Welcome! If this is your first visit, you might be a bit
confused. There’s a certain homogeneous look to personal /
promotional websites, based on popular WordPress
templates. The big hero image, the sidebar, the boxes with
icons and big text, all that crap. Or there’s something
quite spare, with a picture of the host in a circle.
What is this thing?
Simple: The anteroom of the internet’s most diverse,
idiosyncratic, and individually curated pop-culture
museum. Note: that’s the last time I’ll use “curated.”
But it’s true! I am pretentious. Also, this site is a
one-man effort, assembled over two decades, its
innumerable sub-sites gathered together under general,
It’s not some idle project, occasionally updated. The
Bleat, a blog that’s celebrating its 21st year, contains a
M-F essay, some piece of old commercial ephemera, a
rotating feature on everything from cliffhanger serials to
old radio to main street America to the ads of the 1930s
or 1970s, and a link to the daily site update.
And that’s just the blog. Scroll down for the total
enormity. I hope you enjoy the site. Twenty-two years, and
What is the
Institute? A good question. It began
as a repository for odd things I scanned – and
by “scanned,” I mean I took pictures with a
video camera, and used a frame grabber to get
the images. Cheap scanners didn’t exist.
As time went on, anything that
was “vintage” or “retro” and could be gently
mocked went into the Institute.
the main page. At present, the Institute
contains these sites:
Gallery of Regrettable Food. The classic
from 1997, it spawned two books. Still updated –
huge addition in 2019.
Desecrations: bad interior design of the
60s and 70s.
Gobbler: the Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin.
Redone in 2019.
Art of Art Frahm: the effect of celery on
70s: a brief account (only 100 pages so
far) of the worst decade ever. Also linked in
the 20th century project.
Permanent Collection of Impermanent Art:
what if we treated advertising illustration with
the same pretentious analysis we use for museum
Sins: a small name for a huge site. It
in Comics. Arranged by genre, of course,
for all the anal-retentive types out there.
an ongoing site. There are lots of sites on
the web that post old covers, and this without
question is one of them.
Funny Pages. A study of old newspaper
and magazine cartoons. Contains several
Lawson, a short-lived Minneapolis
Coffeenerves, a real bastard
on the Job, a 1920s gag strip that
used the flip-take a bit too much
Pete, another obscure 20s strip
the Cub Reporter. From the WW1 era.
Influential and popular 19teens cartoonist.
Comics Ever. In my opinion. Includes a
bad Spirit someone was kind enough to show
to Will Eisner.
Wallgren: his WW1 soldier comics.
Milquetoast: an appreciation.
Williams: also an appreciation.
Features: the entire 1949 line up of
artists and strips. More than fifty!
Vacation Adventures. Hi ho, it’s off to
the Dells. (Plus the Ozarks)
Jim: story of a Canadian Meat Man.
Ooky old men’s mags. Closest thing this site
comes to for NSFW.
promotional art for the old calculating
Nervine Joke Book. 1920s hardy-har
is Red, Butt is Numb. Postcards
celebrating Chinese Opera. Really.
Collection: Unfortunate men’s fashions.
of Bread: 1949 Promotional Brochure about
the wonders of bread.
the Dayalets! Creepy undead vitamin
Kennel Dogs in newspapers.
Publicity. No such thing? Think again.
Also known as Miscellany,
depending on the year. This site began as a
dumping ground for ideas that didn’t fit
anywhere else. It’s grown to rival the Institute
in size. As time goes on, various sites are
moved to places where they fit in a bit better.
The main index page is HERE.
The sites are:
COVERS Illustrations from the days of
rockets and cheap paperbacks. Updated in 2016.
READE JR. A look at the 19th century Tom
Tiny Little: his life in album art.
SS Lurline: an old cruise ship brochure.
a 70s Paris hotel brochure.
Girl in NYC: She sent a friend a letter
in the 1920s.
Portfolios: The art of the souvenir
ads from people looking for long-lost friends
in the 1940s
Hardware Circulars. That about says it,
to Telegrams: the forgotten art of
History of Swimsuits. Old news-service
photos of bathing beauties.
Letters from the Antique Store. A tale
told in ephemera.
Stationery. Engravings and current
views, if possible.
Buick: a gorgeous brochure for the
Radio promotional books. So
in 1960s women’s mags.
MOVED, and not on the index
page, but still lurking:
Monkey Wards: Almost every color picture
in the catalog, with more than 130 pages.
week in TV Guide. Every page of a 1967
issue, embedded with links to YouTube residue.
1962: Every page of a dining guide,
embedded with links and pictures to whatever
remains from the last days of the post-war
1941: An earlier version of the dining
American Motel. The great signs of the
days before the chains changed everything.
Ongoing throughout the year..
and Chrome: old restaurant postcards.
keep forgetting about
this site. It’s a salute to wavy lines in tiny
pictures! It’s odd to forget something like
this, because it has approximately 13
Lucre: the money of other lands. I
won’t break them out by nations, but there’s
Gallery of Corporate Allegory. The art
of Stock Certificates.
Covers: lots of vignettes of people,
places, and events celebrated by the Postal
Service. It’s not as dull as it sounds.
Cities Old and New. Some
of these sites are new; others are in need of
a refresh. We have:
It has old views,
present views, and the U
of M. Currently undergoing a site-wide
York. Old postcard views of
office buildings and hotels; a look at
Times Square; some of my
Ads. Faded pictures painted on brick
Streets. Bygone town centers before
the malls emptied them out.
Streets at Night: neon!
of Yore: 1960s mall postcards.
Churches: modernism applied to
NODAK: Google street views of old,
tiny downtowns on the edge of America.
street on Google Street Views. Links
to the ongoing Bleat feature celebrating the
greatest documentary project of the 21st
I’ll get around to all of
them eventually, I hope. For now there are
four decades under consideration.
Oughts & Tens. New in 2019, and
Twenties. Ongoing at present;
magazines covers, and a rather
significant selection of movie
ads from Film Daily magazine, and some
spicy – but SFW
1934: 100 pages from the catalog,
scanned, color-corrected, and annotated.
ads. I don’t know how many, exactly.
hooch. A site devoted to brands that
have passed from memory.
kitchen brochure. What things looked
Playlists of the hits of each year.
1933 World’s Fair. Yeah, we need
another site about this – but it has some
stuff you might not have seen.
a big collection of WW2
ads, brochures for the
home front, and more.
cultural ephemera, like wallpaper
Gudie to LA, Homemaker’s
Guide, and more.
Sixties. The Twilight of the Grown-Ups.
You’ll find sites with these topics:
Huge! Two year of fashion.
Homes. A collection of rambler art.
Store Age. An industry periodical.
Fair 1964. There are bigger sites, I’m
Meant to be tossed, but someone kept them.
spots. A few brisk examples of period
of brown horrors. We have:
Ice Follies. Three years of programs.
Faces of Match Game. Says it all.
Faces of the Price is Right. The
Punk 77: how to be a punk
My favorite show when I was a kid.
1973: a small selection of fashion.
1976: Bicentennial styles.
Bad Cartoons: Saturday morning horrors.
Swoon, girls: Odd Bobby Sherman comic.
PSAs and beautiful music from early 70s
lingerie from the early 70s
80s New in 2019, and spare.
Catalog. Weekly throughout 2019.
Mass Media, seen through
two particular filters.
version of Black and White World: it’s
better, but there’s less there.
Black and White World. As the title
suggests: the visual media before color.
& Snappy: the 30s.
dramas and musicals.
Monsters: early sci-fi
and other early shorts.
comprehensive collection of Cartoon
Films: Movies from buzz.mn &
lileks.com. Additional 80s KTCA films viewable
at my YouTube
Selections from Old Time Radio; library music
no one was ever meant to think much about.
Diner My old KSTP AM-1500 radio show is
back in podcast form. Over eighty half-hour
episodes available – with some original shows
from the 90s as well.
Remixes and compositions.
Host Bio, family stories, dog
Where I was.
What I saw.
Where I am.