Lullaby and good night

I have never needed one (quite the opposite), but if you’re trying to sell a sleeping aid, you need a soothing voice. That’s why our jingle of the day is the soporific, calming, crooning couplet that was all over TV in the ’60s and ’70s:

Take Sominex tonight and sleep,
Safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep …

I actually preferred the bouncier, more upbeat line of a rival product,

Nytol will help you get your Z’s!

–during which the two tablets posed in front of the bottle would do a quarter-turn, so the N’s etched into the pills would turn to Z’s.

My problem, as I said, is not falling asleep but waking up, my attitude toward which matches the matchless Nero Wolfe’s sidekick Archie Goodwin’s:

I would appreciate it if they would call a halt on all their devoted efforts to find a way to abolish war or eliminate disease or run trains with atoms or extend the span of human life to a couple of centuries, and everybody concentrate for a while on how to wake me up in the morning without my resenting it. It may be that a bevy of beautiful maidens in pure silk yellow very sheer gowns, barefooted, singing ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning’ and scattering rose petals over me would do the trick, but I’d have to try it.

The product placement all-time champion

If we’re going to resuscitate this blog’s jingle of the day feature, we should do it with the only company to place not one but two jingles into the legendary hall of fame. Cue the lonely, depressed kid singing:

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
That is what I’d truly love to be
For if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
Everyone would be in love with me

Now switch to the little girl:

My bologna has a first name
It’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has a second name
It’s M-A-Y-E-R
Oh, I love to eat it every day
And if you ask me why I’ll say
‘Cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A

And how about the iconic Wienermobile, cruising America’s highways and byways since 1936? I just tried to think of the nation’s #2 hot dog maker and couldn’t. Case closed!

Update: Blog closed, enjoying dinner, I just thought of the nation’s #2 hot dog maker. Even if the references to fat and sissy kids would never be allowed nowadays.

Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs
What kind of kids eat Armour hot dogs?
Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks
Tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox
Love hot dogs, Armour hot dogs
The dog kids love to bite!

A diet rich in nitrates and nitrites contributes to a rich memory for jingles.

The big picture

Spring training is underway! Time to sing along with a jingle of the day from the early ’70s, I think, about the Motorola TV set whose “works in a drawer” design let you pull out a panel in its giant cabinet to access some of the circuitry. To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”:

Watch your game on the sports set —
Quasar Color TV!
Insta-Matic tuning and Solid State
Are two of the features that make it so great!
Then you add one-button modules
To the Works-in-a-Drawer TV
And it’s one, two, three big ideas
In Quasar Color TV!


My grandmother had an even bigger Quasar with an elaborately carved Drexel cabinet on both sides of the picture tube. You didn’t mount a TV on the wall in those days; it rivaled the couch as your largest piece of furniture.

Think clean thoughts

It occurs to me that if the Michelin Man worked out, he’d be the sexy Mr. Clean in tonight’s Super Bowl ad:

Naturally, Mr. C. is a candidate for this blog’s jingle of the day feature:

Mr. Clean cuts dirt and grime and grease, it takes him just a minute
And now it’s even better ’cause there’s Ultra Power in it
Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean!

Come to think of it, if the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man worked out, he’d be the Michelin Man. There’s enough white power in this post to satisfy Steve Bannon.

All in all, his brain’s another brick in the wall

Today’s jingle of the day comes from a commercial extolling the filter tip of Pall Mall cigarettes:

Over, under, around, and through
Pall Mall flavor travels to you

Texas Senator John Cornyn reminded me of it by saying (h/t No More Mr. Nice Blog), in regards to the cost of Feckless Leader’s border wall: “I have concerns about spending un-offset money, which adds to the debt, period. I don’t think we’re just going to be able to solve border security with a physical barrier because people can come under, around it and through it.”

B – b – but the wall won’t cost us a dime, because Mexico will pay for it! Get with the program, Corny! Between this and two Republicans opposing Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, are we seeing a rift between the GOP and Lord Boor?

Cue Steve Martin from the end of those old “Saturday Night Live” sketches: “Naaaah.”

Two tuna tunes

Commercial jingles are rarely more than a few lines long. Many are merely couplets, like

The best part of waking up
Is Folger’s in your cup

Although our jingle of the day series prefers retired or classic rather than current entries, so let’s fire up the bouzouki and sing along with this Greek classic:

Olympic Air will make you smile
But please, no dancing in the aisle

Alternatively, we could chant a couplet that my Florida niece and nephew inexplicably adored and repeatedly asked me to sing when they were young:

Bum, bum, Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee tuna
I love Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee tu – u – na

I think that one had some more lines, but I’ve forgotten them. It also had a competitor, which I do remember:

Ask any mermaid you happen to see
What’s the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!

Yes, that’s the first question to ask if you see a mermaid. As a child, I thought it was the height of comedy to sing to the same tune, “Ask any bullfrog that you have on hand / What’s the best chicken? (Croak!) Tuna of the Land!” I was a deeply unpopular child.

It’s the top

The ’70s and ’80s were known for big hair (I had a Dorothy Hamill bob myself). How do you clean hair of that magnitude? Dishwashing detergent? Woolite? Fire? I remember the jingle of the day telling us how on AM radio:

The juice of one whole lemon
One whole lemon sets you free …

That’s what we got in every bright yellow bottle of

Lemon Up and make peace with grease
Yeah, Lemon Up sets you free
From this greasy little world, hey hey …

Surprisingly, Lemon Up is still available at the Vermont Country Store. It’s been marked up to $14.95, but I might buy some anyway. Come Friday, our little world is going to get a whole lot greasier.

Nectar of the gods

I have two or three Diet Cokes per day, which represents cutting back from five not long ago. It also represents switching from Diet Pepsi, which I preferred until they changed the recipe to remove aspartame for some silly reasons about it causing cancer and depression and whatnot. Sales dropped bigly because the new formula tasted like Tab. With customers all but marching on PepsiCo headquarters (“We want cancer! We want depression!”), the company yielded and reintroduced what’s now called Classic Sweetener Blend Diet Pepsi — Pepsi Max, by the way, is now Pepsi Zero Sugar, they’re just renaming and tinkering maniacs while Coke sails serenely on — so now I have two beverage choices.

Of course, no one believes any more that drinking diet soda will actually help you lose weight. That was decades ago, when Diet Rite was running commercials with the jingle of the day:

What have you got to lose?
What have you got to lose?
Maybe you’ve got an inch, a pinch, a flinch or a pound or two
Diet Rite’s the number one, got the taste that’s cola true
What have you got to lose?

The taste of Fresca, meanwhile, was a blizzard.

Name, rank, and serial number

What is it with carpet and flooring vendors’ skimpy version of the venerable tradition of commercial jingles? It seems all they do is repeat their name and phone number. I spent the last 20 years seeing and hearing

1-800-588-2300, Empire (Today!)

Now, since moving to Boston, the TV constantly assaults me with

877-241 (beep beep beep beep!) LUNA

This minimalist approach is the inverse of the poetry I celebrate in this blog’s occasional jingle of the day. About the only thing worse would be just telling you the name of the company …

We are Farmers!
Bum da-bum bum bum bum bum!

Absurd. If you want to play that game, Homer Simpson did it better when he had a snow plowing business:

Call Mr. Plow, that’s my name,
That name again is Mr. Plow!

Feel it tickle your toes

When I think back to the shag carpeting and avocado-colored appliances of the ’70s, I wonder how we survived at all. (Some, whose houses combined flammable shag with the era’s electric baseboard heat, didn’t survive.) Anyway, it’s carpeting that’s on my mind in the form of Kodel (pronounced ko-DELL), which I thought was a DuPont product but which the excellent History of Polyester page reminds me was Eastman Kodak’s, and which is stuck in my head as the jingle of the day:

Fat fiber, fat, fat fiber,
Carpets of Kodel,
We are lusher, so much plusher,
Kodel is swell!
Of all the polyesters, it isn’t very hard
To see that I’m the fattest! More carpet to the yard!
Fat fiber, fat, fat fiber,
Boy, do we wear well!
Carpets of Kodel!

Fashionistas look down their noses at polyester today, while buffing their iMac screens with microfiber cloths.