You wake up and check the temperature:

Ten. Below

Well, it’s going to be one of those, isn’t it? Every year - if it’s normal - we get a week of bone-aching cold, and that is what we pay for the perfect spring days (May 17th and 18th) we will get in a few long months hence. I don’t mind. It’s something to struggle against, something to stare down. And then turn away from, since your eyes are watering. I had to leave to pick up daughter and friend at a Soccer camp, and the world just seemed drained of all color, naught but white, frozen corpse under a blanket of blue.

Day off from school, again. Good just to hang out with my daughter, even thought she did this and I did that. Casual occupancy of the same space is a precious thing. I declined the temptation to make her lunch, as per wife’s instructions that she should do these things herself and gain Life Skills, including those that involve self-nourishment without burning the house down. But it makes me feel less useful! Big deal. But . . . but I remember - Oh, don’t. But i do: making those horrible Mac-and-cheese microwave things, where I’d pick up the big chair with her on it, carry it over to the microwave, and let her punch in the buttons. Seriously, that’s why you want to make her toast?

No. Not entirely.

Since I did nothing but stay warm and perform an ordinary array of tasks and obligations, I’ll spare you the rundown of life. Some notable things, though:

Watched “Ripper Street” on BBC America, which was good. Look forward to the rest. The period - Holmsian England, all the usual trappings (fog, mobs, clip-clop hansoms, rakes in tall hats with sin on their mind) plus the desaturated grime and grit we have come to expect of the era. Damned sight better than that other Ripper mini-series just aired, which was British enough but didn’t have anyone walking around saying things like “damned sight better.”

Going through some magazines for scanning and disposal, i came across an ad for a kitchen.

That was my home. Before my father sold it, I took a couple shots of the appliances.



Now that I think of it, the clock stopped working, and it was never fixed. That seems unlike my mother, unless she decided it was an Expense and hence unnecessary. I couldn’t bear it. One of those signs of decay and disorder. Odd how you accept these things as kids - oh, that never worked - only to think upon them decades later and wonder hey, wait a minute. Was that the only thing that didn’t work?

The door to the fridge. It was a turquoise Frigidaire with a chrome handle, which broke. It was taped together and put in the basement, where it served for a while. This was due to frugality, as was the fact that the kitchen cabinet doors never really stayed closed. They were held in place by a screw that went into a plastic sleeve, and after 20 years the sleeve was loose and had no interest in keeping the doors closed. My mother complained; my father said “let’s get new cabinets,” but she never could pull the trigger. I have no idea where the difficulty spending money came from. Depression era! you say, and you’d be right, except she grew up on a farm, and they did okay. Her brother had no such constraints.

It might be something else. I’ve no idea what. Fear of change. Perhaps that kitchen had so many good memories - memories of being useful, of being necessary - that she hated to change its physical appearance. They finally redid it when I was in high school, i believe. To the extent that the wallpaper was changed.

The doors were never fixed. The clock never advanced another second.








The weekly look at ads from old magazines, to remind us what things looked like, and see what stories we might tease from these simple images.

How I love this. Coffee keeps you glamorous, Victor:


They were right about coffee, of course! Victor Moore is mostly forgotten today, but he has a footnote in animation history as the voice of a hunter in a Daffy Duck Cartoon. For once Daffy isn't hunted by Elmer. Never understood why they used this guy, but now I do: people recognized him straight away.



You can hear Mrs. Roosevelt's radio show here; I believe one recording is available. (It's mislabeled as a pirate adventure.)

FATIMA. This will be familiar to people who listened to the old Dragnet radio show; Webb hawked Fatimas with quiet urgency until the day he stopped, and started pushing Chesterfields.



Indeed, the wikipedia page says it’s best known to Old Time Radio “buffs,” a word I can’t stand for some reason. The name indicated it had Turkish tobaccos, and was thus rich and exotic. They always emphasized the length: best of all long cigarettes.

People who smoked long cigarettes never understood people who didn’t. Why not? When you could have more cigarette, why not?

KRE-MEL This stuff was named by the Corn Products Refining Company, which refined corn products.

Another dessert that’s fallen by the wayside. I have no idea where the name came from, unless they were trying to marry “Cream” with “Caramel” and used “K” to make it distinctive. Or perhaps Mr. Lemerk invented the stuff.

The Wilcox-Gay Recordio:

A home recording device. Says this history page:

They launched the Recordio in 1939 which was a major coup. It was advertised to the middle class in both Ebony and Life Magazine and it sold well. It recorded 78 rpm transcriptions with decent fidelity. Musicians recorded on these machines including Les Paul and Johnny Cash. In 1939 they sold 25,000 units. But the world was beginning to adopt magnetic tape and the great depression was hurting them.

It recorded to tape, and then to record. A coin-operated version let you cut discs and mail them to friends and family. I’m surprised there isn’t a website devoted entirely to playing found Recordio discs.

But there are a few.



Finally, it looks like the unceasing efforts to put internet screens on the front of refrigerators has a precedent:


Powell Crosley's company was the first to put shelves in the door of a fridge. Perhaps he thought lightning would strike twice.



That's it for today; back in the deep freeze tomorrow. Strib blog up around 12:30 - I've been pitching it at mid-lunch lately - and tumblr, of course. See you around@











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