Category:
Products

Follies of the Mad Men #10

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[From Good Housekeeping for December 1958]

Here's part of the reason why we're a nation of fatties today. "Lose weight the hard way? No thanks! I'll just compress my flab and strap it in with manmade materials!"

And why is it that the only women ever shown in girdle ads are already so trim and underweight that they aren't the real customers?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 11, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Food, Torture, Fetishes, 1950s, Women

Follies of the Mad Men #8

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This image comes from the cover of The Saturday Evening Post for March 15, 1965, and is attributed to the artist N. M. Bodecker. It touts the article "Madison Avenue: The Big Invisible Sell."

How many of these famous icons can you identify? My answer-key after the jump!




More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 07, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Magazines, 1960s

Pelmanism

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Old self-improvement schemes never die. Recently, I spotted this antique advertisement from 1954 that alerted me to the existence of Pelmanism, the brainchild of William Joseph Ennever.

The Pelman Institutes of England and America apparently once claimed over half a million followers. But now they're long gone. Yet that has not stopped at least two folks from trying to resurrect the copyright-abandoned mind-strengthening course and claim and market it as their own. You can see their pages here and here.

Oddly enough, the last vestige of Pelmanism most people know, without realizing its true origin, is the card game we call Concentration or Memory or Pairs.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Games, History, Historical Figure, New Age, Self-help Schemes

Get Your Geek On

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Yes, the San Diego Comic Con--or "Nerd Prom" as it is sometimes called--might be over for another year. But it's never too late to fill your life with tchotchkes that uphold your geek credentials. And it's especially easy when you have a resource like The Budk Catalog. Imagine the envy of your nerdly pals--and the instant appearance of a SWAT team--when you parade through your hometown while wearing these Wolverine claws. Hospital coverage due to police sniper fire not included.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 01, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Products, Conventions, Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters, Hospitals, Literature, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Pop Culture, Comics

Skel-A-Mingos

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Pink Flamingoes may soon be a thing of the past, since the company that makes them is going out of business, but these Skel-A-Mingos are still in stock at Amazon. They'd make a great accompaniment to the Zombie Garden Sculpture I posted about a few weeks ago. (Thanks, John!)

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 01, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Products

Annoying Gadgets

We all love gadgets. Except for the truly useless and frustrating devices. Those we hate and ridicule. The Japanese actually have a term and category for such items: Chindōgu.

Recently, while browsing through the catalog for WHATEVER WORKS, I found two examples of Chindōgu.


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This anti-cootie sack for the paranoid traveler seems utterly useless. Wouldn't the bedbugs crawl inside within seconds of contact?'













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This spinning fork is guaranteed to suck all the pleasure out of an eternal childhood pastime: making S'mores. When the batteries die and the plastic handle melts, all the fun comes to a tearful end.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 30, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Products, Domestic, Food, Inventions, Travel, Hotels

Gamucci Electronic Cigarettes

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Perhaps it's because I've been a non-smoker my entire life, but I really don't understand the point of the Gamucci electronic cigarette. From their website:

Gamucci is a rechargeable electronic cigarette. It is a completely non-flammable product that uses state of the art sophisticated micro-electronic technology to provide users a real smoking experience without the tobacco and tar found in real cigarettes. It looks like, feels like and tastes like a real cigarette, yet it isn't. It is so much more. It is truly a healthier and satisfying alternative. Join the Revolution today!

So basically it's a miniaturized fog gun that you hold in your mouth. Sounds like a swell way to join the revolution!

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Technology, Products

Follies of the Mad Men #6

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[From The Saturday Evening Post for January 29, 1966.]



Of course, the very first thing you'll load aboard your interstellar ship is a new Frigidaire. What's that you say? These women are not astronauts, but rather futuristic housewives, and the Fridge remains earthbound? Then why are they wearing those bubble helmets? Future pollution? But what about the helmet that features a cutout? And the slit glasses? If only the geniuses who created this ad were still around, we could ask them to explain....

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Fashion, Food, Futurism, Literature, Science Fiction, Travel, Space Travel

Follies of the Mad Men #5

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[NOTE: this is actually two image files, upper and lower, and you need to click on each one for enlargement. From The Saturday Evening Post for October 23, 1965.]

Sorry I didn't get this one up in time for Fourth of July--but then again, WU hadn't debuted then!

In any case, this ad is very confused. It seems to be appealing to the mystical vibe of the ever-iconic American War of Independence, what with the flintlock pistol and all. But then again, Sexy Car-crawling Girl is patently an attempt to attract the Pepsi Generation, those wild 'n' wacky "rebellious" kids, with their surfboards and long hair and love beads.

So who's supposed to want to buy a Polara? Mom and Pop Daughters-of-the-American-Revolution? Or little Janie Peace-Sign?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 22, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Guns, History, Patriotism, 1960s, Cars

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

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This is one of my favorite warning signs. Whenever I'm out on my pedestrian travels and I see it, it makes me smile. Why? I'm not a sadistic, morbid fellow. But the iconography is just so kinetic, remiscent of the travails of Mr. Bill or a Charles Addams cartoon.

Safety signs are everywhere, but ignored. Surely, though, pranksters could have a lot of fun with them. Here's the sales site where I plundered my image.

And finally, in the immortal words of Dave Barry, "Wouldn't 'Crush Hazard' be a great name for a rock band?"

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 20, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Products

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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