Just so you know, this week is a new kind of hell. Not all that hellish. More like a new kind of heck, and heck can be fun! I am doing the State Fair, as usual, but instead of going every other day or so and trying to find stuff to edit together, I’m on stage in front of the Strib building. As noted yesterday.

Every. Damned. Day. I am glad I said yes to this but I am not so glad I said yes 12 times. But hey: your bosses ask you what you can do, max it out. Step right up. Go ahead, roll your eyes; are you in a shaky industry? I’m not saying my paper’s shaky; we’re hiring. But you want to be one of those people who has a rep for doing things, not declining.

That said, jeez. And/or Louise. I’m on the stage for half an hour, and that’s a long time. I’ve had guests, though - the second part of the program is an interview, and these have been fun. The first part is just riffing and giving away lip balm. . Imagine yourself on a stage at the State Fair trying to gin up enthusiasm in a crowd that’s just taking advantage of the seating, and there are also lots of people walking by who don’t care what you’re doing or saying, and you have to be reasonably interesting.

Before the show I walked around, did some radio on Captain Ed's show, and noticed this behind the radio shack:

I have no idea. Well, no, I do; could ahve been a silo foundation, but it looks too new. The entire North End of the fair is like this - it unravels a bit, and there's odd areas behind the stands and booths that seem unused and confused.

Back to the stage. Decent enough show. I’ve had some fans, which is always a joy. (Waving gratefully to Bleatniks here! Oh, thank you). Bad: sometimes people are just staring at you, unsure what you’re on about. So I have to start with something of an attention grabber; on the day it rained I turned on the mike and simulated an electrical shock, which a few people bought. Now my standard opening is ARE YOU READY FOR SOME LIP BAAAAAAALLLLLLLMMMMM

And you know, they are.

Let me just say I did not expect to do this when I entered this field, let alone shout it out while the Publisher is standing a few yards away watching, and I didn’t expect I would be saying “Minnesota Public Radio is a fine newsgathering organization but do they care about your lips?” And leading the audience to say NOOO



Five down. Seven to go.









Some movies make a lasting, indelible impression on you as a child, and decades later you’re unable to say why you can’t come up with better words than lasting and indelible, because they’re such cliches. A deep impression? Scarred you for weeks might be more apt in the case of “First Men in the Moon,” because it terrified me. First of all, it was super keen, with all its Victorian tech and English bravado. It seemed plausible to my very young mind. We were, after all, going to the moon in real life, and the opening sequences with its UN-1 craft (A Yank, a Brit, even a Rooskie! Great so we won’t blow up the world) finding a British flag on the surface of the moon was one of those oh-gosh moments that thrilled the imagination. After the discovery, the movie turned into a detective story, as they tried to find who left the flag on the moon, and they found him in a nursing home. He told his tale. No one had ever believed him, you see.



Then it’s a glorious early-60s piece of moviemaking, everything luridly lit and super saturated, wide-screen, impressive. You can see the lights shining off the bald sweaty heads of the actors:

But once they got on the moon, it turned deeply creepy. The moon creatures. Insects. The way they moved. The stop-motion gave some of them an unsettling quality. Their technology was inscrutable.

When they all stopped moving because the sun had gone away, it was unnerving again.

They gave me nightmares. It was an emotion I remember well: I am afraid they are going to show things I do not wish to see.

Harryhausen's fighting skeletons had the same effect. Please no I don't want this.

So I watched it again, and was struck by something I hadn’t picked up as a kid:

The Scientist, Dr. Cavor, was played for laughs. The entire thing was rather broad - until they get to the moon, anyway. As a kid I may have picked up on the comedy and been jarred by the tonal shift. I was probably haunted by the ending, when the modern-day scientists discover the ruins of the moon civilization, its empty halls crumbling in front of them. (Nice timing.) But it’s the ending that now seems so wrong: the aged astronaut, seeing the collapse of the remains of the dead civilization, goes to his telescope, looks at the moon, and chuckles: Cavor did have a dreadful cold.

In other words, they killed them all. Cavor, who stayed behind to Learn and Communicate, infected the entire civilization and they all died. And it’s a cheery ending with upbeat whaddtta-know music. A happy conclusion! All dead! The end!

Inadvertant genocide: one way of telling kids it's going to be all right, but in retrospect I think there was a wiser story to tell.





It’s 1897.

Maidens most toothsome and plump as the times require are coyly suggesting you slather your choppers with the inefficacious grit the call Rubifoam:

No better guarantee of good-tasting toothpaste than someone who makes cologne. No - German cologne.

From a site descendants put up to honor Mr. Hoyt:


The name "German" was originally applied to the cologne in 1870. This name was chosen just to give a definite title to the cologne. There was no intention (unless implied by the innocent buyer) that the cologne came from Germany or bore any resemblance to German cologne.

As for Rubifoam:

The name is pronounced like Ruby Foam due to the brilliant red color of the product. It was introduced in 1887, the same year that E.W. Hoyt died at the age of 49. Shedd is most likely the man behind Rubifoam since Hoyt had been ill for at least three years prior to his death.

Lots old bottles and ads at the link.

The competition:

Camphorated AND saponaceous? What the hell does that mean? Well, saponaceous means “like, or of, soap.” Soapy toothpaste. With camphor oil, which was not supposed to be ingested. Fantastic.

Putti laugh and point at you, because your skin looks like someone rubbed a peach on a cheese grater:

“It removes wrinkles.” Well, I suppose if you could sell everyone one bottle, but never get repeat business, that would make you some money. Or you told them, to buy more, since repeated application was necessary. Eventually they’d give up and stop caring, because it was simply age. Nothing could be done.

Not only is fat unhealthy, it offends people who have good taste:

$100 in gold if you can track down and interview any of these fictitious women!

I know it’s not Main Street day, but these two shots of Valley Mills TX might have been familiar to the newly-slender M. Cheek.


Leading cause of Rapid Onset Frizzy Hair Syndrome:


BS, of course; BS. Cures Neuralgia in five minutes! Also headaches and baldness and grippe and Sailor’s Ague and so on. Did you plug it in, or did the instructions suggest it drew its power from the ether?

No: it had a magnet in the handle. But he called it “electrical.” A website about, of course, quackery said Dr. Scott made many claims: it would cure “constipation, malarial lameness, rheumatism, diseases of the blood, and paralysis. While such claims seem outlandish to most people (and would have in 1880), each disease added to the advertising claims opened up a wider potential market for his brushes.

“In addition to his popular hair and flesh brushes, Scott marketed electric plasters, insoles, rheumatic rings, shoulder braces, throat protectors, nerve and lung invigorators, body belts, wristlets, sciatic appliances, anklets, leg appliances, office caps, and other special appliances made to order. He also offered electric curry combs for horses.”

His full name, according to the patents, was George A. Scott. He was English. Yes, he got patents.

"For Use of Common Air.”


If the tube and the electric brush don’t work, try some Lithia Water:


The healing waters of Buffalo Lithia Springs were attracting visitors as early as 1790. Notable guests from this period were President Thomas Jefferson, General Winfield Scott, and General Santa Anna. By the early nineteenth century, under the management of David Shelton, the Springs gained popularity as a full-fledged resort, including two hotels, two bowling alleys, a dining room capable of seating 250 guests, a 10-acre stocked lake, horseback riding and walking trails with Lithia water refreshment at numerous rest areas. By the 1840s advertisements boasted about "the finest bands ... employed" and "excellent cuisine, liquor and entertainment," with accommodations for over 150 guests per night.

Gone now. No one goes to take the waters anymore, as they once said.


The user was required to place the central metal tube or “Vocor” in a jar of iced water and then attach the the contact disk “on the Naked Ankle of the Lady shown in the cut” (see picture) until better!

Accept no substitutes! Don’t be fooled by the OxyToner.


That'll do. Scoop's merry vacation continues.


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