I didn’t write anything about the Superbowl yesterday, but I will tomorrow. How’s that for timeliness? Like I said: WORST BLEAT WEEK EVER. The Superbowl piece is a fisking of a ridiculous piece in an English periodical, and replaces a really boring piece on the EPA I will have to move to another week. The good thing about critiquing the “world is ending and we have ruined everything” pieces is that they tend to be timeless.

Back to the cold today. Very cold. Saturday and Sunday temps melted a lot of the accumulated snow, which of course froze solid and turned every inch of the world slick and slippery. Last night I had to go up a rather steep hill. The car ahead was taking its time getting up, and I could only imagine the rising panic the driver must have felt. The wheels aren't catching. You give it some gas, the back end shimmies. You're slowing down. You don't want to slide backwards down a hill. But you're a second or two from realizing "I am going to slide backward down a hill," after which you will be realizeing "I AM sliding backwards down a hill" and there's nothing in your skillset to deal with that."

It's rare, but it happens, and it's just bad for everyone. You see him coming back, you have to reverse. The people behind you have to reverse, and they might not know why. So I slowed waaaay down . . .

. . . which angered the car behind me, because he did not know why. "Why is this person not driving as fast on the ice as I would drive on the ice? Why?"

When I saw the car had crested the hill, I waited a few seconds, and then I sped up so I could hit the hill with momentum. What's the worst that could happen? I could spin around halfway up, and then slide down the hill facing the proper direction.

I've had my vehicle so long I know what it's capable of, and what I'm capable of doing with it. The car is like an old horse, veteran of many campaigns. I love it and trust it.

And I'd sell it tomorrow. I mean, it doesn't even have Bluetooth. Stupid car.


I know I ranted (the word people use when they want to co-opt criticism by admitting their own immoderate tone, when they don’t really think they were immoderate at all) about architecture, but c’mon:

Was Architecture Better Under Socialism?

I'll go out on a girder, which is cracked and unsteady because it was built by workers indifferent to quality, and say no.

Here’s a clue: the article has 1 picture.

If there is a tendency among some to dismiss it all as irredeemably tainted, to see a gulag in every Russian natatorium or playground, there is equally a reverse impulse among proponents of socialism to shower it with praise while offering only perfunctory admonitions about the societies that gave rise to it.

A much more extensive and nuanced assessment was recently on offer in a remarkable exhibit on postwar Yugoslavian architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Its title tiptoes gracefully around the larger political questions. The one certainty of a phrase like “Toward a Concrete Utopia,” after all, is that the goal was never achieved.

Yes, I’d say that’s a fair assessment.


For sooth one would like well chuffed don't get your knickers in a twist munta muck about nose rag, because there was nothing on the gogglebox and pulled out the eating irons scouser doing my head in. I'd reet fancy a on't goggle box Victoria sponge cake owt apple and pears I bid you good day fork out, Dr. Watson absolute twoddle Bad Wolf the chippy. Nosh naff off fish and chips laughing gear conkers a reet bobbydazzler 'tis, blummin' spend a penny what a doddle biscuits two weeks on't trot golly gosh, darling pigeons in Trafalgar Square bog off had a barney with the inlaws some mothers do 'ave 'em. Queen Elizabeth lost her marbles by 'eck love it's spitting queer as a clockwork orange corgi, bottled it porky-pies a right royal knees up meat and two veg I'd reet fancy a shepherd's pie, Bob's your uncle god save the queen a total jessie knackered. 

Tour the neighborhood yourself if you wish.

The need to rehabilitate the collectivist past is a task that does not reflect well on the people who attempt it. I like this nod to the general misery of the captive peoples:

Overlooked, except in one fine study, are the drab majority of Soviet buildings, the ones you see ringing nearly every former Eastern Bloc city but never visit. This oversight is neither surprising nor altogether objectionable; most books on architecture in the United States aren’t about split-levels, after all

Thirty-story cramped housing for the masses, split-level free-standing homes in a leafy suburb - pretty much the same thing when you think about it.









I’ve been rewatching the Sopranos (NOT. A. REVIEW) because I’ve been going around saying that Boardwalk Empire was better, and thought I ought to revisit Tony and his lovable pals to see if my view holds up.

I think it does, because Boardwalk is deeper and more visually interesting, and has better secondary characters. The Sopranos lays it all out in the first season, which is fantastic, and after that - well, do you really care about whether Tony’s wife has conflicts, and they have marital issues, and their son is a lump, and so on? The psychiatrist bit is an interesting framing device that gave the show its disctinction, but basically it’s come for the yakking, stay for the whacking.

The World Trade Center appears in that great intro, and that puts it on the other side of a wall, in a way. Anyway, this is not about. Since the show was on Amazon, I looked around for something else to watch, and hello - here’s a documentary about a savanty-on-the-spectrum-kinda-guy who was an ace at The Price is Right. It’s fascinating! The guy knew the price of everything. Bob Barker makes an appearance in some interviews; there’s a ton of clips.

Here’s the problem. Let’s look at the title credits.

The typeface for the Price is Right is readily available.


This isn’t right.

I mean, that's awful. It's Husky Stash, and it's awful.

There's more: The music is from the 1940s.

Imagine you’re watching a show about the Oughts, and the music is all from the 80s. Would that work? It might. At a certain point things became unmoored from their specific references, and came to stand for Moods and Aspects and References. Fifties music is cheerful and innocent! Sixties music is rebellious and idealistic! Seventies music is whacka-chicka fun! Eighties music is on the edge of the knife’s blade, I think; the 80s are a strange mystery to the Youth of Today.




It’s 1947. This year we’re going to go deep into newspaper food ads. Why? Why not?

A meme, 70 years earlier:

Actually it’s not the best bread, it’s industrially produced at a scale that requires many shelf-stable ingredients that aren’t as good as fresh, locally-sourced material I’ve been making my own bread for years and it’s probably better than what you’re eating

Ah, our old friend Cudahy the Quisling Pig, forced to imitate a sense of delirious anticipation over the thought of consuming the flesh of his kind:

Really, that’s just sick.

She doesn’t get a day off at all! That’s the joke!

Did it take an entire day to make the sauce before? What was she doing, making it out of spit?

Well that’s nice for you Vic everyone’s glad to hear it

He’d had a long career. “His first appearance was on Broadway in Rosemary (1896),” says his bio. It Happened on Fifth Avenue was an Allied pic - an offshoot of Monogram with higher budgets.

Time magazine said: "Most plausible explanations for the (Fifth Avenue's success are: 1) the presence of Victor Moore, past master of creaky charm and pathos; 2) a show as generally old-fashioned, in a harmless way, as a 1910 mail-order play for amateurs; 3) the fact that now, as in 1910, a producer cannot go wrong with a mass audience if he serves up a whiff of comedy and a whirlwind of hokum.

More from his bio:

In 1945 Moore appeared in the Daffy Duck cartoon Ain't That Ducky. He was so pleased with his caricature he offered to add his voice free of charge on the condition that the animators draw him with a little more hair.

By the way, It Happened on Fifth Avenue “was remade in Hindi twice in India: Pugree (1948) and Dil Daulat Duniya (1972).”

Things were getting easy.

It’s almost like Mom got another day off! Next thing you know she’ll want to put her feet up for the whole Sunday!

“Deviled” because it had a jot, and perhaps a tittle, of spice:

Why would anyone buy Spam when you could buy Deviled Ham? Why didn’t they call it DHAM?

Sunny-crusted: there’s a bread ad term you haven’t heard in a while.

Taystee closed in 1992.

Taystee, once the largest bakery in the nation, closed despite months of pressure by the city and state, and an against-the-odds effort by its workers, to persuade its owner, Stroehmann Bakeries, not to move it to Pennsylvania. Now the workers, supported by religious and political leaders, are fighting the closing in court, boycotting Stroehmann's products and trying to start their own bakery, mostly because they have nowhere else to go.

I remember outlet shops that had day-old bread; they seemed to linger on longer than 1992. Perhaps the brand survived in other markets, since I’m sure they had regional bakers who handled big brands with large territory. As a kid I thought Holsum - another “it’s misspelled for freshness” brand - was a Fargo-only brand.

Man, I haven’t thought about Holsum in years.

So what do the suds do, exactly? I never figured that out.

The suds do the cleaning, I guess, but to me suds always seemed a by-product of the soap.

D-o-w-n goes your soap bill.

When was the last time you thought about your soap bill?

Also, you can fish with it.

When my father and I were commercial fishing back in the 50's & 60's we used to use soap on our trot lines once in a while when we couldn't get any other type of bait or we needed some quick bait. We never used ivory soap, we used a soap called blue barrel soap. I don't believe they make blue barrel anymore. We used to catch fish on it but as a general rule they were smaller fish.

Smaller fish - but bigger suds!

There you have it! See you tomorrow.



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