Talking Shop On Rug Beatin’ Day

Russell Lee, Bureau of Mines
Russell Lee, Bureau of Mines

You may have seen some of Russell Lee‘s fantastic images before. This is one of my favorites. Lee passed away in 1986 here in Austin, Texas, and this year, the former Lee Elementary was renamed Russell Lee Elementary in honor of the photographer, replacing the original namesake, Robert E Lee. I don’t have to ask why they are phasing out anything named in honor of Confederate generals; I imagine it is all part of the collective disappearance of anything related to the politically-incorrect South. I understand that folks don’t like what the Confederacy stood for (including the flag); but that doesn’t mean all of its soldiers should be erased from history. I guess the offensive ideology of The Antebellum South (which can’t be boiled down to just one issue) trumps honoring any of their leaders’ military strengths. In any event, I’m not in charge, and Texas isn’t even part of The South. I got no dog in this hunt; I just love chunky-faced kiddos, and the mutual expression those two boys are sharing.

Civil War Bridge On The Pamunkey

US Signal Corps Photo (Brady Collection) in National Archives
US Signal Corps Photo (Brady Collection) in National Archives

In The American Heritage History of American Railroads by Jensen, this 1862 image shows a bridge under construction. Major General George McClellan of the Union Army brought locomotives and cars by ship from Baltimore and ran trains as close to four miles to the Confederate capital. The workmen are seated, and to the left is a photographer’s field darkroom. At that time, photographs had to be developed immediately and while wet.

To their left , a locomotive was arriving on a ship in White House Landing on the Pamunkey River.


Here is another image of the field darkroom, invented by Matthew Brady.

The wagon would carry the chemicals, glass plates, and finished negatives. Can you imagine what would have happened if the horses got startled or took off at a gallop?

How To Wear An Aztec Sun Properly

1953 Comet
1953 Comet

Even from this side view, you can imagine what a target the sun makes on his back. It says, “Check out Mr. Snazzy.” No bully would dare shove him in a locker.

Today’s designers could never compete with Wally’s smooth graphic Spirograph shirt of yore. So they resort to comedy.

Look! It’s a cat inside an Aztec sun, shooting lasers out of its eyes, which makes it Caturday. What? Maybe you have to be stoned to get it.

Or they abandon the Aztec sun to reflect something vaguely spiritual and Native American, like this sun/moon/horn/dreamcatcher tee on a trendily-tatted twentysomething. Now we know where she stores her rubberbands.

Wait, those are bracelets.

Now these boxers are pretty cute. I have to hand it to them. Cartoon suns keep it light.

Just remember–boxers are temporary: tattoos are forever. Even the tattoo seems steamed about it.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: