Fuel for My Jetpack, Mead for My Dragon

Modern Mechanix & Inventions

I love looking back at our old future.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking, but I liked seeing the Things to Come back before they came. I mean, we’re basically living in the future as we speak.  We’ve got it all – space ships, space stations, robots on Mars, handheld communicators that can put us in contact with anyone in the world, instant food, everything.  We even have flying cars, especially if you drive them off of someplace really high.

The problem with our current future is that it’s so unimpressive looking.  Ever notice how the iPhone looks like a bar of soap that’s got two more showers left in it?  Sure, its practical, fits in your pocket, and doesn’t require nuclear energy to play music or make a call – but man does it look dull!

I long for the days of our fun future, the inaccurate and impractical version with big, silvery pipes and unnecessary buttons and single levers that control everything.

And so it was with great pleasure that I came across a little gem from history called Modern Mechanix & Inventions.

Modern Mechanix & Inventions began life in 1928, seeking to make its name amidst the science and technology publications biz at the time.  Chock full of DIY projects and the car reviews of Tom McCahill, the magazine held its own until 2001, changing its title a couple of times during its run.

There are a number of places on the ’net to find archives with pictures of the covers, most being mixed in with other classic publications.  I wouldn’t be writing about it now if a friend hadn’t made mention about it on facebook (props to MarcosBnPinto!).  The visions presented in some of the mag’s more fantastic covers are the stuff that fueled the rockets of the imagination in the days before we exorcised the Man in the Moon.

I genuinely enjoy seeing stuff like this. It’s great food for fantasy, storytelling, or getting ideas for running a role playing game.  I’m always on the lookout for more retro-future artwork, so if you can suggest any, I’d be glad to take a look at it.  Drop us a line!

For a look at a number of these beautiful covers, visit Marcos’s tumblr here.

Troll School

Common sense and a grasp of basic reasoning skills should never get in the way of winning an Internet argument. Time for another priceless pearl of wisdom from Troll School!

Lesson# 4: Oh yeah? What about Clinton? (alternatively: Oh yeah? What about Carter/FDR?)

No argument, no matter how well made, can ever withstand the brutal onslaught of the administrations of former US Presidents Clinton, Carter, or Roosevelt. Whatever positive influences these three presidents may have had on their country or the world around them notwithstanding, their personal failures, foibles, and intern-related indiscretions are enough to win any Internet conflict you may be involved in. To wit:

“Dick Cheney just shot a man in the face!”
“Oh, yeh? What about Clinton?”
Argument solved.

Troll School

The wild and wooly world of the Internet has provided the human race with a burgeoning treasury of knowledge and information, beamed directly to our computers faster than our minds can process it. It is important to remember, in this fast-paced digital age, that no amount of facts, critical thinking or indisputable evidence should ever get in the way of winning an argument.

Certain aspects of debate – such as not knowing what one is talking about, arguing more from emotion than logic, and/or simply making things up out of thin air – form the rock-solid foundation of making an unassailable point, and should not be forgotten in the advent of technology that provides for immediate fact-checking.

It is thus in the spirit of public service that we now present to you, our reader, the finer points of winning an argument online, or, as we like to call it, TROLL SCHOOL.

Lesson One: Semantics.
The reason, intelligence, and wealth of facts any enemy poster may have will be completely undone with the use of semantics.
It doesn’t matter if said opponent is a constitutional scholar with a PhD. in American history, one single word will undo them. For example:
“America is a democracy”.
This falsehood is ripe for the pickings with the response:
“WRONG, d_ _ _kface! America is a republic!”

The fact that the enemy poster never implied that the US is a commonwealth, a giant state, a kingdom, et al notwithstanding – he’s a total commie, and he just demonstrated it.

Join us under the bridge next Sunday for a new lesson. Until then, keep on trollin’!