What am I going to do with this leftover candy?

Yes yes, eat it, I suppose, but I’ve made that difficult. Intentionally. I carved of some of the good stuff to put in my room in case I have a need for a bit of chocolate. But I never have a need for a bit of chocolate. I find the bag in my drawer a few months later, and out it goes. Well, most of it. That one KitKat won’t hurt. It’s light and crispy! It’s like a Nestles Crunch, except it’s thicker. It’s pre-bisected for your convenience, even though the idea of snapping a Fun-Size KitKat in half is absurd. You consume the two halves at once in two bites. Go on! Cut against the grain! No one’s watching. There are no rules. Man is free and God is Dead!

No, that way lies Bolshevism. Eat it as you wish, contrary to the evident intention of lateral bisection, but do not revel in your freedom.

Then there’s the Heath bars, which are like Butterfingers for a more civilized man. Butterfingers are fat and shed fragments everywhere. Heath bars have the same toffee characteristics, but they are concise. You can eat four without hating yourself - something you realize after you’ve eaten five.

Whoppers? Pop ‘em like bennies man

Oh GOD Why did I buy so many Smarties

Smarties are nice anti-chocos, the candy you eat when you want to feel slightly virtuous. Anything tart can’t be fattening. But you tire of Smarties in a way you don’t tire of other candies; they’re the needy girlfriend of candies. You have a bag with 50 Smarties, and that’s, like, 500 individual Smarties. Do I have to? Must I? You really want a Payday, even though that’s like a Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll without the nougat. No, that’s exactly what it is. Salted Nut Rolls are perfect candy, and Paydays have no nougat center to provide the essential core of White Stiff Goo under the mantle of caramel.

Do Paydays exist outside of Halloween?

Whatever happened to Peter Pauls? Was that a candy or a brand? Almond Joy, Mounds - made by Peter Paul, is that it? Was there any rival candy company named after apostles? Brazil Nut Happiness and Rounded Mass, made by Judas Matthew!

Brazil Nuts. Grandma had a horrible name for them. N-word toes.

Seriously. Or is that a misrememberance? Someone called them that on the Farm side of the family. Someone called them that in front of the children. Oh they didn’t mean anything; it was just a name.

Grandma’s candy: always Brach’s, caramels in the crinkly wrappers. You didn’t like the fruit centers. They seemed a mistake, a misfire, a miscalculation by the Brachs Company. You saw the bins of loose Brachs at the drug store, by the bin of heated peanuts. There aren’t any bins of heated peanuts at the CVS. Everything’s bagged.

Or was it really always Brach’s? Perhaps there was Brach’s once, or twice, and it made such an impression your brain just pasted the label BRACHS over the subject of GRANDMA CANDY in your head, with a smaller label that said Circus Peanuts, because those have Farm Side connotations as well. The information’s all back there in your brain somewhere, stored in the cells, waiting for the spark -

Except no, it’s not. The brain is not a computer. The brain is not an information storage, retrieval, and processing device. The brain does not file things away.

So says this piece, which is an attempt to slap that metaphor out of your head.

The brain is not a computer! It's a ongoing dynanimc state-management system. I guess. So why do I remember certain places and events with such piercing clarity? There is nothing right now to stimulate the recollection of standing in the Disney Vacation Club meeting hall, talking about time shares with the salesman. But I remember it so keenly. Daughter was off in another room having ice cream, drawing Disney pictures; Wife and I were looking with amusement at the ceiling paintings, which were Sistine-meets-Walt; I was talking with the salesman about the utter collapse of my employer, and how I was confident I would surf the wave of disaster to something better. I have dozens and dozens of Disneyworld memories, and the more I call them up, the more I remember.

Is it just because I took photos? And I only remember those? No.

I remember Grandfather liked pink Peppermint lozenges, and gave them out as a reward for whoever won the game of Find the Thimble. I remember his silver pedestal ashtray. I can see those things, because I have dragged a file from the folder to the application that opens the memory.

I can remember the grainy mouthfeel of a candy that started out tart but turned into chewing gum (really lousy chewing gum, too) that we had when sleeping out in the backyard in the tent - the Pop Tent, as it was known, a design with fiberglas poles; it had a hole in the floor caused by battery-acid spill, and smelled of midew and grass.

These things are not in dispute.

I’m looking at the Halloween bowl right now, still out, still full of Smarties. We’ve had the bowl ten years. A day ago I couldn’t tell you what it looked like if you put a gun to my head; same thing will apply tomorrow.

The brain keeps what matters. Puts it away like candy in the drawer, he said, hoping to circle back to the original subject, but realizing that the metaphor falls apart if you think about it. So never mind.

Ah! A 100 Grand bar. I’ll just have half. That’s like, 50,000 worth.

UPDATE: threw out all the Smarties

Limited edition? They're all limited, unless you believe that infinite quantites of Crunch are being shot from huge pipes in a factory somewhere.


But did anyone actually look like that? Or are these just extreme versions of modish styles,pushed out on the runway out to give women the general parameters of the current style?

I think it's the former. We'll see more as the week goes on.





A Pete Smith Speciality, narrated by . . .


Eyes, because eyes are creepy. A monstrous face that may or may not appear in the movie. You know what you're in for.


Who? We shouldn't have to ask, but times change; standard references are forgotten.

You want to talk about being born into Show Biz? It was in Pete

s blood from the start:

He began his career as an aide for a vaudeville performers union.

Here’s something that might make you think you’ve completely missed a crucial aspect of early motion picture comedy:

In 1925, Smith was hired as the head of publicity for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Louis B. Mayer.[3] He was later recruited to overdub the actions of trained dogs in the studio's Dogville Comedies.

The what?


There are lots of them on YouTube. Poor dogs. Back to Pete:

Both MGM and the movie-going public picked up on Smith's flair for comedy, and he was given his own series, Pete Smith Specialties; he produced and narrated 150 short subjects for MGM from the 1930s to 1955. His distinctively sharp tenor voice and nasal tone were instantly recognizable and a trade-mark of the series.

Dave O’Brien was the usual actor in these movies, and Wikipedia says he got so adept at the format he ended up writing and directing them himself. You might know him from . . . REEFER MADNESS.

The film concerns the minor but ever-so-annoying irritations of daily life. In this case, we have . . .


The inability to sleep when you have to get up for an important event. Then you run out shaving cream . . .



. . . . when you’re rushing for the train, and you snap a shoelace . . .




That lamp makes people my age think “Grandma’s House.” Why didn’t they ever change their lamps after they went out of style? At one point do you just freeze the stage set and never see it as old and stale?

This is something we don’t do anymore:



He’s trying to dye a white lace black, using a bottle of ink. People had bottles of ink around the house.

This is his breakfast nook. This had to look ordinary and normal to the audience:



That’s a damned tall wall, though. The plates are up there so they’ll fall on his head when his wife slams a door because she’s mad because he said she was serving canned food.


The phone! Built into the wall!

Later he compliments her meal, because she got mad last time, and she gets mad again, because this time it was canned:




I wonder if that was a real brand. It certainly looks authentic, but we all know that real products didn’t enter the movies or television until the 90s, or something.

Finally, Dave’s office:



Of course it falls on his head. He did lots of pratfalls, and there’s a pretty spectacular one in in the library sequence. Had to be one take; it’s a bother to set up.

Dave had a heart attack on his yacht in 1969. The Pete Smith Specialties had lost their popularity years ago, ending their run in 1954. Pete retired with some Oscars under his belt, including an honorary Oscar just for being “a pungent observer.”

I don’t know what he did for the next quarter century, but in 1979 he was living in a nursing home. On January 12 he went up to the roof, and jumped.

Why? Like the shows: no answer.

That'll do; see you around.


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