It snowed today, just to tick off that "cruelest month" box. Sixties on the weekend, snow on Monday. Light meaningless flakes that milled around like extras on a set in need of direction. Nothing lasted and everything died when it touched the ground, which is the sort of phrase that passes for good news in the first half of this month. Gah.

Busy, with new enthusiasms. Over the weekend everyone was cleaning out shelves and closets, and I decided it was time for some Stuff Reduction. This means grappling with the horrible duty of books. I can't get rid of any more. Correction: I could get rid of most, but of course that's out of the question. Some volumes exist just to assure me I read them, and for a while I knew something about what was contained between the covers. History, non-fiction. Biography. I know I will never re-read the biography of Stanford White, or Stanny as his friends called him. It's a great story - guy designs the finest buildings of his era, is an elegant figure in upper-class New York with a hella 'stache, gets shot dead in one of his own buildings by a jealous millionaire whose wife White was . . . seeing, shall we say. The famous Evelyn Nesbitt, the girl in the Red Velvet Swing. Oh, it's a grand story. I can't part with the book, because just looking at it recalls that era, and how I think I panned it when I reviewed it. Great story, meh bio.

There are dozens of architecture books, which form the bulk of the library. It's not that I use them much. I just find them a comfort, a bulwark against forgetting, a testament to the American spirit - all those skyscrapers and drive-ins and fantasy World's Fairs. And an indictment of American restlessness - so many books devoted to the things we have lost. No, that's not the word. Threw away. Knocke down. I walked through Downtown East last Thursday, past the block where the Star Tribune building stood, and I see it; I can remember it; I can describe the holes on the marble where the old sign was anchored. There's not a sign it was ever there. The individual replacements are usually good and often better. The aggregate effect is often worse and frequently dismaying.

It's as if sundering the collection somehow makes those bygone places disappear for good. And that would be true, for me. I need the pictures. I don't need to see them. I just need to know I have them.

Which explains a lot of this site, I suppose. I'm content to know all those pages are there, and loath to look at them, because that produces the itch that makes me redesign everything. I'm elbows-deep in an overhaul of a backwater site that really doesn't have any reason to exist, other than the items cannot be found anywhere else on the internet and this confers a certain responsibility. Also reconstructing a site that whose conception was ingenious but had craptacular execution, and the new version will be one of the best things on the site. Period.

ANYway, I just banged this out to take the place of something else I'll hold for tomorrow, so this is like a lame Thursday bleat ahead of schedule. Reason: did a podcast tonight in the "Ramble" series, because I had written enough. Filed one long feature this morning, dashed off a work blog, filed a National Review column. That was Monday. That, and snow. Now to watch one of the new X-Files and get frustrated and sad and perhaps hopeful.

Better than expecting anything from "The Walking Dead" besides sadism and misery, I'll give it that. I love the fact that everyone's infuriated we didn't see a character beaten to death with a barbed-wire baseball bat. C'mon! Don't get our hopes up like that - someone's supposed to die, horribly, so we can discuss it on message boards and comment threads. Season 4 of Wallender can't come fast enough. Enough punching. Enough monsters. Some restrained Swedish deduction, that's all I want. I'd even sit still for a Van Veetering TV show, even though the books are like chewing felt.


Another mid-70s Gottlieb; looks more like it belongs square in the middle of the later 60s.

I've watched two videos of Spin Out play, and the players drained immediately both times. It doesn't look like an interesting table - a ton of dead space and limited variety in the action up top.

When you go to the races, remember to turn your back to the action:

It needs saying: just because a pinball machine is old doesn't mean it was good.

BTW, the YouTube comments note that the player experienced a SDTM at :39. Can you figure out what that stands for?



Well, well. Look who's back!



A simple tableau of heart-warming rough-housing, as Daddy Bull teaches his daughter a few wrestling moves. Milk or cheese doesn't enter into it at all, but that'll change once Elsie shows up and ruins everything. As usual.


  You know, I think we're well aware that she's Elsie the Borden Cow.

The Strangler was the ring name of Ed Lewis, credited as the inventor of the "Sleeper Hold."

Regarded by some as the greatest wrestler ever. Note: "came out of retirement, at the age of 51, in 1942 despite being legally blind."


A glimpse into wartime economics. The subsidized praising the subsidizer! Who'd have thought.

There was no one Elsie wouldn't shill for, if there were dairy products involved.


The peacock's expression looks as if it can't believe it is enduring this humiliation but knows that it is happening right in front of everyone.


What might these squares be? Kentile, of course.

You could combine them into different hideous & unnerving patterns like BIG BASKET PLAID

They had a secret ingredient for durability: asbestos! Hence the company no longer exists. Lawsuits.

I may have used this one before. It demands that we put it before the people every year or so, to remind them: ALL AMERICAN BACON PIZZA/

Doesn't really look like pizza at all, aside from its circular shape. One rectangle of cheese? Fully intact bacon?


There was a time when the word "process" was a positive attribute.


All American Cheese is processed cheese. Wikipedia:

Today’s American cheese is, by law, required to be manufactured from at least 2 types of cheese. Because its manufacturing process differs from "unprocessed"/raw/natural cheeses, American cheese can not be legally sold under the name (authentic) "cheese" in the US. Instead, federal (and even some state) laws mandate that it be labeled as "processed cheese" if simply made from combining more than one cheese, or "cheese food."

They didn't try very hard to distinguish it from Velveeta, though. Velveeta is ur American cheese.


And that will have to do for today - two pages of Sci-Fi covers, if you're in the mood. See you around!


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