Your phone is on in your pocket, Daughter said.

I guess. So?


She had a point. The other day I looked at my phone, and the main screen looked different. Apps were not where they were supposed to be. Later I checked the phone again to open the notes app I use, and discovered that’s why the screen looked odd: the app wasn’t there. Rustling around in my pocket, it had moved the app. Another screen? Another folder? I searched the phone and the app was nowhere to be found. I had deleted simply by having the phone in my pocket, moving around. This is not a simple process; indeed, it seems awfully close to million-monkeys-typing-Shakespeare territory. The phone had to be on, swiped to open (I don’t use a passcode; too much of a bother, the number of times I hit it each day), the apps had to be set on Jiggle, then one app selected for deletion, and deletion approved.

Remarkable, really. Smart phone but smarter pocket.

The analogue to a wallet would be: the wallet opens in your pocket, choses a credit card, rubs the digits out, demagnetizes the strip, and puts in back in a different place. But I keep a thin wallet, so I’d find it.

There’s thin wallet people and there’s thick wallet people. My father is the latter; I remember his wallet being an inch and a half in height when placed on the bureau. It had everything. I think it had his Navy ID and discharge papers. Always wondered if that was because the family moved around, and he had to keep his goods close.

Daughter just came in to my room to cast covetous eyes on my new Field Notes books. The covers are wood. Very, very thin wood. They're just beautiful, and I hate to use them. I would not be surprised if this is built into the business model: people will buy twice as more because the people who love small notebooks cannot bear to sully them. I had a Moleskin once and it forced me, just by being so compact and well-designed, to write as carefully as possible. When I was on jury duty, forbidden to use a laptop, I used it to write my account of the events, in my neatest handwriting, as if leaving a missive for posterity, as if remembering the lineage of previous books used by writers in Paris who jotted down novel notes in a streetside cafe.

It was unbelievably tiresome. Pretentious is one thing but pretentious and tiresome I can do without.

Torrents from above. The rain started in the morning and bore down with sullen malice until after three, the point of the day where people start to wrap up their impressions of the day. Right? Whatever it was going to be, it’s made it clear. There are no fresh starts after 3 PM. It was dark all day and sepulchral by four, and if you were inclined to melancholy it was hard not to feel

Unless you’re these guys, who have one job:


They pick up things on the ground and put them in the truck until it’s quitting time. I wonder if they listen to the radio. I wonder what the plan is. I wonder if they have names for the machines. When you see a vehicle doing a particular type of maneuver you wonder what it’s called. Right now I’m watching the vehicle on the top of the pile eat away the ramp that leads to the bottom, and there has to be reason; can’t imagine he’s trying to strand the other guy. Unless they’re mortal enemies and this is some cask-of-amontillado routine.

The efficiency of the operation is remarkable; I just noted one truck pulling away with a huge load of debris, and he’s not even off the site before another one has pulled up in his place. On the side it reads:


Meanwhile, over on the block that got the head start:

They’re pouring the columns.

Context isn’t everything, but it matters. Here: tell me what this is.

You may know what it says already. It might be locked in your head, waiting for a signal, a series of electrical impulses in need of something else to rearrange the shape so it connects. I found it in the details of a large photo of downtown Fargo in the 50s. Here’s a detail:

That’s a billboard atop the Penneys building. You might think it’s impossible to see what the billboard says, but with some photoshop work, ta-da:

One Bright Spot in your Living Expense - Low Cost ELECTRICITY.

And now you know what the blur above says. It can only say one thing: Reddy Kilowatt . . . Your Electrical Servant.





At some point they stopped using lovingly painted tableaus of domestic amusement, and went with this.

It's just not the same, is it.



Unusually blunt copy here: people who have stink-fumes coming from under their arms produce vicious emotions that logically culminate in death.

Note that the artist’s name is shown, which means must have meant something. Was Don Herald the inventor of the pointy-nosed man? There were a lot of those.

Useless wiki bio - really, he was a Phi Delta Theta and graduated in 1913? Tell me more! Here’s a page of quotes, one of which I like: “It is a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to a waiter.”

Anyway: yes, pointy-noise people.

May have been an influence on Hank Ketcham. His early Depression work has one of the most abstract examples of my Distant City Principle I’ve ever seen. The DCP, if you're just joining this website already in progress, us where artist indicates an urban environment by drawing a skyline in the distance, as if the action is taking place in a field somewhere past the point where the city suddenly stops.


That line: that’s the city.

But this fellow we know, and know well. The pointy-nosed people would make short work of this crew.

Frank Tashlin. Not just a cartoonist, but an animator for Warner Brothers - and later a movie director of some note. Dropped out of high school at the age of 13, which would mortify any parent today. AND FOR GOOD REASON.



A bygone cereal, lost to the mists of time:

It contained VITAMIN RAIN.

That’s from this page, which has a full-color ad for Sparkies, and a comment that notes something amusing about Newlywed Hubby. Go on, look, I’ll wait.





Not just a brand, but a restaurant chain as well - the distinctive logo looks like it’s a product of the 30s, the drive-ins look like 50s style, and that’s about it. The web has little more to add. Nothing’s left.

Well, almost nothing.


As you may know, or not, or know and not care, Product always loves to find examples of store displays. Cardboard things that had their moment then ended up in the landfill. No one ever saved them. No one ever considered why they’d want to. A gas station display for tires:

Birds announcing the necessity of doing this or that was a hallmark in spring.



Finally: always pleased when one of these ads shows up, because they had addresses of real stores.


And that's it for today; new Richie Rich addition. Work Blog and Tumbler - just mouse over those buttons below for more fun. See you around!


blog comments powered by Disqus