Is there anything that can redeem a Tuesday? As I was saying last week around this time, Tuesday is the worst; Tuesday is the middle seat of days, the pop-up ad that wants you to sign for a political news website's DAILY BRIEFING! Tuesday is limp boiled carrot slices. Unless it's spring, and then it's wonderful!

But it's not spring.

Perhaps I can console myself today with the knowledge that I made an ORFJALL and a SPORREN yesterday. Those were parts of an IKEA chair for daughter. There is no translation online for ORFJALL, who sounds maybe like a janitor in Asgarrd. SPORREN would be a great monster in the Marvel Comics monster period. Possibly Sporr's brother.

The word translates as The INCENTIVE. The Sporren was the lower part of the chair; it had no seat. Just a wheeled base and a pole in the middle.

I'd say that's an incentive, all right.



You like that little gif? Be glad it's not the original, which was much more realistic. I had the words jitter around every 15th frame, like a bad TV picture. Incredibly distracting.

If you're curious - I took a picture of a TV from a 1955 ad, selected the screen, did a filter "add noise," then pasted it in between the words and the picture of the TV. Repeat 15 times because the noise is randomly generated, and that's how you get a tidy little animated GIF.

I don't know what I'll do if I ever want to talk about TV on a Wednesday.

So. The other day I got into a small Twitter spat about the number of French Detectives in literature - a misunderstanding, really; I was talking about famous world-wide iconic names, and the other person was talking about all the figures in French books no one outside of France has heard about. Le burn. The spark for the dispute was a French series new on Netflix, No Second Chance - it's about a female doctor who embarks on a search for her kidnapped daughter that takes her through - altogether now - the Seedy Underbelly of Paris.

What is an underbelly? Do creatures who stand upright have an underbelly? If you don't stand upright, isn't your belly automatically an underbelly, and hence doesn't need the whole "under" part? Ever scratched your dog's stomach and found seeds?

Also: Oh, look, the grocery store is selling seeds! Great, we need it be seedier around here. Can't wait for the joys of seedy underdirt!

Eight episodes, each of which ends with her understanding of the situation is reset after 57 minutes. Because it’s a series. It’s like any number of serialized mysteries; everyone in the first half of the show might as well paint themselves red and smear themselves with herring.

I understand why, but it’s old now, and it means you don’t believe the plot twists in the first few episodes. You just want to yell at the characters IT CAN'T POSSIBLY BE THE SISTER IT'S EPISODE TWO.

The author of the novel on which the book is based is American - Harlan Coban. King of the 95 MPH Airport Bookstore thrillers, and for good reason. Horrifying premises; nice tidy domestic lives destroyed by The Worst Thing. This book was written in 2003, and the main character was a man - they flipped it for the TV show. Doesn't suffer at all.

Anyway, since the author's American, that’s how the subject of French mysteries came up. What, they don’t have enough of their own? It’s amusing to see the Frech show trot out archetypes modern and old - the no-nonsense, tough-as-nails female cop who’s had to prove herself in a sexist world! The grumpled old cop who’s getting too old for this merde! The brooding cop who plays outside the rules - you’re off the case! Be glad you’re not fired!

You can’t fire me, chief. This is France.

Well then you’re reassigned!

You’ll have to talk to the union. There’s a six-month process.

Then you’re relieved from duty without pay while we appeal!

No, the contract says I have to be paid during an internal investigation. (lights cigarette)

Then you’re busted down to traffic homicide! It’s still in my power to do that!

Traffic homicide?

You investigate the murders of toll booth operators.

(strokes stubble) Are there many?

There have been sixteen in the last month. That damn fool Barthe thinks they’re connected. You go work with him.

Okay. But one thing. It seems like you’re assigning me to a story that actually deserves a TV series of its own. Am I done in this one? Have I been written out?

For chrissakes no you’re needed in the final episode when the doctor finds the kidnapper and he ties her up while the police are sending the SWAT team to the Hareng Rouge nightclub. At best you get one or two appearances in the next four episodes. You’ve been here before. You know how it goes. Your new partner is dull-witted. You’re distracted. At some point you put it all together and say “I have to go” and your partner says Wait, where are you going? but you're already screeching away in your car because you figured it out and hope there's still time.

So I’m not expected to solve the toll-booth murders.

I don’t care. Just get out of my hair while the plot underscores the inability of the regular police to get the job done. Except for the Tunisian hacker kid. He solves everything by typing. I don't know how. He hacks into things.

Does he ever come up against a firewall?

What? Yes. But then he types some more. Now get out!

I’m three eps in, and it’s holding my interest. I got six eps into Z: the Beginning of the Start of Everything which is about F. Scott and Zelda, and it started to seem the same: Scott is drunk and resentful; Scott is drunk and confident. At one point in a train car after a bad public appearance he stares straight ahead and eats a Chesterfield. I looked up the soundtrack online and there’s actually a track called “Scott Eats the Cigarette.”

No one ever ate a cigarette. It makes one want to create an IMDB account just so you can say 4 stars out of 10. No one ever ate a cigarette.


A 30s crime pulp mag ran a WANTED section, so you could keep an eye peeled for these hardcase yeggs. Maybe they called him Ol' Lightbulb:

Homer Cotton, another alias self-defeater: tatted his initials on his wrist.

Interesting note about the nose: bends right left. Could be a transcription of someone with a Southern accent: now his nose, it bends raht left.

There were many other Cottons, but only one seems to have been a famous female serial killer. Classic English arsenic poisoner. Speaking of which: the other day in the car, listening to the BBC, the announcer said "new examination of Jane Austen's glasses may yield new clues into her death," and I said "ARSENIC" because it's always arsenic. Sure enough. At least that's the new speculation. No proof yet.

Don't know if Homer was an Austen fan.



1922, and Canada again. Macleans magazine. It may be Canadian, but it's still recognizable.

Kidding, but not entirely. Anyway: Another domestic scene that makes it hard to know what they're selling:


The Dominion Textile Inc. or Domtex was

That's the word you expected to see, right? Was. More:

In the 1980s the textile industry was again changing, as General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provisions came into effect that opened the business to competition from low wage developing economies. Domtex tried to adapt. It entered into a long battle to try to get concessions from its unions and closed half its Canadian factories. In 1987 it made a failed bid for American giant Burlington Industries, that would have made it a global textile leader. Over the course of the 1990s the company slowly collapsed, and by 1997 it was left with only two factories.

The reason it prospered in the first place? Tariffs kept out competition. At their peak they had nearly 100% of the market.

Don't know why they bothered to advertise.

Hey, smokers or ex-smokers: ever had one of these?

I tried one once. It was like inhaling a quart of oil.

And those were "medium."

What's that strange shape behind the nautical chap? A shadow? It looks like some dark ghost coming up behind him, with its hand grabbing the globe. The Spectre of Imperial Overreach!

This company may not be what you think:

Wikipedia says it was the Canadian counterpart to GE; does that mean it was a branch of Mother GE, or a seperate entity with its own origins?


Canadian General Electric Co. Limited (CGE) was incorporated in Canada in 1892 as a merger of Edison Electric Light Company of Canada and Thomson-Houston Electric Light Company of Canada , both incorporated in Canada in 1882.

The Canadian merger occurred in the same year as the merger of parent companies Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Company into General Electric,

That doesn't help.

Then there's the logo. Well, if they were different companies, Canadian GE certainly didn't care about intellectual property.

Oh wait it gets better: there was a Premier Electric Cleaner company . . . in AMERICA, with the same logo. If you asked me what I thought, I'd say Canadian GE bought the rights to sell the Premier. But from whom?

American GE, which bought the Franz company in 1915. They didn't put their name on the product, but sold it as the Franz Premier.

Now the story gets even more peculiar - not that it's really been peculiar at all. The Franz Premier was based on an engine developed by Jim Kirby.

Kirby, Kirby - where have I heard that name before? Same guy.


High-collared men with glued-together fingers prefer:

I wonder how mild it was. It's difficult to think that they had strong bold coffee back then. More than likely you could see through it.

Here's a phrase that never passed human lips:

The company dates to the late 19th century; "Keystone" was the flagship brand.

It's still around! But let's just say its glory days appear to have . . . waned.


Something that rings no bells today: "the spirit of the 17th century."

29 King street was indeed their address - but that would change soon. Wikipedia:

The Thornton-Smith Building, located at 340 Yonge Street, is a prominent heritage building in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada. Since the completion of the building in the twenties, Yonge Street has seen many transformations and while tenants in the building have reflected these changes The Thornton-Smith Building itself has remained true to its original architecture.

Its Wikipedia entry is . . . thorough.

When The Thornton-Smith Company opened in 1922, the northerly entrance of the building was leased to Laura Secord Chocolates. The confectionery company, founded by Frank P. O’Connor in 1913, had opened its first retail location just a few doors north at 350 Yonge Street but relocated to 340 Yonge Street as can be seen in a photo taken in the 20’s.[28]

During the 1950s the Thornton-Smith Building housed Allen Stores Limited, which occupied both 340 and 346 Yonge Street. The department store sold women’s wear and home furnishings, and was considered a discount alternative to Eaton’s.

Thanks, very complete Wikipedia editor!



Typical 20s ad: upper-class, pretty, and so damned wordy:

If it went from Halifax to Vancouver, would it be an international highway?

They were fond of Awakenings back then. Usually it signaled a dawning awareness of moral imperatives. In this case the guy's getting wise to his failure as a man:

With me - well, it's just 3 years wasted

Just think if he'd taken that class on show card writing.

There you have it; off to another Tuesday. the worst day of the week. Hope yours is better than average.


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