Another view of Minneapolis from the Noir age. All this is gone. The building that replaced the New England Annex is gone.

Can you name the products in the billboard ads?

Apple is introducing new products today. I don’t really want a larger phone, and I don’t see the point of a watch that monitors anything. I also predict I will have both in a year.

Why? Because the advantages will be clear. The bigger phone will look normal, and require less peering; it will have a better camera, I hope, and I like the fingerprint sensor, and my contract is coming up. As for the watch, or whatever it is, there will be something about it that’s compelling. It won’t just count steps and display messages. It might be, oh, something that lets me leave my phone behind, because it makes and takes calls.

Or it does something that would be revolutionary these days. I almost imagine Tim Cook standing on the stage and saying “Imagine if there was a way to tell the time without getting out your phone.”


The rejection of everything her parents hold dear has begun! Or is just becoming more obvious. Sunday Daughter had to meet a friend at the apartment where they’re staying during home renovation. It’s a brand-new complex next to an outdoor Power Center mall - you know, the type where there’s no roof, and everything looks like a real downtown except it’s completely inorganic and plopped down on previously vacant or underused land, and built all at once. I don’t mind these places at all, and they’re great for going to a movie, having a drink, strolling over to the inevitable Cold Stone Creamery. The apartment complex had a severe slate-grey appearance, and would look cool in a city, instead of sitting next to a highway intersection, but that’s my opinion. We went in the Guest Parking entrance. There were two spaces for guests. There was no parking outside on the street.

Interesting: this place is Dense and Walkable, but it still exalts the car, inasmuch as the big stores which are the real draw have huge lots. The movie theater has a ramp, but it’s a bit of a hike. The idea seems to be that there really won’t be many guests at all. After getting into a spot with difficulty . . .

. . . we cooled our heels in the airlock, waiting for someone to buzz us through. Daughter found the place enchanting, from what she could see through the window, and waxed rhapsodic about Apartment Living, the coming and going, all the people, living near the shops, and so on. It would be like living in a hotel!

“And if you have to let the dog out at 5 AM to pee?”

Well, er, yes, there was that.

But I understood. This sort of life is appealing, because it’s different, and cosmopolitan, and thrums with possibilities. Even though it’s just a big block of flats in a suburban mall. I had that phase.

It passes.

Off with friends all afternoon and off at a church youth-group all night; she had the best day. The weather was perfect. The HS football team won their game on Friday. I bought pretzel bread. Homework was done. Everything was wonderful.

Well, er, yes, it is. Except when the movie kiosk declines your card, and then a small sluice of dread squirts in your gut. This should not be. I have enough money. Don’t I? The screen had the enigmatic word GATEWAY, and there are probably a few programmers in the audience nodding their head: it wasn’t declined, the kiosk just couldn’t talk to the bank. That was the case, as I later learned, but again we see the problem with letting the wrong people design interfaces. Instead of “Cannot contact bank,” or the colloquial “Sorry! I can’t contact your bank. Please try later,” or even the infantile “Ooops, looks like something went wrong. Your bank’s not answering the phone,” you get CARD DECLINED, which is the modern equivalent of being refused admission to your club because your bar tab hasn’t been paid since 1962. And there you fuss and protest - there must be some mistake, well, I’ll pay it now, will you take a check? No? Let me speak to the manager. What do you mean he’s busy? I’ve been a member of this club since 1946, young man, and - who’s this? Get your hands off of me!

I called the bank, and they said everything was fine. I emailed the owner of the kiosks - it’s a local company, not a Redbox, although the boxes are red, which means they have a sign that says THIS IS NOT A REDBOX. Which is almost Duchampian, really. Today I got an email that confirmed my suspicions, AND gave me a free movie rental.

Add that to the coupons yesterday, subtract the cost of the Gatorade I forgot, and If I find a dollar on the street today I will be square.

Also seen yesterday while shopping: I have always hated this guy.

Partly for the way he’s drawn. Partly for the fact that the food within is overpriced and insubstantial. But mostly for THAR BE GOOD, which he says on the larger packages. It just bothers me.


Better, but he still says Thar, and his timbers continue to be shivered. Much chin-butt, too.

A reminder:

Cheap and fun. What's stopping you?

The "Happy Valley" essay thing tomorrow, unless I turn it into a column.



The weekly account of old things used to sell other things. The Borden may be a repeat, but if I can't tell for sure, maybe you can't either.

It's this stuff again:

I think Elmer was supplementing his Hemo with a little boost from the flask, if you know what I mean. And I hope Elsie isn't telling Beulah any details about their marriage. Kids don't need to know that.



This is a perfect example of the Distant City: placing a tower up in the sky to indicate an urban environment, although it’s odd when you think about it. A single tower. and what kind of house is that? You’ll note they’re in the country in panels two and three.

Mutt & Jeff is considered the first daily comic strip, and by the time this ad ran in the early 80s they’d been around for over 35 years. They still looked as they did when they began in 1907, I suspect. It didn’t end up 1983. From wikipedia:

Augustus Mutt is a tall, dimwitted racetrack character - a fanatic horse-race gambler who is motivated by greed. Mutt has a wife, known only as Mrs. Mutt (Mutt always referred to her as "M'love") and a son named Cicero. Mutt first encountered the half-pint Jeff, an inmate of an insane asylum who shares his passion for horseracing, in 1908.

In an insane asylum. Coudln’t have that today. Anyway, it’s the same old routine; a comic-strip character cannot defecate, and has been taking things that cause cramping, pain, explosive evacuation, and so on. The Old Trouble. Little insane Jeff prescribes the scouring power of bran, and then next thing you know the sight of Jeff on a bike proves that he has moved his bowels.

By the way, Bud Fisher, the man who started the strip, was something of horse-race fan himself. Well, as they say, write what you know.



A tiny part of ad magnified and cleaned up, so you can see the little tags pinned to the garment when you bought it. No one ever saved them. Why would they?

Skipper sportswear:

Look at the boss's son! He's on the phone! Wonder if he's doing any work or just lining up lunch dates:

Women love bond-buying shrimps whose small stature make ordinary alarm clocks look huge:

The Faultless PJ brand began as an independent; bought by Wilson in the 40s. The wiki entry says that they had a popular song, "The Faultless Pajama Girl" - must have sounded racy in 1917.

Of course the internet has the sheet music.



This ad wasn't very big.

Knowing what I know about Basil R. from someone who worked with him, he had money issues. What he made his wife spent, and that meant the occasional gig like this, and the eternal connection with Sherlock Holmes. Wikipedia:

Rathbone also brought Holmes to the stage in a play written by his wife Ouida. Nigel Bruce was too ill to take the part of Dr. Watson, and it was played by Jack Raine. Bruce's absence depressed Rathbone, particularly after Bruce died on 8 October 1953, while the play was in rehearsals.

The play ran for only three performances.

The ad buy had already been made, it seems.



A Brooklyn confection:

The company must have been doing okay; they put up 16 buildings in the Rockwood Chocolate Factory, a historical site that's still around. The company gave up the ghost in the 50s, but was purchased by another candy company, which turned out those "Tootsie Rolls" you may have heard about. The factory closed in '67. It's lofts today. Expensive lofts.

The sort of place occupied by people for whom sugar is probably a vice.




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