattoo parlors in port cities in Britain and the United States, and indeed, around the world. Many of the proprietors of early tattoo shops were sailors who had come ashore. Famed British tattoo artist George Burchett learned his craft with an early stint in the service. By the end of the 19th century, it was estimated that ninety percent of British and American sailors had tattoos, according to some sources.

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The anchor remains the favorite tattoo of sailors, and is still one of the most popular designs worldwide– usually placed on the upper arm, just like Popeye.  Tattoos of a sailor’s ship were like a badge of honor that proudly displayed his feelings of patriotism and comradery.  Roosters tattooed on the foot were a common motif in the early days– they acted as charms to protect against drowning.  And of course, Images of naked women were a major hit too– that is until the brass issued their ‘obscene’ warning.  After that, naval applicants could have their hopes dashed by showing up with too much ‘skin’ on their skin. Tattoo artists did a booming business covering the scantily-clad hula girls with grass skirts.

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