It’s 2017…

Here is a letter that I sent to Current Catalog about diversity in capitalism. (No word back yet, despite an alleged 48-hour reply time… But I can wait!)

To: Current Order Processing Center, Colorado Springs, CO 80941-0001

Sent: 3 April 2017

Dear Current Catalog,

I am a longtime fan of Current items. My mom got stickers from your catalog when I was a kid, and I’ve been doing the same for my little one. (They are great entertainment for airplane rides!) However, I would like to bring an item to your attention that I think would help you sell stickers and holiday ornaments to a broader consumer base.

I recently purchased the “Happy Family Shipping Labels” because I thought that the images were of a very cute black-and-white cartoon family. When the stickers arrived, I realized that the family is lightly colored, a fact that I hadn’t noticed while looking at the computer screen while ordering the labels. Since my family is not actually the color of the family on the stickers, my husband was quite put out and set our son to re-coloring the faces with crayons. [Addendum: The Happy Family Shipping Labels do not appear to be available on the website anymore as of 17 April 2017.]

Current Catalog, “Happy Family” face (zoom).

This reminded me of last Christmas, when I was trying to order a personalized family ornament from Current Catalog but was unable to find an option for non-white family members. For example, the Snuggle Up Hand-Lettered Resin Ornament, Blended Family Ornament, Shovel Family Ornament, Christmas Tree House Ornament, Caroler Family Hand-Lettered Resin Ornament, Snowball Fight Ornament, and Personalized Lamp Post Ornament are only available with white faces. This leaves us with the option of moose, owls, gingerbread, snowmen, or stockings, but it would be great to see more inclusivity and diversity of options in the colors of the figures on your ornaments and labels.

Current Catalog, personalized family ornaments (samples)

We ran into the same problem years ago when trying to order a mixed couple topper for our wedding cake, so we chose to go without one, but it’s 2017 and we would really be happy to see more representation of the variety of family forms (and colors!) in your items available for purchase.

That’s what a Google image search for “wedding cake topper” gets you — cis, hetero, etc. wypipo.

Endnote: I know that Current Catalog falls definitively into the category of “stuff white people like,” but I still thought it was worth a shot.

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I’m working on a publication about Nunavut derived from the Nunavut case study in my dissertation and thought I’d share this mash-up of invented Nunavut names…


Merle Tingley (Ting), London Free Press


Montreal Daily Star, 1928

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Finding the way…


Peter Radacina. Vancouver Sun.


Northwest Territories to Be Divided in Two - Aislin - 1987.jpg

Aislin. “Northwest Territories to Be Divided in Two.” Montreal Gazette. 1987.


Alootook Ipellie.


Happy Birthday, Nunavut.

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Cartoon of Quebec’s Little Boy

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Duncan Macpherson for the Toronto Star, in Behind the Jester’s Mask: Canadian editorial cartoons about dominant and minority groups 1960-1979 by Raymond N. Morris (page 68)


“Madame Quebec’s Wild Boy,” Grip, 12 August 1882, in A Caricature History of Canadian Politics, Volume 2 by John Wilson Bengough (page 318 and 319)


“Trudeau: Care to purchase a little Québécois for next to nothing?” by Normand Hudon, 1969, via the McCord Museum

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Hand Maps

Today, let’s look at some hand(y) maps!


Michigan might have the best known hand map (at least for Midwesterners!).


But attentive readers will know that Alaska has a hand map, too!

Here are some other gems…


Map glove from 1851. (Via the Chicago Map Society Facebook page.)



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From the 2013 exhibit “MAPnificent! Artists Use Maps.”


Reg Manning’s 1938 “Cartoon Guide to California.”

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“Turn out the lights and go to sleep Lucien, you can catch the mouse in the morning…” by John Larter, Calgary Sun, 2 March 1996


Nine Premiers Consult on How to Woo Quebec,” by Serge Chapleau, 1997

mackay 2013-10-05.jpg

Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator, 5 October 2013

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A Piece of Imperial Pie

We’ve already seen some of the various plum puddings of the world in danger, so let’s move on to pie and other territorial delicacies…

How West Virginia Became a State:


“Chief Cook CAMERON divides the VIRGINIA GOOSE between MARYLAND and DELAWARE.” In the 21 December 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly (at least that’s the citation according to some other bloggers!)

Carving up Africa:

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Circa 1884.


Uncle Sam: “I ate turkey nearly a week ago.” 30 December 1896. Clifford Berryman.

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Toronto Daily Star, 26 October 1903. (Via the Begbie Society Contest.)

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Boston Globe, 28 May 1898.

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Emperor Guangzu watches as China is carved up by Victoria (UK), Wilhelm II (Germany), Nicolas II (Russia), Marianne (France), and Meiji (Japan). “En Chine. Le gateau des Rois et des Empereurs.” Le Petit Journal, 16 January 1898. Henri Meyer.

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The Glutton finding the world too hard to eat, World War I.

And now for something completely different!

The hungry customer.png

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Expansion vs. Isolation


“Outline Map Showing the Territory of Greater America” from Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, page 7, November 1898, Vol XLVII, No 1 (also in also Marshall Everett, ed., Exciting Experiences in Our Wars with Spain and the Filipinos, Chicago: Book Publishers Union, 1899, page 395).

1938 Herblock.jpg

Herblock, 1938.

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Anthropological Mash-up

Just a few things I like…

Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by Horace Mann is a good read.

Relatedly, from toothpastefordinner:


As Margaret Atwood writes in The Age of Lead, “An interest in the clothing of the present is frivolity, an interest in the clothing of the past is archaeology…”

Somewhat relatedly, “[Eric John Ernest] Hobsbawm’s interests is the development of traditions. His work is a study of their social construction in the context of the nation state. He argues that many traditions are invented by national elites to justify the existence and importance of their respective nation states.” (From Wikipedia. See also Hobsbawn, Eric and Terence Ranger (eds.). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. 1983.)

And, of course, Eva Mackey does a stellar job of interrogating US and Canadian culture(s) and cultural hang-ups on land and territory!

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Mash-Up: Ladies & Fashion & Shite, 1732-2016

If you haven’t been watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, here’s “The Sexy Getting Ready Song,” one of the many amazing songs from the show:

“The Sexy Getting Ready Song” reminded me of “The Lady’s Dressing Room” by Jonathon Swift:

Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)

By haughty Celia spent in dressing;

The goddess from her chamber issues,

Arrayed in lace, brocades and tissues.

Strephon, who found the room was void,

And Betty otherwise employed,

Stole in, and took a strict survey,

Of all the litter as it lay;

Whereof, to make the matter clear,

An inventory follows here.

And first a dirty smock appeared,

Beneath the armpits well besmeared.

Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide,

And turned it round on every side.

On such a point few words are best,

And Strephon bids us guess the rest,

But swears how damnably the men lie,

In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.

Now listen while he next produces

The various combs for various uses,

Filled up with dirt so closely fixt,

No brush could force a way betwixt.

A paste of composition rare,

Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair;

A forehead cloth with oil upon’t

To smooth the wrinkles on her front;

Here alum flower to stop the steams,

Exhaled from sour unsavory streams,

There night-gloves made of Tripsy’s hide,

Bequeathed by Tripsy when she died,

With puppy water, beauty’s help

Distilled from Tripsy’s darling whelp;

Here gallypots and vials placed,

Some filled with washes, some with paste,

Some with pomatum, paints and slops,

And ointments good for scabby chops.

Hard by a filthy basin stands,

Fouled with the scouring of her hands;

The basin takes whatever comes

The scrapings of her teeth and gums,

A nasty compound of all hues,

For here she spits, and here she spews.

But oh! it turned poor Strephon’s bowels,

When he beheld and smelled the towels,

Begummed, bemattered, and beslimed

With dirt, and sweat, and earwax grimed.

No object Strephon’s eye escapes,

Here petticoats in frowzy heaps;

Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot

All varnished o’er with snuff and snot.

The stockings why should I expose,

Stained with the marks of stinking toes;

Or greasy coifs and pinners reeking,

Which Celia slept at least a week in?

A pair of tweezers next he found

To pluck her brows in arches round,

Or hairs that sink the forehead low,

Or on her chin like bristles grow.

The virtues we must not let pass,

Of Celia’s magnifying glass.

When frightened Strephon cast his eye on’t

It showed visage of a giant.

A glass that can to sight disclose,

The smallest worm in Celia’s nose,

And faithfully direct her nail

To squeeze it out from head to tail;

For catch it nicely by the head,

It must come out alive or dead.

Why Strephon will you tell the rest?

And must you needs describe the chest?

That careless wench! no creature warn her

To move it out from yonder corner;

But leave it standing full in sight

For you to exercise your spite.

In vain the workman showed his wit

With rings and hinges counterfeit

To make it seem in this disguise

A cabinet to vulgar eyes;

For Strephon ventured to look in,

Resolved to go through thick and thin;

He lifts the lid, there needs no more,

He smelled it all the time before.

As from within Pandora’s box,

When Epimetheus op’d the locks,

A sudden universal crew

Of human evils upwards flew;

He still was comforted to find

That Hope at last remained behind;

So Strephon lifting up the lid,

To view what in the chest was hid.

The vapors flew from out the vent,

But Strephon cautious never meant

The bottom of the pan to grope,

And foul his hands in search of Hope.

O never may such vile machine

Be once in Celia’s chamber seen!

O may she better learn to keep

Those “secrets of the hoary deep!”

As mutton cutlets, prime of meat,

Which though with art you salt and beat

As laws of cookery require,

And toast them at the clearest fire;

If from adown the hopeful chops

The fat upon a cinder drops,

To stinking smoke it turns the flame

Pois’ning the flesh from whence it came,

And up exhales a greasy stench,

For which you curse the careless wench;

So things, which must not be expressed,

When plumped into the reeking chest,

Send up an excremental smell

To taint the parts from whence they fell.

The petticoats and gown perfume,

Which waft a stink round every room.

Thus finishing his grand survey,

Disgusted Strephon stole away

Repeating in his amorous fits,

Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!

But Vengeance, goddess never sleeping

Soon punished Strephon for his peeping;

His foul imagination links

Each Dame he sees with all her stinks:

And, if unsavory odors fly,

Conceives a lady standing by:

All women his description fits,

And both ideas jump like wits:

But vicious fancy coupled fast,

And still appearing in contrast.

I pity wretched Strephon blind

To all the charms of female kind;

Should I the queen of love refuse,

Because she rose from stinking ooze?

To him that looks behind the scene,

Satira’s but some pocky queen.

When Celia in her glory shows,

If Strephon would but stop his nose

(Who now so impiously blasphemes

Her ointments, daubs, and paints and creams,

Her washes, slops, and every clout,

With which he makes so foul a rout)

He soon would learn to think like me,

And bless his ravished sight to see

Such order from confusion sprung,

Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.

This brought to mind Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s “The Reasons that Induced Dr S to write a Poem called ‘The Lady’s Dressing Room:’”

The Doctor in a clean starched band,

His golden snuffbox in his hand,

With care his diamond ring displays

And artful shews its various rays,

While grave he stalks down—-Street

His dearest—-to meet.

Long had he waited for this hour,

Nor gained admittance to the bower;

Had joked and punned, and swore and writ,

Tried all his gallantry and wit;

Had told her oft what part he bore

In Oxford’s schemes in days of yore,

But bawdy, politics nor satire

Could move this dull hard-hearted creature.

Jenny her maid could taste a rhyme

And, grieved to see him lose his time,

Had kindly whispered in his ear,

“For twice two pound you enter here:

My Lady vows that without that sum

It is in vain you write or come.”

The destined offering now he brought

And in a paradise of thought

With a low bow approached the dame,

Who smiling heard him preach his flame.

His gold she takes (such proofs as these

Convince most unbelieving shes)

And in her trunk rose up to lock it

(Too wise to trust it in her pocket)

And then, returned with blushing grace,

Expects the Doctor’s warm embrace.

But now this is the proper place

Where morals stare me in the face,

And, for the sake of fine expression,

I’m forced to make a small digression.

Alas for wretched humankind,

With learning mad, with wisdom blind!

The ox thinks he’s for saddle fit

(As long ago friend Horace writ);

And men their talents still mistaking,

The stutterer fancies his is speaking.

With admiration oft we see

Hard features heightened by toupee;

The beau affects the politician;

Wit is the citizen’s ambition;

Poor Pope philosophy displays on

With so much rhyme and little reason,

And, though he argues ne’er so long

That all is right, his head is wrong.

None strive to know their proper merit,

But strain for wisdom, beauty, spirit

And lose the praise that is their due

While they’ve the impossible in view:

So have I seen the injudicious heir

To add one window the whole house impair.

Nature to every thing alive

Points out the path to shine or thrive,

But man, vain man, who grasps the whole

Shews in all heads a touch of fool.

Instinct the hound does better teach

Who never undertook to preach;

The frighted hare from dogs does run

But not attempts to bear a gun.

–Here many noble thoughts occur,

But I prolixity abhor

And will pursue th’ instructive tale

To shew the wise in some things fail.

The reverend lover with surprise

Peeps in her bubbies and her eyes,

And kisses both, and tries–and tries.

The evening in this hellish play,

Beside his guineas, thrown away,

Provoked the priest to that degree,

He swore, “The fault is not [in] me.

Your damned close-stool so near my nose,

Your dirty smock, and stinking toes

Would make a Hercules as tame

As any beau that you can name.”

The nymph, grown furious, roared, “By God!

The blame lies all in sixty-odd,”

And, scornfully pointing to the door,           80

Cried, “Fumbler, see my face no more.”

“With all my heart I’ll go away,

But nothing, I’ll nothing pay.

Give back the money.”–“How,” cried she,

“Would you palm such a cheat on me!

I locked it in the trunk stands there

And break it open if you dare.

For poor 4 pound to roar and bellow,

Why sure you want some new prunella?

What, if your verses have not sold,

Must therefore I return your gold?

Perhaps you have no better luck in

The knack of rhyming than of——.

I won’t give back one single crown,

To wash your band or turn your gown.

I’ll be revenged, you saucy queen,”

Replies the disappointed Dean;

“I’ll so describe your dressing room

The very Irish shall not come.”

She answered short, “I’m glad you’ll write;

You’ll furnish paper when I shite.”

Meanwhile, on Facebook, SS shared another video from Inside Amy Schumer of the song “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup:”

And (a different) SS shared “Women, Sort Yourself Out” from Mitchell and Webb:

In conclusion… the more things change…

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