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
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.
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.
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!)
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.
This anti-cootie sack
for the paranoid traveler seems utterly useless. Wouldn't the bedbugs crawl inside within seconds of contact?'
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.
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!
[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....
[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?
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?"
[From Good Housekeeping
for October 1939.]
Here's a great example of Madison Avenue trying to a) make a problem that doesn't exist or is minimal into an overwhelming burden that only their
product can alleviate and b) bring the vaunted "miraculous" power of scientists and scientific imagery into the marketing mix.
Did women in 1939--or ever--really ask their friends for a hygienic crotch alert?
Cruel, sadistic prison guards subjecting inmates to horrible excruciations. It's a sad practice as old as history. But seldom before today has the vile ritual reached such depths as reported in this story
What exactly is the new nadir of torture? Here's the quote:
"Houghton also said that Botas and Viveiros forced him to watch a Burger King cartoon on his office computer and sing along to a jingle that accompanied the commercial. He said that all three officers laughed and 'were getting a kick out of it … that they could take advantage of me.'”
Oh, the humanity!
Recovering my senses, and getting over the evident confusion on the prisoner's part between "cartoon" and "commercial" (his mind is obviously shattered, after all), I had to ask, "Which Burger King commercial?" Not watching much TV, I'm unsure what's currently on the airwaves that might have registered on the radar of the abusive guards. But they were after all using a computer, presumably to visit YouTube. So I found five possible torture jingles.
Which one do you find most excruciating? Or do you have another candidate?
See them after the jump.
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