It’s finally happened:

There’s nothing in the vending machines at work. I assume this is the case for the entire building, since this 50+ story tower is less than 10% occupied. I never saw this machine restocked, but I’ll bet it was a day-long job for one person to do the entire building. How often? Don’t know.

I just know that everything was always there when you needed it, and now it’s not; I know I never thought about the livelihood of the person who restocked, but today I did.

We’re past the shortages part now, but when you see a sudden shortage, or something that was open is now closed, you chalk it up to Pandemic, even though it doesn’t feel like there’s a pandemic anymore. Not even an epidemic. There’s just a feeling as if everything is suffused with a long-lasting dental anesthetic.

We had a Zoom meeting with Daughter's college officials - which is to say, we stared at a screen full of heads, most of whom stared straight ahead without expression while someone else said happy things about all the plans they're making to ensure a safe college experience. The take-away word was "dedensify." Dorm rooms would be converted from quadruple occupancy to two, from triples to two. They talked a lot about washing one's hands and making sure you don't go out if you have any tell-tale symptoms.

You know, real breaking-news stuff.

When it came to dedensifying classrooms, they not only buried the lede, they sent a backhoe down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench and drilled down about another mile. Dedensifying class means that 2/3rds of the lessons will be LFA. See? It's just like normal college! You get to walk around the campus 'n' stuff and go to classes. Just not as much.

LFA? Oh, that's Learning From Anywhere.

That's Zoom.

So the kid flies across country and moves into a dorm and spends hideous amounts of money to take two-thirds of the classes on a laptop in the dorm room, not the commons area, because it's been dedensified as well.

Daughter has elected to sit out the first semester and work as much as possible and pick up some online classes, and go back in Spring when the threat of everything being cancelled again will be less.

Smart one.

And, she's home for the rest of the year, so it's not like I'm balking.



Get out of here with this nonsense.






Of all things to watch, I decided on “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Why? Because it had been a long time. It wasn’t a case of wondering if it still held up; we know it does. It’s up there with Back to the Future as a near-perfect movie. Two things:

1. It’s almost constant action, with one fantastic set-piece after the other, but it never feels frenetic, choppy, or disjointed. It’s because the direction is confident, the characters sharp and clear, the violence believable, if often stretching credulity, and because it doesn’t cut every two seconds.

By the last third the movie has built up so much good will we just wave away the whole “Indy gets on the submarine” thing, because we figure the movie earned it.

I2. t’s very problematic now. Egypt is shown as a less-than-fully-developed country in 193whatever, and it abounds with cliches. You could - and should - say that it’s really set in the time of the serials. It’s a throwback to the culture of the era, and believe me, it could’ve been worse.

So it was nostalgia then, and now it’s nostalgia for nostalgia.

Why couldn’t they make another movie as good as the first? I know, people argue about Temple of Doom - unbearable, or slightly bearable? I’m in the former camp; it’s one of the most disappointing movies I’ve ever seen. It tried so hard, and it didn’t have to. It dialed everything up when keeping it all at the same level would have been fine. They added that dreadful screeching woman, and reveled in sadism. The third one worked for me. About the fourth, I remember little, except I didn’t dislike it as much as I was supposed to.

Is there a fifth? Yes. It’s set in 1938. Supposedly it’ll be out in 2022.

That’s forty-one years after the first one. Ford will be eighty when it premieres. More to the point, he’ll be 78 when he plays a character three years after Raiders.

So . . . I’m guessing they will use digital de-aging. Which . . . is odd, and I’m not sure I’m entirely opposed. It’s all artifice, anyway; it’s all a fantasy. Why not commit and do everything they can to bring younger Indy back? What’s the harm?

Aside from adding to the yawning chasm between reality and the world on the screen, oh, nothing. Here’s the thing about Raiders: aside from God’s vengeance at the end, it all happened. There were lots of FX and tech-assisted stunts, but it all happened. He did slide under that truck. (Well, someone did.) He did ride that big statue down into the wall. He did stand in that chamber with the rod. He did run down the tunnel after stealing the idol. It connected because it was real.

Real is what we lost, and it’s one of the reasons the Star Wars prequels bit the wax tadpole. We can accept that it’s fiction. It’s a different matter to accept that this fiction did not, in some way, actually happen.



It’s 1967.

What made me choose this one?

The typeface. It’s a classic of the era, and one of those fonts that isn’t a variation on anything, but a whole new idea, right? No. You can find its antecedents twenty years earlier.

I don’t like it, but I grew up with it, and hence it’s played out in my head, and reminds me of the 70s.

Did “Mad Men” ever do a campaign for Smirnoff?

I say that because Robert Morse was on “Mad Men.” Smirnoff had a smashing campaign in the 60s, all the same - famous person, blank background, clever idea, very hip.

The copper cup is there for a reason: that’s the receptacle in which you consumed the Moscow Mule.

Shown here: the Driscoll!

Driscoll was also the name of a radio line in the 50s. I can’t find out why.

As low as #329 - which would be $2500 today.

The names of these beauties - and I mean the TVs - is wonderful.

The Asbury. The Engberg. The Colonial Hutch. The Dumas. The Hillcrest. The Ortega.

We call it that because it has actual heart meat!

Or not. These were, and are, beloved by dogs. They’re hamburgers! It has the mouthfeel of animal flesh, sorta! Well, at least it’s not crunchy.

The dog on the label, by the way, was Etzel von Oeringen. He was a wonder dog.

I can smell the plastic from here.

They made radios and TVs, but I suppose it was a natural to work into some other thing that used juice. Wikipedia:

On December 11, 1961, Ford Motor Company purchased Philco and continued to offer consumer products, computer systems and defense related projects. The company, which had supplied Ford with some of its car radios as early as the 1930s, continued to provide Ford with car and truck radio receivers; consumer product investments were also made to color television production. Along with color and black and white television, Philco continued to produce refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditioners, stoves, radios, portable transistor radios, portable phonographs, audio console systems with high quality "Mastercraft" furniture cabinets, and component stereo systems.

This is interesting, at least to me, which doesn’t say much:

In Argentina, in March 2004, Philco was acquired by a group of Argentine investors. The presence of Philco in Argentina dates since 1930 and remains a traditional mark of appliances in this country. It currently manufactures refrigerators by Helametal Catamarca S.A. (Philco Argentina). All the line electronics, LCD TV, Car Stereos, Air Conditioning, MWO, Audio & DVD, is represented by Newsan SA SANYO and DatandHome SA, with the line of washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioning, water heaters, also the same group.

They get the lettering right, complete with the thick stroke:

  It’s owned by Swedish Match, the company founded by the Match King.


Ivar Kreuger 2 March 1880 – 12 March 1932) was a Swedish civil engineer, financier, entrepreneur and industrialist. In 1908, he co-founded the construction company Kreuger & Toll Byggnads AB, which specialized in new building techniques. By aggressive investments and innovative financial instruments, he built a global match and financial empire. Between the two world wars, he negotiated match monopolies with European, Central American and South American governments, and finally controlled between two thirds and three quarters of worldwide match production, becoming known as the "Match King”.

(A) biographer called Kreuger a "genius and swindler", and John Kenneth Galbraith wrote that he was the "Leonardo of larcenists”. Kreuger's financial empire collapsed during the Great Depression. The Price Waterhouse autopsy of his financial empire stated: "The manipulations were so childish that anyone with but a rudimentary knowledge of bookkeeping could see the books were falsified." In March 1932, he was found dead in the bedroom of his flat in Paris. The police concluded that he had committed suicide, but decades later, his brother Torsten claimed that he had been murdered, which spawned some controversial literature on the subject.

It’s an odd era: competing logos.

But you can taste it, can’t you. And it’s cold.

That'll do! See you around.




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