Monday, April 27, 2009

Transportation! I like how it looks.

Greetings, O Gentlest of Readers! I am posting the blog entry early this week, because I (Lydia) will be away on Wednesday; I considered dragging Alan in to write another of his incredible blog entries on the right date, but I figured it was just as easy to write it myself two days early, and I wanted the excuse to indulge my latest idea for a theme.

You see, sometimes I do shiny themed blog entries here at O'Gara and Wilson. The themes are frequently somewhat loose and ill-observed, and always ridiculous. This entry's theme? Transportation!

Observe, for instance, this Collector's Item:

The book containing this plate, Advertisements of Lower Mississippi River Steamboats 1812-1920, starts its Foreword with a historical analysis of steamboat advertisements and notes that

Now that Leonard V. Huber has unearthed this interesting sample of art -- for art it is -- of attracting patronage to a particular steamboat through stylistic advertising, the wonder is that nobody thought of doing it before. Individual boats were noticed as "new and splendid", "new and elegant", "new and light draught" (always new, even though overdue at the boneyard); but this business of republishing their ads has real newness. They have the tang of fresh-brewed coffee, and should be sipped gingerly to be appreciated. The reader will discover herein a treat which bears repetition from day to day, from week to week. These ads are ageless.

Convinced? I am. And better yet, the book doesn't just contain steamboat ads! $60.00 gets you the ads, plus some old articles about steamboats, plus other little bitty bits such as:

This scan comes from a page headed "Steamboat Money". There is no other description or explanation; I tried Googling "Steamboat Money" but came up with nothing of use, though I did find a page talking about tokens that were used to represent money for travelers on on some steamboats, so that those travelers wouldn't have to carry actual money. Maybe that's what's going on here.

So yeah, I wish I could use steamboats for transportation. I also wish I could use a car -- but not just any car: a vintage 1920s car that utilizes this week's Favorite.

Being as I really know nothing at all about transportation beyond what I write in random bookstore blog entries, I can't say much about this $30.00 package of 1920s auto bulbs. I am excited by the packaging, because I like deco stuff! Plus I have a thing for mythology, so representations of Vulcan are fine by me! Also, I love Googling for pictures of 1920s cars! But I guess that once I get past how pretty it all is, I'll have to move on.

And hence we find ourselves at this Affordable and Interesting book ....

I've mentioned before that I love it when customers point out really fascinating items that I have somehow missed. I love it even more when those customers decide in the end against buying those items. That way, I can fall upon said items with cries of glee and fascination, and examine them myself.

I am so excited about this book that I stretched the blog entry's theme to include it -- viz., this book is relevant to transportation because the cover features a gentleman riding on an elephant. But it's actually about race and culture! You see, the title is The Exotic White Man: An Alien in Asian and African Art. Note the looks of the gentleman atop the elephant:

And then there's this couple, a Japanese woodcut featured on the back:

I hear people talk about representations of other cultures in imperialist Western art all the time, but never ever have I seen a book like this. I am fascinated! It is from 1968 and has a slightly racist tone, which makes me sad, but it seems like the authors were doing their best at the time. And I'm amused by their note in the beginning that the Caucasian "pinkish color [is] somewhat revolting". You can buy this book for $12.50, but only if I don't weaken and take it home myself. I'm still thinking about it.

Thinking ....

I'd better end this blog entry before I think too hard. See you two weeks from Wednesday, gentle readers!

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