From Shorpy



A real crease to the wind today. It blew in some snow, big random flakes that milled about in panic and confusion like extras thrown on stage before their cue. Then sun! Then clouds, then completely overcast but sunny. Tonight it will probably be yellow at midnight.

We get that here. I don’t understand why. If I had to guess, I’d say something in the atmosphere reflects city lights, but there can’t be enough of that for this.



11:23 PM. You get used to it; when you walk outside and it’s pitch black, well, it’s night. That’s what happens. If you walk out and it’s bright and yellow, well, it’s night. That happens too.

Potpourri today, because I am spending the evening on the novel. I encountered a minor difficulty yesterday, when I took a look at 45% of the first half and realized it has to be redone. I don’t know if I’m just sick of it and over-analyzing, or being rigorous for a change. All I know is that it has to be done again. This is the miserable part of the job. Walking around, thinking, realizing what’s wrong, how you’ve written yourself into corners and traps.

If you missed it, you may enjoy the story of how King Vitaman helped invent the 8-Track tape. It was the work blog today.

This poster from the upcoming Mad Men season surged through the web yesterday and this morning, as people briefly made themselves feel like experts on 60s commercial illustration by reading the Times piece. It's by Brian Sanders. I don't know why I was so sarcastic in two sentences back.



It’s certainly apt for the era. I hope many people clicked through a site about the fellow’s work, where the first image suggests he had his favorite motifs: the illo below was done 49 years ago.


The blog notes that he was influenced by people whose styles were much more abstract - Ben Shahn, and David Stone Martin - a fellow whose style sums up everything I don’t like from the period. (I don’t like Ben Shahn, either.) Anyway: the more Sanders got away from his 60s style, the more I like his work.

Then there’s this, on today’s Tumblr. Not to recycle, or anything.



Roy Besser, about whom I can find very little. Hard to think he did this from 1959; it’s so much worse. It also appears to be an endorsement for the upcoming presidential campaign. He did many in the Pepsi series, which can be found at the invaluable Today’s Inspiration site. It’s a wealth of images from the waning days of great American advertising illustration.

These things don't just define eras for the grown-ups who buy things; they shape your initial perceptions of the world when you start to look outside of the kid-themed universe in which you've dwelled for your first tender decade. I have no personal reaction to the Pepsi ad, except - as noted on the Tumblr, that I think the couple not only has taste and style and leisure time, they also have an arrangement. It's an interesting historical artifact from a transitional era - say, 1958 - 1963. The plates were shifting.

The "Mad Men" poster above reminds me of my early youth, and not in a warm nostalgic way. The style of art on posters and paperback covers was sketchy, inconclusive, incomplete. Disordered.

It changed around 1980, more or less - graphics got cleaner; the late 70s retro-airbrushing styles had done their work. (The "American Graffiti" poster spawned innumerable imitations.) Photography replaced illustration in ads. I look back on the stuff I grew up with, and I think of used book stores with that old paperback smell, musty stacks, something adult I didn't quite get, but was old enough to understand that there was something I wasn't getting.

A transitional era. They're all transitional era.







Wednesday is harrumphing complaint day.

Yes, that really sets it apart, doesn't it. Well. Now that I’ve had my nice supper (turkey on ciabatta with a smear of raspberry-rhubarb jam, a spinach salad) I can get down to the serious business of being angry with other people who ate something different.

How did we get to the point where we talk about what Piers Morgan thinks? He tweeted:

He’s the latest in a long line of scolds and fussbudgets who want to slap Bad Thing X out of your hand for your own good. Never trust anyone whose frustration with the limits of persuasion lasts less than three seconds. If you can’t be persuaded you must be required. It’s almost insulting to have to try to persuade someone of something so self-evident; you have to pretend there’s mental equality between you and the idiot who insists on drinking soda with POISON in it.

Well, Piers is the “Editor” of First News, a British newspaper for children. Drawing on Piers’ stable of hobby horses, there’s a piece about taxing “fizzy drinks” and banning “junk food” commercials until after 9 PM. On a story about taxing fizzy drinks in the UK, the comments show the younger generation is thinking correctly.

I think this is a good idea as people do not want to get overwieght do they and this might put more people off so I think this is good


I think you should go further and ban them completely! It's a start, but there's so much more to be done.


agree with the docters!

Who cares about ads! Just get rid of soms gross junk food like Mc.Donalds!

One kid needs some educating:

It's Ok but you need to ask people what they think because if kids were poor and they really liked MC Donald's they couldn't have it because they couldn't afford it.

The idea of "asking people what they think" and taking into consideration that they "really liked" something their betters didn't want them to have - well, it's quaint, but dire times require we pay a sad farewell to the old niceties. It's easy enough. Just subsitute "musn't" for "shouldn't."

There’s not a point I can make about this that hasn’t been made elsewhere, but it seems important to make them as often as possible: something that was once obvious and sensible - don’t eat a lot of stuff that has no nutrition and makes you fat - is now a virtue. If you abstain from these things you are virtuous. If you indulge in them you are outside of the realm of civic grave, and can be cast into the pit where all the stupid fat people bob and roil in a lake of grease. AS WELL THEY SHOULD. If you get anything from the comments sections on the subjects, it’s gleeful proud disdain for Fatty Murcans, a theoretical demographic that believes the earth is 3,000 years old and has guns probably too, because they have used “freedom” to do what they wish and think as they wish, and what they did with this is horrifying to some people who are affected not in the least, except on an aesthetic level. Yes, I know, health care. We have to pay for their health care; doesn’t that give us the right to modify their behavior?

By force of law? Please? Just a little? And then maybe more, later, but for now, just a little?


Not "encourage." Not "exalt." Not "inspire by example." MAKE. It's always MAKE with these people. If you can't make people do things, how are you going to get anything done? That Volga Canal isn't going to dig itself, you know.

(Sorry. Reducto ad Stalin.)

We have no sugary soda in the house. Ever. This does make me virtuous. I eat fast food once a fortnight. This not make me bad. What I eat is not a moral issue. Where I live - city or burbs, big house or small - is not a moral issue. What I drive is not a moral issue. They only become moral issues when the previous set of moral issues are regarded as settled or irrelevant. Whether I cheat on my taxes or go back to the store when I realize I didn't pay for the dog food or how I behave towards a stranger in need is a moral issue.

The next Pope probably won't issue any bulls on the proper amount of sugar one should consume, and that's a pity. Just shows the youth how out of touch the church as become.

Ah, the fresh salty wind of late-night crankyness! Feels good, like the spray of the ocean. Now to the novel. New Mpls, below; updates elsewhere all over the place. See you around.









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