Driving Daughter to work I saw a sign that thanked the departing principal of our elementary school. And another sign. And another: someone just control -V'd them for blocks and blocks, so when he left the school on his last day he'd see a parade of gratitude. After I dropped her off I approached the school, and thought - wasn't there an ice cream social to say goodbye? Last Friday. Tomorrow would be his last day.

There was a spot on the curb so I swung in and parked. They were still loading the buses. Parents were streaming in and out. They all belonged. I didn't. You get your membership in that club revoked rather quickly. One day you're standing in the lobby waiting for your kid, chatting with a mom or a dad, and then a certain June arrives and it's the last dance out the door.

Perhaps parents are indifferent to middle school because they resent the implications. The reality. Time's Winged Chariot and all that. It has a new driver and he seems to be whipping the horses with extra enthusiasm.

Inside it was just as it always was - the rows of kids behind the rope waiting for their bus to be called. The happy din. I saw the principal in the office and walked in, and he was quite surprised. I thanked him for giving my daughter a happy experience in elementary school and a few other things, and felt this overwhelming emotion that would have enmoistened my face if I hadn't gotten out when I did. I expect he got a lot of that from parents the last few days.

You ask yourself if you say "Thank You" enough, and the answer can never be yes.

Monday was productive; filed two pieces, and now I'm about to write a third. Redesigned a section of the site and did eight pages for the 2017 update. (I know. It's a sickness.) The workmen were by to labor on the bathroom; the floor is now level. It was not before and this meant concrete had to be added and angled with care and skill. The wall for the shower was built. They will be back tomorrow, and as usual the presence of guys who show up and drape canvas on the steps and set about banging on things in the bathroom while Classic Rock plays on the boombox will be absolutely normal, because it's been like this off and on for oh, two months? It's like they're part of the family! Except they eat lunch in the truck when it's cold.

To commemorate D-Day I watched part of "The Longest Day," and will switch to "Saving Private Ryan"when I finish the column around 12:15 AM. The former has the damned manliest line-up of actors - Mitchum, Burton, Steiger, Fonda, Albert, Ryan, John By-God Wayne - and it makes you wonder if we could muster that sort of confident character if they made the movie again today. It's been a while since I saw "Ryan" and "Band of Brothers," so it's likely they found analogues more in keeping the with modern, realistic take on such characters. There's just something solid to those old actors, though - a presence, a confidence that represents a previous iteration of masculinity. I also enjoy the presentation of the German side, which is crisp and full of Nazis served the way you like them - leather coats and swagger sticks for some, crisp Prussian discipline for others, cruel intellect in one face and fat rote complacency in another.

I am a 40s buff, but not a WW2 military history buff. How is that possible? I don't know. I'm interested in the military aspects of the war, but it's the cultural angles I find fascinating, both domestically and abroad. Given the chance to tour a battlefield in Germany or look at the Nazi archives of the propaganda department, I'd go for the latter every time. Some people are interested in the armaments that rolled towards Berlin; I want to know what the German hand-soap ads looked like. There's something so wrong and yet so familiar about the commercial art of the Nazi era. The assurance of normalcy in a culture that accumulated indecencies day by day.


The surest sign of the good season: the furniture is out at the 333 Turf Club across the street from my office.


How damned civilized, what? Sink me.



From a Western stories magazine c. 1935, some of those plaintive messages sent out into the great American void. Where did you go? Why won't you come back?

Before Facebook, there was the back of pulp magazines.

There's a world of stories in this small entry:

A forty-four-year old man traveling around the Midwest, playing songs and singing. Tex Ranger!

Not a Texas man at all. He was born in Fergus Falls. (That's in Minnesota, where I live. Sorry; should have said MN.) But there's more.

Alvin had legally changed his name to Texas A. Ranger. From the story I had been told, he had always wanted to be a Texas Ranger but could not because he was 1/2 Native American (His mom's side). So he legally changed it after he left his 1st wife and married my grandmother. Alvin had 3 daughters with his 1st wife, one of them was hit by a car and died at the age of 5. I am not sure if he left soon after that or what. But he loved the rodeos and was in them.

That is how he met my grandmother. He married her and had 3 sons. He was not a great man and from what my mother has told me, he used to bring little girls to his home in the basement and molest them.

Alvin/Texas and my grandmother were Jehovah Witnesses as well.

We'll just close the door on this one and back away.







Everything today is from 1949. And look who's joined us once more!


Money's at issue, which explains Elmer's expression. Then again, life explains Elmer's expression, including being married to a wealthy, famous, monomaniacal cow.

  Criminey, what a pill Elmer can be. It's Elsie's money. She's the one who makes the big Borden bucks.

A few lines are edited out, so we can get to the point: Elsie attempts to instill empathy in her husband.

But you can understand his quick temper, given the illogical leaps Elsie makes.


I would give anything to hear him mimicking her.

Don't know why they stayed together. Maybe the sex was just fantastic.



Speaking of things you know have GOT to be good: fake butter from the slaughterhouse!


Some nice packaging from the immediate post-war era.

I wonder how many sticks you had to eat to get a baseball or a skate.

A close-up of a picture of a party, showing you what really makes a social engagement flourish and prosper:

Make sure you put all the bottles on the edge of the table for easy falling! great slogan: "That refreshing flavor with the velvet edge." But - but velvet doesn't have an edge! Exactly.

Apparently you're supposed to slam it in a minute.

I've always had good feelings towards the brand; I've no idea why. It's the oldest continueously made pop in the country; around since 1876. Wikipedia, with its unerring eye for the pertinent, notes:

A mid-1960s' advertising campaign featured jingles by jazz singer Blossom Dearie, wherein she sang in a Betty-Boop voice: "Hires Root Beer! Hires Rootin' Tootin' Root Beer! Hires Rootin'-Tootin' Rabble-Rousin', lion-roarin', Roman-candle-lightin' Root Beer!"

Oh please oh please . . . Hmmm. It's her, but she doesn't say it. And it's not a Betty Boop voice. Otherwise, the same:


Summertime color for your Bar-B-Q! Or your B-Be-Que. Or your BBQ.

Don't forget to top the triangule meat with fresh-ripped viserca.

Oh, er, ahem:

That'll do; see you around.



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