The Yellow Kid

Maybe you remember
the time I posted the
story of “Buster Brown“-
a comic strip that used
to run in newspapers
owned by William
Randolph Hearst,
in many affiliated
and syndicated
newspapers
around the
United States…

The main character
eventually became
an advertising
device for a shoe
company.

But, many folks
don’t know that
the artist who
created Buster
by the name of
Richard F. Outcault,
created a more
historically important
comic character,
“The Yellow Kid”.

You’ve heard the
expression
” Yellow
Journalism “ ?

Well, the term is
originally derived
from a reference to
the Yellow Kid comic
strip …

(“Yellow Kid
Journalism” was
the original term)

…expressing the
idea that newspapers
would print
almost anything,
including a Sunday
Color Comic Strip
Supplement in order
to sell newspapers.

( Which it did . )

It was also one of
the first comics
to use ‘speech
balloons’- when
the strip was
originally called
Hogan’s Alley “.

One other thing
it did, I guess,
was prove the
absolute
ruthlessness
of Randolph Hurst
as a publisher –

– he hired Outcault
away from his original
newspaper (Joseph
Pulitzer’s
New York World)
with a monetary offer
that the man just
couldn’t refuse –

– Pulitzer responded by
continuing the strip
with another artist
(George Luks )
and a slight variation
in the characters -> ->

So, in effect, the
Yellow Kid was running
in two versions in two
different syndications,
for about a year.

While the Luks version
was discontinued in 1897,
the Outcault original
out-lasted it another
two or three years.

If one looks closely,
it can be observed
that the Kid was a
product of the
urban slum
poverty that
was endemic
in New York
City at the time;

But, according to
Outcault himself:

” The Yellow Kid was not
an individual but a type.
When I used to go about
the slums on newspaper
assignments I would
encounter him often,
wandering out of doorways
or sitting down on dirty
doorsteps. I always loved
the Kid. He had a sweet
character and a sunny
disposition, and was
generous to a fault.
Malice, envy or
selfishness were not
traits of his, and he
never lost his temper.”

Societal tastes
were changing
rapidly at the
turn of the
century, and
since Outcault
did not have
any control of
the copyright on
“The Yellow Kid”,
he was disinclined
to continue the strip –
although the character
continued to be used in
all sorts of advertising
items and novelties –
from dolls and soap,
cigarette packs,
to buttons, fans,
and even liquor.

Yellow advertising ?

Perhaps.

But the character
represents a point
in time when people
were becoming
increasingly aware
of the horrors of
tenement living
and the
plights of the
disadvantaged,
and the eventual
demise of the Kid
probably had
more to do
with the fact that
people no longer
thought stuff like
human suffering
and poverty
was at
all funny.

And here’s
to that.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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Googie For You

A friend of mine
sent me a couple
pictures, and a
riddle —

She asked :

what would you
call this style of
signage?

I thought
about it,
and came up
with all sorts of
descriptive names
that really didn’t
narrow it down,
for some reason-
– retro-futuristic
was the best I
could come up with.

She then let the
cat outta the bag —
(what the cat was
doing in there in
the first place,
well, don’t ask…. )
and told me about
something called
“Googie Architecture”.

Now, you might
not believe me,
but according to
Wikipedia,
” Googie architecture
is a form of post-modern
architecture, a subdivision
of futurist architecture
influenced by car culture,
jets, the Space Age, and
the Atomic Age;
originating in Southern
California during the late
1940s and continuing
approximately into the
mid-1960s. “

Damn,
I shoulda
knowd that.

You could have
beat me over the
head with a stupid
stick —

— cause I never
even heard of it,
even though I’ve
always LOVED
that style.

I remember a lot
of those in Miami
Beach, and in
Wildwood, N.J. as
well —

— not to mention,
the most famous
Googie Style sign
of all time —

The Welcome to
Fabulous Las Vegas
sign.

You can still see a
lot of it, if you look
close, on Motels,
Car Washes, Drive
In Theatres, Bowling
Alleys — it was a style
that was extremely
popular in the early
space age —

— expressing a very
optimistic, light hearted
view of what was coming
in society.

It can be recognized
by the dramatic use
of parabolas,
boomerangs,
flying saucers,
atomic shapes,
unusual neons,
and geometric
figures like
balls, oblong
triangles, etc…

– usually combined with
a pastel or bright color
motif.

I think Donald Fagen’s
song:
What A Beautiful
World – I.G.Y

really hits this style
right on the money.

And, I figured
I’d give you
some samples of
Googie signage
to look at while
you listened.

Cool,
right ?

If you’ve got pictures
of Googie that you’d
like to see featured
here, just send em
right along…

We got plenty
of room !

.

!!! HOY !!!


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The Simple Things

I’m a believer.

Yes, I am.

I’m a believer
that the simple
things in life
are usually the
best.

That the simplicity
of an invention or
a device adds to
it’s value.

And when you take
a simple idea and
over complicate it,
you make the whole
world a bit more
frustrated.

I just had a run-in
with the electronic
soap dispenser at
work.

You put your hand
under the sensor
and * VOILA * ,
no soap.

Move it,
and it dumps
a copious amount
of soap on the
counter.

Try it again –
just for giggles.

It literally came
all over the
sink, but me,
I got no joy at all.

And my hands
are still dirty.

yes, I ran the old reverse

Or take
surfing, man.

A clear enough
concept –

Good healthy fun
– sea, sun and surf –
and plenty of
exercise, right?

Until in 1948, this
guy comes along and
invents an electric
surfboard.

It costed $345 in
1940’s money –
and was powered
by 8 storage
batteries and
weighed a
staggering
164 pounds.

HUH ?

Who’s that
supposed
to be for, anyway?

Ahhh-
the world
of stupid inventions.

Take the world famous
phone-answering robot,
invented in 1964 by
Klaus Sholes.

Hey, maybe it makes
sense – until you
realize that this
mechanical marvel
didn’t really answer
the phone at all-
it just picked it up
and held it .

Your two year old
could do the same
thing, but you’d
yell at him.

Simple?

Ha.

Take an egg-

— you don’t get
much simpler
than that,
right ?

So what’s some
over-inventive
schmuck
go and do?

Makes something
to square-ify hard
boiled eggs —
called
“The Egg Cuber”.

It’s gone through
several incarnations
since it’s inception….

But the question
still remains:

WHY ?

– and –

WHO wants to eat
a square egg?

Handerpants ! 

You may well say.

And that
is a real thing,
handerpants,
should you
ever desire to
own such.

The
function / purpose
of it remains, alas,
a mystery.

!! HOY !!!

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Getting A Good Tan

Ladies……

Let’s just say
your husband
has been
a naughty boy.

Tsk, tsk.

You don’t wanna
trade him in
for a new model,
necessarily,
but you feel like
you need to
straighten him out.

What are your options?

Well, one that might have
been used by your great-
grandmother might just
surprise you.

An article in the:
New York Evening World
from
 July 08, 1916 leads
off with this leadline:

” One of them’s a cop,
but wifey tans him with
a bread board just the
same, and another gets
licked with a lemon
squeezer when he
misbehaves. “

It goes on to say:

“The controversy was
started by an innocent
little document from
Mrs. McC of Brooklyn,
who declared frankly
that grown persons,
are better for the
occasional whipping,
adding that her own
husband had been
changed from a drinker
and a smoker into a
model man with a
good job, money
saved and a fine
home, by the judicious
application of these
wifely principles : 
Spare the rod and
spoil the husband
was this matron’s recipe
for domestic happiness. “

In turn, the husbands
wrote back, complaining
of the trend:

“Last night I stayed out
rather late at my club,
and when I returned
home I received the
surprise of my married
life when my wife handed
me the first spanking I
received since my boyhood
days.

“This morning at breakfast
I remonstrated with her
and attempted to stick
up for my rights, whereupon
I was taken from my meal
and given another intro-
duction to my wife’s riding
crop. A spanking at night
is bad enough, but to start
the day with one is simply
indescribable.”

Ahem.

I pass the highlights
of this little article
along with no comment,
but I’d be interesting in
hearing yours.

!!!! HOY !!!!

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The Corporate Friday Mailbag

Attention:
It has come to my
attention that I have
somehow let my
attention slip
and have not
been paying close
enough attention
to the attention I
should have been
paying to the fact
that it’s Friday !

How
so very
inattentive
of me.

Oh well…

Today’s exercise
in redundancy is
brought to you
by these fine
corporate slogans
(or, what they
should be, anyway) :

Bic Pens
” Buy Your Own
For A Change “

IKEA
” There’s A Reason
We Don’t Put It Together ”

KIT-KAT
” When You Don’t Have
Time To Decide
Right Or Left”

Coca-Cola
” Yeah, Sure, It’s Still
The Classic Coke. ”

KFC
” Who The Fuck
Is The ‘Kernel’ ? ”

Milk Bones
” Your Dog Understands –
It’s Not Milk,
and It’s Not A Bone”

Taco Bell
” Try Our New
No-Meat,
No-Cheese,
No-Flavor Taco”

El Cheapo
Magic Markers

” Another White Shirt
Bites The Dust ”

Bud Light
” When Taste Is
Not A Priority”

Chrysler / Fiat
” We’ll See Ya
On The Shoulder “

Sprint – ”
Hey, We’re Almost
Just As Good ”

Chef Boyardee
” You Remember Us,
Don’t You ?”

Exxon
” Our Gas Is So Clean,
It Cleans Your Wallet Too ”

The One Big Airline
” Yes, Bend Over,
Cause You Know
It’s Comin’ “

Bell & Howell
” The Brand That Used
To Mean Something ”

Black & Decker
” Bell and Howell
Stole Our Slogan ”

Pampers
” Paper Diapers Wouldn’t
Have Been Near Good
Enough To Your Grandmother ”

SOYJOY
” No, You Can’t
Milk A Soy Bean ”

Waffle House
” Lock and Load ”

Hot Pockeys
” Lava Ain’t Just In Hawaii ”

CinnaBun
” Rotting Teeth For
Over 30 Years ”

Ticket Master
” Don’t Scream Rape
If You Don’t Mean It ”

Playboy Magazine
” Irrelevant, and Now
With Less Nudes”

Bounty Paper Towels
” The Expensive Picker Upper ”

UPS
” Brown Trucks Don’t
Need To Be Washed ”

Patek Philippe Titanium
” We Spit On
Your Lowly Rolex ”

Sears
” It Was Sure
Nice Knowing Ya ”

GNC
” Pay More – Get Less “

Blue Moon Beer
” Keep The Orange
Slice, Doofus ”

General Motors
” 5 Brands, One Style “.

And finally …..

The Original
Rollerball Movie

” We Tried To Tell You ”

.
Note: all brand-names and trademarks
 mentioned in this post fall under the 
"Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Copyright
Law, Title 17 and remain the property 
of their respective owners. While it 
would seem a rather trivial matter to 
some, corporations do seem to get 
a little pissy when it comes to somebody
 having a little fun at their expense, 
even if there is more than a shallow 
ring of truth in what's being implied. 
Man, that's life, I guess.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

The Anti-Flirt Club

I’ve always been a big flirt,
and I’ll be the first one to
admit that.

Mild participatory flirtation
can a be wonderful thing —
a matter of subtle body
language, a bantering
tête-à-tête, a joyful
recognition of each other’s
voluptuary natures.

It’s fun.
Cause I don’t flirt with
anyone who doesn’t.

But, flirting is one of those
things that can easily get
out of hand – and when it’s
not participatory (mutual),
or becomes crass or abusive –
one becomes what’s been
called ‘ a masher ‘.

I never got the whole concept
of cat-calling, for instance ….

Did a cat-call ever get a woman
to become interested in a man?

I kinda doubt it.

And the concept of
‘auto invitation’ —
cat-calling from cars —
well, that’s just gotta
be for very desperate
dudes, right?

Actually, it became such
a problem in the 1920’s
that a bunch of women
in Washington, DC founded
the first ‘anti-flirt’ club –
in 1923.

Yep.

The president of said club,
Miss Alice Reighly, shown
with their official pennant,
published a list of ten rules
that she recommended to
all women :

” 1: Don’t flirt; those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.

2: Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists—they don’t all invite
you in to save you a walk.

3: Don’t use your eyes for ogling—
they were made for worthier
purposes.

4: Don’t go out with men you don’t know—they may be married, and you may be in
for a hair-pulling match.

5: Don’t wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.

6: Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers—
save them for
people you know.

7: Don’t annex all the men you can get—
by flirting with many you may lose out on the one.

8: Don’t fall for the slick, dandified cake eater—the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of lounge lizard.

9: Don’t let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you. Those are usually the kind who want to forget
they are fathers.

10: Don’t ignore the man
you are sure of while you
flirt with another. When you
return to the first one you
may find him gone. ”

I dunno, honestly, why flirtation
should ever get so out of hand
that people would join a club to
discourage it —

— you’d think we’d all have
better sense , and more
sensitivity than that.

But, it just goes to
show ya……..

.
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!!! HOY !!!