Thanks to a horrible mistake on my part, easily prevented, I suffered a lapse in the Monday lunch habits. Monday and Wednesday lunches: a half-sandwich, either chicken, roast beef, or pastrami. These are purchased at Traders Joe, the Columbus brand. The chicken is paired with pepper cheese and Dijon, which, believe it or not, was a sandwich named after me at a deli I used to frequent. It was a cozy little place in Dinkytown where I took my morning bagel (with a smear) or lunch. The proprietresses were from a smaller town, and had come to the big city to make their way, and they worked hard. I had my own favorite chair, although it was occasionally occupied by a glowering poet and book editor who also regarded the place as his bailiwick. There seemed to be a grudging respect and rapport, although he possessed a towering malignant ego. He belittled my popular writing, encouraged me to seek more poetical outlets, hated my favorite teacher, and contented himself with feeling superior on artistic and intellectual levels. One day exploded in rage over something, and we never spoke again. The proprietresses both died early, and the poet went to jail for procurement, and is also dead.

That’s a lot to stand behind a sandwich, but it occurs to me now and then.

The roast beef: a bit of mayo. The pastrami: some serious horseradish. No story behind either.

What matters is the bread. When it comes to my lunch habits, I don’t like dark bread or something with a lot of crunchy seeds. I don’t even want a lot of bread. I use the English Muffin Toasting Bread, the only bread that comes pre-stale for your convenience. Toasts up nice, though. The English Muffin Toasting Bread slices are small, to limit the needless carb intake, and I shave off one-third. (I’m on a carb-reducing diet.) (I’m always on a carb-reducing diet.) But: I do not buy English Muffin Toasting Bread, because it is $3.69. The Cub brand knock-off is $2.89.

I forgot to buy it last week. This cast the entire week’s lunch into a cocked hat. Tuesday is Lobby Pizza. Wednesday finishes the package of opened meat before it goes bad. Thursday is Walkin’ Dog. Friday, after the podcast, is a small frozen burrito doused in green sauce and pico de Gallo. Any thought of deviation invites disaster. I can’t have Lobby Pizza on Monday; that would be just decadent. I just had pizza on Friday. When I have it on Tuesday, it is a signal that the first phase of the work week is done, I’ve turned in my column, and I will have a scotch at nightfall - an echo of Friday’s series of indulgences, without the ice cream.

So obviously that’s not going to work.

I could have a hot dog on Monday, but I think Dave would be surprised: so soon?

Of course I could buy the bread today and throw care and caution to the mistrals, say oh, why not pastrami on Wednesday and Thursday? Would the heavens fall?

But this is an excellent opportunity to use the Lean Cuisines in the freezer. However, I can’t have the spaghetti one, since Monday night is pasta night. Leaves out Swedish Meatballs as well. (These are tolerable if one uses the pepper grinder, and gives it the enthusiastic attention that the lads in “Singin’ in the Rain” gave the curtain rope at the end of the movie, to expose the vain actress and elevate our heroine.)

I don’t think I have the execrable Salisbury steak item, which I usually irrigate with Cholula hot sauce, because the price of Lean Cuisines has vaulted upwards. What was once $2.50 is now, in most places, $3.89 or even $4.29.

So that was Monday. You may say: this . . . is insane. Perhaps. I always hear my wife say “oh, what will I have for lunch” and think how can you not know? It’s so easy to know if you just narrow your horizons in life to a series of microscopically-sized options, repeated with satisfying inflexibility.

In my various antiquarian studies I come across things that provide a pleasant surprise, like learning Mr. Coffee Nerves was bedeviling people long before we had previously thought. I am fascinated with newspaper comics for what they say about the times, how styles changed, how the general unfunniness of the funny papers was a constant for a century. Next week we’ll meet a strip that barely made it half a year before it was canceled, due perhaps to extreme public anger. The very look of the thing was an insult.

Today I learned that Peter Pain preceded the comic pages, and first appeared in some regular ads.

They were much more painful than his Sunday comic hijinx.

Here we learn that he wears pants, but no shirt.

Here we confront the matter of crumbling muscle pain, which science seems to have conquered in recent years.

If it had 2/12 times more of the ingredients everyone else also used, why didn't they up the dosage?

By 1944 he was in the Sunday section, but he was still swinging the club in the regular pages in 1948:

Ah, but does anyone know when he first appeared? Yes, because the retirement of the character was actual news in 1963.


The article notes that a Ben-Gay spokesperson said this about the retirement: “We decided Peter Pain is not a fun guy.”

Well, no.


Anyway, let’s go back to 1942, then. Here’s his earliest form, in January.



There were many of these in the back of the paper.

  No one seems to know what's happening to them.
  He can be found in October of 1941, and the sudden arrival in a variety of papers nationwide in October indicates that was the launch of the campaign.
  Good Lord, Peter. Dude.

He can be found in October of 1941, and the sudden arrival in a variety of papers nationwide in October indicates that was the launch of the campaign.

I think this was the first to run.


I mention this because we come to the end of the Peter Pains today, and thus the Sunday Quasicomics. Oh, I have 65 more, but some day. Next we’re going to explore an obscure strip that was about one thing, and one thing only, and was virtually indistinguishable from day to day.

For now let's just doff our hat to this long-time sadist, defeated weekly in no time at all, perhaps off in Mascot Valhalla getting drunk with Mr. Coffee Nerves.




It’s 1922, and we’re in England. How can you tell?

QUEUE UP, lads, it only costs 1/9

The silhouette was a popular advertising and illustration technique of the day. Worked well, caught the eye. Fell out of fashion in the mid-late 30s, I think.

There’s stout, and there’s over-stout:

Rodiod, the cream that melts away the pounds! 100% caustic lye!

Other Rodiod ads seemed to zero in on the fat-ankle problem, assuring women that the cream would help.

Right. Cream. Topical weight-loss salve. But hey: money refunded if you still care to admit it didn't work, which you won't.

In every land and in every era, there’s this. Perhaps less so now, since there are a million people on the internet who will tell you NO, you can’t draw, lol

"Will assist you to sell your drawings when you are proficient."

Nice little catch. We'd love to, dear, but it's a matter of proficiency. Perhaps a few more lessons would help.

BRITISH THROUGHOUT. That word looks odd, doesn’t it? Like you’re trying to bring up some phlegm.

Trouser Press is a term we didn’t use here in the states, so the magazine’s name was lost on us.

It's up to you whether you want to pay 8/6 or 15/6.

English prices looked like prog-band time signatures.


Mum can we have it for supper please mum it sounds ever so good

That’s Gabriel Hugon, if you’re curious. He appears in the General List of British Business Failures in the 1865-1885 period, so he had some hard knocks before he figured out the suet game in 1893. If it’s the same guy.

A tin of Atora suet was among the supplies taken by Captain Scott on his historical trek to the Antarctic in the early 1900s. It was returned to Atora many years later with the contents still pure and intact.

The name "Atora" was derived from the "toro", the Spanish word for bull, inspired by the fact that suet comes from beef cattle.

That’s from Atora’s website. Today.

No claim about greater capacity, just sufficient capacity:

A pen enthusiast says:

The name “Camel”, one would imagine, implies a pen that contained an exceptional amount of ink but this one doesn’t. Indeed, it’s a quite ordinary pen, though well-executed. I’ve seen a hint somewhere that the Camel range of pens had something special about the feed but I’m denied the opportunity to see that here as someone has been at the repairing before me, and employed a wholly inappropriate Swan feed and an even more inappropriate (if that were possible) Waterman Skywriter nib!

The bloody nerve!

Er - okay, but that other ad said


Don't study drawing, you fool. What you need to do is study drawing.

Were eggs particularly rare, or dear?

In the city, perhaps. And if you could use some substitute, which happened to be avian-named, why wouldn’t you? It’s not entirely made of kapok and asbestos.



That will do! Off to say goodbye to Peter Pain.





blog comments powered by Disqus