I’ve bored you before with tales of cleaning out the iTunes wad-o-songs, but I believe this says something about us, our times, and the fact that we have blogs to natter on about these inconsequential matters. I’m constantly surprised that I have so much music I don’t want and don’t particularly like anymore. In Olden Times you’d sell a dud or something you didn’t like anymore. It took up space. It reminded you of another time when you had different tastes - and when you’re young, previous tastes are always insuperior to your current tastes, of course. I never off-load the classical; it abides. But somewhere along the line I picked up a lot of 50s & 60s “lounge,” which I used as bumper music on my old radio show. The “lounge” or “retro” culture - as it was known in those strange, floating, inconsequential late 90s - had a brief vogue that flamed alongside the birth of the web, two parallel cultural tracks that had nothing to do with each other.

Or did they? Were we so excited by the reinvention of our very idea of communication paradigms that we felt somehow reassured by these utterly unrelated cultural artifacts of another era also known for its technological advances and optimistic futurism?

Nah. It was just ripe to be rediscovered, and it had unapologetic man-swank. The worst was a novelty; the best was grown-up and romantic and hailed from a magical place where smoking and drinking were expected of you. I’m keeping lots of it. Shoveling most of it off. All those days are gone.

Then you find a song you loved and thought you’d lost, and all those days are back.

PS: discovered, to my surprise, I had two copies of the title music for the fargin’ JUNGLE BOOK movie. Gave it a listen before I tossed it, and the notes went right to a door that had been sealed for decades. Swung right open. It wasn’t that I remembered the music; I didn’t. I remembered the emotion it produced - wonder and strangeness and exotic mystery. Sat there transfixed. I suppose - and hope - the Harry Potter theme will do the same thing for my daughter decades hence.

You know, if I really tried, I could link those thoughts to this painful wad of bathos Elizabeth Wurthel put up for all to see, but it would be a stretch. Her basic point is that she lived her life! and has no apologies for being honest and true and uncompromising and so gol-danged unencumbered by all the rules the Establishment wants to lay on your trip, man, but as the Latin phrase has it, the thing reeks for itself.

So her last affair - it went nowhere, but that’s the beauty of living life like a lark - consisted of sitting on the sofa with your legs entwined discussing the motives of strangers for adopting Buddhism. I gather the women in the audience, particularly those stay-at-home moms who were indistinguishable from prostitutes in her mind, felt a brief flare of jealousy. Life-of-the-mind banter with rangy New York artist-types: damn you gal, that’s my secret place. And YOU LIVED IT.

She lived her life with no regrets and now somehow has regrets, but they’re generalized to the World at Large, a mean place that invents all these either-or constructs designed to bind the wings of free spirits and punish those who wriggle free of the ropes. Also, she sorta gets that it’s her fault, in a way, for not saving any money or putting down a root or two, but what kind of a world is it when she can go on being so damned fascinating, and people she used to know sound distant on the phone because they were up all night with a sick kid? What about art? What about that crazy guy in Belize who had that thesis about shared consciousness, remember? On the beach? What about her? Where is this all going, anyway?

One way express to the boneyard, honey, along with the rest of us. Me, I’m just glad I had a kid. She came into my studio all happy - bouncing, eyes wide, hands fluttering, constantly readjusting her hair, almost unable to speak - because she’s signed up for a theater program. She loves to act and she wants to be in plays. She has the confidence to stand on stage and shine in the light, and it’s just wonderful.

Ordinary life, in other words. Ordinary as finding an old song that brings something back, or sitting at your desk in a warm room sifting through things while your daughter sings down the hall and the dog barks outside because it’s cold and he wants in. Wurtzel seemed to have a mortal dread of the ordinary, and alas for her, it returned the favor.




Ah hah: as I have been informed in multiple venues, the building described yesterday is the Hollywood & Vine building, originally the Equitable Building.

It's rental housing now. Irving Berlin worked in suite 207. More about its history . . . here. Thanks to everyone who corrected my lack of google-fu; I was looking downtown, and should have looked to Hollywood.




It’s Tuesday Products, when we look at some old package designs and trace the history of things we’re used to seeing around, every day. If you live in an antique store or supermarket, anyway. The one on the left I got from a story on Advertising of Yore that ran a half century ago; they were as amused or interested by products bygone as some of us. Rather straightforward appeal, isn’t it? Why “nothing coming in” is part of the equation I don’t know, unless they used to stimulate bowels with devices the likes of which I do not care to contemplate.

I have nothing to say about these, except that they are beautiful.


Extruded corn dough: the early years.


Wikipedia says:

Cheese puffs were invented in the United States of America in the 1930s; there are two competing accounts. According to one account, Edward Wilson and/or Clarence J. Schwebke of the Flakall Corporation of Beloit, Wisconsin (a producer of flaked, partially cooked animal feed) deep-fried and salted the puffed corn produced by their machines, and later added cheese. He applied for a patent in 1939 and the product, named Korn Kurls, was commercialized in 1946 by the Adams Corporation, formed by one of the founders of Flakall and his sons. Adams was later bought by Beatrice Foods.

Another account claims they were invented by the Elmer Candy Corporation of New Orleans, Louisiana some time during or prior to 1936 at which time the sales manager for Elmer's, Morel M. Elmer, Sr., decided to hold a contest in New Orleans to give this successful product a name. The winning name "CheeWees" is still being used today by the manufacturing company.

Morel M Elmer looks like a dyslexic palindrome, doesn’t it? I don’t know who to believe, but the Elmer company uses Hobo on its website, so that’s one strike against it. This page comes down firmly on the Edward Wilson / Flakall narrative, and Clarence J. Schwebke is nowhere in the story.


That’s a bold piece of packaging: can’t miss this on the shelf.

Some history:

Trix, when first introduced in 1954 by General Mills, was more than 46% sugar.

Good Lord.

The cereal started out with three different colors: "Orangey Orange", "Lemony Yellow", and "Raspberry Red". Five new fruit shapes and colors were added over the years: "Grapity Purple", (1984)

Grapity? Wouldn’t that be pronounced grap-eh-tee? There’s also “wildberry red swirl,” which tastes like, well, sugar.

The evolution of the ad campaign. (First 20 seconds are just stills of ads.) First, a jingle, and alarmingly well-mannered kids. Love the announcer: the Voice of Authority.


The rabbit, when we first meet him, is really downcast about the demographic laws relating Trix consumption; he quickly turns to schemes. You never sympathize with the kids.

Best line in the wikipedia entry:

Once, Bugs Bunny helped the rabbit get the cereal.[citation needed]

Oh, c’mon, wikipedia. C’mon.






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