It got cold again, just in time for me to do a live broadcast of a St. Patrick’s Day parade on Tuesday. I wish we were up on a stand, looking down, facing the cameras with frozen grins as we banter meaningless items back and forth in an oleagenous glop-dump of civic boosterism, but we’re going to be ground level, and VO for most of it. Still, fun.

I mean, this is my job: wrote a technology piece, finished the edit on the architecture column, threw in a humor column to the magazine, and then selected the wardrobe to wear while doing live TV about a parade. You can’t beat it. Never a dull moment, he lied.

Because it’s full of dull moments. I work fast and so the space in-between the moments can get tiresome, if you’re not reading or creating or doing something. Today I applied the new ruthless and utterly ruth-lacking EVERYTHING MUST GO philosophy to two coffee cans full DVDs. Do you know how much data that means? Do you know how much duplicated data is contained therein? Gah.

One after the other I fed the disks into the slot until I grasped the general theme: I have 475 copies of every picture I ever took. GOT IT. Lots of old websites, a few of which I saved in PDF form for posterity, as if posterity cares. Then the horrible moment when I come across something I hadn’t saved, which raises the possibility that all these folders contain things I might lose if I throw away the disks. Must have found 50 old columns. Hah: one of the disks had the original scans for the Interior Desecrators book. Can’t see I’ll need that any more. Discard pile.

You have to take my word for this. Four hours later I got an email from someone requesting a picture from the Interior Desecrators book. Why? For a blog post on some folks who are renovating a house to 60s / 70s style and used my book as inspiration.

I also found a folder of radio airchecks a friend gave me a long, long time ago. They were 30 minutes each, and get this: all commercials. I’ve no idea why. One is for a local station in 1970 and 1975; the other is for WCOL in the early 70s. The third . . . oh sweet stars, it’s all ads from 1962. The difference between the 60s and 70s can be summed like thus: the first one is cigarettes and cars, including a Bob and Ray ad I’ve never heard anywhere. The one from the 70s is for a porno theater, and sleeping pills.

I’ll be posting the 70s one at Lint, where it seems to fit.

Anyway. I’m still working on the Great Archive, a project that boils down all the pictures and videos and family history and everything I wrote ever, into one folder, exquisitely arranged. Oh you laugh, you do. You have heard of this for a long time and think this is a mug’s game, a will o’the wisp I shall e’er pursue but never catch. Wrong: almost done, at least back to 1990. I did find something not previously given its rightful place in the archives, and that is this panel from a dramatic tale of a scientifically minded cat.

You will note that the ant is carrying a TriLogical Scanner, and you will also note he was drawn from the ants you made in the Game of Cootie. As for the cat, well, he was based on an eraser, of all things. A cute little cat standing on his back legs, waving. I made up lots of stories about him and his Tom-Swift-like existence as a young inventor - in this case, not only of the aforementioned scanner, but the AntiFlation Protonic Control Machine. Which presumably controlled protons and kept them from flating.

The eraser was ruined when I wrapped him in Silly String for some rainy-afternoon playtime storyline. It didn’t come off. He was sticky and one of his paws came away. I built a small plastic coffin for the eraser and put it away in my drawer, and here’s the damnedest thing: I still have it in a box downstairs. No one would ever come across that and know why I saved it. Why should they? It doesn’t matter.

His name was “Puff,” by the way. Puff the Scientist Cat.

Because I am a Modern Person I like to listen to radio while showering. Even though the speakersin the bathroom are good, the sound is horrible. AM radio, that's why. Makes it darn hard to hear why it's a good time to buy gold, let alone hear that simpering Mathnaseum guy give his false little laugh. So I use an app that plays internet radio, and pipe it to a little speaker on the wall. Yesterday it ran out of power, and informed me thus:

Plees charge. Voin de join baddery.

I have dubbed her Miss Offlo, after her brother Offlo Jabagaj. (That was the character I imagined the Amsterdam airport used to throw people around and generally make life miserable for those who ignored the airport's requests.) Now:

1. I don't know what she's saying in the midde part.

2. No one in the factory, or the exporter, or the importer, ever listened to this. If they did, they didn't care.

3. This unit shows up under a hundred different brand names, and might be the world's most popular circular bluetooth speaker right now. So I'm guessing her voice is in every unit aimed at an English-speaking market.

4. Who is she? Doesn't sound computer generated. Was this her job? Did the manufacturer just wave over someone who spoke English, and had her read something into a laptop mike? Does she know her voice is appearing in the showering cubicles of people world-wide, usually when they are naked?

In case you forgot about Offlo:

I picture him with a Turkish mustache.

Being an account of the items thrown into the bins as the Strib prepares for the great leap to our new building. Today we visit the library:

Rather. Today Was. The days of physically removing rectangles imprinted with numbers are over. As for the Spring-Look Label Holders, and their promise to keep our ring books and binders ever new, the ring books and binders have no place in our new home. At least I hope they don't. Having seen the office with its clean empty shelves, I can't imagine that placing objects on those shelves would be an improvement. JUST SCAN EVERYTHING AND TAG IT.

A wrist-wrest for your mouse. Unused InvesText screen cleaners. Those metal devices stamp the date; you adjust a thick balky rubber ribbon to line up year and month and day.

The last year they offered was 1994.




We're getting closer to the return of the big Borden domestic tableaus. I've found another, but first you have to remember: this was her day job.

If you met a woman named Vera Sharp in a story, it would be a signal you were reading a story by a second-rate author. As for the Doggies:


No dog involved. No frankfurts. Cut open the hot dog buns, stuff with sharp American cheese - if that's not an impossible concept - and cook 'em.

Grilled cheese sandwiches, in other words. Except they're long.

Thing is, nothing was said.

People made the natural connection between hippos and revoltionary battery guarantees.


For a brief period, Vulcan women pitched new household goods:

I've never seen that sort of typeface anywhere.

The Low Cost? According to this site, where the owner took pictures of the Lark's price tag, it did indeed cost $84.95 in 1956. That's about $750 today. The average income was about $3500 - or 41 Larks. The modern average income is 44K, so that's under a thousand dollars for a vacuum cleaner.

Macy's sells a Hoover for $70.00.

An in-store display! Always a pleasure to see these. The commercial furniture no one thought to save.

"Loktuft" is not the most euphonious name. Looks German and martial.

The process "locked" every tuft into the jute back, ensuring no loose tuftage, I guess. We take tufts that stay in place for granted; back then, errant geysering of rogue tufts was assumed to be a part of life.

Havana hues! No more of those. Thanks Fidel.


She had no name. I don't recognize her from any movies. This might have been her only job. She might have done lots of work that year for regional brands, working on the strength of this national shot, until her reputation for being difficult to work with got her bounced from the agency, and she went to another one that handled B-league clients. Maybe she drank. Maybe she found religion. Maybe she met a fella and moved to Texas and raised a family. Maye she got hit by a bus.

She sold Solitaire, a Campana Product. That's all we know.

But we know something about the Campana factory: famous for being one of the most severely modern buildings of its time.


I have one of these. It doesn't work and I don't care.

We see the Homemaker's Schedule. A busy day. Beauty; socializing; two incidents of transportation coordination (meet child returning from school, pick up Grey-Flannel-Suit husband at the New Rochelle train station as he gets off a bit wobbly from a belt he had with the boys), then more socializing.

You will not miss any of these because you are guided by modern electrical time.



That's it for today; hope you've enjoyed your stay. Classic comics follow, and of course the usual here and there. See you around!


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