Blown up.

I originally started this post with a few paragraphs about unlucky Miss Nevada and her problems. It had a gratuitous swipe at Donald Trump and some other stuff, but Kate has started reading my website again, so I can’t do that anymore. Back to PG-13 material. And no, no links for you. You know how to use Google News.

Anyway, how crude of me, to bring up Miss Nevada on a day like today, the weekend before our Savior’s birth, when every other blogger in the world is putting up soft-focus shots of his family and offering joy to the world. Especially when there’s other, holiday-related bloggage, like this NYT story on inflatable holiday decorations:

“Appalling,�? Catherine Bruckner, a traditionalist who decorates only in holly and evergreen, sneered as she stopped her car in front of an inflated Santa playing poker with two shrewd-eyed reindeer in a menagerie totaling two dozen figures. “It’s bad enough to see those things on Halloween. At Christmas, they rise to a level of tackiness that is horrible.�?

Well, yeah. But when has that stopped Americans from expressing themselves at the holidays?

But the inflatables have brought the notion of Christmas self-expression to another plane. Now, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, that televised triumphal march that inaugurates the season, can live on in miniature for weeks at a time, swaying and bobble-heading across the front lawn of anyone willing to pay the electric bill — maybe a thousand dollars if you keep them inflated all the time, less if you leave the skins of your Christmas characters sprawled on the ground most of the day, their crumpled faces staring blankly at the sky or the sod, depending.

Why I love the New York Times: The story contains the fascinating detail that Gemmy, the company that makes the vast majority of these things, had its first success with? Anyone?

Yes, “the wall-mounted singing fish known as Big Mouth Billy Bass.” Perhaps my favorite Sopranos-episode prop.

And there’s also this fabulously dry sentence: The company also sells inflatable turkeys, pumpkins and the occasional dreidel.

“The occasional dreidel.” That cracked me up.

Oh, my, but I’m done here. I’m taking the holiday weekend off along with everyone else. Until the 26th, have a great time with you and yours. One last Festive Foto, although not the one the photographer was perhaps expecting to see. Colleen sent a link to a picture of the Fort Wayne Santa, but it was a tad out of focus and the bulbs were burned out in the sleigh’s runners. So I browsed her Photobucket and found this shot I like a lot more. Not Christmasy, but it is, to me, the essence of my drive to work when I was on the 5 a.m. shift. The city is never more deserted than it is between 4 and 5, which gives its lighted displays even more impact. I knew I was almost there when I saw this:


It doesn’t exactly say “sleep in heavenly peace,” but it works for me.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas!

Posted at 11:28 am in Holiday photos, Popculch |

20 responses to “Blown up.”

  1. Cathy Dee said on December 22, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    And best of all, it always smelled so darn good…like home ought too.

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  2. MichaelG said on December 22, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Merry Christmas, everyone!!

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  3. mary said on December 22, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    Merry Christmas from the left coast as well.

    On the subject of inflatables: A friend who lives in Virginia had an inflatable snowman on his lawn a few years ago. This one had arms. There was a big storm with lots of wind before Christmas, and he said it was sort of weird watching this huge snowman on his lawn waving his arms beseechingly in the storm. The next day the snowman was a little deflated and his head and arms were sagging. A very touching inflatable snowman.

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  4. alex said on December 22, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Years ago, when I wrote for a sales and marketing trade journal, inflatable Santas weren’t yet a consumer item but were used commercially. I interviewed one of the makers of advertising inflatables who said a storm blew one of its giant Santas off the top of a grocery store and it generated a big buzz in the local news. The store owner called and asked the balloon company to help engineer more baloon catastrophes to help him get on the local news.

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  5. Andrew Jarosh said on December 22, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Ah yes, Nancy. the old revolving bread atop Perfection bakery. The one we had written about, at least once, about how many revolutions in an hour/in a day made by the loaf of bread. Where I learned how few pennies worth of wheat went into one of those loaves of white bread. Where the day old bakery made a brisk business, me included on the way home from work. Where I first met, and spoke with, John Popp and heard his world view. And those 5 a.m. mornings when, you are right, nothing is alive except you. Can get maudlin here; but I’ll end it with a Merry Christmas to you and the family.

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  6. Dave K. said on December 22, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Maybe the Sunbeam Bread sign isn’t that Christmasy, but one of the best holiday billboards I’ve seen is from the same bakery. The classic curly-haired Sunbeam girl, probably Christmas morning pajama-clad, with the quote from scripture, “Not by bread alone…”. Does anyone have that picture? Merry Christmas to all!

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  7. Jim in Fla said on December 22, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Those little signs are for sale on ebay, as well as at several internet antique/collectable places. Google “sunbeam not by bread alone”

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  8. Michael said on December 22, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Knowing more about Gemmy than the average person, I think the funny part of the dreidel comment is that it was founded as a graduate school (MBA) project at an Ultra Conservative (political and religious) Catholic University that is in the final running for the “W” Library. Using that liberal arts education to better humanity?!

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  9. Mindy said on December 22, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    A very merry Christmas, everyone.

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  10. brian stouder said on December 22, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    And to you also, Wendy

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  11. Dorothy said on December 22, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Merry, merry all! My mom arrived last night safely and we’re looking forward to a nice, 9 day visit. I hope you all have a lovely holiday!

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  12. colleen said on December 23, 2006 at 1:28 am

    For whatever reason, I really liked that shot when I took it. Santa is hard to capture well…..

    Merry Christmas!

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  13. Bob said on December 23, 2006 at 9:18 am

    Before it was “updated” some years ago, the revolving bread sign included curly-headed Miss Sunbeam. I think they should bring her back.

    I still see the sign as missing something.

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  14. basset said on December 23, 2006 at 10:52 am

    the former Sunbeam bakery in Nashville is now a profoundly weird car museum… Mustangs and Vettes you can find anywhere, but if you want to see a Robin or a Tatra this is the place., no commercial connection, I just like their attitude.

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  15. MarkH said on December 23, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Dorothy – If I remember correctly, didn’t Braun’s Town Talk Bread have various similar displays around the Pittsburgh area back in the ’50s-’60s? And, just so you know, I got your Walter Pigeon reference a few days ago, but I didn’t think I was that old (!).

    Merry Christmas to everyone from here in the Northern Rockies (where it is now appropriately in the 0 degree range and the snow is building once again) to all of you who have made this blog an enjoyable part of daily life. Blessings are, indeed, many to be counted.

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  16. Danny said on December 24, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I’ve been as scarce around here and as busy some of you have no doubt. We’re in coastal North Carolina (near Cape Fear) and the weather forecast for tomorrow is 100 percent rain (I’ve never heard of that before?!?).

    Dorothy, before we crossed the state line, we bought a load of fireworks. I think it was from Crazy Sam’s or Whacky Willie’s or some other whimsically named shop from which one does not feel totally comfortable about the purchase of high explosives. Can’t wait to blow stuff up.

    Everyone, have a very Merry Christmas.

    God bless, Danny

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  17. John Good said on December 25, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Merry Christmas, Nance!

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  18. Marcia said on December 25, 2006 at 10:42 am

    Merry Christmas Nancy, family, and fellow commenters!

    From, me

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  19. Dorothy said on December 26, 2006 at 9:42 am

    Mark – I’m sure Braun’s probably did, but I can’t recall specifically. I was born in 1957, so I can’t speak to the 50’s. My skyline memories of Pittsburgh when I was a little girl sort of center around the smoky steel mills, the Duquesne Light clock, the Clark candy bar neon sign and the Alcoa building that did some sort of weather-coding with their blue lights on the top of their building. I never did learn what each light combination meant.

    Danny – I’m not a fan of fireworks so I can’t begin to guess where or what the name of the place was where you went. I’ve never stopped to buy any. Last night as I was trying to melt into the couch after a particularly filling Christmas dinner, someone behind our house was setting off fireworks, completely disrupting my reverie! Our dog Augie went nuts, and that was the end of the peace and quiet.

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  20. MarkH said on December 26, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Ha! I remember that building, Dorothy. There were three levels in a pyramid shape, and I think it was real simple: one of two different colors told you the forecast; orange for good weather and blue for stormy weather. Those were the Gulf Oil colors and that makes me think it was the Gulf Oil building and not Alcoa. I could be wrong, though, as it’s been more than ten years since I’ve been there. And the Clark Bar sign, YES!

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