I’ve had a very nice day consisting of not giving a fig for anything, even the fisculcliph. You have to stop your ears now and then to Nero and the rest of the capital claque plucking the lyre and caterwauling over the fire. Note: figs are good to eat, aren’t they? Aside from the old story that Mrs. Augustine painted them with poison to ensure her husband died and left her son in charge, figs were a delicacy, so saying “I don’t give a fig” is like saying “I don’t give a Milky Way for that.” One of those dark chocolate ones. Likewise, Nero didn’t play his lyre and sing while Rome burned; that’s one of those things that got around after the fact, although he did use the fire as an excuse for urban renewal. Possibly he was given a short shrift by history because he was just so damned odd, not because he was more tyrannical than the others. He liked to perform in public, and considered himself an artist. Quite unseemly. A bit like a president installing a pole in the Oval Office and doing strip dances, where the members of the upper class would be forced to watch with sick frozen smiles and tuck dollar-bills in his thong.

Unless they do away with dollar bills, that is. There’s the usual talk of replacing them with coins. One sensible Representative noted that people, presented with the regular opportunity to embrace the dollar coin, don’t, so why should we make them do it?

It’s touching how that sentiment still flares from time to time, letting you know they still have it in them.

I don’t want a dollar coin. I like paper. I like the bills to be ornate and historical, too. There are periodic web contests to redesign the money. This seems to jump the gun a bit:


And they're banal. The Hundred Dollar bill commemorates the first 100 days of FDR, of course; they were so effective and astonishing he only needed four terms to finish up the details. More here. I don’t like any, although the “cultural” ones - Louis Armstrong! - have a nice look.

Part of my “not caring” was assisted by playing two games, one of which is Call of Duty 4, the one that takes place in the 60s. It is fun. Never broke out of a Soviet prison camp before. It’s easier than you might think, providing you can auto-heal from your bullet wounds by crouching and avoiding strife for a few seconds. I feel bad for everyone who didn’t make it. I did my best. I could see the accusing looks in their eyes: couldn’t you have played it on the easy setting?

Also played Cities in Motion, which is a public transportation sim. All you do is make bus routes and tram routes and the like. I set up an easy, simple, logical route that went around a city center, connecting the biggest office block with the public market and the train station. About 12 people took the bus over an hour. I don’t know what more they want. Fares are low. The buses are attractive.

"So what does it do?" daughter asked.

"This. You make buses and trains go around the town."


"How much did you pay for this?"

Other than that, I wrote, I designed, I cooked - spaghetti con meatballs a la freezer-burn, a house speciality, apparently - and now this. Figs were not given, as noted. Nor was a tinker’s damn, the small value of which is also a mystery. Tinkers are useful, but their curses counted for naught.

Fifty-plus degrees, and rain. Nothing feels like Christmas at the moment, but the tree, glowing in the corner, reminds: soon.






A contraction . . . of what, exactly?


Animated spot:


Any idea who did it? I’d say there’s a bit of Bob Clampett in that cow. Not literally. I hope not.

Your heartless bastard of a boss uses Pream when he’s not reaming you out on the phone.



Old duffer’s so stiff he can’t quite lean all the away around to see the label.

Then it became ULTRA DELUXE:



Is that William Schallert? And that coffeepot at the end of the ad! We had that!

As for that easy-to-dissolve stuff, that was hogswaddle. Says answers.com:

The first commercial powdered creamer was "Pream", first marketed in 1952 and made from dehydrated cream and sugar. It had the problem of not dissolving easily because of the protein in the milk.[1] Six years later, in 1958, the Carnation Company developed a product that easily dissolved in hot liquid because it replaced most of the milk fat with vegetable oil, and reduced the milk protein. The new product was marketed under the Carnation label with the brand name "Coffee-Mate".


The rival to Zippo:


The light was invented by Louis Aronson, which makes you wonder if it got its name through a misunderstanding. What’s that called? Hard of hearing, thinking the man was asking his name, Louis replies “A Ronson.” Ha ha! I slay myself. During WW2, Ronson plants were converted to war work; GIs still continued to get Zippos, though, and that probably sealed the deal. That, and the distinctive feel and sound of a Zippo.

Zippo bought Ronson in 2010.

There were lots of gnashed teeth at Veg-Some when this came out:


Their site, in all seriousness, puts Veg-All in historic context:

The year was 1926-the Delta Queen was paddling up and down the Mississippi; Winnie-the-Pooh (and Tigger too!) ambled out of the Hundred Acre Wood; and names like Stalin, Mussolini, and Hirohito were being uttered for the very first time. Busy households were embracing electric toasters, zippers, and the world's first convenience food-Veg•All.

Oh, it gets better:

1960S - Peace, Love & Vegetables

The times, they were a-changin' in the '60s. From the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr., to the start of the Vietnam War, the country was in turmoil. Americans found consolation in their food, like Veg•All's Mac 'n Cheese.

It wasn't until the end of the decade that we had something to really cheer about-Beatlemania, Woodstock, Sesame Street, Neil Armstrong taking the first walk on the moon, and Veg•All, continuing its reign as the number one brand of mixed vegetables in the world.

1970S - Groovy!

Despite record inflation, an energy crisis, and a presidency in turmoil, the '70s also produced an incredible amount of positives. The Vietnam War was over, Disco ruled, and companies like Federal Express, Nike, Microsoft, and Apple Computers came bursting onto the scene.

The Veg•All family continued to grow, to include low-sodium Veg•All, Veg•All with Home Style large-cut vegetables and a collection of individually packed vegetables, bearing the Veg•All name.

Any guesses what the 1980s will bring?

1980S - Yuppie Food

The '80s. Perhaps better known as the "get connected" years, CNN, cellular phones, and the MacIntosh personal computer kept us tuned in to a rapidly evolving world.

YUPPIES were more interested in Nintendo® than in cooking, so Veg•All came up with quick and easy recipes to satisfy this "on the go" crowd.

Yeah. Those Yuppies and their Nintendos.

Finally, something from the completely and delightfully artificial era of home Christmas decor:


Look at that font! It's not make-believe; they really did use that typeface in the nifty fifties. The purpose of this stuff was to gunk up your tree and add fake berries. So chic! All the smart people were doing it.


And now all the smart people are saying "thank you for that lesson on Pream." You're welcome. Tumblr today, around noon; forgot on Monday. The fig not given, and all that.











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