It was almost 60 today. Same a few days ago - I swear I heard a lawn mower on Sunday. Not a leaf blower; they’re quite different sounds. It had the timbre and pattern of a lawn-mower sound, the way the noise varies at the end of the row when the operator turns it around. I don’t know why anyone would mow their lawn on the 25th of November but I saluted him for it. I’ve missed that sound.

Today did not have such mechanical euphonies. Today the workman across the street hammered 15 steel beams into the ground to shore up the wall of the massive construction project the neighbors have undertaken. CANK CANK CANK CANK
I’ve never seen anyone do this for a house remodeling; usually, it’s confined to skyscraper sites. At first I chalked up the noise to demolition, busting up some old concrete remainders. CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK

It went on for HOURS, like a mechanical T-Rex having sex with a metal shredder. CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK CANK

I was working at home to do some audio stuff, and that was all knocked into a cocked hat. At four I went over and asked how long this would be going on. I mean, I know it’s your job, and I’m not blaming you, but FOR GOD’S SAKE PLEASE, PLEASE STOP

The people who live in the house have left for the duration of the construction project. They have no idea how loud this is, but even if they were here, they wouldn’t feel like everyone else does. There’s your own baby crying and your own dog barking . . . and then there’s that damned baby on the plane crying, and that damned dog next door who won’t shut up.

The banner above, by the way, is from Saturday's brunch location. A condo on the river. It was once an industrial facility, so the ductwork makes sense. It's honest! Also, it's like Abstract Sculpture.

I don't mind exposed ductwork, but often times it's like the decorative I-beans on the side of Miesian skyscrapers. We eschew ornament in the modern world, and to prove it, here's the true, essential nature of the structure itself! Also, it's kinda ornamental.

I went to the Christmas lights display section at Target to see if there’s anything new. There isn’t anything new. We’re stuck in a lull. There were the Phillips Illuminate bulb-system - they change color! You can control them from your phone! - but I bought that last year and the whole thing went teats-up after two weeks, refusing to change color, blaring default purple. An utter waste of money and I’ve no doubt they haven’t changed the app at all. Same ugly interface that says “Looks good in Windows95!” I will not buy this product ever again until they issue an apology both general and specific. Krep. Just krep.

There were LED displays that paint the side of your house with red dots, which would be helpful if you are regularly besieged by angry cats and need a distraction.

There was a bin of holiday DVDs - gifts, I presume, although those are always a bit of a letdown these days, for kids. Oh, gee! Physical media. I’ll . . . have to watch that some day. I put CARS3 ULTRA HD 4K in my cart and then thought about it and put it back. I’ll watch it, but I just don’t feel as if it’s a $27.99 thing.

Why? you ask. Why would you watch Cars 3?

Possibly because I have such warm memories of Cars 1. It’s a love letter to the old highway, the old downtowns, the neon, the curved metal, the roadside attractions. And it’s amusing. It has heart. It takes a ridiculous concept and goes all the way, and it’s lovely and reverent towards the old post-war mythos. I know this is a silly thing to say about an inexplicable world that does not survive the slightest bit of intellectual scrutiny, but it just hit me in the chest all area, and I love Pixar.


I didn’t see “Finding Dory.” It’s odd. I’ve seen them all. It was a yearly event with Daughter, the Pixar movie, and perhaps I haven’t seen it because that was the first one she saw with her friends instead of me. I was shocked, but it was karma, I knew; in 1968 I was supposed to go see “Ice Station Zebra” with my dad, who wanted to see it - but I jumped the gun, saw it with my friend Jim, and dad felt a bit miffed. I think. I tried to get him to go but he dismissed it. No, you saw it. It was so uncharacteristic, and makes me realize he looked forward to a dad-son movie day. It wasn’t the sort of movie Mom would want to see.

I wrote notes and put them on the kitchen table where he’d see them, telling him I wanted to go.


Earlier this year, almost half a century later, my childhood friend Jim, who is now a dentist, removed all of my father’s teeth.

So there’s no way I’m not catching “Coco” with Daughter, is what I’m saying.

Why not “Dory”? I started it, but I just felt distracted. Do I have to spend two hours looking at water while Ellen Degeneres, whom I like, is scatter-brained? No; no I don’t.

“Why would you buy Cars 3?” Daughter said when I picked her up from choir. “It’s awful.”

“You didn’t see it.”

“No, but no one ever talks about it. The first one was good.”

“The second one we saw twice. We saw it on a ship.”

“Ohhh yeahhhh.”

“I think you weren’t feeling well. Or I wasn’t.”

“I only got seasick once.”

“Right, the Cold Cruise, 2010, the Regent Mariner. The storm.”

“I threw up four times.”

“But then you got to swim with a dolphin.”

“Rrrright. That was so weird, I remember it was cold, and we went to this village. It was so poor. There were skinny dogs.”

“On chains.”

“And we made tortillas.”

“Because that was their only industry: making tortillas for the tourists who stopped back on the way from the rain forest.”


She remembered that much. We took a skiff to a deserted resort, then went to the rain forest, then stopped at the village. There was a laminated instruction about avoiding tsunamis taped to the tree, I remember that. And an old building with a faded Coke sign. And then we went back to the ship on the skiff, damp and cold, and the tour guide thanked us dearly for visiting her country, which she loved.

As did I. Never used to travel, but then I got over it, and found myself in a Guatemalan rain forest.



Anyway, I put “Cars 3” back in the bin. Maybe I’ll get it for Christmas.



There’s a highly-touted doc on Netflix about the Secret Footage shot behind the scenes when Jim Carrey did the Andy Kaufman movie, and it makes you realize a few things:

1. No one ever says “touted” in normal conversation, but they will use the word in a review, providing they can append “highly” to it. Nothing is ever moderately touted.

2. The expressions of the people on the set as Carrey does his AMAZING REFUSAL to ever break character says everything about how trying and annoying he must have been; Judd Hirsch and Danny DeVito look like people full of nitrous oxide reacting to a sewer-main break, with these frozen empty quarter-smiles on their face. Jesus enough already it was amusing the first day but this, this is just tiresome

3. Carrey has the Zen-centered peace of a man who has had, for a long time, stupid quantities of money and can now reveal the secrets of showbiz, which include the revelation that funny people are often crying on the inside

4. Andy Kaufman was the greatest comic genius of the century, a feat he managed to accomplish while not being funny very much on his own.

My TV critic friend at work says he views Kaufman as more of a performance artist, and I think that’s true - except that the mantle of Comic Genius was draped on his shoulders early on. I do love the Mighty Mouse bit. It’s inspired, and it’s laden with gentle sadness - the little kid who sings along with the best part of the song, wants to be Mighty Mouse, wants to save the day. When we see Carrey doing the bit, his eyes are darting back and forth; when we see Kaufman, he’s staring straight ahead, finally in his element, waiting for the moment. It’s a great bit.

But the wrestling thing: high concept, but not funny. The Tony Clifton ruse: high concept inadequately inhabited, not funny. If the message is “there’s phoniness in the world,” well, gosh: here’s a feather, wave it once, knock me over.

We laughed at Andy Kaufman because he was different and funny; then we laughed, a little less, at Andy Kaufman because he was Andy Kaufman, and then we stopped laughing at Andy Kaufman because we were tired of pretending this stuff was funny.


I think this is their way of saying "we know these are lame, but there are certain standards in mass-circ magazines that require creaky, inoffensive jokes that you can tell to your mother, prompting at best a slight smile."


Everybody's Magazine ran for 30 years, from 1899 to 1929. With material like this, why, I can't imagine why it didn't run for sixty.


Ha ha! He's poisoned now.

As for the next source:

PEOPLE'S HOME JOURNAL was published 1886-1929 by F. M. Lupton, a New York publisher specializing in domestic and agricultural subjects and cheap fiction reprints. In 1910 GOOD LITERATURE (published 1889-1895 as HOME GUEST) was merged into it. 


"His story came in late and it was careless." I want to know more about the reporter; he sounds like fun.





It's 1970.

"You work. You clean house. You go to school. Maybe you’re into yoga. That’s okay.”

Thanks for the validation, Large Corporation!


“Lifestyle. We’re with Yours.”

That just doesn’t roll off the tongue the way they thought it would.


keep telling you about the nostalgia craze in the 70s for the 20s and 30s? Well, what do they want you to think about here



The typeface, the layout - I'll leave it for the comments. Obviously, it's the style of a particular artist. But what else?



These wordy, “straight-shooting” ads were a result of the so-called golden age of ads, the 60s-style that gave us a few funny Volkswagen ads and . . . and some other good ads, I guess. But the new style resulted in so many talky, wordy, interminable ads like this.

These really did change everything. Now you could come home and verify the fact that no one had called you. Because you had no friends.


The “Total Concept Remote Control DECORDER” operated, I think, by playing certain tones that activated the machine.

Who invented it? Well, it depends.

In 1934, Clarence Hickman developed a tape-based answering machine which phone company AT&T, as the owner of Bell Laboratories, kept under wraps for years for fear that an answering machine would result in fewer telephone calls.

There are other claimants.


Oh, these were terrible.



“A humidor system to keep your smokes fresher, longer.” As if you were spacing them out over the course of a week instead of banging back a pack before mid-afternoon.


Technically, yes, a micro-computer.



Accurate within 15 seconds a month! *

That * hangs you up, because it means there are conditions. Indeed: “Regulation may be needed to achieve this accuracy.” I think this means you have to manually reset it.

$125? In modern money, $865 - which is twice the cost of an Apple Watch, which really is a micro-computer.

I think your hostess has been mellowed-up enough:



So why aren’t they telling us stories about George Dickel’s Secret Mash Recipe? Because he didn’t make it.

Though he was not the distiller of the whiskey, which was originally sold under the brand name "Cascade", his wholesaling firm played an important role in its distribution and marketing, and his name appeared on its labels throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When Cascade's new owners reopened the original Cascade Hollow distillery in the 1950s, they renamed the whiskey for Dickel.

Bonus facts: he was a member of the Knights Templar, and died a while after a horse-riding accident.

The guy who did invent the stuff:

McLin Davis (1852–1898) is credited with the whiskey's recipe. By the early 1890s, Cascade Whisky was one of the more popular brands in the region. The Cascade label included the phrase, "Mellow as Moonlight", which was rooted in Davis's method of cooling mash at night.

I like that. I'd like some.

“Let’s make more roads,” said the tire company, out of complete altruism:


I don’t know who the illustrator was; tip of my tongue, like a lot of the 60s / 70s aces. Book covers, ads - it’s one of those styles that defines a time, and for me it’s junior high / early high school.

I don’t like it. Perhaps it’s because I always see the style used for cars that I don’t like - those boxy models with Silva Thin models behind the wheel.

That'll do! See you around.



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