She’d just like to make a phone call, if that’s okay with Roger Sterling and Don Draper and whoever the third guy is. Really. She’s talking to someone. The flowers are nice but no thank you.

If you don’t mind.

At least she’s showing how easy it is to make friends in magical, marvelous New York! You have to fight off the suitors with a bat; they’re as thick as mosquitos in the Panama Canal construction zone.

Speaking of which, here’s a Digg headline:


Digg’s double mission is “put snooty remarks about capitalism on some stories, and put our own ad pre-rolls in front of other people’s content,” so the little snipe wasn’t unusual. The Vox piece’ subhead says “Coworking spaces, friendship aps, and adult dorms are selling human connection.”

Yes. And?

No, really - and? So? You know who else sells human connections? Restaurants, bars, theaters, buses. They are places were people gather in small groups or individually to have a shared experience that may or may not extend outside of their own group. No one gets worried that the bar or restaurant is charging for food, or requires a purchase; someone has to keep the lights on and the rent paid.

Unless you believe that such things should just happen and there shouldn't be money, in which case okay, here’s a pouch of fruit snacks and a juice box. Why don’t you watch Elmo for a while.

Anyway: the piece talks about the difficulty some people have making friends when they go to college, because they’re removed from their old social systems. Then they have trouble when they enter the workforce, because its “room, office, room again.” As the piece says:

Emily’s experience is far from unusual. Loneliness is pervasive, particularly among younger people. We’re moving across the country, ripping ourselves away from social networks that can take years to construct. We’re delaying marriage and kids, or skipping them entirely.

Maybe . . . maybe we should not do those things? Or understand the consequences? Marriage and kids are literally guaranteed to make you meet new people.

We’re working all the time, often alone, outside the confines of a traditional office and without the camaraderie of coworkers.

I can testify that working outside the traditional office has its downsides, and I need to go to the office everyday precisely to get a draught of that camaraderie. But it’s also a cautionary lesson about putting all your emotions into your career.

Bottom line: some places are selling co-working spaces or communal living, and there are apps that help you make friends. Loneliness has been commodified, etc etc. A sign of our horrible society.

Two lessons I didn’t read: 1. Join a church, and even if you’re not religious you’ll find one loosey-goosey enough to suit your views.

2: maybe New York and San Francisco aren’t good places for making friends? Something about the size of the place - you know, the virtuous density - works against human connection?

I found all my social connections when I moved here from being a waiter and joining a good-sized college organization. I didn’t move away after college, and maintained the connections. When I moved to DC, I had another job filled with people who were also transplants, and also smart and interesting.

If I’d moved alone to New York, I’m pretty sure I would have been miserable.











I ran out of "What's My Line" on Amazon Prime, but there are tons on YouTube. I wanted to see if they had the last one, to note how it had changed.

It’s painful to watch the last ep - not because it’s bad, but because it’s the end of more than just the show. The graphics are updated in that playful sxties style that gives me the hives:

Brought to you by a name that used to have much more common currency:

Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf are present; she looks radiant, Cerf looks a bit older until he smiles, then it’s all winsome crinkles.

"Winsome Crinkles" would be a good name for a British character, or perhaps a brand of french fried potatoes.

Daly is a bit puffy and a tad slower, and tells a hippie joke.

Steve Allen is present. Martin Gable is there - he was Arlene’s husband.

Three guests start the show, and they’re the first three contestants from the first show.

The first guest is with the same company, and is still in the diaper trade. The second contestant is in the same occupation - he’s a vet, in Greenwich Village.

“My clientele is mostly dogs and cats,” he says, “but the people are changing.”

I’ll bet they are. There’s a world in that one sentence, the change from the old artists of the Village to the new breed, one paradigm-shifting group of proud bohos giving way to a different flavor that seemed keener to toss away the past.

Then it’s Pat Finch. She was the first show, as a hat-check girl for the Stork Club. In the 5th anniversary show she was a Broadway performer, a chorus girl in “Fanny.” Third appearance for no reason than she was on the first and the 5th anniversary.

“I’ve been in several Broadway shows, some long runs, and now I’m doing television commercials and some radio,” she said. And I have a very lovely five year old son named Kenneth.”

A cursory websearch turns him up, or someone with the name with the right relatives; I called up the house on Google search, feeling like some time-traveling investigator observing in silence the last of three threads left over from a long bolt of cloth.

Daly plays an early Cerf appearance, and notes “Not a pun in a carload,” which was a dead reference by 1967. There’s a hat tip to Dorothy, who died in 1965 from a booze and barbs. There’s a brief eulogy for Fred Allen, by now forgotten by the up-and-coming.

After Fred, the second-from-the-left panelist was always a guest.

Two guys with a certain line:

That would be a Mr. Goodson and a Mr. Todman.

What makes the last ep even more poignant . . . is the Mystery Guest. After all these years.

And then it was done. The networks axed the prime-time game shows. Oh, it came back, but it couldn’t be the same. It had to be black-and-white and it had to have Daly. It’s like Price without Barker, or Let’s Make a Deal without Monty (and Jay!)

There's so much of the show on YouTube. So many delights. A different era, quite remote - but in a few ways, still with us.

But mostly gone.

You can still buy Prell, though.



Remember this feature? We never met Bela Lanan himself. We never will.

This was a daily feature, with the solution on Saturday. We'll do it the way they did it then - one entry per day, with the expectation that you'll be following the story.




It's 1915.

It sounds like some incantation to make an ancient god appear and do your bidding:

People at the time would have got the reference - the Koh-i-noor was one of the largest diamonds in the world. The name was Persian for “Mountain of Light” - and it carried a terrible curse! All men who owned it, died!

Really, they’re all dead. As you might expect when it has a history that goes back four centuries, but that’s the story, so only women of the British line can wear it.

During the Second World War, the Crown Jewels were moved from their home at the Tower of London to Windsor Castle ] In 1990, The Sunday Telegraph, citing a biography of the French army general, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, by his widow, Simonne, reported that George VI hid the Koh-i-Noor at the bottom of a pond or lake near Windsor Castle, about 32 km (20 miles) outside London, where it remained until after the war. The only people who knew of the hiding place were the king and his librarian, Sir Owen Morshead, who apparently revealed the secret to the general and his wife on their visit to England in 1949.

India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran have all made claims to get it back from England, but good luck with that, lads.

Lion brand yarns are the BEST, it said

The HQ still stands:

That's the 2000 view, so you can see what they did with the building next to the HQ. Looks like they added a floor and mauled the entrance.

Such a presentation for such a humble item:

You could get safety pins anywhere, but if you wanted the Nu-Gard in this territory why not get them through the A. L. Clark company? Yes, it used to be Clark & Grey. Not any more. Whether Grey comes clanking to Clark on Christmas to beg him to change his ways, we don’t know.

“Mr. Prym, the lads who are doing the ads are having a difficult time coming up with a name that reinforces the visibility of the fastener’s spring.”

“Oh bloody hell I’ll have to go down there and just do it myself, then”

Why wouldn’t you want to lay in a stock of Mercerized Ecru Cordonnets?

That would be “a thread or small cord used to edge braid, to make tassels and fringes, or to outline the design of lace and embroidery.”

Beauty standards are often mysterious from the distance of a century:

For a while it seems that Canton OH was the embroidery hoop capital of the world. Gibbs, from my “research,” seems to have been a toy company that had a sideline in hoops.

So we’re clear: the big ads have been for safety pins, combs, embroidery hoops, fasteners, and hair nets.


Eventually there would just be one. Ace.

I still think Vulcanized is one of the cooler words in the English language, and we’re all the poorer for not having the chance to use it more.

Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber, died penniless. The process of experimentation was arduous. He’d come up with a solution - but the rubber would be too sticky, and the investors would fade away. He’d add something by mistake - eureka! But it rotted. And so on.

Goodyear died on July 1, 1860, while traveling to see his dying daughter. After arriving in New York, he was informed that she had already died. He collapsed and was taken to the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, where he died at the age of 59.

If only he’d known.

That'll do - see you hither & yon.




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