It’s a vacation week, so I’ll warn you: light Bleats. I forgot to post the tumblr noon update, for example. Somehow the internet managed to go on. There was no Strib blog. Why? Because it’s the week the teachers have their convention, and everyone leaves town. I am here, but one can’t ignore that Vacation Mood when the wife’s around the house and the kid’s out of school.
So: my wife had some relates over for a brunch, because the youngest had a baby; this means the womenfolk get together around Gourd Soup and a homemade tart and pass the kid around and coo. My wife’s sister showed up without her daughter, which perplexed my wife. Where was she? Well, school. What? School.
This I know because my daughter came up to my studio and said “Mom wants to know if I really do have school today.
I checked the calendar, trying to remember why thought she didn’t; suddenly that seemed predicated on gossamer comments overheard somewhere. Sure enough. School. So I drove my child to school, and I HAD TO GO IN WITH HER, which was embarrassing in extremis. As I’ve noted, there’s nothing worse than proving your child was not the result of spontaneous generation. This is why all the popular kid books for tweens always get rid of the parents in the first few chapters, or let the kids get whisked off to some wonderful place where they have Powers and there are many new friends and adventures so they don't have to feel bad about not feeling bad.
When I checked her in at the office I was presented with “reason for absence” on the sign-in sheet, and had to write “thought there wasn’t school this week.” Dolt. Could’ve put “doctor” or “wasn’t feeling well” or "chillblains" but that would have been a lie. Worse, my daughter would have seen me lie.
Back home, and then off to a meeting with our financial planner, who has come up with various strategies to ensure we do not run out of money before we die. I tell you, everything is out of joint - Friday nights out, mid-afternoon meetings in the distant suburbs, soup-kitchen stints. My precious schedule! My poor, precious schedule! Ripped asunder.
The financial planner walked us through some scenarios, including a horrifying one in which we both live to be 95, and offered some targeted advice that almost plastered me back in my chair. We need to make more money and save more.
This just seemed . . . counterintuitive. I’m sorry, where’s the life-off-the-state option here? He had a big chart that showed three different strategies, one pursued by Mrs. White, another by Ms. Red, and one by Mr. Rush. I noted that Mr. Rush got a steady 7 percent return each year. Year in and year out. What’s he doing? Have you talked to Mr. Rush, learned anything? If you’re managing Mrs. White, who guttered out and was broke by the time she hit 81, why should we trust you?
They never have an answer for that.
Polished this one up a bit tonight:
The latest in the Institute of Official Cheer series, meaning “picture book with captions.” Should be out around Christmas for a whopping three bucks - iPad only for a while. Just testing platforms. A quick piece of fun.
The company wouldn’t use the “We Try Harder” slogan until 1962; at this point they were just phoning it in, I guess.
The name comes from the founder Warren Avis. He said he got the idea when he’d fly into airports as a pilot, and couldn’t find any ground transportation. Started with three cars, renting them out in Ypsilanti. Also Miami. There’s a far-flung operation for you. “We’re number two; we try harder” is one of the great ad slogans from the new-wave period of 60s advertising; it made a virtue out of not being the biggest, and made you root for the underdog.
We’ve done the Birds-Eye story here before; I just include this to show you what the packages looked like. Fields of fresh green peas! Quickly picked and flash-frozen. Sorry, not frozen. Frosted Foods. It’s a nice simple design, and there’s no question who makes it.
Flavor flakes! It may seem like there’s Borden every week, and I suppose there is - it was a juggernaut, and saturated the mags with ads. I chose this one for a different reason:
The typeface. Or rather lack of it: that hand-drawn style looks incredibly distinctive to me, and would infect graphic design for a decade and a half. I don’t know what it’s trying to get across, exactly, other than it doesn’t look perfect and machine-made or corporate. Almost reminds a mom of something her kid would do.
Although my grandma was partial to the caramels, which were the start of the Brach's empire. Caramels with ribbons of flavor inside, running the gamut from awful (orange) to exotic (Maple)
The Esso Oil Guy:
Ah hah: there was a nation-wide syndicate with regional brands, all using the same basic idea. Most of these I’ve never heard of, with the exception of Humble. (The ad was for Humble, in fact.) As wiki says:
In the 1950s Standard Oil of New Jersey began to reconsider its relationship with Humble Oil. Though Standard owned almost 88 percent of Humble's stock in 1954, Humble continued to maintain its autonomy for the rest of the decade. In 1958 Standard increased its holdings to some 98 percent of Humble's stock, and the following year Humble and Standard Oil of New Jersey consolidated domestic operations. In September 1959 Humble received a new charter from the state of Delaware. By the end of the year Esso Standard and the Carter Oil Company, other affiliates of Standard of New Jersey, were incorporated into Humble, and in 1960 they were joined by other affiliates including Enjay Chemical, Pate Oil, Globe Fuel Products, and Oklahoma Oil. The restructuring allowed the new Humble company to reduce duplication and costs and to coordinate all of its domestic activities more effectively.
Nothing on wikipedia on Carter Oil, which I’ll bet was founded by some flinty fellow named Carter who made a pile selling it to Standard. There’s probably some third- or fourth-generation heir living well of the proceeds now, or perhaps the fourth-generation is cursing the third for blowing the inheritance.
Here, have a little sausage. Literally:
Jones Dairy Farm is still around; still a family operation. The sixth generation of Jones is running the joint, which must gall those Carter heirs.
I don’t know how they teamed up with Log Cabin, but suddenly I want a big breakfast with flapjacks and sausages.
I hate this kid. The Karo Imp. His creepiness wasn't so evident in the 40s, when he seemed more like a real kid, bit in the 50s he got those big feminine eyes that seem unnervingly off-putting to modern sensibilities. The kid looks unusually intelligent. More than he should. Much more.
Finally: this would work today, wouldn't it?
It's the blue hue that ties the boxes of yore to today, although the design has become more generic. Of course, this probably looked rather generic back then; now it's Timeless.
Fun fact: they're called "ear buds" in ngland, or at least they were until Apple took the term.
You're not supposed to put them in your ears.
Just about everyone does.