Archive for the ‘Bad Ideas’ Category

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

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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

There’s that particular type of laundry commercial involving a single swatch of pale fabric, usually in the form of a youngster’s t-shirt, sullied by stains of every sort. The commercial showcases some magical preparation (Tide), which when applied to the sullied shirt, removes all traces of the stains, and leaves the swatch sparkling. Little Timmy will certainly be the hit of the Little League game now!

Before-and-after commercials are one of my very favorite forms, and strike a similar note as the “We’ve secretly replaced Jane’s fancy-pants coffee with Folgers crystals,” and Billy Mays’ booming about Oxy-Clean.

This proof is in the pudding type of advertisement is nothing new. In fact this great 1950s commercial for Dorothy Gray Salon (pronounced sa-LON) Cold Cream uses this approach, in a pretty peculiar way.

The commercial begins with Pack-a-Day-Margaret greeting “Busy You!” explaining that you’re in and out doors all day, and where on earth are you going to find the time to clean your face of all the dust and dirt and makeup that have stuck to your face? Well, you’re going to use Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream to clean it in a jiffy.

But, we don’t have to take the announcer lady’s word that Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream will do this for us. Instead, we’re introduced to a model, whom I’ll call Barb. Barb’s face is covered in dust that has been made “just radioactive enough to register on a Geiger counter.” Wait—what? Yep—you read that right, radioactive (but just). They covered poor Barb’s face in radioactive dust just to prove the merits of a silly old cold cream.

The Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream’s deradiationizing (?) capabilities are put up against “cleansing creams and complexion soaps,” and according to the announcer lady, “the Geiger counter proves that Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream cleanses up to 2 ½ times more thoroughly than any soap or other cleansing cream tested!” I guess this means that the Geiger counter beeped at a slower pace when Barb’s radioactive dust covered face was covered with a layer of Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream than other goop? Maybe it’s acting more as shielding, did you think of that announcer lady? And maybe we shouldn’t have purposely put radioactive dirt on a lady’s face? Call me crazy, but this seems like kind of a bad idea.

Disappointingly, we don’t get to see any of the actual “tests.” I was really hoping for some face-washing action here. All in all, I’d say they jumped on the radioactive bandwagon, without any real reason, other than trying to be one of the cool kids by somehow linking their dippy cold cream to something atomic.

Now if Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream contained some uranium, we’d really be on to something.

Anne_Signature