Miller High Life Scores A Win

Keeping up with new Hallmark movies is exhausting these days, whatwith new movies every Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday (which cuts into Bible Study), and sometimes new movies back to back at both 7pm and 9pm. We can’t keep up. But watching hundreds of Hallmark movies means we’ve seen dozens of gingerbread houses being constructed (mostly poorly) in family homes, B&B’s on the verge of bankruptcy, and town festivals. Sometimes simply building them brings two foes together.

But IRL, I’ve never made a gingerbread house. I’ve spent Christmas with different families in different cities, and I’ve never even SEEN a gingerbread house in a person’s home. Do people even eat them? Aren’t they messy? Do they wind up in the Glad bag on December 26th?

But today I saw Miller High Life’s take on the seasonal hobby, and I have to say I’m impressed. Who needs a house when you can have a dive bar?

It’s no joke, and it’s perfect for 2021. Despite all the fear and oppression of American liberty, some industries have banked record revenue, like Big Pharma, Domino’s, and beer. Pfizer reportedly nets $268 million PER DAY and counting, as long as more and more boosters are required. And they will be. Granted, beer hasn’t seen vax $$, but nothing makes folks want to drink more than living through the 2020s.

While many restaurants have folded during the pandemic, we’ve seen craft beer pubs pop up all over our city, and adjacent cities as well. The parking lots are always full, despite pint prices that were $4 last year, now doubled for ales like Electric Jellyfish. Beer is in, man, and it won’t quit. Sure, not Miller High Life. God in heaven, not that. But dive bars? You betcha.

And you just know that when that Gingerbread man enters, everybody knows his name. Who wouldn’t want to grab a pretzel cue stick and play some billiards under actual working lights? Maybe take a load off on some peppermint stools. The kit even offers syrup to drizzle on the floor.

To the marketing geniuses at Miller High Life, I raise a glass of cheap, bland domestic ale to you. Just this once. God bless us one and all.

When CVS Has Mom’s Bipolar Meds On Back Order

etsy, 1960

Poor Dad. When Mom’s off her mental meds, he’s on the receiving end of her crazy. Sometimes it’s diluted Coke or the cold poke of an unwarranted hose spray. Either way, Mom’s a handful with a devilish grin. Shouldn’t she be grateful Dad’s kept so fit, in spite of sipping soda? He’s still got a great head of hair, a healthy tan, and can rock lemon yellow shorts like nobody’s business. Perhaps it’s not her meds at all. Maybe she’s just going through the change. In that case, she needs the pause that refreshes for the menopause that depletes. Hand Mom a Coke and a smile today!

Swiss Miss Chooses Coke

Ah, springtime in Switzerland! Love is in the air, on the cool of the crisp, pure breeze, the crusts are cut off our picnic sandwiches and a German Alpine hat-donning senior has just procured more bottles of Coke for us! How could life get better?

1958

Over 60 years have passed, and Coke is still going strong in Switzerland. Although the national Swiss drink is Rivella, which sounds like a lot like rubella (aka German measles), Coke is still number one. If you ain’t first, you’re last. Sorry, Rivella. I won’t even show you the ugly label of a Rivella bottle, which looks like a second grader won a label art contest, and the contents appear akin to diluted tea. Hard pass. Coke wins.

Pinterest

Vertical Vacations

Back in 1937, TikTok didn’t demand five hours of each day, so folks would actually sit and read a 44 page article about a foreign country in National Geographic. The folks at Nat Geo knew their fascinating photos and clever captions would wet the whistle of those with the traveling bug, so travel ads were placed in portrait style near the end of the magazine.

This first ad designated certain activities for different ages, like remodeling a colonial cottage, an easy task for a 100-year-old to tackle.

images from National Geographic, March 1937

Other ads designated the means of travel, like this one for Oregon highways. Why not drive? Gas was cheap, and you were probably about to be evicted due to the high unemployment during the Depression. Hit the road, Jack!

Other ads just plain scared the tar out of you with images of Irvin Cobb’s unfortunate countenance.

Who wouldn’t want to angle or loaf or tramp in Canada? It’s where they film all the Hallmark movies. And as long as you’re already up north, might as well hop aboard a nine day Alaskan cruise, for just under $100. You might see indigenous peoples wearing blankets and holding indigenous art. They may or may not come in peace.

Alaska not your cup of tea? Well, 1937 is a great time to tour Germany. Hurry, before war breaks out. At that point, they may not offer so much Gem├╝tlichkeit, or good cheer, for which they’re famous.

Need more neutral surroundings? Nothing like a travel ad to seduce you with the devaluation of the franc, and how much more you can buy with your boss US dollars. Think about it: reduced rail fares, no visas, no “money formalities,” no vax card. Don’t overthink it; just go.

Perhaps neither cruise, plane, nor Oregon highway tantalizes. Then all aboard the Milwaukee Road Hiawatha (fun word alert), headed toward the unspoiled Northwest.

Take in the “sea-girt” peninsula. That means surrounded by sea. Feel free to use that word later today. I can think of lots of things that the Northwest is surrounded by, especially in the inner cities. But not in 1937! So there you go, folks. Do you think any of these ads would have enticed you if you had been alive then? Which one beckons most?

Now I’ve Had The Prime Of My Life (No, I Never Felt Like This Before)

I remember reading an article when Ronald Reagan passed, stating that, at his year of birth in 1911, life expectancy was 49 years old. Reagan died at 93. Clearly, medical care had improved during those 93 years. But it’s still hard to believe the age was 49, due much in part to children dying. This ad from 1937 claims that many folks could actually expect to live past 60 at that point. Some of you have already hit that milestone, with decades yet to come.

It’s Christmas, and no one has time to read a 5,000 word count life insurance ad, so here’s the gist: 40-60 is the prime of life. Anything past 60 is a bonus. Don’t get Bright’s disease (kidney issues). Let your doctor use fluoroscope and X-rays and sorcery to see inside your body. And most of all, DO NOT SCOFF AT BEING CODDLED. Remember, you’re in the prime of your life!

“It’s Swell To Get Camels Again”

You’ve probably never heard the name, Jerry Ambler. As you can see in this 1947 ad, he was a bronc-riding star, winning the North American Saddle Bronc title in 1941 and 1946. Born in Alberta, Canada, Ambler became the best of the best. The Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Jerry’s asserts that his greatest achievement came in 1946 when he was declared the World’s Champion Saddle Bronc Rider. Though the ad seems to imply his experience with off brand smokes was during service in WWII, I find no record of military service, only rodeo competitions. Perhaps simply the rationing of cigarettes was enough to make him long for Camels.

As often happens with spokespersons in these post-war Camel ads, they pass from cancer. Ambler did not. A car accident took his life at the age of 47. Let’s hope that during those years, the Camels pleased his T-Zone and took the edge of a long day in the saddle. As the years pass by, fewer and fewer of us remember how important the T-Zone was back in the day.

Our collective perception of cigarettes has changed so much since this ad was published, when doctors both smoked and endorsed cigarettes.

Cigarette sales peaked in 1981, and have been falling ever since. In a world of manufactured viruses and death by Grand Canyon selfies, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death, and these ads remain an interesting testimony of the world that was.

Follow Me For More Recipes

pleated jeans

I saw this pic today of a patron in a Texas HEB and knew that I could not keep it to myself. At first, I thought someone was hoarding foil or plastic wrap. Then I realized it was Hungry-Man frozen dinners. Dozens of them, supplemented by what appear to be frozen pizzas and some Stouffers tossed in. But the core demand here was blue cartons. All of them. The entire stock. It reminds me of the Parks and Rec scene wherein Ron Swanson demands ALL of the bacon and eggs.

Is this a Christmas gift for a home-bound relative? Is the gift of cardiac failure and diabetes the gift that keeps on giving? I myself have never eaten Hungry-Man. So my palate never knew a salisbury steak nor a meatloaf. But who could not be tempted by this chicken caressing a waffle? Are you a man or a mouse? EAT LIKE A MAN.

Pinnacle Foods

Does that tactic really work in this day and age, where gender is as fluid as the maple syrup on that waffle? Many men today have never changed their own oil, chopped firewood, or kilt them a bar when they was only three. More men today have eaten couscous and know how to properly say acai. But not at Hungry Man. They doubled down with their new double meat bowls because America. Chute, yeah. Try their Mexican Fiesta Enchiladas, complete with coconut-flavored pudding. If that’s not diverse, I don’t know what is.

I can’t see Millennials buying these. Why buy a $4 meal when you can buy a $7 green smoothie? So it must be older folk. Will sales plummet as years go by? All I know is there’s a giant vacancy in the frozen foods department, and a man somewhere who won’t be hungry for long.

Simian Takeover

LIFE September 1, 1947
By 1947, George Vierheller had already been director of the Saint Louis Zoo for nearly 20 years and felt at ease with his wards. As you can see, he had a certain laissez-faire approach to monkey business. Here, we find Tommy and Cookie taking issue with who really is who at the zoo, while George takes a cigar break. The zoo's website quotes Vierheller as such: Shortly after I became a zoo man, a friend of mine advised me: "George, don't merely sit in the chair and listen to it squeak." 

So George became a hands-on boss. 

You’ll note that he went ape over gorillas as well.

Even in the last year of his position at the zoo in 1962, Vierheller was still making friends and sharing vices.

LIFE by Francis Miller

A bronze statue of him was commissioned that same year, representing the love he shared with the animals.

racstl.org

Gifts For Dad For 2021

1954

An era of subtlety, the 1950s was not, as evidenced by these Cutter Cravat artist originals. Frankly, it’s difficult to interpret what the patterns actually were. We have words for argyle and houndstooth and checkered, but these are littered with sprigs and swirls in bold (and often clashing) colors. What man dare sport the blue one in the center, that splays out at the bottom? It appears to depict an engagement ring.

Note how wide one appears against the lapel of this jacket. A bold and festive statement. Would you dare?

1951

Prince Ali, Fabulous He

LIFE, July 22, 1946

Okay, let’s unpack this post-war ad for White Rock. We’ve got a trio of businessmen in straw boater hats and a Middle Eastern prince whose head has turned toward the topless fairy/cocktail waitress. Remember, somebody had to pitch this idea to White Rock, and White Rock said, “Absolutely, it’s a go.”

Then somebody said, “Let’s use ‘by the beard of the prophet‘ because that’s what Muslims say.” And they did. And it’s wonderful. Here’s some context.

And doesn’t Psyche looks smug? She knows she’s all that and a bag of chips–and a barrel of oil. Plus, she has the courage to use terms like “bracing alkaline tang.” Yum! That’s how I like my water.

Though she may have been coy, suddenly she’s (how you say) riding high with Ali. The artwork makes you wonder if she’s wearing a sheer halter or going completely topless. All we know is no matter how many gang signs he flashes, she most certainly will not share his throne.

And stay on the label, she did. In fact, White Rock purchased the rights to a painting titled “Psyche at Nature’s Mirror” by Paul Thumann at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and it’s now the longest running beverage logo. Cheers!