I’m getting used to the lights. For two years I sat in the dark in the office. It seemed apt. It seemed like good training, somehow. I was alone up here and liked the dim-cave aesthetic, if only as a sign that the old ways were suspended. If I came in to find the lights on, it meant there was someone else here; if someone came in later and turned on the lights, it meant there might be someone to talk to.

But now we’re back! It’s all done and we’re on track to rebuild the lives we had before! Lights a-blazin’, boys!

Note: there is no one here. At least in my part of the office. The hub is lit up, though. The TVs are on and the website info charts are up. All that information had been hitting the screens, but there was no juice to give it presence. It must pinged against the black, mute and unseen.

UPDATE: four people arrived and I had two spontaneous three-way chats in one day for the first time in two years.

Ordinary Monday, spent in the usual fashion: searching for, and discarding, column ideas. I have to write it now, so let's get on to other things prepared yesterday when I should have been writing the column. As always.










Since I took a plane ride, we have to do this. Trust me.

It was my pleasure to watch the absolute worst Perry Mason ever made. Part of the problem: there’s the absolute minimum of Perry Mason. It’s from the odd season where Perry was “convalescing,” and they ran a variety of guest lawyers through the paces.  We’ll get to it in a second. First, the PM going out.

It was one of the Perry’s Recovering from Extreme Dental Surgery episodes. We’d meet another lawyer, and perhaps they could be spun off into another series! (None were.) This time it was Walter Pidgeon, who played an old but sly lawyer whose noticeable character-bestowing attribute was pool playing.

I thought we might have a Star Trek connection in Hayden Rorke, but . . .

No. I was thinking of that other space-flight themed show.

There’s a dizzy dame, but not a sexpot type. More the daffy but sweet but not entirely stupid Midwestern blonde type.

If that doesn't look familiar, try this.

I suspected I knew her before she opened her mouth but when she spoke, it cinched it.

  It's the intonation on "silly old papers out of the safe."

If you grew up in the era in which I sprouted, you’d just know her, from Match Game and Mary Tyler Moore. It’s odd how you grow up with some actors and you know them right away - and that’s why I wonder whether people in the 50s realized that the same six people seemed to be doing all of the dramatic radio shows.

What did parents think when they heard Matt Dillon's voice coming out of  a character on an animated show the kid was watching?

Now, the World Ep Ever. To make matters worse, I’d seen it before, five years ago. (It made an appearance in B&W World.) It’s about a corrupt politician from an Eastern European country who gets bumped off in the states, and naturally that goes right to a grand jury in Los Angeles. It has all the cliches: the over-emotional emigres who rant about the Old Country; a bloodless secret-policeman playing all the angles:

Commie-Nazis! The worst kind. But that's not why brought this up. It's this.  For some reason no one seems able to explain to the audience’s satisfaction, the passionate emigre’s defense falls on a playboy entertainment lawyer, and that's why I have to bring this up. Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to be suaved to death:


The solution hinges on the lawyer also, by chance, having an exact double who was involved in the murder. This sets a standard for Courtroom Theatrics Your Honor that made everything Perry Mason did look like someone contesting a parking ticket. It’s just awful.




It’s 1947.

Is that . . . is that okra?

I’m okay with the idea of waffles for dinner, but if you’re going to “dress them up” I don’t think this qualifies as Halston, if you know what I mean.

You know, this project originally focused on package design, and nothing more

It’s one of those things that tells you what life looked like, details we never consider. And for good reason - no one ever scratches their head and says “gosh I wish I knew what pancake boxes looked like after the Second World War,” but now you know.

That’s dang cheap. But . . .

It’s just water. Their wikipedia page says they rolled out the product in 1936. “TRICO’s ‘Two Little Squirts’ pioneered the use of windshield washer fluid to keep windshields clean.” Well, eventually, but in ’47 it was water.

They invented the windshield wiper, by the way, and the company still exists.

War developed! War proved!

One post-war product you don’t have to wait for? It’s ’47! What else were they waiting for? How long did they wait?

Owned by Bordon for a while, because, well, Elmer. Glue. And so on.

2627 North Kildare, the world-wide home of Mystik:


The Miracle-Tuft was every inch a precision instrument, curved in two places:

It hit the market in 1938, replacing hog bristles. Nylon brush-heads. I wonder how soft they were, since I expect everyone had gum disease to one extent or the other.

Needs A. Needs A caravan top.

Googling around, I see the company pops up in Billboard ads in the back, advertising circus tents. I assume that tents were their main business, and this was a canny spin-off, possibly due to wartime requests.

Good question. Never thought it it like that.

Because . . . it’s good? And fills you up? Because it’s good and fills you up.

And because you're probably not going to get pizza.



That'll do. Some Quasicomics now, and you'll learn all about the pulse-pounding world of diamond cutting. Takes steady nerves! So smoke a pack of Camels before you pick up your hammer.





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