Augh! Column night without a damned idea. Well, something will come up. Too bad I can't write about what follows, since it's Bleat-related, and I have to keep a firewall between all the various componants. Why, I don't know. I would love to blend everything into one seamless media blob under a single brand, but no, it's Bleat and Buzz and Diner and the TV show brand and everything else.

Probably just as well; I'd be hard-pressed to tell my boss I'd had a rough morning redesigning the motel site, and felt like knocking off for the day.

I did redesign the Motel Site, though. Why? Because it bugged me. Also because the postcards were looking small, and I've bumped them all up to 800 pixels in width. There will be weekly updates throughout the summer, since this is the traditional season for motel nostalgia, and even though the memory of staying in a few fine high-60s motel dims as the years pass, I still get the same heavy sigh when I look at the pictures of the old great signs and the garish bars and small overchlorinated pools studded with cheerful Della-Street-type models who are probably gumming down applesauce mush in the Home right now. Just once this summer I'd like to stand in the dusk by an old neon motel sign, hear the buzzing neon and the cars whining past on the highway, and be reminded of summer's true rule: get the hell out of wherever you are and go somewhere else. It's all useless nostalgia, of course; no wifi and coffee shops that smelled of cigarettes and scratchy hissy TV that cut out after Carson and gave you the Indian Head or "High Flight," with its surly-bond-slipping.


You may recall last week’s entry about Rainbow Bags, and the cheapness of the handles. I called out Chairman Bob. Well, what do I find at the office today:

It’s a box from Roundy’s, the home of Chairman Bob. And I think, aw, crap. There will be nice stuff in there and now I have to turn around and praise the company and apologize, and my nice self-contented jeremiad against substandard glue will look like a peevish niggling drivel. Then again, it probably looked like that before, so no harm no foul. Let’s look inside.

Hope it isn’t a horse’s head, or anything.

Ah: a letter.

From who?

Crap! Chairman Bob! I am a dead man. I can never walk in that store again.

On the other hand, what if it’s an apology? What if I can take the letter to the store and wave it around at people and cut in line and demand DOUBLE BAGGING?

Here's the letter:

Why, that's nice. If anyone's still reading, it was the Richfield store on 66th. And "Enclosure - 1 Goodie Bag" certainly trumps "Send the SOB the bedbug letter" in the annals of customer relations.

As for the contents of the box: it’s a selection of find Roudy’s house-brand merchandise. There are some Diced Peaches in light syrup, Extra Butter Microwave Popcorn, Deluxe Shells & Cheddar Dinner, Grape Jelly, a big bottle  of Mayo in the approved colors of Mayonnaise packaging, laid down so many years ago by our forefathers:

This must be a power supply for the knife version of a Jedi Light Saber:


There’s Peanut Butter, Trail Mix, Applesauce, Baby Wipes, Organic Baby Food – and it’s all in an attractive reusable fabric bag.

A cornucopia! Thanks, Chairman Bob! Some of these items are going to the Food Shelf, but in the interests of fair research I will test the Peanut butter, Extra Butter Popcorn and Mac & Cheese against the name-brand items my child consumes, to see if she can tell the difference.

That’s customer service.  Next time someone asks why I don’t shop at Cub, I’ll pull out the letter from Chairman Bob, and ask: would the head of Cub send this? Do you even know who the head of Cub is?

Now to show my daughter the letter, and see what her reaction is.


"HE SENT YOU ALL THIS? He’s AWESOME. He’s the most generous person I know today. He could have sent you a bag and an apology, but he sent you all this."


I’m not saying it’s the be-all / end-all of ideological  tests, but you can tell a lot about a person by their reaction to this ad.

That was then, to understate the case. Nowadays we’ve done away with these dangerous violent antisocial pseudo-guns, and replaced them with merry-makers like Nerf guns and Supersoakers and other items whose makers encourage you to point them at your friends.

This does not seem like an improvement, if you ask me.

Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a gun enthusiast, any more than I am a hammer enthusiast or a potato-peeler enthusiast; they’re tools, albeit tools you should use with the utmost of confidence in a narrowly prescribed set of events. I support the Second Amendment, it being part of the Constitution and all that, and I support concealed carry laws and stand-your-ground laws. I don’t like guns, but I don’t hate guns. Some people admire them for the craftsmanship and styling, but that leaves me cold. But I have no problem with those who do enjoy the aesthetics. I grew up around guns; my Dad was a hunter, and he had a pistol and a shotgun, there were rifles racked on the basement wall. Including my Daisy. I still have the little vial of oil that came with the Daisy, and I still remember pumping that thing up until it could shoot a BB through a box of phone books. (Or so I swore.)

Once while hunting in the woods with my cousin at the farm, he shot me in the arse with his BB gun, an event I put in my first novel. (To everyone’s amusement: never forgot that, did you, now?) Obviously having a Daisy did not magically impart responsibility. But I’ll bet that the number of kids who got a Daisy, and later turned into homicidal fiends, was about 200,000 to 1. How you answer that question may more instructive than your response to the ad.

In any case, I've posted 16 old Daisy Ads, with limited commentary - they speak for themselves - at the Institute of Official Cheer's newly revived Archive. (This link goes to the page that has the ad above, in glorious color.)

Enjoy, and I'll see you at for Lance Lawson Thursday. Oh: motel site is here. Three new postcards; big deal. Expect major interface inconsistencies until it's all done, too. I think we can manage without therapy.