White's Cod Liver Oil - The singing fish.

This ad has almost no value for comedy. So sad. It's from the January 1940 issue of American Druggist, and as obscure trade magazines often are, it's pretty dry stuff. However, the drawings are worth the price of admission.

But first, why the hell do they keep throwing the word "ethical" around? It's used twice: "Here's a fast-moving ethical product..." and "this same high-powered ethical network". The research and Googling team couldn't find any evidence that it's some kind of code for "Christian-owned company" or anything. They only found a "nutritional supplement" company using the word as their name, but they don't sell evidence-based products, just superstitious woo. So, it will remain a mystery.

Anyway. Have some clip art. First, there's the singing fish, which is used to promote the White's army of salesmen as "face-to-face broadcast(ers)". My suspicion is that this tactic made their sales force seem more high-tech than a guy knocking on your door, tipping his fedora at you, which is probably what it actually was. Here's the singing fish at 1200 and 400 pixel widths, lightly contrasted and de-noised. If you're in a band, and your last name happens to be Fish, you're welcome. Meet your new business card.

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Here's the super-proud pharmacist, similarly cleaned up and with the "Rx" painted out, to make him less industry-specific. There. Your daily dose of Vitamin Graphic Gift is complete. You're welcome!

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Bellas Hess "Package" Price Rock Band - The Plastic "Oh No" Band.

Until this little gem was flopped onto my desk, I'd never heard of Missouri-based Bellas Hess, but apparently they were a big deal in 70's mail order, right up there with Sears, Monkey Wards and J.C. Penny. These were retailers that did their best to sell you everything your life could need. The more esoteric the thing, the more questionable the quality. So, if you were looking through the appliance section of your Sears Catalog, checking out blenders. Those were decent blenders. Names you heard of. If you flipped to the musical instrument section... heh heh. You'd see Sears brand trombones, intended for indulging parents who were (incredibly) willing to permanently buy the cheapest instrument they could find, to satisfy their kids' curiosity about music. Kids are fickle. Why get a real instrument if it would only be left out in the yard and be forgotten in two weeks, to become home to a family of ground squirrels?

On page 11 of this 1969 Bellas Hess catalog, enter the store brand rock band. We mustn't judge it harshly. This could have been the gateway gear for Dave Grohl or something, in which case we owe Bellas Hess a debt of gratitude. That said, let's get to work. We've got some harsh judging to do.

Woooo! Yeah! Rock on, man! Fuck the establishment! At least until my dad makes me mow the lawn! These lucky little rockers are apparently rocking inside a really big microwave oven. Either that, or their first gig is fighting the establishment in a clean room at the CDC. Talk about your "INFECTIOUS" rhythms! HAHAHAHAHAhahahahah! You're right. That's a good one.

I think the guys might want to put some more thought into their band name. You don't want people to lowball you on all your gigs. So, "NO ONE CAN 'BEAT' THIS PRICE" might send a message of cheapness, despite the savagely clever play on the word "beat". It's also a little wordy. Maybe consider "Vincent's Price", or "No One". That'll be a great "Who's on first?" gag every time someone asks about your band...

"Who's playing over in the flesh eating bacteria lab tonight?"

"No One".

"Okay. I'll cut out early and send in the decon team to hose out the room as long as it'll be empty and there won't be any mail order poser band in there or anything. We can start the new Hanta virus cultures in there first thing in the morning."

"Wait. I mean 'No One' is the name of..... meh. Whatever."

I'm not a guitarist, but I've seen lots of them do their thing (I've even spilled my drink on a few), and I'm not familiar with this chord. It seems to be played with the palm of the hand and the fingers of the left hand hovering over the strings. Hmm. Must be some kind of weird open tuning.

One of the things I always look for in my cymbal hardware is approximate verticality in the area of being roughly perpendicular to the floor, or, failing that, for the stands to at least be parallel with each other, if not to a plumb line dropped to the center of the Earth. The crash and hi-hat stands look very approximate with relative respect to several things. perhaps in future explorations, we will find a new center of the Earth for these stands to be parallel with a plumb line to.

Come to think of it, at such an un-BEAT-able price, you could afford to flip over to the hardware section and maybe order up a plumb bob while you're buying your rock and roll band.

Incidentally, these pants are also available in the Bellas Hess catalog, but you'll need to look in the housewares section under "table cloths".

The snare drum, pictured here to the left of the actual drummer, is, in traditional rock convention, placed between the drummer's knees, and played with the left hand (if the musician is right handed). No, wait. That's not fair. He's not an actual drummer.
Hey! What gives? Girls can't rock too? Bellas Hess, you just stopped being my one-stop-shop for all my sterile labaratory-rocking needs. I bid you good day. I SAID GOOD DAY!

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Camel Cigarettes - The pleasure lack of principles.

The Pleasure Principle is a term coined by Sigmund Freud that explains the counter intuitive and cryptic fact of life that humans generally seek pleasure and avoid pain. Or, put more simply, for those of you in the cheap seats, "Being happy means you're happy." Thanks, Freud. What would we do without you? Enjoy your cigar.

Seizing upon this groundbreaking insight, Camel came up with and ad built around this hard-hitting psychological syllogism (stay with me here): Any thing that you enjoy improves your disposition. Therefore, (Okay, ready for the home stretch?) smoke Camels, because you enjoy them, or you'll suck at your job and be fired. Shew! You may want to sit down and let that one sink in. What better time to enjoy a Camel than when you're taking a nice brain-break, trying to grasp a bullet-proof piece of earth-shaking philosophy? Thank you, Camels!

So, whatever gives you pleasure - projectile farting, drinking human blood, primal scream therapy, or simply pleasuring yourself - do it on the job, and you'll be a model employee.

Hey! Fun fact time. here are the causes of death for the four celebrity smokers in this ad:

Brian Keith, hair delicately balanced
on his head. Lung cancer, age 75.
He was mourned for years by his
TV children and loving toupee.

Rise Stevens, photographed at one of
her many cartoon mansions. Died of
being 99 years old, after surviving
many assaults with circus mallets
and precariously dangling safes.

Marguerite Higgins, apparently suffering
early symptoms of freaky tropical
disease "leishmaniasis" at time
of photo. Leishmaniasis, age 45.

Claire (?) L. Chennault, age 25 at
time of photo. Lung cancer, age 64.
Anyway, don't become a statistic. Smoke your camels, for your career's sake. Please enjoy the cautionary tale kind of clip art from today's ad. He's one crabby badger trying to balance his accounts with a Texas Instruments 99-4A. He's in such a funk, not even his human wife's famous funk-debunking elephant trunk roast can shake him out of it! And his 1920something-era telephone is ringing off the hook. Woodrow Wilson must have something really important to ask him. Better give that badger a Camel! Graphic Gift coming your way in three, two, one... GRAPHICGIFTCOMINGNOW!

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Arrow Ties - Some obsolete British slang to go with your obsolete tie.

Hey! You know how most of our slang comes from advertising? No? Correct! Nothing's squarer than an advertising executive trying to be cool, or - God help us - define coolness. Although they would dearly love to be the arbiters of cool, advertising can never be that. This perfectly innocent ad for Arrow ties is trying to get us to adopt some British slang from a previous century. Nice try.

If Arrow is to be believed, "wizard" and "pip-pip" mean "great" or "terrific". This is the first I'd ever heard of "wizard" being used as an adjective and "pip-pip", in my experience, has always been what an embarrassing Yankee says when he or she is trying to pull off a British accent of Dick Van Dyke-caliber, and failing to do so with a Dick Van Dyke level of cringeworthy lameness. Van Dyke was a perectly serviceable actor, but a vocal chameleon, he was not. To perform your own Dick Van Dyke-style British accent, just talk with a golf ball in your mouth.

I could find no evidence that "pip-pip" means "good". My actual paper copy of British English A to Zed has this to say about "pip" (and has no entry at all for "pip pip"... possibly because no British person ever actually used the phrase with sincerity.).

This makes sense with the dfinition I found at EffingPost.com: "Pip pip - Another out-dated expression meaning goodbye. Not used any more." The beeps or "pips" heard during a telephone call may have come to be used as a greeting or "goodbye". But this is my own conjecture based on some bits of information I found out, and should not be interpreted as historical fact.

I have heard "pip" used to describe a person, usually in cockney slang, as seen here at Merriam-Webster: "one extraordinary of its kind."

As for "wizard". This one seems like crazy talk. A quick Google search shows that it was used in the early scenes of the movie Juno:
FLASHBACK - Juno approaches a boy hidden by shadow. He's
sitting in an overstuffed chair. She slowly, clumsily lowers
herself onto his lap.
A 60's Brazilian track plays from a vintage record player.
WHISPERED VOICE Do you know how long I've wanted
JUNO Yeah.

I found this prehistoric blorg post from 2007, where Melora Koepke was predicting that soon all The Kids would be using "wizard" instead of "cool".

be warned, "Wizard!" may well be everywhere, soon. Move over, Napoleon Dynamite imitators: Juno is about to transform the teenage idiom once and for all!

Yep! Nope. It didn't. I enjoyed the snappy dialogue in Juno, but I forgot the "wizard" thing. First I've heard of it. What's my copy of British English A to Zed got to say about "wizard"?

Hm! I guess it does mean what Arrow says it means. It's just not sweeping the nation like Melora Koepke thought. "Wizard" has had its chance to become a thing since World War One-ish, and it just hasn't happened. However, it does show you how deep Diablo Cody dug for improbably kooky things for her characters to say when writing the script for Juno. Honest to blog.

Much to the chagrin of Advertising, I'm sure, you know where a lot of our slang and euphemism comes from? The Bible, Shakespeare, and the military. A LOT of the entries in my British English book cite military as the source of unconventional Briticisms. You can find that interesting all you want, but I wouldn't go so far as to thank Hitler.

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The Progress of Today, Tomorrow!

Simple home-made gas mask is probably worse than just breathing unknown gas.

Tiny scientist warns of coming of giant, hideous, staring eyeball.

New whimsical child launcher can be fitted with selection springs for ammunition of varying
weight. Less effective after projectile bedtime. Also, possibly immoral unless ammunition has
been really really naughty.


International Trucks - What can orange do for you?

Yesterday was absolute shit. One of the wheel-swallowing potholes, to be readily found around Chicgao at this time of year, went ahead and swallowed my wheel. Instant pinchflat of the non-repairable variety. It was 5:30 a.m. so it was still completely dark outside and pissing down 36 degree rain, so i limped the car to the nearest underpass to try and get out of the rain. Once there, I immediately saw that I'd be trying to change a tire in a basically flooded underpass with three inches of muddy ice water to kneel in. Once in place, the jack was half submerged, which meant that every time I turned the crank, my hands were underwater. On the plus side, the water soon began to feel warm to me, which was good and bad, because it actually hadn't changed temperature. Luckily, I didn't drop any of the lug nuts in the water and the pathetic temporary-use spare had the gas to hold up the car. Small favors. Abandoning any hopes of making it into the office, I hobbled the car back home and took a very long shower of raw flame, trying to regain the sensation in my hands. As you may guess, the next six hours of my day were spent sitting in the Customer Holding Pen of the tire place, three hundred dollars lighter, purchasing two new front tires (Because you always replace them in pairs. Everyone knows this.), one of which was covered by my "Chicago Pavement Chasm Insurance Optional Tire Policy That You're Stupid if you Don't Buy It" and NOT buying a new rim, because, by some stroke of luck, I hadn't destroyed the rim.

This morning, I re-attempted to drive on Chicago's highways, and so I was rewarded with a rock, kicked up by a semi, that shattered the quarter window on my driver's side. I promise I'm not making this up. Life is good.

Hey. Nice orange truck. It's funny how I find myself unable to think of anything funny to write just now. Please enjoy this truck on alpha. Or don't. See if I care.

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Postless post - Power Bar Flavors, assemble!

It's 36 degrees outside, which makes it Frisbee day. Instead of a post, please enjoy this post-that's-not-a-post: PowerBar flavors, new for your spring training regime! Some have been illustrated by the Phil are GO! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Squad, for your sanitation.

  • Wintergreen
  • Unscented
  • Mint Woodchuck
  • Vanilla Flopsweat
  • Wham-O Brand Silly Putty Surge
  • Gorilla
  • Pantene Fresh Rinse

  • Powerbar All-Fabric Safe Formulation
  • Molecule #9
  • Dual-Viscosity Blend
  • High-Mileage Care
  • Explosion of Bland

  • Flav-O-What?
  • Mouth Punch
  • Eat-U-Dare
  • Ham-Plosion

  • Buttberry
  • Food Simulant #6
  • Peanut Smear
  • Deep Musk
  • Flavo-No!
  • Squat Thrust Fistberry

  • Choco-Grunt
  • Locker Fresh
  • Bubble Snap Meatloaf
  • Grand Nut Buster
  • Nut Grand Buster
  • Busty Nut Grand
  • Oxy-Clam

  • Windex Swirl
  • Cheese Wow
  • Fruit Guess
  • Caramel No Really
  • Slow Droop

  • Waterproof Melon
  • Grape Laminate
  • Meat Plank
  • Strengh Grow
  • Let's Health!
  • Carb-Wish


Army Specialist School - learning is special when you're special.

All the Army wants to do is help you learn stuff. It's just a big trade school with a placement program called "The Korean War". Yeah yeah, whatever. We're here for the clip art.

Look at that happy gent, fixing that engine. "A secure and congenial way of life"? Zoom out the camera a little bit and you'll see he's in the middle of a jungle with bullets whizzing overhead. But the important thing is, he's happy to be learning in 1950. Here in The Future, he can still serve you. It just takes a little 'Shopping. here, let me get that for you.

See? Now he's ready to help you show the world what you're learning! As Schoolhouse Rock taught us, "Knowledge is power!" Print him out and fill in his knowledge square. For example:
  • Look what I'm learning: You've been cheating on me!
  • Look what I'm learning: The dog's in the downstairs freezer.
  • Look what I'm learning: We're out of coffee again, and it's your week to shop.
  • Look what I'm learning: I have chlamydia!
  • Look what I'm learning: I can do better than you.
  • Look what I'm learning: Engines are hard.
  • Look what I'm learning: "Secure and congenial" can mean lots of things.
  • Look what I'm learning: You snore like a wood chipper.
  • Look what I'm learning: No one cares about results as long as I look busy!
  • Look what I'm learning: Signaling lane changes is a sucker move.
  • Look what I'm learning: Majoring in business is basically majoring in "undecided".
  • Look what I'm learning: I can't feel my legs!
  • Look what I'm learning: You're STILL cheating on me, and now we both have chlamydia!


Inventions of Science for everyone! - The Future Was Now!

Marvellous stove has television built in. Wife chains sold separately.
Tractor cost just $50 to build, but looks like a million bucks 661 Pesos about $49.95!

Built in living room ranch of Art Rosatti of Rock Springs, Wy., well
immediately struck untapped reservoir of dog whiz, a nearly valueless
commodity on open market.