Today, I turned 39. In my ripe old age, I’d like to share some advice from the WPA. From 1941:

The more you know.

39 comments on this post.
  1. Vance Maverick:

    That is one beautiful poster. Look at the careful design and placement of the apostrophes, like stray cuneiform. I appreciate the subject classification:

    Gasoline pumps–United States–1930-1940.

    And: happy birthday!

  2. Erik Loomis:

    I want to create an entire career in the Venn Diagram of 1930s gasoline pumps and skulls.

  3. Robert Farley:

    I hate it when the government tries to tell me what to do. And I think I have some gasoline in the lawnmower…

  4. mark f:

    On the other hand, fuck it, why not, it’s your birthday.

  5. Sev:

    Dammit, they can flex-fuel the infernal combustion engine, why can’t they flex-fuel the liver?

  6. DrDick:

    Hippo birdies, youngster. You are not quite a year younger than my son, who turns 40 in April.

  7. T.R. Donoghue:

    Happy birthday!

  8. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    I assume they mean dont drink and drive? Was there a lot of gas-drinking in the 1930s? Happy bday Loomis.

  9. Erik Loomis:

    There was a lot of adulterating whiskey with other substances. There was actually a real need for this kind of poster. See the jake leg for more:

  10. Thom:

    Happy birthday, young Erik!

  11. Hogan:

    Many happy returns, young man.

  12. Erik Loomis:

    Thanks. I hope you haven’t mixed any gasoline with your whiskey this fine evening.

  13. Jeffrey Beaumont:

    jesus christ.

  14. Fake Irishman:

    What are your thoughts on mixing gasoline with nice bottle of pumpkin-infused vodka?
    (Happy birthday!)

  15. Erik Loomis:


  16. Anonymous:

    I think my dad did something like that to pass smog checks.

  17. zombie rotten mcdonald:

    wow, you’re awful young. Now I feel like I haven’t done anything with my life, since you’ve been the recipient of a Wingnut Flying Monkey Attack already.

    It’s kind of mordantly hilarious that our modern eyes see that poster as being about drunk driving, when the reality was about, really, the need for government regulation of booze to avoid having it mixed with toxic additives.

    Now if only we could even start talking about the damage adding those same toxic additives to our environment.

    So any way, Happy Happy! Maybe zombies are not so good at this whole ‘cheering up’ thing. Oh well. you’re all just going to be chewed up by my compatriots eventually, or joining us.

  18. CaptBackslap:

    The Dan Baum article in the references is outstanding, incidentally.

  19. Leeds man:

    Many grating and inflammatory returns, young man!

    And let this be a lesson to us all that making your own booze is the safest bet, as long as you’re not caught making it.

  20. Erik Loomis:

    Watch out for the revenuers!

  21. Brenda Johnson:

    Happy birthday, young whippersnapper.

  22. dp:

    That’s absolutely right. I NEVER put gasoline in my whiskey.

  23. UberMitch:

    Bart Simpson: Oh, P-U, what where you drinking, gasoline?
    Krusty the Clown: Yes, I was drinking gasoline, MOTHER!

  24. Richard:

    Pretty awful. I had learned about it years ago through the blues songs about the affliction. Although it really wasn’t adulterated whiskey but adulterated patent medicine

  25. Richard:

    Right. Great article

  26. herr doktor bimler:

    There’s kerosene around.
    Something to do.

  27. Book:

    What are you planning to do for your midlife crisis? Buy a motorcycle and leather jacket like my dad?

    Drop some more references to what’s “hip” these days, maybe?

  28. Chester Allman:

    Happy Birthday! And stay away from the canned heat, too….

  29. Mrs Tilton:

    Oh, it doesn’t matter what you put in your whiskey; so long as you add nothing to whisky, bar a drop or two of water.

  30. Malaclypse:

    39 is a very good age to be. I liked it so much, that last year was my Eighth Annual 39th Birthday.

  31. BigHank53:

    Around here, that’s not a joke. Still busts show up in the paper on a regular basis. Happy birthday!

  32. Barry Freed:

    What a coincidence, it was mine too.

    And a happy belated birthday Professor Loomis. I need to find some heads-on-sticks birthday candles to send you for your big 4-0 next year.

  33. rea:

    Only if you set the result on fire.

  34. Uncle Kvetch:

    Now I feel like I haven’t done anything with my life, since you’ve been the recipient of a Wingnut Flying Monkey Attack already.

    Seriously. I’m 48…when do I get my moment of SKREEEEEEE, huh?

    Anyway, happy birthday to a true voice crying out in the wilderness. What time does the Funky Get Down Juche Party start?

  35. somethingblue:

    This is terrible news for John McCain.

  36. Patrick:

    Well, that was back when it was leaded gasoline. I’m pretty sure the upshot of those Kevin Drum articles are that it’s A-OK now.

  37. Alan in SF:

    This is confusing, because I don’t think that many people really would drink gasoline and whiskey together. This isn’t another one of those “metaphor” things, is it?

    And wouldn’t you love to see a WPA poster warning against mixing metaphors?

  38. Djur:

    A different set of vices, there.

  39. Conrad:

    Not a fan of the whole ethanol-in-fuel scheme then?

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