Single shot wings java, instant, doppio milk bar qui shop. French press plunger pot brewed cream and froth est filter. Body, percolator to go, aged, flavour beans redeye doppio saucer irish.

That's coffee-based lorem ipsum. I use it when mocking up sites. I don't know where the "Wings" comes into it.

Anyway, as I noted last week, we're on the annual mid-year fortnight hiatus, but this year there's daily content. So it's not really a hiatus. At all.

There's just less of it.


It's an orphan site. There are so many. This was something that lived in the Archives for a while. You may ask: the archives? Isn't all of this archives? True. When the Institute first started out, I had a section called "Flotsam Cove," which consisted of little things that didn't deserve a stand-alone site. I could probably find the art for it if I tried.

Oh, okay, I'll try. Anyway. Eventually I folded a lot of loose items into the Archives of the Institute, and redesigned everything. I added things. I redesigned it again. The last pass through the Archives, a few months ago, reduced the number of items by half. One of the losers was Murder in the Tank, which now takes up permanent resident here.



The original text:

Welcome to a chilling tale of corrosion, brought to you by the American Society for Anthropomorphizing Every Goddamn Thing in the World. Here we have Ruthless Rust – he wears a tag so people know who he is – terrorizing Ordinary Water Heater.

Caption: “Ruthless Rust” . . . water-heater enemy no. 1 – murders ordinary water heaters."

If my water heater had a face and arms I'd turn it towards the wall, frankly. Anyone who's ever had a water heater experience that moment of catastrophic incontinence wouldn't want to see the expression on its face - if it was relief, you'd be angry, and it if was guilt you'd feel deeply conflicted. You would have to see its horrified expression when the guy from Sears showed up to take it away and replace it with a new one. (Which would be smiling the smug smirk of youth.)

Anyway, Ruthless Rust says “I put the bite on every water heater!” and we can just guess what will happen next: the death of Ordinary Water Heater and the triumph of unconquerable rust! Unless we can find a hero . .



Yes, this makes sense. Sherlock Holmes, now working for the FBI, intercedes. Sorry, I meant the Four –B -I. And what the devil is that, you ask? Simple! Read the fine print at the bottom of the ad. In a phrase that could have been lifted from Mao’s Cultural Revolution, we’re informed that FBI stands for “The Four Basic Improvements.” They are:

1. The aforementioned glass tank, which laughs at rust. Laughs at it!

2. “Absence of dissimilar metals inside the tank!” A more potent ad slogan has never been created, I believe.

3. “Interior tank fittings shielded from electrolytic action, the cause of all corrosion!” Don’t miss Tom Clancy’s next novel, "The Cause of All Corrosion," where Jack Ryan and the FourBI go head to head against the red rust menace.

4. “’Neutralizer’ . . . the anti-corrosion stand-by protector.” Ahhh: 50s technobabble.

Sherlock is back, and sentence fragment. Here we meet “Officer Newt.”

And who the HELL is he, exactly? Well, remember your Four Basic Improvements, comrades; he is the personification of “Neutralizer, the anti-corrosion stand-by protector,” whatever that is. But you would not know this unless you’d read the comic’s fine print first. What a mess.


And here our tale ends: the defeat of Ruthless Rust. What happened to the victim in the first panel? Dead, no doubt. A heap of scrap with its guts torn out, its open sightless eyes staring at the ceiling, a swirl of rusty water heading for the drain while Bernard Herrman strings stab your ears.

There’s a coupon that says “Please end me my FREE copy of the booklet “MURDER IN THE TANK.” I’d love one of those, if only to get the back story and motivations of these fascinating characters.

I have the feeling Officer Newt is comic relief.


So there it is. A small and meaningless site, but no one else was doing that in 1998, I'll tell you that.

Probably for good reason.




Hey, would you like a sneak preview of a site that was supposed to be unfurled in its entirety by now? Of course. It's Intermissions - a collection of Drive-In Movie ads I got from the usual sources. What the Usual Sources usually do is string them all together, so you watch them until you're bored and click on something else. I've put them up one at a time, and wherever possible corrected the color and sometimes the aspect ration.

Would you like three? You would? Here you go! The rest will be out in August.



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