Woke of my own accord at 6:45 AM, which I would never do unless I had collapsed in bed at 10:30 the previous night with a snootful of painkillers. Had half a mechanically pre-made omelette and a discus of spiced variety meats renamed “breakfast sausage,” liberally topped with Rooster sauce (as it was once known), poured a cup of coffee, and got to work finishing an old website. Winced, as usual, when I saw “coming in 2012,” which is at least better than “Coming in 2010,” which I find from time to time. Winced, again, when the medication wore off. Took one of the General Dullness pills and steadied myself for fifteen minutes of careful restoration of a 1930s grocery store ad. To get something useless like that done before 8:15 AM - well, it gives the whole day a bright shiny sense of possibility.

Wrote the work blog about one of those Apple-is-doomed-teens-don’t-care pieces, then went to pick up child. Punchline to yesterday’s entry: daughter had dentist’s appointment today. First one with her new dentist, which is my dentist. I wondered if Dr. A had read the Bleat, as he is known to do.

Walks into the waiting room, and says: “Dude.”

Yep, he read it.

“You should have called!”

I suppose I should have, but a fella needs a weekend, you know? And these people were open on weekends. He noted that he’s been in the office at 2 AM doing things like that, and so I promised the next time my inner-face exploded he’d be the first to know.

Glad my daughter’s at the grown-up dentist now, because all that kid-stuff atmosphere was a bit cloying at her age. There’s always a picture of a tooth holding a toothbrush with that happy! happy! expression that never fools any kid. No child sees a cartoon drawing of a tooth in a good mood and thinks “oh, this will be one of the jollier occasions this week, what with the cold metal mirror pressed into the back of my throat at the very least.”

Dropped her off back at school and went to Target to get some steroid-enfused cream. I get this stress reaction on my hands about once every other year, and this cream keeps my mitts smooth and lovely, as Madge would say. You remember Madge. Or not. She was the brassy manicurist at the salon who put customer’s fingers in dish soap. Never understood that as a small lad. It was one thing for Palmolive to be “mild,” but passing it off as a “soak” seemed deceptive.

Madge probably drank. If you came in around four she’d put your fingers in tonic water or orange juice or what the hell, here, I got some Metrecal left.

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The Target clinic was a shambles. Both the check-in monitors were down. A sign said they were out of the nasal flu spray. Boxes of supplies were open, unpacked but unstored. Same harried clerk as last week, when we got daughter’s flu shot. She looked up at me and asked what I was here for.

“Rash,” I said. She looked at my swollen jaw. “This was something else,” I said.

Got right in. The doc looked at the chart, looked at me, looked at the chart.

“Rash?” she said.

“This was something else.”

What I should do is just explain that I bit my cheek by mistake during dinner. Don’t you hate that?

Hit Trader Joe’s for some things, then went to the adjacent bottle shop to pick up some cheap beer that had been recommended to me. (Not that I can drink it.) I had one small six pack. I was behind a guy who had a cart full of bottles. At least twenty. He looked at me, at my single item in my hand, and then looked away almost in shame, because he knew what he was going to do. Or rather not.

I put the beer back and left.


Will post this at Ricochet tomorrow, but here it is now.

“If you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?” Somehow the opposite formulation comes to mind when Mike Bloomberg makes the news.

Bloomberg’s command to reduce the number of painkillers hospitals hand out is another opportunity to point out the ROOM TO LET sign hanging in the window of Hizzoner’s upper floors. Having fortified myself with a Vicodin smoothie just a few minutes ago, I am not objective on the matter, but you’ll have to factor in those disqualifying factors - i.e., close-hand, recent experience with getting enough pills to keep you from pulling out your tooth with a string and a doorknob - and judge for yourself.

Here’s the quote from a story about his response to those idiots who didn’t roll over and present their belly when he decided that prescription bottles are now the “large capacity magazines” of the war on drugs.

“The city hospitals we control, so … we’re going to do it and we’re urging all of the other hospitals to do it, voluntary guidelines. Somebody said, oh, somebody wrote, ‘Oh then maybe there won’t be enough painkillers for the poor who use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor,’” the mayor said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “Number one, there’s no evidence of that. Number two, supposing it is really true, so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit.”

Stop right there. Picture Mayor Bloomberg enduring “suffering” for a “a little bit” when remedial measures were right at hand, and denying himself surcease on behalf of a greater social good.

Wipe away the bitter tears of laughter, and continue:

“The other side of the coin is people are dying and there’s nothing perfect …”

Actually, my lord, I’m not expecting perfectibility in the human condition, what with our manifold fallibilities inherent in the post-lapsarian state, but “people are dying” is both obvious and irrelevant. Yes, people get hooked on prescription drugs, but - and this is crucial, sire, so pay heed - the process of denying me the pill to quiet my shrieking tooth will not unhook anyone. If you believe that unused medicine in my possession will somehow escape my control and hook someone who will then die, make the assertion - but number one, there’s no evidence of that. See how that works? Maddening, isn’t it?

The quote concludes:

“There’s nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer, and it’s always the same group [claiming], ‘Everybody is heartless.’ Come on, this is a very big problem.”

I swear, if he accompanied Dorothy and crew to Oz, the Wizard would look him and say “Fresh out of brains and hearts, son, try later.”

What does this mean? “There’s nothing you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer.” Rubbish on the face of it, but it’s preposterous to compare the suffering of someone who has a legitimate need for the pill with someone who took enough pills to become addicted and suffers because of that.

“It’s always the same group claiming ‘Everybody is heartless.” Incoherent and sloppy: everybody? Who’s this same group? I suspect they come under the heading of “People who do not snap to attention when Mayor Bloomberg blows his whistle, the little silver one he got as a young boy and used to make the servants miserable because he told on them if they didn’t come right away and they got docked in their pay and ha ha that showed them all right.” That group.

“Come on, this is a very big problem.” Defining it as such trumps arguments to the contrary, apparently.

He also said this, which sums up his ability to find peril in the recesses of your medicine cabinet as well as your fridge:

“If you get 20 days worth of pills and you only need them three days, there’s 17 days sitting there. Invariably some of the kids are going to find them, or you’re going to take them and get you addicted.”

Invariably. These are the only two possible outcomes. As it happens, I had a bottle with 17 days or so of Vicodin sitting in my drawer for a year. Some of The Kids did not find them. I never took them and did not get addicted.

But: invariably. So what do I know.







There's a connection here many people would be happy not to be reminded about. You know, in my Vicodin haze, that seems like a tough sentence. But if you wrote it "there's a connection here about which many people would be happy not be to reminded," it still has problems. Let me try this again. Stream-of-concious medicated blogging! Isn't it fun?

I don't know why they felt they had to remind us. Soap comes from critter parts:



When you say ARMOUR you've said bacon and sausage and all sorts o' parts shoveled up and turned into soap. Perhaps people were used to it. Armour had been making soap since 1888, using the cast-off tallow. But now it gets strange: the soap was so popular the company changed its name to ARMOUR-DIAL. Stranger: it was bought by . . . Greyhound Bus in 1970, and became Greyhound-Dial.

That's all you need to know about the corporate culture of the 70s, the MegaCorp Engulf & Devour era. No one even pretended to talk about synergy. Hell, buses, soap, it's all the same.

How did it all end up? Poorly. Greyhound was itching for a reason to dump the meatpacking angle, and when the union went on strike, they closed 29 plants and sold the meatpacking portion to ConAgra. They kept the canned-meat name. Eventually they company became just Dial, and sold off the buses. Dial was sold to a German company in 2004, with the Armour meat-stuff division sold to Pinnacle.

Dial was the first antibacterial soap, using a special ingredient later removed from the market because some reports said it "caused neurological damage in infants." If concentrated and injected into their brains in a solution of 15% Drano, granted, but you can't be too sure. I grew up with original Dial; it was the preferred soap of the household.

It smelled good, but that didn't mean it was, y'know, fruity or anything.



Pipe ads once filled the mainstream magazines, outnumbering cigars. In Life or Time, a cigar ad was rare; perhaps the average cigar smoker couldn’t be dislodged from his brand, so there wasn’t any point trying. Or they cared little for brand at all, and were only influenced by price. Neither seems likely. I can’t explain it, except to speculate: by the 40s, cigarettes had driven out cigars, and the puff-at-leisure crowd that didn’t want to inhale had moved to pipes, which reinforced your sense of class identity.

Possibly. I’ve no idea. In any case, your pipe has been found not guilty:


I wonder who brought the suit. If he wished to make amends with his pipe, two brands were proffered by disembodied hands:




Of course it’s mild; I’ve yet to see a tobacco advertised as anything but. Even Luckies and Camels, which to my palate in my cigarette days were like smoking rolled-up tar paper dipped in gunpowder.

Bond Street was different:


Even the ladies approve! That’s important, because you’ll be smoking it indoors, around strangers, who are trying to eat.




Why, you may ask, is there a man with a cane and a hat offering a job that pays the average yearly wage? Was he supposed to mean something to the shoppers of the day, or was this the Full Service Bank man in his early years, before he got into finance?







Wikipedia says:

The show took a tongue-in-cheek outlook, with Barry's Masterson often dressed in expensive Eastern clothing and preferring to use his cane rather than a gun to get himself out of trouble, hence the nickname "Bat". Masterson was also portrayed as a ladies' man who traveled the West looking for women and adventure.

The black derby, fancy vest, black jacket, and elegant cane were his trademarks. Miniaturized versions were marketed to children as tie-in products during the run of the show.

The theme song was sung by Mike Stewart, who had previously contributed to a children's album in 1956, Walt Kelly's Songs of the Pogo.

That's interesting. Wonder if . . .

Well, here's a bonus: the Mayor is the Great Gildersleeve. (Dick Sargent version.)



You can buy the Songs of the Pogo album at Target for $13.69. You can; I won't. Any musical or animated version of Pogo seems a mistake.



Yes, right now a glassful would be very pleasant.

If you know the brand - and the tagline above - then you have a reasonable familiarity with Suspense, the radio anthology show that from the Golden Age of radio right up to the last day of regular radio drama. If you have the time, you can listen to hundreds and hundreds of episodes free, here - something I advise not just to study what the medium was like, but how the culture shifted. You hear the medium itself contract; the first ten years were lavishly produced, with Hollywood stars not only appearing but showing up after the drama to gush about how much they loved Suspense. (They’re just like us! They sit around the living room on Sunday night listening to the radio, too.) They would receive a basket of Roma Wines, which represented the peak of the California vintner’s art.

Roma was bought by Schenley, the big booze-slingers of the day; eventually it was sold, and according to a comment on this page, the new owners changed the name to Cribari. Could be true; Cribari was a separate brand that went back to 1904, but perhaps they bought them both and combined the lines. I just learned this tonight while googling , and had to smile: Cribari was the brand we poured at the Valli in Dinkytown,

Anyway: Roma always spelled it out. R - O - M - A. Schenley didn’t trust us. They also spelled out the name of Cresta Blanca, resulting in one of the least successful mnemonic jingles ever. It’s the end that seems like overkill.

“I think ‘dee-dee-dum’ is enough.”

“I can’t disagree more. Needs to be ‘dee-dee-dum’ and then some kind of comical thwack.”

If you don't see the link, go here. Heck, it's only sixteen seconds. Why not. What else do you have to do, if you've gotten this far?

That's it for now - see you around in the usual places.










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