Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rush your order today

What keeps the water in the loop? Amaze and mystify your friends with this sensational new “mystery” fish-bowl molded from clear durable plastic with a scientific tube loop. Fill it with approximately ½ gallon of water as per our secret instructions, then insert two or three of your pet goldfish. You’ll watch them for hours and hours as they frisk and frolic through the loop. The perfect compliment to any room.

Send no money (of course!) to Novelty Mart, 59 East 8th Street, NY 3, NY. I hope against hope that Novelty Mart is still on 8th Street? Perhaps it’s a shoe store? Or have all the 8th Street shoe stores disappeared, taken over by Krispy Kreme and CVS outlets?

This wonderful ad is from the same issue of The Workbasket that I was talking about the other day. It’s out of place really, more suited to Boy’s Life, or MAD magazine, I think. But then again, I can’t be sure that I wouldn’t have paid my $2.98, C.O.D. I’m not sure you can see in the scan above, but in the inset drawing in the top right corner, there’s a Mystery Fish-bowl [sic] on the coffee table, and two that seem to be mounted to the wall above the couch. Now that’s a conversation starter!

I can’t tell you how much I love these old ads. And it’s not just the vintage ones that capture my imagination. I love reading through the ads in foreign magazines just as much. There’s something all that more enticing when the object is out of reach, don’t you think? Wouldn’t you love to call up and order an Aga that you saw advertised in the back pages of the UK edition of Country Style?

When I was a teenager, I horded my few copies of Seventeen magazine jealously, poring over every word and image. American teenagers, with their perms and driving permits and weight-loss camps, seemed so sophisticated and shiny to me, stuck as I was in my grey gabardine school uniform, catching the bus, listening to nuns lecture about the Rhythm Method. Stuffed somewhere the bathroom cupboard at my parents’ place is a set of plastic twisty things I convinced our American neighbours to acquire for me on one of their trips home to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The ad guaranteed natural, flowing curls. My hair remained straight. The free make-up set that arrived one day saw me break out in allergic reaction. But I still love to hope, imagining the promise in a magic fishbowl or a piece of plastic that will give me the curls I’ve always wanted.

Toward this end, I signed up for Cotton Strudel’s MagSwap. It's just my speed at the moment, choosing a magazine for a partner and sending it off. Despite this, I admit I was a couple of days late getting mine in the mail. Just a couple of days (sorry Emily!). I tried to use powers of psychological deduction to choose something suitable for my blog-less partner, and hope I hit the target, if not the bullseye.


I feel I have a lot of catching up to do over here. I haven’t shown you the studio recently, have I? Or told you about my last-minute trip to Brisbane? Like Erin, I want to move to Queensland, but only for the winter. Coincidentally, I met two Clevelanders in Brisbane who had just arrived in Australia for an extended work-related stay. They could not believe the weather, and were exclaiming in wide-eyed, shock-like states how much they loved it, how they couldn’t believe such a place existed…. It was all I could do to prevent myself wailing Cassandra-like, “But the summer! Beware the summer!” I would like to tell you that I made my way to Atomic Boom on the advice of an Austin, Texas craft blogger extraordinaire. But I can’t: I tried, but didn’t make it. Next time.


Blogger Ampersand Duck said...

I want three of them, climbing the wall like in the picture! It's a marvellous ad, as enticing as seamonkeys, which I always wanted but my mum would never let me buy.

I wish someone would let me visit Qld in winter. I'm always dragged there in summer, and of course it's just waaaaay too hot. I hope you had a great time!

3:25 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Look if it makes you feel any better I was hoarding the same magazines, plastic thingies, and free make up samples, and they didn't work for me either, even though my attempts did not have distance to explain their failure.
Check out the pre-ZIP postal code on that ad - NY3 !

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sea monkeys were always my fascination - advertised in the back of my uncles old Mad magazines. When Mum told me that it was only for America I nearly wept.

That sure does look like a pretty super kind of fish tank.

9:45 AM  

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