3/31/15

Science Update - Like science, but updated.

...or invent eighteen cents and get a brush.

Day twelve. Bottle and beaker show no change. Still no sign of the one guy's head. May apply peanut butter to helmet for better results.

For the summer Olympics in Rome, the I.O.C. has approved shitball as an officially sanctioned Olympic event. Celebration from colons around the world was deafening.

New widescreen TV get four channels, vivid gray and lighter-gray screen, mono speaker has 500hz to 950hz frequency response, requires purchase of separate surprisingly large antenna, costs $1,500, is saddled with awkward 3D image technology requiring separate goggles purchase. Demand has been described by manufacturer as "disappointing".



3/30/15

Four Roses - A little drinky-poo for Joe and Barb.

Welcome to the neighborhood, little neighbor. Either somebody really wants you to feel welcome, or you're a tiny person in a tiny little house.


This product shot was composited together in the pre-Photoshoppian epoch, so the tools they had we knives and glue and and airbrush. Nice work! It's pretty seamless.

But that's somebody's doorstep. Residential exterior doors in the U.S. (where this issue of LIFE magazine was distributed)  are 36 inches wide. Look at the height of the glass and imagine it lying on its side. It would be almost as wide as the doorway. How big are the people who left this thirty-inch-high bucket of whiskey on the porch? And those roses are about the size of basketballs.

Either that, or the new neighbors are a family of G.I. Joe-sized people. Joe and Barbie must have had a hard time finding a house to suit their needs. How big is the sixth-scale real-estate market anyway? After a house search like that, I'd need a little drink, too.


3/27/15

Fixing Video-Tube Troubles

In case you were thinking about forgetting how good we have it here in The Future, here is an article from Popular Science in 1961, to help readers figure out which tube in their TV set needed to be replaced. Good times.

Depending on what kind of crappy your picture looked like (apart from the "working perfectly" kind of crappy that you and I would call a TV from 1961) , you could possibly diagnose which of the dozen or so tubes in your set had bit the finger, and then run down to the hardware store and (probably) find a replacement. Maybe your video amplifier tube had become gassy? The article doesn't seem to mention how to figure any of this out if there's more than tube wrecking the picture at the same time. Also remember that 1961 TV would cost a few months' of your pay to buy, too.

Truly, readers, we are spoilt.





3/26/15

Antiques Creepshow - Our rich heritage.... is not here.




So what's been going on at our Nation's antique stores, rummage dumps, and independent shitsellers while the rest of us have been looking at old children's books and generally trying not to pay attention to what the Middle East is doing to itself? Why, they're been preserving our shared heritage, that's what! Wanna see? No? You don't? Really? You're sure? Okay, here we go!

In The Sixties, home made cloth "vomit dolls" were very much a favorite among some kind of children. You can almost taste the mouthful of barf this plucky little guy is trying to hold in, can't you? What ever did he eat? Spaghetti with Goofballs?
Whoa there, little fella! You're not going to bed until you go and shave your face. There's a good boy. You can finish your bourbon later. Who's a good boy? Whooo's a gooood boy? I don't know either.
This little charmer was marketed as the "The call is coming from inside the house" Doll. Yep. She always looks like that. With removable head. Not interchangeable. Just removable.
Hey you sillies! Turn that frown upside down, and then just once more! The Rosie O'Doll doll will help your kids to understand it's okay to be a seething volcano of thinly disguised hostility, as long as you sublimate it with plenty of koosh balls and lots and lots of forced merriment! Be happy or I promise you'll regret it! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Speaking of volcanoes, this little lady wants to throw you in! "The great god of the Waponi Woo demands it!" What a hoot!
Whaaaat?????? A "MOBILE" telephone? What goes on? If I didn't know better, I'd say this box was pulling my leg! Then, I would tell it to pull the other one, because it plays Jingle Bells. What's your deal, box? What's a "cellular mobile telephone"? I assume it's some kind of squishy phone made of flesh that wriggles into your earhole. I mean, what else can we assume?
Driving while talking on the phone? What kind of crazy future wonderland is this? The Future must have the technology to make really long cords, am I right? Also, some national system of anti-tangle cord management towers. Imagine how productive we'll all be when everyone on the road can be on the phone while also piloting a huge block of steel! It will be wonderful!
Such a life! With this miracle device, you can be a construction contractor, a construction contractor taking calls from the local police about his solitary laborer who works in his underpants, a lady in a purple swimsuit, or Alan Hale calling for someone to jump start his golf cart! This invention will make all our dreams come true!
What's this? Apparently, a "cellular mobile telephone" can be made into a "portable telephone" if you choose to buy the optional portable adapter. Mobility AND portability? Where do I sign? Gimme gimme!
Wait. Fifty bucks? Go to hell.



3/25/15

Restaurant sketch (well, drawing, really).


Joke #1 - "Hi! My name's Cliff, and I'll be singing you our specials this evening. First, tonight we have a delicious sea bass in a white wine saaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!"

Joke #2 - So, Guy Madison, Guy Madison, Guy Madison, and Guy Madison sit down in a restaurant, next to another table where Guy Madison and Guy Madison are having dinner. Their waiter, Guy Madison, comes by and says "Sir, there's a call for you. The gentleman sounded upset.". Guy Madison jumps up. "Oh no! I hope Guy Madison is okay!"....

Joke #3 - "Good thing I didn't say anything about the dirty knife."*

Joke #4 - "Donald! TAP WATER? I'm sorry gentlemen, but I'm accustomed to a certain level of sophistication that I simply will not compromise. I'm afraid this four-way, common-law, mutually respectful, same-sex, domestic partnership is OFF!"

Joke #5 - "Gasp! You mean you're my father? But if that's true, then who are all these other men in the restaurant???" Later today, on All My Various Genetic Replicants.

Joke #6 - "Oh, I'm verrry sorry, monsieur. Is monsieur not enjoying his Burmese jugular neck leech? I will take it back to ze kitchen, imm├ędiatement."

Joke #7 - "Is your name not Bruce, then? That's going to cause a little confusion. How 'bout if we call you Bruce, just to keep it clear?"**

Joke #8 - Trouble occurs at the keynote dinner for the semiannual Jeff Tracy Impersonators Association Convention (JTIAC). Ironically, it took hours for help to arrive.

Joke #9 comes to us from some-kind-of-time reader, first-time commenter Bryn. Thanks Bryn! Well done! So short. So simple. I should have thought of it myself. - Where will you be when diarrhea strikes?

Never one to take that sort of thing lying down, Mr. FancySpamSpamPantsSausageAndSpam_2 has given us our next "item"! Would you mind keeping it DOWN.... please. Joke #10 - You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam!


*Sorry, MisterFancyHotBalls_2. I beat you to it.

**Yep. Sorry again, MFHB2.

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.    -Mgmt.]


3/24/15

Neighbors and Helpers - Colonial education.

More news now, from 1939, where we learn how 1939 thought they learned in the 1700s. Get some learn!





First, we learn that the Colonials dressed way too formally. Their clothes were stuff and awkward, not like the easy-relaxed fashions of the 1939 classroom, where teachers wore wool suits with a fedora, or wool skirts and a peacock-feathered hat. Savages!

Next, it is revealed that boys and girls were segregated on opposite sides of the room, to keep them from having sex forever.




In the olden times, an ill-behaved child was said to be "mischievous". This was before we got all enlightened. Now, kids that in the past would be called "jerks", or "assholes" are now understood to be "differently nice".

When a boy was Differently Nice to a pair of girls, he was punished by being forced to sit among girls. We now understand this to be unusual cruelty, and an educator that disciplines kids in this way would be fired and forced to sit among girls.




Only by shouting simultaneously could students reassure the teacher of their focus and good study habits. Those that didn't study properly were monstrously shamed. Notice that the stupid child is the only one wearing a silly hat. We now know that stupid children have what education specialists call "Alternative Intelligence". In this same way, we have come to a new profound understanding that kids who are only good at sports have what is called "Physical Intelligence", and should be granted scholarships to the very best schools, based solely on their sports performance. By the same token, wimpy but brilliant students can now compete in the Olympics or the World Series based purely on their skill at playing chess.




The ribbon system was used to reward positive behavior as well as to call out poor behavior. This system made it easy for parents to know whether to feed their children when they got home, or simply beat them. This barbaric practice was, of course, abandoned long ago. We now know that every child is a special miracle and everything they do is wonderful and perfect. Thanks to this new understanding, American education routinely tops the world rankings among developed nations.





3/23/15

Pall Mall - Orange you stretching the point?

Big news, Citizens! In 1961, Pall Mall cigarettes found that the secret to good flavor was designing a cigarette without a filter. Thus, the smoke would taste exactly like an orange.



The American Tobacco Company is not directly making the claim. They don't say anywhere in the ad that Pall Malls taste like oranges. They only say they taste good, and that is completely subjective and, therefore, legally unassailable.

But, by placing an illustration of an orange behind the cigarette pack, they invite you to make the connection between their cigarettes and the delightful experience of eating an orange. They would be thrilled if you assumed that Pall Malls taste like oranges.

Dad smoked, insuring that everything I owned smelled like a three-alarm diaper fire, thereby insuring that I will never smoke. Somehow, I still manage to enjoy a nice orange pretty often, probably because he didn't smoke Pall Malls. Small miracles.



3/20/15

Del Monte - Corn Lorraine.

America loves corn, right? It's our largest crop, so that's a lot of corn we must be eating. Well, actually, most of the corn (40%) goes to ethanol production. After that, the next largest portion  (36%) of the corn becomes animal feed. That's good, because animals are delicious. Sorry, animals. If you don't like it, stop being so yummy. Only a wee bit of the corn pie is used for direct human consumption, and most of that wee bit becomes high fructose corn syrup, which few people are pleased with.

Speaking of corn pie, how bout some corn pie? Wooo! Corn... pie? Anybody?






Cast your mind back to the last time you had quiche. My last quiche experience was some kind of hors d'oeuvres thing at a reception or something. They were light, eggy, and savory, and they ran out fast. Despite what zuba-wearing guys from the eighties tried to tell us, quiche is pretty damn good.

I'm sure this photo was the ladies' idea.
Besides, the guy who wrote Real Men Don't Eat Quiche was a satirist, and he was joking. However, satire is lost on guys like the one pictured at left, and the phrase was quoted out of context by a brilliant combination of guys who thought that A) since "quiche" was a French thing, and B) since (in their estimation) the French are wussies, eating quiche would turn them into wussies. Do not accept life advice from homophoboxenophobes who are secretly worried about what steroids are doing to their wieners.

So, Corn Lorraine, anyone? A momentary Google search reveals that quiche lorraine traditionally calls for four eggs. The key difference in the Del Monte recipe seems to be the substitution of two of those eggs with one 17 oz. can of creamed corn. Bleah. Two things. I've never been eating nice, fresh or frozen corn and said "This is pretty good, but I wish it had been pulverized into a goo and left in a can for several months." Also, I have never been eating quiche and said "Man, I wish this were half corn goo. That would solve the lightness and fluffiness problem this quiche is having right now."

Of course, food companies are always ready to recommend a stream of recipes by which you could refocus your entire life around their product. A good policy towards Corn Lorraine is this: "Was quiche lorraine broken in some way that can be fixed with corn goo?" The answer in 1966 was the same as it is now.



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3/19/15

Neighbors and Helpers - Camping.

Good news, wonderers. The Phil are GO! Garage Sale Assault Squad has made the critical acquisition of the 1936 school book "Neighbors and Helpers". It's not a first edition, which may be the reason that a child felt free to scribble all over the pages. Observe the vivid green fabric cover with lively brown and beige silk screening.








We haven't even opened the book yet and already we're learning. The cover illustration teaches animals how to go into the forest to feed the wild children that grow there, in a feral state. One of the children is so feral that she doesn't wear shoes and goes about wearing only a toga. One feral boy wears overalls like a savage. So feral!






In today's story, Joe and his nameless father, named "Father" are seen walking in a park near a city, possibly called "The City". Father is so relaxed that he only feels the need to wear one of his jackets, since it is a warm summer day.

Joe expresses some interest in sleeping under a tree, as well as some awareness that there are people called "Indians". This is fairly progressive material for 1939. This may be the only copy of Neighbors and Friends to escape the bonfire.








Joe's interest in tree-sleeping results in an eventual camping trip. In this illustration, we learn that, when camping, it is acceptable to dress informally. Father is wearing a camping tie and a camping fedora. Joe is wearing his special red camping tie, as well as the hat he usually reserves for occasions in which he addresses people as "mug".











In the chapter "Making Camp", the critical question is "What did father do to make camp?". In short order, we discover that one makes camp by making an "Indian" do it for you. The Indian is as nameless as Father, but also is not allowed to speak or be spoken to. There is no explanation how the Indian got here from India. There is also no mention of "Mother".







At one point, Joe and Father see a bear. Father knows enough to instruct his son to freeze. One wonders what would have been his advice had the bear chosen to investigate further, instead of running off.

After the encounter, it may have been viewed as a fine time to teach Joe how to keep their food supply from attracting bears to their camp site, and thereby prevent an untidy disemboweling. But apparently, you'd have to be an Indian to know that. Maybe Father also brought his anti-bear tie on this trip?










At the end of the story, there is more labor for the Indian, and we finally discover the existence of Mother! Joe expresses some hope that next summer, Mother can go camping with him and father, but this would involve her being allowed to leave the house. Maybe next year?


3/18/15

Good Decorating, Section Number C - What to do in your bathroom?

If you're like most people, you've got fifteen to twenty thousand dollars burning a hole in your bathroom with no idea what to do in there. Good news, toilet sufferers! Nineteen Seventy is back again, with some fresh and soothing suggestions for your bathroom efforts!

This chic bathroom makes every shower showtime! Bright parted curtains open on your shower stage backed with pleated taffeta curtains. The proscenium is built from two inch particle board covered with probably water-resistant marble patterned Formica that will never ever de-laminate and form a microbial haven. What a great finish to your bathtime display! Watch the reruns on the super convenient state of the art super portable mini television! You're ready for your close-up, mister DeMille!

There's no bathroom so small that it can't be made a little smaller with custom, complex wall built-ins! If they seem a little overwhelming, don't worry, because you can paint them a nice lime green as shown here. Casino carpet makes a lively shower curtain and window shade revealing the wonders of your opium jars! The room is made ever more cozy with the backlit dropped ceiling, and the rounded arches are sort of perfectly matched by the triangular cutout that frames the whole room! Wakey wakey!

Carpet in the bathroom? You bet! It's super absorbent for both smells and fluids, which means those various juices and odors aren't around to bother you any more! "What are the cloudy black smudges on the walls?" you ask? Stop being so negative! Wheeeeee! 

Where do you go when lunch got rough? You visit the throne room of H.R. Dump-N-Stuff! We start with regal red carpet and matching Royal Stool. What goes with red? Blue trimmed cabinets, that's what! But what goes with red and then blue? Probably yellow walls do, silly! Tie the whole thing together with purple soap balls, and you can't do a little cause you can't do enough! So, be sure to do too much!

This exotic lavatory brings the outside in, to give you the feeling of washing in a Mexican mountain grotto somewhere in the hills of Italy! You'll feel like you're trying to keep the mountain clean, too, thanks to the easy-always-scrub natural stone walls. The green and gold floral pattern shower curtain can be your forest, right? The shutters are the finishing touch on the vanity and twin medicine cabinets, which are just big enough for two bottles of retsina - just the thing to start your day right! Oo la la!



3/17/15

Federal School of Illustrating - Splendid opportunities.

You probably have friends who are artists. They fly around in their solid gold helicopters, eating only the middles of bananas and throwing away the rest, because money is no object to them. After all, their artists! What's their secret? Where do their piles of cash in dollar sign bags come from?


Here in The Future, most working artists can define success as being able to make any monthly mortgage payment. That's a pretty low bar. It's much more likely to see someone indulging a passion for art as a hobby.

In 1927, maybe things were different. Photography is cheap and effortless now. For some reason, looking through magazines as recent as the 1950s, illustrated ads were more the norm than ones featuring photographs. Weirder still, I haven't been able to figure out why. It's probably something to do with printing technology that would be more apparent if I had more knowledge of, uuh, printing technology. Was there a reason that a drawing was easier to print than a photo? Maybe the fact that a drawing allows complete control over detail and focus of attention? This is just conjecture. It may be helpful if some of our printful readers would lend some expertise in the comments.

This ad does have one hilarious line. "Do you like to draw? If you do, it is almost certain that you have talent,". This is slightly not true at all. In several professional positions, I've had access to the stack of portfolios of hopeful applicants. Long story short, thinking you're an artist absolutely does not make you an artist.

Why? Since he introduction of computers around 1987 or so, the old question of "What media do you work in?" can be answered with names of software, rather than oils or charcoal. Art training schools can now promise parents that their child will have expertise in such and such programs upon graduation, like 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, or Lightroom. It's easy to assume this is all it takes. The professional art world is different than most professional realms in that your resume is glanced at for a few seconds, but your demo reel - your proof of what you can do - is carefully studied.

No school can promise to make your kid "get it". They can, however, promise to check all the boxes in the software wish list. This goes on the resume, but the demo reel will show what the applicant is capable of doing with the software. You can teach a business major to use Photoshop, but it doesn't make them an artist. Before the New Technological Dawn, no school would ever promise to make you a good artist. They would only assure you of "opportunities", like this ad for Federal. But now, schools can promise to teach you how to use software... sometimes to the complete neglect of fundamentals like drawing, composition, and balance. Potential can be directed and developed, but not bestowed by any amount of training. Schools can sidestep this awkward truth by focusing on computer training rather than covering the basics of art first.

So what we have now is a certain percentage of art graduates that have spent untold thousands on tuition, know how to use the standard checklist of applications, and are still clueless artists that produce consistently awful work. For the first few minutes of browsing demo reels, it's hilarious viewing, but then the grim realization sets in that so many of the applicants wasted several years and a lot of money training for a career in which they have no potential.

The best digital art houses (Disney, Pixar, Studio Ghibli) focus heavily on traditional art fundamentals. Browse Amazon for books on "The Art of (insert Pixar movie name here)". They're books on how the films were made, and they're full of gorgeous design work. You'll see pages of studies and character development done by drawing the old fashioned way.

Learn to walk before you run. Study your fundamentals, kids.