From Shorpy


Almost a snow day. Not declared as such. Daughter was sick with a sore throat and general unwellness, so she stayed home. It snowed another 98435345 inches over night, so it felt like a snow day. I’m actually writing this in the middle of the afternoon, because I have to be the MC at a school fundraiser tonight, and an NR column to write. And I fear I will be bleary and sore of throat in the evening as well; some days you wake and you know everything to come is going to be a struggle.

Had dreams, exhausting dreams. I was targeted for possible assassination by government hit-men for passing secret information to a reporter. I did not return to my high-rise apartment, but hid under the stairs until a mid-day rave filled the lobby. Sigh. Left, headed north, and discovered a part of Fargo I’d never seen before, filled with old buildings and faded signs. Also a mad Santa with a green beard ranting from a raised platform. The moment when I wondered whether he was actually a hitman was when the alarm went off and I swam through the murky syrup to consciousness.

Ugh, I thought.

But we filled out the day in the house in the accustomed casual style, she doing some art projects, me blogging and writing and making work calls. Took time out for a game of UNO, which we always do with it's the middle of the afternoon on a weekday and we're just home together. I used to let her win now and then. Not often, but now and then. Now she's grown up a few years and can hold her own.

Still let her win.

I posted this at the Strib blog yesterday, but here it is, in case you missed it.


Not the smartest thing to put in the PREPARE TO UNLOAD section.

The store is unbelievably big.

This presents a quandary. I want to support it, because it’s a local company that invested a metric krepload of money in the neighborhood, and the alternative is Home Depot. I’m not crazy about Home Depot. I don’t have a beef against them, but there’s just something about the store that’s always left me cold. Whereas we have Feelings for Menards around here, thanks to a jingle that never dies and the efforts of Pitchman Roy, who had a way of swinging his bottom jaw out when he grinned.

It was Ray Szmanda:

He has a website - - with autoplay. He says that everyone wants to hear him say the tagline. Of course they do! Ray was part of a hallowed tradition, the Local Pitchman. Guys who'd hawk anything, but probably yearned for the steady gig, the salad days of being called in over and over for spots, maybe even seeing yourself in cardboard form.

Anyway, it's big - so big you have to take the escalator to the light bulb section. I'd rather not. But I will.


BACK from the evening gig; there was a school fundraiser at a local restaurant. Not my daughter’s school; niece’s school. Great cafe, fine food, boisterous crowd that didn’t listen to a word I said. So it was amusing, in a way. Blah blah, joke, blah blah introduce, applause, thank you, blah blah, point #2, all of it drowned out by bar talk. And I had a microphone. too.

Same with the musicians, too. And they were really good.

This was probably the only speaking gig I've ever had where I ducked out to go next door and buy a wrench. I tried to replace the soap dispenser yesterday, but couldn't find the right wrench. The only way to make it appear is to buy another one; sometimes the act of bringing it in the house is sufficient, but usually you have to open it up so you can't return it. The lack of the right wrench turned a simple task into a three-day job - could have done it tonight, I suppose, but I have a rule. Any evening where I go out in a suit to speak does not including laying on my back under the sink starting up into the dark recesses above and swearing while Palmolive drips on my face.

Even if it's the pomegranite stuff.

Favorite part of the evening: ran into a guy who used to clerk at the local movie-rental store, before it was driven out of business by Hollywood, which was driven out of business by reality. He said he used to remember me coming in the store with my dog. Got out the phone, showed him a picture of the dog: still around. And so am I. And so is he! Things are working out nicely.







I've designed the site that will hold all of these things. Why, I don't know. But it's fun. It gives me something to do. Everyone needs a hobby. Mine is trying to find something interesting about old ads and products and logos. Am I sucessfull this week? Let us find out.


It was patented in 1913, so we’re in its centenary year. The website has an “in-box” feature that says: Love Brillo? You're not the only one. Here's just a few emails from Brillo fans who want to share their stories.

I cannot imagine loving soap-impregnated steel wool and I cannot conceive why any story that arose from ownership of same need be shared with anyone else. You can also follow Billo on Twitter, where there’s a lot of chatter about Warholh and the 2013 Armory Show in New York. Because Warhol reproduced the Brillo logo, recontextualizing the image so he could sell it.

Supposedly the old boxes are coming back this year as promotional items I’d pick one up.

Of course they sold it with a very white version of calypso:



And just to cement the product’s new-found pop-culture kitsch:






You can't get anymore Space-Age than an Urchanoid, floating in space to promote HI-FI COLORS. I'm sorry, authentic hi-fi colors. Next year: genuine stereophonic semi-gloss!



There's a reason I bring up Jell-O once more. Can you tell what it is?

The rather proud assertion of imitation flavor. As if they're daring you to point it out. Yeah, it's imitation. You got a problem with that?





One of the many Spam Pretenders. Hormel had Spam; Armour had Treet. Wilson’s had Mor. Swift had Prem. I assume they were all the same thing, mor or less - pressed meat fragments held together with binding agents, suffused with salt and spices, and packed in an odd gooey transparent jam. They had to distinguish themselves,though, and Treet came up with the middle-of-the-tin opener, so your slab of Treet didn't go all Liz Short on you.

The only word that didn't suggest another word was Spam, and it's the most famous. There's a lesson there.





What exactly was the difference? Macaroni, it seems, was the term for the "elbow" shaped pasta. The long thin stuff was spaghetti. That was it, pasta-wise. Into this simple world came Tenderoni which was long, but not long enough, and tubular.

Wikipedia says:

Tenderoni is a slang term for one's younger male or female love interest or someone too young to talk to or become involved with. It is composed of "tender", which is a synonym for young and "roni" which usually serves as an affectionate diminutive towards a male or female. It denotes your younger sweetheart, your younger better half, your younger boyfriend/girlfriend, and more recently used as an alternate word for jailbait.

I had no idea.



Founded in 1898 by Samuel Sussman, Gustav Wormser and Samuel Wormser. They made quite a few varieties - including the delicious-sounding "Liquid Apple." Not all are called "Juice." There's also "Nectar," which sounds rarer and sweeter.

It's possble that Loganberry Nectar sold more than Sauerkraut Juice.


Comic sins and all the other glories and joys, from the Tumblr to the Strib Blog, which is like another noon-time Bleat, in a way. Well, not really. Not as personal, but it's got the stuff I accumulate on the morning trawl of the web. See you there!













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