I have a cold. So far it’s a pretty good one. People always say “I have a wretched cold” or “man, this is a bad cold.” No one ever says “as colds go, this one rocks.” Then again, it’s just the first day, but that’s usually one of the worst. Achy, dragged out, raw. So far I just have the dry scratchy throat, which is for me the indisputable sign.

Been taking zinc all day, but I know what I’ll take if things really get bad: DRISTAN. I can’t find it around here, but I have some left over from the last cold I got, which was in 2012. Really. It was on a cruise, and I came down with the cold promptly after being in a plane with human beings. This is why I highly recommend never leaving the house. I left the house on Saturday AND Sunday and this is what happened. Anyway, I bought Dristan on the ship, probably for $46.97, and holy crow. Rarely suffered a moment of congestion or any other symptom. I wonder whether it’s formulated differently for the international market.

Anyway: it just made the day askew. Everything felt off-kilter and a bit unnerving, as you feel when you get a bit ill; it’s as if you can see how the world is actually a stage set, and behind it there’s ropes and junk and discarded scenery and someone sitting in the back in the dark in the shadows. Lunch tastes like soaked newspapers, or worse; zinc ruins all. The hours just dropped like sacks of sand. But! I posted the work blog, and wrote another column in the evening for a new online gig - it’s about “House of Cards” and “The Walking Dead” and the general idea of masochistic TV. You dislike everyone in the show but still you watch.

Daughter didn’t come home from school; play practice. Shadows fall, house goes dark and quiet. Radio for company. Look through the door to the empty spot on the carpet. Check the mail, and discover an enormous box: oh, right.

Right. I bought a suitcase. Right. It goes with the other suitcase. It was on sale. Replaces an old battered thing that was, of course, BLACK. Like every other suitcase. A few weeks ago I ordered a remote for my suitcase, and if you scoff you’ve never tried to find your suitcase in a hanger with the luggage of 2000 passengers. You press the button, and the remote receiver beeps and flashes. It’ll probably go off by itself during transfer. When I attempt to leave the ship my ID will be flagged and security will want to have a word. This happened, once; we got off the ship late, all the luggage from our group had been taken, and our bags stood alone in a room, exuding DANGER and GUILT.

The luggage was smaller than I thought. Fine. You get one of those enormous trunks for seagoing voyages, you overpack. I’ve never worn everything. I wear things twice. As the years go on and the experience accumulates you learn to go light and live with what you bring. And then put the rest in the other matching suitcase, which is carryon. They match my backpack. It’s all Eddie Bauer, hardy and rugged, and I now have a grand total of 47 pockets in all three pieces.

A few years ago when I decided I was going to be a World Traveller and make up for years and years of not going anywhere, I bought some London Fog luggage. You loved it as a coat, you’ll trust it as a suitcase. The smaller unit had the handle that pops out for wheeling around the airport, but it had one fatal flaw: it fell over when you pulled it along. All the time. Completely unbalanced, empty or full. I could not imagine the makers of the product actually using it, then deciding to sell it. It’s a brand-killer. It’s like making a car that lurches 37 degrees to the right when you point it straight ahead and give it some gas.

“Say, we’ve been testing the new carry-ons, and there’s a problem.”

“Oh, what could possibly be wrong? They have a collapsible handle, wheels, and an attractive smoke-hued pattern that compliments the rest of the line, with tasteful metal accents.”

“True, true, but they fall over. You drag them four feet, and they topple like obese children walking on a floor filled with oily ball-bearings.”

“The tasteful metal accents, though - did you notice how they play off the details on the larger model?”

“Oh, without a doubt; for those moments when they are grouped at the curb before the larger one is checked, there’s an undeniable sense of aesthetic completion. I’m just saying - “

“And surely you noticed how the handles permit the item to be carried, if one doesn’t wish to pull it along.”

“Yes, and that’s good, because no one will want to pull them along. They fall over.”

“Well, perhaps you were running.”

“No, but I can understand why we wouldn’t want to design a carry-on bag that kept its balance during a hasty transit; no one in an airport ever finds themselves moving along with an unexpected imperative as if a door was soon to close, stranding them in a foreign city. But even while walking the thing just falls over like a dead penguin.”

“Did you pack lead weights on one side?”

“The wheel base is simply too narrow. It’s inexplicable unless you consider that the engineering team simply took the specs from a smaller suitcase and applied it to this one without considering how the larger compartment would affect its stability. I tell you, it’s unusable. People will never buy anything from us again.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous. We’re a venerable name in impermeable men’s outerwear. Tell China to make 100,000 units.”

You think I’m mad? Amazon reviews:

I bought this so I wouldn't have to lug my carry-on over my shoulder. The design is such that when you attempt to pull the bag on it's wheels, it just falls over right away. It's an impossibility to keep it going, you have to carry it by the handles.

The wheels are too close together so the bag tips from side to side when you are rolling it. This makes for an extremely difficult process of moving around the airport (hotel, parking lot, ect).

This is a very stylish bag and fits a decent amount of clothing for a carryon bag.
However, it wobbles a bit when i'm rolling it.

A huge mistake on my part. I agree with the previous review about the stability of the bag. The wheel base isn't wide enough to offset the height of the bag, resulting in a constant struggle to keep it upright while pulling.

Eh. Details, details.

Anyway. Don’t feel rotten but don’t feel great, so I’m going to sit by the fire and watch “House of Cards” and wonder why I am doing so, since everyone in the show is detestable or weak. Of course there’s much to come anyway; Product Tuesday awaits, along with two more entries in the Richie Rich series, a year-long investigation of the strange life of an impossibly cosseted child of privilege with enormous sausage-like legs.


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.

Wait a minute. Hold on.

Everyone's happy.

Well, Elsie was always happy, and Beulah just wanted everyone to be happy, and did her best to adapt to the mood of the house. But Elmer was always ruining things. His volcanic temper. His impotant rages. His gnawing sense of inadequacy. Hardly a day went by when he didn't vent is fury over the role Borden played in their lives, but here he is smiling with a hot cup of Hemo.

I think Elsie learned to give it a shot of something. Wouldn't that get Elmer in trouble at work? you ask. Eh. It was the 40s. Besides, I don't think anyone got close enough to him to smell it on his breath.



Nice work:

Chelsea was a product of Laurus and Brother, one of those small tobacco companies that never stood a chance against the big players - at least in cigarettes. They made Edgeworth, a popular pipe tobacco. But Chelseas? They had better luck, I think, with their other sideline: radio and TV.

Says the Virginia Historical Society:

During both world wars the federal government requisitioned Larus’s entire line of production. One special war project involved the secret distribution of cigarettes in the Philippines whose packages bore the words, “I Shall Return,” and the signature of General Douglas MacArthur.
Gone from the map in 1974.

They also made Domino cigarettes, and a counter display can be seen here.



There’s that word again.

As we learned in the adventures of Aunt Jenny and her Spry-pushing, a “recipe” was colloquially referred to as a receipt. An explanation can be found here:

Both derive from Latin recipere, to receive or take. Receipt was first used in medieval English as a formula or prescription for a medicinal preparation (Chaucer is the first known user, in the Canterbury Tales of about 1386). The sense of “a written statement saying that money or goods have been received” only arrived at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Recipe is the imperative, “take!”, from the same Latin verb. It was traditionally the first word in a prescription, heading the list of ingredients. This was often abbreviated to a letter R with a bar through the leg, a form that still sometimes appears on modern prescription forms. Recipe has been used alongside receipt since the eighteenth century in the sense of cookery instructions, gradually replacing it over time. At the time the newspaper report was written, 1895, receipt was still common.

So there you go.

As long as we have some fine old Dromedary packaging, let’s have another serving:

MMmmm! Bread in a can.


Probably worked for chapped butts, but they didn’t want the obvious ad headline.

Lehn & Fink: founded in New York in 1874, and 16 years later imported something called “Lysol” from Germany. They bought the brand outright in 1922. They bought the hand-cream maker A. S. Hinds and added the cream to the mix.

They were swallowed up by Sterling Drug, which was swallowed by Kodak - my, what a natural fit - and then spun off after that act of conglomerate insanity subsided. It was sold to a British company headquartered in Slough . . . where the original “Office” takes place.

ERRRR . . .

Hold on.

Isn’t this like Shi’ite bacon? Or whiskey, for that matter? The Quakers are teetotalers.

Old Quaker was bought by Schenley, which swallowed up so many independent distilleries to capitalize on the end of Prohibition. At least they kept the names, for a while.

From what I can glean, it was founded by the Squibb brothers. And then:

When the two Squibbs died they left the distillery to their seven sons and cousins.  The very next year four of the sons and a cousin built a new distillery which would go on to produce the Chimney Corner, Old Dearborn, Rock Castle, and Gold Leaf Rye brands.  Called the Old Quaker distillery, their motto was "Old Quaker is in tune with today's growing preference for mildness and mellowness.  You don't have to be rich to enjoy rich whiskey."  

I don't know if Mildness and Mellowness meant light and rather weak, or whether the previous whiskies were harsh enough to dissolve railroad spikes.

Anyway, it's what in the bottle that counts! Unlike those other whiskies that want you to lick the label.



The early days of the milk carton:

Note that Parents magazine doesn't recomend it. They commend it. To do otherwise might have angered the Big Glass Milk Container Industry.

Something I learned today:tThat style of carton is a “gable top.” You’ll note it was made by Ex-Cell-O, a packaging company in Detroit. One of the companies that licensed the tech was Elopak, which actually meant “European License of Pure-Pack.” In one of those turnabouts that must have been satisfying to the Norwegian owners, Elopak bought Ex-Cell-O in 1987. Actually, Elopak is subsidiary of FERD, a vats Norwegian company that dates to the end of the 18th century. So it came to be that men who smelled of fish and the damp and met in a candle-lit room to start a company would end up controlling one of the most ubiquitous products of the 20th century and beyond, one they probably never imagined. But that's capitalism.


Because I love store displays, none of which survive:

A complete basic library! Go home and open your ears to the marvels of stereo. Stereo wasn't new when I was growing up, but I realize that we didn't have it. We had an RCA console with one cloth-covered speaker, and two turntables. One for 33, one for 45. It was built like a Sherman tank and the needle might as well have been something mom used for making scarves out of yarn. I don't remember when we got Stereo, and while I'd like to say I'll never forget the revelation of hearing it for the first time, I just don't.

For adults who cared about such things, though, it must have been a revelation, like the first time you saw HD TV.

I was going to say "4K TV," but that was predicated on an anecdote I forgot to tell. You will, I hope, forgive me.

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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