Yes, Post made the most insane series of cereal ads ever made. Now fortified with ergot!

2:37 PM. The Internet is down. It seems odd to write about not being on the internet for a page on the internet, because it presumes there will soon be an internet on which I can post thoughts about not being on the internet. Right now it’s the middle of the afternoon, and things just went out snap! like that. The DSL light went red all of a sudden. I did something that seems, in retrospect, quite old-fashioned: I leaned over, looked out the window, and eyeballed the line that brought the world into the house. It was still there. No errant limb, severed by a passing squall, left to wither until it flung itself from the parapet in despair, had nearty nicked the line, as happened last month.

A call to tech support - got “Ricky” this time; Century Link may insist that everyone in the offshore tech-support center use an Anglicized name, and may require them to apologize for absolutely everything. (“I am very sorry you are having problems and I will be calling up your account and I apologize for the hold, if you can just wait for four seconds; here is your account, thank you for waiting and I apologize for the delay. Now let me apologize in advance six times, and you may distribute these where you please if you feel I have not apologized sufficiently for anything. I am seeing that the DSL is out in your area, and I do apologize for this.”

He said it would be repaired in 24 to 48 hours, which seems ridiculous. So I’m writing this with the presumption it’ll be back.

Maybe it went out from the heat? No. But it’s a safe thing to blame. Temps in the . . . well, how hot is it? Can’t check the internet. Use the phone, then. But it’s upstairs, and I’m in the gazebo. Could wander over to the thermometer on the wall, which is in direct sunlight and usually reports temps more apt for the equator of Mercury. Let’s say it’s ninety and change, just enough smothering humidity; fit for dozing on the porch while rocking and fanning yourself while a glass of lemonade sits next to you and the kids run up and down the block chasing wheels with sticks, for some reason. All the old-time memories that are Simpler, and hence Better, and usually involve people sitting around a radio listening to a baseball game. Which, to me, is as exciting as hearing a play-by-play of a golf game through a telegraph.

It’s still. It’s peaceable. This morning there was another tree chopper up the block, sounding like some horrible giant trying to pass a bad burrito, but now it’s as long and lazy as a summer day as it gets in these parts. Isn’t that a nice folksy term? Parts. No one ever says “well, that’s the way we do it ‘round these portions,” or “never heard of such a thing happenin’ before in these segments.” It’s always parts.

I’m drinking my third can of cold stuff. The first two were carbonated water with a hint of flavor. They could add more flavor, but then it wouldn’t be water. Seems like a missed opportunity. Whoa! Hold on, there, fella, you think people can take that much grapefruit flavor from a can of water? You’re going to confuse them. They’ll think it’s Squirt. I am now finishing a can of - well, Squirt, as it happens. The can says it’s “Citrus” flavored, as if they’re ashamed of the Grapefruit flavor. I don’t know why. That’s why people buy it. Because it’s not Lemon-Lime, the Self-Denegating Duet of Soft-Drink flavors.

The flavored water my daughter likes has ridiculous flavors like Blue Acai Dragonberry Kiwi Ginger - essentially, a Suicide. That’s what we called them at camp: mixing all the flavors from the canteen fountain together was a Suicide. I thought of this the other day while working on the ABOUT section redesign. Found some old camp photos, wished I’d taken a shot of the canteen. It opened up an hour after dinner, and you could but a soda and a Snirkle and some Just-Born varieties of candy - that strangely-named brand with the hideous logo that looked like a mummified fetus on a scale. (Hah! Did a google search for “just-born candy logo”. Go ahead, try it.) (So, I’m obviously repeating myself. Best drop the subject.)

Anyway. I’d best get to the column. Whatever it will be. I feel like I’m writing a message in a bottle here, but isn’t that every blog post? Isn’t every blog post the equivalent of scratching out words while you sit on a tiny cartoon desert island with one (1) palm tree, and heaving into the sea, hoping someone finds it? Of course, you’re rescued earlier if the bottle has an RSS feed. Then it shows up automatically.

Just went upstairs: the red light is green. I’ll bet Ricky was worried that he gave the wrong time frame for repair, but he did give me six extra apologies.




I have a bad habit of looking at the backgrounds of TV shows instead of the action itself. You find interesting things. For example: I’m chewing through the first season of Fringe, and enjoying it, a lot. Everyone tells me it goes off the rails, jumps sharks, transports over sharks, drives a train over sharks, and so on. Fine. I’ll jump over that bridge, which goes over sharks, when I get there. But there was the picture above.


Went back and looked at the poster, confused. That train. It’s the famous EXACTITUDE French rail ad.

ETAT! Nothing slightly fascist there.





But it seems to be photoshopped into a cruise ship ad. Didn’t take long to find it.



It’s not the Normandie; perhaps a generic 30s cruise ship. It reminds you, though, that the era of the travel poster seems behind us for good - in particular, ads that highlight the means of conveyance. the great ads of ocean travel always have the same elements - the jutting prow, the billowing clouds, the clean lines and the trademark funnels exhaling nothing more than white wisps of dreams and recollected adventures. It's almost impossible to achieve the same effect with today's ships; they're so damned big.



Old plane ads used to have, well, planes:




The rope line is a nice touch. Makes the passengers feel special. That's a DC 7, I believe, the Seven Seas model.

TWA boasted a fleet of Connies, the first pressurized passenger airplane.




From Lockheed's page:

In 1939, the top brass of the Lockheed Corporation—president Robert Gross, chief engineer Hall Hibbard, and chief research engineer Kelly Johnson—scheduled a key meeting with a VIP, a man with deep pockets who had recently shown an interest in buying not just one or a handful of new planes but a fleet of them.

The customer’s request had been ambitious. He hoped to hire Lockheed to design a revolutionary aircraft capable of comfortably shuttling 20 passengers and 6,000 pounds of cargo across the United States, offering commercial aviation’s first coast-to-coast, non-stop service.

But the Lockheed team had come to express even grander ambitions. They wanted to build the company’s first large transport, one that “would carry more people farther and faster than ever before, and economically enough to broaden the acceptance of flying as an alternative to train, ship and automobile,” said Johnson.

In the years to come, the plane would be named the Constellation—Connie for short—and be flown by airlines around the world, as well as the U.S. military over the ensuing three decades. Eventually, it would be remembered as an enduring symbol, the epitome of grace in propeller-driven aircraft. But at that moment in 1939 in Los Angeles, the Lockheed Corporation was focused on winning over one customer and one customer only. His name was Howard Hughes.

Somehow that seems cool and romantic and fascinating, in a way our times can't match. Right? The story wouldn't be the same if the client was Mark Zuckerberg.

Then again: there's this guy.




Restaurants below and stuff elsewhere throughout the day. Don't forget: that T icon down there is your passport to update info and the Institute of Official Cheer's own tumblr. See you around!








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