A weekend of work and nothing but. Yard work. Housework. All the things that needed to be done and more. Miserable stuff all around. I mean, some people love it, I suppose, but I find it all a chore and an immense bore, except for the things I know how to do: landscape lighting and water-feature cleaning.

Yes, the Oak Island Water Feature is burbling again! Still leaks. It took a morning to get out the gunk, clean it, hook up the pump, and so on. That was job one, ticked off by noon on Saturday. Three days left to fill.

Next: vacuuming the street gutter. It’s full of tree seeds. This meant getting out the blower / hooverer, getting every possible extension cord I own, and shouldering that noisy bastich all the way down the block to the tip of Jasperwood. Periodically the cord would unplug, which makes you filled with rage, in an inward sense. Everyone else is unhappy too, because when a leaf blower falls silent, there is hope. And soon it is dashed when it starts up again.

Ticked that one off. The next thing was installing the new landscape lights, which I got on Amazon. The stuff available at Home Depot or Menards is the same year after year. Nothing ever looks better. I found something arts-and-craftsy online and ordered it. And here my troubles began.

The bane of landscape lighting has always been the connectors. They pierce the electrical cord with tiny spears. Until a few years ago they were pronged little bastards that were difficult to undo, the idea being you wouldn’tvwant to do that. But I’m always swapping out or repositioning. A new style came along a while back, and it’s larger, easier to disengage. And there was great rejoicing. So which one did the new lights have?


It had no connectors. There was a diagram showing you how to attach it to the power line, which made me scowl: of course I know how to do that, it’s elementary. But this is 10X the amount of work. I had to cut the power cord, strip it, braid it up with the fixture wire, and cover with electrical tape. Ten times.

But I did it. Instead of using the old cord, I cut new lengths, stripped the ends. Tested it every step of the way to make sure this daisy-chaining worked. It did. Waited for nightfall, turned them on.

You know what comes next, right?

“They’re so bright,” Wife says.

Me, tensing: “I got the ‘soft white’ option. It was the softest and whitest. If it was any softer and whiter it would be Shelley Winters, in her latter years.”

No good. It’s LED, and she doesn’t like the brightness, so they all had to come out for repositioning out front, replacing an ancient array of mushroom-shaped low-voltage lights whose power cord was buried so long ago it is held in place by a million weeds, desperate to hold on.

Oh! Forgot! Had to dig some holes in the new landscaping on the south hill, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like standing on a rather steep incline trying to spade through weed barrier and the rootiest-tootiest damned soil you can imagine. That was fun.

In the sense that none of it was fun. Monday I tried to reconfigure the lights, but was interrupted by jobs that required some Manly Muscle - picking up a thousand-pound pot, sawing off a tree limb six inches in diameter, and so on. Oh! Forgot! Cleaned out the shed, put everything on the lawn, vacuumed it up, tossed out junk, repositioned all the poisons and such.

Moment of triumph, though: threw out the croquet set. No one is ever going to play croquet on the lawn again. I don’t know that anyone did, but once or twice. Wife wants to donate it, though












Since I've been flying a lot, that means a lot of old Perry Masons. I'm always impressed. It's just quality work, and full of disreputable people who are not actually criminals. Not in the cliched bang-bang gangster sense. And all my old favorites inevitable appear. John Hoyt! I first encountered him as a child, in "When Worlds Collide." The guy who finanaced the escape from Earth, and was repaid with death because his motivations were impure.

The fellow on the left is so mid-century. What would our conceptions of the decade and its people look like if men's glasses had been different?

This guy. He's just all over TV. Comic, or shifty, or cowardly.

Finally, I think you could play a game: Perry Mason characters, or a frame from an obscure sitcom?

(laughtrack plays)






It’s 1971.

“A small reward, but honey, you deserve it.” Considering what the in-laws might do, sure, this will take the edge off, but only for a few minutes. You’re going to want half a pack before dinner’s done.

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

Okay, sorry, it's Christmas in May, I guess.

Happy is the man with an armload of mass-produced bourbon at popular prices!

Today: "Old Charter is a brand of bourbon whiskey distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, a part of the Sazerac Company. The whiskey is no longer aged 8 years, despite the claim on the label that it "is gently matured for eight seasons in century old brick warehouses." In 2018 Sazerac is facing a class action false advertising lawsuit because of the claim on the label."

Why? Eight seasons is two years.


Union Texas Petroleum, a division of Allied Chemical. The very name gives you blood poisoning.

In the next few years, Union Texas would develop fields in Indonesia, the North Sea, and Pakistan. Boom and bust, as usual. ARCO bought them. Still around.

Another fine product of Allied Chemical.

Extra Large Big Mama in Twilite or Taupetone


Yes, college is expensive, but consider the possibility that your son may get frostbite, then end up in the front seat of a madman prowling the back roads for victims.

One of the most famous campaigns of the day. The silly millimeter longer idea.

First of all, cigarettes never snapped at the tip. The stress point was where it met the filter. Second, this scenario suggests that he got ashes on her hot dog.

The main idea of this campaign - this whole brand strategy, really, post the “show us your Lark” campaign - was “we’re red.”

This isn’t getting you to switch. It’s getting you to stay.


The rise of the Shag Era meant new problems. You now had 10X the rugs you had before, and worried about keeping them clean. Don’t put your husband in a galvanized tub! It’s Herculon.

Which is what?

Olefin fiber is a synthetic fiber made from a polyolefin, such as polypropylene or polyethylene. It is used in wallpaper, carpeting, ropes, and vehicle interiors. Olefin's advantages are its strength, colorfastness and comfort, its resistance to staining, mildew, abrasion, and sunlight, and its good bulk and cover.

And now you know.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do! New artist in the Comics Obscura section. See you around.



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