How could I forget?

How could I forget Fall Happiness Season? The Third Annual one, no less?

Let’s all enjoy every minute of it. That's what the original ad had a man in a hat saying to a woman in a hat as they headed to the theater. Every minute of it.

This was a late-40s theater marketing effort - every week packed with movies that delivered everything you wanted from the cinema, which of course no one called it unless they were snooty people who only watched German Expressionist stuff - and they were capital-S capital-O capital-L, brother, because that longhair stuff didn’t make over to these shores very often.

Think of that: the only movies you could see were the ones in the building downtown. Hence it was an event; the movie was a destination. Now it’s a generic term for a two-hour visual diversion.

Speaking of which: Why is Twin Peaks coming back? Several reasons. The cable networks are falling over each other to produce quality, or “prestige” shows, and Showtime realizes there are a lot of people who will pay for Showtime just to watch Twin Peaks. Second, it has a fan base that’s the modern equivalent of Trekkies who wandered in the wilderness in the long, long spell between the end of the series and the first movie. (Of the ill-fated mid-90s Twin Peaks Saturday Morning cartoon we will say little, especially since they worked in “Slimer” from Ghostbusters. Damned Filmation.) There are websites about Twin Peaks that are regularly updated, and contain every single obsessive note on the show you can imagine. All of these people will pay for Showtime. A new generation will pay for Showtime. Third, David Lynch might need something to do. Fourth, in the words of a great philosopher, the arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards reboots.

The expectations will be stratospheric, but I’m not sure why, given the second season. Coop has to come back, of course. He has to come back or it’s not Twin Peaks.

And this is where the majority of people announce that they don’t care, which is fine, but there will be people who are annoyed that other people care, and that is the bane of the internet. I mean, there’s a guy right now somewhere in America who is expressing a lack of enthusiasm over Twin Peaks on a Yahoo! message board. I dunno who cares lol chicks were hot tho

And then he wanders over to other stories and expresses how he doesn’t care about 10 other things (srlsly h8tin on J-Lo vid? smh) I can understand participating in the communities that form around particular topics or, er, personalties, if YGH can borrow a term and give it back right away like an Emmy statue I posed with for a joke, but flecking spittle into the great swamp of the internet is something I never understand.

But contention is proof of insight, I guess. And contention born of willful, conspicuous ignorance of the subject at hand seems to make the speaker think he’s uniquely entitled to comment.

Speaking of Having Your Say: I got an email from Holland America, asking if I would like to participate in a survey. I did, because it was a contest, and you could win shipboard credits or even a free cruise. The survey had two parts. Each took half an hour to complete. This made me realize I was up against retired people who had all the time in the world for this, but I was still game. The survey did not load.

God help me, there was an email address for support, and I sent a letter to note I had not been able to load the survey. This is the most pathetic thing I have done in a long time.

Note! While writing this I got an email bong! that said I had important incoming messages, and sure enough, it was a form letter that said they were hard at work addressing the issue. Because I don’t think it worked for anyone. The URLs for the survey were obviously internal. Someone pushed SEND on a mass email and it turned out all the links were hosed.

Now. Can you imagine being that person? Can you imagine being the team charged with sending out an email for an important, complex, in-depth survey, and you find out the link in the email goes not to a web address but a document on your internal server? You can keep quiet and send out the fix pronto, but then the parent company calls and asks how the response rate is going, and it’s FARGIN’ ZERO.


“I see.” Pause. “Do you know why that is?”

“It’s standard sometimes for people to bookmark it and fill out the survey when they have more time.”

“Didn’t you say that the contest angle would get people to fill it out right away?”

“That can happen, yes. It’s possible there’s a (mumbling) propagation (mumbling) cache issue that doesn’t show us real-time use.”

“Can’t you just look at the website and see how many people went there?”

“From here? Sure, sure, but - hold on, there it is, we’re getting some input now. Must have been a DNS issue.”

“Ah. You had me worried there for a moment. All right, I’ll call back tomorrow.”

And so the lies compound. The email says I will get another email tomorrow inviting me to take the survey. Will it apologize abjectly, or just apologize “for the inconvenience” as everyone says when they mean nothing of the sort?


This week in Nonstop Pumpkinization ofThings, Traders Joe edition, we have:

And they're pretty good. Daughter had one this morning and said she felt so artisanal. This was meant in jest. Sort of: she's at the age where enjoying grown-up pleasures like coffee and biscotti make you feel as though you're getting a glimpse of the cool world to come, when you can drive your own car and sit in your own apartment on a blustery day and smell the pipes heating up and feel cozy and complete.

Even though this is just Zwieback for hipsters.

I joke. I never use "hipsters" seriously, because it doesn't mean anything anymore, and the bored, offhand humiliation of the archetype has played out.

Everything else has played out as well, I suspect. It seems that way. Sometimes you get the sense that there's nothing new, at least in the Really New sense of New Exciting New Things, and it makes people uneasy. Like anxious dogs, they gnaw their limbs.





(Portentious announcer voice)

This . . . is 1967. For the next few months I'll be doing nothing but 1967 ads, and I had a reason for this I can't quite remember. It's familiar but it's not; to me, it's childhood, seen through different lens - I know what styles these ads replaced, and how the rich pages of a LIFE mag seemed to get much less interesting. Illustration was gone, except for rare examples. It's not very appealing. But it's instructive. So:

I don’t even remember what the ad is for; the fine panoply of products brought to you by American Conglomerate (later AmCon, later Visistar), or perhaps a picture from the magazine that wasn’t an ad at all. What surprises me is this: That’’s how I think they look now, even though I know they don’t.


Joy was begun in 1949, and was lemon-scented - the first detergent to go with a citrus aroma. Vel’s name was always a mystery to me. Velvet? Velma? Veladictorian? What?

The origin for Mr. Clean:

Mr. Clean was created by Linwood Burton, a marine ship cleaning businessman with accounts throughout the east coast of the United States. In the past, ships had to be cleaned using abrasives or solvents that were able to cut successfully through embedded grease and grime; however, past solvents were so dangerous to workers that Burton was motivated to finding a solution that was effective and less caustic. Burton, with fundamental knowledge in chemistry, developed Mr. Clean in an effort to clean ships without having to pay significant premiums in disability claims for his workers.

That’s one way of putting it; no idea if it’s true.



Are you a winner? Doesn’t seem so:

But no, it’s a contest! If your ad, which was printed differently from every other page in the magazine, has a red arrow that lines up with an Anacin bottle, you’ve won! Check it against the store display, none of which I’m sure remain.

It’s the type that screams 1967. It has nothing to do with “counter-culture” type, even though you may think they’re of a piece. They’re not. This was mainstream devil-may-care happy middle-aged type. This was type for shows that came on at 11 AM and gave you some laughs in-between house chores.



I can’t believe it’s not full of safflower oil:

The US is one of the biggest producers of safflower oil; only about 600,000 tons are grown world-wide each year, and yes, I am channeling every high-school student who had to write a paper and tried to stay awake while reading the wikipedia entry. Which, by the way, says that the plant goes by other names, including “Chimichanga.”

Er? Really? Well, the wikipedia page on that word is no help, but we do get some classic BS in the origin of the dish:

According to one source, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant "El Charro", Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word beginning "chi..." (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of thingamajig.

Uh huh.

Why the fake butter is named after a fabric I’ve no idea.


Yum, no doubt:

See, if you burn the box, no one will know this was frozen, and not something you whipped up from scratch.

Morton’s was a staple in the freezer case for half a century; it changed hands a few times, and ConAgra finally put it down like a sick dog.



Round bottles are so conspicuous. Try the tuck away traveller!


It has classy details to normalize the idea of portable booze so you don’t feel like a complete lush. The cap is plastic, no doubt, but it’s wood-grained - with a bucket. A BUCKLE. Probably a foil decoration that snaps right off when you open it. No one would want to fiddle with buckled Bourbon.

The Crow, by the way, was actually a man. A doctor. He had a famous bourbon recipe that died with him, alas; modern Crow is just Beam, more or less. The old distillery is a rather grim thing, as this picture shows - but according to the story, it’s been purchased by two fellows who want to start distilling spirits again.

One is named Neil Craig, and I thought: as in Elijah? Supposed inventor of Bourbon? It would seem he’s a descendant.



What Hostess Fruit Pies looked like in 1967:

This is six years before Fruit Pie the Magician, the mascot. Who has his own wikipedia page. Who was discontinued in 2005.

Who still has a “Save Fruit Pie the Magician” website.

Which has a page of collectibles.



About this I need say nothing; you know it or you don’t.

I hand you off to here, where you will see the creature with Johnny Carson.

See you around.






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