Greetings, Kids!

You’ve probably noticed an uptick in all things nuclear. What with the Iran Nuclear Deal, the semi-annual Trinity Site tour, the Manhattan Site National Historical Park rolling along and the always fun North Korea bopping around on the horizon, you can’t hardly spit without it hitting something nuclear. So, I thought we’d take a look at modern fallout shelters rather than the normal Cold War era fun we have.

So what are you to do?

Well, one path you could take is to build your very own fallout shelter. And lucky for you, the Internet has a wealth of information on that topic! Wikihow in particular has you covered with this, I don’t know if I’d call it informative, but…interesting (?) “article” covering the ins and outs of building your very own fallout shelter. It even has pictures!

So let’s take a deep dive into Wikihow’s “How to Build a Fallout Shelter” piece, shall we?

OK!

HowToBuildAFalloutShelter

So, this is the introductory paragraph for the piece. It’s kind of…scary? And not because of the actuality of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons existing, etc., but because of the Doomsday-ish tone the whole thing takes. And, dude: when you include other apocalyptic possibilities from movies, like an asteroid hitting Earth, you slide all the way into crazy prepper territory which kind of eliminates your credibility. At least with the non-nutjob set.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Wikihow style, each entry is divided into helpful Steps. Here’s the first step for building a fallout shelter, complete with a zombie cross-eyed guy doing the thinking, which definitely sets the tone as totally legit for the whole piece. The first step also keeps things totally light with the, “Keep in mind that this decision will either kill you or keep you alive” to close out the paragraph. No pressure though.

Step1

Step 2 asks the reader to “print out the instructions for the shelter you want to make and cross out each step when completed.” So…this How to Build a Fallout Shelter piece isn’t actually going to tell me how to do that? I don’t really know…

Step 2 also helpfully includes a scary image of a fallout shelter “plan” complete with an entirely too large image of a gas mask, which, wow, that’s really out of scale. Also, if you’re putting this much effort into a fallout shelter, and not just building one for funsies, please find a better design than “POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER.”

Pole Covered Trech

Now the article breaks into a subheading for the POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER. The author helpfully explains:

Basically, the idea on this one is to dig a trench, then place poles/logs on top of it and finish the combination with some soil/earth on top.

Done and done.

The first sub-step involves gathering your tools (you know, shovels).

The second sub-step goes a little over the edge into prepper/postapocalyptic dictator territory telling readers to “assign different tasks to different individuals according to their strengths and weaknesses.” Because you are The Decider.

The next several steps are trench-digging basics like, don’t dig in an area with flammable stuff (kind of like don’t put in a flowerbed without calling the utilities sorta thing), put the pile of dirt at least five feet away (no idea why), and the deeper the trench, the better the radiation protection. You know, your basic stuff.

Once we’ve dug our trench, we move on to covering it with logs and cloth or leaves. Then when we’re “absolutely positive that there is no way for the dirt to get into the living space, place the soil you dug out (and is five feet away) on the logs.”

The next step addresses the toilet issue, and includes this handy image (which I’m 95% sure is unachievable and the stuff of scifi in a dirt trench).

watercloset

Then you’re supposed to make some beds: “If your skills permit, make a bunk bed.”

Step 11 helpfully explains:

Since no one likes to be trapped inside a fallout shelter if a fire happens, make sure you have at least two different exits in your fallout shelter.

OK!

And…that’s it! BUT. But…the best part of this article is the Tips, which start out crammed together in some sort of James Joyce does the Cold War paragraph. Have a look:

Tips

I mean, this tip has everything. Soil conditions, e-book fallout shelter plans, missing punctuation and typos, shout-out to “scroungers,” tips for dealing with labor, warnings about the danger of re-bar (it’ll kill you!), you know, all the basics.

After the great Tips section, we have another Paragraph 1 (I don’t know either), listing things you should include in your fallout shelter. My favorite is the First-Aid kit, which should be “extensive” and “not just the ‘taking the kids to the park’ set.” The author helpfully lists the First-Aid kit recommended by the US Department of Defense (from god knows what year), which is honestly pretty basic.

His HIGHLY (his emphasis) recommended section includes things that sound “fun” and you “may need a doctor’s clearance for a couple of these.”

HIGHLY

So, I should just go to my doctor and ask for Tincture of Opium and a rando narcotic then? If she asks why, I’ll just tell her it’s for my fallout shelter. Should be no problem.

After the HIGHLY recommended list, the author includes other stuff you should have in the fallout shelter. My favorite is “Smoke signals” because these are definitely a physical object I can stock in my shelter. Or is he talking about the Sherman Alexie novel and just bad at punctuation? Either way.

Also good on the list of stuff is the “Radio and ‘walkie-talikes'” bullet:

walkietalkies

For national security, guys.

The article helpfully rounds-up some Warnings and Things You’ll Need to tie up the whole shebang.

warnings

Remember to Practice Trench Safety, kids!

Until next time!

Happy Atom Smashing!

Anne_Signature

Today’s fallout shelter looks like it couldn’t protect squat. I mean, I’ve seen Lego creations that could probably do better.

family-bomb-shelter-1952

That being said, the construction of this shelter looks like something I could handle! Which if I’m being honest, the only reason I want to buy a house with a yard, is so that I can construct a shelter. (For funsies, not for tinfoil hat, “prepper” reasons.)

Let’s step away from the shelter’s probably dubious protection ability, and turn instead to the occupants. First of all, Dad looks like he got caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. What were you doing in there, “Dad,” if that’s even your real name? Is that your real family? Or is that the secret one you have in Waukegan? Okay, okay–maybe they are your real family. Is that your Betty Page-ish wife? Or is she the hot babysitter, or passerby you whisked away to your fallout shelter when the siren screamed. Because she sure looks close in age to the oldest son. Oh your first wife Marian died, and she’s your new wife? Okay, maybe that’s true. But didn’t the police think her death was “suspicious?” No? My bad. Anyway, Betty Page there sure is a looker. I really dig her style. Glasses and great bangs. But poor her! You saddle her with the care of the four munchkins, I’m guessing, and she’s probably even the shelter builder. Am I getting close, “Dad”? Oh she takes plenty of ‘ludes to deal with the kid sitch, huh? She better pack plenty of those when all of you head for that metal can shelter, you’ve got there. Packed like sardines, amirite?!

Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out, “Dad.”

If you’re interested in more photos like this one, head over to the Wisconsin Historical Society, and take a gander and this and other fallout shelter-ish material. I have to say, I love the tone of the page, which is kind of, “we’re all going to die, or at least are better off doing so, but we better make the public hopeful so they’ll let us spend more money on nukes.” Or I think so anyway.

Until next time!

Anne_Signature

It’s once again Fallout Shelter Friday! This week’s shelter isn’t a fallout shelter at all, but Art!

Pink (Art) Fallout Shelter Doors

In 2009 the Canadian art collective, Instant Coffee created the Disco Fallout Shelter installation for the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The installation was on display from May 6 through September 15, 2009, and man I wish I’d seen it live rather than via the 1997ish, super low-tech website on which it currently resides. (Or maybe the retroness of the site is part of the exhibit? You never know with art!)

Anyway, the installation consisted of the above-ground portions (mainly the door and ventilator duct) of a 1950s fallout shelter, all blinged-out in Pepto pink and a disco-ballified satellite dish. Visitors wound their way through the installation by way of a yellow brick road, terminating at a locked (pink!) shelter door, through which party music is heard. So, what was behind the locked door? Well, the exhibit answers that for us, thanks to a video screen housed in the ventilator duct.

The ventilator duct provided a glimpse into the (supposed) goings on of the shelter. Shelter residents could be seen “playing records, eating spaghetti, dancing, reading, sleeping and just hanging out in the tight confines…of the shelter.” Of course this was all make-believe, with the collective members making up the residents and prerecording the whole shindig.

Ventilator Video Screen

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Today’s shelter is not for people, or cows as we’ve seen here, but dolls!

I mean, dolls are creepy anyway, but throw in a fallout shelter made just for them?

Dollhouse Fallout Shelter

This shelter was part of the 1962 (Cuban Missile Crisis, anyone?) Marx Metal Dollhouse, sold by Sears. It is a prime example of nuclear coloring everything during the Cold War.

Read/Look at more pics of  the dollhouse shelter here.

Greetings, friends! Today we’ll continue with our Rural Civil Defense film series. In today’s (admittedly pretty boring) segment, we’ll get to hear our puppet farmer friend liken the risk of nuclear annihilation to that of an “Indian” attack in olden times. He explains that every family needed to have a plan for such things, just like families of the present (1965) should have a plan for nuclear attacks.

I wish puppet farmer had more wisdom to impart in this section of film, but alas, no.

Fingers crossed for the next chunk!

Toodles!

Anne_Signature

Greetings, Kids!

Today’s piece takes us to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. (phew!) Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is a fairly new part of the park system, officially opening in 1998, and according to the official website, “an entirely new kind of park,” where “human stories and the natural history are intertwined.”

The park is all about conservation, and is a “living symbol of three generations of conservationist thought and practice.”

The property was the childhood home of George Perkins Marsh, one of the first conservationists, later home to Frederick Billings, and finally the Rockefellers. Now I haven’t visited the park, though I’d love to should my travels take me to Vermont, but from what I can tell, it’s a home-site/farm/natural wonderland showcasing conservation history as well as the lives of the three families that lived on the site.

I know. This isn’t exactly atomic touristy, but wait! There’s more!

A FALLOUT SHELTER!

Photo Courtesy the National Park Service, NPS.gov

Photo Courtesy the National Park Service, NPS.gov

The fallout shelter was built in the early Sixties to house 46 people during the apocalypse. Supposedly it was built at the urging of Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York, who was a Fallout Shelter Enthusiast (totally using that on my Tinder profile). From the photos I’ve seen and the descriptions I’ve read, it’s a pretty standard fallout shelter, except Rockefeller-ish; no there aren’t any gilded bunks or whale bone utensils, everything just looks–nice. And nice is something that is generally not present in fallout shelters.

The shelter has the standard blast doors, decontamination chamber, rows of bunks, foodstuffs, and ventilation system. However something that sets this shelter apart is the shelter’s manual (I want it!) noting that the ventilation system will not filter out fallout, and should simply be switched off during any “events.” Say what? Isn’t that the whole point of the shelter in the first place? I mean…come on, Rockefellers!

The family restocked and kept-up the whole place into the 90s, even though it was never used, which I kind of doubt. I mean, didn’t someone at least have a slumber party in there? I absolutely would have. This makes me wonder if there are similar shelters scattered around the country, being faithfully maintained and stocked in hopes that tomorrow never comes.

If you’re interested in vising, shelter tours are only held during the summer and fall, so you’ll have to wait until next year.

Anne_Signature

Lagniappe: The Rockefellers donated the land to the National Park Service in 1998, and asked if the park service wanted the fallout shelter filled in with dirt before donation. Man I’m glad the park service said no!

Basement Fallout Shelter

Greetings, friends!

Today’s shelter is of the furniture fort variety. It comes to us from the 1967 pamphlet, “Fallout Protection for Homes with Basements.” The pamphlet outlines various types of shelters that can be built in–spoiler alert–homes with basements. Types include:

  • Permanent Shelters
  • Pre-Planned Shelters (Aren’t permanent shelters, pre-planned too? I mean, I’d hope so.)
  • Elevated Flower Garden (I really like the sounds of this. I wonder if it’s similar to this? Because that’s pretty hardcore for a flowerbed.)
  • Improvised Shelters

With the furniture fort shelter of course being of the Improvised sort. Duh. I mean, who would consider the swimming pool, paint-can topped shelter to be permanent?

Anyway, this is a great pamphlet if you’re into that sort of thing, which if you’re reading it, I assume you are. This site has a great overview of the whole thing.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Anne_Signature

greenbrier

Fallout Shelter Fridays! is on vacation this week, so take a look at the fantastic fallout shelter (Congressional!) at The Greenbrier! You can tour it!

http://www.greenbrier.com/Activities/The-Bunker/Bunker-History.aspx

Happy Friday!

Anne_Signature

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU3Njv640Nw

Howdy friends! Today we’re going to take a listen to the great old-timey cowboy/folk ballad, OLD MAN ATOM (Talking Atomic Blues). This song is totally in my wheelhouse, but unlike most things in my wheelhouse, it just fell into my lap. A couple of Sundays ago I was listening to Old Time Country and Bluegrass with Hazel the Delta Rambler on WWOZ, which if you like bluegrass even in the slightest, you should check out. (Also, WWOZ streams on the web, for those of you out of broadcast range.) This particular episode featured Banned Songs in honor of Banned Books Week. Hazel played quite a few gems, as always, but none shone quite so shiny as OLD MAN ATOM.

OLD MAN ATOM is an anti-nuke song. And when the song first came out, we were so solidly on the nuclear bandwagon, that it caused quite a stir–blacklistings, bannings, all sorts of fun!

Vern Parlow was a newspaperman who penned the song in 1945. It took a bit to percolate, but when the song finally hit the airwaves in 1950, it was a big hit; I mean several different versions by several different artists in several months’ span. But link most things that come in with a bang, the song’s popularity burned hot and fast and met an abrupt end when it was pulled from distribution by Cold War crazies, because if you weren’t with us (The Bomb) you were against us (The Commies).

So why was this song so…bad?

Read the rest of this entry »

Miami Fallout Shelter 1951

 

Happy Friday everyone!

Today’s shelter comes to us from… 1951 Miami!

In this pic, the lovely couple lounges around their fab fallout shelter with their dog children. Like you do. Between the mounted fish, Florida Floral daybeds and the faux bay window, I could definitely think of worse places to hide from the falling sky. It’s all sorts of vacationy. I mean I’m pretty sure I’ve stayed in similar looking hotel rooms on the Gulf Coast. Now. In present times.

Special shout out to the white with gold sparkles Formica. Because of course that’s what they have.

Toodles!

Anne_Signature