A first in screw-ups! I messed up the redirect and the fallback menu! So perhaps you gave up and thought there was no Bleat yesterday. There was.

I understand. But really. When isn’t there? This is one of the longest-running blogs in the HISTORY OF THE INTERNET, and believe me, I take it seriously.

Not seriously enough to proof my links, of course, but seriously!

According to twitter we are having a debate again about whether Air Conditioning is sexist. A NYT writer said so.

I can’t remember the precise date when our house got its first air conditioner. Late 60s, early 70s? I do remember how it changed everything in the summer. How walking into the house on a hot day was like entering an oasis, how the chilled air gave instant relief. My dad must have loved it even more, since unlike New York Times snarkers, he was outside in work clothes picking up heavy smelly barrels and putting them in different places, or wrestling with hoses to pump gas into tanks on day when you could see the heat shimmer off the metal surfaces you had to scale.

Right now it’s too cold in our house, because my wife has set the temp lower than I would like. Last night we had three houseguests - long story - and all were female, and everyone wanted it cooler than I did. Good thing, though: I am a guy so what I say, goes. And by that I mean goes right out the window, sailing like a discus tossed by an Olympian athlete. WHERE - IS - MY - PRIVILEGE? Was I supposed to reapply annually?

I just remembered that my dad used to set the thermostat low in the winter, because heating oil cost money. He’d know; he sold it. I thought it was odd: you literally have a huge underground tank of the stuff, and you’re not cranking it up to, oh, 70?

What I didn’t get, of course, was that he paid for it too. Not as much, but he still paid.

Anyway, I’ve no desire to refight the AC war, since it’s an annual bit of clickbait from people who love to stick their fingers into wasp’s nest and then say Lol Ur Triggered when people demonstrate insufficient yaas-qween-slay in response. But it’s part of something else that makes up the daily conversation: bitching about miracles.

Modern dentistry is okay I guess but the range of flavors for the fluoride coat is a sign of Western palate hegemony

Elevators have relieved us of the burden of walking up 10 floors with groceries, SURE, but it has also trained us to be anti-social in enclosed spaces, unlike (group of people who are unfettered and alive in ways we cannot possibly be) who take every opportunity to dance and tell stories

The ubiquity of fruit in the dead of winter has numbed our connection to the cycles of the earth

And so on. Free-floating, petty gripes are a result of Miserabilism as a world view, the idea that viewing Western Civ as a hellish, gruesome burden destined to collapse of its sins and conceits is the only possible worldview for a Serious Person. Hence the more fault you find, the deeper you are. It comes from being grounded in nothing but the shallow soil of the present, with no sense of history except for a series of pre-approved narratives intended to culminate in an argument against the recent past, which was bad because it prevented the wonderful possible Tomorrow from happening Today. It’s a recipe for life-long alienation.







There are Bond movies, and there are Bond parodies, and there’s the achingly mediocre demimonde of Bond knock-offs. The two main parodies, Flint and Helm (I refer to the filmed versions, not the source material) were favorites of my youth, and were not taken as parodies but REALLY ULTRA COOL stuff. In fact I think my introduction to Dean Martin was Matt Helm.

You can always tell a pretender: the theme music tries for the John Barry sound - the wide blatting brass, the jangly guitar - and we’re usually subjected to a sub-Barry song with all the drama about how things are.

The reason I started watching was the hero: Bulldog Drummond, of all characters. He goes back to the 20s, for heaven’s sake. There’s nothing to the original character here; Mr. Drummond, who of course looks like a Connery subjected to some genetic version of photocopying a photocopy, is an insurance investigator. With an M like boss who has a cool blonde secretary who probably loves Drummond.

It’s overlit in that 60s sense that makes everyone look like moist sweating vinyl. It’s the pacing that inevitably flags because they haven’t the budget, and they pad the scenes, or fail to sense that the slackness in the shots can’t be fixed with BOND MUSIC. It’s the foreign locations that instantly scream Co-Production and make you wonder whether the credits had lots of Italian names, usually a sign the words won’t match the lips.

Point is, the Bond movies spawned more imitators than any other franchise, including Star Wars. Aside from the spoofs - which themselves had their own brand of excitement, even though the stakes were weightless - the B-grade Bond knockoffs were a testament to the rare combination of elements that made the originals so good. Without Guy Hamilton, John Barry, Ken Adam, the deep pockets of the producers, Sean Connery, Maurice Binder, and oh maybe a writer here and there, it’s junk.




It’s 1928.

“Few readers of a ‘best seller’ picture the heroine more than partially unpossessed, at least, of these attributes.” Those being beauty, charm, and youth."

Who are the readers who see the heroines of romance novels as ugly, unpleasant, and old?

How can you keep these attributes? Experts say you must wash your face regularly, with soap.

One wonders what schooling was required to bestow such knowledge in the ways of science.


“It’s the lightest”

Yes, they had electric hair driers in the Jazz Age. You rarely see them in movies, and for that matter few people watch old 20s movies, so this might be a surprise.

Fitzgerald also made “medical” supplies, like vibrators; I’ve no idea what the hell this thing is, except that it has “a general body electrode.”


Patrick J. Fitzgerald was born in Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. in 1894. He learned his trade as a machinist in Torrington, CT, and in 1906 founded his own company, The Fitzgerald Mfg. Company. The main product of this company was automobile parts and accessories, with gaskets being the main focus. In 1918 the company expanded and opened an additional plant in Winstead, CT.

In addition to gaskets and asbestos rings, Fitzgerald Mfg. Co. also made truck horns, electric fans and heaters, hair dryers, mixers, irons, toasters, coffee pots, heating pads, and a variety of other appliances.

In 1927 Charles Lindburgh flew to Paris using Fitzgerald “never-leak” gaskets in his “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane.

I can’t link because it’s actually a .doc that downloads, so google around if you want the source. We’ll visit the factory’s town next year on Main Streets.



It's a condition that did not exist, but does now, so buy this!

A woman at the wheel: the sign of the new age.



It’s lard and camphor:

She seems to have performed poorly with the stuff; elongated alien head with a descended bosom was probably not the desired result,

“Mr. Delfin, what are we gonna do with all this unsold caustic acid?”

O - it’s gone!

We’ve told this story many times over the years.


I think that implicit in these ads was the idea that you could learn to draw the stuff that was in your head they couldn’t put in magazines.


“You actually see the hair dissolve.”

I guess that’s an enticement.

The fancy Frenchified trade names would seem to suggest that American movie-magazine readers regarded the Gallic women as neatly and completely depillorated.


Another thing women don’t worry much about these days: the quantity of loose powder they carry, and the means by which it is stored.

Be as elegant as a French aristocrat, without the bloody death dealt by a howling mob!



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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