Such a lovely day. Cooler, of course. The sun is a summer suppertime sun at 3. But there’s nothing like a clear blue autumn day with just a note of crispness in the air and some remnant weight to the sun. What I love about autumn, more and more, is how there are no days at odd with the season. Cool and rainy? Autumn. Warm and clear? Autumn. Cold and dry? Autumn. Overcast and misty? Autumn. Summer has its sullen moods; spring is flighty; winter varies only in its degrees of cruelty. Autumn is everything.
The day was all over the map, really - there’s something in the kindness of an autumn day that reduces your desire to do something important, because nothing is really important. In the large scale of things. What’s the cliche? Don’t sweat the small stuff! Hint: it’s all small stuff. But that’s wrong. Because it’s all small stuff it requires tending, because nothing and no one else will.
I went through some small stuff in the Closet of Mysteries, my little tiny museum of vintage things, muttering “I am out of the vintage business. For God’s sake how did I get tasked with this? Why did I become the curator of old recipe books? Well, I did kinda ask for it. Literally and figuratively, and also I just bought a whole new batch because someone’s got to keep the Gallery of Regrettable Food fully stocked, although no, when you think about it, no one does . . . on the other hand, it has given joy to many, so there’s that. Ah: this can go in the box. It’s a collectible Mickey Pez dispenser. Three of them, various states of Mickey. Everything Disney, in the box.”
And there they rest like tiny columns from some rodent empire of yore, the shaft of the Pez dispenser topped with 30s version of Mickey, and I realize I have to make a small video to go with all this stuff I’m setting aside. Something to give it passing meaning. This highball glass from a Disney resort - which I bought - has the following memories. Daughter getting her hair done in some tropical fashion poolside at night. First time to Disney World; she brought her little stuffed Pikachu and held him up to the bus window as we drove in, so he could see, too. First of many trips. Bought the glass to remind me of it; never used it, because it went on a shelf of Things, like all that touristy stuff you buy.
Hold on: it’s not going in the box. It’s a perfectly good Friday whiskey glass, and it will replace the Star Trek 1701-D Whiskey glass I usually use.
Wife comes upstairs to go to bed, asks what I’m going:
“Swapping out emotionally laden containers for the weekly sampling of central nervous system depressants”
We will get to Emily Tannebaum, White Lady, in a moment. (But rest assured she is White.) (Corrected from prevous version, which was wrong.)
I’ve been watching the underwhelmingly titled “Criminal,” which at least tells you the basics: someone did a crime, and that person is sitting in a room being grilled by trained investigators. Except we don’t know if they did a crime, or whether what they did was a crime - it’s up to the investigators to suss out (it’s British!) what happened, and get the truth. The premise doesn’t sound particularly novel, but there are two things that set it apart: 1) it takes place entirely in a high-tech interrogation room with a team of cops watching from behind a mirror, and 2) there are three other “seasons” set in other countries using the same premise, and the same set.
The first ep has David Tennant, who is bearded and staring and jittery and obviously smart but missing something that would make more socially aware people think “you’re missing something.” Big stretch. He says “no comment "for about nine minutes, it seems. Maybe 14. The interrogators are pressing him about the death of his step daughter, and if you know nothing more about the show you might get a bit weary: again with the murdered high school girl. Is this a nine-part series about how the death shocks a small town and reveals its secrets?
No. It’s not. The premise is the totality: people in a room talking about a crime. It could be a radio play. I watched one ep, and it was not slack. It was not stupid. The camera did not swoop around. When it was oblique and referenced things we didn’t know, it wasn’t to plant Deep Clues about something we’d learn later. It was a well-constructed bit of TV.
Now, Emily Tannenbaum, White Lady.
I've decided to start with episode one of the UK version because, ugh, reading subtitles on a Friday sounds terrible. I'll let you know if it's worth continuing straight through the next one by the end of this post. Here goes nothin’.
"Edgar" opens on Dr. Edgar Fallon (David Tennant), his lawyer, and two white guy detectives I will not be learning the names of any time soon. Apparently, they've been interviewing Jessica Jones' arch-nemeses for 23 hours and all he's given them is "no comment." Sounds like these guys might be bad at their jobs. 1380 minutes? I go full twitter melt-down if I'm sitting at the airport gate for over 20. I'll tell you who really killed JFK after a half-hour in my therapist's waiting room.
But this isn't about me.
Oh, it is. Everything is.
Sure enough, she sends our mystery man in to replace White Dude #1, while telling him that White Dude #2 is still in charge. "It's his show," she says.
It's really not, though. The second Detective Inspector Paul Ottager enters the room it's clear this is now his show. Remember, he's their only hope!
This character is black. It’s not relevant to the plot. But neither is the race of the other guys. It is simply necessary for the author to let us know she regards them as Interchangeable White Dudes.
I recommend it, even though it has White Dudes. England, France, Spain, Germany - the White Dudes are similar, being White Dudes, I guess, but if you listen closely you detect - dare I say - glimmers of individuality that suggest the White Dude is a lazy writer’s way of waving away people about whom the incurious think they know everything. If the reviewer had watched more episodes of the series, she might have mentioned that the lead interrogator, the most capable person on the squad in the end, is female, and flawed in an interesting way, but we’ll leave that to other reviewers who write for publications that don’t put F*** in the headline for clicks.
Do kids ask for bread by brand names? Do they know the brand names?
As I probably said when the last Master ad rotated around in the Product section, I knew Holsum, and had no idea it was one of those we’ve-misspelled-the-name-f0r-goodness things. Holsum was soft, like Wonder. All the breads were soft, but the local grocery store up the block baked on the premises, and the crust was a bit stiffer.
Never understood the kids who didn’t want the crust.
A reminder that the profusion of newspaper ads in the weekly grocery section did not mean they had a greater number of products.
It’s been a while since I saw anyone advertise salt. I wonder if this was granulated to the consistency of popcorn salt, which is almost like 1 atom’s worth. Hard to control the pour.
Oh! Speaking of which.
There is, of course, a website devoted to Manley popcorn machines.
The company originated in 1921 or 1922 when Julian Burch started making popcorn machines under the name--Burch Manufacturing Company. Shortly thereafter Charles T. Manley joined Julian Burch. Burch then left and started a new company, which is still operating today--Star Manufacturing.
Charles T. Manley continued to use the Burch Manufacturing name until 1940. According to Manley Inc records from the 1950s, the name changed from Burch Manufacturing to Manley on September 18, 1940. According to an article in Boxoffice Magazine from January 4, 1941 Burch announced the name change to Manley, Inc. for the popcorn machine including new models.
The website gives the company’s address in the 40s, and well well well would you look at that:
If you’d ever wondered, they were happy to tell you:
FOUR makes you want FIVE.
It was chocolate / peanut butter / molasses, according to the label - and the early versions emphasized BRACH’S more than the bar’s name. Odd.
Meaning . . . greater quantities available? No, I think it referred to compounds and chemicals that had been removed for the duration. Maybe.
It’s difficult for us to realize what the term postwar meant, and how large it loomed in the public mind - and how no one, I suspect, used the term until it seemed possible. I don’t think anyone in early 42 was thinking about “postwar economic planning.”
Well, Freshie would say that, wouldn’t he.
TRIPLE your money should you find a stale jar.
I don’t know what stale peanut butter would taste like.
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.