Old Crow - Still life with shopping bag.

Drinky Week continues here at P.A.G. (It's Thursday and I've just decided that.) Today's picture is an ad for Old Crow. Here's a link to a previous post with an Old Crow ad. We are faced with another mystery today. Why is there a plastic bag in the punch bowl?
Thanks to the entire peanut gallery for helping to solve the mystery of the Georgette de Lattre Gilbey's ad earlier this week. Turns out ours was not the only blog to have a hard time figuring out the signature.

So here's old crow, made into a punch, apparently with the critical addition of orange slices and a plastic shopping bag. Is the bag inflated with the breath of Foster Brooks perhaps? Is it poorly rendered miracle whip? Only the internet can tell. Please assist with the explaining, internet.

Less mysterious than the floating punch bowl anomaly is the inclusion of a pirate's accordion in the shot. I guess it helps the scene to be festive? I was pretty sure that specific type of accordion is a "concertina". Turns out I remembered correctly. After a few drinks, feel free to call it a "squeeze box". There is, however, never any excuse for saying "arr". That is the lamest piratey thing you can do. I bet no pirate ever said that.

If you really want to act like a pirate, take the high road and make some grog, which was originally just watered down rum. See, water would quickly go rancid on a ship at sea, and sailors mixed it with rum because the alcohol prevented putrification, preventing disease, if not sensibility. Too bad Old Crow is whiskey. Ah well. Not everything can come full circle.

    1 shot rum
    1 teaspoon sugar
         (preferably superfine)
    Squeeze of lime juice
    Cinnamon stick
    Boiling water

Stir all ingredients, adding enough boiling water to fill mug or glass.

Click for 1210x1600.

Not our usual watermark. Courtesy of Unknown Leaky Basement.


Reinventing the telephone.

Joke #1 - "...so, you get 2000 'AnyTime' minutes per month, at one dime every ten minutes, which comes to $200 per month. I'm sorry. I don't know about this 'data plan' you keep mentioning. Ready to sign?"

Joke #2 - "This new coin hopper plate is made from magnesium, which is twice the price of the steel unit, but does reduce the total weight by four ounces. This makes the phone more portable and reduces Catastrophic Pants Failure by nearly six percent."

Joke #3 - "I left a penny in here yesterday , Kent. Where is it? That tie looks like it cost a penny, Kent. Don't you think that's a little suspect... KENT?"

Joke #4 - "... and we'll have to redesign the entire coin mechanism, thanks to these new gigantic fifty dollar coins. Thank YOU, president Gingrich."

Joke #5 - "... And you lift the little door to shout a message to the recipient. Of course, the message becomes the sole property of Apple, along with the emotions that inspired the shouted message. And, they can never be copied or transferred, or repeated with the same phraseology in the same language, without the express written permission of Apple, Inc. Oh, the handset? That's for beating yourself if you think about wishing you could change your icons or something."

Click for huge.


Gilbey's Gin - With water. No lemon.

Gilbey's Gin took the high road in 1958 with this classy and fairly beautiful ad. It's a picture of the bottle. Fine. behind the bottle is a gorgeous painting of what seems to be New York City, or some similar place. (Sorry. I'm not super familiar with NY). To go further out on the limb, I'm going to guess it's a picture of Manhattan. If isn't Manhattan, Manhattan should sue Gilbey's for copyright infringement. Either way, Gilbey's wants you to start thinking about your New Year's drinking. Also something about Lincoln.
Anyway, gosh this is a nice painting. Interestingly, the artist (whom we'll ponder later) has forgone the classic blanket-of-snow winter holiday look in favor of the damp-pavement-and-clammy-fog kind of winter scene. That's what kind of weather we have in Chicago this Christmas. This makes for lots of glittery reflections of streetlights in the wet. Cleverly, the artist (whom we really are going to try and figure out later) has managed to include lots of color in the painting, despite it being a fairly dreary and gray kind of scene. Nice work.

You can really tell what kind of weather they're having in Manhattan (I think). The lines are interrupted with indistinct areas and all the lights have a bloom of white around them, which is what you'd see on a misty evening. You can look at the piece and think "Oh yeah. We had a night like that the other night."

All in all, I applaud the ad for not using the super corny Thomas Kinkade storybook cheese-fest type of art to sell product. This painting is complex, subtle and sophisticated, which, I'm sure the Gilbey's execs would insist is no coincidence.

The Research and Googling Brigade was unable to find out more about this artist. The signature seems clear enough, but  results were not encouraging. They searched on "Dohettre", "D. Hettre", "Hettre", and "Dehettre", with no joy. The letter after the D doesn't look like an E. It could be a period or something. If any Alert Readers can find some more information on the artist, the post will be updated and credit given to the cryptologist who can unravel the Dohettre mystery.

Here are some more wonderful events in the life of superchristian alcoholic and schmaltz artist Thomas Kinkade. Know what smells worse than urine on a plaster Disney figure? Hypocrisy. Enjoy.
Thomas Kinkade FBI investigation.
Thomas Kinkade arrested for drunk driving.
Thomas Kinkade Urinates on Winnie the Pooh figure at Disneyland hotel. He says God has guided his brush and his life for the past twenty years. Did God also guide his wiener when he marked Winnie the Pooh as his territory at Disneyland?
Thomas Kinkade heckles Siegfried & Roy (drunk) in Las Vegas.

Click for huge.


A Couple of Captions - Relationshippy.

Pictorial Review was an American women's magazine that ran from 1899 to 1937. Mostly, it was filled with beauty ads and romance novellas, which were illustrated by skilled painters whose work was limited to spot color upon publication. The art was reduced to two colors: black and something else. In this case, red or blue. Shockingly, these novellas were full of melodrama, like soap operas, and were very relationshippy. You don't need to read the stories. The pictures tell the whole story.

Editor's note - Unless I'm confusing my various gods, the man in the white suit has a Buddha on his safe. Or a peacock. It's hard to tell.

Joke #1 - "They say they're out of kung pao. Will curry chicken be okay? I said, will curry chicken be... oh, come on now."

Joke #2 - "I'm sorry. I lost the call. Either your son's division was annihilated, or it's just a Verizon outage. Cheer up. We'll find out in a few months either way, right?"

Joke #3 - "Yeah, she's shut down again. I think it's her power supply. What? Cycle power? Hang on. Where's the power button on this model? The right elbow? Okay, one sec."

Joke #4 - "Aw jeez. We were too late. They're out of iPhone 4s's. Will a Nokia do? Hey, come on, those support Flash..."

Joke #5 - "I'm sorry, Mrs. Pearson. He says the photos are already posted to the internet. There's no telling how many times they've been downloaded already. Well, that's what comes of intemperance, am I right? Silver lining time: He did ask if you've been working out more."

Click for hugeness.

Joke #1 - "Sooo, I leave town on business for a few days and you're in bed with crummy old George from across the street, eh? A fine wife you turned out to be. Nuts to you! How was he, by the way? Did you get him prag-nuts or whatever? No, wait I don't wanna know! I just hope you gave each other cooties!"

Joke #2 - "Aw gee, Suzy, ya don't have to blubber about it. If you won't marry me, then maybe I'll just marry George or somebody. I just gotta get my green card is all."

Joke #3 - "I'm sorry, Fergus. While you were away at camp, I.. I... borrowed your baseball glove, just for a second. I put it right back, but I just got.... I got 'girl' all over it. I'm ever so sorry!"

Joke #4 - "Fergus McGee, you forgot our anniversary, you rat! That's the fifth time this summer! This relationship is smothering me! You go tell the ice cream man to divorce us. I'm going home. Get me a grape popsicle."

Joke #5 - "Oh, I don't know, Fergus. It just feels like we're living in some ridiculous Normal Rockwell imitation world. Everyone has that stupid rigid posture and they make those inane faces. Everything is so exagger -oh,  for Christ sake,  you're doing it RIGHT NOW!"

Joke #6 comes from Comatoast. Thanks Coma! - "I'm sorry the other ladies threw you out of the book club. I for one would have loved to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Look why don't we crank call the Eldridges down the street? That always makes you feel better right? You want to ask them if the fridge is running or should I?"

Joke #7 springs from the mind of Anonymous. Thanks you, secret joke maker! - Listen Dan, I told you if you come to work dressed like that again, I'm gonna have to call security. That's NOT what they meant by "Casual Friday!"

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


Borden's Instant Coffee - Scary good coffee?

It's time to perpetuate the stereotype about the old auntie who disapproves of everything you do... with the help of Borden's instant coffee! Who's instant what? BORDEN'S. I guess they used to make it.
In this ad, a young bride teaches her frosty, patrician Aunt Bea (No, not that Aunt Bea.) a thing or two about instant coffee. Aunt Bea is so grateful at being A) tricked and B) taught a lesson that she gifts he niece with an elaborate magic amulet, which probably gives her a +12 bonus to turn undead ... something that, by the looks of Aunt Bea, will come in handy in a few months.

Now, the girl has two options. She can either keep and use the amulet - possibly against her own kin when the time comes - or destroy the amulet at an enchanting table. This would allow her to learn the "turn undead" enchantment and thereby have the option to create her own magic item of similar ability. Also,when she chooses to try making her own anti-mummy mojo, the resulting item may very well have a stronger bonus than the necklace from Aunt Bea, if her enchantment skill is high enough.

That is a gamble, though. By the time she finds out whether her home made Amulet of Turning  is better than the one she destroyed to learn the spell, she won't have a choice any more. The original (and possibly superior) item will be gone. This is why she should save her game before she disenchants the one from Aunty. If she does lack the skill to make a better one, she can just wait it out and level up. Eventually, she'll improve her enchantment skill and she'll be able to make a whup-ass mummy blaster for sure.

Let's see. Umm, where was I? Aunt Bea reminds me of robot magnate and general evil-doer Mom, from Futurama.
This coffee tastes like porpoise hork, you crap!

The picture of Aunt Bea in the last panel might be good for scaring children, so here's a Rude Finger Graphic Gift of her. Big and small. Left and right. Come and get 'em. She's a PNG with a transparent background, to help her fit into all sorts of emails or graphics. You're welcome.

And yes, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a wonderful game. Buy it for everyone you know and you'll never hear from them again. They'll be too busy making poison and poking dragons to call you.


Tom Thumb - An Exmess surprise.

Joke #1 - Hard-to-find gift for holiday 2011. "Super Out Ken." Comes with dance belt. Super Out Ken Honda Del Sol sold separately.

Joke #2 - "Mom, Santa left one of his weirdo elves behind again. I'll keep smiling at him. You get the swatter."

Joke #3 - Sasha found the wonderful toy drum she had asked for. It was her most wished-for gift, and here it was! She could hardly wait to play it. As she reached for it, her heart a-flutter, out popped a tiny, very festive elf! He bounced on the drum, and it went "boom boom boom!". The little elf seemed very happy with himself, and just wouldn't stop. Sasha became ever so disappointed, and decided that this wasn't worth it any more.

Joke #4 -The Christmas Elf flashmob, like all flashmobs, is fun only for the participants. The observers are just victims of the flashmobbers' self-indulgence. Don't become a statistic.

Joke #5 - "Oh, how delightful! A happy little elf! He's so jumpy! What else does he do? That's it? Oh, how.....delightful."

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

Click for hugeness.


Pillsbury Flour - A Quadruple X cooky!

Lots of art from the forties and fifties is viewed by us Future-dwellers with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia.  People drew differently back then, and everyone was naive back then, and nobody ever had sex until 1960. So, lots of what you find in old magazines is great. Then there's this monstrosity.
I'm sure Pillsbury intended us to be drawn right to the girls face when we turn the page. Well, mission accomplished. I nearly jumped out of my skin. This girl is unnerving. What's the secret filling in the cookies for chrissakes? Speed?

She's a terrible piece of art. She's amateurish and primitive, but not in that charming way that so much commercial art from the fifties is. She looks like she was drawn by a simply shitty artist. The sad part is, this person was a professional commercial artist who got paid perfectly good money to do it.  Somewhere there's a talented artist, flipping burgers for eight dollars an hour who would just dip his head in the fryer if he knew how much some hack got paid to paint this hideous troll-girl. Often, the people who make art decisions are, more or less, visually illiterate. Sad but true.

It's hard to tell what this ad is trying to sell. Flour? Mint wafers? Sugar? Sedatives? Well, it's flour they're selling. Trouble is, when you bite into a really good cookie, your first question is not "Wow! What kind of flour is this?" Here, the flour is trying to take credit for the cookie, and the cookie is basically a vehicle for another cookie baked inside of it. The recipe they're promoting  here is called a "Starlight Mint Surprise", which looks to be a chocolate mint cookie baked inside some dough-based cookie with a pecan or walnut on top. It's the Cyrano Debegerac of cookies, and it reminds me of a story about a friend of mine.

This guy I know once entered a robot into a science fair, back in grammar school. He took apart a toy robot, removing the torso, leaving only the motorized legs. He placed a coffee can over the top of it and called it a robot. The result was a pair of walking robot legs under a coffee can. You could summarize his invention this way: "Using  this robot and this coffee can, I can build a robot!" We find this endlessly funny to this day. I hope he doesn't mind that I told this story.

This is how the Pillsbury Starlight Mint Surprise seems to me. You've already got a perfectly good cookie. Sticking that inside a second cookie doesn't mean you invented a new cookie. Take away the chocolate mint wafer and what have you got? An empty coffee can.

And "cookie" is spelled with an I and E. What's a "cooky"? Pillsbury seems to get the plural spelling right. What's with these people?

There's a piece of trivia to discover. What do the Xs mean on the bag of flour? The answer is elusive (meaning it doesn't appear on the first page of Google search results). This one seems plausible. It pertains to confectioner's sugar, but could it also apply to flour? I bet it does...

"The Xs on the package of confectioners’ sugar indicates how finely it has been ground. Four X sugar is slightly finer than 3 x sugar, but the two different kinds can be sued interchangeably in the same recipe."

So, it's nothing to do with the sexiness of the flour... not that a finely ground flour can't be sexy. Maybe you're into that. That's fine. I don't know. Get off my back.


GE Toaster - Streamlined breakfast.

I have a toaster, and it's kind of shaped like this domey one from the December 1950 issue of Look magazine, but probably won't last as long as this one did. I have no proof. That's just a guess.

It's got that rounded streamlining that everything had in the forties and fifties. Plus, if you look at the bottom half - that dark brown plastic - I think that's bakelite I'm looking at.

Bakelite was a kind of early plastic that  was made from wood filler. It's production involved formaldehyde, and the process was smelly and kind of complicated, compared with that of plastic. Plastic kind of made Bakelite obsolete, which is part of the reason that old bakelite products are so collectible now: hardly anybody makes it any more.

There are still a few niche uses for it, though - mostly industrial applications where plastic just won't do. Why's that? Well, bakelite (sometimes called "phenolic" by old timers like my dad) has a few interesting properties that differ from plastic. Normal plastic melts at a fairly low temperature. Your stove will melt most standard plastics. But bakelite is a "thermoset polymer", which means that after it's initial liquid state, it hardens forever and can't be melted. Epoxy resin is another kind of thermoset resin that you may be familiar with. Once you mix the two tubes of goo, let no man nor god make them soft again. So let it be written! The curing process for epoxy can be sped up with heat. After curing, these materials can be destroyed with enough heat, of course, but they don't so much melt as simply burn. The top end of bakelite's thermal tolerance is not easy to find online. Elm industries says that phenolics can tolerate 450 degrees. They seem pretty geeky with the plastics and stuff, so I'll take their word for it. I do know that like most plastics, bakelite really really stinks when it burns, and probably causes neurorlroguical probelmkns and drain bamamge.

Carbon fiber is exciting high-tech stuff at the moment, so much so that auto manufacturers sometimes decorate their steering wheels and dash boards with it, even though it was developed as a structural material. So it once was with bakelite. Bakelite jewelry can be found at most antique stores, but don't expect it to be out on a shelf. You'll probably find it in a glass case, and it will be surprisingly expensive. Like I said, people collect the crap out of it.

Thermoset resins are useful for situations where you want something lighter than metal but with higher heat tolerance than plastic, and less likely to shatter than ceramic. So, parts for electrical components, brakes, and - ta da! - toasters are all common applications for bakelite. Want some? You can buy it in sheets here. It kind of looks like reddish brown wood, with the cross section having a finely layered look. It's weird stuff.

Anyway, the top of this ad shows a little cartoon Santa. Some weird decisions were made here. Why does his empty toy sack figure so prominently in panels two and three? It doesn't even appear in panel one. Judging by this little comic, I'd guess that GE were either selling sacks or chairs.

Photographing reflective objects presents its own challenges. You need to keep the camera from being seen in the surface. This toaster shot was nicely done. Knowing that the toaster would be shown against a white background, they surrounded it with white cards, so it wouldn't look weird. You can see the studio lights in the dark areas at the "corners" of the toaster. They arranged the white cards so that the lines of the toaster would be accentuated by the black reflections, to show off the swoopy shape. Where's the camera? Probably right between the two white panels near the front-facing corner of the toaster. Clever.

Graphic gift time. Here are the Santas from today's picture, presented to you in vivid JPEG  format lovingly compressed. The backgrounds are solid white, as opposed to transparent alpha channel, because tracing around all the trees would have been a pain. I'm not MADE of pen tools, people! Big and small. Left and right. Right click them onto your hard drive for easy Christmas e-card pasting in three, two, one...

881 x 1200
220 x 300

1200 x 901
300 x 225

1200 x 990
300 x 248

1200 x 1047
300 x 262


Fixed, until next time.

The Phil Are GO! I.T. and Swearing team has restored the structure, using some kind of crystals and jasmine tea. Cords were unplugged and re-plugged. Made up deities were invoked. Thanks to all nine of you who came to the broken site today. Your names will be written into the scrolls of The Good Ones. To all the rest of you who found something else on the internet to read: I would have done the same thing. In other news, the Pointy Tree Day cards should be arriving at your place of domicility round about now. Why aren't you staring at your mail box right now? Nothing interesting will appear here until tomorrow morning. Commence a-staring! [-Mgmt.]

Blogger's a genius. Fixed soon.

Well, because Google are the smartest guys on the planet, the PAG template has broken again. We'll have it back to normal tonight. Meanwhile, I wouldn't blame you if choose to read something else.


Lane Hope Chest - I cedar appeal, but kind of obsolete.

Gosh, what a serviceable-but-not-hilarious pun in today's title. You try and think of something clever. Shut up.

Growing up, we had a thing in our house that we just called "the cedar chest". Little did I know it was a "hope chest" - something I had heard of in old TV shows, but never understood. I never knew what a hope chest is until this morning when I threatened an unpaid intern with dismissal if he didn't look it up for me. Until today, all I knew about them is that they smell nice.
According to the "lazy person's knowledge source"... "hope chestdowry chestcedar chest, or glory box is a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life." I never knew that. I don't think there are many people who have these any more, at least not by the "hope chest" name. Back in 1950, the year of this ad, women didn't have - shall we say - many options. Marriage was just about everything they were expected to want, and the hope chest was the thing a girl used to store up her linens and stuff, in anticipation for the Big Day.

Now women can do lots of things, such as "have a career" and "leave the house". A hope chest is an anachronism, especially when you consider that things like bed sheets and towels are pretty standard wedding gifts, and don't need to be stashed away in long anticipation of marriage.

Hope/cedar chests are nearly always made of wood, with a lining of cedar. Why? Cedar wood contains cedar oil, which smells great to humans, but is gross to bugs and mold. So, if you surround your linens with cedar, they'll stay moist and delicious forever.
Click for hugeness.
Apart from that, cedar oil has been used historically in cosmetics and paints, but these days, we mostly use it for the smell. It's a pretty common ingredient in men's colognes. Ask the counter lady at the store for a men's scent with a "woody note", and you'll probably get something with cedar oil in it. If you're lucky, she may even spray it in your eyes as you approach her, and ask you if it's okay afterwards. Good luck finding the ingredients on the cologne's label, though. Any company that sells its juice for fifty bucks a bottle holds their cards close to the vest when it comes to telling you how they make it.

Incense often is made with cedar. You can burn cologne too, but doing so lacks the relaxed, long-burning control of incense. It tends to go up like gasoline. Plus, once you light it, you'll be adding the smell of your terror to the room's olfactory cocktail, and that is the world's worst cologne of all.

The Lane ad calls a cedar chest a "Love Gift". Double-you Tee Eff? You may give gifts to people you love, but you don't go calling it a Love Gift. That's creepy. You know who would do that. Rachel Dratch's and Will Ferrell's "Lovers" characters from Saturday Night Live, that's who.


Hudson's Cutaway - Like those "Castle" books, without the murder holes.

Today we bring you weary holiday shoppers a cutaway of the Hudson's department store in 1958 Detroit. Apparently, Hudson's used to be big stuff, rivaling Macy's for size and success. It was demolished in 1998, after spending some time in a state of abandonment. The drawing is by Michael Ramus, a career commercial artist who outlived the Hudson's building by seven years. His career consisted of work much like this, doing illustrations and paintings for LIFE and similar magazines. I don't want to think of how many hours it took him to finish this piece, or what it was like showing it to the editors of LIFE magazine for approval and revisions.
There's no viewing the detail without clicking through to the huge version. Incidentally, today's image is presented to you by the Images and Scanning Them department in extra-huge 8069x5492 dimensions. You may want to run out and buy a bigger monitor. Please enjoy scrolling around the picture to see all the whimsical little shoppers. Do not find waldo.

 Here's a photo of the Hudson's store in it's pre-implosion state. Much less rubbley. The idea of a massive department store where you can buy absolutely anything reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where Eric Idle buys a pet ant and names him Marcus. As he works his way through the store to find the pets department, he passes Carol Cleveland playing a woman shopping for a flamethrower.

Looking at the density of shoppers in this drawing makes me really glad I do all my Pointy Tree Day shopping on Asthmazon.

So what's there now? A parking facility. See? I wonder if Michael Ellis parks there.


Entry Hall - Tracy's friends.

Joke #1 - "Oh! Tracy, your friends are here for your birthday party! Why don't I make Rice Krispy treats while you all go play in the redrum... Whoops! I mean 'red room'!"

Joke #2 - "Oh! Tracy, your friends Tracy and Tracy are here to celebrate your birthdays." -A perfectly ordinary day in the sleepy little planned community of Serophene Hills.

Joke #3 - "Ah. Tracy, your two friends have arrived. How expected. And now you shall all move to the Celebration Chamber and remain perfectly still. I shall play a record of 18th Century Russian waltzes and prepare toast."

Joke #4 - "Hello, Mrs. Haffleflaff. We are here to play with your daughter Tracy. Is there anywhere unattended we can frolic together in a completely appropriate manner and do nothing unsettling?"

Joke #5 - *Sigh*. "Again? I said 'no' and I meant 'no'. What is it with you Mormons?"

Joke #6 - "Stairing" contest. (See what I did there?)

Joke #7 - "Ah! Tracy, your replacements are here. Let's hope they know how to behave. Your things are already in the car. You can exit through the back door. We don't want the neighbors to see your shame."

Joke #8 - "Ah! Tracy, your doubles are here. On my mark, all of you sprint from the house in opposite directions. I doubt the Campfire Girls sent three snipers. Let's show them how the Girl Scouts fight a cookie war."

Joke #9 - Carol let out a breath and relaxed. Although she hadn't invited them into the house yet, both girls had stepped across the threshold on their own. That was good. That meant they weren't vampires. But they could still be lycanthropes. Hmm. Her letter opener was made of silver, wasn't it? Wait. Silver was for zombies, right? No, definitely werewolves. Jeez, these Young Earther playdates were getting weird.

Joke #10 - "Ah! Tracy, why don't you come and greet your new best friends I found for you. Oh, do please come down from those stairs and stop being understandably freaked out."

Joke #11 - Girl 1: "Hello, ma'am. Do you have a daughter of similar approximate age? We are here for playing. Please enjoy these untainted lemon squares while we simply play." Girl 2: "Yes. Play."

Joke #12 - "Hm. That's odd. I don't remember ordering any creepy Stepford girls. Did you, Tracy? ...Tracy?"

Joke #13 - "Cheerio! Here's your parcel, ma'am, right as rain! No need to tip us. It's all in a day's work for United Poppet Services! Ta!"

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

Click for hugeness.