|Intl. Notebook||Apr 21 2016|
|Intl. Notebook||Apr 19 2016|
This curious photo shows a bit of pulp-era technology—the acoustic mirror or acoustic locator. It was used to detect the approach of aircraft. The examples above and below are from Japan, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and other countries, and date from the 1930s to the eve of World War II, when they were replaced by radar systems. Apparently, these worked quite well, picking up engine noise from miles away. But as aircraft became speedier the effective range of the devices decreased—enemy planes would reach the site where a mirror was located within a minute or two of being detected. At such speeds, a spotter with a good pair of binoculars and decent visibility would see the planes the same time a mirror heard them. But before airspeeds increased these were the surest way to detect an oncoming aerial attack or reconnaissance flight, particularly at night. In addition to portable mirrors, some countries used cast concrete to construct massive versions that had a twenty-mile range. Great Britain built the last set of these in 1943 when fears surfaced that the Germans had developed a means to jam radar. Built to endure weather and time, some survive and have become tourist attractions. We have ten more crazy acoustic mirror designs below for your enjoyment.
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 24 2016|
Above are a few very rare promotional photos of American actor Steve McQueen motoring about on a Suzuki T20 racing motorcycle during a break in filming The Sand Pebbles in Taiwan. This guy just loved bombing around in fast machines, as we've documented here and here. These particular images were made in 1966 and appeared in the Japanese film Screen in 1967.
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 16 2016|
A newly discovered manuscript written by otherworldly horror writer H.P. Lovecraft has been found in a collection of magic memorabilia in Chicago. The 31-page piece, titled "The Cancer of Superstition," is said to have been originally commissioned by Harry Houdini in 1926. Houdini died that year and the project fell by the wayside, but the typewritten pages were conserved by Houdini's widow Bess, and her manager, Edward Saint. The sheaf of pages will be auctioned April 9th, with bids starting at $13,000 and a final price estimated to reach $25,000 to $40,000—a pittance considering Lovecraft's fans will probably pay plenty to buy anything published bearing the icon's name.
This story dusted off some nice memories for us and brought a smile to our faces because—as any Call of Cthulhu geek knows—the real-life pairing of Lovecraft and Houdini is like ice cream paired with caramel sauce, or a census-taker's liver with a fine Chianti. We'd go so far as to say that any Call of Cthulhu keeper worth the title incorporates Houdini into the game eventually. In our long-running C of C campaign—years before we had girlfriends and an inkling that there were equally sticky but much more enjoyable ways to spend a Saturday night—Houdini appeared in a session only to promptly have his head melted by an interdimensional horror.
There's some small question whether "The Cancer of Superstition" was written by Lovecraft, or if it was actually penned by fellow author C.M. Eddy and merely polished by Lovecraft, but we suspect doubts on that score will always remain. After years of doing this site and trying to track the original authors of numerous obscure novels we know some questions about the provenance of literature are destined never to be answered.
So get your bidding hats on. Since anyone out who's seriously into Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu is a supernerd (we mean that affectionately, as former nerds ourselves), you've probably squirrelled away plenty of cash from your career in computer sciences or botany or something. Don't let the manuscript fall into the hands of some empty suit hedge fund manager from upper Manhattan. And for those of you who haven't read Lovecraft and have no idea what we're talking about, we highly recommend you give him a try if you feel like a little literary horror. Just don't read too much about Lovecraft as a person. Some of his views were even more terrifying than his stories.
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 14 2016|
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 3 2016|
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 28 2016|
We've had a nice long run with no interruptions on Pulp Intl. Our last intermission came when we went to Mallorca last July. This time we're going nowhere except a few blocks to a new flat, but therein lies the problem. On the ground floor under the flat is a shoe store. The internet hub is in that store. When the internet guy came over last week to hook us up, he went into the store and discovered the connection box was behind a big freakin' armoire. The worker in the store at first refused to move it. We sent one of the Pulp Intl. girlfriends to deal with him and the worker took a gander at her and changed his tune, saying he would in fact shift the display case with the internet guy's help. But it was too late for that level of cooperation—he and the internet guy blew up at each other, harsh words ensued, a window got broken, and everyone stormed off.
Hey, what can we say? Little annoyances like this are more than counteracted by the general freedom and fun we have here, and the mellow, low-stress lifestyle that leaves us time for an endeavor like Pulp. Also, the town where we live is beautiful, and the flat we're moving to is a true classic—like out of a movie, exactly the type of old place a typical American would fall in love with but which a local would avoid because the floors aren't new and the windows aren't double-paned glass. It makes for comical moments as our local friends cast suspicious gazes at the wood shutters and twelve-foot ceilings, then tell us unimpressed it's like where their grandmother used to live. This culturural chasm is perhaps best illustrated by the demon-headed desk we found a while back that absolutely nobody here wanted a thing to do with, but which we restored into a treasure.
See what we mean? Nobody could see the potential in that thing, but everyone loved it after we fixed it up. Pulp's new headquarters is the apartment version of the demon desk. The place will be sweet. In any case, Pulp Intl. shall return as soon as possible, hopefully within four or five days. If for some reason the shoe store guy and the internet guy take longer to get their shit patched up, we'll head to an internet cafe, or some willing friend's domicile, and dig up pieces from deep inside the website to reuse and post. In the meantime perhaps enjoy some random vintage wonders, such as at this page, this one, this one, this one, and this one. Moving forward into 2016 we have many copies of Adam we still plan to share, at least forty tabloids we haven't gotten to, and more than 2,000 Japanese posters, so keep us in your bookmarks, and thanks for your visits. Back soon.
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 27 2016|
Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy died a year ago today, an event we noted at the time with a brief tribute and a photo, though of Nimoy in human form rather than as Spock. Today, for the anniversary, we're going full Spock because we stumbled across this rare promo poster of Nimoy in character holding a model of the Enterprise. While the poster is similar to a widely circulated image available on the Memory Alpha website, as far as we know this particular item has never been posted online without a watermark. So that's our achievement for today.
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 12 2016|
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 2 2016|
You’ve won a colonial war of choice by shattering a non-violent Ethiopia as world powers such as Britain and France stood by and watched. You’ve rammed through privatizations, laws favoring the wealthy, and made unions virtually illegal. And you’ve got an ultra-nationalist, militarized police force to help you crush social unrest. What does a satisfied dictator do to unwind? Clearly, he takes his yacht out for a spin on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Italian strongman Benito Mussolini used that yacht—the Fiamma Nera or “Black Fire”—for aquatic romps with his hot mistress Clara Petacci, but scuttled the boat in 1943 after Italy’s World War II fortunes turned for the worse. The boat was raised and had several owners over the decades, but is in the news today because it was part of €28 million worth of assets seized from alleged organized crime figure Salvatore Squillante.