The picture above is from a beer ad, so we may not assume it is entirely representative of the truth. People are always two-beers-happy in beer ads, and never full of six-beer certainties.

I don’t know what’s in the pan. Fondue? Oysters? A genie to grant all wishes? We don’t know why the bar has a white terrazzo floor and a curtain, but if you know the era you know the furniture isn’t out of sorts. They mixed and matched the modern and the old.

Look at those perfect foamy heads. Also, look at the beers! The ashtray is not yet sullied. Her hair is hard, and maybe he’s got a coat of shellac as well. We don’t know if they’re a married couple out on the twon, or old friends who met up by surprise at a convention. It’s about 1962, if I remember the magazine I clipped this from.

In a few years they’d be the Establishment, although I doubt they thought so at the time. This was the L-7 Herbert class, maaaan. These were your Dow-chemical war machine pigs, right here.

I’d rather have a Grant’s at this bar than spend a second in the mud at Woodstock, and if you think that’s a function of getting old I never wanted to be at Woodstock.

Ping! Watch says I have a message from Daughter on the other side of the planet. Heads up: she had ordered some stuff from Amazon to be delivered to the house, so look for a package.

“It’s my welcome home present to myself,” she said.

So . . . we’re thinking ahead to that day. Which, to my astonishment, will actually happen. I was wondering about adding a few things to her room - a new lamp, perhaps a new chair. It’s going to be odd for her to be back in the same place after all of this. I remember when I went home after one semester of college, and my room had been swapped with my sister - I was now in a room half the size with all the old furniture, my high school life on the shelf, with all the things I’d dragged along the way. Tom Swift books. Records from five years before. It felt like a museum diorama memorializing someone who wasn’t around anymore, and over the bed was a picture of me in 4th grade. One my mother’s favorites, I suppose. It all felt alienating.

She has a big cork board over the bed, and it’s full of hints and clues and reminders and remnants. It’s going to seem odd.

Oh, by the way, we signed up to take a Rotary student next year. What the heck. Why not. From one week with the Japanese student to five weeks with the French girl in 2017 to a Finnish kid in 2020, I think. We did a little phone interview and they said there would be a background check, and I said great but I need to give you a heads-up on the organ trafficking charges, because it’s not what it seems. Well it was but it’s complicated.

The interviewer was the same person I talked to in the church basement a year or so ago, when Daughter sprang the Rotary exchange idea on me, like the day of the meeting, and the interviewer says she still remembers how I was absolutely shell-shocked, and asked “is there anything I can say in this interview that will ruin her chances?”

You can say stuff like that when someone starts the conversation by saying “I’ve read you since the Daily,” which is just wonderful. She knew I wasn’t serious. Except for the deadly-serious part.

Speaking of Daughter: this week in Bleat+, on Friday, there will be a brief voice description of Brazilian pizza, as well as the update / site preview. I should have all the emails out by now, BUT IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANYTHING, send me an email with the subject line “Dillweed.” Since I’m going to Paypal for the emails, the notifications don’t come from you, but from Paypal, so there’s no visual sign in my email box that I’ve responded.

For fun, there's a new promo site.







I read the reviews online of shows I like, and think: What is wrong with youme Everyone else hates this series. All these people know the character better than you. It’s wrong, in every way. How can you like it?

I’m sure I’ve been disappointed and angry at some shows that played with the character in ways I didn’t like. There are some things you don’t touch. You don’t make Jim Kirk a deep-plant Dominion agent. You don’t make Jim Phelps, in the first Mission: Impossible movie, a traitor - I never forgave them for that, and I think it was despicable. You know they took joy in ruining an upright character. People will think back to the TV show and realize he was a spy all along! It’s awesome! What a mind game!

(I assume that the people who do stupid things like this and feel clever and artistic use phrases like “mind games.”)

Explanation: I started watching “The ABC Murders” on Amazon, because my pal at the paper in the adjacent cube said it was good, although he was curious to hear what I thought of the way the main character was handled. It was a Hercule Poirot story. (An Hercule Poirot?) About 40 minutes into “ABC,” I was struck with a horrible certainty. I will put this in white; you can mouse over if you wish.

I became convinced for some reason that this is not what it seems, and in fact it is all a psychotic delusion of Poirot, and he is the killer. Which would be a fantastically horrible thing to do - and just what I expect someone who wants to sell something as a Dark Gritty Reboot would do.

End non-spoiler. I was wrong. But why all these negative reviews? Because it was downbeat and dreary, they said. Yes, in a way - it was set in 1933, and we all know that England suffered the Great Desaturation, which drained the color from everything except women with excessive sex appetites. It did not have the Poirot they wanted - dapper, precise, methodical, eyes flashing or peering. All the cliches you associate with the character, I gather, from the performances everyone likes the best.

This version was subdued and a bit adrift. People criticized the come-and-go French accent, but eh, didn’t bother me. Mostly it was the fact that Poirot seemed forgotten and tired.

I thought it was fantastic. You know why? I never had any emotional attachment to Poirot one way or the other. He was a balding Belgian with a pencil moustache who Deduced! And also had some tics and habits. This version gave him gravity and pathos. Yes, they blew up the backstory, inasmuch as they gave him one. It was three episodes. It felt like the silent ghost of Dennis Potter was hanging over it.

Bit too much of the Oswald Mosely stuff; I don’t think the posters looked like that, and I do wonder if Britons were angered by the unassimilated BELGIANS they’d taken in after the war, but that didn’t detract

Some people saw it as diminution of the character. To me it was like the Robert Mitchum movie where he plays an old Marlowe. It adds humanity. For the first time, Poirot was a person, not a deducing machine.




It’s 1921, and we’re in Canada.

Why Bess, you have transformed this room!

Yes, we have made it a living hell for people with depth-perception problems, as well as my husband, who drinks and cannot bear to look at the floor anymore

I can see why this was popular - as the copy notes, you don’t have to drag it outside and beat it to keep it clean. You can mop it. But if you can mop it, it’s not a rug.


Runs in a day.


In 1910, the John Kay Company merged with one of their competitors, located at 17-31 King West, the W. A. Murray and Company. The new firm was named Murray-Kay Furnishings. In 1923, the business was sold and renamed “Petley and Murray-Kay.” It was likely that this is when the company relocated to 462 Yonge Street, a short distance north of College Street. During the 1930s, it reverted to its original name—John Kay Company, which remained in business until the 1980s.

The HQ eventually became the Wood-Gundy building, which was demolished, but they saved the facade and put it on another building, so the Kay building, which was the Murray-Kay Building, and then the Wood-Gundy building, isn’t.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of its details.



Why are you here mister shouldn’t you be at the office factory or something

Hey don’t take our clothes

Blow their heads off if they try anything funny

Also try our bikes! McKinley, Roosevelt, and RFK were all shot with Iver-Johnson guns, the wikipedia page notes.

John Hallum:

He was an alderman as well as a businessman; picture here. He was instrumental in getting a public library in Toronto, and for all his work in the skin trade, that seems to be his legacy.

At the time this ad ran, he’d been dead for 21 years, so maybe this was his son.

A lot of ad for a small thing:

The HQ 99 years later:

“It’s RUB-BER-OID, not rooober-oid! Dammit!”


What’s unusual about this?

The plug. Was that the standard Canadian outlet plug in 1921? Well, after some googling, it looks like the Seperable Attachment Plug.

Invented by Harvey Hubbell. Get this:

Hubbell received at least 45 patents,[3] most of which were for electric products. The pull-chain electrical light socket was patented in 1896, and his most famous invention, the U.S. electrical power plug, in 1904. It brought the convenience of portable electrical devices, already enjoyed in Great Britain since the early 1880s, to the U.S.

Hubbell was also granted a patent in 1916 for a three-bladed power plug, which Australian regulators and electrical accessory manufacturers adopted as the standard for that country in the 1930s. It was also adopted in New Zealand, Argentina and, with a minor variation, China.

Harvey . . . would be pleased.


Let's drop in on the far-away yet relatable world of 1916, as seen through the work of Clare Briggs.

GOD I LOVE THIS SITE. I mean I love doing it, that's all.

Sorry, just had to say it. See you around.



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