Friday, December 18, 2020

The Corona Chronicles: Chapter 14 (Let's See How Far We've Come)


Yeah. It ain't good.

But... there's a vaccine out there! An end is in sight! Except it'll take several months (or more) for everyone to get it, and in the meantime, people might let their guards down. 

And can you believe there are still Covid deniers out there? A certain elderly relative of mine might be among the first to get the vaccine (if he wants it) because he lives in an assisted living facility... though why would he need a vaccine, anyway? According to him, he's never been sick a day in his life! (Cancer doesn't count!) Of course, he swore that Covid would suddenly end after the election, because it was all a conspiracy anyway. AUGHHHHH.

I've had several friends who've had it. None ended up in the hospital, thank goodness, but the lasting effects are scary to think about.

I've been thinking about how things have changed between March and now, December. We've come a long way and learned a lot. We're a little less afraid of touching things. I remember people were sanitizing their mail in those first couple months. 

Someday we won't wear masks anymore. Count me among one of the weirdos who actually doesn't mind wearing one, except when my glasses fog up. What can I say?

Also, count me among one of the teachers who doesn't mind distance learning. It's not perfect, but neither was in-person learning. If your school had perfect in-person learning in the "before" times, I guess you would miss that. However, ours was a clusterfudget, and I don't. 


It's the holiday season! But I haven't watched a single holiday special yet. I've been too busy rewatching The Queen's Gambit, now with obligatory pauses every 10-15 minutes to break open Chess Titans and play against a very sneaky computer. And no matter how many green apple Jelly Bellies I consume, no pawns are appearing on my ceiling. Drat.

Speaking of holiday specials, they've taught me (and all of us?) some very important lessons that are suddenly more relevant in 2020 than ever before.

These lessons include:

It's okay to go minimalist on the decor. -- A Charlie Brown Christmas

No matter how miserable you've been lately, you can make things brighter for someone else tomorrow. -- A Christmas Carol

Distanced from your family? You can have a grand old time all by yourself! EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM AND SLED DOWN THE STAIRS! -- Home Alone

If your social gathering goes awry this year, there's always next year! -- Die Hard

If you have no money to buy presents, make 'em (or find 'em in the barn!) -- A Garfield Christmas

If someone steals all your presents and decorations, SING YOUR HEART OUT ANYWAY. -- How The Grinch Stole Christmas

If you've offended Santa to the point where he won't visit your town this year? Fix that dang town clock and summon him back, darnit! - Twas The Night Before Christmas (1974)

Didn't get that ONE present you really wanted? It's fine; you might've shot your eye out with it anyway. - A Christmas Story


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Glossy Time Capsules #24: Family Circle - December, 1970

 Glossy Time Capsules #24

Family Circle

December, 1970

Price: 25 cents

I randomly pulled this magazine out of my "to be reviewed" pile, and realized, Hey... this issue is exactly 50 years old! How appropriate! Let's make fun of it! I mean, uh... let's take a close, objective, educated look at it! 

Yeeees. That is what we do here.

I'm always interested in the things people used to want and wish for back in the day. Sometimes their wishes sound absolutely absurd (sup Peg Bracken), but some -- like Chet Huntley's, above -- sound... nice? I mean, we still haven't achieved what you're wishing for, Chet, sorry to say, but I promise... we're going to keep trying.

I wasn't aware there was an economic downturn in 1970, but plenty of things in this issue suggest that 1970 was a hard knock year for a lot of people. (Research to the rescue! This website lists the notable recessions in American history, and yes -- there was a minor recession in 1970.)

Also... population control...?

In the midst of it all, the lady below went into the wreath-making business, roping her entire family into the operation.

So... I'm used to seeing handsome-looking cats in ads and on cat products themselves these days. Sleek fur coats, silky stripes, all that.

These cats? Well... don't get me wrong, I'd totally try to hug them both....

Ah well, bless thSEVEN CENT-OFF COUPON!!! GIMME!!!!

Meanwhile in "Medicine"....

It's always amusing to read about the "advances" in health from 50 years ago. Hey, sometimes they got things right! Sometimes... well, they really, really tried.

Doggo treats!

"Beef, chicken, liver, and regular." I assume "regular" = soy sauce.

As this was Family Circle's December/Holiday issue, there are some gift & toy ads, though not as many as would appear in the December 1976 issue. 

I have now seen the words "Pooh's capacious body."

I will never unsee them.

And neither will you. You're welcome.

But here's a palate cleanser....


I feel like every time there's a downturn in the economy, the household magazines rally by trying to make cheap, mundane products sound REALLY FUN.

You know, like tape! 


Don't get me wrong... tape was fun. Tape IS fun. But it's not that fun.

Flameless? Wait... there were dryers that... used flames? Or... spontaneously went up in flames? I'm going to have to do more research on this. I did find that electric dryers were invented in 1938, so it seems a bit odd that they'd still be advertising "flameless" dryers in 1970. OH WELL.

Time for...


Are you in the mood for some "poetry"...?

I really think this could be pared down a bit. ✂

How about...?

His hard muscles
Of thick slices of rare roast beef
Snatching a toddler
Like a half-grown lamb at play
Food is health

Speaking of which...

There's a LOT of food in this issue, and I don't know if it's the photography or just the nature of what was being photographed, but 90% of it looks totally disgusting. But maybe it's just me....

So I'm going to ask YOU, the reader, to weigh in! Take a look at the treats being offered below, and answer this question for each: 


#1: Would you eat this popcorn wreath that glamorously encompasses a creepy Santa who, judging by the position of his belt, probably cannot move his head?

#2: Would you eat these avant garde Rice Krispie "treats": A disembodied Raggedy Ann, a stoned snowman, a red-eyed bunny who's not sure which holiday she's in, or a cup full of a brown substance that may or may not be pudding?

#3: Would you eat (drink?) cups of white goo that seem to be hosting a pool party to what, at first glance, appear to be a bunch of gummy bears, but, it turns out, are actually "candied fruits," aka "escapees from a fruitcake"? 

#4: Would you eat bowls of avocado that simultaneously make you nostalgic for the earthy yet hideous colors of the 1970s and make you nauseated at first glance, only to be saved by the immortal words: "The day of your affair, get your Love smashed early."?

#5: Would you eat these abominations masquerading as pasta...?

#6: Yes, the pinwheels and puffs below actually look tempting, at least until you realize they taste strongly of Santa's tobacco, the doughboy's epidermis, and the sad, salty tears the court jester cries when he thinks no one's watching. Would you eat them... anyway?

#7: Would you eat this Dole-inspired salad? It looks pretty good until I tell you that green stuff is actually spinach, and yes, you have to eat it. All of it.

#8: Would you prefer to snack on beheaded fish, the eggs of said fish, or, perhaps, a fish's eyeballs? Take your pick! Sure, those might actually be olives. They might be a lot of things. But for the sake of this experiment, let's say they're fish eyeballs. (Wes, if you're reading this, I think I know your answer.)

#9: Did y'all used to have grandmas who'd bake 10 types of cookies and then put them all in a rectangular tupperware container all together, so that, by the time you got to them, they all tasted like a weird combination of sugar, cocoa, and plastic?

Like, I'm not saying I'd change that for the world. But did you?

#10: Would you eat a gingerbread house?

What if I told you it was God's house, hmmm?

On baby Jesus's birthday, too. How could you?

★ ★ ★

If you would eat:

0 of the above: C'mon, live a little!

1-3 of the above: It's good to be cautious, especially when dealing with 50-year-old food.

4-6 of the above: You're an adventurous soul who wouldn't mind being slowly and/or quickly poisoned.

7-10 of the above: Damn.

★ ★ ★

A few more random 70's foodstuffs...

I love these "housekeeping tips" pages. They're so quaint. A TV dinner tray as a drawer organizer? What a novel concept!

Use an oven mitt to take things out of the freezer so your hands don't get cold....?


I really had been wondering where to keep all my shoe-polishing equipment. My 3rd grade DuckTales lunchbox to the rescue!

Letters to the Editor are also fun...

Haha, yes. So droll.

Meanwhile, in somberland....

So... the issue of kids being born to servicemen and the women they "encountered" overseas -- and those kids often being scorned or unwanted -- is a big issue whose effects are still being felt to this day, and which you can read more about here, here, and here

And I'm sitting here finding it so weird that these kids were seen as, like, inevitable "war casualties". War is a problem, but it wasn't the problem. The problem was a bunch of soldiers and sailors who couldn't keep things to themselves. (The U.S. military, for what it is worth, did provide contraceptives. They can at least have an "I tried" sticker.)

Oh well... here are some Hummels....


Mildly racist and culturally insensitive gift-giving ideas happening... now!

What the hell is this? Is it a book? Is it a pillow? No one knows! Buy it anyway!

And on the back cover, we have the usual cigarette ad. They're usually bad. The ads I mean. Okay, cigarettes too. But the ads especially....

Like, would that delightful conversation inspire you to start smoking that brand? I seriously hope not.

Here, have some more Pooh....

For more Glossy Time Capsules, click here!