The first day of school. Once a milestone, complete with pictures on the step in the back-to-school garb . . . well, I made her do that, because it’s tradition, and catalogues over the years the way her picture-taking smile has changed, if nothing else. The weather should be autumnal and cool, with a hint of apples-and-oatmeal-to-come, but this year all the summer were promised is being shoved into a humid wad in the last week, compounding the sense that she’s going back to school in July, somehow.

Watched her walk down the hill to the bus stop, absorbed, unaware I have to watch until she disappears behind the trees. Sigh. Turn around; dog is looking at me, as he has looked at me every morning I’ve sent her off. Pat him on the head. Grab a cup of coffee. Head upstairs to the machinery.

The first day of school is like the moment when the train jerks, before it gets going. You’re coupled to fall now. Into the valley of rusts and reds; the flat white plain waits ahead.

But oh, not yet. A hot night, and I’m out in the roofless gazebo - the cover still hasn’t arrived from the mailorder place, which would be bad if it rained but the radar maps show the states like pictures in a new coloring book. Nothing anywhere, nothing en route. The crickets are singing and the sprinkler system is hissing after a long silence, since the plumber came today to repair the busted part at ruinous cost. Now I have to write a column, but because I planned ahead I did some bleatage in the afternoon. So:

Last night I was too beat to continue watching a lousy Corman-produced “Alien” knock-off - he made three, it seems; this one is notable for the giant slug having its way with the OBFA, or Obligatory Buxom Female Astronaut. It’s interesting to see how lesser talents were unable to reproduce the atomosphere of “Alien”, and it has nothing to do with budgets. It’s the writing. People say too much, that’s the problem. Anyway, I didn’t want to start a “Fringe,” that being a M-Th late-night diversion. Didn’t want to start another series of anything. Didn’t want to watch a queued movie. Settled for the monthly review of trailers, and this got my attention almost immediately.



Why? This: it made me think “hey, I saw that on a wall in Copenhagen.” Two guys kidnapped by Somali pirates, held for a long time, their fate in the hands of a company. But the wikipedia entry, and a few reviews, say nothing of the origins of the story.

It makes one think, and by “one” I mean “me, attempting to make a larger point you can consider if you’re bored,” about the things you recall from trips abroad, and why. In this case it was the tabloid front page on the side of a building, which was novel; the sense of the story one could glean knowing nothing of the language; the fact that I was jet-lagged and up in the early morning and everything had a strange hyper-reality. When I got wifi at the hotel I looked up the story, and learned something that had never made the American press.

They were finally ransomed earlier this year after 838 days.

Got up too early and went to the Fair. Brutally hot. I wandered around looking for Instagram fodder, because we have a competition at the paper: me vs. Vanetta. So where I used to go with an eye for stories that lasted 3 minutes, and now I’m looking for things that take 15 seconds and have at least 5 scenes. Life keeps getting chopped up into smaller parts.

Here’s what I have so far:



A look at old ads and designs, intended to pass along a small portion of understanding about something you'd never considered before, usually for good reason. Not a thing learned here will apply to anything you do today, which is why it's necessary. Every day needs useless information.


This week’s Elsie, of course, it’s about Elmer’s overreaction.

Rather ordinary Borden; Elmer’s apparently stomped off over some ridiculous slight or over-reaction.

Except the boy-calf is up to some mischief, putting mom's cookbook in the oven. Dad'll be proud when he gets back.


This is the can I remember from childhood - when we had it, that is. Hi-C was a luxury.

Punch, eh? Everyone knows what Punch is. Here, have some punch! Thank you, I am thirsty. Excuse me, where’s the punch? The punch is over there. But how did it get the name? To Wikpedia:

The word punch is a loanword from Hindi panch (meaning five) and the drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.[4][5] The original drink was named paantsch. The drink was sent to England from India by sailors and employees of the British East India Company in the early seventeenth century. From there it was introduced into other European countries. When served communally, the drink is expected to be of a lower alcohol content than a typical cocktail.

The term punch was first recorded in British documents in 1632. At the time, most punches were of the Wassail type made with a wine or brandy base. But around 1655, Jamaican rum came into use and the 'modern' punch was born. By 1671, documents make references to punch houses.

Today, soft drink manufacturers distribute many types of "fruit punch" beverages. These are usually red colored drinks.

They say that like it's a bad thing.


Simply a nice mid-century design.


Par-tay loaf!

Kingan’s Reliable Luncheon Meat! Yes, by all means, name your Spam pretender after the military acronym for Kitchen Patrol. Well, let us google:

I have been using a lotion called Hygrade for many years, and it has been the only treatment that has taken the bumps on the back of my arms and legs away. It is only made here in Colorado, but you can now order it online.

Don’t think that’s the same. This helps:

A Frankfurt, Germany, meat-packing company called Hygrade Food Products won a competition in 1959 to be the exclusive supplier of hot dogs to the Detroit Tigers stadium. Hygrade Food Products launched a contest to its employees in order to come up with the best brand name for their Detroit Tigers stadium hot dogs.

Mary Ann Kurk, one of Hygrade Food Products sales people at the time, won the contest with the name "Ball Park Franks". She won a leather living room chair and a cash prize of $25 ($197 as of 2013).[3] It was from this venue that Ball Park Franks gained notoriety and became a mainstay in American pop-culture.[4] Sara Lee acquired Hygrades from Hanson Industries in 1989.

Why is “leather living room chair” is linked in the original. Does it go the winning chair? No. It goes to Google.

A descendant of the Kingan Clan has posted some family and company pictures here. Hygrade bought them in 1952; years later the Indianapolis home office burned, and the land is now the Victory Field and the Zoo.


Finally, because Monday was the first day of school:



There are so many tiny cultural messages embedded in this ad.



Colorful pencils, as seen in LIFE! Specifically, this ad. Rocket Patrol Pencil Case for your ARMY flag.



The most bestest ever pencil case, becaues it's a Rocket Ship, like the ones we will have when we Conquer Space.

What's really unusual about these? They didn't dumb down the graphics to appeal to the kids. They gave them something to aspire to. Even if they were just selling pencils.


Back to the Fair tomorrow, I suppose; more to come. Only Comic Sins today, but really, isn't this all enough? See you around.






blog comments powered by Disqus