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Do women need pink motor oil?

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • February 4, 2014 - 12:17 PM

No, of course not. It’s an absurd and insulting question. Don’t know why I brought it up! Anyway, let’s go to the Commentary page of today’s paper, where the author is trying to get her husband to switch to reusable grocery bags:

How to incentivize the spouse? First, reusable bags can’t be girlie, nor can they be emblazoned with the name of one grocery store if he’s heading to another — he’s sensitive. A bag should be so small and collapsible that it might attach to a key chain or a belt buckle, yet strong enough to carry a six-pack of Guinness cans with the floating widgets. The grocery list could be written on the side in erasable ink, and a rearview-mirror air freshener (bacon-scented?) could flash LED lights when the car door opens and the bags have been left in the trunk.

Because husbands are dumb and respond to bacon. Okay. Personally, I hate plastic bags. The paper ones come in handy for moving newspapers to the recycling bin. Use recyclable bags for one reason: they don’t tear. Recommendations:

The Lunds / Byerly’s bags fold up nicely, and they’re huge. The Trader Joe bags are sturdy and have interesting graphics. Sturdy handles. The Target bags are cheap, but if you put two containers of orange juice and two half-gallon milk jugs in one, the handles will eventually rip, so be careful.

By the way, you may have scratched your head over “Guinness cans with the floating widgets” - that’s actually the correct term for the carbonation-assistance devices in the cans. You learn something every day.

ART Yesterday I linked to some ugly 1960s Polish movie posters, just in case people needed a refresher on such things. In the same vein, but more interesting: B-Movie Title Design of the 1940s and 1950s. Like this:

Clips and more clips and technical details - it’s a graphics bonanza. What typeface would you use for “Hangmen Also Die”?

URBAN STUDIES Gentrification: good or bad? So asks New York magazine. As you might expect, the answer depends on whether you’re the gentrified or the gentrifeer. The article discusses a neighborhood waaay up around 207th street, and cites Dichter Pharmacy as a store that could stride the needs of there old and new. Who cares? you ask. That’s New York. Granted. Just setting up this interesting Google Street View:


View Larger Map

Click the right arrow, hidden down at the bottom. Time machine! Turns out the building had a fire in 2012. Turn around to see the quintessential old NYC apartment building, and imagine the heat in the summer, the absence of greenery. Hot, cramped, old, loud. I can understand why some people thrive in NYC, but find it amusing that they insist it’s the epitome of urban living.

Just ask Moby, who moved to LA because artists cannot afford NYC any more. True: downtown LA is going to be incredible in 10 years, if not sooner.

Speaking of cities: the title of Iric Nathanson's MinnPost piece would have seened preposterous 20 years ago: "Don't Tear Down the Skyways!" But now we're reduced to defending them. I'm on his side, but I have one request: let's stop using the word "vibrant" in any piece that describes urban life. Overuse has made me think of pedestrians who are luminiscent and trembling. 

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