Westclox 1958 - Seasonal American Retail Atrocity Meelee Event option.

Two days from now is Seasonal American Retail Atrocity Meelee Event, our nation's proudest moment. I hope your special shopping cuirass and pauldrons are nicely decorated for the holidays. For those of you who lack the bloodlust for S.A.R.A.M.E., we bring you a Christmas shopping option. But first, enjoy some kooky mid-century typography and whimsical design, courtesy of our lovable, innocent pal, The Fifties.

Westclox manufactured a crap-ton of clocks over the decades, and apparently they made them pretty well. I have a little one in the kitchen in a kind of atomic style, that kind of looks like a bullet, or the nose cone of a rocket. It still works, and I think I paid $32 for it in an antique store. I should post a picture of it when I get home.

As more and more civilized humans are finding out, doing your Christmas shopping online is a fine way to get your shit done faster, easier, with no expended car-juice, and with a greatly reduced risk of getting your teeth knock out by a retail Visigoth. Why not hunker in your bunker checking out the offerings on Popular Auction Site? "What!?", you shout. "Give people old junk as a gift? What are you? Kidding me?" you say. Well, you have to choose the right person and put a little thought into it, but I have yet to have it come off as cheap or thoughtless. If you think about it, even an affordable desk clock is rarer than anything still in production. Plus, things were built better years ago, and from better materials, more often than not. Finding an antique for somebody takes a little more thought than  simply scooping stuff off the shelves of Target and into your cart. Plus, you can spend a lot of money on antiques, if you really really want to. A couple years ago, (in addition to a nice new present), I gave my sister a few nancy drew books and an old issue of Tiger Beat magazine with Saun Cassidy in it, whom she had a massive crush on when she was young. She got a huge laugh out of it.

Let's see if Popular Auction Site can find any of the little beauties from this Westclox ad...

Wow, there they are - all except for that square Andover model. I found a clock matcing that description, but it didn't look like the one in the ad. Whatever. Of course, the super cheap auctions generally mean the unit isn't working, but lots of them do seem to run. I won't bother posting links to these auctions, because, if my understanding of the linearity of time holds true, these auctions will be gone in a week or so. However, there are always more.

Or, you can go play some Brockian Ultra Cricket, go shopping like anormal person. If you survive, thanks for reading!


Dead End Dirt Track - Bloody brilliant.

The July 12, 1947 issue of Picture Post has this wto-page article about fifty or so boys who made a dirt track in a vacant lot, using the bombed-out church next door as a staging area and/or clubhouse. The ten-year-old version of myself is indescribably jealous of three things.

-There were like fifty kids in the vicinity interested in racing their bikes.
-They had unrestricted access to a vacant lot, and all the adventure it offered.
-They weren't hassled by The Pigs, or fretful helocopter mommies bent on raising their kids to be pansies.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, there was a farm near my street, and maybe five of us were able to mess around a bit in the fields. Sometimes we'd manage to make a dirt track of sorts, and that would be great for a couple of days, until the farmer came along and tilled the field, ruining our fun by using his land for it's intended purpose. Boo. The kids in this article? They had a huge lot to screw around with for months. So frikkin cool. And, they had a great bombed out church to use as a pit area. Bad. Ass. The fact that they all chose to have a house rule against functional brakes only magnifies their badassery.

Click on each image for an embiggened version, where you can actually read the text.

It looks like their track is on a bit of a hill, with one off-camber turn and an
uphill section. That's more interesting that just a flat course. The only way

I could think to improve it would be to make it a more interesting layout than
a siple oval. Something more like a road course, with a long straight and a twisty 
technical section in the infield. You know... more variety. This is not a complaint.


The big solo.

Joke #1 - A hush fell over the hall. Even forty years later, Charlie Brown could still knock 'em dead with his big "I got a rock" solo.

Joke #2 - And there, before the gathered dignitaries of a thousand warring nations and countless heads of state, history was made and peace was forged with just one brilliant armpit fart.

Joke #2 - "And now, ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be astonished, for in just a moment, I will make myself appear from out of thin air!"

Joke #4 - The controversial and very short-running Syrian production of The Vagina Monologues.

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

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Postless, but PTD Card.

Sorry for the postlessness today, citizens. However, nothing would salve the postless pain like a completely free no-strings-attached Pointy Tree Day Card. Just some kind of actual postal address to philarego@gmail.com and we'll put you on the we-don't-give-a-crap-how-naughty-or-nice list for when this year's cards get shipped out. You can use a clothes pin to mount it in the spokes of your bike, for that big motorcycle sound.

No operators are standing by, because that sounds like work, man!


1925 D.I.Y. Kite Reel - Stop wasting your child's time.

Large kite-flying reel practically flies kite without child supervision. Frees up child's precious time for more pressing matters such as plowing, darning, sowing, re-darning, reaping, haying, trunking, sawing, duckery, mudding, slopping, frothing, hacking, spaying, fruiting, neutering, castrating, fraying, bulling, reconnoitering, chickenry, frogging, bullocking, stowing, thackery, coopering, wheelwrighting, de-boning, masonry, butchering, binding, re-re-darning, cobbling, fencery, usuring, bear-baiting, geeking, vulcanizing, gooping, mousing, ratting, falconing, and hyena rebuffing.


Pepsi 1957 - The modern, light refreshment.

 Sodey pop. The key to weight loss! To hear Marketing tell it, "reduced" is the same thing as "light". Pepsi is the modern light refreshment!

The Phil Are GO! Research and Googling team was unable to find exact information on the caloric content of Pepsi's 1957 formulation. Nertz. That would have been an interesting read, considering the claims of today's ad.

Still, the basis of the claims here are that "if the calories are reduced, you should assume it's now a low-calorie food". By way of example, 99 is as close as makes no difference to 100, but is still technically less. Pepsi may have reduced the sugar in their recipe by 1% and still be able to make this claim without actually lying. Hoping you'll overlook this fact, and by breezing past the total absence of any useful caloric information, Pepsi presses women's insecurity button by implying that all women should be thin so they can serve as pleasant scenery for men to look at while appreciating trendy music. Nice!

Grammatical note: Maybe 5% of the American population understand the difference between "less" and "fewer". This is pretty commonly heard when discussing calories. "Less calories" is wrong. It should be "fewer calories", because "calories" is plural. If the subject were singular, it would be "less". Things that are counted on-by-one get the word "fewer". Things that are described with the same word if there's one or ten of them get "fewer". Here...

"fewer water"              "less water"
"fewer deer"               "less deer"
"fewer mistakes"        "less mistakes"
"fewer sandwiches"    "less sandwiches"
"fewer calories"         "less calories"
"fewer hours"           "less hours"

But, nobody really pays attention to language any more. Nobody will call you on it if you ignore this rule.

Artistic note: Here's something very common in painted ad art. Carefully chosen detail. The food on the plate gets a half-assed rendering, with only vague "yeah, whatever" gestures of smudgy detail. The Pepsi logo? Sharp as a tack, boy.

Musical note: What are these trendy hipsters listening to? Let's go in for a closer look...

Oooo! They've got the new Handy Ioidll record! That one's burning up the charts! It's so trendy! He's about to put it on right now!
Oh man! They've also got the new popular album by "Jazz". Those guys rock! Well, not exactly. Those guys totally jazz!
"Lot..." "H". We can only assume from this that the Pepsi drinkers will soon be listening to the new release from Lothar of the Hill People. Finally! This one approves!

Lothar of the Hill People, from when Mike Meyers was funny, and had not yet made The Love Guru.


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Lucky Strike - A first time for everything.

The Phil Are GO! Content Acquisition Team dropped this in my desk this morning. It is the least stupid and not insulting cigarette ad I have ever seen. There's no made up  pseudoscience about "your T zone", or bogus appeal to authority using smoking doctors. Of course, the ad isn't doing much, because there's just not much to be done, without lying to people. Picture of person. Picture of product, hoping you'll make the association and believe that if you use one you can get the other.

Of course, the idea of smoke ""tasting better" is a little weird, to the eyes of a non-smoker, but I suppose it can be true. "Better" is a comparative word, and therefore, subjective. It can't be proven or disproven.

But look at her, whoever she is, looking all "I don't need your stupid whatever you got". She doesn't make me want to pick up smoking, (especially when you think what her mouth must smell like) but she maybe makes me want to start my own auto repair business so I can tear out her page and put it on the wall next to the nail holding up the strap wrench.

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The Restaurant Sketch (Heinz Soups)

Joke #1 - "'Apple-Pay, sir? I am unfamiliar with this currency, sir. Our restaurant usually accepts currency in the form of 'money pay', sir."

Joke #2 - "The soup is marvelous tonight! Did the chef put an extra orphan in it?"

Joke #3 - "I am most dreadfully sorry, sir. It seems that our head chef has compromised your personal finance data and your accounts are now all wiped. Shall I tell our dish washing staff that sir will be assisting them this evening, sir?"

Joke #4 - "Just the soup for me, waiter. However, my wifedaughter will have another glass of air, if you please."

Joke #5 - "Sir, a rather large group of little rascals are asking to join you this evening, sir."

Joke #6 - "Sir, the three chefs send their best to your wife. Their message was rather stooge-like, I'm afraid. I believe it was 'nyang nyang' and 'woo woo woo woo woo', sir."

Joke #7 - "Very well, sir. And now, if you please, I must step aside, as I believe a gentleman... an 'Indianapolis Johnson' or some such... would like to crash through your table and mumble something about being 'too old for this' while a rather large gem skitters across the dance floor for some reason."

Joke #8 comes to us from Jim D, who reserved a table for twice as many people as actually showed up. Thanks a LOT, Jim! "No, I don't believe it . . . Taster's Choice, you say?"

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.]

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1935 Buick - Star style.

It's been a while since we've featured a decogasm here, what with all the goofy inventions and spurious ad copy to be ridiculed. Let's point our eye-holes at some bonkers luxury, shall we? It's time for a decogasm. get ready for your brain to make a gooey mess all over the inside of your skull. Behold this frikkin swanky ad for the 1935 Buick. Phwoooaaaah!

This ad comes to us from the March, 1935 issue of Fortune magazine, which, considering the year and target demo, was basically the daily read of Mister Monopoly, formerly "Rich Uncle Pennybags", renamed by Hasbro some time in the 2000s. I like the old name better.

Man, like that's a lot of pinanos. What do fifty-whatever pinanos even sound like? Why do you need fifty-whatever pinanos in a print ad anyway? Well, this ad was run in cross-promotion with a film, Gold Diggers of 1935, which was directed by Busby Berkeley. Aaaaaaaahh, that explains the kooky overproduction. If his name is unfamiliar, just understand that every "homage" or "retro" musical number you see in a music video or movie is more or less a sendup of the style of musical production made famous by Busby Berkeley. Madonna's Material Girl video and the goofy opening sequences to the Austin Powers movies? Those are tributes to the Busby Berkeley style. Rows and rows of kicking dancers. Curving staircases. Fountains. Maybe a couple of kitchen sinks.

Here's something you see a LOT of in old photograhps. They didn't have Photoshop, right? So, they'd de-ambiguize objects in dark shadows. The edge of the car's tire wasn't really clear in the original photo, so a photo retoucher went in with an airbrush (an actual airbrush, children!) and sprayed some medium gray over a round frisket, to define the edge of the tire. My brain doesn't care. I don't need to see the edge of the tire. I know tires are round, and the airbrushing leaps out at me as being distracting. But, it's an interesting part of techno-history.

I don't care about musicals, and cars this old don't really warm my blood, but the visual composition of each scene in this movie are beautiful. If I may go way out on a limb, it occurs to me that there's a modern movie with similar attention to the beauty of each scene as an artistic layout: The Matrix. That movie is a study in visual composition in the same way as Gold Diggers of 1935, at least to my eye. I kind of want to watch both movies in one weekend, just to find the edges of this theory of mine.You can watch the whole Gold Diggers movie on FaceTube - it's just chopped up into ten minute segments is all. Or you can stream it from Asthmazon, Google Play or Vudu, it seems. Here's the trailer. Now that I watch that, another though occurs. Women in these movies plucked the shit out of their eyebrows! It's a bad look. Ladies, men aren't into Sharpie eyebrows. Stop it.

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Micro-Fluff! - What the flock?

Critical career opportunity update now from 1961! Become a flocker! Big-profit orders come from neighbors, gift shops, stores of all kinds. Why aren't you flocking right now?

Flocking is the process of applying a velvety texture to things. First apply glue, then apply the fibers, usually via a "flocking gun" which uses compressed air to spray the fibers onto the glue. Now that you know, you absolutely should have gotten in on the ground floor of the super-lucrative flocking boom, back in '61. Everybody wants their stuff to be velvety. Every neighborhood needs a flok-krafter. (Every advertiser needs a dictionary.) Decorate jewelry, department store display cases, windows! Windows?

See how lucrative? See this guy who is probably Nels Irwin? He's been lucratized for sure... probably with the help of a lucratizing gun.

Oddly, this same picture was used to market other decorating kits:

  • Asbestos-All
  • Spectra-Shit
  • Ants! Ants! Ants!
  • Wonderdump
  • Motherflocker
  • Super-Spume
  • Fecal-Luxe
  • Lung-Fuzz
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CRITICAL SCUMBAG UPDATE! Alert reader Cyclotronboy has called me out, on my hideous failing to look into the fate of Nels Irwin. Usually, we'd do a "what ever happened to.." on a person, but today we dropped the ball. Apparently, Nels and a partner were sentenced to hard time in the slam, for mail fraud, in 1958...

According to the indictment each letter was mailed for the purpose of executing a scheme and artifice to obtain money by defrauding prospective purchasers of work-at-home mail order businesses. As charged in the indictment, the fraud was accomplished by omitting material facts and by making certain material representations which were false and known to be false, upon which representations the prospective purchasers were expected to rely.
On each of nine counts of which he was convicted (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11), Irwin was sentenced to imprisonment for three years, to run concurrently. On each of the remaining seven counts of which he was convicted (Nos. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 21), sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for four years, commencing at the termination of imprisonment. Kerns received concurrent nine-month sentences on each of the nine counts on which Irwin received three-year sentences. Kerns received a suspended sentence and probation, similar to that granted Irwin, on each of the remaining seven counts.

So, dear readers, we can safely assume that Nels spent some time in prison, probably getting butt-flocked. Boom! You didn't think I'd go south, but I sure did! Very south!


Pointy Tree Day Cards from ages past.

Just in case there is anyone who is on the fence about wanting this year's P.A.G! Pointy Tree Day Card, you absolutely do. Here are our award-winning designs (probably) from the last three years we've been making them. We just need a physical address, which won't be used for anything else. That would be too much work. Also, we don't have an advertising budget or advertising staff. We're not monsters, after all.

A couple of quick FAQs:

Q: Can I roll these up and smoke them?
A: Uh, I guess, inasmuch as they're paper, and combustible.

Q: Are these for real ads?
A: Yes. They're real ads that ran in real magazines, usually back in The Fifties. The images on the cards are unretouched. That would wreck the fun.

Q: What is it with you and smoking Santas?
A: They're funny. What's with you and not understanding regrettable irony?

Q: How do I know you're not going to use my address to come to my house and stalk me?
A: We've got enough to do already, thanks. If we wanted to watch people drive to the grocery store and argue with their spouse, we'd watch TLC or maybe Bravo. Boom!

Q: Really? Free? What's wrong with you?
A: Get back to work.

2011 front

2011 back

2012 front

2012 back

2013 front

2013 back


Little Ads - You want this stuff, somehow.

You know what? It's been a while since we've dropped in on our mouth-breathing, unemployable friend that's always asking to borrow a couple of bucks, The Seventies. Hey, The Seventies! How's it hanging? The cold sore's healing up pretty good. Whatcha got for us today? Blow our mind, man.

Foldaway Lap Desk. Good for Dad to write his book report. Getting up
not advisable. Also see our toilet chair building guide.

"Slipcover" makes an "unusually pretty" bookend or doorstop.
Protects brick from damage and weather. Reduces noise when brick
is thrown through windshield.

"Crystal" ball. Makes an interesting "conversation" piece, such as "What instructions does
Mini-Sauron have for you today?
" Can you see yourself in the future selling this for 25¢ at
a rummage sale? No way!

Let your husband know you'd marry him behind the Shakey's Pizza all
over again.