Me? A real Electronician? Golly!

You there! Sitting on your chair! I choose this moment to interrupt you mid-sit by bringing you news of the greatest career-getting opportunity of the day! Yes, you yourself can become a RADIO-ELECTRONICIAN and start earning the increased money you probably deserve.
Simply place your pointing-device over the image above and actuate the click-button to recieve, free-of-charge, a larger version of the advert-tisement to read at YOUR convenience!

After beginning your new career in radio-elctronicianizing, you will surely desire additional careers, all of which can be taught to you by me, F.L. Sprayberry. Choose from such amazing vocations as...

Auto-Car Fix-O-nician
Aero-Plane Repairalizer
Dog Docto-trician
Cat Docto-trician
Vole Docto-trician
Tele-Vision Techno-Repairgrapher
Shoe Cobble-O-tron
Space-Rocket Build-O-trician
Chicken Wrangle-ician
Book-Word Writealizer
Police-Man Officerator
Clothes-Dryer Fixant
Bull Teaser


Old Crow - The Greatest Holiday Tradishin

Granted, I'm not a career alcoholic, but I've never heard of Old Crow. I'm pretty sure I've seen the brand in cartoons, but I never thought it was a real brand of alcohol. Apparently some guys decided it was good to give their brand of bourbon that "hillbilly chic" that every brand longs for, by naming it Old crow.
Unless you're some kind of employable non-drifter weirdo, you're hep to the jive that giving and drinking Old Crow has been a holiday tradition since 1835. A reasonable question may be "Where? Says who?". Don't be a cheater. That's two questions. The tradition probably began in the marketing offices of Fortune Brands, and from there, it thundered in popularity all the way to the advertising department of Fortune Brands, just like the Old Crow Arbor Day Drunken Tree Chop And Limb Reattachment Festival.

Why is the declaration of tradition printed on a paddle? For the traditional Holiday Ass-Paddling, of course! Those who fail to remember that Old Crow is a holiday tradition are spanked by a wooden paddle with the tradition rationally explained in "ye friendly olde typeface". A reasonable question may be "A real tradition doesn't need a sign or advertising for people to remember to do it. A tradition is a specific practice of long standing, and as such, shouldn't need a reminder." Well, that's not a question. What's the matter with you? You obviously haven't been drinking enough bourbon. Go have some now, and then come back with your question rephrased as a belligerent slur. And try to have those little spit bubbles at the corner of your mouth.

 Why not try making your own Old Crow holiday punch this holiday season? Just look at the picture and make your punch look just like that. Here, let me help you...

1. Acquire large bourbon bowl. A whiskey urn or tequila basin may be substituted.
2. Add Old Crow Kentucky Bourbon till you're worried your holiday gathering may be too booze-centric.
3. Sprinkle in orange hemispheres, dotted with maraschino cherries. This is to remind your toeheaded hilljack guests that they like boobs, I guess.
4. Insert sock.
5. Serve in girly little teacups that your drunken hick friends are likely to eat or throw at each other. Then settle down for the greatest tradition of all, filling out the Holiday Police Report.


Magnavox TV Credenza - Yee Haw!

In the era of Gunsmoke and Bonanza, is it any wonder that televsision sets looked like they were built by the Apple Dumpling Gang? Everybody's couch had twisty armrests and everybody's kitchen table had wiggly spindle legs. At the time, colonial styling was so popular that you could buy pants with wainscotting around the lower legs and crown moulding in place of a belt.

In 1968, if you wanted a home theater experience, you probably bought an all-in-one package like many people do today. Unlike today, after lugging home a giant box in your Rambler, you dragged the thing into your living room, had spinal surgery, and then opened the giant box. You then pulled out... a giant box only a few inches smaller than the box it came from. This box wasn't made of cardboard. It was probably made of wood and some plastic that looked like wood. If yours was a real fancy family, it maybe had barn doors on the front that could hide the screen, for when cowboys come to visit.
The screen was no bigger than about 24" measured diagonally, and was roughly hemispherical, like watching TV projected on the surface of an astronaut's helmet. Not only did this make you feel more excited about the upcoming moon landing, it also allowed people to view the screen from 90 degrees to the side of the TV set. Also, it reminded you that you were futuristic, because, as anyone will tell you, by the year 2000 everyone will live in domed cities.

In the top of your new entertainment console was a record player, for all your Johnny Mathis needs. Or, you could watch I Love Lucy while listening to The Doors in case you wanted to go insane. If the turntable broke, you had to call in a carpenter to come fix it.

In 1968, entertainment was simple. Cowboy shows and family comedies for mom and dad. A picture of balloons for the kids. This was mostly because they were all hopped up on "the drugs". It hardly mattered what was on. They'd be just as happy watching a box of cereal. Just to mess with them, mom and dad would apparently lay down some sod in the family room instead of carpet. This way,  the kids would think they were watching TV in the back yard. Don't ask why - it was the sixties, and the seventies wouldn't make much more sense.


Columbia Cartridge Club - Squarin' the Night Away

Many people old enough to have a mortgage or buy shamwows with a credit card still aren't old enough to remember record clubs. But, they used to be the most popular way to buy music. Well, they were a popular way to buy music. That is to say, they were a way to buy music. Actually, they were a way for several people to buy music once and then immediately hate that way of buying music.
For everyone under 30, here's how they worked.

1. You subscribe to the club and immediately get from one to ten albums free. You chose from maybe a hundred or so albums listed in the ad. Nomatter what you chose, your shipment would always include one Captain and Tenille album. This is the last time you ever have a choice in your life as a club member.

2. Every month, the record company sends you The Monthly Selections, and you pay full price for the albums. It was usually around four albums, and every member gets the same records. No choice. Why would you want to choose? What's wrong with you? Giving people choice is bad for business, you communist.

3. The very day you receive your first set of shitty albums, you regret ever signing up and begin a life-long resentment of the record industry that still shows you new facets to your capacity for loathing to this very day. You can send the records back for a refund, but in discovering how shitty the albums are, you had opened the package, and now you could enjoy repacking the albums and paying shipping charges. The business model of the record club relies heavily on people's laziness and procrastination, as there was usually a time limit on returning your albums. How's that for customer-oriented marketing?

4. Upon quitting the club, the record company would send you a friendly letter reminding you that your membership obligation didn't expire for one to one thousand years in the future, and as such, suicide would only transfer your membership obligation to your heirs. Because of this clause, there is a woman in Baraboo, Wisconsin who is responsible for purchasing over six hunderd LP's, 8-tracks, and cassettes every month featuring bands she neither likes, nor has ever heard of, apart from their occurrence in the monthly music shipment, delivered via CH-47 helicopter to her roof, courtesy of the Columbia Music Club. Due to the financial burden of her inherited contractual obligations, she declares bankruptcy every four hours, and the record company has resorted to claiming her monthly membership fees in organ "donations".

Now, in 2009, record companies are still finding new ways to punish their customers. From Sony BMG's rootkit disaster, to DRM, there's always another way for music publishers to make music buyers angry and take away their choices.

Yeah yeah, big deal. Look at these happy squares, swinging away the night, thanks to Generic Man's two new 8-track cartridges. Well, presumably he owns a third one, which hopefully is already playing. Otherwise, the couple in the background are doing what, exactly? Are they in their pre-dance pose, ready to rock, as soon as Generic Man chooses between Little Green Apples and Goin' Out of My Head? Maybe the man with Tiny Legs Syndrome (TLS) is just standing around looking normal, and the lady in the groovy dress is recoiling in horror? I'll assume that Little Green Apples is playing and she's recoiling in horror.


Olds Cutlass F85 - Can't Make Fun

Sorry. Can't make fun of this. It's a really great painting of a car and that's about it. As usual, click for a much larger version of the picture. Very pretty.
Back before the whole computer thing took over the art biz, every advertising agency had amazing painters for this kind of stuff. There are still incredible painters like this around, but they're few and far between because there's much less need for people who can paint. More often, an artist may achieve notoriety among peers by being a good photo retoucher. Some people even call themselves artists when all they do is comp different photos together and smear around the pixels. In my opinion, an artist is able to work from scratch. Start with a blank sheet of art board and draw it, shade it, scan it (if you have to), render it. I mean, the artist here, of course, had photo reference of the car, and probably the people, and the house. However, scanning and actually inserting photographs into your file and then passing it off as your own work just crosses a line in my mind that I think is professionally and artistically fraudulent. But what do I know? If someone pays you to do it, it must be okay, right?

It's not surprising that in this ad, the car is the star of the show. It's rendered very sharp and super realistically. It's still fun to note that the people are much less clearly defined. They're painted more impressionistically, with vague features and rough brushwork. This is no mistake. It's just a way to keep the emphasis on the car. Funny thing, though. Although the characters and care are seemingly from two different universes - that of realism and impressionism - the kids' reflection in the hood of the car is where the two worlds collide.
It's a little odd to have the vague and blotchy humans sitting in the car, but it's a little more weird to have the blotchy parents' kids reflected in the laser sharp hood of the car. Of course, this makes more sense than having the kids' reflection appear perfectly clear when they themselves are loosely rendered. It's just amusing to see.

The grill on this car looks like an electric shaver. That's not necessarily bad. I like this grill. Of course, lots of cars looked like that at the time. There are some positively hideous grills on current models.

One last thing.Auto makers at the time (1961) were still infatuated with airplanes, even though the tail fins and pretend jet engines had been mercifully abandoned. There's a little jet airplane shooting through the "Cutlass" logo. It's hard to let go.


Madam Rowley's Toilet Mask

Hello, modern Gentle-Ladies and Prostitutes! Are you ugly? Have you ever heard the following from a suitor? "Egad, milady! You have the countenance of a hedge-vole!" Or this: "Madam, I believe that your blemishes are malignant and unbleached."

Madame Rowley wants to help you appear less repulsive and suffer from fewer complexion blemishes. By the remedial employment of her Toilet Mask, you can un-do the injuriousness of cosmetics and head-powders otherwise used by the foolish woman to perpetrate the larceny of illusory youth.

Worn thrice weekly, the Toilet Mask is filled with liquid-bleach and conveniently affixed to the face by the vigor of straps. As the lady tends to her other various daily ablutions, her complexion is being scorched free of spots, blemishes, gnomes, and pock-crevices, with no further endeavor carried out, apart from frequent face-washing with tepid water, application of burn tincture and fortnightly eye-bathing!

Your man-visitors and liasoners will find your face more healthful and tender. You will have the appearance of a younger woman, with skin like a delicious haddock fillet! All you need do is take care to keep the face away from open flame for three hours after treatment.

We would like to entreat you to send away for our illustrated treatise, with full particulars, via post-mail. Beware other toilet masks conveyed to the public by charlatans and market-usurpers! Order your trade-marked toilet mask today from Madam Rowley.


Fleischmann's Booze - Magic Moments

Ron and Flossy had been planning this evening for weeks. They had to get this right. Starting over in a new town could be so stressful. The whole Community was judging them. Fortunately they had Fleischmann's Various Boozes to smooth the way.
The city had just finished remodeling the courthouse, and Ron had scored most of the siding from the work site. It lookd perfect in their living room behind the cabinet containing the remains of Vlad Tepes III, which they had picked up on their trip to Bucharest.

The Frobes had complimented Trudy on her choice of gastric green embossed wallpaper behind the Mary Queen of Scots sofa from the Super Swirlicue line. The nearly-matching armchair hadn't been available in the same shade of Revolution Blue, but it all worked out. They just upholstered it with the wallpaper. It looked so nice next to the Christmas fern!

As the Fleischmann's started to flow, the party really started to take shape. The Dlundricks and Frobes were mingling nicely. Trost and Flossy were staring deep into each other's eyes while Ged and Fortuna kept pouring each other new drinks.
This was going to be the best swinging party ever. And in the morning, Ron and Trudy would harvest their organs and have them exported to Honduras just in time for afternoon tea. The cleaning lady would throw a fit, but she'd get over it... with help from Fleischmann's Various Boozes!


Hunt's Catsup - Let's call the whole thing off.

I say tomayto. You say tomahto. Catsup ketchup, Vomit, regurgitate. I've mentioned before how food can be famously difficult to capture on film at an appetizing moment. I have a sneaking suspicion that in these old magazines, it's the combination of their oldness (duh) combined with the un-glossy nature of the paper that makes the food come out looking gross. You know how, when you're printing pictures on your inkjet, and you reach for the fancy glossy paper if you want a really good copy? I think it's like that. Plus, as the magazine, ages, the hue of the inks change at different rates and in different directions around the color wheel. So, what once may have been a perfectly good "beefeater" sandwich becomes a slice of human thigh on bread.

I spent 4 1/2 minutes looking for a definitive recipe for a "beefeater" sandwich, which is probably as long as anyone in history has searched. The results page mostly consisted of various epicurian websites fighting each other to be the first one to tell me that they couldn't find anything. I did find a couple of mentions of some ingredients, and the sauce was generally au jus, not ketchup. Not catsup either. Big deal. Un-fascinating.

More interesting, though, was the difference between "catsup" and "ketchup". The answer is... dun dada daaaa....! Nothing. Diffen dot com says that both words are an english approximation of a word that doesn't exist in English. Originally, ketchup was ke-tsiap, a Chinese sauce made from pickled fish. Mmm. As it stands now, "ketchup" is the favored word in England and the U.S., with "catsup" having a slight majority in the American south. Got it. Fat  republicans say "catsup", apparently. I guess Google is a democrat, since it underlines the word as a mistake every time I type "catsup", except when I put quotes around it. Weird.

In 1690, ke-tsiap was fish sauce, and 319 years later, Mr Burns is still funny trying to decide between ke-tsiap's illegitemate children. That's the same episode where he chose to buy Count Chocula cereal because he thought the picture on the box looked like him. Man, that was a good one.

Okay, where was I? Ugly sandwich picture... dishonest ketchup marketing... catsup is fish goo... burns is funny... that's about it. One last thing. I hate ketchup. I love tomatoes on a sandwich and ketchup is just a bottle of ruined, sugary tomatoes. If I'm having a sandwich with ketchup, it might as well be made of human flesh, because I'm not eating it.


Polaroid - Choose? No thanks.

Earlier this fall (10/2009), after previously announcing it would be halting production of it's instant cameras and film, Polaroid announced it would once again be in the insta-photo business. This was mostly because loads of people went "Nooooooo!" Then Polaroid went "Really?" Apparently, there are still lots of people who need a picture of something really quick, even if it looks like crap. Crime scene investigators and construction guys were the two that stood out most in my mind. Polaroid pictures look like hell, and so do the cameras. The pictures don't have much of an excuse. The technology's as good as it can get. The cameras don't have an excuse. They're designed. By people. Who have eyes. I think.
Polaroid says "Choose". My answer is "Do I have to?" I guess they're proud of the completeness of their product line, from cheap and ugly to sort of expensive and frikkin hideous.

When I first turned the page on this ad, just because of the way the cameras are arranged, I thought it was a series of teardowns. You know, where they show you the inside of a device by taking off some bits and snapping pictures. That was about a half a second of my looking-time. Then it became horribly clear that these weren't pictures of a camera in progressive states of disassembly. These were a row of five complete cameras in saleable condition! I flinched.
Polaroids have never been attractive cameras. However, at least they looked "finished". They looked like they were done being assembled. This line of Polaroids look like a normal camera with the shell taken off. Each looks like it was  made out of pieces of five or six different cameras of better breeding.

It takes a real force of will to make boxes and rectangles clash with each other. Polaroid's designers found a way! Any shape you find on one of these monstrosities will not be repeated anywhere else on the thing. Make a notch on one side and don't balance it with a feature of similar shape on the other side. Add a box on the top and be sure not to use a texture from anywhere else on the camera to tie it in. There are brushed metal surfaces, painted silver surfaces, textured black plastic, smooth black plastic, ridges and unnecessary lines everywhere.

Many things from 1968 were beautiful. I can't believe Polaroid found a camera mighty enough to take a picture of their cameras without cracking the lens.


Rogers Fish Glue - Yep, FISH glue!

This may come as a surprise, but glue used to be made from animals. You know the old expression wherein an old, tired  horse was sent to the "glue factory"? Yeah, well, that's because at one time, that's the only kind of glue that there was.
I knew that before I came across this tiny ad in the back of Popular Mechanics, but I'd never heard of "fish glue". In college, I was a work-study laborer in the theater, and the paint used for scenery had animal glue in it. It helped it hang onto the various surfaces better. Normal house paint doesn't have animal stuff in it, generally, because you're almost always painting on a properly prepared surface. In theater, you could be painting metal or almost any kind of surface. So, apparently it's still a good idea to use hooves or connective tissue for improved adhesion in "less than ideal situations".I'm pretty sure that most commercial glues these days are made from synthesized materials. At least Elmer's glue claims that none of their products have animal parts.

 Well, if I think back to my theartical days, the animal paint smelled decent right out of the can, with a little less "edge" than house paint. However, because of the biological material in it, it could spoil! Paint was often left in buckets  in the corner of the shop (with wooden covers on them) for several weeks at a time. After a week or four in those buckets, the smell was impressive. It smelled like paint with rotting beef carcasses in it, strangely enough. Spoiled or not, it was still useable. So, the tech director woul just use a stick to lift off the moldy skin on the surface of the paint, stir the remainder, and the show went on. Rogers is the best liquid fish glue? Was there fish glue that came in a powdered form? Was there glue gas? Some glue came in solid form and you had to melt it to make it liquid. I now recall that we also used that in the theater. Some days you wished you had no nose.

Yeah yeah. History lesson over. Frikkin FISH? Ick! Modern, normal, syntho-glue can be smelly stuff. How bad would fish glue smell? I can't imagine Maybe any chair fixed with fish glue would have to be retired from kitchen use?

Also not to be missed were Rogers' other animal products...

Rogers Stoat Paste
The best stoat paste you can buy!

Rogers Gazelle Slurry
Add to your cement for super gazelle power!

Rogers Extra-Humane Baby Harp Seal Muck
Why use monkey muck when there are seals?

Rogers Elephant Brooms (extra curvy style)
The broom that never forgets!

Rogers Experimental Worm Rope
Now with less grossness than our previous worm rope!

Rogers 4'x8' Eagle Boards
Proud... majestic... rectangular!

Rogers Clammy Shamois
Remember how to pronounce "shamois" with our rhyming clammy shamois!

Rogers Turtle Wax
We put turtles in the wax! Don't ask why!


Handcar Scooter - Saves on Shoes!

1940, Popular mechanics magazine. Here's an ad for a hand-pupmed cart for children. Apparently, at the dawn of World War II, there was a crippling shortage of children's shoes. Apparently, there was an overabundance of wheels, levers, wood, metal, and screws. Every bomb dropped on German cities was filled with tiny loafers. Every rifle fired little wing tips. Every soldier survived in the trenches by eating miniature pedal pushers.

To save our nation's critical supply of children's shoes, Some Guy invented this children's "Handcar" Scooter. In our country's time of Great need, one brave anonymous inventor deduced a means to save a few scraps of leather with the simple expenditure of a few feet of steel angle, a plank of wood, some rubber, a handful of screws, and three wheels. And the whole thing only costs the equivalent price of several pairs of children's shoes (probably). Keep those planes in the air, boys!

To make the genius of this marketing strategy perfectly clear, here are some examples of this reasoning taken to it's logical extent:

Killing "People" Saves Wear on Furniture
Buying Second "Motor-Car" Saves Wear on First "Motor-Car"
"Bulemia" Saves Wear on Scales
Being Filthy "Pig" Saves on Soap
Starving "Family" Saves Wear on Teeth
Staying in "Bed" Saves Wear on Carpets
Not "Inventing Things" Saves Wear on Sarcasm

The picture shows the whole ad as it was published. I didn't crop out the address. There isn't one. What gives? How do I get my very own shoe-saving scooter? Tell me now, dammit!!! At the bottom of the page I found this...

So, to get your scooter, you had to write to the magazine, who would then send you the address of the manufacturer, who you would then have to write to get your scooter. But by that time,  your kid would simply have walked her feet into bloody stumps when she could have been scooting! Why the secret identity? Other ads on the very same page list the manufacturer's name and address, but not this one. Are they proud enough to show their product, but ashamed they couldn't come up with better copy for the ad? Know what I think? I think it was a product developed and marketed in America by the Nazis, hoping we'd squander out resources trying to avert a bogus children's shoe shortage.


Munsingwear - Pants Optional

Being an ad man must have been tough in 1955. Show the product to have a transformative effect on people's lives. Insult the intelligance of every possible customer. Make time for a weekly re-trepanning  procedure. Create a baffling tableau in every ad that defies common sense.
"'Munsingwear's new line of t-shirts really holds their shape.' Seems simple enough, gentlemen. We could go the "sex appeal" route: Show a man getting appreciative glances from pretty ladies, implying that their attention is due entirely to the snappy condition of his undershirt. Make 'em think that if they buy our undershirts, they'll get laid by women who are really turned on by a tight neckline."

"How bout if we do the exaggerative humor thing, sir?  We could have a young man inheriting his father's only munsingwear t-shirt. The joke being that the shirt will outlast the owner!"

"Nah, too morbid. How bout this? show a man in his underwear, staring off into space. He's well-groomed and happy. Maybe drunk even? he could look a little like Fred MacMurray, too!"

"What? What the hell's that supposed to prove to the customer? I say we have him holding a golf club. That'll make it look like he has the income and free time necessary to play golf in his underwear... the dream of every man. Whattya think, guys?"

"I think it's lunch time. Let's get out of here."


Instant Milk - Making Milk Better!

I just checked, and this stuff is still on the market. I don't know how. This is the kind of stuff you try once as an experiment. Maybe it seems like a good idea at first. You read information on the box about ratios of pennies and glasses of milk and you think you'd be a fool not to try some. Then you do.
As I recall, the flavor is okay. Milk is a pretty mild thing, and as long as you keep melamine out of the production equipment, how hard can it be to make it taste right?

Nope. The problem is the texture. Instant milk comes in the form of flakes, like detergent. Carnation calls them "magic crystals". Apparently, they're magically endowed with the power to remain solid when submerged, despite being allegedly water-soluble. Or, possibly their magic lies in their ability to make your kid love actual milk? That must be it. It makes proper milk seem dreamy in comparison. So, in that sense, it really does makes milk better.

I'm trying to think of more horrible ways to get milk into your belly than by dehydrating it and subsequently mixing it with real milk (read: "use it to ruin some perfectly good milk"). To have a less pleasant milk experience, you'd have to drink milk right from the teat of the cow, in warm foamy jets, while lying on your back on straw-covered planks of wood, "banging off of the tap", in the parlance of bar room drunkery.

When you drink instant milk, you can feel the fine lumpiness of the little fluid-suspended particles flowing past your lips, each one a joyful little corporate mascot shouting "Wheee! I'm unwholesome!" Your eyelids flutter and your forehead wrinkles, trying to get through the experience without making a face. You clamp down on your throat muscles, demanding control of a building gag reflex. "Something's wrong with this liquid you're asking me to accept. It's got some kind of sawdust in it." says your esophagus. "No. It's just milk. Swallow it and we can go back to watching Wild Kingdom." your brain insists. Somehow, you get past one mouthful, and you feel like a war hero. That glass is awful tall, though, and just wait till you get to the bottom.

At the bottom of the glass is the reward at the end of a hard-fought battle with yourself. It's the best of the best. Those dehydrated former milk pieces too tough and manly to either melt or float in the liquid can be found lying on the bottom of your glass, a chewy finale to your little meal ordeal. If you're smart, you stop drinking just in time to leave the lumpy slurry in your glass, watching it slide back down the side to gather at the bottom again as the glass tilts back to the vertical. Staring down at the milk sludge with the unsettled awe of a narrowly averted horror, you count yourself lucky. But, you probably don't know this the first time you drink Carnation Instant Milk. You probably eat the sludge, because this is your first time.

Buy one box and it'll last you a lifetime.


Popular Mechanics - Modern Doghouse

I'm not a dog person, but if I did have one, I'd definitely build him/her a doghouse like this.
This is a two page spread from Popular Mechanics magazine in February, 1940. I scanned each page separately so they'd fit in the column better.

Look how cool the doghouse is! I can't believe this is from 1940. Hell, I wish MY house looked that modern. Honestly, early American gingerbread house designs should have been left in the 1800's where they were born. Same goes for doghouse designs. This was designed in the era of "exciting new streamline" thinking, which looks anachronistic on one hand, but fundamentally appeals to the minimalist in me. Simple, clean lines without clutter.
Streamlining and Early American are both "retro" design philosophies when you think about it. It's just that one is sixty years old and the other is over two hundred years old. Given the choice of one over another, I'll always go with "less is more".

Would the dog appreciate it? Of course not. In fact, dogs being dogs, he'd probably chew the corners off of it. At least dogs generally don't dump where they sleep. They dump in the living room!


Panasonic Car Audio - The fun of building it, every time you listen!

Every time I get in my car for more than ten minutes or so, I plug in the iPod. There's a cable that goes in the back of my car's radio, and that goes into the bottom of the iPod. I used to use one of those radio transmitters to listen to the iPod, which looked slicker, but sounded like a musical respiratory infection. So, yeah, there's a certain amount of assembly to be done, with my little wire and stuff. Stereo Bluetooth exists, but my iPod doesn't play that game. Maybe my next one will.
I like obsolete hardware, so I'm generally hip to the jive when it comes to clunky old junk that never worked very well. But I had no idea car stereos were ever this clunky until I saw this ad.

Apparently, in 1968, the coolest guy in your town was already onto 8-tracks. Yeah, those things were ridiculous, because you could never be sure what song you'd get when you switched from one of the four parallel "tracks" to the next, and you couldn't rewind, only fast forward. The only clever thing about them was that the tape was an infinite loop. By some pretty serious Escher-warping of spacetime, the thing pulled tape off the inside of the spool for listening, while rolling it back onto the outside of the spool after you'd heard it. Some of the tapes had clear shells, so watching the thing work was pretty impressive.

I knew all that stuff before this morning. But just for one extra point of how-spoiled-are-we power, get this: you had to swap out one of two radio tuners to listen to the radio! Each was the size of an 8-track tape, and there was one for FM and one for AM.
Yes, this was 1968, and most people reading this probably weren't even born yet. Tape was just taking off, so the idea of choosing what you want to listen to in the car was a crazy and freaky idea. Yeah yeah, it was new technology, whatever... you had to put the radio receiver in your dash when you want to listen to the radio!!! Today, an AM-FM radio receiver could fit on a chip small enough to fall into your eyeball without too much discomfort. In '68, cramming a radio into a box smaller than a sandwich was crazy talk. So, if you were the coolest guy in town, you not only had a glove box full of sandwich-albums. You also had two metal sandwiches that were your AM and FM tuners, in case you needed to hear the traffic report. Also, you probably paid half the value of the car itself for the privilege of being an early adopter. Coolness ain't cheap.

Oh wait, where is my head? This was 1968. Cars were a hundred yards long and had glove boxes that could hold a medium sized dog. This tehcnology was perfectly acceptible. Never mind.


Gulf Oil - 4 out of 5 Douchebags Agree

If you're like me, your Excalibur SS is the last thing you want to worry about when driving through mud puddles next to bus stops, or foreclosing on a widow's mortgage. That's why only Gulf Oil will do for my bourge-mobile. It's not necessarily the best I can find, but it's the best I'll pay for.
When I'm parking in a handicapped spot at the cleaners, picking up a week's worth of blue polyester leisure suits, I can't be wondering if my engine is suffering from clogs... very much. So it gives me a feeling of approximate well being deep within the place where I can only assume my heart probably is.

Sometimes, I ask myself "Lundt, why don't you use an oil that was tested against more than four other commercial oils?" "Because" I tell myself, "I'm a gambler, but not so much that I'll risk more than I'd notice if it were never there at all."

Take last spring's regatta for example. Sure, I was slightly worried about the possibility of losing the race to the rag-tag group of good-hearted high school students that cobbled together a boat overnight to compete against my 32 footer, The Privilege, in hopes of winning enough money to keep the orphanage from being bulldozed by my father's development company to put up a retirement resort for Nazi war criminals. So that's why I had the teenagers' boat drilled! Not so badly that it would never float, but only that it would float just long enough to get out into the really deep water, where the riptide makes it nearly impossible to swim to shore.

Just like my choice of Gulf Oil; I like to be pretty sure, without going too far out of my way. I could spend more on motor oil. I also could have had the orphanage burned down with all the kids locked inside, but, hey, I'm not a monster! Those children will probably die one by one on the streets, but by then it won't be my fault. You know what will be my fault, though? The smooth acceleration of my Excalibur as a drive past those orphans on the street, huddled around a trash can fire, thanks to Gulf.

Unless, that is, I get a bad batch of Gulf and my valves get all gummed up. But at least I saved 25 cents a quart. Daddy will buy me a new car anyway.

-Lundt Worseburg, Douchebag