If you’re just joining the Institute, welcome! The Institute of Official Cheer has been on the internet since 1996 or so; it goes fallow for a while, then springs to life with an enormous new project, gets some half-baked redesign based on some fancy I got that looked good right up until I uploaded it.

This is the most recent example of that, I suppose.


That's what I said when I redid the site in 2014. I went on, as I am wont to do:

"The site’s been redone top to bottom, with a few exceptions that redesigning would only spoil. (Still haven’t redone Stagland.)"

Still haven't.

Note: I wrote the above in 2019. Still haven't.

I suppose I will some day, but other projects have taken over the role of the Institute. A lot of stuff gets off-loaded into Miscellany, which is a catch-all for ephemera, and not always intended to be amusing. (Although it is sometimes. I hope.)

NOTE: Two sites have been moved. The entirety of Comic Sins has been given its own top-level site! It's here.

Likewise for the Seventies, which is now part of the utterly inessential Decades Project. It's here.


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There was a time I thought this place was the height of gauche and kitsch, and while that's still the case . . . I've grown to love it. Go HERE.



The website that put lileks.com on the map for its 15 minutes. It's been updated throughout the years. Go HERE.



Every few years I'll get mail explaining why underwear elastic was so poor in the 50s. But they can't explain the celery. Go HERE.



The ghastly designs forced on decent, hard-working Americans by the trend-setters. There's no justice, but there is this site. It's the original 1999 version of the site, revived for the present. Go HERE.




The return - and total revision - of an ancient site. Advertising art repurposed as Actual Art, complete with pretentious commentary! Go HERE.









DIY crafts fun with egg cartons and Elmer's Glue! Garage sale junk, in other words. It's HERE.




A small selection of promotional material for short-lived animation of the early 70s. HERE you go.



A site from the early days of the Institute: old advertising mascots who no longer have a job. Arriving later in 2020.




An appreciation of a long-forgotten abstract artist whose work was literally under our noses all this time.




A panoply of the most curious ads from the 30s through the 70s. This tumblr ran from 2014 to 2017 or so. Go HERE.










English Fashion in the 60s and 70s. Yikes.  


Whoa, Nellie. A collection of men's fashion photography from the 50s, 60s and - shudder - the 70s. Go HERE



Vacation Pamphlets! From the Dells to the Ozark Deeee-lights. Go HERE.



He escaped the Orange Plague to bring you MEAT. Let's go HERE and read all about him.

In 1949, the Sunbeam Bread company put out a comic book to get kids to eat bread. Their secret weapon: an interminable history lesson that tied the jobs of iron miners and classical violinists to your toast. LINK.  


A salute to everything deeply creepy about 50s and 60s "men's" mags. Old site long due for a redesign. Go HERE.


An old collection of weary japery from the 20s, interspersed with hangover remedies. Go HERE.

  For years the Institute sent out a monthly magazine, the American Home Ironizer; here are some selections from the archives. Updated as our ongoing digitization of the archives continues. (Old site, c. 2000; updated 2012.) LINK.


How do you get kids to eat right and take their vitamins? Simple - scare the urine out of them with hideous meat collages! Meet the Dayalets - they're child-tested and doctor approved. LINK.   Before the personal computer came along, companies sold their big iron with carefully staged promotional photos. Thrill to the yesteryear mainframes and the bouffanted women who loved them! Go HERE.

A pamphlet describing the Glories of Socialist Opera! Please to be enjoying. LINK.   For years, newspapers could always rely on a dog photo to soften the grim news of the day. It was a boon for humans; we like dogs. It was hell on the dogs. A collection of newspaper photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s. LINK.