Thursday, December 10, 2020


This old "ghost ad" is on the side of a building on Kilburn High Road. I always thought it advertised Gillette matches, which seemed a little weird to me, as I didn't know Gillette ever made matches. Turns out, it's a couple of ads layered over each other.

One is for Gillette safety razors. Atop that is a slightly newer one for Criterion matches, which apparently came from the Soviet Union. There's an interesting in-depth look at these old ads, with background on the companies, here. (I love the Internet; there's a blog post for everything!)

I had the weirdest dreams last night. I dreamed I was a reporter again, back in Florida, and Joe Biden was in town. I had a phone conversation with him that was a little disjointed, and then when I met him the next day he seemed positively doddering. He actually had trouble standing up, and needed help from two assistants, who reacted ruefully to the fact that I was going to mention it in the paper. For the record, I do not for a second buy into the right-wing propaganda that Biden is incapacitated or senile – but I was reading some right-wing message boards yesterday, just to see what the loonies were saying, and I suppose their paranoia seeped into my brain. See how insidious misinformation can be?

Then I had a dream that Dave and I were both being held captive by the actor J. K. Simmons, or more accurately, a deranged character played by him; he kept threatening us with a big knife and I had to somehow get the knife away from him and hide it in a box in his closet, which I did successfully.

It's very unusual for me to remember my dreams, and these were quite detailed. I still remember my dream conversation with one of faux-Biden's assistants, and the expression on her face, which was perfectly calibrated between wincing embarrassment, pleading and resignation. (When I was a reporter I saw that look a lot.) It's amazing that our brains can create such detailed images, in this case of a person I've never seen in real life, at least not that I remember.

When I tell Dave about this dream he's going to forbid me from reading those message boards anymore. Ha!

I was looking at them because I was curious whether Trump's supporters were finally giving ground on the idea that he'd won the election. The answer is no. In fact, they're more convinced than ever that it's being stolen, and many of them are calling for armed resistance if Trump's legal machinations don't work.

My mom used to say the Civil War wasn't really over, and I never knew what she was talking about. But she was right. These people are a subset of the electorate who are unhappy with progress, unhappy with having black leaders (a feeling they may or may not acknowledge themselves), unhappy with change, unhappy with any interdependence on other countries or cultures. They rant about how Biden and Harris are radicals and communists being controlled by China. It's complete insanity, but they believe it. Unless they're Russian bots, which is always possible.

Anyway, so as not to end on that depressing note, here's a picture from our garden (taken Nov. 26) of what may be our last nasturtium of the year. The plants haven't frozen back yet, but it's only a matter of time. Fortunately they're pretty durable and they've reliably re-seeded for several seasons, so we'll probably have more when the weather warms up again.

Humans may be crazy, but the Earth just plods along, enduring.


  1. Thank goddess the earth has somehow managed to continue to plod along. I, too, have been having these anxiety laden dreams lately. I've been doing my damnedest to get them out of my head right away so they don't add more to my waking anxiety.

  2. Shoot! Forgot to mention how much I love the painted ads on buildings -- and your discovery. I remember being surprised to spot a still easily visible Wanamaker's ad on a building in midtown Manhattan perhaps 30 years ago -- long after Wanamaker's was just a memory in NYC.

  3. A ghost ad with different layers merging into one. It's like a metaphor for the Trump fanatics with truth and fantasy inseparable. Keep saying something long enough and folk will start to believe it. The election was stolen. Biden is a communist space alien who eats babies. Yeah, that's it.

  4. The ghost signs are interesting. I have a vague memory of Criterion Matches. They were inferior to our locally made Redhead Matches. I had no idea Criterion were Russian made. Readhead matches were made by Bryant and May here. Was it in a post of yours showing a sign where the Bryant and May was spelt a little differently? We were outraged to discover that our native forests were no longer being raped and pillaged to make Redhead Matches but that the timber was coming coming from Scandinavia, and then later Indonesia.

    #45 v Harris in four years time after the stabilisation of Biden? Surely #45 will be written into history for what he has been by then. You looking at those right wing message boards is a case of knowing thy enemy and it has confirmed to you what f***wits they really are.

    1. Andrew - I just had a Twilight Zone moment. I've read a couple of books in the Bryant and May mystery series by Christopher Fowler. I wonder if he named them after the match manufacturer? Interesting!

  5. Interesting dreams of yours. It appears that currently anxiety reigns (by which I mean the communal one - born out of uncertainty). To me dreams are a tool to show us what's actually happening in our waking life - not all to be taken literally but as symbols. I am a serial dreamer (dreaming the same theme over and over and over, sometimes for weeks, months, years). As a devoted Jungian I know what I am talking about. Alas, I rarely talk about it since, for reasons I can't fathom, most people don't like hearing about other people's dreams. I do. So you are safe with me. One better, I am actually interested.

    I don't know if you ever find this so, but that moment you wake and, for a split second you can't divide reality from the dream, is not so much frightening as bewildering. Then you find your bearings, and such delicious relief. Though do have to say that my dream life is far more dramatic than my actual life. Not that that is a bad thing. Who wants to be a high flyer when, in reality, you are afraid of heights?

    Sweet dreams, Steve. Make the most of them. Enjoy.


  6. Again, I love the history on the sides of buildings.

    And, because I'm warped, if you had to be held hostage by someone, a kinda hot bald man can't be that bad. I find JK a little bit sexy.

  7. I think that so much of it the Trump fan base is, in actuality, based on racism. A whole lot of people could not deal with the fact that we had a Black president and a Black family in the White House. One of the things I base this on is the fact that every damn comment about Melania from one of those rabid Trumpers describes her as "classy" which is about the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard. Those pictures of her when she was doing soft porn modeling with her rigid fake breasts and blank face are as far from "classy" as one can imagine. What those people really mean is that she is white. There is no other explanation.
    I guess we're going to go ahead and have an inauguration wherein DT will not be in attendance and although he will move out of the White House, there will be many, many who will never admit that he lost the election and isn't still the president. At least I think that's what''s going to happen.

  8. I just want Trump to get out of the White House on January 20th. This questioning of the election results is extremely dangerous and is giving the Civil War a whole new meaning in this century. I agree with your mom that the war never really ended. Now it has a cult leader willing and delighting in fanning the flames.

  9. Neat quote to sum things up. Trump seems to like the crazies.

  10. Trump and the majority of Republicans are a distinct threat to democracy. I, too, worry about violence. MI's secretary of state was outside of her decorating for Christmas with her 4 year old when armed protesters showed up at her house threatening her and the child. How sick do you have to be to participate in this crap? Or to encourage it? Yes, pretty damn sick.

  11. I can't wait for January 20th. It is getting more outrageous and scary here as Trump goes on ranting and his followers are talking about using violence. Republican state attorney generals from EIGHTEEN states are trying to file a lawsuit to get votes thrown out in four states that went to Biden. It sounds crazier and crazier.
    Sweeter dreams, Steve! and peace for us all.

  12. Did you happen to see the column by Thomas Edsall in yesterday's NY Times? It was about how we got to where we are today. He talks about how anxiety over declining status has spurred things on. The column was pretty academic with lots of quotes from a variety of scholars, some of which I didn't really grasp but it was interesting nonetheless. It still doesn't help me understand how these people can justify a need to overthrow the government. Anyway, I can understand that kind of talk giving you nightmares.
    The crazies have turned on our Governor the past week because he had the nerve to certify the election results and not take Trump's call while he was doing it. It is all so preposterous and scary. It's like we are living inside some bizarre novel or movie.

  13. Steve, I am sitting here eating chinese food for lunch and I started laughing about your dream. I decided to stop for a while and give you a comment. Your dream is coming from that orange nut in the white house because he told us Joe was having dementia for a while and all that crap will come back in a dream. That mess maker is the one who has dementia. Gonna call him a shit maker because what he does is very bad. He is asking Ted Cruz to help Ken Paxton(our attorney general) argue with the supreme court to cancel out our votes. What's happening is Paxton is trying to get Trump to pardon him for a lot of crooked mess he has been doing while in office. I haven't heard much about the law suit his associates have against him for bribery. So he is now trying to be friends with Trump and keep his mess going so he can get a pardon from Trump. It's sad that so many crooked people are in office these days. We are getting them out little by little. Sometimes it is going to take more than one try.

  14. I started the Thomas Edsall article yesterday, and didn't finish it, so thanks Sharon for mentioning it so I've found it again.
    So much of this country is occupied by nutters. WAPO did a good piece on people in South Dakota who refuse to admit Covid is a thing, and think it's just a flu and are not going to wear a mask no matter what. There is no reaching them. Their death rates are just staggering, especially considering how low their population density is. People!

  15. It's terrifying that so many believe this craziness. It is rooted in racism, ignorance and hatred of change. The GOP knows how to feed this monster and stoke the fires of insurrection. It feels like nothing will ever be enough to bring them back to sanity. :(

  16. Those are some weird (& specific!) dreams! I hope tonight is more restful!

  17. I am just weary. I am looking forward to a respite from the insanity, from the daily, never ending drama and nonsense.

  18. I love those old painted advertisements.
    Perhaps the brain puts things together in dreams that wouldn't be possible?
    We watched a programme about Jamestown in the 1600s..looked like the roots of many of the present USA problems run deep

  19. I used to remember my dreams, long involved and detailed but not so much anymore. my first conscious thought on waking and it immediately evaporates. occasionally I do remember but if I want to remember for longer than a half hour I have to recite it to myself over and over.

  20. The Civil War definitely isn't over, and it's not civil at all. More than one Trump supporter (and one is too many) hopes for a new Civil War. They have no problem with violence, as I'm sure you've seen on the news. As we waited to learn who won the presidential election I dreamed that I was the defendant in famous trials. Lawyers screamed at me and attacked me. I'm sure the anxiety brought on the nightmares.