Monday, January 24, 2011

the bridge to summer is the ambassador bridge (and tales of a christmas crossing)

Vintage Ad #1,347: The Bridge to Summer is the Ambassador Bridge

The golden gateway for several generations of snowbirds...


I rarely use the Ambassador Bridge whenever I visit the Detroit area these days. The view is nice, and it makes more sense to use it to head to certain destinations, but I like to line the pockets of the Detroit International Bridge Company as little as possible (it was nice to see, if only briefly, the president of DIBC taken away in handcuffs for contempt of court after the company refused to comply with a court order to demolish various structures that never should have been built). Currently cars coming from the south on the American side have to follow a long, looping detour that seems designed to tempt you into buying gas from the DIBC before returning to Canada than serve as a practical detour around construction and the remains of a bait shop on 23rd Street. My most recent trip across the bridge was over Christmas, when I packed several family members into the car for a daytrip to Ann Arbor.

The border guards at Detroit usually don't give us a hassle. While they ask the required questions and type in our passport info, they also chat like normal human beings: bad jokes, recommendations on what to buy at Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, etc. This approach could serve as an more effective tactic than straight-on interrogation, since the guard relaxes the occupants of the vehicle, which could lead to more information about one's activities slipping into the conversation. On this trip, we quickly realized we weren't dealing with a friendly guard the moment he opened his mouth. He didn't ask where we were going; he asked where we were trying to go.


When he asked the purpose of the trip, I said "shopping." Without a trace of warmth in his voice, he snarked down something along the lines of "what, no clothes or food in Canada?" My response was to outline some of the places we were going and things we intended to purchase that weren't available at home. I bit my tongue hard, trying to prevent myself from expressing a thought that was better left unsaid in his presence: "to help your tanking economy!" He then stalled for awhile in the booth, in a way that Mom felt was more an attempt to intimidate us than perform normal document processing. After we were free to go, we let loose the thoughts we couldn't say in front of the dude.


And where did we head as soon as we got through? From the bridge, it was a quick hop onto I-94, which led us to our big feast of the day: sandwiches at Zingerman's.

#83 Eric's "Porta-mato-licious"#74 Dave's Open Road
#1 Who's Greenberg Anyway?#2 Zingerman's Reuben

Ad source: The Globe and Mail, December 19, 1970 - JB

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CONN!!! (come on and buy some crap from us! you know that you want to!)

Vintage Ad #1,366: John Philip Sousa Cultivates His Musical Bump With Conn

Over thirty years later, Conn used many of the same selling points that Mr. Sousa stands by when they produced a short promotional film called Mr. B Natural. Forty years after that, Conn's efforts to promote the fruits of their quality craftsmanship provided the material for one of the funniest segments of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

With a tagline like "cultivate your musical bump" this ad cries out for MST3K-style riffing and/or groan-inducing double entendres from hecklers at the back of the town square or orchestra hall.

Ad source: Photoplay, November 1923 - JB

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the current news cycle is making hardened newsboys a little wild eyed

Scary Newsboy

A man dragged a few blocks under a streetcar. A stoned mentally ill man in a police standoff for a couple of hours. A TTC fare hike that vanished as quickly as it was proposed. Two bomb scares by the local CSIS office caused by the same person (who left his keys in the ignition). A police officer killed by a stolen snow plow.

All this (and a story or two we're probably forgetting) since yesterday morning in Toronto.

No wonder this newsboy looks frazzled.

But, as a man on the bus this morning (either Eglinton East or Lawrence East, don't remember which one I hopped on), proclaimed, "smile, it's Wednesday!"

Illustration taken from the June 25, 1859 edition of the Toronto Weekly Message - JB

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

warehouse dessert department

Vintage Ad #1,316: Success comes easy for a Raspberry Halo Mold

One of many recipes from corporate test kitchens discovered amid a slow sweep over the holidays through the Warehouse's collection of magazines that were never returned to the publisher. The item that sets this jello-marshmallow mold apart from all others? Chopped bits of angel food cake for a heavenly touch!

Source: Canadian Living, May 1983 - JB