Sony U-Matic - A little relative.

Behold, readers, the machine that, perhaps more than any other enjoyed the highest heights of consumer wantingess, before suffering the lowest humiliation of total obsolescence. The VCR. You may need to install your largest eyes just to see the entire "little machine" all at once. The U-Matic was the size of four standard-sized babies (two, if they're from Mississippi).

In 1972, Sony's U-Matic was still a relative newcomer to the commercial VCR market. Few people who weren't a TV studio could justify the expense, so consumer adoption was slow. So, Sony courted the institutional / industrial market, by suggesting that their "little" machine could help cure cancer and basically save the world (see complete ad copy below). This is the same company that demanded $700 for the Playstation 3 and generally lost out on the current round of console wars when the price of their game machine dropped just slightly slower than the public's desire to own it. Sony BMG was the record company behind the Rootkit debacle a few years ago. Remember that? When overactive copy protection software on pre-recorded audio CDs infected the computers of millions of people? That's our Sony. Always humble. Never a misstep.

Sony's argument for the cancer curing potential of the U-Matic is that a doctor with a new treatment can doesn't need to wait to prepare a paper and present it at some stupid medical convention. That's the peer review process, and it's dumb! No, the doctor (assuming he's a super genius and that he's made not a single mistake in his theory and the scientific process is an annoying burden to him anyway), can just make a video tape demonstration and mail it directly to other doctors with possibly less experience than him who may be unable to spot flaws in his new treatment. In a perfect world, instant communication would allow absolutely anybody to spew their ideas and opinions throughout the world, possibly via some kind of web that is world wide. Only then would the very best ideas and knowledge be heard.

Aaaanyway, eventually the VCR became cheaper and as it found it's way into American homes, the film industry threw a fit. The new technology was horrifying to the entertainment industry, and they hoped to sue the VCR out of existence. This is because at the time, there was no room in the MPAA's philosophy for the idea of recording programs or movies. They couldn't imagine a world in which giving control to the consumer could possibly be good for business. Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA in 1982, testified that the VCR would destroy Hollywood and kill creativity, the seas would boil and the moon shall be as blood.

As it turned out, rentals and sales of videotapes became a gold mine for the entertainment industry. So, Valenti was either a liar or stupid. Previous to the VCR issue, the RIAA freaked out when people were recording albums onto cassette tapes at home. They said it would destroy the industry. It didn't. The RIAA came back in The Eighties to rage about home recording on digital media. The government told them to shut up. Now, the MPAA is throwing another tantrum about online file sharing. It will be interesting to see how history views the present disagreement. Odds are that the entertainment industry won't be destroyed by online piracy, and a new market will be born with someone other than the studios cashing the checks... again.

In my opinion, if a movie is good enough, people will want to see it in a theater, and own a real commercial copy on disc. If a movie or album is not great but just interesting, I'll record it from TV onto a DVD and call it a day. Most people have enough disposable income to buy or rent a movie they think is worth it, as long as it's good enough. Hollywood should concentrate on not making so much shitty content and make it worth our time and money to do things their way. A compressed MP3 file isn't worth money, to me. I buy the disc and then rip and re-rip it in whatever format I want, or at higher and higher bitrates as file storage becomes ever cheaper. This is my gold standard of music collecting. My CDs are my Fort Knox of music. I find it odd that the RIAA is losing their hair over people trading music online, while still bemoaning declining CD sales, which is a format that basically has no copy protection at all.

By the way, the very best way to rip bit-perfect duplicates of your CDs is by using Exact Audio Copy, available here. Rip to WAVs and then burn with the software of your choice. Enjoy. That way, you can have one copy for your three year old to scratch all to hell, and the "master" can be safe and sound in your musical panic room.

When the anti-VCR thing was happening, the movie studios could have immediately responded by embracing rentals or aftermarket videocassette sales, but it's always easier to just try and sue all your problems away. It would be refreshing, just once, to see the a group like the RIAA or MPAA find a way to work with the new technology as soon as it develops. There's always money to be made if someone with a little vision thinks of it.

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Tampax - Doubled over with perkiness.

More women's concerns today, from your pals here at GO! Tower! Observe this well-designed ad from Tampax, showing women how normal they can be at the pool, in the company of Tampax! It's one of those tall thin ads, so here's a crop of the picture. The full ad can be found at the bottom of the post.

That's just the picture I would use to show women how normal they can feel at the pool, any time of the month. Look at her, doubled over with perkiness. She can barely stand up, she's so free of discomfort. She's not worried about a thing. The art director certainly earned his three grand a year (this was 1951, after all).

Actually, the true genius of this photo is that the advertiser can also use it to promote their new line of Getting Stabbed in the Belly. Nothing says "I'm enjoying my new knife wound!" like a happy girl bent over at the pool. Belly Knife Wound, available in small, medium, and "teamster" sizes. Don't miss out. get yours today!

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Clip art women, get outta my life.

Today, the Phil Are GO! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Squad is pleased to bring you some clip art women from the little ads in the back pages of Woman's Home Companion. You'd be surprised how many "sell our crap from your home" and "personal problem" ads there were for bored housewives in 1951. Maybe you wouldn't. I dunno.

Anyway, the PAG GBPS has scanned these greedy ladies at the highest resolution that our Okidata AdequateScan 620 will allow, and crushed their histograms to nice tidy black and white values. The result? Three dames and a toilet (biggest viral video of 1947, btw.) At no extra charge, those jokesters in the GBPS combined the cash and toilet powder art with uproarious consequences.

Click through each one for actual size, then save to your storage thingy of choice. Get your rude finger ready to right-click their brains out in three, two, one, RIGHT CLICK!

First up, this lady looks to be pouring some drain-clearing powder into her toilet, but she could just as easily be getting rid of her stash because The Pigs are knocking on the front door. Please enjoy.

Next, this lady loves her money so much, she wants to pose with it. Her expression seems to say "See my money? I have some!" That's right, clip art lady. We can see your money. Now shut up and get on my hard drive.

This cash-waving Betty Boop Wannabe is altogether more rough and ready than the previous woman. Netty Noop here has some cash, but I get the feeling she'll do just about anything for a little more. I can't wait for just about anything.

Oh no! Those kooks in the Blandishment Squad have rearranged some of today's clip art! She's throwing money in the toilet! It doesn't go in there! It goes in the In-Sink-Erator! Those nutty jokesters! Right click this mixed-up doll just where she likes it and save her for a future memo to the accounting department. Their bow ties will spin when they see what she's up to! But you didn't get her from me, wink wink. You're welcome.


Ivory Flakes - 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky.

Today's ad may look familiar-ish, to the obsessive PAG! reader with an encyclopedic knowledge of all our posts. You know who you are, and please stop leaving notes on my kitchen window. You're freaking my shit right out.

You may think that the subject of our curiosity is the sedated lady in the flowered dress, who is so special that she must wear gloves just to touch her own pristine bosom, to keep it nice.

Nope. She just looks stuck up and no-fun-to-talk-to. But holy smokes, look at those hips! No, wait. Those aren't her hips. Those are horizontal stabilizers, to give her greater maneuverability at high speeds. I assume her engines are smug-powered. She can use her stabilizers to go visit the space lady down below.

The real attraction here is this lady, sitting on her tuffet, admiring her stocking, floating through a planetary nebula while two stars go nova just a few feet away, completely discharging their quanta. Good thing she's looking the other way. She might be slightly blinded and vaporized.

When I first saw this ad, I thought we had already used it, it looked so familiar. But nope, it's just a different ad from the same year, with what looks like the same model, wearing different night clothes. However, she is no less enchanted by her stocking than her other self from our previous post.

She can't believe her frikkin eyes. That's one hell of a stocking. She almost dares not touch it, but it's so radiant, she cannot resist. Not like that other stupid stocking she left on the floor. What a piece of crap that thing is. She should throw that floor stocking into one of those supernovas. But she should take care to use some salad tongs so she doesn't burn herself. Supernovas are fairly radiant too, just like her finest cottons.


Body by Fisher, the Exclusive Extra - Feeling wanty.

The Chicago Auto Show is coming up, and the latest concept cars will be on display. This means the manufacturers show you what they're capable of, right before shoveling another example of watered-down beige boringness into production. When you try to be all things to all people, you wind up being nothing to everyone, which is what happens once a car design is market tested and revised by the product management department. So, let's just try and call it the Chicago Disappointment Parade.

This ad for Body by Fisher shows us a time when interiors were futuristic and cool, and actually made it to production. The car in this ad is an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, which was a mainstream car. Go jump into your Corolla or Fusion and see if you can stay awake long enough to say "ho hum".

One hell of a hood ornament.

Man, look at those gauges. So cuppy. And remember, all that chrome in there is actual chrome plated steel. So, if you think about having an accident in this Olds, hitting that steering wheel will be like being forced through an apple slicer. Then the apple slices hit those super cool gauges and are cut into little cylinders. Good thing the interior is already red.

You could build an interior with the same spirit out of less blade-like materials, so don't call it a safety thing. I don't buy it. It's just that, in 1961, they didn't think anyone would want to survive a crash if their Olds Ninety Eight didn't make it either.

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New Inventions - Forging tomorrow from yesterday's future of the past, today.

New aids for radio fans. Uncertain benefit for lamp fans. Radio is hidden in lamp base. Speaker in shade. Also has "big sleep" timer in the event that user dies during use (shown), to conserve power.

New optical device, when coupled with yard stick, measures safe distance to children, a common source of children. May also be used by persons of unambiguous gender identity.

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Ship Interiors 1949 - Gangway!

1949's June issue of Fortune magazine had this feature article called "Modern Art Goes to Sea". It's all about the use of murals and paintings in cruise ships. Yeah the art is good but never mind that. Look how cool cruise ships were in '49! Never mind "a star to steer her by". I don't need to find my way back as long as I'm on one of these boats. Mind-hurtingly cool bars and lounges in three, two, one... mind hurt now!

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OWW! My mind!


Wolf's Head Oil - Engine horror.

It is the burden of every oil manufacturer to educate the customer about what goes on inside their engine, and thereby, why they need to have a really good oil in there. This 1957 ad from Wolf's Head oil (which apparently exists) wants to shrink you down and stick you in your engine to see the nightmare of internal combustion first hand.

"Aaaaaaaa! FIRE! Somebody help m-" is what you'd think as your life was snuffed out before you could open your tiny mouth to scream. In case you thought your engine was basically a really big coiled spring, you need to know the truth - that there's fire and explosions, and maybe the Eye of Sauron in there, exploding your way to work.

Sauron; A leading cause of engine knock
and premature wear.
As any Guy Who Wears a Suit for a Living can tell you, nothing is real until it is either A) presented to you, double spaced, with a few charts and graphs thrown in for flair or B) you are magically de-biggened and teleported inside it and you burn and die.

I've noticed that any time anything even vaguely sciencey is explained to "laymen", the tone of the conversation immediately degrades to that of a toddler. Watch for the next mention of "science" on mainstream news networks (Bring a sandwich. You may be waiting a while.) and the anchor will instantly dumb it down to the level of a concussed orangutan, or... you know... the level of a news reader. Bam!

Any time something new kind of happens at Cern's LHC, they immediately use the completely retarded and inflammatory term "the God particle", so that people will understand nothing, but still get really angry at the researchers. Any time somebody at a university makes a tiny step forward in the development of metamaterials and radiation masking, the story will be tagged with the idiotic headline "Harry Potter- Style Invisibility Cloak Something Something". People talk about things in the vernacular that they understand them. In the case of science in the news, it's usually that of an eight year old. Mainstream news reporting: cherishing ignorance so you don't have to.

Anyoldway, Wolf's Head is still in business, I guess. I assume their oil is nice and oily with no aftertaste, but I've never seen it in any store. I was surprised to find their site. I hope they know more about oil than they do web design. If your site is going to play an annoying WAV of a howling wolf every time you view the home page, you should have a volume or mute button to turn that crap off. If you go to Valvoline's site, you aren't immediately assaulted with the sound of a valve leaning, are you? You're welcome, Wolf's head. Let me know when you're ready to send my check and I'll tell you where.

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Trade School Sonnets - Model 60 8" Jointer

I will make for my love a box
and fill it with my love.
Will he know? The box shall be empty.
I will fill it, using the Model 60 8 inch jointer.

No! It will not be empty!
It will have the flattest sides
and straightest edges
for, the infeed and outfeed tables
are mounted on dovetailed ways.

It will be full of perfect angles
or unmatched uniformity
for the fence is full-length
and self-aligning.

The faces shall have no flaw
to make him doubt me
for the motor is driven by non-slip V-belts.

O! He shall know that the box is not empty
but full! Full of my love!
If he looks, he will see.
If he feels, he will feel.
O yes! I will make for my love a box
with the Model 60 8" jointer.

Also available with 3-phase motor.


The French Line - A cartoon of Frenchness, by Pierre.

I need to go to Paris some time. Friends that have been there tell me that the whole thing about the French being pricks just isn't true. Apparently, they're pricks to you only if you condict yourself like an Ugly American - you know, being belligerent, and getting irritated when France isn't exactly like the U.S.A. Also, I'm told that the people are even nicer if you go outside the city, where they're not bombarded with blowhardy tourists all the time. Makes sense.

This 1936 ad for  French Line cruise ships seems to portray a cartoonish parody of Paris. Really? Kids playing with circle-and-stick in 1936? This painting looks more like 1836 to me. At least the dogs aren't poodles. Maybe those wiener dogs are the first German invaders? They do seem to have that boy on a leash.

Here's a travelogue of Paris from 1936. It seems more modern than life in the painting.

Surely this painting must have been done by an American. nobody else would..... huh?

Seriously? "Pierre Brissaud?" That name can't be real. It's got to be a jo... Hey, wow! apparently old Pierre was big in the deco movement, born and trained in France. Nice work, Pierre. Actually, I like his other work even better than the watercolor in this ad. He seems to have to have dialed back his personal style for this french Line ad. These other examples of his stuff seem to have more personality. Check it out:

I like Brissaud so much, I have half a mind to put this book on the old Amazon wish list for later purchase. Oh hell. That's the Kindle version. I want paper, baby! Oh well.

Lastly, here's Jonathan and Darlene Edwards molesting Paris in the Spring from their fantastic masterwork Jonathan and Darlene Edwards' greatest Hits:

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Dobbs Hats - Absolutely vital.

Hardly any men wear hats any more, apart from beardy hipster geeks in the city, and half the time you see them wearing cutoff jean shorts, riding a flourescent yellow stupid fixed-gear bike at the same time. Wearing a hat in a weird way just to be ironic or "edge" doesn't count. Behold this Dobbs ad from 1961, when hats were "absolutely vital for business".

Here's Serious Business Guy sitting in the seamless orange void that the Moroccan guy uses for an office. It looks like the SBG is trying to land a deal selling fabric to the Moroccan guy. Weird. I'd think it would be more likely for the honky guy to buy fabric from Morocco. Clearly, SBG is waiting for Turban Guy's decision - a perfect opportunity to pose for the camera and look seriously businessy in your Dobbs hat... with a backup hat ready to go just in case of Sudden Hat Failure (SHF).

Just in case.
See? Hats are so absolutely vital that you need a spare, to avoid the trauma of being without a hat even for an instant. Know what? If SBG was really thinking, he'd just wear both of them, in case one blows off.

This was 1961, which I'm going to call "Mad Men" era, because that's the only way anyone understands The Sixties now. In Mad Men Era, hats were standard. I have to admit, this Serious Business Guy looks pretty cool, despite his rather surprising combination of a brown hat with a grey suit. I think he needs to reach for the grey backup to his left. When did hats fall of the "must have" list? I'm not sure. Probably somewhere in The Late Sixties or Early Seventies, when nobody wanted to look like their dad any more.

This is a little disappointing. I think it would be nice if the old hat thing came back as standard, but I'm not sure how it would need to happen, to actually stick. The annoying hipsters will tell you that hats are back, but their judgement is flawed. They also think that flip flops are okay in winter. Well, I guess you've got your neck beard to keep you warm. Lame-ass hipsters wearing hats doesn't mean they're "back". Quite the opposite. Annoying douchebags like this guy only prove that hats are definitely NOT back, and can't come back until retards like him knock it off. Would someone please punch this guy?

I'm no hat guy, so I'm going to cautiously call the hat in the Dobbs ad a fedora. Indiana Jones wore one, but his had a wider brim. I think it's still a fedora, though. According to Wikipedia, the fedora style hat comes from a play in 1882, in which Princess Fedora wore a hat similar to what we now identify as a fedora. Weird. Here are some other non-fedora hats, just for trivia's sake.

Homburg: Sterotypical British
business guy hat.

Trilby: The straw version is
favored by Chicago Hipsters.
Pork Pie: Required for
playing the blues.

Derby: Other stereotypical British
business guy hat. Also required if you
are a very strong mouse.

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