Three front-office types came into the gym today to confer with the staff. They went back to the free weights area, and there was gesturing and talk of changes. Or so I thought. I went back to do my self-imposed torture - Mondays aren't as hard as they used to be, so that's nice - and had to walk through the group.

"Did I miss the memo for the meeting?"

"Yes," said one of the front-office guys, the tall one. "We're looking for fitness models."

I struck a pose and said call my agent.

I overheard something else about the amenities center on the second floor, and this made me curious. A couple of months ago there were signs on placards by an abandoned bank office on the second floor, with pictures of a big room and bar, a club for office tenants. Then nothing. Was that the amenties center? So I asked the tall guy, and he refered me to the short guy.

The following conversation I relate exactly as it happened.

"I saw pictures a while ago that suggested a club was going into the old Bremer spot. Was that blue-sky or things to come?"

"Things to come," he beamed."

"ETA?" I said, and he replied, in a trice:

"ETA is TBA."

The only possible response to that was "AOK."

If you watched the Super Bowl, or at least the compilation of the ads, I hoped you noticed The Color and its companion variants.

The next scene in Steve Martin's commercial has the absolutely unremarkable coordination of room trim, computer monitor wallpaper, and the color of paper he is holding:

Well it's just the cool color du jour, that's all! The companies and products just want to be cool. Why stand out when you can use a palette that makes everything blur together?

Next commercial:

Who's in this one?

Well, it is, according to Mercedes, the color of the night, right?

Right? We all wake at 7 AM to that hue pouring through the window.

Well, rise and shine and head off to the airport:

Maybe run through the mall first, in this NFL ad:

Perhaps most noticeable in an Amazon ad about a dog.

Shirt, pot, trivet. I mean, I like a certain amount of coordination, but at least you vary things up between rooms.

What is the matter with the sky?


That last shot is the dog crate in the car, driving back on a rainy day.

Does the world ever look like this?

It does not. Yet it does, here, again and again.






Someone retweeted a picture of a Columbo ep that came from an account that does nothing but Columbo screen grabs. Sums up Twitter well: a momentary amusement, a nice little tableau that's either absurd or typical of the time, or has an interesting expression. But nothing more. It's like the account that tweets four pictures of a Midwest small town every so often. It's nice and it provides a break from everyone else's discourse-fulminating, but compared to the Main Street feature here, it's nearly nothing. No insult to that account intended - it's Twitter, and hence the expectations are lower. I worry that the short form will render the longform tiresome, eventually - gah, look at all this stuff, it's so much work.

Well, cultural anthropology should require a little work, and by "work" I mean "having to listen to some guy go on and on about lost details in a distant city for some reason that's rarely obvious even after he's done." Keeping that in mind, Let's take a quick drive.

They're kind enough to show us where he goes. It's a famous place.

Why, everyone knew that name! Just like we knew about Burbank and the Slausen Cutoff and the Hollywood Bowl and the Brown Derby and all the other landmarks. One just knew these things.

Chasen's was a famous restaurant frequented by film stars, entertainers, politicians and other dignitaries in West Hollywood, California, located at 9039 Beverly Boulevard on the border of Beverly Hills. It opened for business in 1936 and was the site of the Academy Awards party for many years. It was also famous for its chili. Elizabeth Taylor had several orders of Chasen's chili flown to the set of Cleopatra in 1963 while filming in Rome.


Wind it back to that drive up to the joint:


Here's that ugly apartment in the background. Who cares, you say? Well, it's useful to make a point.


  At some point it was gutted . . .

. . . and rebuilt.

I use this as proof that now and then, things get objectively better.


Then again . . . here's a locale he visits to interrogate the projectionist.

Ah well.







It’s 1963.

“End annoying fishing around, digging and hunting.” I’ve got bad news for them. There’s still fishing around, digging, and hunting.

But I grant that it’s not as annoying.

Also, the ice tray refills itself. “No more spilly trips from the sink.” We’re not in automatic ice paradise yet, but we’re getting closer.

Spilly trips.

“This meat’s great, but the whole thing lacks soup”

I think ketchup would do. In fact I know it would. And it would be better. That loaf's going to soak it up and get crumbly. And getting this thing to the plate?

A i, perhaps.

Single, or just married to a clod who doesn’t lend a hand?

Worrying about dishpan hands is no longer a major concern for American women.

Oh, good one, Mr. Husband. Couldn’t hide your contempt for even a few seconds. Why don’t you just have Peggy on the sofa right then and there.

We don’t get a resolution to this story. We know it didn’t end well for anyone except Peggy, who just blithely bounced to the next carefree moment in her charmed life.


Kids think: if this is possible, and Mom is informed of it, we’ll never have Jell-O again.

Why would you have Jell-O when you could make it into fluffy ice cream? Really, why?

I loved these things, in theory. We all did. It was just like the astronauts had!

In practice the stuff was flat and tasted like licking a magnet or something. And there was always one little shard that refused to dissolve.

Hell no she won’t. She’s beyond tank-and-tool paradigms.

You still have to drag the thing around, though. I don’t know why it was considered better than an upright.

Those uprights had style, too. They looked like the front of space-age rocket cars.


“Well, now that we’ve taught them to buy a box and just pour it down the drain to freshen the pipes, any other ideas?”

“Buy a box and pour it in the tub?”

“Carstairs, you’re getting a promotion.”

I’m not sure the entirety of the summer ran at 200% fun capacity after this.

Now two ways to chip in!

That will do for today. Big update in 20s Comic Obscura, as you meet Mr. Straphanger. It is a product of its times, but we're all grown-ups here and can realize that atttitudes and tropes curdle and change.




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