The trees have bloomed. I’ve had that moment I wait for all year: warm air and the scent of the blossoms and sunshine. The pelting rain has knocked off some petals; some have fallen because it was time to do so. One tree always goes first, like a verse of the song where another instrument joins and makes it better.

I put that picture, and others, up on the new Flickr, which HOLY CROW has a terabyte of storage. That ups the ante. Yahoo is doing interesting things, and I wish people at the company wished it wasn’t named Yahoo. It was a happy silly typical name of the early days, but now it just looks like 10 years of spent cachet. “Google” is less annoying, because you may the ooo sound when you say it, and the second syllable retracts. Say it: it’s like a drawer opening and closing, a bubble that grows and pops, a cuckoo clock chiming the hour. Saying “Yahoo” is like throwing two punches at something that’s not there.

Hey, Buzzfeed’s “Regrettable Food” page was made more hot by readers from! Wonder why. Thanks - and to show my appreciation, here is one of the first images ever posted in the “Ads” section of the original Gallery - back in ’98, I think. I remember the caption: A hot dog does not make her lose control.



See that white strip with the arrows? A Post-It note from the production team that scanned it for the book. I left them in. It's history!


So, re: last Friday, I’m overreacting? Being paranoid about my daughter biking off and never being seen again. Well.

We have multiple reports of men trying to lure girls into their cars in my neighborhood.

Five reports, different descriptions. One report of three men, one report of two. I was suspicious of the first report - daylight, three guys? Seems unlikely. Two seems chilling, though. One guy acting alone, confronting the girl on the sidewalk. One car similar to the others described, with Colorado plates, following a girl walking her dog. (As my daughter does in the evening.)

I’m generally not in favor of the death penalty, because it lets them out of jail too quickly. Forty years locked up and forgotten with death as your dessert seems more of a punishment. People who prey on children - and other forms of sociopathic predators - are different. Put ‘em down. Let it be known that just luring a child into your car will get you forty and change. If they’re caught doing it, they’ve done it before or something like it to someone. The most evil and selfish form of humanity you can imagine.

Put them down, and not with the soft surcease of a needle preceded by a trank. Hanging is about right, inasmuch as they'll understand the fear they put in others.

There’s that scene in “M,” Fritz Lang’s first talkie, based on the story of child-murderer Peter Kurten. He’s caught by the criminal element of the city, irritated at his crimes but also by the way he’s made business difficult for ordinary crooks, and he screams I CAN’T HELP MYSELF in an explosion of self-loathing. It’s a chilling and effective moment, and it’s also self-serving BS. He plotted his crimes. He wouldn’t have done them in front of a policeman, or in the middle of the park with the rest of the city milling around. He could control himself. He just enjoyed what he was doing, and didn’t want to stop.

I hate these people.

Yes, let's go to commercial now.





Okay! Fun. The weekly look at old ads and packaging, where we learn something about the items that once filled the shelves and closets and medicine cabinets, and perhaps still linger in our world today.


This week’s Borden:

Elsie really is a pain, isn’t she? She’s on Elmer’s haunches in every single ad, usually for some fault he could overcome if he just started slugging back Hemo. Which he does. But apparently the stuff tastes like rotten squirrel organs, because next week he’s just as grumpy as before. But it’s not an aggressive grumpiness; he would be more than content to keep it to himself. Then she needles him. Compares him to members of other species, for God’s sake.

The solution? Klim!




It’s backwards milk! CONCENTRATED MILK NOURISHMENT. It’s milk that’s even milkier. It’s milk from a neutron star if a neutron star could give milk and any delivery system could escape its gravitational pull.



Mentioned Brach’s last week; here’s another bit of Grandma Candy.




The Royals, that was the good stuff. The packaging on the Maple Nut Goodies is great, as is the Starlight work - but no kid would ever chose the latter of there were softy maplesque things around.





George Washington was born in Belgium. English father; Belgian mother. Hence the name, I guess. The overly detailed Wikipedia pages notes:

On Long Island, it is reported that he was often seen with a bird or monkey on his shoulder.

Yes, there’s a citation.

Anyway: he invented a type of instant coffee, as well as the manufacturing process to make it cheaply, and thus the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company was born. He invented other things as well, but this was the big one. Wikipedia again:

The instant coffee achieved some popularity with the soldiers, who nicknamed it a "cup of George".

Try saying that some day. People still know “Cup of Joe,” but “George” will throw them.



Why, it’s our old friend George “I heartily endorse this event or product” Rector. He’s gone patriotic for the duration:



He’s also gone as pink as Mor. As noted before, Mor was one of the Spam Pretenders, along with Treet.

Okay, of course I meant this:



Ever heard of these?



As far as I can tell, it was a brand made by Brown Shoes, which made Buster Browns - and was hence responsible for that kid with his grinning dog-demon. No guy wanted to be like him. Big floppy bow tie, huge hat, long girl-hair? Please.

However. We can’t apply modern standards to old advertising archetypes. Buster was a comic-strip character picked up by Brown, and Wikipedia says he was named - in 1902 - after Buster Keaton, who was a child star in those days.

He would be stylized according to the needs and desires of the era:




The second ad, arising from the Age of Meritricious Everything, reminded me that shoe-buying was usually accompanied with presents at the end, usually cheap plastic junk. Sometimes a comic book, which was always weird because it wasn’t really a comic book. It was smaller, printed on cheaper paper, and seemed to assume great familiarity with the world of the characters, their backstories, their nemesis, and so on. (Big Boy comics were in the same vein, although much creepier, because, well, Big Boy.)






It agrees with your skin, unlike those contentious gain-saying soaps that wouldn’t stop contradicting your pores. It was made by the Manhattan Soap Company, which was swallowed up by Purex in 1936, if such a term can be applied to the consumption of a soap maker.

Eventually there will be no one left alive who remembers what it smelled like - although I’m sure a bar will turn up somewhere. It looks like Good Soap, the type Mother would put out when company came over.



I guess babies love it, too:


The Drackett Company made many of America’s favorite cleaning products: Vanish for the toilet, Drano for the sink, Behold for the furniture, Renuzit for the air in your home, and so on.

Windex was, and is, mostly water and blue dye. Wikipedia:

The greatest difficulty in reformulating Windex was finding a proper dye. Many dyes were tried, but they would either fade in a few weeks, or else they would stain the window frames. After spending thousands of manhours developing the proper dye, the patent attorneys revealed exactly what dye was being used when they filed for a German patent - and Windex's competitors all had the trademark blue appearance within months.

The family cashed out in ’65 with a sale to Bristol Myers; the sold it to S. C. Johnson later, but anti-trust concerns led the government to break up the brand stable and distribute them to other companies.

By the way:

Mrs. Drackett, who for years effectively served as the company's front office, is credited with naming the company's first major consumer-product breakthrough in 1923. An English purist, she insisted on using a macron - a small dash - above the a to ensure the correct pronunciation of Drāno and leave no doubt as to its intended purpose.

Otherwise it would be “Dranno.” The macron remains today.


That's it; see you around the usual places. Thanks for the patronage, and have a fine day.



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