American Cyanamid Company - so THAT'S what an ACC file is!

Joke #1 - "Now, some other brands require you to take a pill with every meal, but Aureomycin is so effective, you can just take one with breakfast, okay? That should be plenty to keep that communism from coming back. Now, how have your elbows been doing?"

Joke #2 - "I'm going to prescribe you something I just heard about last week. Try not to tell your family about it and let's not talk about it over the phone. Just meet me behind the 7-11 if you want some more. This shit will blow your fucking mind, Mrs. Barton."

Joke #3 - "All righty, I'm going to prescribe you a light antacid and a mild antibiotic... (sniff), which shouldn't have any adverse interaction with the ...(whew) the migraine medication. Run this over to the pharmacy and... (ugh) and they should be able to... (cough!). Mrs. Barton, if you can't stop doing that I'll have to open a window."

Joke #4 - "I'm sorry, Mrs. Barton, I can't prescribe any medication that will make your husband 'be into butt sex'. You're going to have to go ask your priest for advice or something."

Joke #5 - "Really? 'Multiple Allergic Reaction Syndrome'? All right, Mrs. Barton, I'm prescribing a funny cartoon I just drew, in which you are leaving my office and promising not to waste my time with bogus made-up bull crap to account for your psychosomatic nonsense. On your way out, please remind the receptionist to charge you a full hour for the fifteen minutes of my time you've just wasted."

Joke #6 - "Okay, that's 75 milligrams of Aureomycin twice daily for the 'whoopsie' on your 'you know'. It shouldn't  have any interaction with the Marzinex for your 'thingy' or the Xanophol for the 'icky' in your 'virginia'. You know what? Let's just go ahead and prescribe you frikkin EVERYTHING, you filthy skank."

Joke #7 - "I'm going to recommend you take one Aureomycin with food in the morning. That should have you right as rain in ten days or so. I want to see you again on the 12th to check your progress. On your way out, the receptionist can give you some samples to use until your prescription can be filled. Also, I'm going to ask you to try and sleep with fewer men who aren't your husband, at least for a few weeks."


Quickie Post - Van on the run.

Time is short today, and as we say around the office, any post is better than no post! Enjoy these culturally humiliating pictures of a custom van called Van on the Run, which must have seemed wildly clever to the van's builder. See, he realized, with the help of the popular Paul McCartney song "Band on the Run", that "man and "van" rhyme, resulting in the devilish play on words "van on the run". Whee.

I'd love to have one of these mid-sixties era snub-nosed cabover style vans, but in a stock, unmolested state. This is not that by a long way.

I promise you that, by the time "Van one the Run" met it's ultimate fate, (whatever that was), the shag carpet had been hardened into countless pointy little stalagmites by all the encrusted spermatozoa of it's owner, diluted with up to 6% concentration of other fluids secreted from his many conquests. Let's say it once for the ages, "bleah".

Normal big post tomorrow.

Kooking Kornir 2

When occasion calls for something lighter, we always find that our Pork Chop Pinwheel fills the bill without slowing down the apres-meal shuffleboard tournament! Each chop is simmered in bacon for one hour prior to baking in duck fat. Then, they're arranged in our patented fun pinwheel dish, dolloped with pancake batter and served with a glass of gravy. Fruit is vinyl and only for decoration. Summer cuisine the modern way!

When serving raw ham, allow your guests a bit of the exotic by serving the meat with pineapple parasites attached. Be careful not to let the roasting temperature rise above 95 degrees or they'll die and fall off. The flavor is freshest if the parasites are alive when the entree is served. Your guests will wonder what planet they've been whisked off to! Instead of telling them, why not just seal the airlock and let them guess?

Thanksgiving siege, day eleven. The Jell-o's had made bivouac next to the salmon sauce two days ago. The gravy reservoir provided cover from random fire from the fruit arrangement. Supplies were running low, and it was do or die time. Dawn would come in three hours, and the Jell-o's would try to make it past the bacon sheaths and finaly take turkey hill. The whole western half of the table was counting on it.

Sure, everyone loves to see the party table with a horta beast at the center, but hortas can be insolent before the first cut is made. To keep them cowed, try lining the walls of the consumption chamber with the various tins and molds you COULD have forced it into, if you felt like it. A strong show of power should keep your horta intimidated until meal time.


Lego Week Pt 5 - Primordial Legos

These are pictures I scanned from a booklet that came with a set of Legos my older brother must have gotten in 1967. The first Lego set came out in 1961, and as early as '67, Lego had focused on making Lego train sets. Man, when I was a kid, I wanted that thing so hard I could taste it.

But, it was not to be, mostly because my folks earned an honest living, instead of being tied in to the Danish mafia. You know... the Forbrydelsen Gruppe. I can't imagine how else a family could afford to support such a lavish Lego habit. Legos cost roughly $97 per pound. I don't know how to guess what the street value of this kid's train set is, but it's more than his dad's life is worth.

There were very few specialized parts back then, and the rectilinear limitations of Lego construction lent themselves very well to the type of architecture that predominated in the 1960s. It just so happens that this is the kind of architecture that I really like - all clean lines and orderly rows. Actually, maybe it's not such a coincidence, since I'd been staring at this booklet since I'd been able to see. Notice the little cars with metal wheels. I never had those, but I still want them today.

There are the blue plates that pass for water in Lego land. A boat with wheels? That's so lame, I think boats aren't even worth building. Check out the kid that looks like George Liquor's son...

This castle is bloody fantastic. I wanted this too (duh). You'd think there weren't any curves pieces that long ago, but actually there was a pack of curved bricks you could buy in 1961 that made a rocket. Mind = blown. Kabloosh!
I'm not sure why all the tires were gray. It does, however, occur to me that in really old cartoons, car's tires were gray also, and usually had a patch sewn onto them. I'll just go ahead and associate the two until somebody confronts me with evidence to the contrary. We did have some of those flat trees, although they're not in my remaining Lego stash.

I'm sure that anybody who grew up with a specialized Lego part for any occasion will make fun of these ancient Legos and the super abstract models that one wound up with, but I like the cubism. This is probably for the same reason that 8-bit video game graphics still charm.

Come to think of it, all my gray tires and flat trees are not to be found. Could I have sold those older parts at some garage sale twenty years ago? Whay did I do that? Kids are so frikkin stupid. Ebay here I come.


Lego Week Pt 4 - Lego Town

Pictures like this make me sick. I doubt there ere many parents who could afford to shower their children with Legos in this fashion, but there must be some. Maybe employees of Lego, Inc. get them free? Maybe Legos are amazingly cheap in Denmark, the way oil is cheap in Saudi Arabia?

Anyway, I'd have given a limb (possibly my own) to have a Lego spread that occupied the whole kitchen table, as this Lego town apparently does. You could play with it for days and when you got tired of it, have every building rammed flat by a giant parrot-piloted Lego truck.

Lego town-themed sets were rarely eye-openers on their own. I'd look at them in the store and say "Yep. That's a fire station." and move on to the spaceships. However, Lego town sets were a pretty decent way to score wheels in fair numbers. A Lego fire station may have a fire engine or three, and maybe a dalmation. All the other parts were likely to be boring architectural things like "bricks" and "doors". Whee.

Lego town would have only worked for me in large masses. You'd need enough buildings to make a town square to really have some fun, in my childhood opinion. Cars could race down the streets and inevitably, a pedestrian would lose a few heads to an inattentive driver, then hide in a garage while the Lego authorities hassle suspicious looking citizens trying to locate the perp. Then some kind of car chase would happen or whatever or maybe spaceships.

Point is, the Lego authorities would have to be nearly totally incompetent for any real fun to be had. The Lego coast guard? Oh yeah, they'd have to be unfailing idiots. How well-trained could they be, having boats that sink in water? And there's no Lego water anyway... just blue plates, not that I had any. The coast guard would need to show up at the end of every Lego town adventure, to drive their boats through the front of city hall, slaughtering countless municipal employees and wasting untold Lego taxpayer dollars. Ah, childhood.


Lego Week Pt 3 - Poolside Cabana

This set was released in 1992 as set 6416 Poolside Paradise. This set is clearly intended for girls, so how did a big giant man like me wind up with it, or at least the instruction booklet? I bought a mixed lot of legos a few years back and it was thrown in the mix., as well as the instruction booklet.

I'm not a girl, and I never have been, but now that I'm big and strong and emotionally secure, I can see that this set is pretty neat. It's the kind of house a drug dealer would have if he were made of legos. By the way, what's with drug dealer stuff popping up on my blog lately? Anyway, the poolside paradise has a cabana thing and a prissy little waiter and some flowers and pink crap. I don't know what parts were included in my mixed lot Ebay purchase, except for some flowers and the curved transparent door things.

Those curvy doors would have been torture for me if I'd gotten this set as a kid (apart from being mercilessly ridiculed for owning it). I'd have pounded my head against the wall trying to make them into a spaceship canopy, but they're almost useless. They only have lego patented attachment knobs (LPAKs) along the bottom and two at the top. They're a serious letdown. When I found them mixed in with my box of random online auction legos, I tried to make them into doors for a lego iPod dock... you know, like a suspended animation chamber or something? I couldn't get them to work.
Hey, check it out. A lego douchebag. Feathered hair. Sunglasses. Muscle tee. Hmm. He could be the drug dealer that owns the cabana. He didn't come with my Ebay purchase. It would have been fun to arrange a lego police officer standing on his neck while another lego officer violates him with a 1x8 lego runner, such as he deserves.

This set also had a scarlet macaw. He didn't come with my lot either. I'd remember him. He'd become my new favorite minifig. He would pilot all subsequent spaceships and race cars, terrorizing the legion of human minifigs and tearing out (in my mind) their little eyes, carrying back to his home planet (in my mind) to feed his young. See? When you're faced with wanting a girly lego set just to get your hands on some special parts, you need to find ways to make lemonade out of lemons.

Hey there he is again, in the construction diagram, driving his....

... Geo Metro convertible? Guess he over-spent on the cabana.


Lego Week Pt 2 - 404 Universal Building Set

The 404 set was just about the most exciting lego set I ever got. It was huge, it had lots of special parts, and it had a frikkin MOTOR! And since it was released in 1976, the 404 set made the black and yellow color scheme cool before Stryper made it gay.

The 404 set came with tank tracks, which almost made me weep with excitement.The first thing I did  was to build a tank using the motor and tracks. This was the set that introduced into my collection the "+" axle and wheels. You can see them on the bulldozer above. To my mind, this was the first hint of the now-super-complicated "technic" line of lego sets.

This set came with the first generation of minifigs, but hilariously, they were a torso, a legs piece, head and hat. No arms. No articulation.

Yerf and Horffdahl seem pretty happy with their hovercraft and crane. I don't think all the things in that picture could be built all at the same time. That hovercraft consumes a lot of pieces.
The instructions that came with this set definitely show their common origins with Ikea. No words and simple line drawings. I'm not sure what those colored dots represent, but it kind of looks like they would be numbers if not for the "Whatever you do, don't include words!" rule of Lego Inc.

A few months after I got the 404 set, I had a leap of understanding. I realized that if you put bigger wheels on the motor, it would go faster. So, when I picked up the 851 tractor tecnic kit, I took the giant wheels from the tractor (about 4" diameter), and put them on the motor, along with some absurdly tiny front wheels. It was a dragster that required a brisk walk to keep up with (The motor's remote was a wired unit.) When I shut it off to stop it, I sometimes put it into reverse by mistake, and the weight of the car combined with the diameter of the wheels would loudly grind the gears inside. This horrified me, so I chose to be more careful in the future with my precious motor.

I can't be sure, but I think the No.2 idea book came with the 404 kit. Maybe my folks gave it to me on the same christmas? I dunno, but those kids on the front are named Brint and Vivny. Brint grew up to be Adam Rich's stunt double on Eight is Enough. Vivny now curates the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art's new Linjer och Torg wing, where she performs her "Nude Danze in Cubizm" every Wednesday evening.


Lego Week Pt 1 - Space Legos!

We at P.A.G. Central Command have decided that this week is lego week. We'll be featuring high resolution scans of lego manuals and stuff like that. Why? Because legos are the greatest toy. They entertain, teach basic engineering and reward the urge to invent and build.

I remember that I was playing with the Alpha-1 Rocket Base the night that the hostages were freed from Iran, so that must have been 1980. At that time, space legos were new, I think, but I can't be bothered to check right now, as I'm on vacation. So there.

At that time in Lego History, specialized parts were still pretty novel. Cylinders! Wow! Holy jeez, radar dishes. I think that was a sweet spot in the ratio of special parts to regular old blocks, but maybe I'm biased. Now, it seems that you buy, say, a lego pirate ship, and you assemble front of boat to back of boat and you're done. Too many custom parts. Not enough room for imagination. Bah humbug.

What was really cool were the translucent parts. The Space Cruiser had a green sloped windshield and a pretty huge plate in clear yellow. These two parts pretty much insisted on being built into spaceships and fighter planes. That was reason enough to want the set.

That's the difference between a kid who has some legos and a kid who lives to build things. I got excited about a set because of the interesting parts it contained. The actual model you build was secondary.


Lane Furniture - A fine question.

"Furniture or modern art?". Yes, please. Either one would be very nice. So, please take away this coke dealer shit and bring me one of those other things, thanks very much.

The hard thing about passing judgment on the past is avoiding throwing stones at glass houses filled with people who may also own stones, possibly stuck all over their dresser. I have a niece who laughs at pictures of her parents from the seventies or eighties, safe in the knowledge that her generation has finally defined "cool", and that what she now regards as the ultimate in fashion will be forever written in stone, never to change. We have patience. We wait. We beat her over the head with photographs of herself fifteen years from now, taken way back in 2010.

Then there's Lane Furniture's "Pueblo" series of bedroom pieces. Take a dresser made from rough wood, carefully stained to get that high-contrast grain that zebras are painted with, and then glue the ends of two-by-fours all over it. We try not to judge too harshly/ We must be tolerant of 1973. When someone fell and scraped their knee in 1973, white powder came out, skunky smoke came out, and maybe a smear of blood. Yeah, whatever. This furniture is unforgivable.

I'm trying to think of a current trend that we'll be laughing at in thirty years. What's in your local Pottery Barm that will be parked out by your curb on Tuesday morning, 2040? One thing springs to mind: shabby chic. Shabby chic is the type of interior design that looks like everything was taken from people's curbside garbage day display, circa 1920. In thirty years we'll be laughing out tears at the idea of intentionally buying furniture with chipped paint and buying carefully mismatched plates. But, regular readers (both of you) will know that we here at Go! Plaza like the whole mid century modern / space age thing, so we're not in a position to throw stones... much.

Lane's Pueblo collection is the work of someone for whom "enough" is "not nearly enough". Just like so much of the seventies, there's way too much going on. The furniture will take your skin off if you brush up against it. The carpet is lumpy enough to need a good mow. The bedspread has a funny texture to it that looks as though it was faked in using Photohsop's clone stamp tool... maybe to hide the body of the overdosed hooker that the happy couple just finished with? Gotta wonder what's in all those bottles on the dresser.

Lane Furniture is still kicking around. Here's their site. It looks as though they've come down since '73. By way of apology, they've overcompensated and now their designs are a way more forgettable. The current set of offerings from Lane could just as easily be found in any Restoration Pottery Barrel showroom. Everybody grows up, Lane. But today we found your embarrassing key party photos. You're welcome.


Ozark Airlines - Yee-HAW! You're Flyin'!

Today's post will be a quickie, as time is short. It's a perfect opportunity to use this fantastic painting of an Ozark Airlines ad from 1963.

Ozark who? Yep. News to me, too.Ozark Airlines operated from 1950 to 1986, at which point they merged with TWA.

So who's their mascot? Some kind of bird, possibly of a species indigenous to the lower middle section of the U.S. You know... America's abdomen? Apparently the idea  of a bird talking is not as strange to me as a bird talking without opening his mouth, heh.

Never mind that. What a great painting. Brush strokes and charcoal. Click through to a higher resolution version or have a slightly grimmer day.

When I think of Ozark Airlines, I think of Hillbilly Hare, the Bugs Bunny cartoon that takles place in the Ozarks with the Hatfield and McCoy guys feuding. People remember that cartoon for the square dance sequence, but the picture in my head is the whole feud, taking place in the hills. The guys had those nine foot long rifles that made me laugh. The bullet took about three seconds to reach the end of the barrel.

Funny thing about the name "Ozark". Wikipedia (which seems good enough for most non-controversial research topics) says that ""Ozarks" is a toponym believed to be derived as a linguistic corruption of the French abbreviation "aux Arks" (short for aux Arkansas, or "of Arkansas" in English). It even cites a book as reference. How bout that? Great. Now I have to look up "toponym".


AVE Mizar Flying Pinto - Boom, you're flying.

Ever seen one of the documentaries on the History And Superstition Channel about flight, made mostly out of stock footage of wacky old airship designs? Actually, since most shows on the "History" channel are about Bigfoots or UFO's, there's precious little on the network about anything that actually ever happened*, so better change that opening sentence to "Science Channel". Gotta make a not to have the editor swap that out.

Anyway, blah blah Science Channel something something wacky old failed airplane designs? Well, we may laugh, but we haven't really left that too far behind. Even Mythbusters routinely attempt to verify myths that can easily be discounted without practical testing at all. However, they re in the business of making entertainment first, and doing science second. So yes, the creation of wacky flying machines has not sloped off as aerodynamic understanding has ramped up.

Popular Mechanics, 1973. Behold, the AVE Mizar flying car. It's a modified Pinto stuck to the underside of an airplane. AVE (whoever they were) regarded  this machine as a "Pinto that sprouts wings". Well, that is clearly not the case, just by looking at it. A "flying car" would need to be a car that can be driven on the ground or flown like a plane. What the AVE Mizar is, is a 90% functional airplane - complete with it's own motor - which has been hobbled with a Pinto mounted to it's underside. The wings have their own motor, prop and fuel supply (airplanes carry their fuel in the wings). The Pinto is serving basically as a detachable cabin.

The problem with airplanes historically has not been "What to do with that pesky cabin once you land?" One may argue that there's a benefit to having your car go with one when one flies away, avoiding the nightmare of parking. Yes, but one would then have to find a place to park the giant wings in order to drive the Pinto away, after landing, wouldn't one? Parking a car is easier than parking an airplane. As a replacement for a conventional plane-and-car duo, the Pinto-stuck-on-a-plane idea solves no problem at all. In either case, you still need an airport at both ends of your trip to take off and land. You're just avoiding one parking fee, which you're exchanging for a 100% chance of looking silly and a 20% chance of exploding and being distributed evenly over the ground.

Apart from that, there's the wildly optimistic notion that every driver would be bright enough and coherent enough to carry a pilot's license. No offense to cell phone talking SUV drivers, but my life is threatened at least once per day by people driving SUV's while talking on the phone. I'd be delighted to have the "multitaskers" segregated into a lane of their own, or simply moved out of the way, say, into the sky. However, this would almost certainly insure that when - bear with me now -  irresponsible drivers inevitably have an accident, we would then be faced with their cars plummeting earthward, instead of quietly folding the Escalade around a nice sturdy tree.

AVE's curious choice of modifying a Ford Pinto is.. uuh... curious (note to self: have editor make that sentence look less stupid). The Pinto is famous for it's mild explosion problem. Giving a Pinto an extra hundred gallons of fuel, stored in the wings, to ignite and then spray in all directions seems ill-advised. On the other hand, I am a stolid Darwinian, and I love the idea of allowing the dimwitted to take a permanent breather from the rat race. If only we could legislate a method for them to do so without taking out other, less useless humans with them.

The flying car idea has not gone away. The most successful example at the time of this writing is the Moller Skycar, which relies entirely on props to maintain flight, as opposed to some kind of airfoil. The Moller Skycar has a ducted fan engine at each corner, powered by four Wankel rotary engines (made famous by the Mazda RX-7 and RX-8) driving each fan-pod.

Cool looking" Oooh, yeah. Safe? Nuh-uh. Upon laying eyes on this design, my dad immediately pointed out that, should the vehicle lose power, it would fall from the sky. Only the force of the motors keeps it airborne. Airplanes and even helicopters can return to Earth at non-fatal velocity in the event of power loss. A helicopter's rotor will "auto-rotate" as if falls, slowing the descent to possibly survivable speeds. The Moller would drop like a stone. If it loses power to only one motor, it's fate is less clear, but far from rosy. At least Moller borrowed parts from an RX-7, instead of a Pinto. The Wankel Rotary motor has always had a problem holding onto it's oil. They leak like a colander. This may bring some Moller Skycars back to Earth prematurely, but since the Pinto-based AVE-Mizar would probably just explode while airborne, the Moller would leave a smaller debris field to clean up, which is very considerate.

*Since every personal device larger than a Rice Krispy now has a camera in it, the amount of decent evidence (more then zero) for paranormal phenomena should have skyrocketed in the past decade or so. Despite this, convincing, plausible footage of bigfoot, aliens, and the chupacabra is not to be found. This leads any objective observer to declare such crypto-zoological monsters to be B.S.