Friday, December 17, 2010

Birthdays and Other Stuff

December 17th 1903, the day of first flight, courtesy of Orville and Wilbur . . . an auspicious day it might seem. Who would imagine that those powered gliders would turn into stealth bombers? But Orville and Wilbur, we salute you.
But I'm thinking of 1934 right now. So, why was 1934 an interesting year?
Well, for instance, The FBI ambushed and killed Bonnie and Clyde. They also toppled the glamorous crooks Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger. It is the last time on record that the FBI did anything socially useful.
Inner City Slum Clearance began in New York, beginning in our old neighborhood.
Elsewhere in the world, someone (a Scotsman, who may have been tippling a wee bit too much) spotted the Loch Ness monster for the first time. Adolph Hitler declared himself Germany’s Fuehrer, clearing the way for the ending of the Great Depression. Joe Stalin was also up to no good in the vast wasteland called Russia. And then his USSR joined the League of Nations, thereby assuring the demise of that fledgling international entity.
In San Francisco, The feds opened “The Rock”, or Alcatraz, the first federal housing project for Republican politicians. And Congress passed the Securities Exchange Act, creating the Securities Exchange Commission to oversee the thieves on Wall Street. Unfortunately, Shrub and his republican colleagues invited them back in 2000.
And, while we think stuff is expensive today, in 1934:
Gasoline cost ten cents a gallon (as opposed to 13 cents when I started driving)
A new house cost $5,970 (whereas our first house after marriage was $5,000)
The average wage earner brought in $1,600 per year—my first job out of Stanford was $5,100.
A Studebaker truck cost $625. Our first car, a (used) 1952 Studebaker cost us $500.
So, all in all, I celebrate that vintage year for all the good things it delivered.
Oh, and my mom became pregnant in March of that same year. And then I came along, just before Rudy (dear old dad) got drunk and disappeared for the first of many such disappearances. Mom just "kept on truck’n", largely paying no attention to him. Unlike Rudy, She actually cared about her kids.
So, mom, I salute you. You did good, Daisy.
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