2/5/16

Tinder, 1906.


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2/4/16

Dodge Phonograph - Like a record, baby.

You may have heard that, at one time, you could get a 16-RPM turntable installed in your car as a factory option. Here's a page from a Popular Mechanics preview of the new 1956 models from (among others) Dodge, showing their under-dash record player. Does it still count as a 16-RPM record when the car you're driving is spinning at an additional 2 RPM into a ditch because you were dicking around with the 16-RPM record while driving?

The unit was designed for 16-RPM records? What were those? They were 7" in diameter, which was the same size as a 45. However, the 16-RPM standard was generally monaural, and the slower playback speed of the program material brought with it the additional downside of decreased sound quality. This brings into question to Chrysler's name for the feature, "Highway Hi-Fi". Let's not forget that "Hi-Fi" is supposed to mean "high fidelity". Inferior quality, mono audio. That's some good marketing. Name it after the very thing it's farthest from.

More here from Wikipedia...


Some recording, (sic) such as books for the blind, were pressed at 16 2⁄3 rpm. Prestige Records released jazz records in this format in the late 1950s, for example two of their Miles Davis albums were paired together in this format. Peter Goldmark, the man who developed the 33 1⁄3 rpm record, developed the Highway Hi-Fi 16 2⁄3 rpm record to be played in Chrysler automobiles, but poor performance of the system and weak implementation by Chrysler and Columbia led to the demise of the 16 2⁄3 rpm records. Subsequently, the 16 2⁄3 rpm speed was used for narrated publications for the blind and visually impaired, and were never widely commercially available, although it was common to see new turntable models with a 16 rpm speed setting produced as late as the 1970s.

So, a format that found its biggest audience in the blind, offered as a feature in cars. No irony there. Maybe they should have marketed their Highway Hi-Fi to the hearing impaired, too? Wooooo! Take that, Chrysler of 1956!

According to Popular Mechanics according to Chrysler, you could change the record "without taking your eyes off the road". This may sound pretty stupid, but surely no less stupid than typing a quick SMS while driving, right?

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2/3/16

Royalcote Paneling - You got wood...sort of.

Valerie couldn't believe it was all theirs. Dozens of square feet of beautiful Royalcote textured Charcoal Brown paneling. It looked like wood. It sure felt like wood. That's because it was wood... wood dust compressed in a glue medium and printed with a simulated wood grain and embossed by high temperature hydraulic presses with an all-natural wood texture. Mmmmmmmm. Real wood. She and Gavin couldn't keep their eyes off of it - or their hands off each other.

She found Gavin in the rumpus room, as usual. He was sitting on the daybed, staring up in wonderment, just watching the paneling. He looked so peaceful... like a tree. She couldn't blame him. Their new Royalcote hardboard paneling had beauty that would last a housetime. "What value" she thought to herself, as she moved toward her other lasting value. Her man. She sat down beside him, and he gently leaned his manly weight against her. She felt her aura embrace his positive energy, and as the sun set outside, the lighting in the room didn't change at all, thanks to the flicker of fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. Together they watched the paneling, which they both knew they'd never regret and never, ever want to take down, thanks to its lasting real wood beauty. Whatever The Seventies brought their way, they'd make it through together. Valerie, Gavin, and their Royalcote paneling.

She whispered into the top of his hair, "Honey, let's do something else that we'll never regret. Let's invite the neighbors over for a foursome." Gavin's hair didn't move as he replied, as if he had been waiting for her to ask. "Groovy."

Won't you beautify your home with this PNG image of Valerie and Gavin? They share a transparent alpha background, and they're available now for a limited time, with easy financing terms of zero dollars a month for zero months. Let them watch your real wood for you, or maybe they can just watch you and the neighbors? They make one very graphic gift for quite an affordable price. Very groovy. You're welcome, baby.


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2/1/16

Kreml Hair Tonic - You will die of dandruff.

Wait. What? Dandruff causes baldness? This dandruff will be the death of us all!!! Thanks, Kreml! You got here just in time! And, do you have any tips to help prevent dandruff? What's that? Buy lots of Kreml! Thanks again! I love you, Kreml!


Dandruff causes baldness? Say what? If Willis had told me this, I would immediately demand "what he talkin' 'bout". But look at the ad. And yes, it is an ad, even though there's no product shot or logo to be seen anywhere. Very weird, but it's still an ad. So what gives? Well, if they omit any overt "addiness" from their ad, you may think it's an objective article. A very scummy thing to do, trying to trick people, but then that's advertising for you.

So what's with the science? This ad has lots of slides of really small things and mentions the names of sciency things like "bacilli", and "hair". So, it must be science, right? Let's check some science.

The Mayo Clinic is able to name some known causes of hair loss, such as heredity, hormonal changes, and - here's the really useful one - "medical conditions"! Thanks, The Mayo Clinic! You really burned the midnight oil to get to the bottom of that one! Bald guys, stop having medical conditions! Stop it, in the name of science!

However, having a laundry list of known causes is not the same as having a solution. Kreml would have us believe that if you see dandruff on your collar, you'll be bald soon. Nothing makes men's wallets fly open and spray money all over the place like conjuring the spectre of baldness and going "Woooooo! Baaaaaldneess!", while wiggling your fingers around in a creepy way. Cutting to the chase of the Kreml ad, it's all down to the villainous "bacilli". So what's "bacilli"? Well, it's a general term for any rod-shaped bacteria. That's not very specific, but it sounds more sciency if you say "bacilli" than "various bacteria". Thanks for the smoke screen, Kreml!

But that was 1953. Surely nobody's trying to make this argument here in The Future, are they? Let's ask Denorex, which I think wasthe name of the dragon in 1982's Dragonslayer...

While dandruff does not itself directly cause hair loss, the resultant irritation (itching, scratching, and rubbing) indirectly does exactly that.

Bullshit or science? Your haircut person will tell you that, when you're shampooing, work the lather up with the tips of your fingers, but not your fingernails. That's not proof, but it does make some kind of sense, unlike "lather, rinse, repeat", which is a shampoo directive designed to make you use up your shampoo twice as fast and nothing else. So, the mechanical agitation of scritching and scratching may make hairs fall out that were already preparing to jump ship... but dandruff is not known to cause baldness. A dry, itchy scalp will make you scratch your head, which will probably help any loose hairs fall out of your head. Dry skin is just one known cause of dandruff, and it will probably make you scratch your head. If you're going bald, dandruff won't make it happen faster. Those hairs would have fallen out in the shower anyway.

This is a very common logical fallacy: "correlation is not causation". To put it simply but more longfully, "things that happen at or near the same time do not necessarily cause each other" For example, "I observe  that men who are overweight like to wear Hawaiian shirts. Therefore, Hawaiian shirts cause obesity!" This is how superstitions get started.

Shockingly, Denorex, who stand to make money if you think dandruff causes baldness, would be very pleased if you associate dandruff with baldness. What about somebody with no horse in this race? WebMD doesn't get rich if you buy dandruff shampoo, but they can sometimes be a little iffy with their science, since they're quite happy to endorse pseudoscience by saying things like "Many people believe herbal treatments for erectile dysfunction are effective. Here is a list of those supplements". That's not science, so it pays to read WebMD with a critical eye. Disclaimer: I made that quote up as an example. WebMD did not say that, but it typifies their attitude about posting unproven folk remedies and anecdotal evidence.

But just for fun, What does WebMD say about dandruff and hair loss?

Thinning hair and dandruff don't share the same cause. Thinning hair is about your hair. Dandruff is about the skin on your scalp.
The way some guys treat hair loss can make their dandruff worse, says New York dermatologist Michele Green, MD.
Everyone sheds some hair, and men often notice it in the shower. Seeing their hair float toward the drain makes some men quit washing their hair, Green says. That's a mistake, especially if you're prone to dandruff.
"They feel like they lose more hair when they wash, so they stop, and that's not that healthy. In fact, it's just the opposite," she says. "If you have dandruff, you should be washing your hair every day or every other day."
Washing your hair makes little difference in the amount of hair you lose, says Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. If you avoid washing your hair for a few days, you'll see more hair in the shower when you finally do reach for the shampoo.
It's as if your hair loss is making up for lost time. "It falls out a bit if you wash every day and a lot if you wash every 3-4 days, because it accumulates on the days you don't wash," Benabio says.
The bottom line: Skipping the shampoo doesn't help your dandruff, and it doesn't slow hair loss. So you might as well lather up.
Hair Loss Medications and Dandruff
Green says minoxidil, which is used to treat thinning hair, can cause dandruff-like flaking as a side effect. The alcohol in minoxidil can dry out your scalp, and after a few months of treatment, dandruff may set in.

Hm! Pretty good summary, there, WebMD! Well done. Dandruff doesn't mean you're going bald, but it's still gross, and most people who look at you will think you're a greasy slob. So, wash your head.

Here's a crop of the picture from today's ad. The simulated dandruff (probably soap flakes or something so it would show up on camera) looks decidedly gross, but the lady is decidedly super-not-gross at all. She's a bit of all right! Maybe you can find some use for this picture? You never know. Better right click it into your hard drive's "images of personal grooming shame" folder just in case. Come on, don't pretend you don't have one. You're welcome!

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1/28/16

Whiskey kid.


Joke #1 - The kernel of genius was there, and soon Shirley would reignite the candle of fame. It was still early days yet, eventually she would hit upon the idea of getting drunk on rye and then slipping on just the skin of  a banana. Then, the world would never be the same.

Joke #2 -  "Well, you're in luck, because this is my last bottle of rye. That's six dollars, and remember: we got this prohibition on, so if anyone asks which four-year-old girl sold you this, you tell them to amscray, got it?"

Joke #3 - Some said that it was inappropriate for a four year old girl to take on such a responsibility, but those people just didn't know the depths of one child's love for her alcoholic gorilla.

Joke #4 - In the darkest days of the depression, many Americans looked to the hilarious antics of "Betsy, the Drunken Hobo Girl", to distract them from the fact that they were drunken hobos.

Joke #5 - Even during prohibition, truly determined children found safe places to play the beloved playground game of "hop-scotch".

Jeremy decided to stop by and show us how it's done. I am not worthy. Thanks for the schooling, J! - Joke #6 - No matter how carefully worked out the disguise, Al Capone could never stay underground for long.

Jeremy could not stop if he wanted to. Name-dropping such exotic boozes! So continental! Joke #7 - As she strode past the disbelieving store clerk, Lil' Theda prayed that the obvious fifth of Old Overholt would distract him from the 3 pint bottles of Jaeger she was smuggling in her diaper.

Andrew H send a little ray of happy sunshine with joke #8. Thanks, Andrew! - This was little orphan Brenda's last chance. Hopefully the scotch would end the beatings or at least Mr. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks would at last see that she was the more responsible one. As long as nothing got in her way, maybe, just maybe, that sun WOULD come out tomorrow!  The sun didn't come out tomorrow.

Beautiful bastard [lrf] Gets a big tip of the hat and a "Damn you. I wish I'd written that joke!" award for Joke #9 - None of the Marx Brothers were particularly good parents, but Harpo Jr. clearly had it the worst.


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

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1/27/16

Fleischmann's Yeast - Kids are bastards.

"Hey there, Pimply Face!" Shouts a gang of schoolmates, led by Mickey Rooney. It's just one chapter in the age-old heritage of Taunting Poetry, wielded by history's greatest engine of incisive wordplay, asshole schoolkids in the cartoon world of advertising.



In the season 5 episode of The Simpsons, "The Last Temptation of Homer", for one reason and another, Bart has to get orthopedic shoes and huge glasses. Sherri and Terri shout "Nice glasses, four-eyes!" Not to be outdone, Nelson Muntz adds "Yeah! Nice shoes... uuh... two-feet." Even Nelson is cleverer than The Mickster and his little gang of lads, who only have enough skill points allocated to their "poetry and brinksmanship" ability category to come up with "Hey there, Pimply face!" This is well for Pimply Face, since, as any kid will tell you, being cleverly mocked stings far worse than the ridicule of a mediocre mind.

Only a few minutes after the confrontation do you think of a real good zinger. Isn't it always thta way? "Never saw so many pimples on one 'map'." Oooo, if only he had thought to hit old Map face with that one a few minutes ago! Next time for sure!

How things change! Only a couple of weeks eating yeast pucks, and Tom's map pimples have cleared up to the point that Mickey now wants to have sex with him! Good for them!
It's a well-known fact that Advertising is not above using paranoia and shame to sell products in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds, as Douglas Adams would put it. Far from it. Making you scared of other people is a well-worn arrow in the quiver of marketing's geniuses, and acne is a pretty good fear button to push with that ever-pointy arrow.

But "yeast cakes"? Double-you tee eff are yeast cakes? Well, most references to the idea of eating yeast to fight acne date back to 1920 or so. Apparently, brewer's yeast had some antibacterial properties, and if you ate a "cake" of the stuff with every meal, people thought it would help. This Fleischmann's ad is careful not to offer any real science, only mentioning "waste poisons" in the blood. Brewer's yeast is said to smell really bad, and taste even worse, so this may have something to do with it falling out of favor in the acne battle.

But enough of that. Check out Mickey Rooney and his gang of sociopaths! Yes, every human springs into the world a mean little jerk, and only through decades of careful guidance may they be cajoled out of a life of total bastardness. School kids are bastards, and school kids in the stereotype-heavy land of advertising are evil bastards. Let's put this little troop of evil bastards to good use! get your rude finger ready to right click these little bastards onto your hard drive's digital reform school in three, two, one, RIGHTCLICKNOW!

You can print them out and use them to decorate your kids' school pictures, or to highlight that one special item on the grocery list! Anything that needs mocking, these evil bastards are ready to do your dirty work for you. You're welcome!