Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Time. It's something that is always with us. It's a part of our lives. In fact, it's what our lives are made of. Every day we have to ask and answer questions about it: What time is it? What time do you have to leave? How much time will it take to get there? What time can you start on this project? How long will it take?
I guess we've always been fascinated by time travel. Hollywood has made several movies involving the idea. One of the earliest entries into this subject was a film based on the novel by H.G. Wells entitled The Time Machine. I don't recall the main character traveling back to the fifties, but Hollywood must have sensed an audience for that time period a little later.
If you've seen the movie Back to the Future, you may remember that November 12th, is the date the DeLorean (equipped with the flux capacitor that would deliver 1.4 jigawatts at 80 mph) was set for when Marty McFly took it for a ride. They used the same date in the second installment, Back to the Future II. I'm not sure what significance that date holds, but I'm guessing there may have been a reason for choosing it other than an arbitrary date. If anyone has an idea, leave a comment.
Now, here comes the philosophical part of this post. The whole concept of time travel makes one wonder. Doesn't it? Have we been here before? Are we actually here from a future time? Or have we come forward from an earlier time? It also makes one wonder if we're ever going to come back here again, years from now.
In closing, let me leave you with this question to ponder. Did Bill Gates figure out how to bend the time/space continuum and come back to our era with his ideas on computers and how to build them? Or is he really from another planet? Maybe he's originally from the same race of entities that helped the Egyptians build the pyramids. You never know.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Let’s hop into the Wayback Machine again and head back to the 1950s to see what was new. We're going to look at inventions and new ideas that were created or came about during the fifties. Fasten your seat belt before we take off (because they didn’t have them in 1950) and hang on.
1950 – The first credit card (Diners Club) invented by Ralph Schneider.
1951 – Super glue was invented. Power steering invented by Francis W. Davis. And Charles Ginsburg invented the first video tape recorder (VTR).
1952 – Mr. Potato Head was patented. The first patent for barcode was issued to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. The first diet soft drink was sold. And Edward Teller and team built the hydrogen bomb.
1953 – Radial tires were invented. The first musical synthesizer invented by RCA. David Warren invented the black box - flight recorder. And the transistor radio was invented by Texas Instruments.
1954 - Oral contraceptives (the pill) were invented. The first nonstick Teflon pan was produced. Chaplin, Fuller and Pearson invented the solar cell. Ray Kroc started McDonalds.
1955 Tetracycline was invented. Optic fiber was invented.
1956 - The first computer hard disk was used. Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft. Bette Nesmith Graham invented "Mistake Out," later renamed Liquid Paper, to paint over mistakes made with a typewriter. (They don’t sell much of that any longer.)
1957 - Fortran (computer language) was invented.
1958 - The computer modem was invented. Gordon Gould invents the laser. The Hula Hoop was invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin. The integrated circuit was invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce.
1959 The internal pacemaker was invented by Wilson Greatbatch. The Barbie Doll was invented. Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce both invent the microchip.
And that’s just part of it. There’s lots more that came out of that decade. Check back here to read about a lot of other things that were going on during those great years.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
But let’s back up a bit. Before this trip, Ruth had often watched her daughter, Barbara, as she played with her paper dolls, often giving them adult rolls.
The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.
Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forward rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.
After 52 years, Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been given honors that are rare in the toy world. In 1974 a section of Times Square in New York City was renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week, while in 1985 the artist Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.
In case you missed the 50 Year Anniversary Barbie two years ago, she was obviously dealing with midlife and any crises that might have fostered. The manufacturer decided at that time to include a set of mini-tattoos for her. (Does that help a midlife crisis?) In addition, there was a faux tattoo gun for the children to use on themselves. How darling is that? I'm not sure what kind of message that sends, but I don't want to sound judgmental.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
But when Technicolor began replacing black and white film, a huge impact was made on cosmetics. Even on the giant silver screens, the actors were illuminated with unblemished perfection in perfect color.
Because every average American woman had a desire to mirror that quality in their own appearance, makeup artist Max Factor developed an everyday version of the foundation makeup he used on the stars.
This new product, called “pancake,” was used to cover skin imperfections. At the same time he brought out a line of lipsticks and eye shadows.
Titanium was added to the recipe later in the 50s to tone down the brightness, resulting in lips with a pale, shimmering gleam. This concept was later extended to create frosted nail polishes in pink, silver, and a variety of other colors.
The 50s marked the introduction of “spectacles.” These were the name given to women’s eyeglasses that were frequently inlaid with diamante or covered with glitter. They had exaggerated wings on the outer corners that flared into the style of butterfly wings, or cat's eyes. The ones at the right look like Silly Putty.
The ponytail was a popular hairstyle in the 50s for younger girls. This eventually matured into the French Pleat. Among the older and more sophisticated crowd, the permanent wave was a popular style, made famous by Elizabeth Taylor.
The pointed pre-formed conically stitched bra was a popular fashion accessory of the 50s. Kind of like the bullet bumper of a '57 Buick.
But without one, the sweater girl just didn’t look right. And if you watch some of the videos from the 50s, you'll notice the dancing girls appear to be wearing similar accouterments. Yeah, it was all great fun, until someone lost an eye.
By the mid 1950s pointed toe shoes with heels up to 5 inches were a common sight. There is no doubt that the trademark of the fifties was the stiletto heeled shoe, first seen in 1952 at a Dior fashion show.