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Strange Daze: Party Lines, Marilyn, Sparta, Hydrofoils, More Marilyn, Cat Piano, and How the Vandamm House in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ Changed Cinema Forever

July 1942. “Oakridge, Oregon. Population 520. Town telephone switchboard.”


LET’S REVIEW:Your problem is not Trump.You don’t look smart or clever when you carry on as if he’s the problem. It takes just a little bit of critical thinking to realize there are other problems. You only have to watch things a little bit. Might be good to stay quiet if you’re not up to the task. Like the old saying goes, “Better to be silent and thought a fool, than to bitch about Donald Trump and remove all doubt.”

Lithograph of the “Department of Electricity”, which was powered at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago using Westinghouse and Tesla’s alternating current technology

It’s a busy world. So what?
Read the minutes.
Research the subject.
Consider the counter-arguments.
Understate your case.
Coordinate with possible allies.
Be patient.
Check precedents.
Review definitions.
Challenge the assumptions.
Get curious. Be patient.

Don’t run down to win a battle when you can walk down and win the war. — Execupundit.com: Gain Curiosity and Patience

An “enhanced” members-only edition of our irregular Strange Daze collections of the weird and the wonderful, the repulsive and redemptive, the sky above and the mud below.  Now with added pix and clix, dreams and memes, jokes, quotes, and brilliant strokes. All this and more awaits members at

The New American Digest

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dennis September 17, 2022, 9:19 AM

    Talk about a babbling brook!

  • Gordon Scott September 17, 2022, 9:35 AM

    I have lately wasted too much time watching old Bell System movies about switching equipment for dial phones. Also, some about how various models of the cord-and-plug switchboards worked.

    My father had brief notiriety courtesy of Joe Bob Briggs, who chronicalled the decline of the drive-in movie industry. My dad had purchased the town drive-in property as an investment when the chain that had owned it shut it down for good, about 1985. Dad sold it to someone who built a Super 8 motel there.

  • Dirk September 18, 2022, 8:54 AM

    My great grandmother owned and operated the switchboard in Rocklin Calif, during WWII, she had the switchboard in her Grocery Store, one of three in the city. Apparently her hearing was damaged when she was on the headphones and lightening struck the pole/ lines near the store.

  • Mike Austin September 19, 2022, 1:24 AM

    1. Marilyn Monroe is a case study for all young women on how not to live their lives. She had beauty, talent, fame and fortune, for all the good those things brought her. She ended up as a pass-around sex toy for Sam Giancana, JFK , Robert Kennedy and God knows who else. She was murdered by “persons unknown”. She died at 36, her wasted body riddled with barbiturates. For what it’s worth, both Kennedys and Giancana were assassinated in due course over the next few years. What a world.

    2. Pat Buchanan was once the bête noire of the Left. His 1992 “Culture War” speech is still worth reading today. For the last decade or so he has appeared as a tired old man, empty of ideas and reduced to repeating little more than boilerplate. He is 82. Some men cannot bring themselves to retire. Buchanan should do so and take Victor Davis Hanson with him.

    3. “This is Sparta!” A cool phrase from a cool movie. The film is more opera than History, but the Greeks if they could see it today would approve. Trouble is that Sparta (650 – 362 BC) was a violent, insular, selfish, and brutal city-state that was hated by the other Greeks. The only thing she did in her entire existence that benefited anyone but herself was to sacrifice her 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC). It was a tactical defeat for Sparta but an absolute strategic victory for the Greeks fighting the massive Persian Empire. Those three days at Thermopylae spent by Xerxes against the Spartans allowed the Athenians enough time to load every citizen onto a ship and evacuate to Salamis a few miles away. There was fought one of the most crucial battles in History (480 BC). Because of the Greek victory there all of Europe was saved from Persian slavery—all because of Sparta and her 300.

    • ThisIsNotNutella September 19, 2022, 4:30 PM

      Possibly not news to you, but others may find this amusing:

      The Persian Version — Robert Graves


      • Mike Austin September 19, 2022, 5:26 PM

        My copies of “I, Claudius” and “Claudius the God” rest upon my bookshelf. They await my attention. Someday, I promise. But first I need to read up on Tacitus.

  • MMinWA September 19, 2022, 4:00 AM

    At the Columbian Exposition, Tiffany had his coming out party, so to speak. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCHWxAp75n0&t=5s

    When you view this video, look closely at the glass. I mean the individual pieces that comprise the panels. Take it from me, to this day, unrivaled.

    A portion of the chapel he created for the Exposition is in the Morse Museum in Winter Park, FL. I spend hours there in front of iconic & timeless works of art and I mean to go back once again.