Cold, rainy, dank, but . . . happy? More people in the office today than I've seen since the place emptied out. For once it didn't seem unusual to enter the office and see all the lights were on.

Ran into an editor who said she'd sent me an email about a piece for the upcoming magazine. Usually I respond to the email by producing the piece within the hour; what happened? I apologized and sat down and produced the piece in 30 minutes. Miracle Man!

Not really. It's for the "Throwback" feature I write, a back-page anchor. An old photo of Minneapolis, or a postcard, or a matchbook. I'd seen a picture on Reddit that intrigued me - a 1941 view of a store I'd never heard about. The research was already done. The art was lifted from amicrofiche. Bang! Done. Miracle Man!

I feel good, and then . . . well.

Every single time I think I’ve done it right, I’ve done it wrong. At least I imagine how I could’ve done it better. But I’m so committed to the build that it would take a month to fix everything, so I have to live with the mistakes. I add more things to make it better. I tinker with things I haven’t touched for weeks. I compare my work to the stuff online and despair.

You do know what I’m talking about, right? Yes, I've been building again.

Yes, that Grain Belt sign was hand-animated and I have the carpal-tunnel again to prove it.

I wanted to create a roller coaster that goes through a large building engulfed in flames and explosions. I had to build that one from scratch, but most of the downtown is from someone else’s New York blueprints. I’ve added my own buildings, though, and lots of custom signs. I'm afraid you'll have to put up with this again for a while.







I think I'll discuss these old-but-new Bud ads I've had in the hopper for a while. And the site itself is three years old. Who cares? Well, you might.

This site put up the following bombshell observations:

It might be difficult to imagine for younger generations, but back in the 1950s, women conformed to clear gender roles. Popular culture, vintage ads, and mass media were only reinforcing the messages of traditional ideals with patterns of repression and sexualization of women by men. We still notice the result of that in many third-world countries and more conservative households, and it affects the self-confidence of women around the world.

Thirty-nine percent of ads portray women in a negative light. Really? Define negative, for one thing. Ugly? Stupid? Out of shape? What company today would portray women in a derogatory, insulting, and demeaning way?

This is the old ad, the bad old ad:

I’m not sure how that’s not positive, unless we’re assuming that showing women in a domestic role was bad. She’s pretty pleased with what she’s done, although her expression seems to have some private murdery glee, as if she’s poisoned the stuff and can’t wait to see his face turn purple as he claws at his shirt collar.

Here’s the new and improved version:

First thought: that’s a lousy illustration. The beer can and glass look like cut-out pictures pasted into place. Second: the husband has been replaced by a dog. Third: her big treat is a bag of Chinese glop from the joint up the street.

Also, advertising students, take note: typeface color and placement matters. Your favorite takeout just got her.

Which of these two tableaus seem like it might produce more happiness at the end of the day?

Bad ad #2: He's coming to terms with the fact that you can't fix a fishing reel with a hammer. She's amused he thought he could. She wants to make him feel better. He got into this situation himself, but this is what you do; you lighten the mood.

The problem, of course, is that she is pouring the beer. And so:

Same expressions, except now beer is mutual, and after they are done they will cut the pizza with a hammer.

They're just moving in, and we all know how the first thing you unpack is a hammer.

I suppose this is fine, but it's not going to move a lot of barley pop.

Example #3 is the most interesting to me:

This is the oldest ad in the collection, and hails from a different era. There's a lot going on here. First of all, she's in her bridal gown, and he's got the bags and the car, so the general impression is "she's off to have societally sanctioned sex somewhere." Hence her expression, which means . . . many things. A man might look at the ad and wonder if he could have been one of the two. A woman might read the expression differently: you'd have one on the side if you could, wouldn't you?

The copy is oblique. The inner man. Not an unusual concept. But this inner man must be contented by meals. So . . . does this literally mean the inner man is his guts?

When you plan, are you fair to yourself? Do you ruin your delicious meals with substandard beer? One more damned thing to worry about, although no one did. He drank Bud, that's what she bought, when she bought it. Usually he picked it up. And he might have been quicker to pick it up if he saw this ad, and that look stayed with him.

The corrected version:

Oh does she now.

"She's never felt more fufilled. Because she's surrounded by those who embrace who she is, inside and out. And that's all she really needs."

Oh is it now. Sure, could be. But there's a difference between a long-term committed relationship and, well, beer brunch with pals, no? Of course, just because she has the latter doesn't mean she doesn't have the former, and vice versa.

If I had a point, I suppose it might be this: in 2019, when this was done, it hadn't yet occured to them that they could use She Married Two Men and meant it literally.




It’s 1930.

The paper arrived on Tuesday and Thursday, dropping on portches all over Murfreesboro.

Kaiser-Frazer was told it could get a government loan if it “hired” William Boyle, DNC chairman.

In 1951, he was implicated in an influence peddling scandal involving loans made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. While a Senate investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Boyle, he resigned later that year due to "ill health". He returned to the practice of law in Washington, remaining there until he died in his sleep in 1961 at the age of 58.

The . . . the what?


In the back pages, it’s a bit more clear. They had pictures of babies, and you were invited to vote on them.

I'd like to hear a Dolly Parton song called "Reubene."

BTW, she grew up to be a lovely bride. She died in 1997 at the age of 67.



But it gladdened the heart anyway. By the way, the band on the top hat says "Weatherman."

Was this how they visualized Weathermen in 1930?

  An address would be helpful, unless it’s assumed we all know where the Doc and ol' Hank lived. In any case, it’s interesting that a two-story apartment building was a front page story.


Wait a minute -

  Is that where we got the word - no, it can’t be.

Ah, it wasn’t.

Stories differ on the specifics, but he earned his nickname while recuperating from the injury. In one version, the doctor told him it would be a “Hazard” to return to acrobatics, and Harold responded “Doc, that would be a good name for me” and used it from then on. In another version, the stateside surgeon operating on in referred to the emergency treatment he received in France right after the crash as being “the most haphazard job I ever saw.” Either way, the name stuck.


He built a high-speed plane in his basement, and drove a Porsche. In 1973, still pushing his luck, Hap Hazard went up in his homemade plane with a young Navy pilot and crashed while trying to perform some stunts in Salinas, California, killing both on board.


  Important news of the day

Amount of political, national, and international news in the paper: precisely zero.




That'll do. Now head back to the Fifties, and drink up.





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