I go to the office to keep up the old ways, but some days - usually Mondays - it's ennervating.

I remember being amazed back in June when the bosses said they were looking at a September return to the office. That seemed like a long time away. Now it’s the middle of September. No return. I’m in the office at present, wearing a white shirt and a black tie - ridiculous, I know, but I am loathe to let all the bygone aspects of adult life completely evaporate. One other person here, I think. It all feels permanently moribund.

Went to Walkin’ Dog for the weekly firedog on a seeded roll. Noted another restaurant closure.

A year or so ago there was a pizza restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a convenience store, and the place above, which sold Mexican food. All slain by 2020.

Perhaps it’s closed until people come back. If they all come back. I’d say half won’t. Why bother? Why commute? Why not do it all from home? Why dress up, get in the car, endure the commute, slog to the office, dwell in a cloth-covered bin?

Why should we mourn if downtowns shutter and the tall towers are empty?

Because our lives become even more atomized, connected only by weak bonds that share no common space. Then again, I’ve been hit up three times today outside by scammers who have, it seems, transportation issues. One just had his car stolen, and decided that the sensible response would be to go around asking for money. Another called out a loud SCUSE ME SIR as he saw me, and unless I hear the word “directions,” I am not stopping.

I hate being suspicious, but I’m not going to be separated from my backpack. There used to be people on the street - not a lot, but a good mix of office workers, deliverymen, bike messengers, and the idle. Now it’s mostly the idle, wandering in diffident circles of opportunism.

Busy day, though. Two columns and another piece, so this Bleat will be breezy and scant!





This is not a review.

I am now hate watching Westworld. I’m not someone who blanches at violence in movies and TV, but I’m tired of it. Part of me watches redshirts and security guards get mowed down, and I think “do they have families? Parents? Or am I just supposed to rah-rah the payback because the emancipated pimpess-robot is a BADASS, or something?”

The quantity of slaughter in the start of the second was so off-putting I felt a visceral dislike for the show, a sense that something was rotten in it. Oh, but that’s the point, see? Everything’s rotten! The guests at Westworld, and now the robots! They’ve truly discovered their humanity, and they’re proving it by shooting everyone in the head!

Yeah, okay. Big deep metaphysical disquisition goin’ on here.

UPDATE: two eps in to second season, don't care. gave up.



It’s 1967.

The gangster fascination always combines a “retro” concept with the current stylings.

It is also highly unlikely that any newspaper proclaiming Prohibition is nigh would illustrate the matter thus.

Lord, that tiresome -in suffix. “It’s the in thing with teenagers wo want to swing college. Not the sit-in. Or the be-in. The type-in.”

“Encourage neatness.” Yes, by all means; the neat shall inherit the earth. Or so they thought.

Terry will die in his chair of a heart attack; Charlie will leave his wife and move to San Francisco

It’s a Hammond organ ad, of course. I grew up dreading the sight of those things in someone’s house. You play piano, show us something on the organ!

Jokes you certainly couldn’t make today:


The actor is Rik Pierce. The VO is David Ford, not Conrad, as some say. (This info is from the guy who made the ads.)

Note how it was sold in England:


Almost the Omega Man typeface:

Spurn the spud for racy rice!


Casablanca was a bit more than a quarter-century old. This would be like referencing a movie in 1995.

Obviously the perceived distance was much greater.

What a hip late-middle-aged guy was supposed to look like. He works at the bank; the older bankers raised an eyebrow, but the customers loved him, and he brought a note of surprising youth to their forty-something stag events.

Wild glasses, and oy, that jacket.

I must have snipped this from the larger ad, intending to make a point about the packaging. Don’t know what I was thinking.

But this is the ad, really. There’s nothing more to say. Your choices, the venerable brand, and a skyline of smoking pleasure.

Short stuff today, but still a reasonable serving, no? Some Webster carloons from 1922 fill out the meal. See you around.



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