Interstate Highways in the 1950’s

The Fifties Then and Now

The film “highway Hearing” was produced by Dow Chemicals, with assistance from the US Bureau of Roads and the Automotive Safety Foundation, to garner support for the 1956 Federal Aid-Highway Act, the law that enabled the Interstate Highway system of America.

Film synopsis:
After a small town learns that it is to be bypassed by a new freeway, highway officials and politicians help to convince residents that the freeway is actually in their interest. The film ends as it began, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new stretch of highway. …….wdtvlive42

I needed to skip around to watch this. It was well worth it. It is certainly a 1950’s idealized portrait of themselves within a bit of cool ’50’s propaganda about the interstate. Connorsville is a Mayberry, of course. I almost expected Barney to show up.
1. Is this the Republican idealized town of white people deciding great things as portrayed by Dow Chemical? Strange that they are willing to spend 51 billion bucks ($487 billion in today’s money) on roads. Such odd Republicans!
2. Some of the the arguments against the interstate highway are real. It did kill downtown areas in all small towns. It did create barriers for farmers, livestock and wildlife.
3. “Our prettiest school teacher” gives a truly inspiring speech that sounds so like a Democrat today.
4. If they had a time machine and could see today’s world, would they vote for the interstate? “Hey man it helped us get to Woodstock Dude.”….It helped us get social change. It helped us get other races in our propaganda about how well we are doing. Would they like what happened to their little Mayberry world.
Who is lying to themselves more, them or us? They pretend that their African American neighbors are not there, and, indeed they had no say. We acknowledge their presence and pretend they are free.
5. Is our generation building tanks instead of something, anything?

These folks haven’t been through the sixties yet. Since we are not so pure, then we should not be so hard on them. In their defense, they had been through World War 2 and, THEY didn’t bring their machine guns back with them. They were tired of war and spent their money on us. They could decide to do big things and pull it off.
We should listen to the school teacher.


Probation Man Blues by David Michael Jackson

Oh Mr. Probation man
I’ll tell you what it’s all about.
Them overdraft people
they done cleaned me out.
an’ I can’t pay to give you
no pee at all
in the Probation Company
bathroom stall.

I know my bill
is now overdue
and lock me up is what you
said you would do.
Oh Mr Probation Man
Don’t take me back to jail.
My babies need food.
I can’t make the bail

When the Company Prison
they let me go
they said I still had
my debt with you.
I got them beggin’
beggin’ the probation man blues.
Oh they say that crime,
crime don’t pay
but it seems to do
pretty well by you.

I know my bill
is now overdue
and lock me up is what
the Company will do.
Oh Mr Probation Man
how it will be for me
Will I take this debt
to the grave with me

Stone by stone we’ve built
this house of pain
Oh please don’t take me
to jail again
Oh I don’t know
I don’t know what I’ll do.
I got them probation man
Them probation man blues.

A Tribute to Life Magazine a Film by by David Hoffman

Life Magazine

To get this all, visit . I made this 1 hour documentary for the 50th anniversary of the great photo essay journal, Life Magazine. It was a thrill to interview so many brilliant photojournalists like Alfred Eisenstadt, Gordon Parks, and many others and to come to understand American and world history through their eyes. This film is being offered for personal use only and not for educational purposes. If you would like to purchase a DVD, please visit .
….David Hoffman via YouTube

David Hoffman

David Hoffman is one of America’s veteran documentary filmmakers. During his 50-year career, Hoffman has made five feature-length documentaries….Wiki

Life Magazine represents a period in history where photojournalism expressed the news in a strikingly personal way. We remember the stories but, oh the photos! Hoffman’s brilliant documentary doesn’t just take us back to those photos, but makes us want more.
Hoffman’s view is one of film, which , like TV and video media,  seems to have replaced photo journalism. This film, however,  combines the moving image with the still. One point is so well made. We returned to the Life Magazine photograph to see it again. It had time and repetition on it’s side. It sank in. In this Facebook world, images pass by so fast! Maybe Life was the precursor to these times because the images were more important to us than the text, but it sat there on the coffee table and we went through it again for the photos.
There were fewer outlets for creativity in those days. Today everything rolls by like traffic, and we squeeze a thousand images a day into our lives on screens that scroll, seemingly, endlessly, into the earth.
We are on image and information overload and it’s been good to visit a time when so much talent could be put in one place. It’s not that we are not as good, it’s that our talent is diluted and greatness can pass by unnoticed as our minds are trying to cope with the freeway of information and images.
I was far from involved, but I remember feeling a strange sense of loss when it was announced that Life Magazine was shutting down.

………….david michael jackson

gentle jesus walked into town poem by Becky Buchanan

Becky and Boodil from thatBeckygirl

the gentle jesus walked into town today
wearing a worn cashmere sweater:
an olive green pullover,
and a pair of faded jeans that fit him well
before he could get into the door of the Ozark Restaurant
and Pancake House
he was accosted
by a loud speaker
from a town-crier
who was laughing
“you better watch out
you better not shout
you better not cry
I’m tellin you why . . .
cause we’re watching you . . .
they’re watching you
from space
from the space between your teeth
from the fillings in your teeth
from the . . .”
jesus stepped inside, sat down
ordered bacon
and a spinach omelet
the waitress
looking wide eyed
with an open
“good GOD! you can’t eat
spinach . . . e-co-lye, she whispered from behind her hand
and the bacon
will kill you too
just a little
slower she winked
jesus winked back
ordered a cup of
green tea
the waitress
ran off to pour him coffee
the regular boys were sitting at their table
talking their regular war
and big trucks and fast women
and “I won’t play with you if you don’t play fair”
“I got more money
than you do’
the “regular” big boy board games
but then some one got upset
with someone
and decided
to take his ball
and go home
bumping his chair back
against Jesus’ chair
he said,
“excuse me,”
“you’re forgiven,”
jesus said
which made the man look a little funny at jesus
a group of middle aged
walked in and
sat down in the booth next
to jesus
and started in . . .
“I hope that bird flu stays with them birds
and don’t get to us . . .
and I hope there ain’t no ticks on them
birds . . .cause I don’t what no Lyme disease
and I hope their ain’t no mosquitoes
on them ticks . . .
my body can’t take no more diseases
I already got . . . let’s see
heart and lung and breast
and kidney
and “what’s that other one called
“ I said DEMENTIA, and you’ve got hearing loss too.”
“Oh yeah, and trouble with my eyes.”
jesus sprinkled pepper on his toast and sneezed
the whole table said
“God bless you!”
jesus rose to his feet, raised his hands
then thought better
of making the sign of the cross
and just said
“God bless you too!”
when he finished his eggs
he stepped back out side
where the town crier
was now crying
jesus said
“can I help you sir?”
and the town crier said
“I just heard the trumpet buddy
and everyone from the
town has vanished into thin air!
it’s the rapture
and I’m left behind!
jesus being an empathetic soul
gently touched the crying man on the shoulder
and immediately
the town crier turned into a silent pillar of salt
the gentle jesus
leaned down
took a pinch of the man
and threw it over his left shoulder
“just for good measure” he said
“just for good measure.”

and her new CDfull circus moon
and her new CD review:

P.T Barnum once said,
“I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.” The
circus has always had a mystique, unique to the greatest show on earth.
Poet Becky Buchanan explores circus life through the eyes of Mary, the
fictional first lady of the big top, who finds herself rather reluctantly,
“living among them” in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.

Apr 14, 2012