Whatever you can get away with

Filed under: Musings, Typecast — olivander September 27, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

Typecast 9/26/2008

Brought to you by a 1939 Royal KMM.

Days of future past

Filed under: politics — olivander September 26, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

One more political post, then I promise I’m done for the day.

I was commenting to a friend how people remember only two things about Dan Quayle: the “potatoe” thing, and Lloyd Bentsen’s remark during the Vice Presidential debate, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

I wanted to check the debate transcript to make sure I had the quote accurate. The relevant portion posted on Wikipedia is disturbingly familiar to anyone paying attention to the circus surrounding our current Republican VP candidate:

Tom Brokaw: Senator Quayle, I don’t mean to beat this drum until it has no more sound in it. But to follow up on Brit Hume’s question, when you said that it was a hypothetical situation, it is, sir, after all, the reason that we’re here tonight, because you are running not just for Vice President (Applause) and if you cite the experience that you had in Congress, surely you must have some plan in mind about what you would do if it fell to you to become President of the United States, as it has to so many Vice Presidents just in the last 25 years or so.

Quayle: Let me try to answer the question one more time. I think this is the fourth time that I’ve had this question.

Brokaw: The third time.

Quayle: Three times that I’ve had this question and I will try to answer it again for you, as clearly as I can, because the question you are asking is, “What kind of qualifications does Dan Quayle have to be president,” “What kind of qualifications do I have,” and “What would I do in this kind of a situation?” And what would I do in this situation? [...] I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.

Judy Woodruff: Senator [Bentsen]?

Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy. (Prolonged shouts and applause.) What has to be done in a situation like that is to call in the

Woodruff: Please, please, once again you are only taking time away from your own candidate.

Quayle: That was really uncalled for, Senator. (Shouts and applause.)

Bentsen: You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator and I’m one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.

And then the Wikipedia entry went on to say this:

Although Quayle was embarrassed, many believed that he had otherwise accomplished what he had planned to in the debate; spending his time pouring scorn on the record of Michael Dukakis (in particular, deriding him as a liberal) all while avoiding a match-up with the more experienced Bentsen.

Has an otherwise forgettable debate from twenty years ago perhaps given us a glimpse of the debate to come?

Dewey Defeats Truman!

Filed under: Newsworthy, politics — olivander @ 2:20 pm

I mean, McCain Wins Debate!

Dubious offerings from Sears, pt 3

Filed under: Errata, Finds — olivander September 25, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

We wrap up our look at questionable products from the 1906 Sears catalog with a trio of products designed to make small things appear larger.


So realistic, your friends will never notice! The first look like some sort of deformed ice skates, but the latter two look a lot like shoes that you can buy today at Hot Topic.


The mental images that the phrase “bust food” brings to mind are just…indescribable.

And if the Bust Food didn’t work, a lady could resort to…


Made in Sweden, no doubt.

More dubious Sears Roebuck offerings as they come my way.

Dubious offerings from Sears, pt 2

Filed under: Errata, Finds — olivander September 24, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

We continue our trip back in time to visit some of the more curious products you could order from the Sears catalog in 1906. Today, we take a look at selections from the Drugs Department, starting with possibly the grossest ad copy ever printed.


“We’re the Cadillac of worm syrup!”


Beer: it does a body good!


There are so many things wrong with this. But standing out above it all is the phrase, “derangement of the female organism”. (Fellas, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave that one alone. I’m slowly backing away from it myself.)

Dubious offerings from Sears

Filed under: Errata, Finds — olivander September 23, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

My research on Conley cameras takes me through a lot of early 20th-Century Sears catalogs. Tens of thousands of mail-order items could be had from their sprawling Chicago warehouses. A person could literally buy a pre-fabricated house, furnish it, stock the pantry, fill the medicine cabinet, line the library shelves, clothe the family, and put a car in the garage–all from one catalog. In the days before the Internet, the Sears catalog was the Internet; you didn’t need anything more. Their series of international stereoviews–65 per 100–was the armchair traveler’s Wikipedia.

Looking at them today, some of the products on the market at the time range from the quaintly amusing to the downright bizarre. In sprite of their respectable reputation, Sears, Roebuck, & Co were not above peddling snake oil. For your entertainment, here are a few products from the 1906 Sears catalog that are dubious at best:

Magnetic teething necklace
This is a mix of weird and sad. One can’t help but wonder how many of these things were sold before people figured out that they were bogus. One also has to wonder at what point the device began to strangle the poor little kids.

Edit: holy shit, you can still buy them.


I can actually see the practical purpose of this. Hot water tanks were a luxury, and didn’t hold much water. At the same time, you can’t imagine yourself actually using one of these, can you?


Hope your feet aren’t sweaty. Bzzzt!


“Legs half-off for legs half-off!” Man, what I wouldn’t give to come across a Sears Artificial Leg Pamplet on eBay.

Tomorrow, we’ll explore some of the medicinal products you could ingest for your, um, health.

Olivander visits a dark alley

Filed under: Errata, Musings, typewriters — olivander September 10, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

I bought a set of typewriter keys today. Just the keys. From a…a…keychopper. I feel so dirty. This must be how Republicans feel when they get caught by vice cops in airport bathroom stalls. Is it wrong to patronize one of the denizens of typewriting’s sleazy underbelly if the goal is to restore another typewriter? It wasn’t a collectible or particularly old typewriter. A late-’60s Montgomery Ward model whose keys happen to be identical matches for an Olivetti Valentine’s.

Afterward, I saw all the other sets of keys the person was selling. Perfect, round, chromed keys, looking at me like puppies in a mill as I walk away with one of their siblings inside my coat.

I’m going to hell for sure.

A Letter to Young Voters

Filed under: Typecast, politics — olivander September 5, 2008 @ 4:15 pm