Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Fifty Years of Monty Python

Fifty years ago today, the Monty Python Comedy Troupe formed.

A mere 148 days after the troupe formation, the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus airs on BBC One! And the world was never the same.

(As an FYI, This is a historic day for Canadians everywhere as it was the Monty Python Comedy Troupe that first exposed the world to the inner mind of a Canadian lumberjack! 😉

Follow the link for the Monty Python Lumberjack Song.

It may not have been the image Canadians wanted to project, but at least the world knew that there were Canadian lumberjacks after its release! [Better to have a message with some impurity than to fade into obscurity.])

(One thing the Troupe didn’t tell you is that a Canadian Lumberjack’s favourite pet is a House Hippo [and a cousin of the West African pygmy hippo], native to, and now only found in, Canada due to the changing hunting habits of the eastern wildcats.)

The USIS was Established 85 Years Ago Today

On November 17, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6433-A and created the National Emergency Council (NEC), sing an appropriation authorized by Section 220 of the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933, in response to the declaration by the Congress of the United States of the existence of an acute national economic emergency which affects the national public interest and welfare.

The NEC was deemed created for the purpose of coordinating and making more efficient and productive the work of the numerous field agencies of the Government established under, and for the purpose of carrying into, effect, the provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, and the Federal Emergency Relief Act that were all signed into law in 1933 in response to the Great Depression.

Six months later, Clara M. Edmunds, head librarian of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public information service, opened the U.S. Information Services library, which was designed to be the comprehensive collection of relevant government documents, updated regularly to record every development in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. This library, which centralized information about federal rules, regulations, and administrative orders for the public, was the first one-stop-shop for government information until 1948. In 1945, Truman, who had no interest in funding it, took office. In 1946, the USIS was put under the state department and had its funding reduced. And in 1948, the Smith-Mundt Act, which focussed on the creation of an information service to disseminate information abroad about the United States (instead of to its own citizens) put the final nail in the USIS coffin. (One account of the United States Information Service Libraries can be found in the online archive of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science. Information can also be found in A Timeline of Events in the History of Libraries.)

It may have only lasted 15 years, but it was a revolution in government information management and deserves to be remembered.

One Hundred and Thirty Seven Years Ago Today …

The first electric trams in Britain made their first run in East London.

We need to return to trams not only in London, but all over the world. Since trams can be powered by electricity, they can be powered by grids that primarily use renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and water.

Trams were common in many places in the middle of the twentieth century, but then many cities replaced them with buses in the latter half. This was a dumb move. London abolished its Trams in 1952, but brought them back in 2000.