I should read more Dickens. Yes! That piece of placeholder copy extended out this far into the last week of February. I laid this page out in early January. I expected more snow, it seems. We've had little. But the cold, the dreams of tropical places - I got that right.

IT'S SEVEN BELOW Daughter said this morning before I sent her off. I checked my phone. "No it's not. It's nine below."

"Drive me to school?"

It's two blocks! Why in my day I walked -

You know what? I walked 1 and 5/6 blocks. So I'll give her this. She does have it harder than I did.

I could give you a blow-by-blow account of my hairpulling technical support calls today; that’s always good for a larf - except that no hair was pulled. I had my new iMac set-up flake out. The old iMac decided it wouldn’t be used as a second monitor. So I went to the support page, entered the details of my problem and my phone number. My phone rang five seconds later. A tech was on the line. Through the process of elimination, a term also used to describe the evacuation of the bowels, we decided it was a Bad Cord. Neither of us was happy with that, because really, how likely is it? A new cord, and it’s Bad? But it was the only constant in the variables, so off to the Apple Store.

The tech tested the cord while he was talking with another tech about some pressing issue. He hooked up the cord to one laptop and connected it to another and entered TDM. (Target Disk Mode, not Target Display Mode. If you’re wondering.) GAHHH the other laptop mounted. It wasn’t the cord.

Then the other laptop disk vanished from the desktop. The tech nodded. “Looks like it’s the cord.” I got a new one and went home and plugged it in. Nothing worked. Despair. There were no constants. The only explanation for this was simultaneous failure of a particular port on three machines, which just. Doesn’t. Happen.

Put in another request for a phone call. Apple rings me back right away. The tech on the other end can’t solve it, so he brings in a guru who has weiiiirrrd powers and skills, and we fix it. Let me put it this way: it was the cord, but once I got it hooked up there was something else I forgot to do.

I needed to turn it off. And turn it on again.

(In my defense, I had done this several times, but not since replacing the cord and verifying Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode could be enabled.)

(But still. Humiliating)

Here’s what I love about Apple: after the problem was solved, the guru stayed on the line for five minutes to discuss possible reasons. We were both dissatisfied with an inconclusive solution. Something that had worked had stopped working, and neither knew why.

Why matters. There’s hardly an aspect of life where it doesn’t.

I have to go to Buzzfeed daily, because I have to keep up. It is my job to keep up. Everyone follows the same path - you’re swimming in the culture, then you’re walking along the shore in the water, then you’re up on the sand, then on the boardwalk, and then looking out at the flow from a balcony. You don’t have to participate to keep up. Why not pay some attention? You can’t spell Dismiss without Miss!

That said, I hate most of BuzzFeed, because it will put 4 DEAD AT KOSHER GROCERY SHOOTING within two inches of 14 TIMES THIS CORGI THREW SHADE, and while that’s indeed a summation of the heights and shallows of the internet, they have to know that their traffic is coming for the corgis. Anyway. Today they had one of those rote stores about 23 times everything was perfect, or something, and I had to smile. Without knowing it, the audience was getting a cultural literacy test. And failing.

It was titled “This magnificent percussion solo.”

If all you knew of symphonic music was “Ode to Joy,” and only then because you watched a video of the last few minutes of “Die Hard,” this would be hardy-har, because hrrrrr hrrrr dude wailing with like, a wooden sledgehammer? Dude.

Or you might wonder whether it’s the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd such blow in the 4th movement of Mahler’s 6th. The first refers to the death of his daughter, the second is the heart-condition diagnosis, and the third is the dismissal from the Vienna Opera. So his wife said, anyway. The Hammer Blows of Fate, the third of which felled the hero. Rest assured that a minute after the blow strikes, the symphony is back on its feet and beholding glorious Austrian vistas complete with tinkly triangles to indicate birds and sunlight on the water, but that all goes to hell a minute later.

There’s also the matter of why the fellow seems shocked by the sound; was he not familiarized with the sound during rehearsals?

Wikipedia says it’s “Far from the most popular of Mahler’s works.” Maybe because it’s the soundtrack for the death of the Western Romantic tradition. Might have something to do with it. Not in the sense that's a miserable bleat of atonal screeching - no. It's as neurotic a piece as he ever wrote, which is saying something; the bleakest moments burst into bright song, the happy simple moments make a hairpin turn to fear and doom; it strides into hell with its head high and runs screaming 40 bars later, and all through it you can hear Nazis approaching in lock step. It's all about Gustav, I suppose, but he was channeling something.

I can't imagine audiences applauded too wildly at the end of the premiere. It's a general terminal diagnosis.

And on that cheerful note!



I have found more classic Elsie Borden-stories. You'll have to wait. In the meantime: This was a term I knew only as an expression of suffering:

Succotash in February? And also not inedible? Why, yes, thanks to the miracle of frozen foods. It's cheap, too! Dad likes that because he's a miserable skinflint who moans about the price of beans.

The term comes rthe Narragansett term for "broken corn kernels." Never had it growing up. No one had it. If they did, they kept it to themselves.

All the romance of France, in ice cream form!


Fairmont's is one of those brands popular enough to plant an ad in Life, hire the top illustrators of the day, design special art for the package - and now? I don't know. But Wikipedia notes that the Fairmont Ice Cream company bought an ice-cream distribution system in the Midwest from Franks Wells, in 1928, and when the family decided to get back in the business a few years later, they had to chose another name.They held a contest, and the winner was Blue Bunny - a brand still found around these parts.

In fact, Wells, is the third-largest ice cream maker in the country. Take that, Fairmont.

Cherry chunks in ice cream was the sort of thing that just ruined it for me.


Allen Edmonds: I'll bet a plastic version of that sign was in the stores. Probably the store windows.

If that's "your foot in action" you must be fun to watch as you walk around town.

Still around - and they make some shoes in the US, too.


Tammis Keefe has done it again!

Who? Well, ask tammiskeefe.com. "Tammis Keefe was born Margaret Thomas Keefe in 1913. Originally a math major in college, she transferred to the Chouinard Institute of Art, now part of the California Institute of the Arts. As did many Chouinard graduates, Keefe worked for the Disney studios, and later became art director of the influential periodical Arts and Architecture."

Carpentersville sounds like a quaint little town where Frothy Delicious Social Cloths are made by hand, but it's a suburb of Chicago. I think this ad is from 1960, if I remmeber the mag where I got it; Tammis died that same year.

From the series of unconvincing ads that pitch the humble frank as a meal of distinction:

Her name was Fran Ryan, adn she was married to Lowell Thomas for 58 years.

A tiny picture from an A&P ad. (Ann Page was the house brand. Ann Page / A P) First, it's an example of late 50s product design. But also . . . .


How many women do you think kept them around, because they might make nice tiny vases in an emergency? I would. If you have little kids, they come home with dandelions. These would be perfect for that, and that's probably the reason you'll find one in an antique store from time to time, the label long ago removeed.

Speaking of A&A: what's wrong with this picture?


No chance the world he'd be leaning back. Not with that donut and not with that suit.


Another tiny picture magnified to show detail. On the left, a modern Rumpus Room, complete with carelessly-left bottle of Coke; you're going to have to talk to Jimmy about that, I don't know, no matter how many times I tell him, etc.

Automatic alarm goes off every 24 hours! Truly an age of miracles. The Jubilee is a nice number as well and it'll tell you the right time, so you can have an after-school snack ready. I think that's a loaf of bread. Could be a large-type family Bible.




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