This is the worst. Fifteen below with windchill. Four below without.

At noon, so any hopes you have about the sun helping out later in the day are pretty much shot. Flat rule of cold weather: the colder it is, the longer it takes the dog to decide if he wants to go out, which means you’re holding open the door and letting all the precious warmth escape. And then he wants to come back inside because it’s cold out. But dogs and doors have a tempestuous relationship, and they don’t trust them - so the dog pauses before coming inside, letting more heat out.


The year has begun with everything bad about winter and very little that’s good; wife got hit with a hard cold today, and daughter came home from school with a headache, possibly because her sleep schedule was completely upended over the last fortnight, and she’s dead on her feet. The cold is frank with contempt. It snowed, but not so much that you relished the cozy moment of sitting inside with something hot, watching the world disappear.

The garage door doesn’t work very well, and I’ve given up trying to fix it. It balks. Starts, and stops. That’s easy, you say: the electric eyes are out of alignment. Except they’re not. Well, then it’s a dry runner, just oil ‘er up. I emptied half a can of Garage Door Lube on the rails yesterday. Hmm. Could be your . . . ah, call someone.

So I did. Normally I’d suffer until summer, when the problem abates, but my wife is using that side because her opener broke, so we switched. (Husbands everywhere: nodding) I got a Universal Garage Door opener, but it appears the universe is far more finite than we thought. It didn’t work with the Chamberlain series, and has to be ordered - but the repairman will bring one. So that problem will be settled after oh, two months of my dithering.

Got the tree stowed away, because you cannot dither with that. Season’s over. Everything must go. Get out of here, Santa. The dog found a plastic bath-toy duck dressed in Santa garb, and destroyed it. (With wife’s permission.) Got up on a tottering three-step ladder to heave the parts of the tree corpse - so it always seems when disassembled, wrapped in sheets like a burial shroud - and for a moment I was balanced with perfect terror between heaving it up on the shelf and falling back on the hard concrete floor with a plastic tree over me. If I reached out to grab anything I’d drop the tree. If I didn’t steady myself, the tree would forge a sudden alliance with gravity and conspire to concuss me but good. Right foot, it’s all up to you. Give it everything you have. Up it went.

Two more pieces went up, the last being the tip, which always gets tossed with a certain amount of disgust. There. Done. Nap.

First, feed the dog. Left the drawer open; no food in there for him to get. Ten minutes later I’m awakened by the sound of something heavy dropping on the wood floor, and I figure it’s the T-Rex femur he’s been working on for a few weeks. (One of the strange things about having a dog is finding large animal bones here and there in your house, and it’s absolutely normal.) I heard another thump. Went back to napping. When I got up I found he had taken every grooming item out of the bottom drawer, carried them to another room, and dropped them. It’s what he does when annoyed. He will also move a shoe now and then. I think he gets it over to the nice rug before he remembers he shouldn’t. But it’s not like he puts it back.

Question now: when the cold hits me. I’m taking zinc, and have tried to curtain my usual habit of touching doorknobs and promptly licking my fingers, which I guess is one of the ways its spread. I know we don’t have enough soup. We have expired soup. I always buy soup because that’s the standard comfort item, and is best consumed - according to old ads - while wearing striped pajamas with a bag of ice on your head and a thermometer in your mouth.

I’ve been going through this list of the 32 best songs of the previous year as picked by someone, with youtube comments highlighting the tendency of youth to oversell their momentary diversions. A few tunes grabbed me, but I seemed to be looking for reasons to be disappointed. Great punk thrash BUT nasty lyrics. Great shuffling beat BUT video of singer who’s stoned and hammered doesn’t do much; him I’m not taking advice from. Interesting electronical with Kraftwerk sample BUT it doesn’t change keys and then someone just starts talking. Okay, she’s doing Kate Bush with 70s Sensitive Guitars. (#16) Plus, in the video, she’s dancing. We used to make fun of Stevie Nicks dancing, because it was so . . . so “look at me I’m a mystical witch” dancey.

Hey hold on, I know one of these. Winged Victory for the Sullen. Except they didn’t chose the song I like. <shrug> You like their mainstream hit, I suppose that’s fine. I prefer the earlier work.

It’s the lack of rigor in most of these songs, the sloppy structure - and of course I’m not the target market, being Dad - but. But. I suppose Dads of the 1940s looked down at that noisy swing, just as Dads of the 50s looked down at the raucous and possibly impregnating rock and roll. So how is it that I like swing and rockabilly and the music of the 30s that the Dads who grew up on Victrola marching band music must have hated as well?

Makes you think there’s something else besides generational affinity.

I’ve also been sampling lots of 60s music lately, cast-off second-rate psych bands, and I had no idea there were so many bad poetic flower-power mystical stoner / acid groups in those days. Apparently they were needed to tell Mr. Plastic Businessman how wrong he was, and how the world would be healed by Love and also by Opening Your Mind. That most of these bands had their money taken by Mr. Plastic Businessmen because they didn’t read the contract is either proof or justice, depending on your view. But oh. Lord. The feathery voices, the sitars, the ponderous sub-Spinal-Tap “elven tymes” imagery, the

Not that you care, but most of what I listen to these days is that ill-defined genre of “lounge” and “chill,” the former being sort-of dance music, the latter being ambient that’s a bit too restless. Both remind me of the water, the ship. They’re repetitive; they sample from every possible source; they rarely modulate; they just come in and speak their piece and drift out, the next one sliding into the same space. It’s good for working. I’m past the point where I need to commune with a pop song.

Unless the time is right. Then it’s either to bring something back or to realize that this is something new and it’s really grabbed a wire. If it has a beat, or beauty. My favorite song of the previous year was a piece from the “Grand Budapest Hotel” soundtrack - tremulous, mysterious, magical. Once upon a time.

So you can see why punk thrashing about urine-soaked bus shelters maybe doesn’t have the same thrill it might have had. Once upon a time.

For the next two weeks, a new batch of Missing ads, this time from 1933.

Maybe it's me, but it's a bit hard to follow. Okay: in 1893, Mr. Bennet was a "foreman cooper," which means - I think - he bossed around the guys who made the barrels. Thirteen years later he kicked, but there are four kids, not one of whom has a first name. But we have a Whittler, living in the Plaza, so there must have been some money. This is all to fufill Mom's wishes, two years after the fact.

Oh: the person asking is in Liverpool.



I'm still looking for more Borden; Elsie hasn't gone away from this feature for good. I'll continue to drop in some late 60s stuff, for reasons that will be apparent on Friday. Like this:



Oh you can, can you. Did anyone ever close them up nicely like that, and find them still closed the next day? The next minute? The only time I ever ate crackers was when I had the "stomach flu," and had been barfing everything. Of course, it wasn't the stomach flu; there's no such thing. Norovirus, probably. Whatever it was, it meant that mom put newspapers on the floor around a bucket and wheeled in the portable TV.



Drink your lunch! It's so much more satisfying than six cups of coffee and four cigarettes:




Note the man drinking it with the thousand-yard-stare of a man who's done two tours in Nam. As long as she's drinking it, he's going to drink it.

The company's name suggests it was created for the purpose of selling this nutritional slurry. Metrecal cleaned their clock.


Our robot car-washing overlords, etc.

Robo-Wash! Coin-op car cleaning. The trademark was established in 1964, and lapsed in 1992. I gather it was a franchise. Here's what it looked like in the 70s. Of course, they dumped the diamonds for plastic flowers.



I don't know why I said that. I'm so tired of that phrase. Another of the Lustre Cream "Pink is for Girls" campaign, which had lots of entries. Sometimes the models looked happy to be in a big nationwide print campaign.


Sometimes they didn't.



Bygone towel design. They're treated with the Beauti-Fluff finish.


The one on the bottom left looks like the thin scratchy towels you bought when you couldn't afford good ones. We had those in the downstairs shower, even though we could afford good ones; there was something penetential about that shower, with its thin trickle of cold water; crappy sandpaper towels just completed the effect.

Finally: a close-u of the packages for the Stevens Mohawk and Utica towels.

Stevens was founded over 200 years ago. The "Norma Rae" film was about unionization efforts at one of its plants. At the time it was South Carolina's 3rd largest employer, with 10,000 workers. Then came takeovers and shifting fortunes and . . . oh, it's a mess.


High-res + extreme magnification gives usa view of the little pictures that helped sell the merch.

What does it say? Shortened . . . something. Saves Time. Easier to Put On.

I'm sold!

New site this year in Comic Sins: Spinach Comics. Enjoy!



blog comments powered by Disqus