Snow! But just a little. A dusting. No one ever looks at the dust on the tabletop and thinks “a minor snowfall,” but when large white flakes cover everything just a bit, it’s a Dusting. Good Lord, if your house looked like that, you’d think you were sloughing off skin cells by the pound. Also: when you remove the dust, it’s doing the dusting. When the snow falls lighting, it’s A dusting. When you remove the snow from the steps, you dust them off.

I need to get out of here

Never felt that so keenly as today, and it wasn’t that bad. Low twenties. But I got that strange helpless fatalism: you won’t get out. Oh, you may leave for a while, but it’s like nailing Mr. Fantastic’s feet to the floor. YOU’LL BE BACK. Or Elasta-girl, if you wish. Or Plastic Man, who was the second stretchy guy, after the short-lived . . . what was it, Plexo? Plex? Flexo.

Fun fact about the creator of Plastic Man, Jack Cole - he grew up in PA, and “at age 17, he bicycled solo cross-country to Los Angeles, California and back.”

Your first thought might be “he probably came from a really large family, which didn’t miss him for a while.” Well, third of six kids. He got into comics and drew the Spirit while Eisner was away at war, and was tasked with creating a copy - Midnight, which was horrible.

Midnight, the alter ego of radio announcer Dave Clark, wore a similar fedora hat and domino mask, and partnered with a talking monkey—questionably in place of the Spirit's young African-American sidekick, Ebony White.

Yeeeah. As if Ebony White wasn’t questionable enough. Dave Clark, eh? The Spirit was Denny Colt. D, C. His career survived and flourished - he had a daily strip, and was doing cartoons for Playboy. At the age of 43 he shot himself. He sent a suicide note to his wife, and Hugh Hefner.

Flexo, by the way, was a robot. He was made of rubber and fought crime.

If you ever see a crime being committed and the criminal runs past you and people say “why didn’t you stop him?” you can always say “what do I look like, a rubber robot?”

So obviously I’m FULL of stuff today. Meh. Anyway, Wife just asked if we should GET OUT OF HERE and go someplace warm, and suggested Arizona, where we would stay with her Mom in a very nice old-folks complex and I think I handed her the biggest knife in the drawer and said anywhere fatal will do. Then I suggested a quick cruise, but that didn’t work. It would be relaxing. If anyone needs to do nothing, it’s you. I mean, a serious amount of nothing. How about Louisiana? Interesting idea; I have no interest in its whatsoever, although I’m sure it’s charming. I just have this preconception of New Orleans as “damp with historical death, except for the party week when the streets slosh with vomit.”

Disney’s out, of course; no one will ever go there with me again. Which reminds me: went to the gym to sign the papers to cancel daughter’s membership. They were quite keen on a reason, and I was tempted to say I do not need a reason. I am a free man but they were so nice I had to say she was gone, no I don’t mean that, I mean away, well, she’s pretty much away for good now, inasmuch as she’s never coming back to stay, but here’s a picture of her surfing.

On the way out I saw what I had never seen, and she had seen every time I picked her up. My car in the usual spot, waiting. Took a picture and considered sending it, but thought better and put my phone away.

Went home and fell asleep, and woke up with a drool soaked pillow and the conviction that something terribly important had happened in Korea.








I like to watch the opening sequences of movies I’ve seen before. Or credit sequences of movies I don’t intent to watch. “After the Fox” really doesn’t appeal; it’s not that good. But the opening credits have a great song with a strange hook, and it’s sung by the Hollies, and Burt Bacharach wrote it, and it’s animated, since it’s a comic movie about a master crook. Post-Panther, it was obligatory.

That’s a long way of getting to Fiddler on the Roof, which popped up on Amazon. It takes about ten minutes to get to the credits, and when you do you’re surprised - oh, right! We never saw those. Well, let’s sit back and listen to Isaac Stern play. The opening sequence is so Jewish you almost think it’s a bit too on-the-nose when the director is named Norman JEWISON - okay, okay, I get it!

I loved this musical when I was in high school. Made a Zionist out of a North Dakota boy. Had little interest in seeing it performed; rarely watched musicals at all; I thought they were silly and contrived. I listened to soundtracks - classical music without the rigor or length. My knowledge of Jewish culture was probably near nil, and Fiddler was my introduction. It was fascinating. I’d never heard music quite like that.

I never put this together.

There they are, together for the only time: Wars and Trek.

Oh what the hell.

Why do we do this? I'll tell you. I don't know. But it's a tradition, and because it's a tradition, everyone knows what God expects him to do.

That's the start of it all, not the end.

As long as I brought it up: I have to post this once a year, because it's just so particular to its time. The harpsichord, of course. The Hollies. The harmonies. The Sellers spoken words. Titles by Binder, doing his best DePatie-Freleng.

I posted that once, and it was taken down by a copyright strike. There's no pattern, no sense, no dependable parameters. Ever get the sense that the decisions of the great tech pantheons above operate on whims and pique, like the gods of yore?





It’s 1951.

It’s like she’s putting up her sleeve so she can shank someone later


Gorham Silver was founded in Providence, Rhode Island, 1831 by Jabez Gorham, a master craftsman, in partnership with Henry L. Webster.The firm's chief product was spoons of coin silver. The company also made thimbles, combs, jewelry, and other small items. In 1842, the Congress enacted a tariff which effectively blocked the importation of silverware from outside the United States, which aided the American silver industry.

The plant at its height:

The block today:

What happened?

A raging fire of suspicious origin destroyed the old carriage house of the former Gorham silver manufacturing plant off Elmwood Avenue that was being converted into a firefighters’ museum.

The carriage house, the last standing building of the industrial complex that once stretched over a 37-acre area between Mashapaug Pond and Adelaide Avenue in the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood, was being restored by Providence firefighters to turn it into the Providence Fire Museum.


But there's more!

Something about which I had no idea: n 1886 a commentator wrote in the London Magazine of Art:

If we go to one of the first London silversmiths and ask for spoons and forks, we are met at once with the smiling query. "Yes, Sir; fiddle or old English?" Fiddle or old English! If we decline both those chaste designs we are assured that there is still a large selection of patterns remaining. The "Lily", the "Beaded", "King's Pattern", and "Queen's Pattern." There perforce, our choice must end....Mark the difference, in this one article, between the supine conservatism of the English manufacturers and the alertness and constant progress of the American maker. For instance [Gorham] would not be satisfied unless it produced every year or two new patterns, nearly all of which are beautiful, and of which they will produce a complete service of all articles for table use from a salt-spoon to a soup ladle.

In 1893, a French observer was surprised by America's "remarkable fertility in the variety of its patterns for table services." Of the flatware patterns designed by F. A. Heller (1839–1904) for Gorham he wrote "we have no idea of the richness of ornamentation of these services, and of the amount of talent expended by him in the engraving of the dies which he has made on the other side of the Atlantic.”

We rule!

It was known as the “beforehand” lotion in its 40s ads, and it appears they wanted to keep that idea around:

Odd name. Like something you’d say when you stabbed someone in the buttock, for real.

f I had to bet money, I’d say Sundblom:

I remember this soap from childhood; don’t know if my mom used it - we were a Dial family from the time I can remember, but it may have been kept in the bathroom closet for special occasions, when company came over, and no one used the soap at all because it was decorative soap.

It was introduced in 1872, which is one hell of a run.

There’s really nothing to dispute here: it’s all true!

“The California Way” suggests no one figured this out before, and for all I know, they hadn’t.

Everyone thinks of Admiral. It’s a fact!

Twenty-two whole inches. According to the wiki page, their 1950 TV line had seven sets, up to a 19” screen, and that one topped out at seven grand in today’s dollars.


The style of art could be charmingly primitive. Or just primitive.

Dorothy Stevens:

Stevens married in 1930 and became Mrs. Reginald de Bruno Austin She became president of the Toronto-based Women's Art Association. Helen McLean recalls studying under her as a child at an art class arranged by the Women's Art Association in 1940.

Stevens wore trousers and chain smoked.

When the weather allowed she took her students over to the Toronto Islands to draw whatever they saw in the park. She told stories of the past, such as a costume party she had gone to with Frederick Varley of the Group of Seven. He was Anthony and she was Cleopatra, wearing a bodice made out of copper wire.


Fame abides! I know that first guy. And of course I know that second author! And that third -



Back to 16 to 1. Was Troy the Collar Capital of the world?



Let's drop in on the far-away yet oh-so-relatable world of 1916, as seen through the work of Clare Briggs. See you around.



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