22 April 2014

Billboard Series

The modern billboard got its start in the late 1800s in a competitive rough-and-tumble billposter industry. The outdoor industry is now a multimedia, global operation where Viacom, Clear Channel, and Lamar are the dominate players. This series examines how the billboard industry formed and developed, along with its controversies, excerpting from Buyways by Catherine Gudis, 2004. Brilliant book. And what is the advertising vision of the future? Are you ready for Branded Cities, Digital Billboards, and Walking Billboards? It’s a growth industry.

Most famous of all New-Deal images is “After the Louisville Flood,” by photographer Margaret Bourke-White, which features black flood victims in line at a relief agency being virtually run down by the looming white family of the “American Way” billboard beside them

04 April 2014

On Killing Series

LtCol Grossman is a former West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger. He is the author of On Killing, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; has been translated into Japanese, Korean, and German; is on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant's required reading list; and is required reading at the FBI academy, West Point and other military schools.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by LtCol Dave Grossman, 2009, Excerpts

Killing comes with a price, and societies must learn that their soldiers will have to spend the rest of their lives living with what they have done. Society must now begin to understand the enormity of the price and process of killing in combat. By manipulating variables, modern armies direct the flow of violence, turning killing on and off like a faucet. But this is a delicate and dangerous process. Too much, and you end up with a My Lai, which can undermine your efforts. Too little, and your soldiers will be defeated and killed by someone who is more aggressively disposed.

The armed forces of every country can take almost any young male civilian and turn him into a soldier with all the right reflexes and attitudes in only a few weeks. Their recruits usually have no more than twenty years’ experience of the world, most of it as children, while the armies have had all of history to practice and perfect their technique. This stage in an adolescent’s psychological and social development is a crucial period in which the individual establishes a stable and enduring personality structure and sense of self.

A Few Bad Apples – In the News

Duty to One’s Country - All Quiet on the Western Front
Death Before Dishonor - Johnny Got His Gun

Shell Shock Battle Fatigue – Brave New World

Atrocity by Violence, Atrocity by Policy
Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer, 2010, Excerpts

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning, 1993, Excerpts

A Clash of Kings

GI Coffee Houses

Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast, 1999, Excerpt

Coffee drinking became a competitive activity within branches of the military, with the US Marines claiming the highest consumption level. The American soldier became so closely identified with his coffee that GI Joe gave his name to the brew, a “cuppa Joe.”

Gardner had the idea to set up coffeehouses in army towns “for hippies who couldn’t avoid the military service.” In the fall of 1967, Gardner opened the first GI coffeehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, named the UFO – a play on USO, the United Servicemen’s Organization, located one block away. On the walls they tacked up portraits of counterculture heroes such as Cassius Clay, Bob Dylan, Stokely Carmichael, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe.

Soon after the UFO opened its doors hundreds of soldiers found the new integrated hangout, where they could drink coffee, read, listen to music, play chess or cards, meet local college students, dance, flirt, and talk about the war. The coffeehouse was a magnet for antimilitary GIs.

Over two dozen GI coffeehouses sprang up outside army bases across the country. By October 1971 the coffeehouses had attracted the attention of Congress. “The coffeehouses serve as centers for radical organizing among servicemen.” The authorities tried to shut them down through intimidation and legal maneuvers. In several cases arsonists burned the coffeehouses. The KKK targeted one, while others were riddled with gunfire. The surviving establishments eventually disbanded, but not before leaving their mark on American history.

The Oleo Strut was a coffeehouse in Killeen, Texas, from 1968 to 1972. Like its namesake, a shock absorber in helicopter landing gear, the Oleo Strut’s purpose was to help GIs land softly. Upon returning from Vietnam to Fort Hood, shell-shocked soldiers found solace amongst the Strut’s regulars, mostly fellow soldiers and a few civilian sympathizers. But it didn’t take long before shell shock turned into anger, and that anger into action. The GIs turned the Oleo Strut into one of Texas’s anti-war headquarters, publishing an underground anti-war newspaper, organizing boycotts, setting up a legal office, and leading peace marches.

Under The Hood Cafe has been called the "reincarnation" of The Oleo Strut
Crazy Horse Saloon, 904 S Hwy 89, Chino Valley, AZ
Say hello to my sisters and brother-in-laws.

In 1969, I was a 6th grader at Fort Hood, and my dad was a battalion commander. Watched a lot of field parades. Took a picture of this missile field parade finale with tanks in the foreground.