Another day trying penetrate Pixar’s phone system. As I tweeted before - something I say to recognize my auto-plagiarism - it's a funny voicemail system, with a comic voice. You laugh! And then you reaize by the end of it all, tears will be streaming down your cheeks, and you'll sit there listening to the entire company directory waiting for the list of babies.

Good luck getting anyone, though. I’ve called three days around noon and in each case the cheery voice says “our offices are closed!” Guess they’ve stopped making movies. Damn. I loved those movies. I asked for a director by name and the voice mail system said there was no such person. I tried the entire directoral staff and they're all gone. Did you know this? They're gutted! Empty!

It’s very important that I talk to them, though. I’m offering free publicity! This could be the difference between Toy Story 4 making a billion dollars and six cents and only making billion and a couple pennies.

I understand, though. If they had any way for the general public to get in, they phones would be full of pitches. They should have a pitch line that goes to a recording of an airhorn, but people still wouldn’t get the idea.

Sunday night I was performing some scoured-earth excavation of the Closet of Mysteries. Four boxes; no idea about the contents. One was empty. Whew. The other was empty. Oh this is going great! The third was full of flotsam from 2018 - State Fair tickets, Brazil prep receipts, little things from Daughter’s life that she’d thrown away or left behind, and I culled and kept. Been doing this for years. I’m working on boiling it all down to a simple low-profile box that contains all sorts of totems and tchotkes of her life, and yes, she won’t remember most of it. But it also contains pictures and movies that give context when possible, and the movies are on DVDs and digital form, with a DVD reader in the box to maybe future-proof the archive. Also the most dependable form of information, printed pages and pictures.

So I sorted that easily enough, and went to the fourth box.


It was stuff I bought months ago, and set aside to scan after I’d finished another bolus of scanning and sorting. Well, that’s done. Best get this stuff in the hopper, then. There was:

Two Triptiks, the AAA version of Google Maps, from 1957
Two 1983 Ford car brochures
One 1963 HUGE Mercury car brochure
14 postcards
21 loose matchbooks
4 issues of “Fun” magazine from 1921, left on my doorstep by Unca George (I think)
2 issues of Homemaker’s Digest from 1946 and 1947
1 copy of Cooking with Dr. Pepper
1 small book of Dr. Pepper drink recipes given by a patron to the site, complete with really questionable illustrations
1 collection of 1970s airline moist towelettes and condiments

It's going to take forever to get all this stuff up on the site. So let's just get the Airline Moist Towelettes and Condiments out of the way, okay? Ladies and Gentlemen, dried-out wipes from a dead airline:

  I know what you're thinking - he has to actually hold a fundraiser now and then, when we should be throwing money at him for quality content like this?

Delta these days likes to say "We Proudly Serve Starbucks," which always struck me as insincere. It's enough to say you serve it. Don't pretend that anyone's chest swells and the buttons pop off at the thought of serving Starbucks. Gosh I still can't believe it

Not entirely sure modern airplane coffee's better than this.


There. Got that out of the way. The rest will be along some day, probably in Hiatal form -

What's that, you say? You want more? You insatiable fiend! You greedy, slakeless -

What's that? You contributed to Gnat's account? Well, by all means! For you, anything. What would you like to see?

Why yes, the Ford Brochures do have very typical tableaus of human interactions circa 1983.

I'll buy you this one, but you have to give up the coke.

These will be fixed up when they're eventually posted. I need a lightbox or something. But you get the idea. Very '83, which was the early middle of the beginning of the 80s.

You didn't have to say how much more you made than me right in front of the gaddamn salesman

My favorite:

I don't compromise on my women or my cigarettes. Why would I compromise on my car?

There! That's my thanks for your fundraiser contribution. If you've not yet kicked in a pittance to Gnat's college fund, you may do so here, or wait until the end of the Bleat to be nagged again, but with more style.










Remember! Not a review.

Last week I had a screengrab from “F is for Family,” an animated show that is not for everyone, because the F is for something else deployed with remarkable frequency. It’s set in the time of my early adolescence, so just about everything they get right makes me hurt. It’s so, so, so 70s, and not in the happy-drippy retcon style - oh they had cheap weed and everyone was cool and no fatal STDs and awesome fashion! No child, no, no; it was awful. They get that right.

I mean, this says it all.

The song is perfectly chosen. Yeesh. Sitar. Redbone.

Last week we had great derisive howls of laughter over their choice of radios in 1958 - oh we do have a corking time here, don’t we just - but I have to applaud this.

The decor is spot-on; google "matador painting" and you'll find endless variants on this.


It's not the sort of show that has endless background details, but there are a few. FUNCLIPS. Tinker-toy stand-in, I suppose.

Never satisfying.


Anyway. Frank's watching a commercial.

The font is almost overused. It’s called Alba, because the Fontagrapher had a crush on Jessica, and it’s become more famous than the source material.

The artists of the day:

Reid Harrison is an actor who plays a hard-boiled violent cop on a Streets of San Francisco / Kojak / Cannon type show; he's modeled on Mitchum.

If the show was more popular, some of these bands might actually exist in a few years. My evidence?

An eighties band took their name from this scene. Which one?





It’s 1910.

God, it’s humiliating! She sits there looking at you, expecting you to say something smart, because you’re the boss, after all -


That slight hint of a smile, mocking you - or inviting? No, it has a cruel twist to it. I have to let her go. But I can’t. I can’t bear the thought of a day without her.


“Partially predigested.” Don’t ask.

Really, it makes you think it’s been passed through the digestive system of some subhumans bred to toil in the vast Possum stables.

Sea Breeze cured “Smilin’ Joe” of TB! He was a total lunger until we got him out in the country.

Quite the story here:

Robert Fulton Cutting (June 27, 1852 – September 21, 1934), was an American financier and philanthropist known as "the first citizen of New York." Cutting and his brother William started the sugar beet industry in the United States in 1888.

Hilarious, that; anyone who lived downwind of a sugar beet plant knows what a stench they gave off. As for the Association:

By the early 1850s, the AICP was the most influential charity in New York,[7] and its program was soon imitated in many other American cities. The association stressed character building as a way to end poverty, and took steps to insure that only the "deserving" poor received charity: idlers, malingerers and vagrants were to be sent to workhouses to do hard labor, while the depraved and debased were to be locked up in penitentiaries was a warning to others not to follow their path.

Volunteers, usually middle-class Protestant laypersons, worked to get poor people to abstain from alcohol, become more self-disciplined, and acquire the work ethic.

I love this shot of the annual meeting in 1942 - the happy people, the Elysian Fields of the murals.

Improve yourself, and join our ranks of hard-faced embezzlers with an outside man to spirit away your “earnings”!

You have to feel for guys who sat around 1910 wondering if they had what it took to throw caution and money to the wind and become an accountant.

Night Letters! They come every morning.

Via Metafilter, where I used to go but stopped right after 9/11 because the message boards were full of self-flagellation:

Only after the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) acquired control of Western Union in 1909 did its management embrace Lefferts's fifty-year-old idea of popularizing telegraphy by setting up tiered classes of service. The company had started a night-message service at two-thirds full-day rates in 1867, but for reasons that are unclear, it deliberately discouraged this class of business after 1882 by keeping night rates steady while continually reducing day rates. Only in 1910, with a more progressive management installed by AT&T, did Western Union inaugurate a Night Letter service, charging the same rate for a fifty-word telegram sent at night as it did for a regular ten-word telegram sent during business hours

— David Hochfelder, The Telegraph in America: 1832–1920 (John Hopkins UP, 2012), p.33.


That might be a lone survivor on the corner.

All the things we take for granted were one separate items to worry about, like this . . .

For a taste of old-style company names, consider this:

The original company which manufactured the Addressograph, Addressograph International, merged in 1932 with American Multigraph of Cleveland, Ohio, to form the Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation manufacturing highly efficient addressograph and duplicating machines. In 1978 the corporate headquarters moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles, California, and the corporation name changed in 1979 to AM International. In 1982, the firm filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11


The original factory in Cleveland:


The things we no longer have to care about.

Hosiery, the mark of a Gent. Note the use of “Classiest,” as well as the ad copy that begins with the assumption you’ve read everything above, but still capitalizes the first word.

There’s a factory at 10 Shaw now, but who knows it was the same, and frankly it’s not the most pressing matter in the world.


You know they poisoned a few blocks to make this stuff:

I found a picture of the factory, which went back to the post-Civil War era. Of course, today is the post-Civil War era, but you know what I mean.

The site today. The streets, Leib and Wight, don’t intersect anymore, but they did, it would be here.

It's remarkable how many things stay the same, and others are removed from the world without a trace.

Let's drop in on the far-away yet oh-so-relatable world of 1916, as seen through the work of Clare Briggs. See you around. And remember: all fundraiser contributons (minus 10%) go to her college fund.




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