Monday, December 10, 2007

Be Wary: Jackass Circa 1950

Please. Do not try this at home:
Does this frolicsome sport exist now? Because it seems like a really bad idea to me. The skiers look all game and gung-ho in their brightly-hued billed caps and hooded parkas, but what are they ready for? To the best of my reckoning, there is a sharp precipice at the edge of the horizon and they do not appear to have any poles. Plus, the helicopter looks kind of cute and benign, but isn't its eventual role to wrench these poor dudes' arms out of their sockets? It worries me. (This is the cover of the December 1950 Popular Mechanics. I buy old guys' collections of the magazine.)

I bet the "inventions" and "good ideas" depicted in my old issues of Popular Mechanics were never tested. In fact, I suspect that many were just the fanciful brainfarts of someone who stayed cozily at their desk in NYC and peacefully puffed on a pipe while in small towns everywhere people blew themselves up, turned into human torches, and lurched off precipes into a vast blue nothingness. Back in the day, people didn't sue as much--they just figured it was Crazy Uncle Ralph's look-see if he went sailing off a precipice, not Pop Mechs' fault.

Speaking of "good ideas," this do-it-yourself bicycle chariot says to me not just, "Whee!" but "Little Darla is about to lose the front teeth that just grew in" (little Sammy seems to know this with his devil-may-care trike racer stance). Am I an alarmist? This just seems like an accident waiting to happen. The gift of major dental surgery that keeps on giving...
And speaking of gifts, let's mosey on to Christmas "good ideas." Popular Mechanics circa December 1950 has LOTS of 'em.

GIFT IDEA #1: Child-In-A-Bag
Okay, as it turns out these are NOT directions for a child-in-a-bag but for a laundry bag FOR a child WITH the child's face on it. I am horrified. The child in the picture is horrified. It would terrify me to wake up in the night and see the shadowy hulk of me across the room. With laundry in me.

GIFT IDEA #2: Paintings by "The Great Masters" rendered in SEEDSThis takes patience, time, and a certain amount of quiet desperation. I suggest that you start this project now and prepare to have it as a gift two years hence. Best of luck. If you lose your mind, please sue Popular Mechanics and not me. Thank you.

GIFT IDEA #3: A Telescoping House Trailer
Please make me one now, I want one. All kidding aside. I want this. The directions appear above. Thank you.

Finally, if you have a Christmas tree or if you have friends who have Christmas trees, you might want to pass the following info on to them. This is Mr. Christmas Tree. I always thought that trees grew in the woods, but apparently they grow out of Mr. Christmas Tree's left hand. He must be pretty old by now!
Fire can be a problem with Christmas trees. Pop Mechs has a solution. Simply station your young children beneath the tree throughout the holiday season so they can raise an alarm if there's trouble. All set? You bet! Thanks for stopping by!
TODAY'S BONUS FEATURE: A Cute Old Ad...Just Because!