Tuesday, October 18, 2011
  The power of 70-year-old advertisements

Every night I sleep with a familiar playlist of old-time radio shows, usually starting with something fairly fresh and amusing to distract just enough of my mind to get to sleep. The later parts of the playlist remain constant for long periods because I only hear them when I wake up for whatever reason. Most of this 'static' playlist is episodes of Info Please, always satisfying even when familiar. Best regularly scheduled show in the history of radio and TV.

The later years of Info Please were sponsored by Heinz, which seems to have been a happier arrangement than the earlier Lucky Strike account. [Supposedly Lucky Strike kept pressing the panelists to smoke their product on stage; the three regular panelists, all cigar men, wouldn't descend to puffing a sissified weed, so everyone was dissatisfied.]

Heinz wrote some classic advertising texts, different each week and often downright lyrical. With food tightly rationed, these ads must have been more nostalgia than invitation at the time. This one-minute segment on tomato soup is an excellent example, clipped from a 1943 episode.

In the past year or so, these ads were only nostalgia for me as well. My digestive system was stormy, and I'd narrowed down my diet to the blandest possible food. Last month, after hearing a complete description of acid reflux by Dr Zorba on NPR, I decided to start taking an acid blocker. Works beautifully! Since then my innards have been calm and windless, and I've been sleeping much better.

So I've finally succumbed to the Heinz ads and resumed cooking old favorite combinations of various vegetables in tomato soup.



Mmmmmmmm.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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