Brand new coats - Toby and Gabriel.

Joke #1 - Soil samples indicated potential for arable land. The atmosphere was oxygen-rich. This little moon could be an absolute haven, then they encountered the indigenous life. Toby was hit in the shoulder with some kind of regurgitated projectile and went down like he was hit with a brick. Gabriel whirled to see a primitive crouching behind some kind of totem. He had to neutralize the creature and get Toby back to the lander to make sure the sputum hadn't eaten through his suit or something.

Joke #2 - Sunday morning walks with Toby were always Toby's favorite. Not today, though. That huge pimple on his shoulder chose chose the worst possible moment to pop, blowing a hole in his coat. Just when Gabriel's super-cute sister was watching, too. He was going to hear about this for weeks.

Joke #3 - Soil samples indicated potential for arable land. The atmosphere was oxygen-rich. This little moon could be an absolute haven, with great retail, adorable coffee shops, and lots of alternative-lifestyle clubs and ski lodges. Then a girl started picking on them. Was there anywhere in the universe they could be safe from those icky girls?

Joke #4 - Jack could only sigh. Some human girl came by and threw a handful of him at some other human. Jack longed for the day when he was granted life, and then he would throw large wads of human flesh at other snowmen.

Joke #5 - Finally, Toby had gotten the courage to bring his genetic replicant home for Christmas to meet his parents. Then, just like clockwork,  Toby's bratty sister had to show up and make him uncomfortable.

Joke #6 - The new snow made everything so quiet. Toby and Gabriel thought they were finally alone. Then Judy and that snowman friend of hers showed up and wrecked everything. She used to be polite and studious, until she started hanging around with the snowman. It was going to be a long winter.


I need a slooow hand - Robut lover.

Why is it that everyone before - let's say - 1975 pronounced "robot" as "robut"? Listen to any old sci-fi radio show and even the clued-in nerds of the day say "robut". Some even say "robit". It makes me wish I could open a door in time just long enough to yell "Cut it out!", and then maybe shout "Our robot president says so!" just as the time door snaps shut. They'd wee themselves in horrified delight, and no one would believe them, at which point they'd wee themselves in frustration. You know how geeks are with pants-peeing. Anyway...

Joke #1 - After so many years, it was hard to keep the marriage feeling fresh. Adrianne knew a thing or two about allure. Tonight, she'd let him undress her, and then she'd show off the lingerie she'd bought. He was lucky to have her.

Joke #2 - "Mobot? Are you done in there yet? Stop playing with your food!"

Joke #3 - DARPA abandoned project number 3501-4G. Tactical Automatic Gynecologist.

Joke #4 - "Beep. Mobot detects you have beautiful skin. Beep. Mobot calculates that your lotion is 30% lanolin. Beep. Mobot likes soft skin. Beep. Mobot calculates that you would be more comfortable if Mobot deleted your dress."

Joke #5 - Virtual sex has come a long way since 1961.

Joke #6 -

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


Centrum Warenhaus - Honeycomb's big. Ja, ja, ja!

It's not schmall. Nein nein nein! This postcard shows us some East German building or other ornamented in typical German flamboyance. 1) Choose a geometric shape 2) Repeat shape. 3) Danse. As simple as this is, it works on me, possibly because of it's simplicity. The repetition of the chevron-oid shape creates a honeycomb pattern all over the facade of the Centrum department shtore in the good old DD of R.
Centrum was a chain of government-owned department stores in the GDR. In a surprising fit of coolness, the GDR chose to
distinguish all the Centrum stores with an "ornamental metal facade". Don't believe me? Have a look at the Googlefully translated Wikipedia page for yourself and see Centrum's big big honeycomb taste.

It's hard to tell when this picture was taken, because all DDR public construction has that brutalist-mod look that stands in such contrast to the current trend of make-it-look-like-someone's-liver architecture we enjoy today. Let's zoom in on some of the shoppers down on der strasse and see if there are any clues...

Men on the left: bushy-haired 70's. Girl in the middle: Carol Brady haircut and thick-heeled sixties mommy shoes. Couple on the right: Quasi-beehive hairdo and turtleneck-blazer combo. So, it looks like the early seventies.

It'd be interesting to browse a DDR-era department store. I wonder what good, sturdy East German underwear looks like. Do the encyclopedias show anything beyond the borders of East Germany, or just little drawings of dragons and sea serpents?

Commenter Craig had some experience in the DDR, back in Yore. Maybe he's been inside a Centrum? I bet it was a lot like my inexpensive Chinese-made toaster, which, despite being made of stainless steel, only delivers 70% of it's current to the left slice, ensuring that  if the left slice is done properly, the right side will be on fire. Wait. What am I thinking? TWO slices at once? Making two toasts at once is a decadence of Der Korrupt West that was probably frowned upon in the DDR. Better still, a proper East German would eschew the toaster altogether and heat the bread over the flames coming out the back of the television set. Then, he could do an interpretive dance celebrating his remorse over his unsatisfactory toast experience.


Pream - Straaaange brew.

When you're having an idea, the whole idea of the idea should be to solve a problem or improve something, right? Coffee creamer is intended to do what cream does, but without the lactose of which there are those who are intolerant. The makers of Pream (a devastatingly clever combination of the words "powder" and "cream") developed this recipe for unlactosey strawberry bavarian cream to solve their problem of not selling enough Pream. Advertisers have always tried to do this: get you to integrate their product info every corner of your life whether or not it makes any sense at all.
* The Images And Scanning Them Dept apologizes AGAIN for the wonky scan. Some words were cut off, but they insist that if they mashed it flat in the Okidata AdequateScan 620, the whole page crinkled up. Those clowns are on thin ice. They're lucky no one else knows how to work the thing.

Anyway, so yeah, powdered coffee creamer in your dessert. Not officially inedible but pretty damn weird, right? The other ingredients are things like sugar, salt, lemon juice and egg yolks. I'm not a chef, but it sounds like a decent dessert well before the Pream is forced in.

Part of this complete breakfast. So is the chair.
This is kind of like the product shot at the end of every cereal commercial where the V.O. says "part of this complete breakfast!" and you see a bowl of vaccuformed sugar foam pellets surrounded by eggs, bacon, orange juice, an orange, six pancakes, three vials of interferon, more oranges, a roast turkey, a pile of toast, a cubic foot of wheat germ, a syringe of insulin, and a grape. You could replace the cereal with a catcher's mitt and still have several "complete" breakfasts on the table.

I found another recipe for a similar lactose-free dessert, and it says to use Cool Whip as a cream substitute, which looks like food, tastes good and has existed since 1966 - five years before this ad was run in the July 1971 issue of Better Homes. So, Pream's recipe idea only tried to solve the problem of their bottom line. There already existed a superior solution to the crushing dilemma of a non-dairy bavarian cream dessert.

I could find no evidence of Pream's continued existence on the web. Interestingly, the word "pream" does have a presence in the urban vernacular, but the makers of Pream would probably not approve.

Other off-label product recipes:

-Colgate no-bake after dinner mints. Step 1: Chisel them out of the sink.

-Cap'n Crunch casserole.

-Sanka get up and gravy!

-I can't believe it's not Brylcream!


Kooking Kornir - Depilated Tribble Celebratory Meal Orb

Okay, spacemen! It's time to get this away party started by making your own depilated tribble celebratory meal orb! Set your phasers to FUN!
Of course, you won't have any "trouble" getting ahold of a tribble. If you've got one, you've got a thousand! So, first thing's first: lightly kill the tribble by exposing it to a hard vacuum. Where do you find that, you say? Why, pop it out the airlock, silly! You can use a Crewman Retention Tether to be sure it doesn't float away while it's dying. A few seconds should do it. Then reel it back in and get it back to the galley, stat! Those crewmen are hungry!

The best way to depilate your fuzzy little friend is to irradiate the carcass in the warp chamber. This is strictly against Starfleet regulations, but so it the consumption of alien life forms, so you're already through the looking glass! If you're on good terms with the engineer on duty, he/she should let you place the tribble in the warp chamber for a minute or two. (You'd better invite them to the party to avoid being reported for this transgression!) Irradiation should also serve to  brown the meat of the tribble. Who wants to eat an undercooked tribble? Illogical! During irradiation, if you feel your DNA getting altered, take a step or two away from the glowy parts.

Once the tribble hair is MIA, it's time to pulverize the innards by hitting it with a frying pan. Oh, fine - a SPACE frying pan. Set your frying pan to "creamy" and give the tribble a good whack or three. The consistency will be right when the tribble flattens slightly on a dish under one Earth gravity. No cheating by turning up the gravity!

Serve on a Romulan ceremonial speculum along with a tray of baked grain planks and you're ready to feed a Klingon horde! Just don't tell the captain what he's eating.


The Wonders of Our Science

Incoming scientific wonders. Brace for wonder. Three. Two. One. Wonder.
Joke #1 - "Uuh, ma'am, I think this fell out of you. I hope you're a robot."

Joke #2 - "Aww, bummer. Miss, I came here today to field test my new underwater babe detector and you just overloaded it. Soooo, how are you going to make it up to me? I said 'How are you going to make it up to me?' Hello?"

Joke #3 - "Yeah, I guess my Underwater Neutrino Collection Apparatus is pretty big. But you know what? I have an even bigger one at home..."

Joke #4 - "Found her, Ned. The detector say's she's the one. You call her parents and I'll start draining the pool. The Health Department's going to have a field day with this one."

Joke #5 is from Sue. Thanks, Sue! - "My lipstick tube is bigger than yours."

Joke #6 is from Phil Jr. Thanks PJ! - Carl was humiliated the night the fire department was called to 'extract' him from the intake port in the wall of his pool. Vowing never to experience such embarrassment again, Carl invented the AquaSuck 500, portable pleasure device. "Feels so real, I was clutching for the edge of the pool" said Eddie Hogan of Consumer Reports.

Joke #1 - "Yep. It stinks all right. And now my thermometer stinks too. Great."

Joke #2 - "Well, it could be a problem with the Limb Identifier, but apparently my foot is actually a misshapen, misplaced hand. Better play it safe and call the surgeon."

Joke #3 - "Yep! Still my right foot."

Joke #4 - "Well, now my shoes won't fit. What the hell was I thinking? Hold me down while I tear this thing off."

Joke #5 - "Well, it could be a problem with the Limb Identifier, but apparently my hand is actually a perfectly formed, misplaced foot. How the hell did I build the Limb Identifier with only one good hand?"

Joke #6 - "Hmm! Cankles in T-minus five years."

Joke #7 is from Phil Jr. Thanks PJ! - Pic 2: Dateline: Hollywood... Ever the trend-setter, Sarah Jessica Parker has a tachometer embedded in her face. 

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


Firth Carpet - The guilty party.

Have you ever moved into a house or apartment and gotten a full-scale attack of the heebie-jeebies because of the filthy magenta carpet, and then you notice, by looking through one of the larger holes, that there's perfectly good hardwood underneath? And then you growl to no on in particular "Double-you, tee, EFF? Why did someone do this?!" while your hands become shuddering claws of anger. Think carefully. We'll wait. No we won't. YES YOU HAVE. Thank Firth carpets.

*The Images and Scanning Them Brigade apologizes for the awkward shape of today's picture. It spanned the bottom third of a two-page spread. Also, they're sorry you have to stare up into the crotch of a magazine binding. Click through the picture for bigness.

As you read the copy in this ad, you get extra points for cutting off the ad's question before you even reach the end of the sentence. "Wouldn't you love to exch-NO! ..your old roo- NNNO! ... for thi- I SAID GDMFING  NO! PRICK!"

Actually, with a house this cool, it's hard to make it look bad. It'd look pretty nice even if you carpeted it with a zebra kill. The best Firth could do to play down the niceness of the wood floor was to make the picture tiny and black and white. Also, they put humans in the carpet picture, which I guess makes it seem nicer, if you're into that sort of thing. Whatever.

It's no scandal (yes it is) that carpet companies are the responsible parties for convincing people to roll soon-to-be-shitty carpet over their lustrous hardwood floors. That's the biz they're in. (No excuse.) Who can blame them? (Me, that's who.) It's got to be possible to understand why people would do this to a nice wood floor. Hardwood floors are nice. You can sand and refinish them when they get shabby in a decade or two. You can put rugs on them that look cool and move them around if you get tired of looking at them. So, why did so many sane (possibly) people carpet their wood floors? Let's dip our heads into the creepy mirror of Galadriel and see things that are, some things that were and, as Galadriel said, "some bullshit that probably happened once".

As far back as the powdered wig days, everybody had wood floors. At first, you wore your shoes everywhere because the wood was splintery and dirty. It's all there was. You could throw down a few beaver skins or straw mats, or expensive woven rugs if you were the type who was rich enough to own two powdered wigs, but basically you had no choice. Wood was it.

Even in the forties, lots of houses still had wood floors. Wall-to-wall carpet As weaving became less of a multi-wig owner's privilege, fancy woven things like bedspreads and area rugs became affordable. During the industrial revolution, giant mechanical looms replaced the Oriental Person and anyone with a month's salary to spare could have a few big rugs. By the fifties, it was practical to carpet your whole house, and so people did.  People liked the quieter sound of a fully carpeted room, and they liked the fuzzy feeling of a rug under bare feet. In 1958, reasonable carpet like this Firth broadloom was popular. A rug installed in the fifties was ready to be replaced in the late sixties, and shag became The Shit, because thin carpet is for squares, man. Within a few years, shag was no longer the shit with capital letters. It was just small "s" shit, also with no "the".

Now, hardwood floors are desirable, because in the age of carpet, few houses are built with hardwood floors. Hardwood is expensive. Under the carpet of most houses, you'll find a layer or two of CDX plywood. So, something that used to be a lame symbol of old-fashioned-ness has become a status symbol. Refinishing hardwood floors is messier, slower, and more expensive than just tacking down some new carpet, but things like that only add to the cache', right? RIGHT?

Look at this: The copy says that in 1985, a phone bill was around $14 a month. The handy inflation calculator says that comes out to $104 in today's money. Oof! And no roaming, caller ID, or data.


Cypress Coffee Room, Hotel Louis, Joliet, IL - Delightfully Dank.

If you're planning a trip to downtown Joliet  this summer - to see the christening of the new barge, or perhaps to visit an incarcerated family member at one of our extra-safe correctional facilities - why not stay at the luxurious Hotel Louis where you can "take a load off" at the Cypress Coffee Room?
Nestled in the "Basement Louis", the Cypress Coffee room awaits your tired feet and hungry tummy. We can accommodate parties from zero to  fifty guests who will have a hard time choosing what to order from our menu of Duncan Hines recommended foods, graciously provided by Duncan Hines Inc. If it comes as a powder in a box, we can make it!

Our new "nautical" decor sets an exotic mood. You'll think you're enjoying your brownie and Sanka on the shores of the I&M Canal itself, where love is always in the water! Ooh la la!

Ahoy, matey! Those signal pennants are ready to welcome any traveler's prow to the Cape of Good Times!

Thanks to our new art, you'll feel like dropping anchor in "relaxation lagoon"! You'll want to wander off into our painting, but don't. The watercolor is far too deep, ha ha!

If this summer is like most, you'll want to be the lucky patron to sit in "downdraft corner", where you can enjoy the frosty expulsions of our newly repaired rooftop air conditioner. Hey! Look at those ceiling tiles. You complained. We listened. Water damage all gone as of February!

Come and stay at the Hotel Louis and when you do, be sure to visit the Cypress Room, where sitting knows no bounds!

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Antiques Creepshow - Salty salt & pepper shakers.

We got something classy for you mugs today. The P.A.G. Yard Sale Assault Squad strayed a little off-mission recently, unearthing this classy set of salt and pepper shakers that look like lady parts, there. This ought swank up the joint, but good!

See? Let's say you're sittin' around a table, haven't some steak, talkin' about how youse guys gotta whack some bum, and the mood is kinda dark or somethin. So's you say "Jeez, there. My steak is kinda bland. I needs me some salt and or pepper there. I'll just... whoa! Boobs! Bab hah hah hah hahahahaha." Then all your pals go "Bah hah hah hah hahahaha" too, because the salt and pepper shakers look like boobs. Boom. Life of the party.

Go and buy 'em. Thirty bucks cheap. Why, I wouldn't punch a guy for thirty bucks. So, that makes one of those "must-have's" or whatever. Nice shakers, baby.
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Antiques Creepshow - Jester head spider.

Today's Antique Mall Gem is this whimsical disembodied jester head spider, which one lucky reader can take home at an unbeatable price.
This happy little fellow comes to us from the late 1920s, and is expertly crafted from cotton muslin and porcelain by the legendary jester makers of Gottingen, Germany. He has no body, but he will scuttle his way into your heart on his five pseudopodia, complete with real brass jingles!

Imagine your child's delight when he/she opens his/her birthday/holiday/confirmation/mitzvah/horror-day gift to reveal our lovable little jester, leering up at him/her with his green eyes and toothy grin. He/she will have endless hours of old-fashioned fun re-enacting the memorable runaway alien head scene from John Carpenter's 1982 film, The Thing.

Any parent would be proud to be able to give a gift of this old-world quality at any price. And, at the we're-not-jesting price of $120, why aren't you on the phone right now? International orders are bellisimo, with a $75 handling fee. Craftsmanship from a bygone age. 20th century whimsy. The staff here at P.A.G.say this adorable punchinello is "jest The Thing" for anyone's curio cabinet or child's room! Operator is standing by, on top of a very tall table!


Kentile Glendura - Breakfast, Mr Bond?

Ah! Double Oh Seven. I'm so glad you could join me for a light breakfast... before I disjoint you for a light break, fast!
I can tell by the look on your face that you enjoyed my little pun. I do so like to entertain my most uninvited guests before I dispose of them. And, I like to feed them strange futuristic foods, as well. Would you care for a "pop-tart", Mr. Bond? I think you'll find the filling most "straw-buried". Nya hah hah.

Yes, those are real plants, Mr. Bond. You may not have seen their like before. I hand-picked them and had them imported at great expense from a shop in Evanston. That's right. Evanston! What? You didn't know my reach extended so far? I think you'll find you underestimated me once again, Mr. Bond.

Please, sit down with me on the breakfast plinth and let us dicuss matters of global import. I think you'll find it's quite escape-proof. The steel railings are waist high, so don't bother trying to step over them. You cannot escape your grapefruit and Captain Crunch. You might as well accept your fate. I think you'll find the tartness of the grapefruit is excruciating when eaten with super-sweet Captain Crunch. You should have thought of that before you circumvented my security measures and killed so many of my guards!

I noticed that my men left you in a weakened state, and as a result you were dragging your feet as you entered. It's no use. My floors are Kentile Glendura, so they're quite scuff-resistant. Do your worst, Mr. Bond. The luxurious vinyl beauty will last for years.

Oh, but I see your coffee has grown cold from our dialogue, rich with subtext. I'll freshen your cup, just as soon as I turn around and reach for the coffee pot here on the stove, which you'll notice, is... Blast! Where's he gone? Guards! Find him!

You may have escaped for now, Double Oh Seven, but when I find you, I'll make you eat toast and jam soon after brushing your teeth. You'll no doubt be paralyzed by the clashing flavors and drop your toast upside down on my floor. No matter. It's Kentile Glendura.


Avon for Men('s daughters to buy them an easy gift).

This spring's new fragrances for men have just arrived for '67, and your daughter's father will appear to love it! Choose from several refreshing "scents" in bottles shaped like stuff! Let your daughter choose a shape from our catalog and in just six weeks you get to see how it smells, long after you've paid for it! Get ready for your man to smell affordable!
Avon introduces four wild new mostly different fragrances in glass shapes for fathers' day. "Gavel" is an exciting blend of Easy-Off and pine nuts in a glass hammer. Odor in the court, everyone!

"Tribute" evokes the musky history of Greece with it's evocative musk fundamental with just a hint of Easy-Off top notes for additional evocativity. Man the walls? First, woman the man!

"Mallard" is shaped like a duck! Send his mind reeling to the forest with the rich scent of Easy-Off! May contain Easy-Off.

"Western Choice" is our newest tribute to the manly world of cowboys and leather. Decanted from our glass steer horns, this thrilling mix of Easy-Off and some other things will have him coming 'round YOUR mountain when he comes!

*Interesting note. Photographing mirrored finishes usually requires the photographer to hide the camera. In this case, you can see the camera and tripod poking out from between two large white cards. You can see the highlight on the tripod's leg.


Military Short Wave - Tuning in dorkio.

Joke #1 - "Wow! TWINS, huh?. I think I'm staring to salute! Tell you what: I'll whisper the launch codes to you if you tell me what you're wearing."

Joke #2 - "Yeah, the colonel will let me borrow the tank any time I want. But I can only fit through the hatch of the Patton because my arms are so big. Why don't I come pick you two up in it and we can 'tune in Tokyo', just the three of us?"

Joke #3 - AOL customer service call center, 2009.

Joke #4 - "Yes, the sump pump is still running fine. Can I come back upstairs now? Over."

Joke #5 - "Huh? I thought it was YOUR turn to run the numbers station tonight! Hurry up! Go! Say twelve!"

Joke #6 "Oh, yah! We like to make the sexy talk also! Umm, I am poking you in bottom wit plate of strudel. How does feel?"

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


Little Ads - New garage sale fodder.

The Seventies have been walking around like they own the place again. Time to take them down a peg. AGAIN. Honestly, I don't know of a decade with a less justified opinion of itself. I wish we could just take it round back and shoot it. But then, we wouldn't have The Seventies to kick around any more. Start kicking.

Hello? Colonial Studios? I'd like a refund for my Instant Action Flame Gun. Just send the check to 258 Smoking Crater, Chicago, IL. If the street's blocked off, you can just hand the envelope to one of the ambulance drivers. They'll get it to me when my arms grow back. Thank you.

Tired of waving your feet in the air while you watch TV? Put the Trim Bike underneath your feet for an apparently functional workout. All your muscles are toned as you carry the Trim Bike out to the trash, or for an even better workout, to the recycling center across town.

U.S. report says 90% of tap water (in developing nations' toilets) is inferior or potentially harmful. New purifier unit scientifically removes chlorine, bacteria, bad taste, rust. Science refill cartridges available at extra cost. No maintenance or installation. Simply leave unopened product on porch and water becomes clean, using scientificness.


Ex-Lax - Psychological Shock.

You're probably sitting there in your internet-reading parlor thinking "My goodness me, but children of the past were so much resilient and emotionally stable than those of the present. They certainly could take the occasional mouthful of medicine with a stiff upper lip, by gum!" Well, prepare to drop your monocle into your sherry in slow motion.
Psychological shock, people! That's right! It was a constant threat to the children of 1952. What a bunch of.... One moment, readers. I've just been handed a note from the P.A.G. Historical Awareness Assault Force indicating that the ad is promoting Ex-Lax as a preferable alternative to the more traditional home remedy of castor oil. Incoming Wikipediation of castor oil in three, two, one, Wikipediation begins:

"Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically castor seed as the castor plant, Ricinus communis (Euphorbiaceae), is not a member of the bean family). Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or tasteThe United States Food and Drug Administration has categorized castor oil as "generally recognized as safe and effective" for over-the-counter use as a laxative, with its major site of action the small intestine.[14] Although it may be used for constipation, it is not a preferred treatment, because it can produce painful cramps and explosive diarrhea and its action can go on for hours, sometimes unpredictably and powerfully at inconvenient locations and during sleep.

Ah. Cramps and "explosive diarrhea". So, maybe the Ex-Lax guys were on to something after all. However, it is odd that castor oil allegedly has "mild or no odor or taste", when the mythology of cartoons would have us believe that it was the worst tasting thing you could put in your mouth.

Maybe the grossness comes from the thickness and oily texture? The taste of castor oil doesn't seem to be the worst of it's virtues. Explosive diarrhea would be enough to put me in counseling, though. I'm willing to concede the possible "psychological shock" of being woken from a sound sleep by blasting a deuce straight through your mattress and onto the bedroom floor.

Gosh. All this talk of deuces and the unannounced blasting of them has me kind of down. What about a cartoon with castor oil in it? Castor oil appearance at 7:06.

Some interesting things we can learn about the past, thanks to this cartoon:

-Any creature wearing women's bloomers, regardless of the observer's species relative to the creature in question, became an object of lust.

-It was customary to leave an infant at home unattended while the parent goes shopping. Babies that were insolent enough to leave their cribs during this unsupervised absence were punished.

-Castor oil, a medicine containing a physiologically active compound, was routinely administered as punishment to disobedient babies.

-Social stratification of urban animals resulted in psychological stress, which could be alleviated by violence and ridicule through musical performance.

-Any creature, when dressed as an infant, suffered a loss of strength and confidence, and was at the mercy of his/her peers.


Trim Jeans - Watch your dignity melt away.

When the Research Brigade dropped this ad on my desk, I couldn't believe my eyes. This journalist has seen a lot of bushwa, but the reality of Trim-Jeans hit me like Neo having a robotic tracking device pulled from his belly button. "Jesus Christ! That thing's real?!"
My cigar fell from my stunned mouth. I thought the Monty Python sketch was made up. Nope. They used the actual product, product name, and even the name of the Trim jeans spokesfraud, Jean Wennerstrom. I should have known the inflatable pants were real: Python was produced on a very slenderized budget and couldn't possibly afford to invent the props just for the show. Cripes, those limey teabags had a lot of moxie.

Here's the Python bit, below. The Spanish subtitles are a little gift for Cinco de Mayo. The P.A.G. Translation and Cultural Understanding Board assures me this means "Five of Mayonnaise". A rich and mysterious cultural tradition has moved one step closer to our understanding. I don't allow myself to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, because I lost a week's cash at a poker game in college when I used the Five of Mayonnaise. It still stings every May 5th.

There's a reason you don't find "slenderizing" products based on sweat any more. It's a lie. Water loss is not fat reduction. But don't spread it around, because the world will be a better place if stupid people are allowed to give away their money.

A few things to note:

-Graham Chapman makes a good Jean Wennerstrom, but his BBC costume department wig is not "ample" enough to measure up to the real deal.

-In the Trim-Jeans ad, the two women are, ironically, holding knitting needles, instruments which could spell the end of their slenderizing, through terminal decompression.

-Trim-Jeans were either definitely designed by a woman or definitely NOT designed by a woman, judging by the massive labial structures sculpted into the front side of the product.


Crucible Steel - Majestically mod.

Here's one thing I miss about the fifties. Also, it's a thing I miss about the sixties. Not that I lived through much of either, but I mean it would be nice to live in a time where art like this can still be found in - would you just shut up and let me get to the point?
Crucible Steel. We need steel, etc., etc. Yeah great. Nice illustration! This kind of drawing doesn't enjoy a name that falls easily to hand. Cubism? Sort of. Abstract Kookiness? No. Mod? Meh.

Something without a handy name becomes hard to research, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this kind of "midcentury modern" visual style grew out of the  cubism movement, which began in the early 1900's and had it's peak in the 1940s and 50s.
Cubism was the newest crazy thing anyone had ever seen, in 1912. Loads of people still can't stand it today. It's "too weird". There were a bunch of artists who got in on the ground floor, but the rock star of cubism was... say it with me... Pablo Picasso.

By the fifties, cubism was more widely accepted. After World War II, everyone wanted to forget the past and plan the new exciting future, free of Nazis and war (hah!). The postwar optimism led to the embrace of simple and geometric designs in furniture, art, and pretty much everything. If one wanted to dig through the psychological implications of it, you may speculate that the simplicity of "midecentury modern" expresses a desire to reclaim innocence and put aside the "ickyness" of WWII. One may also speculate all day and forget to eat lunch. Inference of this sort is fun because you can sound smart and nobody can prove you wrong. But, you can be proven a wanker.

The archetypal animation house of this style was UPA. Art dorks will know that name, but you other people I'll just call "normals" probably won't. UPA animated Mister Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing. Their work is beloved not so much for it's hilarity, but for the super cool look. You can spot it a mile away. Flat color. Clean lines. Simplicty with style and sophistication.
Gerald McBoing Boing can be a little hard to find, but if you have a copy of Hellboy on DVD, check the extras on the disk. You may have a couple GMcBB (as we used to call him [not really]) cartoons already.
So you may get the impression that all this kind of art is a thing of the past? Well, your impression is an idiot. Artists are still in love with the Mid Mod style. Don't believe me? The Increibles: BLAM! That'll learn ya.

There's also a guy Named Josh Agle who has built himself a crazy little empire doing paintings under the name of Shag. His stuff is colorful, wacky, and makes piles of cash off of the nostalgia of a fictionalized era when girls in cat glasses and capri pants danced with wolfmen at tiki parties. I wish I'd done that. (The empire thing, not danced in capri pants thing.)
So, in 1952, you could flip through a magazine and find an ad that looks all mod and kooky like this one for Crucible Steel. Now, the ad would show a loving father taking the affordable, strong training wheels off of his son's affordable, strong bicycle for the first time. What a load of BS.