Saturday afternoon. The Spring Postcard show.

"Do you have metal add?" the man said.

The woman behind the table looked confused and said "excuse me?"

"Do you have any cards where they added metal."

"No," she said. "Sorry."

The man moved on to another table, looking for the things he wanted, which was postcards with metal added to the image. Oh, the strange things people collect - I heard one woman ask if they had Minneapolis (unintelligible) and the dealer laughed, said no, and good luck with that. Who knows what it could be; one guy's looking for Black Nazi Cheesecake, another for Gas Stations by Ocean Liners.

When I was paging through a stack of motel cards - the dealer was smart enough to price them at a dollar, which means I'd buy a ton - a fellow came by and asked if the dealer had North Dakota towns starting with the letter Z.

Ah yes. 1969, Little Country Theater, North Dakota State University, Fargo ND. I'm in a production of "Ah Wilderness," as Tommy the Boy. All the college students in the play are planning their big spring fling: they are going to join the Happening, the Big Groovy Love Event. They are going to Zip to - well, I leaned over to the Z guy and said "Looking for Zap?"

"That I am," he grinned.

"What else could it be."

But the dealer had no Zap.

The event has a wikipedia entry:

Revelers drank copious quantities of alcohol. As the small country town's resources became depleted, the amiable mood began to turn ugly and Zap's residents asked the visitors to leave. Some complied, but others stayed behind. The event became a full-fledged riot. The National Guard was called in and the crowd was dispersed. The Zip to Zap would go down in history as the only official riot in the history of North Dakota that was put down by the National Guard.

I know I mentioned that before. In fact I think this week I am going to mention lots of things I've mentioned before, but do a better job. Because the Bleat is bigger and better than ever! And that's why the Bleat as we know it (key phrase, italicized for your convenience, and to give me an escape hatch) might be ending on Dec. 31.

Remember the mutterings about an announcement? That's not it, but it's part of it. More tomorrow. And I didn't say which Dec. 31.

Anyway, I got some treasures. Forty-six motels for the site, some restaurants and some ships, and - hellll-lo, a box of 1933 World's Fair for .50 a pop, stock up. Another table had portfolios for a dollar, because no one likes portfolios. Those are the thick "Greetings From" collections that have ten cards, accordion fold. You find some nifty stuff there, and indeed I did: a 1908 collection of Lincoln NE scenes, about which I would normally care little. But: it contained a letter sent to a friend, and all the images were annotated with cheeky remarks.

People had humor in 1908? Self-deprecating, sly, sarcastic humor? Why that's impossible.

A small piece of bygone Venice, CA:


Lots of stuff, and it'll all be up on the site eventually. Spent Saturday night scanning the lot, sorting and researching. I know it sounds boring but it's not. I always wanted to work in a museum.



A two-page ad reminds us how much stuff Firestone used to sell. Gas AND things. Tires AND things! And other things.

Behold the beautiful Borg:



That linoleum-like pattern is familiar, as is the useless streamlining. They actually use that word, in case you're going to weigh yourself in a stiff wind.

You can buy one here. It's green!






The end of our Fairbanks salute, which was begun for no particular reason and concludes with the same aimless lack of purpose.



One hundred years ago. Got it? One hundred years ago. Here's the set-up. Consider the first sentence.



Publicity at any price has become the predominant passion of the American people. 1916. Health-food fads. We've changed so much.

"Three-sheeting" was the number of 27" X 41" sheets used in an ad campaign. They also staged walking demonstrations touting the virtues of vegetable-extract food, and I wonder where this is - so much signage.


The movie regards vegetarianism as a strange, amusing madness followed by the rich and easily led.


Because real meat-fed men can pitch woo with vigor, and prune-pusses are limp kissers. Moisty little men who fall over at the sight of an ankle, instead of jumping up like loin-girded go-getters.

It didn't hold my attention, but that was probably my fault. It did have some inadvertant documentary: that might be Coney Island up there, and here's Grand Central:




Our hero washes up on the shores of the Boardwalk Empire:

But this is what you came for, right? A little bit of comic derring do, with footage of bygone New York.

Harold Lloyd may have learned a thing or two from Fairbanks' films.


Another week begins, with all the usual updates. You do like them, don't you? If not, just wait; something else will come along. It always does.

Until it doesn't, he said portentiously.



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