It's almost midnight, and I really should get to mail. It piles up. I should make some reservations; things never get cheaper (until the very last moment! And then it's $2.99 per night on the QE2! Or so the emails suggest.) I should get to the book, do the cover. I should. I must. I don't. I won't. I would like to watch TV, but the damned internet is so slug-footed it'll buffer like watching YouTube on a Rokr, so it's disc-based entertainment tonight, perhaps.

What? Well, last weekend I watched the first new Star Trek movie again, for some reason. And I liked it again, for many reasons. Tonight I will watch the other one, because the third one is coming out, and I have fears it will just make me feel tired and old if it's noisy and witless. I base this on the internetty bitchery of the people who hated the first two. (I liked the second one, too. Reservations, yes, but here's the test: do I like the movie as I am watching it? This seems to be important. Am I swept along? If so, that's because the things they get right exceed the things they get wrong, and they have captured something essentially correct.

(This is why I hate "Mission Impossible" movies on general principle: the first one broke faith with the story in a way that poisoned everything else. It's like learning that Bond was always working for an offshoot of SMERSH. There are some things you shouldn't do just for the sake of "revitalizing" a "franchise," and while the second New Star Trek movie did not give us a convincing Khan - he lacked that musky scent of rich Corinthian leather - it carried me along as it happened. I'm no fan of the evil-side-of-the-Federation story, but it's not new, and Section 31 is a fascinating and rich element of latter-day Trek stories. )

NERD NERD DORK HA HA Okay, fine. I prefer to enjoy. I play out lots of rope as long as I don't get the upfront feeling that this is being done by people who have something they want to grind into my puss. I've been watching "Happy Valley" season 2, because it's British and it's on Netflix and I watched Season 1. Same reaction to the second go-round. It's a cop show, but it's really about the uncomfortable transition an English town is experiences as it turns into a welfare-state matriarchy. The women are mostly Strong, of course; a slight majority are Victims, but even then they're not only Strong but Resourceful. The men are useless. The male cops are callow. The working men are brutes. The men who don't work are worthless yobs on the dole. One of the main detectives is a philanderer who is weak and vain. Go to the hospital? It's run by women. Go to a classroom? When they introduce a new teacher, you can bet it'll be a woman, because the idea of a male teacher - well, that was the problem, wasn't it. Nothing but those types, and look where that got everyone.

Of course this show is meant to redress previous injustices - they wouldn't say so, but you know it's payback. It's the shoe on the other foot, one that hasn't seen a pedicure in a year because the job's just too bloody demanding. But I still don't recall the police show where the hero cop kicked a female suspect in the groin in the first season and Tasered a woman in the genitals in the second, and then told the story to great laughter in the squad room, and we were expected to smile along because women getting an electrical charge in the clitoris, c'mon, lighten up, it's funny.

Of all the things I saw or heard this weekend - and that includes a Hitchcock movie, a serial episode, a 1950s cheesy sc-i-fi (for B&W World Creature Feature, a summertime staple), a three-part BBC radio drama about how some radio plays would never get produced without state subsidies (which seems to be the message I get rom a lot of Radio 4 afternoon dramas), the best was a wordless movie starring clay sheep. "Shaun the Sheep" was something I liked more than Daughter, and I think I know why - it didn't have the same character as the rest of the Aardman productions. When I first saw it I thought they were turning out short pieces to pay the rent, to be honest. They were clever and amusing, but there was something about the dullard farmer and the prison-guard dog that gave it a cold note. It was a trifle. The timing was perfect and the bits were funny, but if it was auditioning to be a Wallace and Grommet replacement, it wasn't up to W & G standards.

I say this in the context of loving everything Aardman does, with broad and unqualified admiration.

But: they made a movie. I knew I had to see it eventually. It's marvelous. Not a line of dialogue. If you just came to it knowing zip, you'd love it. But if you remember the few shows we saw here in the States, you'd realize how good these people are, because they found an emotional story where none existed before, and it's there right in the opening credits. It's very funny. Throwaway gags galore, sustained comic set-pieces - start to finish, a smart, kind, delight.




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

Like plates. What woman wouldn't want to get her dishes from the place that changes the oil?



Salem made dishes until 1967. They had a big factory; part of it burned in 2003. Cosco's still at it, though. From their page: "Cosco was founded in 1939 as the Columbus Specialty Company with the invention of a tin matchbox that dispensed new matches while providing a place for used ones. In 1941, we introduced patented all-metal kitchen stools; the first full line of household stools manufactured by one company."

I remember the metal as being not overly substantial.

Huffy: bikes AND mowers. "Just press a button - it starts!" And barely has the strength to mow two blades at once.



Velon is still made; it's disposable decorative fabric. The screen version sounds quite useful; why didn't everyone switch?

I guessing that it ripped easily. One kid poking it with a pencil - ruined.

You know, now that I think about it, this is a Product entry. Hmm. Well, speaking of which . . .





Behold: industrial design at its finest.


This is the precursor to the 50s version with the wrap-around headlamp. I include so you can see what inevitably got wrecked and tossed: the attachments caddy.

Did anyone use that brush? We had one, and I don't recall my mother ever using it for anything. I would try to find some play application for it, and always failed.

If that wasn't designed by Raymond Loewy, it was done by one of his disciples.

It's not often I use a full-page ad here - is it? I can't keep track, and it doesn't matter. But I wanted the full impact of this one to be know for all its drama, and so you can study the peculiar perspective of the bathroom - as well as the dramatic impact of nightwear.


He looks at the bottle as though offering it to a god - but with regret, because he could use a pull from the Pepto as well.

This is the old package: recognizable today, thanks to its hue. I suppose they could have called it by is true name, Bismuth subsalicylate, but that's not too catchy.




Here are some selections from a post-war ad: ALL YOUR FAVORITES ARE COMING BACK. Needs to be said in the voice of you-know-who.

I wonder how much variation there really was. Especially when you added ice or a mixer. Could anyone tell the difference between Old Stagg . . .


. . . and Old Charter? Ancient Age can still be found; Schenley sold it during the 80s. This bourbon site says: " It is interesting that Old Stagg was the best selling bourbon in the nation in the late 1940's. One of the files in the archive has to do with Early Times suing to have them discontinue using that fact after Early Times overtook and passed them in sales and became number one in 1950."

Old Charter was first sold in 1874; now it's made by Buffalo Trace these days, which suggests it's worth a try.


Blue Ribbon doesn't seem to be well remembered. "Old Ripy" sounds like a fragrant bum, but it was the name of the family that founded the brand.

And more, priced according to the amount of burn:


This site says:

According to his grandson, Samuel J. Thompson, Sam (the elder) hadn't started out with the idea of distilling whiskey at all. In 1844 he acquired the first distillery at this site from a man who owed him money. He would have preferred being paid back, but the distillery was his only option.

In 1844 he started his own brand, with a competitive advantage: it was better than everyone else's. Or so the story went.


Standing alone, James Pepper's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Still made, but today it's called 1776, with James E. Pepper in smaller letters. Says its site:

Starting with Elijah Pepper (distiller 1776-1838) and then Oscar Pepper (distiller 1838-1867), the Colonel James E. Pepper (distiller 1867-1906) was the 3rd generation of that distilling legacy. He was a larger than life bourbon aristocrat and took the family brand to it's highest peak. A KY captain of American industry, he raced thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby, traveled in a private rail car & made famous the "Old-Fashioned" cocktail.


That's a fair amount of accomplishments for a man. Any one would do.

Barbasol really pushed the boundaries. I'm serious. They always used buxom babes, but rarely employed suggestive lingo:

It's almost as if it's a metaphor or something.

Finally: the drink to drink when you're completely comfortable with small hallucinations:

Each of these Ethnically-Costumed fellows contributed an ingredient to the Martini.

Can you guess what they were?

Did I mention anything about what I mentioned yesterday? It seems not, but that has to do with something I didn't get done today, along with everything else. Tomorrow, then. It involves a video. It will not be obligatory, but they want a video. See you here & there.



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