Welcome! If this is your first visit, you might be a bit confused. There’s a certain homogeneous look to personal / promotional websites, based on popular Wordpress templates. The big hero image, the sidebar, the boxes with icons and big text, all that crap. Or there’s something quite spare, with a picture of the host in a circle.

What is this thing?

Simple: The anteroom of the internet’s most diverse, idiosyncratic, and individually curated pop-culture museum. Note: that’s the last time I’ll use “curated.” It’s pretentious.

But it’s true! I am pretentious. Also, this site is a one-man effort, assembled over two decades, its innumerable sub-sites gathered together under general, vague rubrics.

It’s not some idle project, occasionally updated. The Bleat, a blog that’s celebrating its 21st year, contains a M-F essay, some piece of old commercial ephemera, a rotating feature on everything from cliffhanger serials to old radio to main street America to the ads of the 1930s or 1970s, and a link to the daily site update.

And that's just the blog. Scroll down for the total enormity. I hope you enjoy the site. Twenty-two years, and counting.









What is the Institute? A good question. It began as a repository for odd things I scanned - and by “scanned,” I mean I took pictures with a video camera, and used a frame grabber to get the images. Cheap scanners didn’t exist.

As time went on, anything that was “vintage” or “retro” and could be gently mocked went into the Institute.

HERE'S the main page. At present, the Institute contains these sites:

The Gallery of Regrettable Food. The classic from 1997, it spawned two books. Still updated - with a huge addition in 2019.

Interior Desecrations: bad interior design of the 60s and 70s.

The Gobbler: the Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin. Redone in 2019.

The Art of Art Frahm: the effect of celery on underwear elastic.

The 70s: a brief account (only 100 pages so far) of the worst decade ever. Also linked in the 20th century project.

The Permanent Collection of Impermanent Art: what if we treated advertising illustration with the same pretentious analysis we use for museum art?

Comic Sins: a small name for a huge site. It contains:

Advertising in Comics. Arranged by genre, of course, for all the anal-retentive types out there.

Covers: an ongoing site. There are lots of sites on the web that post old covers, and this without question is one of them.

The Funny Pages. A study of old newspaper and magazine cartoons. Contains several subsites:

Lance Lawson, a short-lived Minneapolis you-solve-it strip

Mr. Coffeenerves, a real bastard

Jerry on the Job, a 1920s gag strip that used the flip-take a bit too much

High-Pressure Pete, another obscure 20s strip

Scoop, the Cub Reporter. From the WW1 era.

Briggs. Influential and popular 19teens cartoonist. Through 2019.

Worst Comics Ever. In my opinion. Includes a bad Spirit someone was kind enough to show to Will Eisner.

Abian Wallgren: his WW1 soldier comics.

Caspar Milquetoast: an appreciation.

Gluyas Williams: also an appreciation.

King Features: the entire 1949 line up of artists and strips. More than fifty!

Miscellaneous comics.

Wisconsin Vacation Adventures. Hi ho, it's off to the Dells. (Plus the Ozarks)

Gentleman Jim: story of a Canadian Meat Man.

Stagworld! Ooky old men’s mags. Closest thing this site comes to for NSFW.

Compupromo: promotional art for the old calculating machines.

The Nervine Joke Book. 1920s hardy-har compendium.

East is Red, Butt is Numb. Postcards celebrating Chinese Opera. Really.

Dorcus Collection: Unfortunate men’s fashions.

Story of Bread: 1949 Promotional Brochure about the wonders of bread.

Meet the Dayalets! Creepy undead vitamin illustrations.

Dateline: Kennel Dogs in newspapers.

Bad Publicity. No such thing? Think again.




Also known as Miscellany, depending on the year. This site began as a dumping ground for ideas that didn’t fit anywhere else. It’s grown to rival the Institute in size. As time goes on, various sites are moved to places where they fit in a bit better. The main index page is HERE. The sites are:

SCI-FI COVERS Illustrations from the days of rockets and cheap paperbacks. Updated in 2016.

FRANK READE JR. A look at the 19th century Tom Swift.

Big Tiny Little: his life in album art.

The SS Lurline: an old cruise ship brochure.

Migny: a 70s Paris hotel brochure.

A Girl in NYC: She sent a friend a letter in the 1920s.

Postcard Portfolios: The art of the souvenir brochure

Missing: ads from people looking for long-lost friends in the 1940s

1960s Hardware Circulars. That about says it, no?

Goodbye to Telegrams: the forgotten art of telegrams.

Short History of Swimsuits. Old news-service photos of bathing beauties.

The Letters from the Antique Store. A tale told in ephemera.

Hotel Stationery. Engravings and current views, if possible.

1953 Buick: a gorgeous brochure for the year’s models.

Labels and Caps. Just that.

Radio promotional books. So far, just WNAX.

XMAS in 1960s women's mags.

MOVED, and not on the index page, but still lurking:

1961 Monkey Wards: Almost every color picture in the catalog, with more than 130 pages.

A week in TV Guide. Every page of a 1967 issue, embedded with links to YouTube residue.

LA 1962: Every page of a dining guide, embedded with links and pictures to whatever remains from the last days of the post-war world.

LA 1941: An earlier version of the dining guide.




The American Motel. The great signs of the days before the chains changed everything. Ongoing throughout the year..

Coffee and Chrome: old restaurant postcards.



keep forgetting about this site. It’s a salute to wavy lines in tiny pictures! It’s odd to forget something like this, because it has approximately 13 bazillion pages.

Curious Lucre: the money of other lands. I won’t break them out by nations, but there’s about 50.

The Gallery of Corporate Allegory. The art of Stock Certificates.

First-Day Covers: lots of vignettes of people, places, and events celebrated by the Postal Service. It’s not as dull as it sounds.



Cities Old and New. Some of these sites are new; others are in need of a refresh. We have:

Minneapolis. It has old views, present views, and the U of M. Currently undergoing a site-wide overhaul.

New York. Old postcard views of office buildings and hotels; a look at Times Square; some of my shots.

Ghost Ads. Faded pictures painted on brick walls.

Main Streets. Bygone town centers before the malls emptied them out.

Main Streets at Night: neon!

Malls of Yore: 1960s mall postcards.

Modern Churches: modernism applied to religious structures.

Small-Town NODAK: Google street views of old, tiny downtowns on the edge of America.

Main street on Google Street Views. Links to the ongoing Bleat feature celebrating the greatest documentary project of the 21st century.



I’ll get around to all of them eventually, I hope. For now there are four decades under consideration.

The Oughts & Tens. New in 2019, and underpopulated.

The Twenties. Ongoing at present; magazines covers, and a rather significant selection of movie ads from Film Daily magazine, and some spicy - but SFW - publications.


The Thirties.

Sears 1934: 100 pages from the catalog, scanned, color-corrected, and annotated.

Magazine ads. I don’t know how many, exactly. Over 200.

Bygone hooch. A site devoted to brands that have passed from memory.

A kitchen brochure. What things looked like.

Magazine covers.

Music. Playlists of the hits of each year.

The 1933 World's Fair. Yeah, we need another site about this - but it has some stuff you might not have seen.


The Forties.

Patriotica: a big collection of WW2 ads, brochures for the home front, and more.

Childhood magazines.

Non-war cultural ephemera, like wallpaper catalogs, 1941 Gudie to LA, Homemaker's Guide, and more.


The Sixties. The Twilight of the Grown-Ups. You'll find sites with these topics:

Ads. Of course.

Catalogs. Huge! Two year of fashion.

Dream Homes. A collection of rambler art.

LA Dining 1962

Chain Store Age. An industry periodical.

World's Fair 1964. There are bigger sites, I'm sure.

Circulars. Meant to be tossed, but someone kept them.

Radio spots. A few brisk examples of period shilling.



The Sevenities. Lots of brown horrors. We have:

The Ice Follies. Three years of programs.

The Faces of Match Game. Says it all.

The Faces of the Price is Right. The hairstyles!

Punk 77: how to be a punk

Search. My favorite show when I was a kid.

Sears 1973: a small selection of fashion.

Sears 1976: Bicentennial styles.

Bad Cartoons: Saturday morning horrors.

Swoon, girls: Odd Bobby Sherman comic.

Radio. PSAs and beautiful music from early 70s airchecks.

Dorcusella: lingerie from the early 70s


The 80s New in 2019, and spare.

1986 Catalog. Weekly throughout 2019.




Mass Media, seen through two particular filters.

New version of Black and White World: it's better, but there's less there.

Old Black and White World. As the title suggests: the visual media before color.

The Jazz Age.

Hard & Snappy: the 30s.

Film Noir.

Forties dramas and musicals.

Fifties morality.

Monster Movies!

Bug-Eyed Monsters: early sci-fi

TV, including Perry Mason.

The Disney Project.

A rather comprehensive collection of Cartoon Titles.

Small Films: Movies from buzz.mn & lileks.com. Additional 80s KTCA films viewable at my YouTube site



LISTEN Selections from Old Time Radio; library music no one was ever meant to think much about.

The Diner My old KSTP AM-1500 radio show is back in podcast form. Over eighty half-hour episodes available - with some original shows from the 90s as well.

Bleatophany. Remixes and compositions.



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