The greatest historical repository at Google Books might be the complete run of Life magazines. In olden times you had to go to the public library, request a volume, schlep it over to a carrell and physically turn the pages. We’re not at the point where you can scroll through the scans with the power of your mind, but give it a few years.

Anyway: in a 1960 issue I found a story on an Italian cruise ship, the Leonardo Da Vinci. It was a replacement for the Andrea Doria, which smacked into the Stockholm in 1956 and sunk after eleven hours. The Da Vinci was decorated in the latest style, and the result was the world’s most perfect example of “Mad Men at Sea.”


(Photo from this Squidoo page, where you'll find a few more.) (I don't get Squidoo, at all.)

A film was made about the crossing on the ship. The world a half-century ago, before planes changed everything for good.



Speaking of things changing: about two minutes in you realize that Mom has put her three young sons on a ship bound for Europe, then left the ship. Have a great trip! Say hello to Grandma for me! Bonus fun fact: the Da Vinci was built so they could swap out the engines . . . and install a nuclear reactor. If that doesn’t say 1960, nothing does.

Speaking of travel:

An emergency layover in Syria's capital was bad enough. Then passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel.

The plane, heading from Paris to Lebanon's capital, diverted amid tensions near the Beirut airport on Wednesday. Low on fuel, it instead landed in Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, where a civil war is raging.

An Air France spokesman explained Friday that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a "precautionary measure" because of the "very unusual circumstances." Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel.

So they don’t take American Express, I guess. Before you fulminate at airlines for nickle-and-diming everyone, take a look at this WSJ chart. It shows the breakdown for a plane with 100 passengers, and which passengers represent profit. Did I say passengers, plural? Passenger. And he has to sit by the toilets.

TECH Twitter was just RUINED by Twitter. They’re changing the way 3rd party apps can interact with the service, because A) it’s free, B) they own it, C) you don’t, D) See “B”, and E) they might want to make some money. Also, B and D. It might put some serious kibosh on scrapers like Flipboard, which is one of those really cool things you can’t stop using until something else comes along.

Also in the tech department, how about this: Bluetooth is named after . . . no, I won’t spoil it. Here. (h/t reddit, your one-stop shop for cats ‘n’ atheism!)



BUGS BUNNY WEPT Breaking! There are hipsters in Brooklyn. Really. USA Today blows the lid off this one:

. . . the borough that was once a punch line is now the coolest place in America, a land of rooftop farms and pop-up art galleries, of haircuts, eyeglasses, hats and body piercings so chic that even Parisians utter, "Très Brooklyn!"

"People I know from London don't want to go to Manhattan," says Kari Browne, 33, a former broadcast news producer who last month opened a cafe in the up-and-coming Victorian neighborhood of Ditmas Park. "They want to come to Brooklyn.”

It’s hard to argue with someone who cites so broad a demographic as “people I know from London.” It is also hard to believe that any Parisian has ever uttered “tres Brooklyn” was confronted with a body piercing whose overwhelming chic trumps any sort of flesh-sundering observed in the City of Light, but one need not back these things up when writing style pieces like this. 

The article also notes that “It’s more than back, it’s where it never was,” which is like the written equivalent of a Moebius strip. Also, Brooklyn it has 40% of the murders in New York. But:

This year, pastor Gilford Monrose of Mount Zion Church of God (Seventh-day) in East Flatbush has buried two murder victims in their 20s, one of whom was gunned down in front of his uncle's fried-chicken restaurant. Monrose says getting a gun in the neighborhood "is as easy as going to the corner store."

That said, Brooklyn at its best is Sesame Street: integrated playgrounds; small shops on tree-lined streets; artisanal pickles and home-made granola; bike lanes and occasional valet bike parking.

That said. Murders aside, just look at the artisanal pickle options.