Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
One more funny pinball machine theme. "Cover Girls" obviously appealing to the prurient interest of the potential pinball player with a quarter (or probably back in the day, a nickel? Penny?) in his pocket. And some hot cover girls, indeed. I, for one, think it's wonderful that the combination of the illustrator's style, the fashions of the day, and the limitations of pinball machine printing combine to make all the "cover girls" here look somewhat matronly - fit, but matronly. But if that wasn't enough, who could resist the magnetic attraction of a hot Cover Girl Drum Major? If there is one thing sexier than archery, it's definitely drum majoring.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Not totally sure what this game was. There was apparently an open space in the middle of a room at the Pacific Pinball Museum and that doesn't really work for pinball machines. It looks like it would be good for betting on. Further investigation will have to wait for some future visit.
Monday, March 26, 2012
We didn't really mean to do a second week of Pacific Pinball Museum pictures, but that's all we've got fully set to go at this point. We've got plenty of other stuff but it's all in various jumbles on various hard drives. So, here you go: More pinball machines! Actually, they're not bad pictures, just a bit same-y with some of our other recent entries.
Friday, March 23, 2012
As noted yesterday, the olden days pinball machines had themes that tracked other pop cultural currents. Apparently, at some point in the middle of the last century, marbles were something kids were really into. So who wouldn't want to play a pinball game with a "marbles" theme? But just to up the ante, the clever marketing team at Gottlieb's wanted to add drawings of sexy ladies. The solution? A pinball machine with the theme that perhaps there are back-alley locations where lithe young ladies play marbles in swimsuits. Or maybe that was just the way things were done back then.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
From some highly politically correct Native American-theme pinball game. The variety of themes for the olden-days games was quite impressive, although it's clear that they followed pretty closely with whatever trend someone thought teenage boys might be into at the time, whether surfing or science fiction, or I guess, Native Americans.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
More Pinball Machine Pictures!
Pinball machines are tough to photograph because they have glass over the colorful bumpers and chutes and such, which glass reflects the lighted backboard/scoreboard (not to mention overhead lights). The one above emerged mostly unscathed. The one below, by contrast, did not.
Monday, March 19, 2012
So some time ago we published this picture and promised more to come. Well, here's the more. This week: More pictures from the Pacific Pinball Museum. "Foreign Service" content will be holding steady at zero for March - but we promise a triumphant return of the more Foreign-y stuff in April, if that's what keeps you coming back.
So, the Pacific Pinball Museum is clearly the beating heart of Alameda. This fine cultural institution features dozens of pinball machines, ranging from antique pinball precursors to the latest stupid talking machine advertising Iron Man movies. It's kind of more expensive than you want it to be, but once you've paid to get in, you can play unlimited pinball on all but the very oldest machines. Your correspondent played maybe two games of pinball. I've never really thought it was that much fun... but the old machines are fun to look at.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Further to yesterday's talk of monuments, the most impressive pieces are the monuments built by each state involved in the war. These take the form of huge sculptures of soldiers and horsemen and angels and such, wrought of massive amounts of bronze and stone, dedicated to the soldiers of that state who died at Gettysburg. These are sculptures of a scope that would be appropriate as the centerpiece of a town square or city park, plopped down on some rural grassy knoll of military-historical significance. Above, a detail of Virginia's monument. Five hundred dollars seems a bit cheap, actually.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Your correspondents are far from being Civil War buffs, so pretty much any information we attempt to provide here should be taken with some grains of salt. The only other Civil War battlefield we have visited is Manassas, or Bull Run, which is nice and all, but is mostly just an open field with a few old cannons. We knew that being relatively close, Gettysburg was something we ought to do, but we didn't know what to expect. We were quite surprised.
First of all, the visitors' center features a very good museum with a history of the entire war and a crazy "cyclorama" which is apparently a word for a room with a giant 360-degree painting wrapped all around.
Second, and more surprising, were the monuments. There are over a thousand monuments ranging from modest stone markers to huge equestrian sculptures. From the best information we can gather, as Gettysburg was contemporaneously recognized and preserved as a historic location, many of the survivors of the battle decided to put up monuments there. This must have somehow fed on itself because there are monuments to every unit that fought in the battle, tributes to many prominent individuals, and memorials from each state involved. It creates a landscape unlike any other I have seen. It is sort of like a sprawling, low-density cemetery, creeping across miles of land, working around hills, forests, human development, and any other obstacle it may find.
Monday, March 12, 2012
So, to review, we were in Afghanistan. We returned to America and spent Home Leave in Alaska and California and Colorado. We have been back at our assignment in Washington since August, some seven months ago(!), and, in an attempt to keep publishing without ranging too into "what we had for breakfast" territory, been slowly shuffling through photos from leave ever since. But we're almost pretty close to being done with those pictures.
So, for this week only, some notes from the Washington area, or at least from a day trip away from Washington to Gettysburg. Starting with this picture, from the sprawling cemetery with row upon row of graves of unknown Union soldiers, generally buried by regiment.
This was also the site of the Gettysburg Address - which I guess is why some visitors leave pennies on the grave markers. The Lincoln connection is clear but the exact significance still escapes me.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
One more from the same abandoned gas station. Different angle, more flowers. I'm hopeless with flower names. I guess these are just daisies, but they have such an extreme sloped-petal shape, not unlike a shuttlecock, maybe they're some sub-type like "Badminton Daisies." Although modest internet research suggests maybe it's chamomile, which can't possibly be right.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012
The star trails wheeling around the North Star trick is one of our favorites, if you haven't noticed. We also did some "light painting" (which I think is kind of a stupid term but oh, well) with the fallen tree in the middle ground there to distinguish this from previous star trails photos.