Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Psst...Part 3

You guessed it...still no DSL at home. This means no Daily Muffy, no site updates, no blogging, and no joy in Mudville. They say the problem should be resolved by Thursday. Do I believe them? Well, no.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Psst...Part 2

My home internet is still AWOL. I keep getting technical support people who say "sure, we'll fix it," but sound like they don't really mean it. So I may not be online in time for Christmas.

But oh, the stories about the new (as yet unnamed) apartment. Wait for pictures of Satan's Lazy Susan, which I unfortunately discovered in a kitchen cupboard...

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Just a quick note. Yes, I'm still alive. My phone is hooked up but my internet hasn't been activated yet. I am 90% moved into the new place. Here are the most immediate pros and cons:

Pro: Huge!

Con: Paper-thin partition between the two units, meaning I can hear every word on the other side, including the woman next door pampering her cat at 5:30am ("Who's a pretty girl? You! Brrrrrrruh!")

More news soon...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another Chef's Tip From President's Choice

When eating a high-class meal like the President's Choice "Pappardelle in Sausage Ragu" (ready in 6 minutes!), the master chefs provide this tip for making your dinner complete:
Serve with a dry red wine, such as a Valpolicella.
I'm serving MY frozen dinner with a can of Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke. A philistine, I am!

Living Space and Me: The Second Look

So I went next door to my new apartment with a few goals: clean the tub, replace the burned out bulbs, and move all the boxes of packed stuff out of my kitchen so I can start moving some bigger things.

It turns out I've never smelled the apartment on a warm day. The previous long-term tenant -- who I'll refer to as "Bad Guitar" -- allowed a scruffy stray cat to infiltrate the building, and the cat obviously spent a leisurely six years spraying its scent around the place. The basement is the worst, but it's also a bit whiffy in the kitchen and the livingroom.

So I started opening windows to air the place out, and lo and behold some of the windows are broken. Most of the screens have enormous holes in them...probably due to the cat again. Determined to fix at least one thing, I scrubbed the tub until my hand was numb. It was a valiant battle but the tub won. It appears permanently stained.

Standing outside -- directly between my old and new apartments -- I felt that feeling come over me. It's like an upside-down waterfall in my throat and a metal clamp around my head, a feeling of deep sorrow and panic that just comes over me in a huge, unstoppable wave. I stood there trying to figure out when I'd last felt like that, and then it came to me: I feel like this EVERY TIME I MOVE. It's a mix of emotions all bundled up: how will I manage this transition? What nasty surprise is lurking around the next corner? How's my cat going to feel about living in another cat's stink? Will the landlords fix the things that need fixing?

And under that, a feeling even more childish and irrational than all the rest: is my old apartment sad because I'm leaving? Am I being ungrateful? Will it be lonely?

I recognize that attributing human emotions to a building is a little neurotic. Stupid things strike me as sad and poignant when I'm feeling trapped, panicky, or vulnerable. I was literally standing there looking at the light through my kitchen doorway, wanting to burst into tears and comfort the old building all at the same time. I was in a deep funk, and not a Bootsy Collins kind of funk. A deep blue funk.

Fortunately my mother called and said that she always felt the same way when she moved, except for that last part about imagining that my apartment is crying, of course. Her advice and comments were wonderful, uplifting, and realistic:
  1. Hire a MollyMaid for three hours to go over the bathroom and the kitchen. I'll try to do this tomorrow.
  2. Ask the landlord to fix the windows, screens, and bathtub. The fact that his son backed into my mother's car yesterday may give me some leverage.
  3. Go to a pet store and ask about cat-spray neutralizer.
  4. Paint. This is hard because I've never painted, I don't know how to begin, and I don't want to delay moving all my stuff over (since we have no heat here).
  5. Get some rugs and curtains.
  6. Recognize that feeling displaced is probably a normal thing to feel when moving.
So I'm back on track. Maybe this advice is just plain common knowledge, but I tend to get so wrapped up in panicky predictions that I overlook the obvious.

Besides, I've always wanted a maid, even for just a few hours!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

SOMEBODY Has Been In the Back Room

Annie Drogyny send me this video, stating that she's the blonde one and I'm the brunette. As incorrect as I think that is in so many ways, it's still an interesting -- though sort of surface-only -- look at the "ugly" side of drag queen dynamics. It's "Sing Me Spanish Techno" by The New Pornographers.

I WAS hoping for a raunchy sex scene -- that would certainly wake them up at MuchMusic (or whatever it's called nowadays -- but instead we got a pretty accurate time compression of:
  1. Drag mother adopts drag daughter in a sort of possessive way.
  2. Drag daughter does her best to upstage drag mother (that isn't really played out in the video, maybe the daughter is just supposed to be doing her best).
  3. Drag mother silently resents drag daughter.
  4. Drag daughter moves on.
In my defense, I don't think I've ever actually HAD a drag daughter. Drag PEERS yes, but I've never taken anybody home and -- for example -- pulled my feathery top off my shoulders and plucked their eyebrows. It's too much trouble and it's sort of like having a who borrows your clothes.

And I don't think I've ever resented anybody because I thought they were BETTER than me...there are lots of people out there who are better than me and I honestly wish them luck (if they're good people!)

What the video DOESN'T show -- after this petty drama -- is the endless back-and-forth wrangling as the two of them vie for control over a tiny piece of drag-land. The piece of drag-land is usually pretty crappy, but in the tunnel vision world of drag performance all that matters is that you've got it.

As an aside, I enjoyed the display of two very typical styles of drag performance: the "I'm so jaded and sly" style and the "wacky wide-eyed, wide-mouthed" style. Though this may also have something to do with the way certain men look in makeup...since drag is about exaggeration, usually the most prominent facial features get blown up in a sort of monstrous way. If you've got a big mouth, it looks even bigger in lipstick, and even BIGGER if you're doing an over-the-top lip-sync of The New Pornographers.

PS: If this post is odd it's because I was listening to "Shorty Blackwell" by The Monkees. It's Mickey Dolenz's attempt at topping Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. You can imagine what THAT sounds like.

Living Space and Me

When it comes to living requirements I need two basic things: peace and space. I don't really care if my apartment is dusty or not, or if it has a nice colour scheme, or if the decor is...well, even a decor.

Today I got my first good look at the apartment I'm moving into and it certainly has space. More space than I remembered, in fact. When it came to choosing either unit A or unit B in the duplex, I chose "space" over "nicely renovated."

So now I take a closer look and, yes, there are some things that make me go "yich!" Despite the lack of cleaning by the previous tenants -- there's a crust of grunge in the bottom of the bathtub, most noticably, which my mother recoiled from in terror -- there are other things that I find myself being a little sad about. The bedroom painted in garish, childish blue and green, for instance. The loose bannisters. The ghost of cat urine still haunting the basement. The fact that both doors have wobbly fixtures and are difficult to open.

Still, though, it's MY new space. Will it be peaceful? I guess I'll know when the new tenant moves into unit A. And I'll really be able to judge when I have some furniture in there, and when I've wiped up the dust and cleaned the toothpaste off the mirrors.

Question #2: Will I be "house proud" in my new apartment? I'm feeling twinges of "house-proudness" at the moment -- as evidenced by my wondering what people will think of my shabby door and my garishly-painted bedroom -- but in the past this instinct for dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning has occupied a far-distant "last place" in my mind, behind all the other things I do in my life. And when I HAVE gotten house-proud in the past it's only lasted a week or so, before some percieved calamity has inspired me to retreat back into a purely functional (and avoidant) routine.

The difference here might be that I have SPACE to put the huge mountains of "stuff" that I've acquired over the years (and that I regrettably have to move during the next few days). If I can partition my life and still have a few square feet of visible floor, maybe I can form a routine of prettifying.

All in all, though, I think I'm in a pensive state of mind because our furnace broke again last night. My days are running out in this building -- and I still have a lot of packing to do -- but it looks like they'll be cold ones. And the fact that somebody backed into my mom's car in the parking lot sort of put a damper on the "first look."

But I'm hopeful! We'll see...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holy Cow! Lysol!

I remember running across this in an old movie magazine a few years ago, but here it is again in The New Yorker, February 19, 1927: explains things so much better than I can.

There is much misinformation about feminine hygiene -- a subject so vital to health and happiness that it behooves every woman to beware of unprofessional advice and to learn the facts.

As a contribution to the proper understanding and practice of scientific bodily care the makers of "Lysol" Disinfectant offer a booklet which gives the facts -- frankly, explicitly and reliably. Its name is "The Scientific Side of Health and Youth" and its author is a woman physician who has combined sympathetic appreciation of woman's intimate problems with professional knowledge and experience...
Lysol didn't make a special "douche formula," they just wrote a booklet telling women how to spray a household cleaner into their vaginas. And what's IN that household cleaner? This book from 1936 gives you the details, and also provides some horror stories about its use:
It consists essentially of cresol, a distillate of wood and coal, which has been made soluble in water by treating it with soap. Cresol was discovered through the attempts of scientists to find a substance which would not be so poisonous as carbolic acid and yet as effective in killing germs. It is now recognized to be almost, if not equally, as dangerous as carbolic acid itself; swallowing Lysol has come to be a common -- but extremely painful -- means of committing suicide.
No wonder the kid in the picture looks so scared.

For another great Lysol douche ad -- a "love-quiz" that looks like it's from the late '30s -- click here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

X-Ray Hair Removal

Right now I'm reading "Inventing Modern" by John H. Lienhard. It's a sort of personal, semi-autobiographical overview of the way technological advancements -- steam power, balloon-frame houses, elevators, X-rays, relativity, quantum physics -- brought "modern" into social consciousness in the 20th century.

While tracing the American fixation with everything "modern" during the first half of the century, Lienhard lets drop tidbits about inventions and concepts that flourished but failed, either because they were supplanted by new technologies -- cattle drives, the Pony Express -- or because they turned out to be very, very dangerous.

These stories make me sit up and say "holy cow!" Maybe he didn't intend to write a book of nifty factoids, but I sure am saying "holy cow!" a lot.

Holy Cow...The Tricho!

Apparently everybody was ga-ga about X-rays at the turn of the century, in the same way they would be ga-ga about atomic energy before VJ-Day. These X-rays could SEE THROUGH stuff! A doctor could look at the inside of your body...without opening it up first!

This was a miracle, but people just had no idea how dangerous X-rays were. We sometimes hear about the X-ray machines that children utilized to make sure their shoes fit in shoe stores, but I've never before heard of...THE TRICHO.

We all know that large doses of radiation will make your hair fall out. So why not use it as a method of hair removal? From the '20s to the mid-'40s, women went for multiple sessions at the Tricho machine. They'd sit with their chins up against X-ray emitters and get bombarded with radiation for four minutes at a time.

Their facial hair fell out, of course...but, as one website puts it:
...[it] also eventually resulted in wrinkling, atrophy, white or brown fibrous splotches, keratoses, ulcerations, carcinoma, and death for many clients.
Even after the dangers became known and the government shut down the machines, women continued to go to secret Tricho was so effective they didn't seem to care that they'd be disfigured in 3 or 4 years. And what's more, people just loved X-rays because they were so scientific and modern.

That didn't stop them from dying, however. Apprently:
By 1970, one study estimated that over one-third of all radiation-induced cancer in women over a 46-year period could be traced to x-ray hair removal.
What eventually stopped the fad? According to doctors who coined the term "American Hiroshima Maiden Syndrome," women were turned off the Tricho by grotesque images of atom bomb survivors. Suddenly radiation wasn't so harmless anymore. So another science fad bit the dust.

The most comprehensive Tricho page I've found online is at the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices...just in case you want to learn more.

A Fourth for Bridge (Not to Mention a Second and Third)

Ever since I saw images of well-dressed suburban '50s couples getting tipsy and playing Bridge I've wanted to join in the fun. The problem is that very few people play bridge anymore, and those that do are deadly serious about it.

Imagine my surprise and delight to learn that three people I work with have been dying to play bridge again...but they didn't have a fourth! I said I'd be happy to play, with the caveat that I've never played before and never got past chapter two of the "how to play bridge" book. They said that's okay. I said maybe we should hold off until I've read the REST of the book, and they said no, they'll teach me. I said I've never played any "trick" card games in my life. They said that's okay.

I sort of feel like I'm entering a Scrabble championship without knowing how to spell, but it's all about bettering myself. Right? RIGHT?

As an aside I notice that I've lost some basic English knowledge while writing these blog entries. I'm occasionally confusing my homonyms and not realizing it until later. Maybe it's because I'm trying to write quickly, or because my job involves writing all day and I'm fatigued when I get home. Or maybe I have a degenerative brain disease.

As a further aside my work has already directly affected my writing. 8 months of writing manuals has broken me of most of the habits I spent decades reinforcing. It's a struggle now to type "colour" instead of "color." I automatically use the Oxford comma and use only one space after a period. I'm becoming a drone.

Monday, December 11, 2006

H. Jaeckel & Sons Still Stalking the Ladies

A few months ago I posted two 1926 adverts from H. Jaeckel & Sons featuring women being stalked by men who looked like American Psychos.

To their credit I've seen about three more of their ads, and none of them follow that particular plotline. This one I found in the February 12, 1927 issue may not be about stalking either -- maybe that guy's her husband, who was also lured out by the balm of spring -- but here it is anyway, just to be cautious:
It won't be long before the balm of Spring will lure one to the morning constitutional. Our cloth coats for the morning walk are a pace in advance of everyday fashions.
On an unrelated note I think the dog's on amphetamines.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What's the Story with Torchwood?

I had high hopes for the "Torchwood" TV series. A spin-off featuring Captain Jack Harkness, a character who shone so brightly during the first season of the revived Doctor Who? A crime/mystery drama with ramped-up sex and violence? Lots of actors and actresses with those exotic Welsh accents?

Sadly Torchwood arrives with a millstone already around its neck; not only is it suffering from conflicting aims of being both SIMILAR to Doctor Who (to keep the fans) but still very DIFFERENT from Doctor Who (to appease those of us looking for something a bit grittier)'s also suffering from the continued presence of Russell T. Davies. The man's brilliant, but let's just say that somebody needs to put a leash on him. And on David Tenant too, incidentally.

Anyway, I watched the first two episodes of "Torchwood" and was bitterly disappointed. John Barrowman just isn't a strong enough actor to carry Captain Jack beyond brave/hunky/funny sidekick. The "Torchwood" base of operations looks too much like a Scooby Doo hideout (c'mon guys, a GIANT FAKE-LOOKING GEAR for a doorway?). The sex-and-violence seems awkwardly inserted, as though we were watching a children's script re-written so that everybody has at least one bisexual encounter an episode...just 'cause! It DOES look like a children's program, and tends to be even more childish that anything in the first season of the new Who.

But tonight I decided to give the third episode a try. And while it's still sloppy and amateur, and while I still cringe hearing Captain Jack wax philosophical, I have to say it's beginning to draw me in. Maybe this is the blessing/curse of a Russell T. Davies project: you need to watch at least three episodes before you realize you're actually starting to CARE. I thought Eccleston was a goof until "Dalek."

What's more, this episode has the first Torchwood scene that's managed to genuinely surprise and shock me, and which shows that Eve Myles can really act when she's given a proper scene to act IN. Oh, the blood.

So if anybody out there turned off after the second episode (and I know at least one person who turned off halfway through the FIRST), I encourage you to at least stick it out for a few more. Maybe they'll end up sucking horribly, but I see glimmers of potential genius in the background...

What's the Story With Robert Coover?

Up until university I read a steady diet of pulp horror anthologies. There was probably more variety to my reading than that, but if there was I don't remember it.

Then I took English 101 -- "The Short Story" -- and read Robert Coover's "The Magic Poker." To say "it changed my life!" would be an overstatement but it certainly changed the way I looked at writing, fiction, plotting, and perception. It's still one of my favourite stories, and Coover is still one of my favourite authors.

He has a few different gimmicks that show up in most of his books. Some of them ("Pinnochio in Venice," "The Adventures of Lucky Pierre") are about selfish, unpleasant men who start off in a bad situation which just continues to get worse; the protagonist never repents, is never redeemed, and never reaches that moment of self-understanding that plots like that demand. Other books ("John's Wife," "Gerald's Party") revolve around a kaleidoscope of diverse characters, all stuck in a never-ending situation that is horrifying and nightmarish but which they never seem to really acknowledge. They're like people in fever dreams, wanting to accomplish some task but being constantly thwarted in ridiculous ways.

From the Coover books commonly available you'd get the impression that he started off straight-forward ("The Origin of the Brunists"), then began experimenting ("The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop"), then jumped completely into postmodern la-la land ("The Public Burning," wherein Uncle Sam fights the forces of The Phantom, with klutzy Richard Nixon and the unfortunate Rosenbergs caught in the middle. And Nixon turns into a dog).

But a few of his books are notably missing from today's "Coover canon" and they're damn hard to find. Right now I'm reading one of those hard-won missing novels -- "Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears?" -- which he wrote in between two of his wildest works. I expected scatological craziness, fever dreams, spiral plots, and unpleasant men having graphic sex with pudgy women.

Instead I've got a sad, pensive, totally normal book about the union movements of the late ' know, when both sides were hiring thugs in order to maim each other in shipyards and in factory parking lots.

The book is beautiful and uncluttered, and so are the characters. Meyer, a sculptor, dreams of a socialist revolution while -- to his shame -- he finds reasons not to join the revolution in Spain. He really just wants to keep his ideologically conflicting friends together in the face of guilt, impotence, and economic recession.

But then there's Gloomy Gus, a retired football player who is pretty much just a primitive walking computer: he's a brilliant actor because he can remember all his lines and portray all the right emotions, but he does everything in the same order, all the time, and only in response to cues. Meyer realizes this when he first meets Gloomy Gus. Gus mindlessly -- and eerily -- responds to Meyer's accidental cues with lines from plays he's been in:
I propped an empty glass in his hands and made sure he had a grip on it before pouring -- we'd had to scrape to get together what food and drink we had, and it hurt to waste any of it. "Tell me when," I said.

He stared at me searchingly, and after a moment replied with boyish earnestness: "Honey, don't be impatient. The delay's been useful, hasn't it?"

"What--?!" I cried.

He became very jittery then, his eyes flicking from side to side as though deeply perplexed, hunting for something -- then suddenly he seemed to find it (I could almost hear the whirr-click!): he smiled benignly, lovingly, and said in a deep resonant voice: "Fannie, I ask you to marry me."
The question in the book seems to be: is Gus the perfect revolutionary because he's strong, stupid, and absolutely trainable? Is he the perfect actor, the perfect football player, the perfect idea-less idealogue? You have to be careful which cues you give him -- when his girlfriend accidentally says "29" to him backstage at a play, he tackles her, knocks her through a wall, steals her purse, and dashes through the orchestra pit for a touchdown -- but as long as you do the same thing to HIM all the time, he will do the same things for YOU. Totally predictable.

I'm halfway through the book and learning an awful lot about the union movement, something I've never really thought about: highbrow intellectuals trying to motivate (and manipulate) uneducated factory workers to better their lives, no matter how counter-productive the methods seem to be. These union organizers work out strategies and feints and diplomatic long-shots, rooting out the company spies from their midst, while the working men -- who only want to feed their families in the middle of a crushing economic depression -- wonder why they can't just beat up the cops and the supervisors and get back to work.

But most interesting -- to me, anyway -- is trying to figure out Robert Coover in light of this surprisingly sedate book. He DIDN'T just go off the deep end after 1966. The much-vaunted "king of hyperfiction" wrote this modernist book right in the middle of his career, and then -- for whatever reason -- never reprinted it. What's up, Mr. Coover? Ashamed?

At least one thing is true to form, unpleasant man DOES have sex with a pudgy woman.

UPhold Update: The Final Stretch

The new UPhold CD -- "Damage" -- is finally ready. Well, the CD itself is...but the rest of the package still needs some work. Here's my to-do list, because apparently these sorts of things are helpful:
  • Change the print cartridges in my shabby-but-sweet printer.
  • Put together the CD packaging...simple this time, just a folded-over insert. And yes, that's the cover you're looking at up there.
  • Burn 34 copies of the CD. It's a limited edition, for several different reasons that are too dull to go into here.
  • Figure out how to use this "label-maker" kit I just bought, so the CDs at least have SOMEWHAT nice labels on them. I'm tired of sending them out covered with marker-scrawls.
  • Print the covers and labels for those 34 CDs I mentioned earlier (remember?)
  • Update the UPhold page so it actually looks useful.
  • Test PayPal to make sure I can send out money requests with it.
  • Update the myspace page I've been working on. Yes, myspace. Brrrrr.
  • Send free CDs to whoever it seems good to send them to.
For those who have been following the MP3 posts for the last few years, here are the songs on the CD, many of them slightly different from what was posted online:
  1. His Damage (4:59)
  2. The Demeaning Power of Tequila (5:06)
  3. Pillbox (4:26)
  4. Planque (Now, Then, and After) (10:23)
  5. Icebox (6:08)
  6. Bethsheba (7:21)
  7. The Burning Villa (Those, That, and Them) (7:06)
  8. Shoebox / His Damage (5:09)
I have my fingers crossed that all the kinks will be easily worked out, all the hurdles easily hurdled, and that I can start selling the CDs on January 1st.

Then what? A little single called "The Road to Avondale," coming soon...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Three Things That Are Difficult (If Not Impossible) to Find

You know the old chestnut about how cosmetic companies deliberately discontinue their popular products, because this forces women to buy a lot of other products to find which one they like almost as much? This is probably why fashion moves so quickly nowadays. It's not like eveningwear is so much BETTER than it used to's not advancing because of technological innovation, as is the case with computers or cars or storage media. No, eveningwear changes for several OTHER reasons, and one of them is probably to make women buy new stuff.

That's also why the average women's clothing tends to be so disposable and shoddy -- when it falls apart they have to buy a new one -- but I digress. I'm not here to root out marketing conspiracies, I'm hear to heave a bitter sigh about important cosmetics I can no longer find.
  1. Black eyelash glue. A few years ago you could always find two types of eyelash glue: black or clear. The black stuff is sort of ugly and it gums up, but you WANT your eyelashes to be black. The clear stuff turns into a rubbery white goop that discolors your eyelashes. For those of us who wear the same pair of lashes until they begin to look like a hockey player's teeth or a dessicated centipede, clear glue sucks. I can't find black glue anymore at any pharmacy, and the cosmeticians always say "hmmm" when I point this out to them.
  2. Max Factor Panstick. It's absolutely essential for anybody who needs to hide their face, and it's a standard that goes all the way back to the 1920s when it was first developed for movie stars. In 2001 I could buy this everywhere. In 2003 most pharmacies stopped carrying it and I could only find it in department stores. In 2005 even the department stores were hiding their Max Factor products in a dark unlabelled corner. Now I can't find it at all (though I haven't tried Walmart's my only hope).
  3. Loose Face Powder. When you use Panstick as a base you need to cover it with loose face powder, otherwise you'll look like a greasy automaton. Again, this used to be easy to find, but in the last two years I've needed to switch brands twice as the companies I patronized stopped making it. I guess everybody's using that new liquid/powder combination product that I've never tried. Fortunately I CAN still find loose face powder, but I need to shop around a lot to find my colour.
So if you have a girlfriend who hordes makeup -- and bras and hair accessories -- now you know why. It's because she's smart and she knows that someday, without warning, it'll all get snatched away from her.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Surprisingly Good Music: Mischa Kaye

As mentioned in a previous post, I frequently pilfer the discarded CDs at CKMS. Most of those CDs were discarded for a good reason...but some just ended up there through sheer bad luck. Here's one:

Mischa Kaye - Angora (2005)

I wasn't a fan of the cover, but something about it whispered "take me home!" And thank goodness I did!

You like quirky songwriting with a strong melodic base? You like a female vocalist who doesn't rely on the standard tricks, one who sometimes goes in for production effects that make you sit up and pay attention? Odd keyboards and hooks? Distorted treats and crystal-clear ones, often at the same time? Catchy-but-oddball beats that come and go? Aimee Mann and Sarah Craig (at her best)? So do I, which is why I'm writing this.

Why haven't you bought her debut EP yet? There's only one explanation: because you've never heard her. Few have. Go to her myspace page and have a listen for youself...try "I Stole Summer," and listen to it all the way through. If you like what you hear, please pick up her Angora EP at CDBaby. Play it for your friends and brag about how you discovered her before she achieved fame (and fortune).

What's she doing now? Mischa has already conquered Japan and Alaska (under mysteriously unexplained circumstances), but she's back in Toronto now and gearing up for new shows. She's working on a full-length album, ETA March or April '07. So now I have something to look forward to in the new year...!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Black Bottom of Sieben und Zwanzig

I remember being 13 or 14 and watching television commercials supposedly aimed at my demographic. Some of them managed to reach me, but many were crude attempts by middle-aged men to entice me with the "slang" that I supposedly used.

In the February 5, 1927 issue of The New Yorker, here's a piece of laughably overdone '20s slang for you on behalf of J. Van Buren Brown, Inc. We'll ignore the grotesque "negro caricatures" in the illustration -- since many advertisements of the time displayed those as well -- and just admire the sound of a 45-year-old advertisement executive trying to sound like a flapper.

(Oh, and the "Black Bottom" was the dance that gradually usurped the Charleston; more frantic, more difficult to master, more hip, and more black than ever):
The Black Bottom of Sieben und Zwanzig (in other words 1927)

Madame, Mesdames, Mademoiselles, and all the other Dames and Selles, lend us your ears for two semi-seconds. We have a word or two to impart about your little tootsies and no pinching of ears or feet involved -- we assure you.

Your little lady-dogs are going to hurt in the Black Bottom rodeo, and hurt awful bad, unless you give 'em comfort of the ultra kind.

Arch Preserver Shoes do just that, beaucoup. Nothing else but. They put so much pep and ginger and all the other things in the twinkling and flashing toes that action is sub-conscious. The best proof is in the strutting. Why not come in and strut a strut or two and prove it?