This week’s Bleat Bans are looking rather ominous, but it’s not by design. Yesterday’s GOING THE WRONG WAY sign - a plea from the 333 Building banners to turn around - just struck me as amusing, and I liked the composition. The picture above was the backyard on Monday night as a storm rolled in.

They always roll in, don’t they? They never trot in, or canter in, or saunter in. They unfurl. However they arrive I don’t care: hot bright day and a thunderstorm at night is exactly what you want out of July.

Daughter got a job on a Teen Arts Council at the Walker, and she’s delighted. Called me at work in a state of absolute happiness, and I noted that it would be interesting since the Walker isn’t her favorite museum.

“I know! I told them it’s not my favorite kind of art.” She thinks most of it is . . . silly. Conceptual. Too easy.

I said I think that may be why she got the job. They wanted a contrary voice. Good for them; bubble-popping should be the modus vivendi for all. I follow lots of people on Twitter with whom I disagree, but I have to admit something: if I like someone, and they have become screechingly or miserably sarcastic about politics, and it’s the same - damned - humorless - thing every tweet, I mute. I don’t unfollow, because I don’t want them to know I unfollowed. Huh? Why? I thought we were friends.

And then the mute ends and they come SCREAMING back into my timeline. It’s like opening a little box and hearing a Wagner orchestra boom out. You slam the lid. Look for tape.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting. She’s working on a big BIG painting, an idea she got in New York when she saw “Post No Bills” signs. We discussed how this was an archaic-sounding statement; “Don’t Post Bills” would be the modern formulation. POST is an imperative, followed by the command not to do it. She said it sounds like a king’s pronoucement, and I suppose that’s it.

The only exposure I had in Fargo to the phrase came from cartoons. I learned so much about 40s culture from Warner Brothers cartoons, and it’s a pity modern kids don’t take the same lessons, he said, shaking his fist impotently at a cloud. Is there any other era whose pop-culture sensibilities were preserved in cartoon form and fed to children of subsequent generations who came to the work with no context?

Second question: we all knew there was a difference between the classic WB cartoons and the latter ones, right? Even as a kid you could tell the art was cheaper, the music was cheaper - o god that wheezy Road-Runner stuff from the 60s - and it didn’t seem to have, I don’t know, substance, connection to something else. A good Bugs v. Daffy somehow seemed connected to the adult world. A cheap Road Runner was just for you little sh*ts.

Well, that was the day. Made ribs for supper, and by “made” I mean I took them out of the plastic shroud, put them in an aluminum shroud, and put them in the oven for an hour. There were leftovers and the Dog got some - not the bones, but the good stuff. Not too much. He was so happy. He ate and then went to his little bed and rolled around snorting with delight, as if he wanted to rub rib-scent all over his bed and then mash it back into his face.

Everyone had a good day. And you?



On the recommendation of someone whose judgment I trusted - UNTIL NOW - I watched the first ep of Amazon’s “The Last Tycoon,” a series based on the uncompleted F. Scott novel. The protagonist, who is Don Draper in the 30s, is good - but the font choices are occasionally wrong.

Sorry, let me prioritize my complaints. The plot appears to have the same relationship to the source material as a movie based on a Philip K. Dick or Ian Fleming novel. Often this is wise; some things are unfilmable. Fitzgerald’s novel included some stuff about Communist union organizers; the Amazon version concerns itself with German interference in Hollywood movies under their Article 15 law.

It'sa good story, and puts the lie to any sort of MoHiGro* Hollywoo wants to claim. But the pilot just piles it on and packs it in, with ridiculous exposition sequences (“you shouldn’t date him, he’s a low-born Jew!” “I know, but he has a literal hole in his heart that’s symbolic and drives him towards greatness.”) There was a moment where I said “until five minutes ago” and the main character then said “until five minutes ago,” and I thought, well, at least the writing’s getting better -

But then a black-veiled widow showed up and slapped the main character to throw everything in Stark Relief, because, you know, get this: Hollywood executive types are morally compromised.

Anyway. The fonts. This is a newsreel.

The "Brady-American News" logo looks right, because they took that from the Movietone logo. Everything else is wrong.

The newsreel cuts to the titles for a new movie, also from the mid-late 30s. This is also wrong.


Minna Davis was an actress who Died Tragically in a Fire:



You're not supposed to recognize that.

Here's the studio's logo:


That's Didgeree Doodle, by Nick Curtis. This is better, if it's supposed to be a silent movie poster from the 20s, since that's a 20s Constructivist typeface . . .


. . . but if it's the twenties, then the "Minna" is wrong, and the DAVIS, for God's Sake, is the Miami Vice font.

It's not that hard to get these things right.


From the back of men's mags & general interest low-brow fiction: sex japery in cartoon form, as well as glossy photos. A RIOT. A RIOT OF FUN.

A Barrel of R E A L F U N in addition to being a RIOT. All of this because they can't say "nude pictures."


With this information, you'll be able to break prevailing misconceptions. If the reader didn't know what was, then the reader knew these people were really on to something. The reader didn't want to admit that he didn't understand this part.

The reader really wanted that Tallamanic Seal of Luck. In blood-red ink.




It's 1921, and it's also Canada. What does MacCleans have for the American Home?

If they're alive, they'd be pushing 100. It's possible.

But . . . if it's 1921, how can the film be colored? Kodachrome didn't come out until 1935. There was a secondary market for colorizing pictures, and Kodak didn't feel the need to mention it, because everyone knew.

Everyone knew there wasn't really color film.

Imagine what our record of the 20s would look like if there had been widespread consumer use of color film.


Get on your Vacation Khakis! It's time to sweat heavily in a whole different wardrobe.



The black area with the serrated edge? A sun. You can see an original box here. The company, says this page, was founded in 1915, and faded away in the middle 40s.

So people dyed white shirts khaki? The color situation of the 20s is starting to confuse me.

We've mentioned this company before. Moir's Pot of Gold candies.

This did not appeal to boys at all.


"It doesn't take long to learn which chocolates are the best, the biggest, adn the purest."

I assume that means Moir's as compared to other brands, not that some candies in the box were less pure than the others.



I do not know how people resisted the temptation to put their fingers through that grill - such as it was.



Interesting how GE was known as CGE. You'd think GE would be sufficient.

Yes, the fan was better than nothing, but we all remember how they seemed to have two speeds: do nothing, and blow-the-papers-off-the-table. If they went back and forth, they ended up being annoying, like someone who wouldn't shut up but talked to four people simultaneously, looking at them in turn.


As I've always said: I don't know how people smoked these things. They were like inhaling roofing tar.



Cigarette ads keep circuling back to that word: SATISFACTION. Everyone knew what it meant but didn't think about it much.

It meant these chemicals stop your craving.



I'm on record on the subject of iced coffee. Don't like it. No sir.

This is a whole different level of awful:



I'm opposed to any beverage that can be improved by sugar and cream OR lemon. Charm without the harm! They just don't tell you what the hell it is.


Maybe a few other things entered into the situation, like beauty and talent. You can cover up zits.



She looks sweet and wholesome, but nay: behold the vamp.

Her role in The Disciple, however, in which she attracts a man who is not her husband, led to her being cast as a vamp. Her vamp, however, was untraditional in that she vamped unconsciously; in the words of Kay Anthony, "Not because she wanted people to think she was a full-fledged shatterer of hearts before the camera did she make pulses beat hard and fast, but because she couldn't help it: 'I guess I just must have been born that way!"

In case the term is a mystery, here you go:

One traditional view portrays the femme fatale as a sexual vampire; her charms leech the virility and independence of lovers, leaving them shells of themselves.

The term has morphed since then - overacting for women, inprovisation for musicians.


If you don't take Dalton's advice, how about this:


It would be another year before they found Tut's tomb and the Egyptian craze began. But they were already leaning towards it; mystery and romance were somehow seen as Egyptian, instead of inscrutible gods and crazy royal families.

That'll do; see you around. The adventures of Frank Reade Jr. await. Do the Chicken Wing! We're up to 115 pages of Frank now. Good Lord.

*MoHiGro = Moral High Ground



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