At the coffee shop while daughter is karate-chopping. The surly old poet isn’t here. The lady who fell asleep with her thumb up her nose isn’t here. But there is a fellow reading a Vintage Contemporary, and I just had to say something. I saw one on the plane last month. Now I see another. After all these years. One of two things will happen: he will have no idea what I am talking about, in which case I explain as quickly as possible, or he will be pleased that someone else recognizes the style of the books, how they were an attempt to move trade paper-backs into the New Wave: if you saw a book in a certain style, it didn’t mean it had the same author as the others. It didn’t even mean it had the same sensibility. It only meant that it was different and good and new. (Unless it was a reprint; I think I read “Portis” as a Vintage Contemporary.) The most famous was “Bright Lights, Big City,” but there were also James Crumley novels - a series about an alcoholic private detective, and I do mean alcoholic. Lots of throwing up. But of course women found him irresistible, in that vomit-smelling way charming rogues will have. There was one called “Dancing in the Dark,” which had a picture of some New Wave-looking New York clubgoer in a red dress angry about something.
All of that was from memory. I have every faith in the internet that it will provide me with thumbnails.
This was the classic look. How 1983 can you get? That logo! The all-holy geometric shapes, the 30s type, the meaningless dot-grid element. You have no idea how new this stuff looked.
They changed it, because it wasn't new after a while.
It’s always a happy day when the SCA Journal shows up in the mailbox. It’s the Society for Commercial Archeology’s glossy magazine. I would love to be a Commercial Archeologist - perhaps I am, now that I think of it; doesn’t seem to be any accrediting board around, and I don’t believe you can be failed for practicing Commercial Archeology without a license. Could probably teach it without a degree, too.
Yes, you’re right - this could be dangerous anarchy. People could make assertions about commercial archeology, and people would believe them, and they might be wrong. Generations could be led astray.
Anyway, there’s a review of a textbook about the automobile in American culture, and the reviewer notes that the author neglects the post-war era, except to disparage it. There’s no mention of McDonald’s in the index. In a textbook about the car and American culture. But the author is a professor, so adjust your internal historical narratives accordingly.
The magazine has a piece on Pizza Chef signs, animated and otherwise, and it led to something that will form most of today’s Lileks@Lunch on the Strib site. Profusely illustrated, with a few bygone chains included.
So I’ll save my thunder. No, thunder is stolen. Save my . . . oats? No, they’re sown. I’ve no idea what I was going for. But there’s probably no place in the newspaper blog for this:
I don’t know why I saved it, but I did. A souvenir of my first waitering job at a Pizza Hut in Fargo.
Googled around to see if anyone else put up one. Nope. You're welcome, internet! Landed on a service industry complaint blog with an account of a man who gave up Pizza Hut forever because of three bad experiences. The second one was particularly pitiful:
Ordered a pizza that never came. Apparently, for some reason I’m still unaware of, the store had to close early. The online order form didn’t inform me that the store was closed. I waited 2 hours until I finally called. No one ever answered the phone. I ordered the pizza around 8 PM. At 10 PM, when I realized the pizza would never arrive, I had to dine at a gas station….one of the few places around me that was still open after 10PM on a Sunday evening.
I think I’d call before two hours had passed. And I think I’d have something around the house so I didn’t have to eat at a gas station, which is among the most pathetic things you can do. If you’re coming back from a long day, too tired to cook, can’t find a drive-through, don’t even want to think about looking at that brick-hard Lean Cuisine you put in the fridge nine months ago, that’s different. But saying having to go to a gas station for one of those . . . things because the pizza didn’t come after two hours is a sign you probably will deal poorly when the power goes out for a week.
Most of the blog consists of servers complaining about the public. Because the public contains millions of rude, stupid, boorish narcissits whose lives have only trash culture and food. Maybe sex. The posts are addictive, and familiar to anyone who ever worked in a restaurant.
One server commisserated:
Those douche bag customers you had tonight? They hate themselves and their laughter is only a cover for their inferiority complex — probably from knowing full well they are douch bags.
Sorry that happened. But remember — stand up for yourself early. Demand respect from the get go. Put your foot down because the law and civility are on your side. Not the douch bags side! They are rotting in their pathetic little douch bag home right now, recalling what douch bags they are!
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a small possibility that was true?
Fire! Hold my fire. That’s it.
New article on the Smithsonian site: Reasonably interesting piece about the marketing of antiperspirents, with a few ads. SHUT YOUR FILTHY ARMHOLE!
But the title - How advertisers convinced Americans they smelled bad - well, let us add something to the Perry Stare. The Samuel Johnson Glare of Disgust:
The power of advertising to make people believe things that aren’t true, or aren’t necessary! Can you imagine reading a headline “How Advertisers Convinced Americans to Saw Off Their Small Toe”? No. So there’s some limit to their power, then.
Today: lots of motels. Tomorrow: we'll see, won't we?