Self Esteem

Friday, May 18, 2018

Get ready for a diffident weekend with Eric John Kaiser.

Human Zoos

Monday, May 14, 2018
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Carl Hagenbeck was a 19th century German who collected wild animals and exhibited them in zoss and circuses. He is the zoo designed who , rather than using cages, first built enclosures to show the animals in a more natural setting.

Along with exhibiting animals he also displayed humans from far off lands in what were supposedly realistic depictions of their exotic homelands. From the article Human zoos: When people were the exhibits:
The first big ethnological exposition was organized in 1874 by a wild animal merchant from Hamburg, Carl Hagenbeck. "He had the idea to open zoos that weren't only filled with animals, but also people. People were excited to discover humans from abroad: Before television and color photography were available, it was their only way to see them," explains Anne Dreesbach, who published a book on the history of human zoos in Germany a few year ago.

The concept already existed in the early modern age, when European explorers brought back people from the new areas they had traveled to. Carl Hagenbeck took this one step further, staging the exhibitions to make them more attractive: Laplanders would appear accompanied by reindeer, Egyptians would ride camels in front of cardboard pyramids, Fuegians would be living in huts and had bones as accessories in their hair. "Carl Hagenbeck sold visitors an illusion of world travel with his human zoos," says historian Hilke Thode-Arora from Munich's ethnological museum.
Aside from the public's understandable fascination with foreign lands in an era before cameras and airplanes, the idea of human zoos was also steeped in the casual racism of the day -- with the belief that different ethnic people occupied rungs lower than Caucasians on the evolutionary ladder.

Most human zoos ended in the early 20th century, with the last occurring in 1931.

Help Me Make It Through The Night

Friday, May 11, 2018

Get ready for a nocturnal weekend with Nora Jones.

Automata of Kazuaki Harada

Monday, May 07, 2018

Kazuaki Harada is a Japanese artist who specializes in wooden automata. His work ranges from small, whimsical devices to large installations for kids that are installed in museums and galleries.

I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do

Friday, May 04, 2018

Get ready for an ennui infused weekend with Astrud Gilberto.

Happy May Day Comrades

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

May your wait in the breadline be short and fruitful and -- should you be fortunate enough to be in a gulag getting reeducated -- may the whips be made of silk.

Sears once sold DIY house kits

Monday, April 30, 2018
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Sears is a company in financial trouble under the pressure of online businesses. It is a bit ironic, because Sears started as largely a catalog business that pressured brick and mortar stores of its day.

One of the many things they used to sell were DIY house kits. From the Messy Nessy article Remember when you could Mail Order an Entire House in a Giant DIY Kit?:
The average kits included approximately 25 tons of materials, with over 30,000 parts including pre-cut and fitted lumber and up to 750 pounds of nails. Plumbing, electrical fixtures and central heating, all new developments in house design in the early 20th century, were included in the kit at an additional cost. No detail was overlooked.

The Sears catalogue homes were truly “modern homes”, although some of the earliest kits like model No. 115 (...) and The Natoma (...) didn’t have bathrooms because such indoor conveniences weren’t yet ‘standard’ in American home life. Expanded floor plans and extra finished living spaces could also be included in the kit at an additional price.

Once delivered, houses were assembled by the new homeowner, but it was traditional to get help from relatives, friends and neighbours, just as rural communities had pitched into help with barn-raisings on farms. Sears Roebuck promised that “a man of average abilities could assemble a Sears kit home in about 90 days.”
The Messy Nessy link has much more information, more kits and pictures of Sears houses that are still standing.