As I mentioned yesterday, it was a good day to put up the gazebo, since spring was here. It did seem a bit less weighty than the previous gazebos, but I’d get some sandbags to hold it down.

Then the wind came.


At least it didn't snow.

A few notes for a Tuesday, the worst day of the week: of course you've heard of this.

Someone in the United social media department wasn't up on current events.

They had a problem with a passenger and got some bad publicity for it. Dragging off a doctor who had to see patients isn’t a good corporate strategy, but I don’t think anyone likes United anyway. If you fly a lot in first class, and you’re in the airport lounge twice a week, I’m sure you start to braid your identity with theirs in minor ways. Airlines always make you want to feel as if you’ve joined a community that somehow excludes all others.

I thought this was the lowest possible setting for an adult male:

In one of the most creative dine and dashes ever, aspiring rapper Terry Peck allegedly downed over $600 worth of seafood at a Gold Coast restaurant before running into the ocean to avoid capture. He was eventually caught by police on jet skis.

Aspiring rapper. Not just someone who can’t sing or play an instrument but shouts and rhymes, but aspires to shout rhymes. It reminds me of an NPR request the other day. The host wanted to hear from people who had experience teaching about hip-hop in an academic setting. Not from people who wanted to view hip-hop through the lens of an academic discipline, but people who’d been teaching it.

But no, this is the lowest setting: the guy who's trying to get a year of free chicken nodules from Wendy's by getting 18 million retweets.


How about a blankie, Carter? Do you need a blankie?

I don’t think I’ve heard a wordin the last few years that set my teeth on edge like that. If you need your nuggs, you are a child. If you say things like nuggs, you are a child. If you beg others for nuggs, you are a child.

A man does not need his nuggs.

Later: oh for God's sake




I will say this: Judge Judy is a BADASS. That’s the preferred term for Strong Women Who Take No Guff, right? They are guff rejectors. The other day our paper had an op-ed that asked the media to stop doing pieces like the Top 25 Female CEOs, and just do the Top 24 CEOs and wouldn’t it be great if they were all badass women. I think this was the first time “badass” was on the editorial page. 2) You can imagine these BADASS CEOs, right? Arms folded across their chests, jaw tilted up just a bit. They’re disrupting things! But also in an understanding workplace that accommodates those who lean in and those who want a life-work balance. Badassery! Somehow.

Yes, this relates to TV Tuesday. A Walking Dead eps ago concerned two BADASS women going to bust out Eugene, the Slightly Asbergery Schlumpy Schlump, from his confinement in the realm of Ultra-Dogg Alpha Dude Negan. The heretofore underdeveloped BADASS Latina character of Whatsername was with a slightly less underdeveloped African-American character, and she hot-wired a car, punched someone, did something else, tied detailed knots, and all those other things that can only be BADASS if you’re grim and put-upon.

She explained how she knew these things: bad boyfriends. She watched and learned. Apparently one boyfriend hot-wired so many cars by punching the column and touching the wires that she could pick this up simply by observing the technique. Wow. So strong. So smart. Sooo much of a wish-fulfillment for the male audience, like Michon (she has dreads! And a sword - no a JAPANESE SWORD, totally, like anime!) Carol is not wish-fufillment because she’s grandma, but she’s still BADASS because she shot that dude.

In short:

1. What men typically do is bad, unless the hero is the right kind of dude

2. When women do the bad things, it’s awesome and empowering

I’ve been on this ridiculousness for years - the risible sight of small women kicking 300-lb men in the head and taking their guns and shooting them and striking the Spider-Man landing pose as they survey the carnage, hair just perfect. Or Geena Davis in a pirate movie picking up a broadsword and clanging away with a burly dude, even though she “had the physique of a preying mantis,” as I wrote at at the time.

It goes back to three James Cameron characters. 1. Ripley. She wasn’t necessarily physically strong, but she was courageous and smart, and could augment her shortcomings with tools. She was all the more interesting for being scared, and for being logical while gripped by terror. 2. Vasquez, from Aliens. She was obviously strong, but the first introduction nailed it:

Hicks: hey vasquez you ever been mistaken for a man

Vasquez: no hicks (does a pull-up) have you

Sick burn? That’s PLAGUE NAPALM. She was something new in big movies, but it worked from the start; the culture was ready for that.

3. Linda Hamilton in T2: a combination of Ripley-smarts and Vasquez physical attributes, she was more wiry, but it was a matter of skill over brawn, and you could believe she could surprise and overpower a cop. But Arnie? Nah. Because that would have been ridiculous.

We’ve lost the ability to say “oh, that’s ridiculous,” because it would somehow be disempowering, And so frail actresses become BADASS by scowling while they manipulate heavy weaponry and jump-start complex machienry based on their observation of boyfriends.

Another laff riot cartoon from the early 20s, concerning footwear:




I know that's the same concluding panel as yesterday. Either I lost the proper one, or that's how they all end, a grim reminder of the lot of all shoe salesman.

No idea who the cartoonist is. Just the letter S.





I might have run this ad back in the 60s pages, or one like it: there were many in the series. Pinkety pinky pink pink:

"You're a girl, aren't you?" It's just "a little too delicate for anyone but a girl!" THIS is what belongs in those "vintage ads they couldn't get away with today. " Not so much for the pink but for the girl.

You may not see it right away, but the 20s nostalgia is starting to appear - the feather boa, yes, but surely the font.

These are all from 1967, by the way. A half-century ago (!) women carried around portable mane-shapers:


Kindness! She's so happy she's closed her eyes.

The more you look at that expression the more unnerving it becomes.

Do you know why I included this? Mostly because there are so few good ads in this magazine. I know it's supposed to be the great hey-day of brilliant Mad-Men-era ads, but . . . no.

Then again, they had to deal with machinery like this.

Wood-grained plastic. But classy!

The term's a bit outdated by now, isn't it?

But the table isn't. Oh so 60s, oh so modern. I wonder how many times it tipped over during this shoot.

What does SCM mean? Smith Corona. It's an interesting and typical tale:

The calculator market was devastated by cheap electronic pocket calculators in the mid-1970s. The typewriter market too was being undermined by cheap imports from the Far East, this being a contributing factor in the closure of the West Bromwich, England plant in 1981.

First contraction. Did they learn?

By 1985, personal computers were being widely used for word processing, and SCM launched their first portable word processor, along with the first portable typewriter that included an electronic spelling function.

The Smart Typewriter, in other words. Here's what the New York Times said abut the machine in 1990:

The Smith Corona PWP 7000LT has a working memory of about 50,000 characters (50 kilobytes), which translates to about 25 pages of double-spaced typewritten text. As with a conventional computer memory, everything in the typewriter's memory is erased when the unit is turned off or loses power.

Like a computer, the PWP 7000LT can save data on a removable diskette. In the case of the PWP 7000LT, however, the disk is nonstandard, which means that it is not the same as the ones found in most computer stores. The three-inch Smith Corona disks can store about 100 kilobytes (100,000 characters) of information, the equivalent of about 50 pages of text. Because of software limitations, each disk can hold a maximum of 20 documents, 10 on each side. Disks cost about $3.50 each.

It had its own different commands for performing certain dunctions, too. Back to wikipedia:

The corporate bloat associated with being a conglomerate whose many different operating divisions had no inherent business logic, rendered it vulnerable to take-over.

And that's what happened. Non-core businesses were sold off, the company's New York HQ sold.

The company moved its remaining typewriter manufacturing operations from Cortland to Mexico in 1995 and announced it was cutting 750 jobs as a result of continuing sales declines. Shortly thereafter, the company declared bankruptcy . . . After being acquired by a private company during its second bankruptcy in 2000, Smith Corona briefly moved all typewriter manufacturing and typewriter supplies manufacturing to Cleveland, Ohio. Within five years Smith Corona quit manufacturing all typewriters.

Slo-mo disruption.

Oh, right, it's the Sixties, the Golden Age of Ads, so I guess I'll have to read the copy to see what this means.

Answer: Symptoms. You know what you miss today? Pseudoephedrine. They took it out a few years ago.

I'm always happy to see the unimaginative ads that just show you stuff. It's a record of what stuff used to look like.

I have a very dim memory of all of these. My dad had some Lectric Shave, but I don't think he used it - so it sat on the shelf for years, burning itself into my overstuffed storehouse of brand names and logos.


Right Guard was the family brand as well, in that exact can.

We didn't have Listerine or Desenex because we were decent, clean people.


Yes, I will pretend to be serious about pre-made Martinis for a certain amount of money:

A year after this ad, he died at 54 - of cirrhosis of the liver.


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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