I ended up painting four windows. They all had cracked paint and looked lousy. So don’t look at them! You say. Stop being me. This is new me! Painting me. Busy me. I couldn’t not see them, especially since I’d done one. The others had to be painted as well. Would the can hold out to the end? Let’s find out.

It’s not hard to paint well. I’ve never been happy with my results - too thick, visible streaks, a pendulous glob here and there. But for some reason I was in the zone, and took care. Taped everything up. Put down dropcloths. Set out my will in an easily-located place because the ladder is creaky. And then I began to scrape.

You learn things when you go down to the grain. I’m painting everything the same grey, but it was not always so. Below the grey: green. It was a remnant of the labors of whoever put on the grey - he couldn’t get the green off, either. I used a stripper, and it burned away the green . . . revealing cream. This stuff hadn’t come off when the green painter had done his labors, whenever - possibly the 80s. It defied the stripper. Very well: I will sand you into oblivion.

One window per day, taped, scraped, sanded, primed, painted. It looks great if you’re 20, 30 feet away, and not bad close-up either. While the paint dried I touched up some other spots, and noted that the paint under the door in the trademan’s entrance was cracked as well. No time like the present; start scraping.

Grey to green. Green to cream.

Hello . . . RED. A dark, almost bloody red. A tiny little patch about two inches long that suddenly told the story of the house forty years ago, when it was red.

Here’s the thing: all those colors were right. They all fit the house. It was easy to imagine the windows in any of the three bygone hues. So I went to the computer, made up a swatch of the colors in Photoshop, printed it out, and put it in the house-history folder.

For whomever, whenever.

May it be many, many years.






I don’t remember when I stumbled across this - part of a YouTube dive through forgotten 60s TV shows. (There are so many.) It stuck out, and I had to find out what the hell this was.

It’s pre-Wall stuff, in every way. The instrumentation, the suit, the actors.


Is that supposed to be DNA?

Let's just say no one ever got an “uncanny valley” vibe from Clutch Cargo:


Now, some completely typical stuff from the era. Absoute formula. Can't stand it.

Okay. So what the hell is the dynamic here? The guy has a Living Doll. But he hasn’t told his wife? Or he has? He works for NASA but they can’t know? When I was a kid this was the tone of half the comedies, it seems - no one could be honest, so they had to blather out a series of unconvincing lies conjured spontaneously, which would be fully believed or partially believed.

Here’s the Wikipedia explanation. (It’s not his wife, by the way. It’s his sister! Who lives with him. Because of course.)

The series starred Bob Cummings as Dr. Bob McDonald, a psychiatrist who is given care of Rhoda Miller, a lifelike android (played by Julie Newmar) in the form of a sexy, Amazonian female, by her creator, a scientist who did not want her to fall into the hands of the military.

Through a series of mishaps, the robot ends up in the care of Dr. Miller's friend, Air Force psychiatrist Bob McDonald, when Miller is transferred to Pakistan. Bob is initially reluctant, but soon becomes intrigued by the experiment of educating this sophisticated but naive robot. Bob's initial goal is to teach Rhoda how to be a perfect woman, which he defines as one who "does what she's told" and "doesn't talk back." He also strives to keep her identity secret from the world.

Sounds a lot like I Dream of Jeanie, in a way. Space-related guy must keep hot woman secret! But it came first.

Newmar, interviewed later, was brutal:

(CBS was) looking for a series for Bob Cummings, but Doll wasn't the proper vehicle, as it turned out. It needed a different type of actor. They originally wanted Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. It was not a flip part — it needed a straight actor who could play opposite this bizarre creature so the comedy would come off. That quality was lost when they hired Bob. The show could have been wonderful. I think it would have run for many seasons had they hired Efrem because he had the right qualities.

Newmar also said Cummings was "trying too desperately to hold on to his long-gone youth.”

He was 55.

You know, life in the comedy biz isn’t always as fun as it might seem from the outside:

In later years, Newmar said the trouble was Cummings' addiction to methamphetamine. She says this contributed to his erratic behavior on set, as well as his increasing depression and insecurity. He demanded that the show focus more on his character. CBS refused and Cummings left.

The full segment - eight minutes - is right here.





It’s 1892.

If you’re wondering when the meaning of "cheap" shifted to the pejorative, well, it obviously happened after 1892.

Buy this book you’ve already read, because this is a special edition, the nice deluxe version, the one no one will read because it’s for company to see.

You know there’s a story here, right? And I don’t mean the story in the book.

The Wide, Wide World is an 1850 novel by Susan Warner, published under the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell. It is often acclaimed as America's first bestseller.

An excerpt from page 68:

OCTOBER was now far advanced. One evening, the evening of the last Sunday in the month, Mrs. Montgomery was lying in the parlour alone. Ellen had gone to bed some time before; and now in the stillness of the Sabbath evening the ticking of the clock was almost the only sound to be heard. The hands were rapidly approaching ten. Captain Montgomery was abroad; and he had been so,—according to custom,—or in bed, the whole day. The mother and daughter had had the Sabbath to themselves; and most quietly and sweetly it had passed. They had read together, prayed together, talked together a great deal; and the evening had been spent in singing hymns; but Mrs. Montgomery's strength failed here, and Ellen sang alone. She was not soon weary. Hymn succeeded hymn, with fresh and varied pleasure; and her mother could not tire of listening. The sweet words, and the sweet airs,—which were all old friends, and brought of themselves many a lesson of wisdom and consolation, by the mere force of association,—needed not the recommendation of the clear childish voice in which they were sung which was of all things the sweetest to Mrs. Montgomery's ear. She listened,—till she almost felt as if earth were left behind, and she and her child already standing within the walls of that city where sorrow and sighing shall be no more, and the tears shall be wiped from all eyes for ever. Ellen's next hymn, however, brought her back to earth again, but though her tears flowed freely while she heard it, all her causes of sorrow could not render them bitter.

And so on, for 900,000,000 words or so.

The soap that frees us from humors brings lifefuls:

Civilization requires soap. They’re not wrong.

Make your home a museum of the accomplishments of Western Civilization:

After paintings, sculpture, and architecture, what is there?

Which World’s Fair, you might ask?

The Columbian Exposition wasn’t until the next year.

Rest your mind, child; there is no chance of getting brained by the shade. It is a HARTSHORN.

People knew the name by 1892; it had come to dominate the market. More, with pictures of the product, here.

One of the things we like to know is that this thing we’re buying contains no poison:

I’m not saying they slapped the word on anything to make it sound high-tech, imbued with the special knowledge that contemporary science could bring to improving daily lives, but c’mon.

It had to be electric! Why, you could tell from the slight shock.

The google search turned up a page that had this description: "Dobbins Electric Soap - The lean and slipper'd pantaloon with spectacles on nose."


And what does that mean? It’s a line of poetry from a series of collectible cards about the ages of man.


The only product and company still around.

That'll do; more amusements tomorrow.



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