If you missed yesterday’s Bleat, it did exist. I just forgot to post the redirecting page. It’s here. If this ever happens again, take a look at the URL up above, and adjust the date accordingly.

Hey, here's how you don't sell pizza:


I'll try it, because it was on sale. I'm always interested in an acceptable frozen pizza for emergencies, and I trust my local store not to serve bad pizza. (As it happens, their own house brand of frozen pizza is one of the the best I’ve ever tasted.) But this? Where do we begin?

The logo. It’s pizza from 1986! The name: Chanticlear. The rooster? The symbol of that famous pizza culture, FRANCE? The slogan: that doesn’t exactly carve out a niche in a crowded market. I’ve never heard of these guys, and they have 14 locations - all in the burbs, as it happens.

Then there’s the website, which suggests you’ll die if you don’t order the pizza. Die horribly. There’s a mascot who looks like a bloody heart, too.

Local pizza companies are in a bind, I’ll admit; they don’t have the money for fancy graphics, and they want the frozen variety to reflect the store’s existing appearance, so people make the connection. I tried a 7th street the other day, and wasn't impressed enough to alter any preexisting pizza preferences, but the packaging said "we're authentic and local and hence fresh!" The next week I tried something even uglier in appearance; could have come from, well, 1964. And it was sauerkraut pizza, too.

You have no idea how good that can be.

Friday's pizza night. Can you tell? I could live on the stuff.

Driving home today, I saw something in the road:



Aww. Dang. You can imagine the trauma if this is a Necessary Baby, and the kid can’t get along without it. I had no idea how it would go out the window without anyone noticing, but there it was. Maybe they’d come back, retrace their steps. I picked it up and set it against a tree on the boulevard.



Then thought: maybe Mom threw the creepy thing out the window.

I have to finish this horrible Titanic 2012 movie, because I have to. It’s written by the Downtown Abby guy. Never seen that show; about some chick who lives in London, right? Ha ha! People making dismissive remarks based in ignorance to show how they’re above something popular are AWESOME. My wife liked the show, but the Titanic script is beyond gruesome. Snooty miserable upper-class men with harpy wives? Check. Bracingly modern young women who defy convention? Check. Sturdy, dependable, sensible working-class people? Check. Charismatic foreigners who maintain their spirit in the face of constant British racism? Of course. Angry Irishmen? But yes. Capable, decent crew underserved by a doddering, confused captain? You got it. Evil ship-company executives locking Italian waiters in a closet so they’ll drown? Standard operating procedure in the event of a wreck, I’m sure.

At least there’s the excitement of hitting the iceberg. Three times so far. Yes: the ship hits the iceberg in every episode, because it’s telling different stories in each episode.

There are two approaches you could take, after Cameron’s Titanic: tell the story before the ship was launched, which is eminently worthy of a three-hour miniseries, or the story after it sank. If you’re going to tell the story of the voyage, for GOD’S SAKE find someone interesting who doesn’t symbolize a damned thing.

Oh, one other thing: this piece by P.J. O’Rourke on why men shouldn’t wear shorts. C’mon. I know, clothes make the man. Suits make you feel grown-up. Yes, a man walks a little straighter when he’s in a suit, the belt bites a bit, the tie constricts, the shoes pinch. You’re aware of the role the uniform imposes: Adult. He criticizes middle-aged men who dress like 3rd graders on planes, which I would never do, anymore than I’d wear sandals on a plane. The assumption that anyone needs to see your feet, even if by accident in passing, is the sign of a boor, and I’d agree with his piece if he was talking about decorum on a planes only. But to extend the entire argument to oppose shorts - well, George F. Will’s jeremiad against the Perils of Denim comes to mind. He writes:

And where do you put your things? I can’t leave the house without wallet, car keys, house keys, lighter, cigar case, cigar cutter, nicotine gum—because I’m giving up cigars—clean handkerchief, spare clean handkerchief for ladies in distress, and a fountain pen in case business correspondence starts being conducted on paper again. I have ten pockets in my suit and need them all.

I sympathize. There are ways around this. I, for one, put my car keys and house keys on the same fob. Zippo and tin of small evil Dutch cigars goes in another pocket. Phone in another. Wallet in another. Most of my shorts have six pockets; when traveling, it’s nice to have extra space. I should wear a suit while walking around Pompeii? I should wear a suit while walking around the lake at noon? If no, then I’m supposed to wear long pants, and sweat. Noted.

He goes on:

Those who work and travel in what’s basically their underwear require the giant Boy Scout backpacks that you see grown men huffing under in airplane aisles every time you turn around. And when they turn around, you get smacked right in the Scotch and rocks.

The alternative to the backpack is a suitcase, which I last carried as a fourth-grade dork. A suitcase on a plane would take up one (1) hand, which is needed to carry other things. So yes, I’m that guy in the piece’s illustrations, right down to the Chuck Taylors, but minus the sloppy posture and solipsistic air-guitar reverie. Just not that guy on a plane.

With the overgrown-brat image, we also shed our adult authority. The only advantage to being a middle-aged man is that when you put on a jacket and tie you’re the Scary Dad. Never mind that no one has had an actually scary dad since 1966. The visceral fear remains. When I set my jaw and stare over the top of my tortoiseshell half-glasses, everyone under 50—from waiter to law-firm partner—thinks, “Grounded for life.” This doesn’t work when you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

I’m too short to exert any sort of authority.

Back to work. The start of the Montgomery Ward 1961 site starts today! Underwhelming at first, but we have 100 pages to go. Let's begin.

Almost forgot! In case you were wondering about this week's Bleat art, and the curious shadow:


















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