Intl. Notebook Dec 6 2012
MODERN 1947
It was a year to remember.


Above is a photo of Manhattan, New York City, in the year 1947, looking from Battery Park toward midtown. Here you see everything—the Staten Island Ferry Building at bottom, Wall Street to the right, the 59th Street Bridge crossing Welfare Island at upper right, and in the hazy distance, the Empire State Building—at that time arguably America’s most recognized symbol. In the aftermath of a war that had destroyed Europe’s and Japan’s industrial capacity, the U.S. was the unquestioned power on the planet, with massive economic might, a military that had taken up permanent residence in dozens of countries, and a growing stock of nuclear weapons. Two years later the Soviets would detonate their first nuclear bomb, shaking the American edifice to its core. Meanwhile, all around the world, the seeds of change were taking root. Below is a look at the world as it was in 1947.


Firemen try to extinguish a blaze in Ballantyne’s Department Store in Christchurch, New Zealand.


American singer Lena Horne performs in Paris.

The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, and the aftermath of the execution of Hisakazu Tanaka, who was the Japanese governor of occupied Hong Kong during World War II.


Sunbathers enjoy Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, and a military procession rumbles along Rua Catumbi.


Assorted Brooklyn Dodgers and manager Leo Durocher (shirtless in the foreground) relax at Havana, Cuba’s Estadio La Tropical, where they were holding spring training that year. Second photo, Cuban players for the Habana Leones celebrate the first home run hit at Havana’s newly built Estadio Latinoamericano.


Thousands of Muslims kneel toward Mecca during prayer time in Karachi, Pakistan.


A snarl of traffic near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.


The city hall of Cape Town, South Africa is lit up to celebrate the visit of the British Royal Family. Second photo, during the same South African trip, the royals are welcomed to Grahamstown.


A wrecked fighter plane rusts in front of Berlin’s burned and abandoned parliament building, the Reichstag. Second photo, a shot of ruins in Berlin’s Tiergarten quarter, near Rousseau Island.


A crowd in Tel Aviv celebrates a United Nations vote in favor of partitioning Palestine.

Men and bulls run through the streets of Pamplona, Spain during the yearly Festival of San Fermin.


Fog rolls across the Embarcadero in San Francisco; a worker descends from a tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Detectives study the body of a woman found murdered in Long Beach, California. Two P-51 Mustang fighters fly above Los Angeles.


Danish women from Snoghøj Gymnastics School practice in Odense.


Tens of thousands of protesters in Cairo demonstrate against the United Nations vote in favor of partitioning Palestine.


A beauty queen draped with a sash that reads “Modern 1947” is lifted high above the boardwalk in Coney Island, New York.


A woman in Barbados holds atop her head a basket filled with fibers meant for burning as fuel.


Mahatma Gandhi, his bald head barely visible at upper center, arrives through a large crowd for a prayer meeting on the Calcutta Maidan, India.


Major League Baseball player Jackie Robinson is hounded for autographs in the dugout during a Brooklyn Dodgers game.

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Mondo Bizarro Dec 22 2011
A DOUBLE LIFE
Brazilian woman gives birth to two-headed baby.

We usually approach the items in our Mondo Bizarro category with a certain amount of playfulness, but some events defy any attempts to be humorous. On Monday an actual two-headed, un-Photoshopped baby was born in Anajas, Brazil to 25-year-old Maria de Nazare (which would translate to Mary of Nazareth). The mother received no ultrasounds during her pregnancy, and only learned of the infant’s condition minutes before the birth. Despite the surprise, the new arrival has been welcomed into the de Nazare family with an outpouring of joy. Named Emanoel and Jesus, the children cannot be separated and will live their lives conjoined. It’s difficult yet to predict how long those lives will be—another pair of Brazilian twins fused in exactly the same way died earlier this year due to lack of oxygen to one of the heads—but thus far doctors say these children are healthy, managing to functionally share heart, lungs, and digestive tract. Whether one, both, or neither twin controls the body’s movements is a question for the future. And of course, beyond that, you have to wonder what happens when one twin hogs the Xbox 360 or one of them decides to go Vegan, but here’s hoping they actually get the chance to have those arguments. Because somewhere down the line we think maybe, just maybe, Emanoel and Jesus can teach the rest of us a little something about ourselves. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 1 2010
BOSSA NOVEL
Non-stop to Brazil.

Above is a Brazilian cover for German-born author Bruno Fischer’s Os Túmulos Não Falam, which would translate as something like “Graves Don’t Speak”. However, Fischer never wrote a book with that name, so this is one of those occasions where the original title was scrapped, which means we can’t tell you which English language release this corresponds to. We do know it’s a Ben Helm mystery, and that it involves a hypothetical perfect murder. It also involves perfect cover art, though sadly it goes uncredited. Fischer was a popular author, thus he deserves a more detailed treatment, which we’ll give him a little ways down the line. 

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Sportswire Jul 12 2009
FINAL BELL
Arturo Gatti found dead at Brazilian resort.

Former boxing champ Arturo Gatti was found dead yesterday in a hotel room in the Brazilian seaside town Porto de Galinhas. Gatti, who was Italian born but a Canadian citizen, was married to a Brazilian woman and spent a lot of time in the country. As yet it is unclear how the 37-year-old died, because his body had no obvious stab or gunshot wounds, but police did say there was blood on his head and neck, and bloodstains on the floor. Brazilian police investigator Edilson Alves added, “It is still too early to say anything concrete, although it is all very strange.”

Gatti was one of the most popular boxers of his day because of his fearless, brawling style and charisma. He became a ring legend after his trilogy of fights with Mickey Ward. Gatti lost the first battle, but took the next two, though he broke his hand in the third round of the second fight, and the sixth round of the third fight. During his career he won the IBF super-featherweight championship and the WBC light-welterweight championship. He retired for good in 2007 with a career record of 40-9 with 31 knockouts.

Update: Sunday night Brazilian police announced that Gatti's wife, 23-year-old Amanda Rodrigues, may have strangled Gatti using the strap of her purse. Police speculate that she struck Gatti on the head first to immobilize him, or perhaps got him very drunk so she would be able to overpower him. Witnesses had seen Gatti and Rodrigues have an altercation Saturday evening, but Rodrigues had told police a third party likely killed her husband. But the timeline tripped her up. The only way her story could be true is if she spent ten hours in the hotel suite with her husband without noticing he was dead. Rodrigues was formally charged with murder.

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Mondo Bizarro May 27 2009
STATING THE OVNIOUS
Aliens are unimaginably advanced but haven’t figured out stealth technology.


Personally, we think if aliens were able to traverse the immense gulfs of space to visit Earth, by definition they’d be technologically advanced enough to prevent us from seeing them. But UFO believers are legion, and UFO websites continue to grow in popularity, particularly in France, where unidentified flying objects are known as Objets Volant Non-Identifié, or OVNIs. The images here are from the French website forum-ovni-ufologie.com. From top to bottom they were shot—or perhaps faked, depending on your beliefs—in Catalina, U.S.A. July 9, 1947, Bulawayo, Rhodesia 1953, Barra-da-Tijuca, Brazil 1952, Liege, Belgium 1990, Phoenix, U.S.A. 1997, Lac Chauvet, Puy de Dôme, France 1952, and above Lago di Cota, Costa Rica 1971.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.

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