I put down sod over the weekend, and by that I mean I went to Home Depot and criticized the bales for being “loser grass” the rest of the grass didn’t want around. ha ha no, I didn’t put it down in the insult comic sense. That would be stupid. But I have my stupid moments, and some of those include “dealing with sod.”

If you don’t like to get dirty, this is not work for you. There are no sod-condoms you can put around the stuff, so essentially you’re carrying around hard mud. Then you have to dig an exact area and put it in, unless it’s a strange spot like the one I had; then you get out the shears and cut it. That’s just odd. It’s like . . . I don’t know, living wrapping paper.

The last time I did this, the sod covered the area long-ago withered to dirt by the playhouse. The space was about the size of a grave, and the sod was a different color. Hard to explain that one to the police. Or easy! Yes, it’s a grave. Sorry. Guess you’ll have to dig it all up - but if you don’t find anything, you’ll pay for fixing the lawn, right?

And then they find nothing. Oh you were looking for a corpse? I thought you were looking for a copse, as in a small shady wooded area. That explains it! I couldn’t figure out why you dug there. Well, here’s the bill.

It was a long job - longer than it had to be, I’m sure, since I took frequent breaks to enjoy the experience of not getting filthy.




In utterly unrelated news - and I can't possibly imagine why it wouldn't be, since sod is a rather specific topic - I bought some matches today.

I should not have bought some matches today.

Really: I'm good for the site through 2021. That's 450 matches scanned, resized, and ready for the internet. Today's haul was another 500, at least. Haven't gone through the box - bought it without a serious examination of the contents, but I could tell it had some good stuff; the collector had segregated the late 70s / onward stuff into another box, which is a good sign. You can always tell the quality of a box by the first visual appraisal; if it's mostly new, and the oldest stuff is a Hunts' Tomato Sauce recipe matchbook, chances are it's nothing special. If you spy a few old hotels on the top layer, and they're from different cities, you think: a traveler. This could be good. If you see casinos and Hawiaan hotels, meh: pass.

I saw a reddit post about someone who inherited his father's matchbook collection, and didn't know what to do with them. Someone who knew the score broke the bad news: they're not worth much. A dime, seventy-five cents perhaps if they had particular merit and appealed to a collector who was looking for the last, oh, Hunts' Tomato Sauce recipe book.

But - they're old! Yes. And? They were made in great quantities. But - the place advertised doesn't exist anymore! Yes. And? Unless you've sentimental attraction to it, that counts for little.

I bought one box, passed on the rest, and have spent an hour or so doing triage. What you see above is probably a third of the ones I set aside after sifting through half the box.

It was worth it.



More tomorrow. I don't worry that you'll see them again some day and say "hey, that's a repeat," because by then it'll be 2024.










When I’m frustrated by all the options on Netflix I go to Amazon Prime to be frustrated by a different class of options. Good movies, bad movies, forgotten TV, strange docs - it’s like a peculiar neighborhood video store, without the musty smell (why did video stores always smell musty?) and the curtained room in the back through which people exited with that strange mixture of nonchalance and shame.

They had the latter Pink Panther movies, and I watched the openings. (I watch a lot of openings, then bail. The credits are often the most interesting part of the movie.

I know they’re beloved, but they’re not very funny. The last ones, anyway; I think the series burned out with the last Herbert Loo one. The interesting thing about the pre-credits sequence is the lack of laughs, intentionally so - they’re setting up this grave threat to Clouseau. The penultimate one has a vaguely amusing sequence that involves Tolouse LauTrec and a buem - in this case a classic anarchists’s bomb from a cartoon, round, black, with a hissy fuse. A beum. Clewzso goes to his superior’s office in togs still smoking from the expluzhin, and manages to set the entire room on fire. It’s played absolutely deadpan, the camera just watching the whole place go up unbeknownst to the oblivious characters.

But it's not that funny.

The opening credit sequences were always animated, and funny, until they weren't.

Here's something you might have forgotten. I did. The Pink Panther was the first movie, but the second? A Shot in the Dark. (Links to opening credits; worth your time.) The story wasn't originally a Clouseau vehicle, but they made the wise decision to refit it for Sellers.

Then, Sellers-free Clouseau. Played by Alan Arkin.

Great theme, animated titles with no Panther.

Got me wondering, it did: the Pink Panther movies were directed by Blake Edwards. I have high regard for him, based on my discovery of his radio work. He was a very good radio writer, and his works included a verite Dragnet rip-off, The Line-Up, and the near-perfect detective show, Richard Diamond. The hero was played by Dick Powell, who’d reinvented himself from collegiate silver-spoon crooner in the Busby musicals to a credible hard-boiled noir guy: no small feat. But then Powell decided to go light again, and the Diamond character was his way of bridging his two personas. A young Edwards wrote bright, literate, funny, complicated scripts. Which, as I said, got me wondering.

Did he regard the camera the way he regarded the microphone? The microphone never moves. Everyone comes to it. In the sequences of the later Panther movies, the camera doesn’t move very much. It’s as if he didn’t want it to move, any more than he wanted the microphone swinging between actors. In one case it’s an ear; in another, it’s an eye.

I'm probably wrong.




It’s 1910.

We forget that the car age began with a blizzard of names forgotten today. Locomobile was one of the first.


Locomobile began by producing steam cars. The steam Locomobiles were unreliable, finicky to operate, prone to kerosene fires, had small water tanks (getting only 20 mi {per tank[), and took time to raise steam; Rudyard Kipling described one example as a "nickel-plated fraud”.

Nevertheless, they were popular. The company soon switched to internal combustion engines, and closed in 1929 after 30 years in business.


The most important model for the marque became the impressive Model 48. Introduced in 1919, it had a very conservative, perhaps dated, concept. It had a conventional but huge chassis with a wheelbase of 142 in.

1919? Check the ad above. No.

They loved their plump, unnervingly adult children:

Today the advantage would be “hand-trimmed.” Then: machine cut! Scientifically, for purity’s sake.


Extract of what?

I know they made health claims for everything, but you’d have to be rather credulous to believe Pond’s cream would be good for a sore throat.

It’s named for Theron T. Pond.

He developed "Pond's Extract", to be used as a "healing tea", from the bark of witch hazel. This was used as a topical salve for wounds and purported remedy for numerous other ailments. Though he was the founder of the company, he could not hold on to it for long and sold it soon.

The Witch part, by the way, had nothing to do with the Black Arts. The word was derived from an earlier word meaning “bendable,” or “pliant.” Unlike all the other unbendable hazels, I guess.

It’s full of bully pictures!

When did the word go from bad to good? This is fascinating, if you’re interested in etymology: The earliest meaning of English bully was “sweetheart.” The word was probably borrowed from Dutch boel, “lover.” Later bully was used for anyone who seemed a good fellow, then for a blustering daredevil. Today, a bully is usually one whose claims to strength and courage are based on the intimidation of those who are weaker.

Imagine waking up four hundred years later and all the words have experienced a pole shift.

As for the magazine, it was founded the same year as Locomobile, but made it to 1941. Why did it fold? The usual reasons, I’m sure - zippier competition snaring that war-crazy adolescent market.

Who better to teach you about sex . . .


  Than Puritans?

Pretty young nun-type assures you of soap purity:

It doesn’t injure? Why would they make us think it even could - unless there were soaps on the market that burned? I’ve no doubt some did. Soap that didn’t injure was a niche waiting to be filled, and Ivory was there.

As for floating: that’s because it was pure (witch soaps sank) and you didn’t have to feel around the tub to get it. It floated because it was whipped, though, and that made it go faster than old brick-bars. Still, it was softer.

Flat-bosomed men, they make the lovin’ world go ‘round:

Sure, you know the brand. Another name.

Cluett Peabody & Company, Inc. once headquartered in Troy, New York, was a longtime manufacturer of shirts, detachable shirt cuffs and collars, and related apparel. It is best known for its Arrow brand collars and shirts and the related Arrow Collar Man advertisements (1905–1931). It dates, with a different name, from the mid-nineteenth century and was absorbed by Westpoint Pepperell in the 1980s. The Arrow name is still licensed to brand men's shirts and ties.

Question is, who did the illo? They only hired the best.

Finally: another brand that survived, and another product you can get today.

1910: try them as the finale of Thanksgiving Dinner.

The height of luxury.


That's your round-up of old and new for the day. I hoped you enjoyed it; if not, stake all your hopes on some Scoop.



blog comments powered by Disqus