#104 Time & Time Again

 104 Time & Time Again
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Know anyone who screws up, arrives late, forgets something…time & time again?

Amper­Art #104, Time & Time Again, is about those peo­ple. The term could just as eas­i­ly refer to a car that just won’t start first thing in the morn­ing, or a com­put­er pro­gram that keeps crash­ing, but it usu­al­ly refers to peo­ple — & espe­cial­ly neg­a­tive instances such as always being late, for­get­ting to stop at the clean­ers, or get­ting the facts wrong. Time & Again could also have been the title, but Time & Time Again just sounds so much more wor­thy of a good rep­ri­mand or pink slip.

See the scenario?

This Amper­Art design, #104 Time & Time Again, presents a com­mon sce­nario, espe­cial­ly in the work­place. Can you fig­ure it out? Well, I know you can because only the bright­est peo­ple sub­scribe to Amper​Art​.com, and that means you. But if you’re in a hur­ry here’s the answer:

Sce­nario: In Amper­Art #104, Time & Time Again, there is a “team” of amper­sands, com­prised of 5 mem­bers: red, blue, green, yel­low, pur­ple. Each row of amper­sands rep­re­sents a group meet­ing. As you can see, all are present at every meet­ing except one of the team, Mr. Red. He shows up now & then, miss­ing most meet­ings time & time again.


That meant I was in trou­ble. Oth­er­wise I was “Char­lie” or more recent­ly “Chaz.” I’m also called “Chuck,” “Char” & “Hey Ass­hole” but nev­er Charles, unless I’ve been a bad, bad boy. I can still hear Mom rep­ri­mand­ing me: “I’ve told you time & time again!” Was I try­ing out my new Cray­olas on the walls again? Who knows, but the phrase still rings clear in my memory.

The dreaded pink slip

Time & time again an employ­ee is late or does a lousy job, until they are “canned,” “let go,” or “giv­en the pink slip,” all of which mean you’re fired! (No, the pink slip does­n’t mean you’re giv­en the title to a new car for being late.)

"I'm what?!!"The “pink slip” has become a metonym for the ter­mi­na­tion of employ­ment in gen­er­al. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in The New York Times, the edi­tors of the Ran­dom House Dic­tio­nary have dat­ed the term to at least as ear­ly as 1910.¹

The phrase most like­ly orig­i­nat­ed in vaude­ville. When the Unit­ed Book­ing Office (estab­lished in 1906) would issue a can­cel­la­tion notice to an act, the notice was on a pink slip (“The Argot of Vaude­ville Part I” New York Times, Dec. 16, 1917, p.X7.) Anoth­er pos­si­ble ety­mol­o­gy is that many appli­ca­tions (includ­ing ter­mi­na­tion papers) are done in trip­li­cate form, with each copy on a dif­fer­ent col­or of paper, one of which is typ­i­cal­ly pink.¹

In the UK & Ire­land the equiv­a­lent of a pink slip is a P45; in Bel­gium the equiv­a­lent is known as a C4

Anoth­er theory:

The very ear­li­est exam­ple we have is where a pink slip is a note sent to a typog­ra­ph­er indi­cat­ing that he’s made a mis­take. If he got enough of them then he would be fired. Yet anoth­er inter­me­di­ate one in 1905 where a pink slip is specif­i­cal­ly a rejec­tion let­ter from a mag­a­zine. So a writer would sub­mit a sto­ry, & it would get a pink slip back, mean­ing that the sto­ry was reject­ed. So clear­ly there is some­thing going on at around this time where pink slip is being used to refer to var­i­ous kinds of rejection.²

The term is an Amer­i­can­ism. In oth­er coun­tries they have dif­fer­ent col­ors to refer to dis­missal from a job. In Ger­many the expres­sion is to get the blue let­ter. In the French mil­i­tary, you would be dis­missed with a yel­low paper, carte jaune. ²

So typog­ra­phers were giv­en the pink slip? Time & time again I’ve issued the mon­th’s Amper­Art just under the wire. Bet­ter get this edi­tion out on time before I’m canned.

Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.

Production notes for #104 Time & Time Again:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Gill Sans
Ampersand: Gill Sans
Reference text (verbatim & edited):
¹Wikipedia https://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​P​i​n​k​_​s​l​i​p​_​(​e​m​p​l​o​y​m​ent)

²Jesse Sheidlower is an editor-​at-​large of the Oxford English Dictionary. From https://​www​.mar​ket​place​.org/​2​0​0​9​/​0​4​/​0​9​/​w​o​r​l​d​/​t​r​a​c​i​n​g​-​o​r​i​g​i​n​-​p​i​n​k​-​s​lip
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#62 Shave & Haircut

AmperArt #62 Shave & Haircut

 #62 Shave & Haircut
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Andrew J. De Simone
December 31, 1899 — March 29, 1962

Daddy's Gravestone

Beloved Husband & Father
1899 – 1962

Before I release Amper­Art #100 with a big cel­e­bra­tion lat­er this year, I want­ed to include in the first 100, two specially-​numbered pieces of my art­work to hon­or my mom & dad, both of whom I love & admire, & from whom I inher­it­ed my talent:
My moth­er, who died at 84 years old on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2001, for whom I cre­at­ed #84 Love & Devo­tion, issued this past Feb­ru­ary 13.
My father, who died at 62 years old on March 29, 1962, for whom I cre­at­ed #62 Shave & Haircut.

This was to be issued March 29, the anniver­sary of my father’s death, but com­put­er crash­es pre­vent­ed that. So I spent an entire day writ­ing & edit­ing the sto­ry about my dad. I have stripped out every­thing that has lit­tle to do with Shave & Hair­cut, or bar­ber­ing, and will pub­lish that for Father’s Day. Then you’ll read, besides know­ing my father as the bar­ber, why my child­hood was so rich with hap­py mem­o­ries & abun­dant love. That part of the sto­ry, how­ev­er, will begin with Moth­er’s Day. 

(#84, the trib­ute to my moth­er, is actu­al­ly the 98th Amper­Art cre­at­ed & this one, #62 for my father, is actu­al­ly the 99th one cre­at­ed — the edi­tion num­ber­ing does not relate to the order of issue. The next Amper­Art will be #100, both in edi­tion num­ber & issue. I have no idea what the theme or title will be.)

barber shears

Dad­dy was a bar­ber. Hence the title of this piece, Shave & Hair­cut. Being a bar­ber was, to me, very spe­cial. I got to vis­it him at the shop which was walk­ing dis­tance for my moth­er & me from our house in Glen­dale, Cal­i­for­nia. I loved the smell of the bar­ber shop, always a spicy fra­grance of ton­ics, & my dad “wore” that scent when he came home from work, along with the men­thol of his Kool non-​filters and Life­saver mints. And his warm smile & sil­ver hair. Here’s what I remem­ber & what I’ve been told about my dad:

Born the last day of the cen­tu­ry—my dad’s incred­i­ble birth­date. He was born in Sici­ly Decem­ber 31, 1899 & came “on da boat” to Amer­i­ca when he was 6 months old. The fam­i­ly set­tled in Chica­go. What’s remark­able about his birth­date (besides being born the last day of the cen­tu­ry — the cen­tu­ry before last, in fact) is that his age was always the same as the year, to the day. I was born in 1951, & Dad­dy was 51. He died March 29, 1962, & he was 62. (I find that fas­ci­nat­ing. If he knew his age he knew what year it was, & vice ver­sa — a mem­o­ry device I could use as I get more & more for­get­ful.) 

Dad­dy grew up in Chica­go with his four broth­ers & two sis­ters, was smit­ten with a wait­ress from Indi­ana 16 years his junior (& left her tremen­dous tips, she told me), & chased after her to Los Ange­les. They got mar­ried & I was born sev­er­al years lat­er. I have always liked wait­ress­es (& left them big tips) — like father, like son.Barber comb

Dad­dy had his own bar­ber shop, although ear­ly on upon set­tling in Glen­dale, he had a part­ner — his broth­er Sam. Those are their actu­al busi­ness cards in the pic­ture below. Very spe­cial thanks to my broth­ers for scan­ning and send­ing me images of the busi­ness cards, and to my sis­ter for keep­ing them safe­ly stored. There were four bar­bers among the broth­ers: my dad Andrew J., Samuel J., Antho­ny J., and Michael J. My dad’s mid­dle name was Joseph, so I assume the oth­er broth­ers were too. (I have no idea who Joseph was in the fam­i­ly ances­try, except that was their father’s mid­dle name as well.) The broth­ers grew up in Chica­go, then relo­cat­ed near Los Angeles. 

We drove to vis­it each of Dad­dy’s broth­ers who were all bar­bers, fre­quent­ly on week­ends. I’d play with their chil­dren & enjoy some spec­tac­u­lar din­ners, both Ital­ian & oth­er­wise. I enjoyed being among the grownups as they con­versed & laughed with each oth­er. (I recall lots of cig­a­rettes, cig­ars & Miller High Life — as well as Sina­tra, Per­ry Como & Vic Damone on the radio.) I enjoyed all my cousins at those vis­its — Rosie, Chuck, Steve, Cindy, Irene, Ron­nie & Michelle.

Anoth­er rel­a­tive (whose fam­i­ly had noth­ing to do with bar­ber­ing) we vis­it­ed fre­quent­ly was my cousin Mary Ann, who was always there to take care of us when Mom was in the hos­pi­tal, or to help out in any oth­er way she could. Her father, my Uncle Car­lo, tend­ed his gar­den where I tast­ed the best toma­toes in my life. He also brined his own olives, send­ing large jars home with us, & to this day that is a cher­ished fla­vor I wish I could expe­ri­ence again.

Those are good mem­o­ries, hang­ing out with the aunts & uncles & cousins on the weekends.

Dad­dy had two sis­ters & one oth­er broth­er, none of which were bar­bers or styl­ists. I have fond mem­o­ries of all my aunts, uncles & cousins, on both sides of the fam­i­ly. I will tell you about them when I release a future Amper­Art titled Aunts & Uncles. It will include my cousins as well.
Shaving brush

As for the bar­ber tools, I loved the sound of the scis­sors with their con­stant snip­ping rhythm. There was the smell of the ton­ics & the talc, which Dad­dy “wore” home every day after work, smelling so fresh & crisp & clean. That was mixed with Spear-​O-​Mint Life­savers & the men­thol of Kool non-​filters. A won­der­ful, mem­o­rable combination.

Barber tools and business cardsAfter each hair­cut I’d get dust­ed with a fluffy brush full of laven­der talc, and then the best part of all (besides my dad’s soft voice & friend­ly smile): The Mas­sage. Wow, I have nev­er had a bet­ter head-&-neck mas­sage since those by my dad, with the machines strapped to his hands that vibrat­ed every fin­ger deep into the scalp. His mas­sages were won­der­ful with just his fin­gers alone, but with the Oster mas­sagers it was amaz­ing. (I inher­it­ed one of them, and used to mas­sage my cat with the motor­ized device. As soon as he heard me turn it on — they were quite loud — Woofer would jump on my lap & start purring imme­di­ate­ly. Most cats react to the elec­tric can open­er; mine to the elec­tric mas­sager.) I enjoy giv­ing a good mas­sage — and I’m always told “Don’t stop!” — so I won­der if I inher­it­ed that from my dad.

One bar­ber tool I did­n’t care for so much was the bar­ber strop. Dad­dy was a good father, kind & gen­tle, but in those days it was nor­mal for kids get a whip­ping with a belt when we act­ed up (I was the king of act­ing up — still am). Well, Dad­dy did­n’t need a belt — he had some­thing far more effec­tive, the bar­ber strop: two thick pieces of mate­r­i­al, one leather & one heavy fab­ric, used for sharp­en­ing the straight-​edge blade. Zowie! That stung! It’s pic­tured near the bot­tom in the pho­to of the bar­ber tools — shown far small­er & less intim­i­dat­ing than in real life.

Straight-edge razor
I enjoyed vis­it­ing Dad­dy’s bar­ber shop. I’d walk to there with mom, or Dad­dy would dri­ve me to be his “assis­tant” at the shop. I would sweep up the hair on the floor, but I’m sure I scat­tered it more than any­thing. It was fun play­ing with the bar­ber chairs, rais­ing & low­er­ing & swivel­ing them with the levers. Of course Dad­dy would pull out the boost­er seat to give me a hair­cut, and after he fin­ished I’d give him a pen­ny to tip him like the grownups. Does­n’t sound like much, but in those days, the 1950s, a good tip was ten cents. Remem­ber the dit­ty “Shave & a Hair­cut, two bits”? Two bits meant 25 cents, and I recall hair­cuts in those days weren’t much more than that — well, dou­ble, but still only 50 cents. I don’t know how we ate so well, steak just about every night with full-​on sal­ad, veg­eta­bles, pota­toes & dessert — unless Mom made her incred­i­ble veg­etable beef soup, or lasagna, or spaghet­ti & meat­balls, all from scratch — on a bar­ber’s salary.

Get­ting back to bar­ber­ing, I soaked up how my dad inter­act­ed with his cus­tomers. He was gre­gar­i­ous, cheer­ful, and always had kind words. I enjoy deal­ing with clients, and I often think maybe that’s part of my dad’s  influ­ence on me. Mom’s too, as she was a wait­ress whom every­one loved. One thing I sur­mise is that I get my artis­tic tal­ent from both my par­ents: the con­cep­tu­al & let­ter­ing side from my dad (who had beau­ti­ful hand­writ­ing) with the whim­si­cal influ­ence of Ital­ian her­itage; & the design aspect from my moth­er (who told me once she would love to have been an archi­tect) with the log­ic & exact­ness stem­ming from my Ger­man her­itage. As for my per­fec­tion­ism — that’s just a char­ac­ter defect.

AtomizerDad­dy always had a box of Life­savers (twelve rolls) in his bar­ber shop. In those days they were used as breath mints. He usu­al­ly had Spear-​O-​Mint, but some­times Cryst-​O-​Mint. I liked those; they were Cryst‑O clear. (My favorites, though, were But­ter Rum & a strange­ly minty Choc-​O-​Late, which is no longer made. Every Sun­day Dad­dy would take me, and even­tu­al­ly my broth­ers & sis­ter after they were born, to Sav-​On Drug Store to stock up on the usu­al for the week: First, each of us got a nick­el ice cream cone, & there was a lot of ice cream on them for just a nick­el. What I remem­ber most about the ice cream counter was the beau­ti­ful red & white sign with just a touch of green, spelling out Car­na­tion Ice Cream with an illus­tra­tion of a striped car­na­tion — the type that’s white, rimmed with red. We had all sorts of car­na­tions grow­ing along the side of our house. To this day the striped car­na­tion, just like in the ice cream sign, is my favorite flower. 

After the ice cream cones, we would head to the can­dy aisle where Dad­dy would get a box of Life­savers for the bar­ber shop. I don’t recall if he’d grab his car­ton or two of Kools on our Sun­day errand, or get them from the liquor store across from the bar­ber shop. Most like­ly he sent a kid over to pick them up and would tip the kid as much as the cig­a­rettes cost. He was like that.

Final­ly, back in the can­dy aisle, Dad­dy would pick up a Cup-​O-​Gold can­dy cup which was a spe­cial treat he’d give Mom. Some­times she would share hers with me. They are deli­cious (like a Reese’s peanut but­ter cup but instead of peanut but­ter there’s marsh­mal­low and almonds in a cup of choco­late) but hard to find. Once in awhile I see them & when I do I stock up.

Barber comb

Dad­dy died at 62 (in 1962) from emphy­semia, & I’ll nev­er for­get the eerie wheez­ing sound of the oxy­gen machine he sat at for 15 or 30 min­utes every day for the past months or years of his life. They weren’t silent portable devices like they have today, but a large met­al appa­ra­tus with shiny steel arms & a huge floor-​standing tank with knobs & guages & a hor­ri­fy­ing mask. I can still hear his tremen­dous cough­ing echo­ing in the tiled bath­room, espe­cial­ly in the morn­ing as he was get­ting ready for work. I under­stand he had malar­ia as a child, but no doubt it was the Kool non-​filters that killed him. I have nev­er smoked for that rea­son. (In those days, the mid-​20th cen­tu­ry, smok­ing was the norm. But our mom quit even­tu­al­ly, & lived to 84.)

Towards the end — pri­or to the stroke that caused him to go blind for the last days of his life — Dad­dy’s health was get­ting pro­gres­sive­ly worse. But he kept suit­ing up & show­ing up to take care of his loy­al cus­tomers. (My dad would dress up in a crisp white shirt, suit & tie every­day that he served his cus­tomers, then add a white bar­ber smock over that when he got to work.) His cus­tomers were tru­ly loy­al. As his health dete­ri­o­rat­ed so did his hair­cuts. Shab­by as they were, his cus­tomers would have no one else cut their hair. They sim­ply loved my father. That’s one of the finest tes­ti­monies I have ever heard about any­one. And right before he took his last breath, he told my mom to grab an enve­lope out of his coat pock­et & give it to his broth­er. It was pay­ment in full for a loan. My dad had integrity. 

I may or may not have cried between his pass­ing & the funer­al; I don’t remem­ber. Was I try­ing to be brave, now “the man of the house” at just 10 years old? Did I not tru­ly com­pre­hend my father’s life had end­ed? I’m not sure. But I vivid­ly recall burst­ing out in tears upon see­ing Dad­dy lying still in the cof­fin. It final­ly hit me. I can actu­al­ly feel that moment right now.

After Dad­dy died & we were clean­ing out the bar­ber shop, we dis­cov­ered proof of what a typ­i­cal­ly stub­born Ital­ian he was. Mom brown-​bagged his lunch each day, and sprin­kled a lit­tle Adoph’s on his sand­wich­es. (Adolph’s was a salt sub­sti­tute, as Dad­dy was­n’t sup­posed to have any salt which he loved as much as the ton of sug­ar he put in his cof­fee.) In the back room of the shop — you guessed it — we found a one-​pound con­tain­er of Mor­ton salt!

barber shears

Dad­dy, you were the fuzzy warmth of the gray sweater you always used to wear & the crisp scent of ton­ic, mint & men­thol. You were kind­ness, love & integri­ty. I wish my broth­ers & sis­ter could have known you as I did, but then I wish I could have known you longer as well. You live in all of us, I can tell, as I see your hon­esty & and gen­eros­i­ty & kind­ness in all your chil­dren. I admire you & I love you.  I’m proud to be your first-​born, too, the spoiled brat that I was (and still am).


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.

Production notes for #62 Shave & Haircut:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator (ampersand), Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
Ampersand: hand-​drawn
All barber-​related images: deposit​pho​to​.com (modified)
Daddy’s gravestone: photographed by Robert DeSimone
Business cards: archived by Roslyn Clark, scanned by Andy DeSimone & Robert DeSimone
Carnation: someone’s garden 
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes

70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes

#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Do you recognize these lyrics?

I bor­rowed a few words for Amper­Art #70 Can­dy Canes & Sil­ver Lanes from this song that was pop­u­lar when I was grow­ing up:

It’s Begin­ning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
by Mered­ith Willson

It’s begin­ning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’ry­where you go;
Take a look in the five & ten glis­ten­ing once again
With can­dy canes & sil­ver lanes aglow.

It’s begin­ning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in ev’ry store
But the pret­ti­est sight to see is the hol­ly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopa­long boots & a pis­tol that shoots
Is the wish of Bar­ney & Ben;
Dolls that will talk & will go for a walk
Is the hope of Jan­ice & Jen;
& Mom & Dad can hard­ly wait for school to start again.

It’s begin­ning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’ry­where you go;
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The stur­dy kind that does­n’t mind the snow.

It’s begin­ning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
& the thing that will make them ring is the car­ol that you sing
Right with­in your heart.

Song from 1951

It’s Begin­ning to Look a Lot Like Christ­mas”  was writ­ten in 1951 (the year this Amper­Artist was born) by Mered­ith Will­son. The song was orig­i­nal­ly titled “It’s Begin­ning to Look Like Christ­mas”. It has been record­ed by many artists, but was a hit for Per­ry Como & The Fontane Sis­ters with Mitchell Ayres & His Orches­tra on Sep­tem­ber 10, 1951, & released on RCA Vic­tor as a 45 & a 78 (kids, you know what that means? —no, it’s not pix­els per inch). Bing Cros­by record­ed a ver­sion on Octo­ber 1, 1951, which was also wide­ly played. —from Wikipedia

Although I’m glad I found a song with the lyrics Can­dy Canes & Sil­ver Lanes in the first stan­za, I like the mid­dle part best where the melody changes, play­ful­ly & humor­ous­ly describ­ing how the hol­i­day affects the kids & parents.

Origin of the Candy Cane

Accord­ing to folk­lore, in 1670, in Cologne, Ger­many, the choir­mas­ter at Cologne Cathe­dral, wish­ing to rem­e­dy the noise caused by chil­dren in his church on Christ­mas Eve, asked a local can­dy mak­er for some sweet sticks for them. He asked the can­dy mak­er to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help chil­dren remem­ber the shep­herds who paid vis­it to infant Jesus. —adapt­ed from Wikipedia; full sto­ry here


It’s Begin­ning to Look a Lot Like Christ­mas” vivid­ly describes the Christ­mases I remem­ber as a kid: the can­dy canes & sil­ver lanes (I think that’s describ­ing the sil­ver gar­land dec­o­rat­ing store aisles), the five-&-ten (we called it a dime store & they actu­al­ly had lots of stuff for a dime, a nick­el, even pen­ny can­dy. Dun­can’s was very con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed on our path to and from school.)

Christ­mas to me used to shim­mer with lots of sil­ver: the tin­sel which my moth­er so care­ful­ly placed onxmas cookie silver balls the tree; the shiny lit­tle round non­pareils on the Christ­mas cook­ies that she baked (a dec­o­ra­tion that was always spe­cial to me, but they’ve been dis­con­tin­ued due to the ingre­di­ents — fun­ny, no one’s dead that I know of from eat­ing them); and of course, the alu­minum Christ­mas trees pop­u­lar in the 1960s, with their mag­i­cal col­or wheels. Yes, we had one, as well as white flocked, pink sprayed, & then plain ol’ arti­fi­cial green through­out the years. The year we went back to a real tree some­how felt more like Christ­mas again.

Mer­ry Christ­mas to you, my Amper­Art Subscriber.

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