Saw this at the grocery store:

Never saw Uncle Joe in the "We Can Do It" mode. What's this supposed to indicate? His literal grip? His tendency to engage in fisticuffs? The thing about Stalin, like Hitler, was not the personal threat of violence. No one called to his office feared he'd be hit in the stomach by Stalin. He would calmly sign a paper that ordered someone else to pull your intestines out your nose.

Magazines today are odd. What is this thing, exactly? A one-off? Something some distributor is floating to see if there's any appetite for more? The racks, such as they are, abound with testamonial fanzines for the long-dead - Elvis, Sinatra, Lincoln, JFK, anyone who passed into the mythological realm.

I miss magazines. The weekly summary types. Yes, yes, conventional wisdom shaped by the overclass, I know, I know. But there was a sense of summation and conversation. It’s still being done, just in a million atomized forms you can tailor to your precise series of preconceptions. I don’t want my opinions shaped by the technocratic credentialed overclass in Manhattan skyscrapers, I want them constantly reinforced by a distributed network of peers! I miss the excitement you’d feel when your favorite magazine appeared. With your favorite writer, too!

I don’t miss that feeling of oh-god-it’s-an-old-folks-desert when you’d go to someone’s house, and it would just be Reader’s Digest or VFW magazine. (“Shop with the old Sarge!” Sansabelt ads!)

It’s the zeitgeist-defining and zeitgeist-setting role of the cover that has been diminished. I did a site this morning I probably shouldn’t put up, because it’s all covers from New York Magazine in the 1980s. They did a “Summer Pleasures” double issue that had lots of stuff you couldn’t afford and places you wouldn’t go, but it was a thing to be browsed and considered, a look at what was Now.

“Now” being defined as “the next two months,” as opposed to “this afternoon.”

The choice of models, the fashions, the poses, the whole design - it’s nothing special to modern eyes, but it nails an era with clean precision. Here’s 1983’s Spring Fashion (the summer cover was rote and generic.)

I love that. I’d like to tell you that women actually looked like that in 1983, but it was not my experience that they did. The women in the media did, though - a parallel world of Susans, Desperately Sought, moving through gritty-but-artsy-and-free urban environments.

By 1985, something else emerges. America is back, baby! So here come the 1940s look, with Paulina.

Of course, they had to have Elle, and the art director apparently said “look, why bother with anything? Just have her hold up a towel. It’ll sell out.”

Then came the end of the 80s, and behold: all that cheerful all-American fun is replaced by a model who does not think that any of this is amusing at all, and is annoyed with you for thinking that it is. This is like the supermodel equivalent of the Churchill portrait where he looks mad because the painter took his cigar.

The next year was Sherilyn Fenn in an American flag.

It’s a great shot, but it doesn’t say Summer Fun. If there’s one thing you generally don’t get out of Twin Peaks, it’s summer fun.

After that they drifted over to celebrity men, and you’d have Travolta in a banana-colored suit holding a squirt gun.

Don't really miss those magazines.

Hanging around in the Misc folder, the last relic of the NYC trip; The Newark airport had an exhibit of animal-related things one cannot bring into the country. It had dusty stuffed animals and old boxes.


Are you getting enough Calculus Bovis in your diet?

"Antelopis" sounds like fake Latin.


Tranquilizes and helps with spit and carminitavation.

This one is banned because it's rhino-based.


Bear sauce, made of ursine gall bladder.

I think we know why this one's forgidden:

The penguins are there to indicate . . . authenticity? Genuine Very Cold Whale Meat?

Please sir, may I have some more

This looks like it was designed while Mao was still around:

My notes on this one says "Sea Horse Pills."


Firecracker, or bogus medicine?

"Tiger Bone Pills."

So don't try to bring any of these in.


I forgot this one was en route. Skol!

Would you like some context? Happy to help.

Does that help? Looks like it's in the middle of a field.

It's right by the stadium. A new apartment building.

The original design looked like this:

It looks looming and huge, compared to the Wells Fargo tower. I wonder if it's been revised . . . yes.


Stay tuned. Oh, the other site we're following? Completely cleared and ready for digging.

To give you an idea of the area's transformation, here's a view from 2007 vs today.

A sheer wall will rise on the right in the next few months.

SUNDAY LANCE! This one's pretty noir, what with all the night shots.

Tiny just wants to go home.

Solution is here. Good luck with this one.



The second clip from The Amazing Mr. Malone, in which the inevitable inspector boxes with the amateur sleuth, and in doing so, plays with the form.


I mean, that's really . . . amazing. I've never heard a script address the conventions like that.

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922. Why not?

Billy Jones, with another sentimental fave.


Here's our boy:

William Reese Jones (March 15, 1889 – November 23, 1940) was a tenor who recorded during the 1920s and 1930s, finding fame as a radio star on The Happiness Boys radio program.

Jones worked in such occupations as mining, banking, and blacksmithing before his 1918 recording debut. He recorded with the Cleartone Four, the Crescent Trio, the Harmonizers Quartet and the Premier Quartet, and he performed under a variety of names (Harry Blake, Billy Clarke, Lester George, Duncan Jones, Reese Jones, John Kelley, Dennis O'Malley, William Rees, Victor Roberts, Billy West, William West, and Carlton Williams).

Man, he must have turned around 20 times a day, thinking someone was calling his name.

The Happiness Boys promoted the Happiness Candy store chain. In a few yearsm Billy would be one of the highest paid singers on radio. The other being his Happiness partner.


More from the vaults of Sears radio ads, from 1979. I took these from some syndicated dramas Sears sponsored; also aired on Mutual. One of those attempts to bring back old radio.






There: that should do! And if this entry doesn't satisfy you, you really ask too much.

Back on Tuesday, but I'll have a smallish Bleat for chat, if you like.




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