Mentioned yesterday that we were due for a bit more snow. Here's the Gazebo area this morning:

I’m just not unhappy about this. I can’t be. It’s winter. Yes, I know last week we’d seen the beginning of the end of the beginning of the middle, or something, but at this point with every snow storm I feel like I’m helping a friend who’s puking his guts out over the toilet. That’s it. Get it all up. You’ll feel better. Somehow we believe that the punishment we get during the months of True Winter might mean an equally kind release, as if Karma affects the jet stream, as if El Nino or La Nina hears our wails and supplications, as if the weather of tomorrow gives a fig for what the weather was yesterday. There are no scales and there is no justice. There is the revolution of the earth and the long lope around the sun, the inhalation and exhalation of the seasons. So this winter feels interminable; so this short month feels as though three Marches strapped together. So life seems to be moving slower than ever.

That’s a problem?

I know, I know. Talk to me in two months when I'm clawing my eyes out and painting myself green and ululating imprecations to dark gods to bring back the fecund earth. But I remember so many vacant intervals between Christmas and the end of March where all seems stuck, lost, as if the plot of your life wandered off and fell down a well, and I'm just enjoying how much I really, really don't hate this. Much. Today.

Saw the Lego movie. Enjoyed it; laughed very hard now and then, and only three times wished it would slow down and catch its breath. I liked the way it poked fun at the very conventions it was taking seriously right under your nose, the way it gave its schlubby hero his own endearing charm from the start without resorting to the usual signifiers of slacker-bro identity. So many details and asides; a genuinely witty script; an unexpected third act. Great fun.

It’s just amazing what they can do with computers these days!

I think they were saying that back in 1995. At least back then your mind could take it all in. Now: you’re almost beaten into a state of nervous passivity as you attempt to absorb and process everything coming at you. But there was a cartoon shown before the movie that demonstrates the limits of simplicity. It was the stupidest thing I have seen all year. The Mixels. Imagine this on a very large screen.



I felt like I was watching a cartoon from 100 years from now, when conventions had changed so much that the basic ideas of humor and storytelling had been rendered simplistic and idiotic in order to appeal to a race of genetically-enhanced humans whose lives were spent in the realm of pure logic and reason, and hence found this barbarism to be the most amusing thing possible.

Mixels are made . . . by LEGO. Yes, LEGO, the product you can’t name without making it look as if you’re shouting.

Interesting letter I got today. I’ve gotten a few of these.

I hope you do not mind me mailing you but I would like to introduce

Translation: I am a Nigerian prince with eleventy million dollars who, oddly enough, has no access to the banking system. At least that's the vibe.

My name is Amy and I am currently working hard to establish myself as a
freelance writer. I have now written for several websites on varying
topics and my articles have been well received.

No examples, of course, but apparently I'm supposed to be so gosh-darned intrigued at this point the idea of establishing bona fides seems churlish.

I wondered if you would feel able to place some of my work on your

Well. we've established that she certainly researches potential clients with exhausting dedication.

The pieces I have had accepted so far were around 500 words in length.
If you would like to go ahead it would help me greatly if you would
specify a particular subject, style and tone, as I quickly discovered
that versatility in my writing is essential. I am confident that you
would find my work engaging and authoritative. I can also guarantee that
it will be original: all my own work! It would be helpful to me if I
could include one hyperlink in the article.

I wonder what that would be.

The letters come from this site, They provide content to sites that can’t come up with their own. All letters are the same, but they come from Amy, Dave, and Cheryl.

So I wrote:

Why am I getting emails from your writers, offering to write on a site that obviously has no need for your services? Do you not even take the most cursory glance at the sites you spam?

Please stop.

I’ll let you know what they say.


It's our weekly survey of old ads, products, and logos, assembled without rhyme or reason, and investigated with varying degrees of enthusiasm. As usual, when we're lucky, we begin with THE WEEKLY BORDEN.

This is just sad.

If that’s as close to a frown as Elsie gets, we may understand why she’s always so cheerful. Uppers. Or perhaps some facial paralysis that makes her unable to render anything beyond a wide-eyed beatific gleam. I don’t know what she’s supposed to be telling Beulah - your father has always been a boor, a jerk, a ranting fool, but I conceived you anyway. This is our cross to bear together.


Elmer believes he should get a pass to the movie, because his wife was in it. He has a point, but that’s the sort of thing you handle before you go, with management; you don’t shout at the ticket clerk, who has no authority over these things


was heretofore unaware that Elsie was in “Little Men,” and I’m sure she’s in real-cow form - which suggests that this entire world we see is her hallucination, her attempt to fit in the human world and pretend she is something other than a cow.


An interesting box:

Kidding! A dull box.
It has no specific flavors, but assures you they’re marvelous. It’s just a piece of consumer information, I guess: THE BOX LOOKS LIKE THIS. The introduction of puddings in 1937 brought back chocolate to the fold; it had been available in gelatin form, but wisely discontinued in 1927. Urg.


How you’ll thrill to the admiring glances your teeth will produce!

The can was blue, with dark blue above and light blue below. (In other eras, it was green, and in the 50s, turquoise. In the 40s the metal was switched out for cardboard; they were stamped WAR TIME PACKAGE.

It’s an old product: this page says the first printed metal boxes for a product was made for Dr. Lyon’s, in 1866.



A rather inelegant word, and I’m still not entirely sure what it means.

This ad says: “Opti-onics is . . . optics . . . electronics . . . mechanics! It is the use of all three to accomplish any things never before obtainable. Today, Opti-onics is a WEAPON! Tomorrow, it will be a SERVANT . . . . to work, protect, educate, and entertain.” Another tagline: “What Electronics gets, Bell & Howell lets you see . . . that’s OPTI-ONICS.”

The company was founded in 1907 by Mr. Donald Bell, and Mr. Albert Howell - listed as “secretary” on the incorporation papers.


No other reason to once again feature one of the Spam Pretenders except . . .

It’s rare you see the late 40s / early 50s packaging in the ads. Slogan: “The All-Purpose Meat.” Given the number of things that went into it, that was probably true.


Again, no particular story, no history tale of the rise of Heinz Beans, just the packaging:


Can you tell what this ad is selling?

Perhaps humidifiers, since the dog seems to be engulfed by static electricity. No, it’s a water heater. It makes you life better, and this relates to that somehow. I only mention it because a close-up shows a detail . . .

. . . and there’s one of those mysteries. Who drew her? Who designed it? When did they stop making this design - and are any left? You know a few survived. Google Image search results:


Google has a loose definition of “this is what you were looking for” when it comes to images, doesn’t it?

Updates on the right - More Richie Rich in comic sins. Work Blog between noon and one and Tumblr now and then! See you around.



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