Postcards From Hell

We've added a new batch of old postcards to our ever-growing collection (a true indicator we live in Nerdville is we now proudly display our pile of random postcards to visiting guests and family members. They play along and act amused but probably secretly believe postcard collections are for dorks and geeks. That's okay- we're having fun and that's all that matters).

Unnoticed until hours later is the common theme among the new additions. They are from places we'd rather not be, or from events we'd rather not see. Like this image of a glowing alien ship passing over San Francisco. We agree with the experts who believe an alien encounter would not be benign and friendly like in E.T. and Close Encounters, but the complete opposite. The invasion would redefine "shock and awe" and any resistance would be futile as our primitive weapons would be no match for their advanced combat systems. When the invasion occurs (which will probably happen sooner, not later), it will not bode well for the human race. So enjoy today because tomorrow you may be a slave in the Melange mines on the planet Arrakis.

Here's another scene we'd rather not witness: Abraham Lincoln about to get shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1965 at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC. Who would mail such a card? True, it's a pivotal event in American history, but so is the OJ Simpson trial and the Exxon Valdez spill and no one wants to get postcards from either of those tragedies. Why so many old postcards are macabre and violent (Japanese executions, dead soldiers strewn across Civil War battlefields, etc.) is a mystery to us.

The same goes for watching a man hammer eight inch spikes into his head. But that's exactly what "Skeets" Hubbard, "The King of Torture", is doing in this Ripley's Believe It or Not postcard from the 1950's. His ability to nail spikes into his melon led to additional nicknames such as "The Human Plank" and "The Human Blockhead." Just looking at this picture causes an instant sinus headache of the worst kind.

Here's a bizarre and unsettling scene. It's supposed to be the Arizona desert (the back reads Arizona highways sweep across wide mesa sentineled by the flowering yucca, toward the purple haze of majestic mountain ranges. Purple haze is right- a Jimi Hendrix purple haze! Notice the inscription at the top: High in Arizona. Guess so!

A massive log jam at Big Ripple on the Clearwater River in Idaho is something we hope to never encounter. Not that we will: when the Dworshak Dam was completed in 1971, the Big Ripple disappeared under the fifty mile long Dworshak Reservoir. So did one of the finest salmon fisheries and extended whitewater runs in North America. So we don't want to see any postcards of the Dworshak Dam either.

7018. Salt beds, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Look at the man and mule plowing salt as a cartoon train comes chugging down the tracks. Plowing salt has to rank as one of the least enjoyable outdoor pursuits in Utah.

We've never stayed at the Oleander Court on US Hiway 17 N in Brunswick, Georgia, but we have spent plenty of time in the area. It's not a place we go to by choice; the coastal breeze wafts with a pungent odor of melting vinyl, courtesy of a nearby pulp mill. Sand fleas and mosquitos are pestilent all year long. Summers are hot and muggy and miserable. On the back of the card, a message dated August 22, 1954, reads Dear Wesley- Granddaddy, Patsy and I are sleeping here tonight. $7.00. Air conditioned and very nice. Be seeing you soon. Grandma Hallowell. Glad to hear they enjoyed their visit. We'll stay away, until the next required visit.

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