“I think,” I said, “I should go to a different Target.”

I was sitting in the restaurant area of Lunds on a Sunday, which happens every other week, waiting to pick up Big Bowl for takeout, which happens every other week, thinking about what changes I could make to shake life up a little. Daughter was full of suggestions. Most of them would, indeed, shake up my life, and were hence non-starters.

No I am not going to go to adult-education classes and learn a language.

No, I am not going to act in small films. I mean I’d like to, but the idea of auditioning and getting rejected by some 22-year-old auteur - please. Besides, where I work, I can act in my own small films. Yes, she said, but here you’d be doing something out of your comfort zone.

People say “comfort zone” like it’s a bad place. You know, putting this snapping turtle down my pants would certainly take me out of my comfort zone! I should do it, and thus grow as a person.

Of course she’s right, though. I would love to act and be in a movie. It just seems preposterous to think that would happen, because there are actual actors by the thousands milling around looking for something to do.

“I think I should just stop going to Cub for groceries. That would help.”

Eyeroll. But it’s true. Cub depresses me. It’s bare and utilitarian. It has enough contemporary signage to let you know they recognize the possibility of a pleasant shopping experience, but they’re more concerned about the whole “value” and “bargain” paradigm.


“But you don’t understand,” I said, with the horrible calm of a man who knows he is on a narrow lane to perdition. “They carry Cameron coffee, which is my favorite. Every three weeks they have a deal, $4.99 for 10 ounces. That’s three dollars off. I stock up. The weeks the coffee isn’t on sale, they have something else I love on sale, like the ice cream.”

“Get. A different. ice cream. BRANCH OUT. Explore.”

“I know, I know, but - bear with me. Chocolate with peanut-butter and caramel ribbons - that’s the apex. That’s everything I want. I don’t want cookies and cream. I don’t want ice-cream-cone fragments or blueberry ribbons. I want a thick vein of peanut butter with a sluice of caramel, and every third week it’s two scrounds for six dollars. And if it isn’t coffee or ice cream, it’s bacon or pizza. There’s always something. Because you go to choir on Wednesdays for ninety minutes, I go to Cub, and because I’m going to Cub I’m in the vicinity of Traders Joe so I stop off for the microwave popcorn and hummus and salad bag and yogurt mom likes, and because Infinite Intoxicants is next door I get the beer mom likes after work and refill what I like because that’s the most efficient way to fill those 90 minutes.


We left it at that, except I said I wouldn’t go to Cub for a while. Just to see what happened. When I got home I was putting the paper in the bin and saw the Cub coupons, and hello, $4.99 Camerons coffee. I clipped it out and put it in my wallet. You know just in case I was in the neighborhood, I don’t know.

Daughter wanted a ride to the gym, so I took her.

“Are you going to Cub?” she said. I said I was not. I was going home, and then I would come back. Which is what I did. When I got to the gym I looked at my phone, and there were two messages. Hadn’t seen them because I was not looking at my phone all the time because my neck hurts. They said she wanted to be picked up later maybe.

I called. Sure enough, she wanted 15 more minutes. Is that okay? I don’t want you to drive home and then come back.


I’ll go to Cub, I said.


It’s okay. I have a coupon for coffee.

So I went to Cub on Superbowl Sunday night. The parking lot was empty. The store was empty. It was really me, Cub, and everything I am tired of, laid bare. There was a time - two years ago? Three? - when I spun through the aisles, accumulating stocks for the week to come, and felt a sense of purpose, because I knew daughter wanted this bread for Monday and Wife wanted this yogurt for work-snack and this sale on fish would be good for the Thursday after next, and here’s the creamer Daughter likes (Sweet Cream, Nestle, Natural Bliss) and here’s that packet of taco seasoning you can’t get anywhere else that isn’t just salty napalm.

And BY GOD THESE PIZZAS. The flatbread pesto Daughter likes: Two. For. One. Pull that out some Friday and I’m golden dad who anticipated and provided.

Picked her up. How was Cub.

Cub was Cub. (pause) They had that deal on the coffee.

I’m happy for you.

Be sarcastic but in the morning there’s always something in the container that holds the pods for the Keurig, right? No one ever reaches for anything and it’s not there, right?

Ohmygod you have the easiest life of anyone and you want to be the martyr of grocery shopping for some reason

I thought there might be the title of a novel in there, but probably the title of my memoir.

As for Angstiama multiforma, we'll get to that.

More of the work of C. H. Wellington, cartoonist mislaid by history.

Wellington staked a lot on good reproduction. If you couldn't read the letter, the gag fell apart.


Rather flimsy premise, but they can't all be winners.




This week it's 1952 - but it's 1952 in a British magazine, which has a different style than the American publications. This, for example, could have run in the 30s:

Wikipedia says rather generic things:

Capstan is a brand of unfiltered British cigarettes made by Imperial Tobacco and originally launched by W. D. & H. O. Wills in 1894. The brand became less popular when the health effects of tobacco became more widely known; few shops now sell them.

They had the highest nicotine content of any brand.

I gather they did an ad for every month. There was an old country poem: "February fill the dyke, Be it black or be it white / But if it be white, It's the better to like." February was called "fill-dyke" month. Country talk, but the city folk apparently were supposed to get the reference.

It's a manly mag, by the way - Wide World Magazine. "The Times, in retrospect, humorously described the magazine as about 'brave chaps with large moustaches on stiff upper lips, who did stupid and dangerous things."


Remember the war? How we won? Hurrah!

Don't think the people who made this ever read Orwell. They're still made, and you have to love this:


" . . are available in specialist shops and online, but no longer contain chloroform or ether. However, their scent and flavour is still vividly reminiscent of diethyl ether - presumably recreated via artificial means, in order to preserve the original flavour."


You can get them on Amazon. "Forged for Strength" is their motto.

That's a serious lozenge.

Aw, he doesn't seem so bad:

This page of reviews recalls it fondly:

Craven Mixture was a beautifully balanced, old-fashioned English mixture – supposedly the “Arcadia Mixture” celebrated by J.M. Barrie – that is no longer made. It began life in the 1860s and was last seen (by me, at least) in the 1980s

Arcadia mixture? It's spoken about with hushed, reverent tones. Dr. Watson smoked it.


He looks cool, acts cool, is cool!

It looks like the sort of picture Terry Gilliam would have cut up and animated for a Python routine, but of course Gilliam wasn't living in England in 1953. He was living in California, having just moved from Minnesota.

This looks modern! Incomprehensible, but modern:

So you went with Biro because that meant you could get your ball-point pen serviced in other countries? Was anyone ever on vacation, discover that the pen wasn't working, and told the family to go to the museum without him, he was off to have his Biro serviced?

And was "getting your Biro serviced" possibly slang for something else?


I'm getting a good feel for the magazine's demographics:


Blotchy old sort, isn't he?

It's an American-type cigarette. I don't know what that meant, except that it was probably milder. See also, "beer."



It was bright pink, a color you don't see much in dentifrices these days.


"Johnson & Johnson Ltd, the makers of Euthymol, had temporarily stopped the supply of Euthymol toothpaste in mid-2012 while the product was reformulated due to changes in the European Cosmetics Regulation."

And that's why you got Brexit.


Is the sun wearing a bottom?

They still use the same logo, which makes me happy. It's a chain of holiday camps, something Americans don't know and wouldn't understand. There were once many, but now are three, including the euphoniously named Butlin Skegness.

Also known as Funcoast World.

There you go: English ads for men. Say what you will about this feature, I'm shaking it up this year.


That'll do for today! Don't miss my MONDAY newspaper column! Just click on the Star. You know: The big green Startribune Star.


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