May 23rd, 2007

Chris Keeley

Smorgasbord of vintage African TV ads

Smorgasbord of vintage African TV ads


I recently spent about a month in several West African countries (I'm typing this now from Central America). During my short stay on the continent, I became obsessed with local TV commercials. I believe you can learn a lot about any culture through its ads. I taped a bunch of stuff in hotel rooms, and will blog clips sometime soon -- but for now, I wanted to point to some super cool vintage African TV ads I found online, from the '60s and '70s.

You can find some great classic 1960s TV commercials from Africa on sites like YouTube and Africahit.com, but all of that stuff appears to originate from one source: the amazing Africa archives at Adeater.com. About a dozen MPEG files there, and products include everything from perfume to cool old cars to booze to cigarettes (add it up, you got a recipe for the good life). You can't link directly to the index of Africa commercials, or to any individual videos therein -- the site navigation kind of stinks. But if you search for "Africa" you'll find the stuff.

Here are a few favorites that originated in Adeater's archive: a retro hair product commercial (Petrole Hahn, screengrab above), Omo washing powder (I wonder if the boxer was a famous fighter at the time?), Ploum Ploum men's cologne, An Ivory Coast bank ad from 1967.

And here's a wild 1976 spot for Gauloises cigarettes (screengrab below), presumably for French-speaking West African audiences. Dig the sweet cha-cha-cha score. Includes kung fu fight scene with vigorous chair-tossing and bottle-breakage over heads. "Gauloises, the cigarette of a strong man."



posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

HOWTO find four leaf clovers

HOWTO find four leaf clovers

At Instructables, Falaco Soliton posted a neat finder's guide for four-leaf clover hunters. His mounted personal collection is quite impressive. From the Instructable:
 Deriv Fwn 2Crr F1U9Xtvs Fwn2Crrf1U9Xtvs.Medium I find four-leaf clovers frequently, even when not explicitly looking. Many find this "gift" extraordinary, and even though this mutation is reported to only occur once in about 10,000 clovers, getting lucky isn't as hard as one would think....

4-leaf clovers, or "shamrocks", are a mutation of the usually 3-leafed White Clover plant, trifolium repens. One clover is actually one leaf of a larger plant, with 3 leaflets. Mutations can occur due to a low frequency recessive gene or environmental causes. Often the reason for mutation is differentiable from one clover to another. The mutation does not stop at the 4-leafed variety: 5-leafed clovers are not uncommon. However, the more leaflets, the harder they are to find (and the luckier they are): the record is an 18-leaf clover, and the highest I've ever seen is 10-leafed.
Link (Thanks, Shawn Connally!)
Chris Keeley

Pass the Clam Dip

Pass the Clam Dip

WASHINGTON

It’s no wonder Al Gore is a little touchy about his weight, what with everyone trying to read his fat cells like tea leaves to see if he’s going to run.

He was so determined to make his new book look weighty, in the this-treatise-belongs-on-the-shelf-between-Plato-and-Cato sense, rather than the double-chin-isn’t-quite-gone-yet sense, that he did something practically unheard of for a politician: He didn’t plaster his picture on the front.

“The Assault on Reason” looks more like the Beatles’ White Album than a screed against the tinny Texan who didn’t get as many votes in 2000.

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