Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

I don't think anyone's really going to miss the end of 2020, do you? In retrospect, the omens were there for anyone to see, with so many people talking about it being the start of a "New Roaring 20s,"* and we all know how that turned out: the aftermath of the Great War introduced a spiritual nihilism, prohibition, the first sexual revolution, massive labor unrest, the rise of Marxism, the Great Depression, and finally—a decade later—a second world war that included the Holocaust and culminated in the introduction of nuclear weapons and the start of the Cold War. 

*Not to be confused with the TV series of the same name. We could have used Dorothy Provine this year.

And now here we are, one year later, and the first year of the new Roaring 20s has given us the worst twelve months since, what? 2001? 1968? 1941? It doesn't matter, I guess, except in degrees. It's like asking whether you'd rather have your skull smashed or your heart torn out. No matter which one you choose, it's gonna hurt. I know there are people out there who think 2021 will be a better year, and you can't blame them for that hope. Hey, I hope it's better, too. 

In a way, New Year's provides us with a choice, a fork in the road. One path continues the status quo, the other leads to something new, different, uncertain. Sure, this may be symbolic more than anything else; after all, you don't need to wait for a new year to start to make decisions about your future. Seeing that date 1/1 does make things so much easier, though.

The Monsters
I suppose this last essay of 2020 serves as something of a "best of" for the blog; over the past year, I've written several times about the foreboding nature of 2020, of those prescient movies and television shows that seem to reflect in their black-and-white images the nightmarish visions of today; paranoia, people ratting on their neighbors, the dehumanizing isolation into which so many have been fooled or forced. From 1984 to "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" we see it all unfolding before us. The scientists in the Outer Limits episode "The Architects of Fear" assumed they had the answer, if only the right question is asked, but found out that they knew nothing at all. It is, indeed, Apocalypse Theater, and every time you see this rerun on TV you wonder how it can be happining, whether or not this Great Reset is in fact a Great Betrayal, and you want to cry out, in David Shoemaker's words, You told us this was fake. You lied!   

Tomorrow at midnight, another year joins the pantheon of history, and there are those out there who think that we're headed for some kind of epiphany in which this brave new world will take care of everything. To say that I'm apprehensive about the future is an understatement; 2020 looks to me like it was just the prelude to a complete meltdown: soft totalitarianism, social credit systems, elections that don't count, unending constraints on basic social interaction, globalists who want to control what we can and can't think and say and believe, wars and rumors of war—from biological to civil—and you can't even face them with a smile, because nobody'll see it behind your mask. 

It only takes Two
But then, there are those two paths I talked about, and invariably the stories from Apocalypse Theater offer us that moment of choice, when disaster can be averted, when our leaders pull their fingers away from the button at the last moment. Perhaps, a la Jack Benny in the TV version of The Horn Blows at Midnight, we'll have a little angelic intervention on our behalf. And, of course, we haven't even begun to discuss that other popular genre, the post-apocalyptic story. In the Twilight Zone episode "Two," it is suggested that humans (in the form of Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery) can, after all, come together to create a hopeful future: true, that's only after the war has been fought, but at least there's a future, and that's something to hang on to. I always like to think that, in a twist on the old saying, where there's hope, there's life.

          There would have been a time for such a word.
          — Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
          Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
          To the last syllable of recorded time;
          And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
          The way to dusty death.

Tomorrow night we say "Good Riddance!" to 2020 and look forward to 2021, but we'd better be careful what we wish for.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

This is not an add for Coke, which produced the product, but Vendo, which made the machine that kept the product cold. What a wonderful, vivid ad, and a great way to wish a Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 24

Plymouth rocks! Seriously, there's just something very, very inviting about this ad. Perhaps it's the vividness of the colors, the red rug in the entryway, the wreath hanging on the front door and the red decorations hanging down from the walls. Maybe it's the arms laden with gifts on what probably is Christmas Eve. The holly inserted in various parts of the frame. Whatever, it's an evocative tableau—especially this year, when we're not supposed to travel or get together with family and friends or do any of the other things that reinforce our humanity and bring joy to others. Maybe next year—if they'll let us.

Monday, December 21, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 21

Anthropomorphized bears apart, I enjoy ads like this because they remind me of when we were allowed to socialize at Christmastime. Or any time of the year, for that matter.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 20

Ah, those were the days, back when we were allowed to have parties and get together with other households.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 19

Lamps on your Christmas tree? That's what they were called back then. Whatever they were called, I'll bet they looked great.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 17

I'm surprised we didn't have one of these when I was growing up! Looks like a friendly old soul, doens't he?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 15

Who'd turn away Santa when he comes bearing these kinds of gifts? And only a penny! Curtiss had some wonderful brands back in the day; Baby Ruth and Butterfinger are now manufactured by Ferrero.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Friday, December 11, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 10

For a kid, getting a catalog like this was almost as exciting as Christmas morning. Notice I said almost.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 9

 allow myself to indulge in Rice Krispie Treats a couple of times a year. Always had them as bars, though, never as a Christmas confection. I think it's time to start a new tradition!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 8

I don't  know how many of you remember what soakers were; they were like the Santa Soaker above, and kids took baths with them. You unscrewed the top and poured out the soap, and when it was empty, you kept it and played with it as a toy. I still have some of them from my youth; Top Cat, Alvin, Bullwinkle and the like. If I'd had a Santa, I'd have it on display right now, with the rest of our decorations.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 6

This is not a wonderful way to say "Merry Christmas." It is a wonderful way to get a concussion on Christmas morning.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 5

A festive ad for a festive assortment. I really like how these vivid colors just jump off the page.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

De Vincenzo 1968, Atlanta Motor Speedway 1978, Trump 2020?

As we see the issue with President Trump and the fraud over the Presidential Election, I am seeing parallels with two incidents, coincidentally in the State of Georgia, that this election has become.

In 1968, Roberto de Vincenzo lost the Masters on one of the strangest infractions ever seen in the game.  In the late stages of the tournament, the Argentine had par 4 on the 17th and playing partner Tommy Aaron wrote a bogey 5 on the scorecard.  The infraction would cost the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year (Royal Portrush) a playoff with Bob Goalby the next morning.

Ten years later, at the Dixie 500 NASCAR Cup Series event in Hampton (the current Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500), Richard Petty seemingly crossed the finish line first at the late-season race. But upon a review of the scorecards in an era before transponder scoring (used in the early 1990's), Donnie Allison had won after the scorer had missed a few laps Allison made when the car crossed the scoring station but his scorer and backup failed to register it on the pen and paper system where the scorer wrote numbers on the clock every time the car crossed the scoring line.  That infraction was caught by a 16-year old Brian France, the third-generation member of NASCAR's founding family and uncle of current NASCAR official Ben Kennedy.  The France family also successfully mediated a dispute between amateur and professional racers that gave us the national governing body of motorsport, the Automobile
Competition Committee of the United States, after the AAA Contest Board disbanded in the wake of the 24 Heures du Mans disaster in 1955.

They relate to the dispute that our President, Donald John Trump, is fighting over fraudulent votes.  The President is challenging the scorecard, unlike de Vincenzo in 1968,  as if television evidence shows he had made birdie (4) on the 15th and it was scored by his marker as a triple bogey (8), and a par on the 17th (4) was written as a bogey (5), and another par (4) on the 18th was written as a bogey (5).  It would be the equivalent of the 1978 NASCAR case if Biden had been given lap "dumps" where a scorer had pre-filled an entire 10-lap scorecard to make it seem Biden had made ten extra laps when he did not, and the chief scorer did not catch it.

The two hypothetical cases are similar to what actually happened in those years.  But the President, like he does in business, sees fraud at the business, he has to go into the fraud prevention bureau to report the case, then investigate what happened.  And in this case, we have massive fraud being conducted by the Left's choice cities in order to rig elections.  A shrink buster is being attacked by those who are doing the shrinking.  What coincidence do we have with normal business investigations?  We saw it drive down Enron and later take down Ahold (later swallowed by Delhaize).  The President has a country to save from urban elites that want a utopia from a third term of socialist leadership.  And he is doing a better job than de Vincenzo in 1968 to catch the fraud.

The 24 Days of Ad-vent, 2020: Day 2

Hey, we're all a little nuts around here, aren't we?

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The 24 Days of Ad-vent 2020: Day 1

Considering what a miserable year 2020 has been, and how things are likely to be even worse next year, I thought it appropriate to resurrect our annual "24 Days of Ad-vent," in which we look at vintage ads of the past. What better than retreating to the comforts of the past, after all? 

And since this year has probably driven us all to drink, what better way to kick things off than with the great Barbara Stanwyck plugging Royal Crown Cola. RC's still around; have yourself a bottle!

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