Mojo Nixon? You can stop worrying.

Darn it. Not the biggest Glen Frey fan, but he did some good stuff, and what the hell is going on with this year? Some sort of slow-motion celebrity rapture? One tweet said his death was "confirmed by the band," which sounds like they're all sitting around the recording studio on tall stools with their headphones slung around their necks.


Tonight's call to technical support at CenturyLink ("We bit off more than we can chew, and pass along the choking sounds to you!") involved this exchange:

Okay I am going to send you to our speed test, okay? Here's the address. I go there. I click on the SPEED TEST button. The page requires Flash. "The page wants Flash. I took it off my computer, because, you know."

I understand.

Okay, I'll get it, just this once. I click the download button. Sigh. "Your link to get Flash loads the Adobe Flash landing page and fits it in a frame with no way to scroll down to get the download button."

I apologize.

"Oh, you didn't code the page. Hold on." I go to Adobe and get the fargin' Flash.Set it up, reload the browser. Same thing. Flash not detected. I reload the page a few times. Same problem. "I am loathe to flush the cache," I say, "just for this."

Do you have another browser you could use?

"I have Chrome, but you know how much it loves Flash."

Yes I am sorry.

"And I don't have Firefox or Opera. I mean, do you have Firefox or Opera?

He cracks up. I mean, he loses it for about 40 seconds. The idea that he would have Firefox, okay, ha ha, but Opera. DUDE. It was the funniest thing he'd heard all night.

I'd do some work with the network on my own, but daughter has friends over for a sleepover and they're in the basement hoovering up Netflix, I suppose. Turning off the Internet would brand her and ruin everything.


Am I saying it is cold? It looks like this. It feels like this. The steam from the power plant blooms in the sky year-round, but on some days it just looks exceptionally frosty.


A new feature to run sporadically above the fold for the next month or so. You know those tiny tiny pictures of albums on the inner sleeves of record albums?

No? You're under 40? Understood. Trust me, they were there, and you were often disappointed to see them. A good record had an inner sleeve you could look at while the music played - lyrics or prose or just some cool picture that made you feel on the vanguard of pop culture, thanks to a new twist in graphic design. The Supertramp albums - oh, don't start - had thick paper sleeves with a dominant color that would be the dominant color on the inside of the next album. At least for a while. Then sales went down and they didn't want to spend the money.

Anyway. There were usually 30 albums, most of which you didn't want and made you feel less cool for looking at. To think you were lumped in with these bands! Urgh. Well, I was digitizing a Dennis Day record - again, nothing I like, but something I saw that deserved to be rescued, just because - and the inner sleeve was a remarkable time capsule of late-50s / early 60s. Such as:

What a perfect cultural artifact. Songs of Couch and Consultation, a tongue-and-cheek (I hope) set of songs about Analysis. There was a curious vogue for things "sick" - as the poorly-written Wikipedia article on the matter says, "As a guest at the first airing of the Playboy's Penthouse show in 1959, Lenny Bruce objected to a Time article indiscriminately grouping seven new comedians, labeling them as "sick comics". (These were Lenny Bruce, political satirist Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman, Jonathan Winters, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and Tom Lehrer.) Shelley Berman! Sick? Nichols and May?

This picture comes from a 1961 inner sleeve for a Dennis Day record, and it seems unlikely that Dennis' audience was interested in things Sick. It's also odd that the record was advertised in a 1961 sleeve, since some sources say came out in 1957. There are three different versions of the cover. One site says she did another version of the idea for RCA.

It's all too much and I don't care.

Except: if this did come out in 1957, and Time identified the Sickniks - and boy howdy, there's another Fifties coinage - in 1959, then Time was really behind the curve. But the article is fascinating.

Inside Shelley Berman has been near the top of the LP bestseller list for two months, a remarkable feat for a nonmusical disk. And sociologists, both professional and amateur, see in the sick comedians a symptom of the 20th century's own sickness. Says one: "It's like the last days of Romeā€”all this horror and mayhem in humor."

1959. Oh, brother, just wait.

Since this isn't Listen, I won't embed any songs; you can find them easily enough here. It's the cliche of the analyst that deserves mention, because this is an archetype now gone, and gone for good. The man with the goatee and glasses and pipe and Viennese accent - for a while it was a staple, and he predated the analyst craze of the East Coast elites; you found him blathering on in Forties movies and radio shows, confidently spewing nonsense about Sssspleeet Perzonalties and Repressed Zzzzzico-logical probalems.

How many other bygone tropes will we find in this series? Stay tuned.



Elmer, isn't it sad that wartime shortages have cut down on the use of color in ads:

I have no idea how Beaulah is holding on, if she's riding his back. If she slid down the bannister, she timed it well, but it's going to end with a crack on the noggin.

The main ingredient in Hemo would seem to be sugar, and lots of it.

A venerable brand with an old Americana connection:


The packaging looks straight out of the 20s. The name, of course, goes back to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories. Wikipedia: Br'er Rabbit is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, provoking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit.

So this is naughty molasses. Why use that name? I can't imagine it was any other reason than the famous Tar Baby story. Sticky was the tar; sticky was molasses.

Not a very appetizing idea, though.



Something about her expression suggests that more than Stepping might happen later on:

This campaign ran for a while in many variations. Either it was the usual flummery, addressing a problem no one had considered, or it was generally understood that the miserable nature of American men could often be traced to a lousy bed that did not keep the spine level.

Unlevel spines, that's what made them drink and stay out at night.


If ever there was a post-war brand name, an a font to match, it was this:

She's from Missouri, so you have to show her. Won't take your word for it. A suspicious, untrusting lot, those people.

We'll never know her first name. Mrs. James was all America was told.

Kreme, by the way, was plastic. You can imagine what that curtain felt like.

Mother is ashamed to explain daddy's peculiarities to thier son. Children should be shielded from such things.

The nightcap! At some point in American history, a man was the last one to wear one to bed. Did it have a point, like the classic one shown below?

Hey, there's jargon: it's a bias-cut tie. Meaning: " the tie is cut across the threads of the cloth diagonally. Wearing ties that are not cut on the bias may not look nice since they turn round instead of going down straight."

I'd no idea.




I know I've mentioned this product before, because when I googled Meadors Greenville SC all that came back was a street, Meadors avenue. Seemed familiar. But I don't think I'd mentioned the girl.

"Angela . . . sac o'sugah."

It's odd that no trace of her or the product, aside from ads, exists on the web.

I mean, it's normal, I suppose, but it's odd.




Well, we've learned something today, haven't we? Certainly hope so.See you around in the usual places.


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