Don’t let the length of the Bleat fool you! This one’s padded all over the place.

Gorgeous perfect day. For all the moans and mopery, when Minnesota finally turns, it’s heaven. Life in the city:



Had a piece on the Work blog today about the introduction of the ZIP code, fifty years ago this week. I do remember some faint resentment five years on, simply because it was something else you had to do, and for heaven’s sake if they needed help finding an address in FARGO something was amiss. I also recall this fellow as something that existed riiiight at the periphery of acceptable things that were not exactly scary, but not quite what you expected in a cartoon.


He may be the most unusual government mascot of them all. There’s something so broken about his posture. His ruddy face, his lidless eyes. Wikipedia explains why he looked so different:

Mr. ZIP was based on an original design by Howard Wilcox, son of a letter carrier and a member of the Cunningham and Walsh advertising agency, for use by a New York bank in a bank-by-mail campaign. Wilcox's design was a child-like sketch of a postman delivering a letter.

The figure was used only a few times, then filed away. Later the bank gave him to the Postal Service. “Within four years, eight out of ten Americans knew who he was and what he stood for.” Remarkable.

Then again, this couldn't have helped:



That's from the Work Blog, so you already saw it, right? No? Sigh: here.


The dog slept all day and didn’t eat breakfast. Didn’t eat his breakfast when he got up. He’s done that before. Whatever thing he’s done that makes me think it’s going to be sooner rather than later, he’s done it before. He was certainly engaged on Sunday; when we were out front, working on the lawn, he would wander out to see what was up. He just can’t see much. Yesterday:



Now, as I write this, he’s standing in the back yard. He doesn’t seem all here. Well, he did just wake up. Yesterday he was at the back door of the house a dozen times when we were outside in the gazebo: let me out! Then he’d walk around and go back to the stairs. Let me in!

As long as there’s something they want to do. True for us all. When you stop wanting it’s only a matter of time before your heart catches up.

Update: he ate everything and went for a walk and wanted to come outside six times and go back in six times. He followed me out back when I set up the sprinkler. He put up his snout to the breeze, read the news, and headed back in.





A look back at the cliches, inventions, tropes and tripe of bygone merchandising. Every Tuesday, for some reason!


I’ve always loved this stuff:


Because it was different. Unlike Seven-Up, which was bland, Squirt did have a tang. Now I know why: the tangalize process, no doubt patented against imitators. Oh, you can imagine the inventor, presenting his results to the marketing. “Gentlemen, I call this process Citrus-intensification infusional enhancement.” One of the board members says “won’t fly, doc; gotta be snappy. What does Squirt have? It’s got . . . tartness? No. Tang. It’s got tang. Call it . . . tangerated.”

“Tangalized?” says another.

“That’s it! Tangalized.”

The scientist stares at them, agog: the savages! Taking his process and giving it such a . . . slangy name. Why, you might as well call it jitterbug juice, for all they know.

“I must protest,” he says, adjusting his spectacles, trying not to stammer. “The infusion process is essential to the product’s taste. There is no scientific meaning to ‘tang.’ It isn’t even a verb.”

“Listen, thanks, doc, for all you’ve done, but let the ad boys handle it from here, okay?”

Pats him on the back. He goes home. Years later, poisons them all. Probably why Squirt just isn’t the big seller it should be. People remember things like that.



I’m putting this up because someone, some day, will come across it and say “we had one of those at home.” There were Moms who’d buy these because they were different, so decorative, and refill them over and over again.



ou’ll note Jergens made the designs kitchen-specific; if you wanted Jergens in the bathroom - and who wouldn’t? - you’d have to buy something else.

I think we had Jergens lotion at home, and I couldn’t stand the smell of it. Cherry-almond. No.



Libby’s Frozen Juice cans: like so much product design, the invention of complex image-manipulation software just made things worse.




Amazing: at least one can survived.

Made me wonder when I last bought frozen concentrate. Can’t recall. It used to be something everyone had in the fridge; when I was a kid I don’t think we had orange juice from any other source. It was something you could help mom make - pull off the top and pound out the glop. What a boon it must have been when first introduced. Now? Too much fargin’ work, frankly.



We’ve seen this can design before:



But I hadn’t noticed that Treet had its own grown-up Snap / Crackle / Pop cohort: Hasty, Thrifty, and Tasty. Here they are arrayed like the figures in the famous patriotic painting, because it is almost the Fourth of July, and people should commemorate the birth of liberty by consuming slices of dense, mildly-spiced compacted meat whose origins, shall we say, are numerous.




Hellman’s in the East, Schilling in the - no, that’s not it. Best in the West. Hellman’s eventual slogan: “Bring out the best.” Best, in the meantime, changed its slogan to “Bring out the Hellman’s.” No, that’s not it. Why two names? Because Hellman’s was bought by Best, which realized the folly of changing a popular brand.





In Brazil, they sell Mayonnnaise with embedded flecks of tuna.

The ad, by the way, showed how aged Granny - probably about 60 - schooled the reading circle with some straight-up mayo wisdom. Respect, y’all.




Today’s Bran Theater gives us the unfortunately named Anne Harechest:




I really don’t know what it was like to suffer a purge, and don’t wish to know.



This is wartime, you know.

Everyone wanted to be part of the Regular Army. In one sense, anyway.


Comic right now; the usual usual here and there. See you around!

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