Grab Bag #017

Biplane autos, prison waffles, and the world isn't that different (good and bad).

Grab Bag #017
Biplane autos, prison waffles, and the world isn't that different (good and bad)

I am usually too busy for the guilty pleasure of browsing the Internet. I’m not talking about mindless social media scrolling, where you see what Facebook or Twitter or Instagram decides what’s best—the legs of your friends sunning on vacation, video of a dog upsetting a picnic table, an ad for untucked men’s shirts (which feels insulting somehow). I have plenty of time for all that.

I’m talking about a hobby from the Internet’s early years of following one’s own curiosity from site to site.

Car disguised as plane
How did I end up looking at an auto disguised as a biplane at 23rd Street and Hoffman Avenue in 1920? And, man, I hope this is in someone's garage today. (Jesse Brown Cook Scrapbooks, Bancroft Scrapbooks, UC Berkeley) Here's another view of this goofy thing.

But the other day I was whistling the theme to Hawaii Five-O, which got me looking up Jack Lord’s Wikipedia page, where I saw he appeared in a lot of westerns, which got me thinking about the original Kung Fu, which got me reading a lot about Bruce Lee (who everyone thinks should have been the star instead of David Carradine, who we can all agree was not Chinese), which led me to a website Bruce Lee was Here, which documents the places that the martial artist lived and worked. Apparently, he taught Cha Cha lessons at 838 Stockton Street.

(Oh, have you seen the Chinese Historical Society’s We Are Bruce Lee exhibit? It’s great.)

Bruce Lee’s personal history in Chinatown then inspired me to check out the online Jesse Brown Cook Scrapbook Collection to match up some post-1906 earthquake street scenes.

Then I was truly lost.