I should address some difficulties on the site here, some misdirections and busted home page links. To wit: there have been some misdirections and busted home page links. I don’t know why. I was the target of a Wordpress exploit a while ago, and I don’t know how, but it happened - useless Asian casino links sprayed into various directories. Still cleaning it up. But things work now, right?

Ordinary day back at the office, back to the routine. It all felt fine. Worked steadily, turned out copy from 10 AM to 1 PM, did the gym, then stocked up on groceries. Had the strangest Traders Joe conversation with a team of check-out people; no-one was understanding exactly what the other was saying. The first clerk clipped my arm as I was fishing out the bag, and apologized, and I said I’d been horribly maimed and would sue.

“Good luck with that,” said the other clerk.

“Have there been famously unsuccessful attempts to sue for basket injuries?”

“No, but did you hear about the Pepsi contest lawsuit?”

“The fighter jet?”

“No, 349, look it up. It was in the Philippines.” (Indeed it was.)

Meanwhile, I was attempting to frame up the bag, but couldn’t do it very well.

“I have bought a combination of items that defy bag framing,” I said, whereupon one of them said something about discontinued items that did not match up with the topic at hand at all. The banter had gone horribly wrong and I left with a strange feeling. Ah well. Off to Lundsenbyerly’s, where you never have to talk to anyone at the self-checkout. There’s just one guy, in a mask, who’s always there. For two years at least he disinfected the checkout area every time someone used it. Maybe he still does. People still wear masks there.

A lot of mask wearing in Boston, too. Not a lot a lot, but people walking down the street, masked. Some in the transit system. Oh: I was going to talk about the dinner. Not really important to readers, I decided later, although I did learn that the father of Natalie’s roommate was old friends with Christopher Cerf, which means I am now three degrees away from Fred Allen, and four degrees away from a man who got his job because he was on the Hearst yacht when the Incident happened - the death of director Ince - which means I’m five degrees away from Charlie Chaplin.

“ . . . several conflicting stories circulated about the incident, often revolving around a claim that Hearst shot Ince in the head after mistaking him for Charlie Chaplin."

That would be a story: Citizen Kane plugging the Little Tramp. Well, Citizen Kane was a fictionalized version. Citizen Kane shooting Billy Bright, then.

And now, some highlights of . . .

It’s a favorite. It’s like walking into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and everything’s different. The layout is a bit too twisty, and doesn’t seem clean, but A) that could be a result of growth, as the museum adds wings and special donor-created nodes, and / or B) I’m just not familiar with it.

Some works of note. I'm usually not too interested in the decorative arts section, but this candelabra was something else:

Says the museum:

The design for this monumental candelabrum was commissioned by the Prince of Wales (later George IV) from John Flaxman (1755–1826), the leading British sculptor of his day. The shaft features Mercury, swooping down to deliver the infant Bacchus, Roman god of wine, to the nymphs who raised him, while lions guard the base.

I infer that getting Flaxman to do the wedding present was quite a statement.

Here's our man:

Seems he was something of a conceited little fellow when he was young.

At the age of 12 he won the first prize of the Society of Arts for a medallion, and exhibited in the gallery of the Free Society of Artists; at 15 he won a second prize from the Society of Arts showed at the Royal Academy for the first time. In the same year, 1770, he entered the academy as a student and won the silver medal.

In the competition for the gold medal of the academy in 1772, however, Flaxman was defeated, the prize being awarded by the president, Sir Joshua Reynolds, to a competitor named Engleheart. This episode seemed to help cure Flaxman of a tendency to conceit which led Thomas Wedgwood V to say of him in 1775, "It is but a few years since he was a most supreme coxcomb.”

The loss took him down a peg, but I expect that a certain amount of coxcombedness was noticeable the rest of his life.






It’s 1963.

Not a hairstyle I remember.

Of course, I was very young. But it’s not something I remember seeing later in pictures of the era. It’s as if she’s smuggling one of those salon hairdryers.

Richard Hudnut was a brand I saw in the family bathroom. He was a cosmetics magnate, dead since 1928.

Feed him bedeviled pig and he will be under your spell for as long as it takes to enter a legal union from which extrication is difficult.

I was always unnerved by that dancing devil. Still don’t know what the stuff tastes like. I always think I should get some and find out. The paper wrapping around the can makes it doubly intriguing.


Today: seconds in the microwave. Then: FIFTY-SEVEN MINUTES.

Or 12, if you used the new time-saving Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese. A dinner for the whole family, not just the kids!

Ah, RIT.

Let’s see some close-ups of these very 1963 tableaus.

If you haven’t dyed you’ve never lived!

Same room. Mom’s been drinking a lot of coffee lately. And something she calls a “Cocktail.” She's redoing the room every week.

Eventually the dye fumes overcame everyone


Yes, it’s that good. People have to be paid to make it.

Ought to be something else: this is so good we’ve increased the price by a quarter.

Imagine the thrill of getting your Jell-O letter, and a quarter rolls out.

A whole quarter.

When I was growing up, graham-cracker crust was the most exotic thing imaginable. You saw that, you knew you were in for something special.

The dog-turd style may have been as popular as the Hudnut hair helmet.

Breck did a huge series of these. One painting after the other, every month. You could be a Breck lady!

Eventually they’d shift to Breck girls, and leave an entire demographic behind.

Have sex? I think that’s obvious.

Oh, color her hair? Who cares? Other women with their sharp, catty tongues, but she doesn’t really care about what they say; she had their number the day she moved into the subdivision.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! Early Caniff concludes in Comics Obscura. And yes, I fixed the calendar. See you around.



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