My parking lot closed last Friday. They’re already ripping it up. They’ve already torn up the trees. The park is not supposed to be finished until the 2018 Super Bowl, and they had to start now? For a park? How long does it take to build grass?

When I walked to work I caught a whiff of something, and while it was instantly familiar as a candy scent, took me a while to process it. My brain was coming up with HARD and GRANULAR, two things you don’t associate with smells, but ding! Ah. Razzles. It smelled like Razzles, which really didn’t have any smell unless you took it out of your mouth. Which you would do because Razzles were awful. Candy that became gum after chewing. Not gum that continued to be gum, but not-Life-Savers-hard candy that crumbled into parts that your chewing action rebuilt as a gum wad.

Wikipedia, brazenly stating these things without citations:

They were named after a fictional flavor, Razzleberry, that was planned but never panned out. This has also happened with the flavor "Zuzzleberry Zash". As well as "Tropical Tash".

Walmart’s page makes a rather brash claim: “First bite will bring your old memories back to life.” I think in the interest of accuracy they should amend that to “Razzle-related memories.” Otherwise people might be disappointed, expecting pristine recollection of days when you were three or four.



Screedyness now. Iwas reading an op-ed about light-rail Saturday in the paper, written by a local guy I like and respect, and I hit the phrase “anti-transit” applied to conservatives. Stopped reading right there; move along. It’s like “hate” or “phobe” - an indication that words are going to mean something other than we once agreed them to mean, and that dissent or opposition is going to be mischaracterized at best and made pathological at worse. Anti-transit! Everyone stay right where they are! What he means is opposed to large open-ended commitment for fixed-rail systems. I think the light-rail expansion is as inevitable as the stadium-for-everyone move of the last decade, something willed into being by very forces whose patience and surety of purpose rival the H.G. Wells Martians who looked at us from their telescopes. I am pro-bus, good buses, clean buses that go lots of places and can be rerouted without tearing up tracks, but I understand that light rail has a cachet and an appeal to a particular class that results in apartment buildings popping up along the lines. Understood. Maybe that was in the article; didn’t go on.

Today brought out the HATE in innumerable tweets about the Garland TX shooting, intent on letting everyone know that the authors weigh intentions over freedom when it comes to speech. The percentage that said “I am in favor of free speech BUT the event was provocative” exceeded the reverse formulation by 200%, it seemed, because A) the target was on the wrong side, and B) the victims - being the people who were offended - belong to a group that must be protected lest the roiling waters of hatred boil over had flood the land, which they’re due to do any time now. Shootings like this are inconvenient, inasmuch as they seem to conform to a general preconception about young men of a particular doctrine, and inasmuch as that idea interferes with the daily elevation of all the really important things we have to hate on cue, like Joss Wheedon, it must be explained away.

The most pathetic excuse I keep reading attacks the event for being provocative. Not just because it turns the objects of its muted sympathy into bulls who cannot resist the fluttering flag, but because it pretends that the entire point of the last 100 years in art hasn’t been provocation. It’s been the safest kind, of course; the arts have been poking beehives for years with the confidence of someone who knows they are vacant or otherwise occupied. For decades a thing has been judged less on its artistic merits than its intention, and if its intention is pure - that is, a handful of mud in the face of those who use the word “pure” without the requisite ironic inflection - then its demerits are waved away in favor of an enthusiastic endorsement of its transgressive nature, or how much rubble of the old paradigm it produced.

Giving offense has been a badge of courage and truth since the frickin’ Yippies, and now I’m supposed to believe that comity is prized above the foundation of the Bill of Rights. Except that it isn’t, sometimes: if you have been deemed to speak doubleplus ungood thoughtcrime it is meet and right and just for the mob to drown you out the moment you step to the podium. Consider this from the otherwise entertaining and intelligent XKCD.

Top half: All this is correct. The middle panel reveals a fault line that will be explored in the future, when people sue someone because a blog comment was removed.

Bottom half: Seems a bit . . . broad, no? Of course, no one yelling at you violates your free speech. A hundred people yelling at you during your speech with the intention of showing you the door is the howl of the mob. A hundred people pressuring your musical show to be cancelled because you expressed an opinion they find problematic is the howl of the mob. The problem is not people listening, and thinking, and pointing at the door. The problem is people listening for a few words, seizing upon them as proof of perfidy, assuming facts not in evidence, reverting to script, and getting the authorities to push you through the door. The heckler’s veto.

All I’m saying is that when you find the need to equivocate when people decide to kill human beings over a drawing, you’ve elevated offense and subjective perception over freedom of expression. But chances are you’ve been doing that for a while anyway.

Just the sort of hate speech you’d expect from a transitphobe, I know.





A big ad for the fine artists of Victor:



I'll roll these out once a week for a while. Some you'll know. Some you may be reminders of that sic transit gloria mundi business.

I know about two old famous singers from the Classical Wiggly Voice genre; she's not one of them.


Quite the life. Mother was Lithuanian-Polish nobility; father was an Estonian military man in the Imperial Russian Army. Mom and Dad split up during the Revolution; Mom stayed behind with daughter Milizia. She made her way to Estonia in 1927 to be with her father; toured the Baltics as a singer. Married in 1929; appearing at the German State Opera by '33. Got a Hollywood contract and made "The Great Waltz" in 1938.

So here you go:

It's pronounced "Gorgeous."

Her daughter was ambassador to Estonia from 1998 to 2001. In the end, a very American story.

Oh: restored large version of the record cover here.

Some more back-of-the-book New Yorker ads for the sophisticated set.

Usually they glow after they get the Calvert:

Jaro Fabry had an Arnoesque style, at least in this example. Biographical info is scant on the internet. Died young at 41. More work here.

In the 40s, even the rich joined in the whole "sacrifice" craze that was sweeping the nation:

As for Ritter, a note on life in a factory town: “Many folks would go swimming on a summer day in the river, and they’d come out covered in red tomato skins.”

That's from, which reports that the brand was sold in 1969 and shut down in 1976.


Aye laddie:

Another use of the cliched parsimonious skinflint Scotsman, endorsing waxed paper. Never in the history of advertising was that fellow used without the word THRIFTY appearing in the copy, and this ad is no exception.

Hard way indeed: wouldn't that rope at the top get in the way of the guillotine blade?

The leading shampoo for men, or a shampoo for leading men?

While you consider that, wonder what Hoff was doing turning out shampoo ads. Same thing as Bob & Ray, who also pitched for Fitch. It's called money. Wikipedia: "although best known for his classic early reader Danny and the Dinosaur, his cartoons appeared in a multitude of genres, including advertising commissions for such companies as Eveready Batteries, Jell-O, OK Used Cars, S.O.S Pads, Rambler, Ralston Cereal and more."

Also something of a radical; drew cartoons for the Daily Worker and New Masses. He was questioned by the FBI for some activites, but never charged; wikipedia says "Nevertheless, he would remain concerned for the remainder of his life about being identified as a "Red" and the impact this might have on the reception of his children's books."

If that was his concern, he might have chosen a different psuedonym than "A. Redfield." Or working for a mag like "Masses," which editorialized in favor of Stalin'e show trials of the late thirties.

There's something a bit unsettlng about the picture, as if he never came back. As if he never saw the bus that appeared from his left.

Phone for scale: how big is that desk?

A tiny thing at the bottom of the page I wanted to amplify for reasons I can't remember now:

Perhaps the tag line: FORD'S WAGON WONDERLAND. I don't think anyone ever thought I am in a wonderland of wagons. Boxy as can be, but I like them. The light green one especially. The wood paneling not so much; as I keep saying, the only thing for which wood-grained plastic should be used is the coffin of the man who invented wood-grained plastic.


That'll do; ComicCon piece tomorrow, I promise. See you around! And enjoy the adventures of the 19th century's Tom Swift Jr, below.


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