Yesterday, according to Studies, was the most depressed day of the year. The third Monday of January. Without reading any of the pieces - I saw a tweet, that makes me an expert - I’d guess it’s because the newness of the year has worn off, for those who put stock in such things. For those of us in Northern Climes, it might be due to winter’s casual strength. It’s like being beaten for someone for a few hours, and you hear him say “ahh, I’ve worked out the kinks. That’s all I needed, a good stretch.”

The worst thing, the absolutely worst thing about this cold weather is that it’s not that cold. No one quite believes that it is 14, 15, 16. The wind chill isn’t ordinary wind chill, the type where you think “feels like 2.” It feels like it’s 20 below. Everyone walks into buildings weeping, like there was just an attack.

Well, it’s too cold to snow, they say, except it’s supposed to do that as well.

Ding! from the watch; note from Daughter. She is now in Recife. Have you ever heard of Recife? I hadn’t.

Here is part of Recife. Part of it.

You're wondering: is this a SimCity screenshot?


Look at this place.

As Daughter said, Brazil has so many underrated cities, and I said up here we don't even know them enough to rate them, period. Recife is the 4th largest city in Brazil, has over 4 million people in the urban area. It's the "Venice of Brazil," due to its bridges and waterways, and now I'm sounding like a 7th grade school report. But it looks remarkable.

This is the first time I've envied her.

Tomorrow: a personal message to you from Daughter, at least if you've chipped in to the annual fundraiser.






What if Solidarity had failed, because Poland was hit by a wave of terrorist attacks that not only united the country behind its Communist government, but led to a nationalistic regime whose connections to Russia were unclear, and computer monitors were triangular, and there were lots of Vietnamese gangsters around?

I know you’ve asked that question a dozen times over the years, and 1983, now on Netflix, is here to answer them.

At first I was eye-rolling hard, because c’mon:

1. cynical middle-aged cop who doesn’t believe in the system but still believes in the job and rough justice? Checkski.

2. Younger partner who appears to be gung-ho for the system, and may possibly inform on his partner for being insufficiently loyal? Checkski.

3. Younger non-cop who is coming up through the legal system, is compromised by his amatory relationship to the power structure, but has his own mind and was mentored by a stubborn Resitance figure who nevertheless navigated the ebb and flow of politics? Oh Checkski Checkski.

Add lots of blue-tinted shots of glass buildings where the police work, and you have a rote example of the shows Netflix advises some people to watch, because they liked something tangentially similar with subtitles.

But it’s worth it. Eight eps in, and I’m good with it. If you liked Occupied and perhaps Babylon Berlin - it’s less but not bad. Anyway, we’re not here for a review! I keep saying that! Visuals! It’s all about the visuals, this feature! So:

If you want to paint a dystopian future, use the architecture of the Socialist past.

Even recent styles contribute to the look of an anti-humanist styles imposed on a sullen people:

If you want the high-tech but suspicious social future, the existing buildings will oblige, because we all know the future is BLUE:

Finally, here’s something that ties together the last 2 TV Tuesdays together.

See it?

What was that actress' name again?




It’s 1921.

Gather ‘round, kids - Gramps is here from the farm, and he’s got a story to tell!

At this point the company was known for its milk cans, but they’d move on. Sorry, moooooove on! Double sorry.

From Yahoo answers:

Q. Anyone know if Solar Sturges MFG Co. is still in business? They made "Permanent" Stainless Steel Pots & Pans

A. I doubt it. The cookware line appears to be a remnant of their earlier 'glory' as a producer of stainless home products such as trash and milk/cream cans. By the 50's their primary product was stainless train cars. They were located variously in several west Chicago suburbs; the last I can find is Melrose Park. Doing a 411 search does not locate any company by that name any more. I suspect they went belly up as railroads declined.

That’s quite a shift. The National Gallery also has a painting that pops up when you search for the name, and I assume it was commissioned for a calendar. It’s unremarkable. How many farmers hung it in the barn we’ll never know, but I’ll bet there’s one out there somewhere, hidden from the light of day for 80 years.


Hoorah for the durability of the Gaulin Homogenizer:

The copy mentions Ives Ice Cream of Minneapolis. I’ve written about this before, haven’t I? That picture on the wall at the hardware store? Sigh . . . googling. Oh, right:

Hello-- I am Katherine Rice, daughter of Russell Ives of Ives Ice Cream Company in Minneapolis. I am trying to find out more information about my father, who left our family in 1955. My understanding is that he got in trouble with the law by embezzling from Ives Ice Cream (along with his father). I'm looking for someone who has reliable information regarding my father and grandfather. Thanks very much, Katherine (Katy) Rice January 30, 2011

Lovely building. The site's a parking ramp today.

Looks like the beer baron branched out and sold his cooling tech:

I’m interested in the letterhead name. That can’t be the cookie. Hydrox and . . . Gulange? Ice cream. We know the name “Hydrox,” which sounds today like a chemical bleach, was formed from the words for hydrogen and oxygen - in 1908, when it was named, that connoted purity.

It was a different company, according to a patent lawsuit I won’t even bother to link to, because for heaven’s sake you’re not going to read it. But that goes against the ethos of the web, so here, if you must.

By the way, do you get the feeling I was looking through Creamery and Milk Plant Monthly one morning? You know, I was. I was.

You've heard of raw milk, but would you like to try Ruff Milk?

The industrial machinery of the 20s had an aesthetic I’ve never liked. It wasn’t entirely utilitarian. They were designing these things to look a certain way.

See what I mean?

It's an aesthetic that's lost on us today.


And again, see what I mean?

Okay, well, let’s get to googlin’ all of these:


And these . . .

Maybe not. Easier, but just as frustrating, to find some info on the Toledo Bottle Cap company. Not much to be had. But I did find some of these on eBay.

They’re personalized, I believe. You could have your picture taken, then stop back and get it in bottle cap form. So that guy was a convention attendee in 1936. It’s possible someone alive still knows who he was.

It’s more likely that there isn’t.

How did this end up on a Spanish eBay page? What journey did it take, or was it - like a calendar - just put away for decades in a box in a drawer of stuff that belonged to dad, or grandpa, or a great uncle you never knew? Should we be surprised that it survived?

I'm just glad it did.

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.



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