Botany Blueprint: The Paperbag Bush

Specimen #24: Paperbag bush (Salazaria mexicana) Light as a ghost, a paperbag bush balloon is an easy desert traveler, drawing its weight from the wind and its coloring from the sunset. These tiny seed vessels roll through ghost towns in …

Vintage Orange Crush Soda Bottles Take a Ribbing

I grew up drinking Orange Crush and hearing my mom tell stories of how it used to come in brown bottles, supposedly to protect the flavor. But by the time I was a kid, those days were long gone, and …

A View From Inside the 1960s Music Revolution

“When did music become so important?” That’s Don Draper from last week’s Mad Men, set in 1966. Later in the episode he turns off “Tomorrow Never Knows,” from the Beatles album Revolver, and walks out of the room. There’s something happening …

Super Moms Do The Darnedest Things

Long gone TV personality Art Linkletter had a segment on his show House Party called “Kids Say The Darnedest Things.” Well, now its mom’s turn. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Time magazine has created a stir with its Are …

The Motion-Graphic Ads Of Burma-Shave: 1927-1963

In a simpler time, when automobiles went slower and the pre-Eisenhower highway system in the United States was less developed, there was a popular advertising campaign that ran from 1927 until 1963. It consisted of rhymed messages sequentially staked on …

Light + Photo + Type = The Look

Gyorgy Kepes popularized the look in the U.S. when he began playing with light as graphic tool. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Matter were also proponents of the method called lichtbildaufnahmen (light picture recordings). Designing with light as abstract and representational …

How Walt Disney Used His Kansas City Library Card

When the word “Disney” is mentioned, it’s almost impossible to separate it from the craft of motion picture cartoons. Whether it’s used to describe a multinational entertainment corporation, or it alludes to Walt Disney the man, it’s easily synonymus with …

Norah Jones and Russ Meyer

Who would have ever thought that Billboard magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Decade (2000-2009) would find creative inspiration from the King of 1960s sexploitation films? But that’s exactly what happened while Norah Jones was recording her new album, Little Broken …

Medical Horrors and Wonders

The National Library of Medicine, founded 175 years ago, is the world’s largest medical library—home to a rich heritage of objects from rare medical books to disturbing nineteenth-century surgical illustrations to delightful mid-twentieth-century animated cartoons. It contains more than 17 …