This will be the worst Friday edition this year, I promise. Nearly everything’s substandard, rote, banal, strained, or irrelevant. For a while i was actually considering whether to post some shots of the acoustical dampener going up in our office atrium. Perhaps you’ve recalled the times I’ve pitied someone who had to play an instrument in that space; everything’s blurred and muffled. Fill it full of people, and the din is garish. There’s probably a reason I don’t see it rented out very often.

So they’re putting in an umbrella, hanging from anchors three floors up.

I thought it was intended to establish a retail space - booths and tables underneath, weekly produce market, that sort of thing. No. It's just going to hang there. Higher up, of course.


After I walked past this thrilling development I went outside, and beheld the aftermath of a smackup:

Right into the expensive parking meter.

That concludes the news of a very exciting day. We now dribble on with . . .


It’s been a while since we had some dog.

Here is some dog.

Spotted an ancient piece of office detritus in the copier room today. This can't be contemporary.

This provided such an instant flashback to graphics of another time I had to tweet it out:

Found in the office: rare promotional material from the 1978 ABC show “Staplin’ Jones,” about a widowed pioneer who ran the town’s only stapling shop, and solved crime. Ran one season; came back as summer replacement in variety form.

Got great replies. One of my favorites: "I thought he had a beard. Memory plays tricks on you."

The description of Staplin' Jones seemed incomplete when I wrote it, until I realized the one word that would fit for a show of the era. Widower.


I found this in a folder of old 10s ads. It’s charming, as much as I dislike anything circus related - great line, much more advanced than most ad illustration of the day, which either tended to be fussy or haphazardly comic. This is just very assured.

That is Zuzu the Clown.

In Out of the Cracker Barrel by William Cahn (a book commissioned by the National Biscuit Company), the name of the product is said to have possibly originated from a character in the play Forbidden Fruit by Dion Boucicault. Adolphus Green, NBC's first chairman, supposedly saw the play and adapted the name of the character "Zulu."

He - she - it had another rendering, and it wasn’t so charming.


Yes. With entries like “Zu Zu Ginger Snaps Used in 1918 Psychological Study to Determine Guilt or Innocence”. It petered out in 2017 after a six-year run.

Here’s what the package looked like towards the end of its product life. The picture includes Chocolate Snaps, which I recall as having a chalky taste with little chocolate joy. And no snap.

I was sailing over Gotham the other day, trying to find a building. Did I want to see it from above? Did I wish a view from the street? Fingers drumming as the page loaded - c’mon, c’mon, it’s not like I’m asking you to render every building on the island. Well, actually, I am, but it’s not like I need that much detail.

When I was a young man I went to New York for the first time, and carried the address of some buildings I wished to see, and I walked there, following the street signs. That was the only way to see them. Now we live in a world of miracles.

A branded, sponsored world of miracles. I suspect this is the result of a deal between the Goog and a large donut concern.


It’s certainly helpful, but I think there’s more to New York than MSG and a chain of sugary pastries.


I swear it's stalled.

Of course that's not so. All buildings have this early stage after they start to rise - nothing for weeks, then a great leap up.


I HAVE THE THANK YOU. Those of you who contributed will get get Special Natalie Art via email in the next three or four days. Thanks - and more about that on Monday.


I, uh, took the priceless stones into the developing room

Now and then I bet Lance just said that without knowing. This isn't one of those times. Solution is here.




Continuing: the 2019 review of the music at the Blue Note Cafe.




As ever, the glissando into a song . . . and it was one everyone knew.

How many do today?




Here, have another opening. The song's harder to place.

Man, that's just not a smooth way of getting the sponsor out front.


10,000 people made your glass! Anyway, more custom music that coheres almost by accident.


I'm not sure whether that last cue was trying to imply Gentleness, or Strangling.


2019 returns to the bins, and the records dumped back into the world when someone dies and the kids give the contents of Mom and Dad's entertainment system to the Goodwill.


From the start you know this one has some punch.



Leave your pickle pass behind you.


This would be a great song to play under some 60s-set mob movie rub-out.

Sorry about today. See you Monday with something better! I hope.




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