Here are some of the headlines, auctions, and blogs that caught our attention over the week.
The big news in the drawn world last weekend was that both DC and Archie Comics have finally thrown off the shackles of the 1950s Comics Code, which restricted sexual and violent content, and will no longer being using that seal of approval on their issues. This week, Newsarama did further investigation, finding that the code hasn’t really been in use in since the ’90s and the seal was a mere formality. Now, Comics Beat asks an even bigger question: What will happen to “treasure trove” of comic-book history in the Comics Magazine Association of America’s archive?
When it comes to pop-culture history, one Canadian woman has earned bragging rights as the world’s first official Beatles scholar, after receiving a master’s degree in the field of the Fab Four. No, really. We aren’t talking about some light-hearted John vs. Paul debate. Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy studied not only the Beatle’s studio and composition techniques on their records, but also the band’s place in social and political history. Impressive! (Via MyDaily)
In other music news, we mourn the loss of country and western great Charlie Louvin, who died at 83 on Wednesday. Originally, he found success in the 1950s and ’60s singing in the Louvin Brothers, until his brother Ira, was killed in a 1965 car wreck. Despite the tragedy, Charlie kept on singing. His voice will be missed. (Via NPR Music)
The Victorians knew something about mourning, which isn’t surprising considering high much higher mortality rates were than they are now. The desire to hold on to the dearly departed lead to Victorians to go to extreme measures. Queen Victoria herself never got over the death of her beloved Prince Albert in 1861, and wore black dresses and mourning jewelry the rest of her life.
Some of the grieving went as far as visiting Spiritualist mediums to request conversations with their ghosts, while others simply kept photographs, locks of hair in lockets and rings, and other memento mori (reminders of mortality) such as charms. Edith Zimmerman over at The Hairpin just posted some fine examples of Victorian mourning rings from her collection.
Turn-of-the-century fashion wasn’t always so gloomy. Thanks to the Art Deco Society of California’s Facebook page, we were tipped off to this fantastic fashion Tumblr blog, Ye Olde Fashion. Looks like a great place to discover the perfect stuffed-bird or ostrich feather hat for the Edwardian Ball. And speaking of Edwardians, our sometimes guest blogger Fuzzy Lizzie displayed some lovely Edwardian era tobacco silks featuring charmingly un-racy “bathing beauties” of the day on her Vintage Traveler site.
Other fashion trends to watch out for: Children of the ’80s, do you remember slap bracelets? Well, Shine warns Slap Watches might replace Silly Bandz as the new wrist trend for kids. Um, I remember those things can sting (and yes, I was a kid once and we slapped those bracelets every which way possible). I’d rather have my Swatch back!
Yup, history keeps repeating itself. We might think we’re so advanced from those squirrelly Victorians, but when it comes to trends, particularly for facial hair, we’ve really got nothing new. Apparently esteemed novelist Herman Melville, back in 1850, had no less than 25 different phrases describing beards. What do “love-curls” or “carroty bunches” look like? Flavorwire takes a humorous stab at drawing these funny face sweaters. No, no one is original. Today’s steampunks knock off Victorian steam-train inventors who knocked off … a Greek engineer from 2,000 years ago, according to io9.
Speaking of tinkering, we’ve recently added a whole tools and hardware family, so we’re really into carpentry and wood shop factoids at the moment. We’re delighted that Mental Floss offered this explanation of why we have Philips head and other kinds of screws. Is there anything worse than having the wrong screwdriver at the wrong moment?
That’s when you hit the fridge for a cool one. Oldbeer, are you out there? We found something you’d like. Wired made a post in honor of the first canned beer ever sold (and drunk, we assume) in 1935. First beer can, we toast you! And if you can’t get enough old advertising graphics, check out our new advertising tins category, and then look through this darling collection of cheese labels, of all things, posted on The Design Observer Group’s Observatory blog. Thanks to Brain Picker for pointing us to it!
Combining food labels, tin cans, and steampunkish MacGuyvering, Lifehacker explains how, in an emergency, you can turn a can of tuna into an old-fashioned oil lamp. The same site offers a very helpful suggestion on how buying vintage stamps can save you money, while we feel nostalgic for the waning days of sending letters and cards (especially Valentines!) via post, with the sad news from The Wall Street Journal that thousands of U.S. post offices may close. The end of an era, indeed!
Tell us: What have you been buzzing about? Leave a comment below.