Historical Map: The City of Los Angeles Showing Railway Systems, 1906
Another amazing old map from the awesome Big Map Blog, showing the already-booming rail transit network that was found in Los Angeles in the early days of the 20th Century. Electric trolleys first ran in LA in 1877, but the “Red Cars” of the Pacific Electric and the “Yellow Cars” of the narrow-gauge Los Angeles Railway had only appeared a mere five years before this map was produced. Their lines are represented on the map in appropriate colours, along with those of other, less-remembered, railway companies.
Technically, the map is beautifully drawn, although there’s some strange issues with route lines extending past the visible area of the map and spilling over the lists of street names, the map’s legend and even completely bleeding off the edge of the page (see the detail view of the legend above for an example). It could be intentionally done, but it certainly looks a little messy.
From a production viewpoint, it seems as though the map was printed with five different inks: black for the street name legend and Los Angeles Pacific RR routes, yellow for the Los Angeles RR, red for the Pacific Electric, green for the Los Angeles Inter-Urban RR, and a dark blue for the Los Angeles & Redondo RR and the underlying linework of the map itself. Understandably, given the fairly primitive printing technology of the day, the registration of these colours is a little bit off in places.
Our rating: A beautiful look at the early days of mass transit in LA. Four stars!
(Source: the Big Map Blog)
For Muffin, the city he loves, before it all went to the beautiful hell it is now.
There are two graves in the Happy Valley of Hong Kong. They belong to the Gueter brothers of Buda Pesht, who came to that land swallowing fire, in the act of the great pre-Houdini magician, Dean Harry Kellar. Houdini himself relates their deaths in the Miracle Mongers, his vast expose on all those who would make magic seem magic, and not science, as Houdini himself believed. The Gueter Bros., Dave and Louis, Performed under racist psuedonyms, in yellowface make up, as Ling Look and Yamadeva, respectively. Ling Look was the more impressive of the two, having combined his appetites for swords and fire into a startling display of swallowing a flaming blade. But the brother’s loved each other equally, communicating in a trademark whistle. When Yamadeva died of a rupture on the boat from Shanghai to Hong Kong, it was this whistle that was eerily heard by all on the ship. As the whistle faded, Ling Look turned with misery to Harry Kellar, (who years later related the story to a dispassionate Houdini) and said his brother was calling to him. Sure enough, Dave Gueter died in Hong Kong and was buried next to his brother, Louis. Houdini records a strange coda to this ghost story. In London, two years after his death, Ling Look reappeared, swallowing swords and fire and caustics as gaily as he ever had. Kellar investigated, and told Houdini he found a third Gueter brother, carrying on the family legacy, in his deceased brother’s make up.
This explanation satisfies Houdini the rationalist, but did it disturb the soul of Houdini the Rabbi’s son? For surely Houdini knew of the Eternal Flame that burns, yet does not consume. Did he know that that Fire has its own priests, its own worship, that apes its own harmless flames? Does Ling Look not still live, whistling for his brother through scorched lips that have known the caress of swords?
I am reminded here of something a rabbi of mine said once, about Rabbi Akiva. Akiva was something like the opposite of a prodigy. According to legend, he starts studying Torah not at the young age the majority of the sages of the Talmud begin at, but when he is 40. But after starting so late, he became the greatest scholar of his day and age. My rabbi said, “The important thing is not whether or not Akiva actually started to study torah at 40, the important thing is that in telling the story, we want people to look at their hero, and know that it’s never too late to start studying.”
Superheroes, or as Denny O’Neil called them once, “Post-Industrial Mythology” mean something. They weren’t created to mean much. They were mostly created to make money. Which they have, though not for the people that created them always. A good chunk of these superheroes should now be in the public domain. They aren’t, for a variety of reasons. So the only things they’re shown doing are the things that it’s profitable for them to be seen doing. When it’s profitable to be doing something noble, like planting a garden, they’re shown doing that. But we don’t see that sort of community service much any more. We’re showing our children their heroes, hawking any product that comes their way. What kind of story tellers does that make us?