Gazebo update: it isn't finished. I need to assemble two more roof pieces; they’re a bit tricky. The old cheap gazebos had thin metal struts you fought into place, then you lifted it over the main assembly. Two person job, at most. This one has four triangular pieces that have eight pieces of wood each, with 8394 screws - not counting the 24235 screws that attach the metal roof - and how we will get them up I’ve no idea, but French Brother-in-law and the Giant Swede are both engineers by training. So.

I did enjoy watching the Uke deal with some parts that weren’t exactly in true; he picked up hammer and got their attention with some sharp strikes, which he pronounced to be Ukrainian engineering.

So it proceeds.

It wasn’t done in time for Daughter’s birthday, but that was okay. I had just watched an old Mad Men where Don Draper assembles Sally’s playhouse for her birthday, with a series of beers opening to show the progress of time. The beer cans looked like old Hamms cans, which may have been an inside joke. Anyway: I had no beer during the construction, because that way leads to Homer Simpson BBQs.

I was worried about Daughter’s birthday, though. She didn’t want anything, but of course you can’t say “fine!” and give them a cupcake and leave it at that. I got her a gift card to her favorite art store, and I had found - get this - a little light you stick on the top of a bottle, and it illuminates the bottle. Cool and arty. But I had no bottle. So I went to Hunt and Gather, and somehow managed to get $18.93 of someone else’s junk before I found a perfect old vintage soda bottle from something called City.

That was the name of the pop: City.

She’s a City Kid, so sure. What, though, did City taste like? I’ve a guess: Lemon-Lime, the default of non-cola drinks. Where did it come from? Who made it? I love old pop bottles, and if I won the lottery I’d build a wing on my house to house the collection I would surely fill up the yawning existential dread amassing, but they’re so clanky and substantial it seems like one of those things people hesitate to collect.

But that wasn’t enough, so Starbucks card. No, Amazon card. No, both. And some earbuds, which she’s always losing. The old days were easy: pink and purple plastic something. Polly Pockets, Ponies. A bouncy house for the guests, or perhaps a magician as we had one year. Wife used to come up with all kinds of games for the tykes to keep them focused, and one year we had a treasure hunt. There was something hidden under a small shell I brought back from Cozumel before she was born. The shell was placed on the brick ledge by the back door when the day was done.

It’s been on that ledge ever since. Maybe ten years now. The wind doesn’t move it. The blizzards don’t move it. It sits there and no one will never get rid of it. Sometimes it’s around the corner. Sometimes it's by the tradesman’s entrance. But it’s there. It has to be.



For some reason
the DVR did not record ep 4 of Broadchurch - possibly because it was #83 on the priority list. I forgot I had a priority list. But there it was: “some shows may not be recorded” because they were low priority. Eighty-seven percent of the shows in the list, by my reckoning, are the result of wife or daughter pressing R several times after they watched a few minutes of a show and decided they wanted the whole thing. I have two shows: #82 and #83.


By some peculiar arrangement, the DVR records COPS, but it’s some strange Spike thing where it’s only saved for a certain time, and I can’t FF through the ads, so I have to sit through AWESOME BRO STUFF between the little short stories. It’s worth it. The other night they pulled a guy over because he had a dim bulb on his license place light, or something like that, and of course he had needles, which weren’t his, and meth, which wasn’t his - in fact he was quite indignant about the meth, because he had stopped doing it. When? Last month, man.

It was completely unfair for the police to make the assumptions they made. A man can’t get a break.

Commercial: Arby’s new Quintuple Stacker Bacon-Ranch Onion Roast Beef Jalapeño Pepper Jack Circus Oat Book Screw Battery Soapdish Meal with Seasoned Potatoes Mechanically Carved and Machine Wrapped with Butter? Machine wrapped with butter

Back to COPS: We’re in Esblort City, Idaho, and the squad car drives past the camera at night; we see a sign for a Tire Store. Close shot on the driver, whose hair is regulation length - 1/32nd of an inch. He gives us the quick bio:

“My dad was a policeman. My uncle was a policeman. My Mom was a policeman. I was a policeman in a different life. My dog is a police dog. My parrot can read the Miranda rights. This is a great place to raise a family and I like to hunt and fish. (CUT) Okay we’re going to pull this car over, because the license is an anagram for GUILTY if you assume the numbers have letter equivalents. Ten thirty, Bush and Shrub lane, car occupied nine times”

(Driver rabbits, is caught in a tool shed; there are now seventeen policemen shouting STOP RESISTING. He said he ran because he was scared; is dragged back to the squad car, admits he has warrants. Commercial break because it’s Spike, and they break up the stories with ads so nothing ever really tracks ep to ep on the DVR.)

That’s every show - and I can tell straight away whether I’ve seen it before or not.

Anyway, it didn't matter about the Broadchurch. If a British TV show is 10 - 12 eps long, you can always skip #4. That's the one where they introduce a new suspect, Rhett Hahring.



More of Robert Pilgrim's consumable-related Ripley knockoff. It ran in Family Circle, among other places.

I wonder if Mrs. Laura E Emerson looked like this.

Go on, try them! No one will score highter than "1."

Wonder if Mr. Hodges found Mr. Butler and smacked him on the nose for making a fool of him in Family Circle. MY WIFE READS THAT! HER MOTHER READS THAT!




It's 1940.

Quick, first impression: what’s this ad for? Shout out your answer!

That's right: soap.

Fifty free cars! (Only one per winner.) You got gas and money and everything - but only if your entry won the weekly contest. You had to come up with a few words to finish a simple statement. Here's a suggestion!

  Don’t delay! Do it now! And when you rush to the Post Office, put up your hands in case you encounter a sheet of glass.


The winners were announced on “The O’Neills,” a serial drama sponsored by Ivory. It ran M-F for nine years. No episodes remain. So we’ve no idea who got the cars, or what it took to win one. That’s a huge chunk of American pop culture history, lost. I’m not saying it was good; I find all the old serious serials to be unbearably dull and interchangeable. But it would be nice to hear a scrap.

A reminder of life before AC:


The Boss appears to be the father or uncle of Bob Dobbs, leader of the Church of the Subgenius. I haven’t thought about them in a long time.

And for good reason. What a bucket of tripe that stuff was, and is. I remember when I first came across some SubGenius material, and how it all seemed so labored and self-consciously “weird” in the style of people who pride themselves on being Social Rejects, but really aren’t very clever.

Anyway. Things I learned today about R & M: “The parent company ceased manufacturing motors in the early 1990s to focus on fluids management. In 2013 the company was acquired by National Oilwell Varco and the venerable Robbins & Myers name has largely disappeared.”

As long as the planet still has National Oilwell Varco, I’m happy.

Say ha-ha to heat as the beard breezes off!


I include this one as a test to long-time Bleatniks: by now, you should know the cartoonist. R. T. Richard Taylor. Started cartooning at a young age; even did illustrations for the Canadian Communist Party rag. Then he grew up, started doing commercial art, and got his work into the New Yorker. Moved to America because the pay was better.

So I'm thinking he wasn't a Communist anymore. Or, possibly, he was even more Communist than before. The shame of having to move to America to prosper! The shame!


I don’t think we need to know anything more than this:


We’re supposed to know they’re cheap, substandard - and that got me thinking. We didn’t import much from Mexico and China in 1940. So the substandard, cheap things would have to be made in America.

Most of the crappy stuff was made in America.

A concealed touch selector? Finally:


“Safe from prying hands.” Who's going around offices altering personal key-resistance settings? I didn’t even know there were such things.

L C: Lyman Cornelius, the man behind the Smith Tower in Seattle, and part of Smith-Corona.



A clumsy, contrived attempt to blend sex appeal and steak sauce. At work, she models clothes! At home, she pours premade fluid over charred animal flesh! Ergo . . . admiration all around, I guess.

Note how it’s called a Relish - the generic term has become a specific pickle thing now.



Salads. There's an application I hadn't thought about.

Okay, I thought about it. No.

That'll do; see you around. Now that we're done with Frank Reade - or are we? - it's time to revisit the overhaul of an old, old site in the Institute. Fixing and updating Comic Sins is a big project, but when it's done, it'll be . . . something I'll fix and update in a few years, again.

For now: three new ads in 1950s Comic Book Ads.


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