That bleepity-bleeping bleep IKEA sofa. That cheap shoddy piece of Chinese-made junk. It may be a quote from Ozymandis, but engraved over the doors of the person who approves the sale of this shite is surely “Look upon my works, and despair.”

I understand that two Franklins doesn’t get you the most high-quality sofa, and I know it’s foam and particle board held together with glue made from Chinese goats. But. The first step was to slide two metal things together to join the sides to the back. Easily done. Then a screw goes in. The screw did not go in happily on one side. It was more than willing to burrow into the other. I took the sides off. I reattached the sides. The screw that did not want to go in? Now it goes in like Brutus’ shiv into Caesar’s side. The other side? The screw is more misaligned than the other side was before. I try to remove the side to try again, but it’s done with this. It’s fine where it is, pal, and why don't you just move along to the next step.

A study of the directions, which consist of PICTURES FOR IDIOTS, tells me that this screw is not mission-critical, and in fact seems redundant, but that doesn’t mean I won’t spent fifteen minutes trying to fix it. Nothing works. Eventually I get everything together, and put the pathetic plastic feet on the pitiful heap of krep, noting that the only way to get them tight is to loosen the fabric WHICH HAS BEEN GLUED ON and no doubt glued with a special blend that uses only locally-sourced organic arsenic to comply with whatever self-serving nonsense the home office insists on believing.

So there is stands, right where the crib used to be, so very long ago.

When did that go? Who got it? Never mind. There’s an end table that needs to go now, because there’s no room, and daughter is keen to see it go. It’s the last piece that remains from the infant grouping, and it lasted this long because it’s fairly timeless and doesn’t scream BABY ROOM, but it doesn’t fit in her mind. I understand. The other day in the car she wanted to listen to the 40s channel, and it was playing “Glow Worm” by the Ink Spots. That was one of the Bathtime songs on the CD I bought at Pottery Barn Kids. It went in the drawer of the end table. Digitized it long ago, along with all the other songs that were part of the ritual that I really couldn’t stand, and couldn’t imagine anyone else liked. I mean. Cement Mixer, Put-I Put-I. Okay.

We cleaned out the end table, and I got a little side-eye from my Wife about Daughter’s predilection for compiling and collecting Objets D’Whatever because they’re interesting or old or cute, and yeah, okay, I’ll take the blame. It’s called HAVING INTERESTS AND A SENSE OF AESTHETICS, and for some people it’s shoes, okay? Hmm. Shoes? Ring a bell? Like Notre Dame on Easter? Okay then.

It wasn’t antagonistic as it sounds, because I've been married long enough to make these things light & funny, and also mainly because I didn’t say any of that.



I have become the world's leading expert on this short piece of video, mainly because I've watched it 27 times. When you do that you tend to obsess over details and let some things bother you more than they should. Anyway: it's the intro for a comedy team's short movie. Yes, his glasses are painted on. Yes, that's a fractured, troubled version of a Tchaikovsky melody. The short guy, Clark, has a crazy manic leer that's a bit disturbing. The other fellow is the Big Fussy Guy.

It's these guys, seen here in a 1928 ad. (I was restocking the 1920s site for 2016, which is how I ran across them.) Big on vaudeville, made a bunch of shorts.


According to the July 1931 issue of Picture Play magazine, the films were poorly received by critics and audiences alike. Around the Fox studio lot, the duo's film series were mockingly referred to as The Clark and McCullough Tragedies. After filming fourteen shorts, Fox dropped Clark and McCullough in early 1929.

They went to RKO, which continued to try to shove them down the national laff-gullet:

As with their Fox films, the duo's comedy did not transition well into the medium of film and were poorly received. RKO attempted to remedy this by hiring big name directors and granting bigger budgets, but the shorts continued to be panned by critics. Director Sam White, who directed three of Clark and McCullough's RKO shorts, later said that the duo's film career stalled because, on film, "...Bobby came across as annoying. Clark was one of those comedians who had to be seen live. In pictures, he was flat."

Good to know it's not just changing tastes. They're really strained. Lots of single entendres, silly overacting, bombastic sight gags. This stuff dated poorly, like a lot of humor - like most, really. I confess there are many long stretches of the Marx Brothers that leave me cold. But when a bygone style is coupled with a medium in its early days the result strikes modern eyes as flat and strained.

So, why bother?

They were partners since childhood, but by the time they got to the movies the balance of power had shifted. Clark got all the purportedly funny lines, did most of the physical comedy. McCullough either fed him straight lines or just did silly things in the margins. He had a trademark laugh, which was irritating. He really had nothing to do anymore. It weighed on his heart. He checked himself in to a sanitorium for "nervous exhaustion," which could mean depression, or too much sauce.

After he was released he had a friend drive him to the barbershop. After he was cleaned up, he grabbed a straight-edge and slit his throat and wrists.

Now go back and watch that opening again. Can I have that? Sorry, don't hit me.




This week's star illustration: the pug-nosed Heinz Urchin-chef, hopeful in love:


Given the product, it could look like he was carrying a sack of flatulent blasts. I'm sure there are bean enthusiasts who know the difference between New England Style and Boston Style, but I've never troubled myself to parse the distinction.

Probably has something to do with the quantity of sugar. I was never a bean eater as a kid, because I mistook soup beans for pork-and-bean beans. Never figured they'd be like . . . dessert with smooth oval candies.


A venerable Product element, the Spam Pretender. BUY BONDS

If there's one attribute you rarely see nailed to meat, it's "all purpose."

Let's trade on the smutty little jokes for some innuendo power:

The traveling man doesn't seem to be a ladies' type. A devious fellow with a lacivious eye. But the young ladies liked him, I guess. We always assume the Farmer's Daughter was a belle, but it's possible they were dumb as fence posts, ugly, bucktoothed, and hungry for a MY-AN. As befit the cartoon stereotype of the day, anyway.

All-Rite made some beautiful pens, and here's a site where the collector has the store displays.

She looks quite familiar under that helmet.

You could hang coiled rope on that hook.

In related mid-60s hair news:


Shulton also made Tecnique. As for the company: gone. says . . .

The Shulton legacy is a bittersweet tale of evolving American business dynamics during the second half of the 20th century, played out on a local stage. Shulton was once a profitable family enterprise and a major corporation based in Clifton, with beloved consumer products — most notably its "Old Spice" brand — and a loyal work force. The company, which stood on the site of today's Cambridge Crossing residential town homes, was disassembled through a series of corporate acquisitions, executive decisions and the sale of its most lucrative product lines.

It also notes that the lobby once had a painting called "Womanhood through the Ages Pays Scented Tribute to Venus, Goddess of Beauty," details of which can be seen here. That seems to be all that's left.

A familiar art style - but I can't place the name. It's another Spam Pretender, by the way. YOU WIL SEE PREM


It was packed in glass for a while because metal was needed to defeat international fascism.

Meat in glass jars. Erhm.


Back to the hair products. Because it's summer, your hair should save:

Cara Nome was the brand, and they made natural artificial permanent kits for Little Girls. The name is taken from Verdi, although I'm not sure this was readily or widely known.


Say goodbye to hard, adamantine shampoos that have to be chipped out of the bottle:

Non-alkaline! Because now we're in that period where alkaline is bad, I guess.

The 89 cent size is still only 59 cents!

So it's not the 89 cent size, is it? IS IT?


ZELAN. It's so repellent it's attractive:

It wasn't a fabric; it was a chemical, and I assume it did not cause genetic defects right off the bat. Its repellency was approved by the Better Fabric Testing Bureau, which I'm certain was a completely impartial organization funded by public contributions. Perhaps if you wanted a good review you went to the Lesser Fabric Testing Bureau.

Finally: you can see the appeal of modern anti-stench sticks when you consider the use of . . . cream.

Her expression says it all: the things we have to do. The cold indignities we must endure.


That's it for today! See you tomorrow.



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