History

The Unoffical History of America’s National Parks

The video below is the unofficial history of the National Parks of the United States. It’s a lo-fi lesson in history with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. Made by — Ryan Maxey: MaxeyFishAndSea.com there is a ton of historical footage, bad titles, 8 bit music, and one very important point. How much the arts had to do with the development, and survival of our National Park System.

 

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Ted Ed, How Hitler Rose To Power. An Animated Short.

The video below is a lesson in history and how fragile democracy can be. Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard lesson were animated by Uncle Ginger for Ted ED, and as the video progresses creates some uncanny parallels to this election cycle in America. The video itself is wonderfully animated and illustrated. The look keeps the viewer engaged as the narrator  explains how Hitler came to power in Germany, and the events following the end of the First World War that helped to propel his rise in power. It is a quick overview that manages to summarize the history into a quick and digestible lesson. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the parallels to this year’s elections and the candidates running.

 

“Seven Days”, April 1968.

This video is a masterful blend of archival footage, newly captured video, animated stills, and CGI. it encompasses one of the greatest tragedies for America in the 20th century, and one of our greatest triumphs. If you are old enough to remember April 1968, this will bring back plenty of memories for you. If you weren’t around, or to young, hopefully it will inspire you to learn a bit more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Fair Housing Act, and the state of politics and race in America in the late sixties. We’ve come a long way since then, but have miles to go.

These Facts are Barking Good.

This Thursday is July 4th, the 237th birthday of the United States. To help everyone in America Celebrate Cosmo and Zoe have compiled 10 little known facts about the Fourth for your reading pleasure.

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“You do it right or you don’t do it.” The City Exposed.

The San Francisco Chronicle posted a short video by Mike Kepka on Vimeo about a week ago. I have been meaning to re-post it but just haven’t had time until now. It is a film about 80 year old Lewis Mitchell who has been working as a Monotype setter for 62 years. The film is a beautiful vignette into the life of a man who loves his job, the craft associated with it, and why he keeps on working well past age 65. Truly inspiring. Below the film is the editorial from the Chronicle’s Vimeo post. It worth reading as well.

A recent Thursday at 10:23 a.m.: In the basement of Arion Press, where they still print books the old-fashioned way, Lewis Mitchell slid open a box of parts used to change the font size on the Monotype casting machines he has maintained for 62 years.

“I thoroughly enjoy the sound of the machines turning, and seeing the type come out is a joy,” Mitchell said.

He can tell by the sound of the moving springs and levers if something is awry with his machines — a skill he said all good technicians should have. Four different owners have run the business since Mitchell walked through the doors at age 18, and he has had several opportunities to leave, including a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he declined.

Now 80, Mitchell can’t imagine retiring from the job he loves so much. When Mitchell started making this kind of type, it was really the only way to print things, and now he doesn’t know how many books he’s helped print over the decades. There were once type-casting operations in most major U.S. cities, but now the practice is almost extinct.

There are only two companies left in the world that cast type for printing presses, and Arion is by far the largest. Mitchell has four grown children and nine grandchildren, but he calls the 20 type-casting machines his “babies.” “I treat them with kindness. I don’t use a hammer on them or an oversized screwdriver.” The first machine, which started the company during 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, is still its best machine — proof that Mitchell’s methods work.

“My dad taught me from square one if you going to do something, you’re going to do it right or you don’t do it.”

Titanic Tweets!

History Press has launched a new Twitter feed to promote the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s tragic voyage. The Twitter page went live 5 days ago, and will remain up until April 12th when as we all know, Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks. Tweets will be sent from  #captain, #crew, #photographer and #engineering. It’s a pretty clever idea and makes Titanic’s story feel fresh. I wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio will post any tweets as @kingoftheworld?

Check out the Titanic tweets here.