Mental Hygiene Friday: “Booby Traps”

YouTube user shaggylocks has an enviable array of social engineering films posted on their channel. I imagine shaggylocks and I to be quite the kindred spirits in this regard. He/she and I probably have a lot in common, but selflessness and work effort are obviously not shared qualities, since I can’t even manage to embed code on a weekly basis. But a big thank you to shaggylocks and the hard work put into this staggering collection!

Today’s selection comes from the most unhygienic source of all… the United States GI!

From the description:
Private Snafu learns about the hazards of enemy booby traps the hard way.
This is one of 26 Private SNAFU (Situation Normal, All F***ed Up) cartoons made by the US Army Signal Corps to educate and boost the morale the troops. Originally created by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Phil Eastman, most of the cartoons were produced by Warner Brothers Animation Studios – employing their animators, voice actors (primarily Mel Blanc) and Carl Stalling’s music.

These old war films were the forerunners of the mid-century mind-blowers we mock today, like the ones directing suburban housewives how to navigate the perils of the produce section of the grocery store. Yet, it’s not a great leap to imagine how America went from warning our overseas airmen about the moist dangers of syphilis to questioning 50s teens on the topographically appropriate places for heavy petting (answer: none).

Goodnight, Irene.

Favourite Vintage, Part One.


I collect World War 2 sweetheart jewelry – pins, bracelets, and necklaces that servicemen and their loved ones wore as tokens of remembrance while far apart. Nowadays wartime ephemera is a hot commodity; sashes, pillowcases, trench art and uniforms are traded at high prices. You can still find mint NOS sweetheart necklaces from WW2 on ebay in their original boxes, but I like to collect the things with a little personal attachment. I hate to watch Pawn Stars on the History channel, for example, and see a person sell their grandfather’s A-2 flight jacket with art and patches. Worse, they don’t even know the stories behind it. But I digress.

I don’t know the facts behind my favourite sweetheart bracelet, but it offers intriguing little tidbits of information:

Irene 1

Irene 2

1.) I know it’s USAAC.

2.) I know it’s been banged up, and worn, and loved.

3.) The signature tells me it is a Walter Lampl piece out of New York, a maker with his own interesting story.

4.) The date tells me the sweetheart may have entered the ETO with a role in preparation for Operation Overlord.

5.) Irene was a swell broad! Of all the things she could have engraved on the back of her man’s bracelet, she chose “Win.”

Indeed, Irene… indeed.

Mental Hygiene Friday

The Terrible Truth

Sid Davis Productions, 1951.

Another film by the great Sid Davis.  This one’s big budget, with bona fides and technicolour:  a real life judge from the juvenile court system in Los Angeles, and b roll footage of actual drug paraphernalia.  I just love these docudramas… it’s like The Phenix City Story of mental hygiene films.


The Cult of the Toas-Tite

I saw the kool-aid was spiked, and I drank it anyway.

On my recent camping trip to Yosemite, I was indoctrinated into the proper use of a bygone religious tool. Namely, the Toas-Tite.

Now, T’s family (who’s been camping in Yosemite for 30 years) have been Toas-Tite-ing away all that time, and somehow this curious vintage barbecue tool has been completely off my radar.

An aluminum, flying saucer-shaped pie maker that is stuffed with Wonder bread and oozy filling before being thrust into campfire coals so that it may forge a delicious treat?

Why, yes, the atomic age did produce such a thing and you better believe I hied over to ebay and Etsy to get some action as soon as I drove out of the Sierra Nevadas. Not having a campfire handy, I did the next best thing and my Toas-Tite’s inaugural run was last weekend on the backyard grill:

Look, it’s like shameless food porn with those ribs in the background. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the finished product… I was over-excited I didn’t burn it to a crisp and it was eaten too quickly. I’m not much for sweet things, so I tried a savory Caprese Toas-Tite with garlic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

Toas-Tite… I mean, is it any wonder we romanticize the past so?