If I’m working at home, I post, then clean. A few minutes of straightening up to clear the mind, cut the clutter. This morning I ran out of my old favorite Windex multi-surface cleanser, and it was a sad, bittersweet moment: they’ve discontinued this variety. We’d done so much together. It cut the grease like hydrochloric acid, but wasn't so strong it took off major skin if you spilled it on your hands. It had no scent – no Mountain Rain, no Crisp Citrus, no Citrus Mountain, no Linen-Berry Morning, none of those wretched nose-pokers. It just was. And now it was gone. I got out the replacement, which was Mr. Clean Citrus-Fresh multi-purpose spray: cleans glass, granite, marble, glass, and glass – did we mention marble? Okay. I sprayed it all over some aluminum. It left a greasy film. Checked the label: Not suitable for use on aluminum. Oh. Well, that will teach me to assume that multipurpose means multipurpose. Like they say about assumptions: they make an ass out of “u” and “mption.” I sprayed the glass, wiped it off, regarded the results. Wow. I considered the meeting in which the product was first considered:
"Gentlemen, may I present the newest member of our Mr. Clean family, multipurpose Citrus-Fresh spray. If Mr. Clean were here in the flesh today, instead of being a clever marketing icon who gave 1950s housewives the basic guilty pleasure of imagining a giant bald genie appearing in the kitchen unbidden, his earring signifying a life perhaps spent on ships that took him to foreign ports where he learned the ways of pleasuring a woman, he would approve of our latest example of brand extension. It smells like lemons. Any questions? Yes, you."
I read the report. It says that the spray leaves thick greasy film on glass.
"Yes, it does that. And more."
The report said that windows on which the substance was sprayed resembled - and I’m quoting here from page nine - “a madhouse whose occupants had smeared the glass with lung-sauce and handfuls of bacon.”
"I’m not sure I get where you’re going."
Isn’t the point of the cleaner to clean windows, and not enfilthen them?
"The point of the cleaner is to sell cleaner, Mr. Anderson."
It’s Johnson. But how can we expect anyone to buy the product again if it leaves a greasy film?
"Ah. I see. Well, this product will be on the market for six months, after which it will replaced with Mr. Clean Mountain Fresh All-Purpose Spray with grease-cutting action. We will enlarge the earring by 13 percent, which will boost sales accordingly."
I can’t think of any other explanation. I poured it all out.
Today’s piece o’ retro: an ad that will end up soon in the Microfiche Tank: Camels.
Vigor GONE. Dead-eyed, beat and down-mouthed, depressed by Depression: the face of the American Salesman, c. 1936. But a Camel will restore your flow of energy! Sounds almost Eastern: realign your chi, pal - light up! You have to marvel at the last line of copy - Steady smoking? That's O.K.! Since smoking was still socially acceptible, they were working on making it jake to chain the butts as well. Of course, every smoker knew the ad was a lie, because every smoker knows that a cigarette never cures exhaustion. It never gives you more vim to hustle for business, or combats fatigue. The key word is "irritability," becaues that is the main point of a cigarette: to complete the job of the previous one and anticipate the effect of the next. Otherwise you get the twitches.
Well, Dad goes in today. It’s unclear what’s going to happen; no one seems to know anything, but he’s not going to be in the hospital overnight, so I’m not going up. I was all set to go; stand down.
Thanks for the notes on buzz.mn – I didn’t post them, because of the Iron Wall of Seperation twixt buzz and bleat, but I read them and I thank you.
(Oh, speaking of buzz requests – the music for the 9/11 video was the end-title credit music for “Crimson Tide,” of all things.) (And Mail is working again, huzzah.)
(While we’re at it: yesterday’s Times Square photo came from “The Notorious Bettie Page,” which I netflixed on someone’s recommendation. Bettie was a nudie-cutie model in the 50s, and maintains a rather . . . enthusiastic following to this day, possibly due to the fact that she participated in ridiculous, creepy and hokey bondage photos I always associate with the scary mags at the Northport Drugstore. You’d be looking through the racks and come across TRUE DETECTIVE or some other such perv-pulp journal – the covers always showed women in peril and restraint, looking up at the camera with frightened eyes. I hated those things. I absolutely hated them. All the writings about Ms. Page notes how she brought a cheerful playful spirit to the genre, which makes you wonder: how could the most popular model in the genre be the one who refused to give the viewer the fear and menace he wanted? I’ve no idea. It might be as simple as this: a cute smile overwrites everything.
The movie is notable for Gretchen Mol’s version of Bette – and having suffered the other night through “Mommy Dearest” [it was on, I couldn’t sleep] I can say it’s the best biopic I’ve seen this month so far. Black and white, mostly, and shot like a Michael Curtiz film. Contains nudity, so don’t write me if you’re bothered by that. It also treats her religious conversion with respect, which might bother others. ;)
If you have no idea who I’m talking about: here. No nudity. Innocent and amateurish, but once upon a time you had to send away for this, hope the postman didn't report you, and screen it at the smoker with the windows drawn and a guy outside to look out for the bulls. Avoid the comments, though.) (Note to YouTube: kill all comments. We can live without them.)
Finally:yesterday's music, "Transmission," was the first track on an album called "The Official Secrets Act" - mostly pedantic jumpy nonsense about the imminent fascist-corporate state that would soon befall us all. 1984 was approaching, and all the clever lads in the West found Telling Examples everywhere. Few people looked to the USSR / Eastern Bloc as a ready-made example of a totalitarian state that controlled the medium and the message; no, it was Ronald Reagan on VOA that summoned up fears of Big Brother. I was one of them, being a good bothered collegian. We thought that Ketchup = Vegetable was the moral equivalent of, and possible precursor to, War = Peace. Anyway, the fellow who put together that nifty little piece of dreamy floating synth pop was Robin Scott. He had a hit. You might have heard it.
New York London Paris Munich: No one talked about his follow-up album.
No potpourri - sorry. Caught up with other duties. But there's buzz! Starting right about now.