If for some reason you're new to these parts, this isn't what the Bleat usually looks like. We're on Hiatus for a week, which means it's updated daily as usual - except with material that does not conform to the usual iron-clad schedule.

Shall we begin?

This is really quite remarkable, when you think about it. It’s from 1893, but it looks so modern. And so expensive, too.

Or is it from 1893? Could be later, I suppose, trading on the memory of the place and the event, but I doubt it.

As the woefully undersized entry at the Encyclopedia of Chicago history says:

The ensemble of neoclassical palaces and Venetian waterways set a tone of imperial splendor and aesthetic sophistication, which Chicago's fair supporters hoped would counter the city's reputation as commercial center lacking in refinement and high culture.

By the way, in case you’re one of those “things have never been worse” types:

A smallpox epidemic that originated at the fair in midsummer spread throughout the city by early autumn. Then, just before the gala closing ceremonies were to be held, Mayor Carter Harrison was assassinated. Finally, shortly after the fair's close, a fire swept through the fairgrounds, destroying many of the buildings.

A better view of the scene, here.

The fate of the statue, in a story of immense rue and sadness, here.

The Proto-Chef? Well, no doubt the archetype was established already; I don’t think they invented the idea of a cook who twirls his mustache while noting the incipient signs of a heart attack.

I’ve color-corrected these, by the way. The originals are faded and battered.

The great tale, as revealed by this immense tome!

I’ve nothing more to add, except to note the AI abstracts generated when I left the instruction field blank, and let the AI conjur something on its own.

  Soviet nightmare
  I don't know what it's thinking
  This actually could be found in a museum.


A good way of looking at the then-and-now aspect of design, at least as it applies to the late 70s and early 80s: tell me how we went from this . . .

. . . to this.

It’s junk from cover to cover.

This battered old bird is from New Zealand.

I’m not sure this is funny in any sense of the word:

I’m not going to argue with any of this.

Odd how “Pure Stimulant” is used as a good thing. I’m sure they mean that this stimulant is good and unadulterated, but it sounds rather decadent now.

So much for the “pure” part: they’re cutting it with chicory.

I think they added chicory to the coffee at Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown, and we were obliged to say how good it was, since everything at Al’s was supposed to be the best. Maybe it was.

A note, tucked in the book.

This one I had to “check out” from the Internet Archive. Happy drinking time!

It contains Party Art in the Modern style:

Which is to say, slapdash and abstract, but connoting that with-it vibe that said you were part of the up to date culture.

The collection of post-war recipie books from the post-war era isn't as big as one hoped. I wonder if there's a great collection out there somewhere, waiting to be donated.

Besides mine.





Today we consider the enormous amount of labor involved in keeping your floors shiny. Good homes had shiny floors.

Titus Moody, now doing stud duty:

I mean, I never knew what Titus Moody looked like, and this ad doesn’t say who this fellow is supposed to be. Was the voice just a cliche of the rustic by then?

But it is Titus Moody, or rather Parker Fennally. He died in 1988 at the age of 97 or so, but he survives today as the voice you hear when you see a meme:

He was the first voice of the ads, anyway.

Another: I love these stylized, half-made interiors.

Same: “I lose a lot of jobs, but I make a lot of friends.”


Now two ways to chip in!

That will do; back again tomorrow for another surprise.



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