Went to Hunt and Gather with Daughter, because she wanted to get small jars. Of course; your small jar headquarters. She intended to fill them with loose-leaf tea as a Christmas present for friends, and envisioned making her own hand-drawn labels. This would require a trip to the Co-Op. Was I up for that?

Oh my yes I was.

H&G was still in Xmas mode, of course, and the fruits are displayed below this week. I found a few things I could scan and post. Worked through a bin of postcards, which I've sorted through before. The work of other people's hands brings things to the surface I'd never seen before. When I was done I found Daughter going through a basket of scarves - no, not scarves. Too small. Kerchiefs, that was it. Tie them around your head, instant Polish peasant.

Once we had the jars, we went to Lakewind Co-Op. It's new, bright, shiny. Built on the remains of Lyndale Garden Center. New apartment buildings across the street. Part of an attempt to create New Urbanist Urbanism in the suburbs, an effort that will always be thwarted by a fatal decision made many years ago to build a strip mall with a big parking lot. It's this:

If you turn around, you see a few apartment buildings; if all four corners had these structures, it would be New Urbanist Urbanism. But it will ever be incomplete. The street was made Curvy for some reason many decades ago, and this marooned a hamburger joint. They filled in the area with trees. The sign stood for decades until the garden center was demolished. My site appears to be the only evidence online that the burger joint existed.

Still, the Co-Op is nice. But the moment I walk in I feel like I am a foreign land. I am among a tribe ruled by superstition, united in their fear of the dark god Gluu-ten, and devoted to the believe that food fertilized by heaps of feces has some inherent value that enriches not just the body, but the soul. It's like Whole Foods: I want to cry out a peal of anguish. WHERE ARE MY BRAND NAMES I AM A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND because nothing's familiar. No, a few names; in the Organic section of the supermarkets I visit, there's the Kashii and the Whole World and the Sustainable Farmer brands of whatever, but here they rule the roost.

They had free samples of Hemp candy.

In college I knew someone who shopped at the co-op, and bought granola in bulk. She had a magical faith in the qualities of co-op products, and was also beset by psychosomatic devilment of the area twixt sternum and hip. Everything that was not natural was POISON. I know there's studies 'n' stuff, but my father has eaten factory meat and inhaled GASOLINE every day of his life, and he could punch a horse cold at the age of 90. So.

I went to the breakfast cereal section. Rainforest Crunch! Sustainable! Sweetened with Panda pheromones! They seem incapable of coming up with the requisite smiling cartoon characters kids love; even the illustration of the Puffin on the boxes has the bird looking a bit embarrassed, as if he's saying yeah, I know, I know. But, carob!

Carob was the chocolate replacement, because chocolate was evil - but then chocolate got awesome AND sustainable AND fair-tradable, and now you have a wall of NINE DOLLAR CHOCOLATE BARS with an actual picture of the wizened grinning farmer who supplied the beans, and he's missing a couple of canines to show that the beans came from a really authentic place, and it's 82% Dark Flamenco, and it's bean to bar, dude, that means the people who bought the beans turned it into this bar, right here, this one, and 10% profits go back to the Center for Doing Things Indiginously.

If that's what you want, and these are the precepts that guide your purchasing decision: you have my complete support. I don't care. It's your money and I have my own set of internal justifications for purchase decisions that may strike you as preposterous. You can say that you feel reassured in such a place, knowing that the entire store is under an umbrella of Ethical Choices, but to me it was like Dinner + Church.

I did buy some granola. Peanut-butter / banana. Nine dollars a pound. Bought a bowlful.

"That's $2.24," said the clerk. "Would you like to round it up to three dollars to support (some wonderful thing I didn't catch.)

Uh - no? Would I like to pay 75 cents more? When we're at the Goodwill I always say yes and round up, because it goes to Goodwill which does things for people right here, but the idea of going to the grocery store and having them ask every time if I want to round up, and feeling like a bad person who kicked an orphan who's picking chocolate beans for the 82% Sumatra Noir bar - can I just buy my cereal and leave it at that?

When we were buying tea for Daughter's gifts, a woman came by and asked: "Do you know where Arrowroot is? I need Arrowroot."

I am a stranger in a strange land, I said. I know not the ways of this place.


More Hunt & Gather Christmas items. The Bin O' Santas! Now that think of it, the picture above is taken from this very tableau

Art-Rite or Star Brite? Take your pick.



The surprising thing about the 20s is how few things they had to advertise. So they spent a lot on what they could.

Oh, they had lots to advertise, but it's rare I see irons and radios in the magazines. It's mostly things like this. Sauer's is still around, and according to their website they have spent considerable energy buying up the nation's regional mayonnaise.

As for the company:

Throughout his life, Mr. Sauer demonstrated strong devotion to his nation and community. One example of his patriotism was a letter dated April 5, 1917, in which he offered President Woodrow Wilson the use of Sauer’s pharmaceuticals for the war effort. His offer was accepted.

In the community, Mr. Sauer was much appreciated for his creation of the Monumental Floral Gardens near Libbie Avenue and Broad Street, and the Japanese Gardens at Monument and Sauer Avenues. The Monumental Floral Gardens featured sunken Italian gardens decorated with imported statues and shrubbery, while the Japanese Gardens included plants, shrubs, and statues from the Orient. Mr. Sauer’s many trips abroad allowed him to collect many sculptures, which he enjoyed sharing with the city.

By 1927, The C. F. Sauer Company became the largest producer of extracts and spices in the nation.

The garden is gone. The Japanese gardens are now occupied by condos. Local paper:

During the community’s early years, the area around it was largely undeveloped, and a Sauer-dispatched station wagon carried homeowners to downtown stores, James said. The area has built up since then, though, and its proximity to restaurants, shops and private clubs has helped sustain Monumental Floral Gardens’ appeal in recent decades.

So it was a privately owned garden, not a public park.


There's a reason for this. You know it or you don't.

It's referencing the TV ad campaign:



Charles Saxon got the job to sell Polaroids to the New Yorker crowd:

The rest of the ad is a copy-heavy account of the camera's features and benefits; the beeps are explained. The boops are explained.

This doesn't mean you should give it as a gift; it means you should buy it for yourself. This was the cool high-end gadget. This was the Apple of its day.

The price was about $200.00, or about $1,300 in 2015 money.

Here's what Hertz's competition used:

There's something very 60s about that campaign. The (blank) Bug was a construct for something that changed people for better or for worse, and it suggested that the change was the result of external influences. As in, look who's caught the grump bug.

Oh, you got STICKERS from Avis? That would convince anyone. Not price or models or convenience, but STICKERS.


No Christmas would be complete without . . .


Pre-packaged holiday liquor gifts. The gift that says "very little thought went into this, but you don't care in the least because you know what's in it and you like what's in it."

That will have to hold you, although there are two pages of Frank Reade Jr. The adventure continues, in a new vessel; I think Frank has completely trashed at least 75 big airships / submarines / land skimmers so far. I don't know where he gests the money.


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