The sun is back. The sun is a welcome sight. Nice sun. Good sun. Stay.

I’m in the Strib coffee shop, as usual for a weekday afternoon, looking out the window. The day is as ordinary as it is dazzling. It’s so bright you can detect the variated hues of the individual bricks on dun-colored box where the Strib keeps its administrative functions In the 70s and 80s they used these bricks a bit too liberally – mostly brown but with subtle variations in the tint of the glaze. That was the 70s: subtle variations in brown. Pretty much exhausted the possibilities of brown, they did. (And by “70s” I mean the aesthetics that held power until convincingly dethroned by bright yellow, bright blue, geometric shapes, and glass blocks.) You’d find these bricks in the floors of shopping malls and walls of suburban office buildings. When the sun hits them they have an iridescent quality I’d never noticed, like the scales of a reptile – but in this case a reptile evolved to use cowpies as camouflage.

Gnat’s in school. We walked to the bus stop for the first time in a fortnight. “This is my favorite part of today,” she sang. “Waiting here with you.” Aww. The bus came; she clambered aboard, and I went back to Jasperwood to file a column, lash on my necktie, and head to work. It’s nice to be back in the office, talking to grown-ups again. Had another radio interview this morning for the book, but that wasn’t a conversation, just ten minutes of merry chatter. I did it while ironing. Had to use a cordless phone, because my lovely old 1951 corded Western Electric ceased to function. I took it apart and checked the wires; nothing seems out of sort. Damn. I already miss the ring; that thing woke not just the dead, but dead Irish poets who died drunk, and it had a commanding sound that said ANSWER ME OR I WILL KEEP THIS UP. Never liked the tweety-burble of modern phones, and I’d give my cellphone a “classic” ring if I could. (Next provider, things will be different. Next phone won’t have 97 submenus to preview new wallpaper options. Next phone will have a better operating system. When I call my phone directory, for example, the default position for the cursor is an empty field, so I can type in the name of the person for whom I’m looking. Because that’s so much more convenient than using the little rocker switch to scroll down. Typing. On a phone pad.)

Bricks and cell phones. I’m really on a tear today, aren’t I.

Well, it’s the middle of the day, and nothing’s happened. Just another four-column day. Did I mention I ironed? I did. I need a new iron. This one gives no steam. I want great billowing clouds of steam to pour out when I push the button. I want it to sound like some massive Victorian locomotive. This one hisses like a sick cat, and nothing comes out. Consequently my shirts all look Rula Lenska’s neck. Not that I’ve seen it lately. But I can imagine.

Okay, enough; this obviously isn’t going anywhere. Sorry. Nothing on my mind. And believe me, sometimes that’s just a blessed relief.

LATER. And I’m back. And in pain. Well, discomfort – I screwed up my back this morning, it seems. When I rise I do 40 bar dips, using the edge of the bed frame and the bureau in the guest room. (They are in the same room, in case you’re visualizing some sort of Mr. Fantastic stretchy action.) Why I do this, I don’t know, but it wakes me up and works several key muscle groups and guards against the day when I am forced to take up work as a topless model. This morning I did something wrong, and now a broad swath of pain extends from lower Scapulastan to upper Tailbonia. Various analgesic unguents have been applied, and let the best nostrum win. My money’s on the Bath and Body Works cream, which contains absolutely nothing of medical significance, but has such a fiery character you stop thinking about the old pain and concentrate on the new one.

Some important news from the world of Corporate Logos. Kodak changed its logo, which was a mistake, I think; I don’t think logo changes are advisable in the first place. The number of perfectly good logos cast off in the 60s and 70s for ugly charmless crap boggles the mind – Texaco being a perfect example. (Nearly all the gas stations screwed the pooch logo-wise in the 70s, for that matter.) I had no emotional attachment to the Kodak logo, but this one is different. Old hotness:

New and busted:

Could be worse. Creamette is an old venerable Minneapolis brand long ago subsumed into the folds of some MegaAgCorp; there’s still a building downtown that proudly displays the Creamette name, even though it’s a condo now.(Digression: at the Big Bowl on Sunday I noticed a sign that said they do not accept checks, but “proudly accept major credit cards.” Proudly? Am I to believe that the cashier’s heart swells with honor and glory when someone hands over a Visa? For heaven’s sake, Vegas outcall services probably accept major credit cards; it’s not exactly a select club.) The old logo had one regrettable element: Little Miss Creamette, who had been redesigned too many times. (That’s Peg Linstroth, the daughter of the man who invented the Creamette process; she died last year, at the age of 89. Which is probably why she’s gone now. You wouldn’t want to take someone’s picture off the macaroni while they’re still around. That’s why they still use the Morton Salt girl – she’s 147 now, and they can’t wait to dump that logo. But she made some sort of devil-deal, and they’re stuck with her.

I never got the whole rains-it-pours thing when I was a kid; it seemed a profligate waste of perfectly good sodium chloride. Why, if I walked around strewing salt in the rain, my parents would beat me, and use the special switch they kept in the closet for those times when I emulated commercial icons. Don’t even ask about the time I took a tire off the car and lit a candle; couldn’t sit down for a week.

(Oh, okay, link. The ad is particularly surreal; the little kid with the flame and tire was apparently so entrenched in the public imagination they could show him engaging in a colloquy with poultry, and no one would question the sequence of events that had led to this moment.)

In any case, the Creamette font lives on as “Chatty Cocktails,” and I used it here in the long-dead Orphanage of Cast-off Mascots. I never dreamed Peg would join the ranks, but perhaps I’ll have to update the site this year. It would be the right thing to do.

See you tomorrow. Oh! Right: dang. Lots of motels – the Arizona section is up, with a dozen or so cards. New Quirk as well. Screedblog around 1 PM or so. Email is my first name at my last name dot com – and thanks for the letters. I’m vowing to get to them in a timely fashion this year. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two columns to write. Hack work awaits!

on Monday
on Tuesday


c. 2005 j. lileks .