“Milkshake Duck is old. We need to get ahead of Uganda Knuckles.”
So I said. Why? Back up:
Worst Monday Ever. Usually I love Mondays but this particular iteration found me foul and grousy. I am rationally at odds with this year, justified in my aggravation; the cold is miserable and pains the extremities, and the warmer it gets the closer it gets to Daughter going to Fargin’ Brazil for ten months, so the only thing I can look forward to is the next cruise, which is in December. So I’m trying to think of things between now and then that present opportunities for Life Joy -
then you remember that’s not how it works. It’s the everyday stuff that provides the joy. It’s the work. It’s the moment. It’s the daily accumulation of details that give the day shape and meaning, so by God fire up the computer and get to work.
So I did! Before I’d finished my second cup of coffee I had resized three matchbooks for the 2020 additions (seriously) and laid out a site on 1920s billboards. Drove to work with something of a song in my heart, having decided not to listen to talk radio host file down his established credibility with an emory board, as he seems to do these days; some hosts feed their accumulated audience capital to the band saw, one thick plank at a time, but others seem to relish the detail work.
Parked - for free! Holiday - and walked to work, whistling, until my lips froze. It was a pain day again. The world hurts. The world is all hurt. It’s a great bright vacancy, so very cold, but lo: a door, leading to a lobby, that leads to a skyway. I head towards it like Napoleon’s last soldier from the Russian campaign.
When I go back to my car hours later I get out my keys, and the chain disintegrates as I pull it from my pocket. They keys fall into the snowbank. Now, if you’re not from here, or know no snowy clime, this might not mean anything, but keys drop in fresh powder like bowling balls into the ocean. I’ve no idea if I actually lost any keys on the approach to my car, because I was taking out my keys, as one does. I issue a prayer and put my hand in my pocket, because all I want is my car key. That’s all that matters. If it is not there, well, trouble; there is no other. If it is not there, I stand on the corner in 2 degree weather to await an Uber. And then I call Triple A, which fixes everything somehow.
The key is in my pocket.
Ahhhhh. Well. Well! Now we can complete our next task, which is getting some forms to Daughter’s doctor to assure the Rotary program that she is inoculated against all the tropical fungooo writhing in the jungles of Brazil, waiting to infect my child.
Actually, I’m not worried about her. I’m thinking I’ll keel over while she’s away, and we’ll never see each other again. So, we’ll Skype! But the resolutions’s crappy, and there’s lag. So I’d better make one of those high-res videos you see in movies where people make final statements intended to be watched later. I know how to do that. You don’t start by getting to the point; you have to start as though you’re slightly distracted, shooing away a cat, or pushing a button, because it’s an authentic moment. You don’t start by looking at the camera straight on, because that’s off-putting.
No, really, it is. When you start a video segment, you look up from below. You sweep up to meet the camera. Same when you’re going from Camera 1 to Camera 2 - look down at the desk, then up.
Ahhh, that’s old-style. I watch a lot of videos made by Millennial Types, and they’re completely comfortable just yammering straight at the lens from the start, and the audience is comfortable with that - they almost expect the editor to have compressed the discussion, removed the pauses, jammed everything together with quick cuts. Damn, I realize: I am old-school. (Obv.)
But not that old-school; I pitched a new feature to the paper today, intended to ruin memes by surfacing 4chan stuff as quickly as possible to legacy media. This is what I actually said to my editor today:
“Milkshake Duck is old. We need to get ahead of Uganda Knuckles.”
This is all in my head as I pull up into the parking lot of the pediatricians’ office. I filled out a form with a pen that had a fuzzy pink wire attached to it, so no one stole it. The waiting room had three dads in their 30s reading the sports section. They’re probably tired of coming to this place. When I come back for the forms it’ll be the last time I need to go there, ever.
Went home; napped; made exquisite ravioli for supper, and we all had a great family dinner. That, there, this: the moment!
Best Monday ever.
I talked about Mrs. Maisel last week, and I’m not here to review it - but I think it’s charming. What interests me, as you might well imagine, is the period detail. When she works at B. Altman, they use the old B. Altman building. Why wouldn’t you? It’s unlikely that the majority of the audience knows it’s the right building, but it matter to the show, and that counts.
There was a short scene that took place at a newsstand. Holy. Jeezum. Crow:
Where do we begin.
How about this:
That's absolutely correct; I know that cover.
They're both from September 1958. They could have used something from October or July - or, in the case of the Popular Mechanics cover, something from May; who'd know? The people freeze-framing and screen-grabbing, that's who. It had to be right because everything had to be right. (BTW, I'm not screengrabbing; I'm taking pictures of the TV with my phone.)
Atomic Fireballs, a candy that probably didn’t do anything to decrease nuclear dread.
It has a website.
It was first made in 1954; wikipedia says “Atomic Fireballs have been adopted by Flight Controllers in NASA's Mission Control as the "Console Candy of Choice”
Modern as modern can be! Now let’s go back a few decades:
Chowards, which you can only find today in retail stores, as far as I know, at World Market. History:
C. Howard Company Inc. was started by Charles Howard, of NewYork City in the early 1930's. Mr. Howard , in search for a "unique and different flavored candy", concocted a delightful confectionary mint called, "Choward's Violet", in a small industrial loft on Broadway.
I don’t think the company watches Mrs. Maisel, or they'd add the show to their list of TV references.
According to the Candy Wrapper Museum, the first Abba Zaba bars were manufactured beginning in 1922 by Colby and McDermott. Before Annabelle Candy Co. started manufacturing Abba-Zaba, the packaging featured racially insensitive imagery. Annabelle Candy Co. will only say that the wrapper has been the same for as long as they have manufactured the candy.
John Wayne’s favorite candy, the Wikipedia page says.
The rest of the details are the result of people scouring the Hunt and Gathers of the world. You have to wonder:
Is there still so much left that they can pull together a scene like this without much effort - or is there so little left that we're looking at the few remnants we have?
It’s 1926. These ads are from True Detective magazine.
Newspapers were big, buttons were big, lapels were big, everything was big. And men looked like dorks.
“The smoke to smoke when you’re casually inured to the servitude of others”
Ha ha it’s a Haymarket special
We’ve lost the limburger standard for cheese-stink, I think. I grew up knowing it stank, but never ever had personal experience. Yet I knew.
KU KLUX KLAN AND THE MASONS - the Jews - the Masons
Russian troll-bot twitter, the early years.
“The Negro Klan” makes you wonder. What’s that supposed to mean? Oh look they have one, so we get to have one, right? There wasn’t any Negro Klan.
Veronine Vestoff’s Google mentions all refer to his book, so it seems likely he wasn’t the world-famous influential teacher the ad suggests he was. The “remarkable new method”?
They were flip books. You rifled through the pages and saw the dancer move, and then you copied her. If you were dancing in the rain, you performed the movies in a jerky fashion, since the pages would have stuck together.
Play it ironically, I guess:
“You’ll be the “master” and “popular” in your “set” which means you’ll also have to get “friends” and that’s been hard, hasn’t it? So damned hard.
Our occasional reminder that the 20s did not look like Art Deco, which some people call Moderne. It looked frilly and fussy and busy and ornate.
How it smelled, I can’t say, but I don’t think this stuff was top-drawer material. Even then they had to know that two-bit stuff sold in pulp crime-mags wasn’t going to be all that great.
If it worked as well as advertised, you could commit suicide with it:
“New discovery!” I suppose they might mean that they discovered a form of acid that could be baked into water-soluble bars, but word’s going to get out, and repeat business nonexistent.
This is quite the ad: I’ve snipped out the bottom because the ad is huge, but you get the idea.
Thanks to party-lines, a sloppy operator, and voyeurism, his head was saved!
And that's not all! Let's head back a hundred years and see what's up wth Scoop, the Cub Reporter.