Whatjamacallit Wednesday: My Therapy Doll

Maybe I call her “My Therapy Doll” because I’ve got special needs kids & so I spend a lot of time dealing with therapists; because she’s really a four-sided doll displaying emotions. The printed fabric doll is weighted at the bottom to stand, has straw hair, & felt embellishments to show four emotions, which are named via printing at the bottom so you don’t get confused (which is not an emotion displayed on the retro doll).

Images may not be used without crediting me & linking to this blog.

I am happy today

i-am-happy-today

I am sad today

i-am-sad-today

I am bored today

i-am-bored-today

I am furious today

i-am-furious-today

New Vintage Reviews Carnival, Third Edition

new-vintage-reviews-carnival_bigReuse, recycle — rejoice! Welcome to the third edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival, where we review “old stuff” that is likely new to someone… We hopes that it inspires you to dust off the things in your closet, mom’s basement, grandma’s attic etc. and put them to use again.

Games:

In The $1.99 Career Change?, I review Parker Brother’s Careers game, here at Kitsch Slapped.

In Vintage Game Nerd Alert: Bottoms-Up, I review the vintage Bottoms-Up game by E. S. Lowe at Collectors’ Quest.

In Let’s Play Shutbox, I review the classic Shut The Box game, here at Kitsch Slapped.

At Cal’s Board Game Musings, Calvin Daniels reviews Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball.

Books:

Kerrie presents Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Mr. Quin at Mysteries in Paradise.

At Sharing Experiences, Andy Hayes presents Life Imitates Art: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Films:

In Monday Movie Meme: Trauma In Your Drama?, Jaynie Van Roe reviews Easy Rider at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

In The Ugly Dachshund Is A Beautiful Great Dane, I review The Ugly Dachshund at Collectors’ Quest.

Classic Kitschy Travel Destinations:

In the Retro Museum of Awesome, Dave reviews the Retro Arcade Museum (at NYCResistor).

At Retro Road Map, ModBetty reviews the Trailer Park Lounge.

Honorable Mention:

Jim Murdoch presents The Truth About Lies: The Sonnets posted at The Truth About Lies. — a new (2008) novel on a very old subject.

That’s it for this month!

Please submit your blog articles to the next edition of new vintage reviews using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts (maybe you’ll be one?!) can be found on our blog carnival index page. For more info, read this!

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: All About Long Faces

Today’s whatchamacallit is a vintage advertising trade card from Long’s Radiator Shop in Grand Forks, North Dakota. This card advertised the local shop as well as their “exclusive agency” for S. J. Radiators (with) Freeze-Proof Cores — something quite valuable up here in the frozen tundra. Because the smart folks at Long’s Radiator Shop knew that a bit of humor would make folks hold onto the card a lot longer than some sales-y pitch, the card has one center illustration of a man which, when tipped, communicates different moods based on his selection of radiator repair shops.

The first, “I Am Mighty Sorry I Did Not Have My Radiator Fixed At Long’s Radiator Shop,” give him a “long face.”

vintage-longs-radiator-card

Flipping the 4 inch card, and he gets “the Long’s Face” instead; “I Am Mighty Glad I Had My Radiator Fixed At Long’s Radiator Shop”

vintage-longs-radiator-card-2

History Is Ephemeral Carnival, 2nd Edition

history-is-ephemeral_big Welcome to the second edition of the History Is Ephemeral Carnival, where “old paper” is more than just an obsession or a fire hazard — it’s the stuff of discovery.

Azrael Brown presents The Big Book of Cattle Brands posted at Double-Breasted Dust-Jacket.

Tattered & Lost presents When bluebirds fly over 4 leaf clover YOU’LL FIND A PIANO SALESMAN posted at Tattered and Lost Ephemera.

Frank presents Rare laser & holography art exhibit posters from the 80’s posted at HoloWorld at YouTube.

J.W. presents Victorian Beauties posted at The Collective Picture, saying, “A blog that collects photos and talks about their significance. This post is about the history of photography, and show’s early images of Victorian woman.”

Cliff Aliperti presents The Sporting News Coverage of Lou Gehrig Surpassing Everett Scott’s Record posted at VintageMeld.com.

I present When Does It Become Too Hot To Operate A Model Railroad? (Or, Taking A Ride On A Model Train To Meet The Emperor of Death Valley) posted here at Kitsch Slapped.

Azrael Brown presents Helen and Mrs. Faucher in blackface posted at The Infomercantile.

J.W. presents Tobacco Floats, Prize Goats and Billy Bowlegs posted at The Collective Picture.

Tattered & Lost presents Where have all the FLORIST SHOPS GONE? posted at Tattered and Lost Photographs.

Love old paper? Found something interesting? Please, submit your blog post/article — or one you like — to the next edition of history is ephemeral using the carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page. (If you’d like to host, just let me know!)

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New Vintage Reviews Carnival, Second Edition

new-vintage-reviews-carnival_bigWelcome to the second edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival, where we review “old stuff” that is likely new to someone… In the hopes that it inspires you to dust off the things in the closet, basement, attic etc. and put them to use. (Maybe even head to the thrift store rather than the mall?)

Reuse, recycle — rejoice!

Books & Reading:

The Dean presents Old Time Modern Priscilla posted at Collectors’ Quest.

Sarah Sammis presents Don Quixote: Sancho’s Big Score posted at Puss Reboots: A Book Review a Day, saying, “Don Quixote was my first series of reviews that use pop culture to review the book. I posted the final one in the series which has links to the previous posts.”

Azrael Brown presents Book vs Film: Immortality Inc / Freejack posted at The Double-Breasted Dust Jacket.

Films:

Jaynie presents The Knack (And How To Get It) In Romance & Fashion posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

I present Does Sparkle Shine? here at Kitsch-Slapped.

Games:

Collin presents Vintage Board Gaming : Mr. Know-It-All posted at Collectors’ Quest.

I present Bingo, Anyone? (a word of caution — and hope! — about old Bingo games) posted at Collectors’ Quest.

Audio:

Collin presents Tag Sale Finds : Sounds of Terror LP posted at Collectors’ Quest.

Collin presents Tag Sale Finds : Armand Schaubroeck Steals posted at Collectors’ Quest.

Things To Do & See:

Sheila Scarborough presents Classic kid movies in classic theaters – yay! posted at Family Travel Guide, saying, “Why the Austin, Texas Paramount Theater rocks my household with its annual summer Film Series of classic movies.”

NAOMI presents Laurel and Hardy Statue Unveiled in Ulverston posted at Diary From England.

Honorable Mentions:

Kyle Boyd-Robertson presents “The Rialto” or “If That Old Theater Could Talk” posted at his TEN blog — it’s a nostalgic post about old movie theaters (with plenty of comments & photos!) Maybe it will inspire you to visit &/or support your old downtown theatres this summer?

Sam presents Famous Baseball Players and Their Teams posted at Surfer Sam and Friends — it’s certainly interesting to note this time of year. (Maybe it will inspire kids to collect & learn as well as play!)

I present What A Collection Can Do: A Love Of Vintage Inspires Designer Of Hot Trendy Fashions posted at Collector’s Quest — to inspire you to take a look at “old clothes” as “a pile of fabric possibilities!”

This concludes this second edition. Please submit your blog articles to the next edition of new vintage reviews using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts (maybe you’ll be one?!) can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Practical Use For Pottery Smurf

I have a penchant for odd handmade things found at thrift stores. (In my rationalizing collectors’ mind, I call these things “outsider art” — but I do know better.) So, when I spotted this heavy clay sculpture of a Smurf’s head (clearly made by a child in art class), I gleefully spent the $2.99.

Hubby, who affectionately mocks my weaknesses, wondered what I’d do with it. (You’re supposed to do something with everything you collect?!) I defensively pronounced it would go with my “Easter Island Head.” But once I got it home, I decided my new retro Smurf head would serve a practical purpose holding my glasses.

retro-handmade-smurf-holding-my-glasses

handmade-smurf-glassholder

For equally zany obsessives, I will tell you the Smurf head is approximately 6 inches tall & bears no carved name of the maker or even a date. :(

Things I Want In My Hubbard Cupboard

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest was published by Elbert Hubbard, and so is yet another thing Roycrofter-tian. One of my husband’s obsessions, I am granted free access to and use of all of our duplicate copies, so you should expect to see them here from time to time.

Today I present advertisements for White Hyacinths and Woman’s Work — prominently featured in The Philistine because the books were written by none other than Elbert Hubbard & his wife, Alice Hubbard, respectively.

white-hyacinths-womans-work(Ads, and “inspirational work advice,” from The Philistine, Vol. 26, March, No. 4, 1908)

The first book, as you can see by the old ads, is “a book for lovers — married or unmarried” — but don’t think it’s recommending scandalous romantic relationships prior to marriage; White Hyacinths is a book about one’s love affair with life & the earth, as seen in the book’s most complete title “So here cometh WHITE HYACINTHS Being a book of the heart by Elbert Hubbard wherein is an attempt to body forth ideas and ideals for the betterment of men, eke women, who are preparing for life by living.”

Intriguing, yes; but my personal vintage book lust is currently in hot pursuit of the second book, Alice’s Woman’s Work.

Tell me, ladies, that this ad copy doesn’t make you clap your hands with joy:

Woman has always been demoneized by male men. Mrs. Hubbard thinks this is an error for both parties and gurgles her disapprobation in Caslon. Woman’s services have been paid for in clearing house promises payable in Heaven.

…Scripture charges her with disarranging the plans of Deity; the Puritans invented and operated the ducking stool for her benefit; all of the twenty witches hanged at Salem were women; she was voted out of the General Conference of Methodists — although the mother of John and Charles Wesley, and seventeen other Wesleys, was a woman, and a preacher; a woman was recently sentenced to prison in England because she insisted on having her political preferences recorded; Blackstone calls her an undeveloped man; women are not allowed to speak in Episcopal nor Catholic churches; good priests refrain from loving women as a matter of conscience, and spiritual expediency, so it seemed necessary for Mrs. Hubbard to write this book as an apology for being on earth and an explanation regarding the weaker sect, and also the unfair sex.

Or this, from the second ad for the same book:

Here is heresy, proud and patent, telling why woman is a plaything for men when she is pink and twenty, and a drudge and scullion when winter touches her hair with the frost of years — sometimes. The worst about the Marital Steam Roller is that the race suffers.

Let no presumptuous person arise and dispute this fact: women are the mothers of men. And in spite of all we can do, the qualities of the mother are the heritage of her sons. To have a truthful, direct and gentle race of men who are strong enough to look each day in the eye, who are afraid of no man, and of whom no man is afraid, we must evolve a race of mothers who are not burdened by idleness, overwork, skimped allowances or the masculine idea of Run-and-Fetch-my-Slippers.

Mrs. Hubbard is a working woman. She is Vice-President and General Manager of The Roycrofters, a corporation that employs five hundred people. She has thoughts and expresses them.

(See full scans of ads, above and below, by clicking on them.)

white-hyacinths-warning-womans-work(Antique book ads from The Philistine, Vol. 27 October No. 5, 1909)

What’s not to love?

Sadly, copies of Women’s Work are difficult to come by. Isn’t that usually my luck? Or is that simply human nature to desire the harder to find object?

I suspect that even among the Roycrofters and fans of Roycrofters, that White Hyacinths’ beauty was far more appealing than the self & societal work presented in Alice’s book. I’m only guessing; I haven’t gotten my hands on either yet. (My Hubbard Cupboard is bare.)

The opening line in the 1909 ad for Woman’s Work read, “Men afraid of an Idea, or women incapable of the same, will do well to eschew the book by Alice Hubbard entitled Woman’s Work.”

From the looks of what few copies remain, most people preferred to eschew.

Or, maybe, just maybe, those who have the book love it so that they keep it close to their bosom.

The Anti-Educational Antiques & Collectibles Education Article

On Sunday, I posted a review of sorts about an article titled People turn to education when times are tough, by Eric C. Rodenberg, which was published in Antique Week (February 2, 2009 edition). But that’s not all I have to say on the subject.

Also featured in that article was an interview with Joe Cohen, director of antiques classes for Florida’s Broward County Public Schools Adult Education Program.

antique-week-joe-cohen

(Discovering that Broward County website was not easy; Rodenberg’s article credit’s Cohen’s own site, www.antiqueclasses.com — which is stupidly constructed in images & flash, so that while Cohen will likely not enjoy what I’m about to say, he should console himself that there’s some text pointing to his website which is in desperate need of being found due to it’s own lack of text.)

Anyway, Rodenberg believes that Cohen “may best be described as a ‘scholar’ of antiques.” Something which puzzles & frustrates me. As you’ll soon see.

You might want to get a beverage and settle in for this rant. Go ahead; I’ll be here when you get back.

antique-week-feb-2-2009After the blah-blah-blah of Cohen’s background and current instruction in the field, we get to this part, which concludes the article:

In large part, Cohen maintains he is responding to a very basic need — accurate information — which, he believes, is lacking withing the antique industry.

“Invariably, when anyone buys something from me they ask, ‘what is the story behind this,'” he says. “It’s just human nature — people want to know the story behind a relic they may buy. And, in the past, that’s just what the dealer and the auctioneer has given them, a story.”

Given the proper tools, Cohen believes the dealers and auctioneers can do better. And, sometimes he believes the “instant gratification” of receiving information from the Internet is detrimental to the trade.

“On my first class, I put a dot on the blackboard,” he says, “and I tell the class to consider that the three acres around them on the campus contain all the information in the world. Within that three acres is all that is known within the world. And the tiny dot represents all the information, in the world, that can be found on the Internet. From there, I put a pinpoint in the middle of the dot. That, I say, represents all the correct information that can be found on the Internet.”

Opening the mysteries of the antique world is not an event, he seems to say, but a process. It may be a process that repays those who are knowledgeable in many ways.

“I find the beauty of antiques in the art, history and the physical properties of any one piece,” he says. “And I believe you cannot make a good decision without that background … an educated consumer is the best consumer.”

And the most satisfied.

And here’s where I defend my beloved Internet.

Not just because I love & live on the Internet (if you cut me, do I not bleed in pixels?), but because there’s so much that’s just plain wrong in what Cohen believes.

So much wrong that I don’t know where to begin…

And let’s not ignore the irony of a man who believes in “accurate information” vs. “a story” yet offers no facts, data or information in support of his own theories — in fact, let’s begin there.

I can draw an over-simplified illustration as a visual framework for a hypothesis on a chalkboard. Really I can. But no matter how artistic &/or convincing the drawing is and no matter how much I fervently believe what I am describing, neither the chalk drawing nor my passion for my own point of view makes it true. I’d really like to see the statistical data or any information gleaned from actual research on the reliability of information on the Internet versus any other medium.

If Cohen — or anyone else — is going to say that the self-publishing aspects of information presented on the Internet equates somehow to a general inferiority when compared to other forms of media, I’m going to, again, ask for proof — and then point to errors made in print. (Anyone else thinking of the fiasco that was A Million Little Pieces?)

Human error (and manipulation of the facts) runs as far back in history as humans themselves do.

In fact, as a researcher, I’ve run into this problem so often than I am loath to trust just one source — even when it’s a publication both from the time period being researched and one you should trust, like the manufacturer’s own catalog. They had printing errors (wrong stock numbers, missing models, good old typos, etc.) back then too, you know. And then, as now, if I’m reading a magazine or newspaper from 1950, who knows if they printed a retraction or correction in the next issue? (If I have the next issue, or access to a copy of it, you’d better believe I scour it for corrections and retractions — buried as they may be.) When reading second (or third, etc.) hand accounts, who knows how trustworthy anything is? Too many people have trouble understanding satire now; that’s probably always been a big issue…

Anyway, good researchers & journalists (professional or hobbyists) present and report their findings to the best of their ability, siting sources where they can, regardless of where the information is to be shared. The bottom line here: No method &/or means of the message’s delivery is inherently more (or less) likely to be rife with misinformation than another.

I’d think any scholar would know such a thing; conversely, I’d expect a person labeling another a “scholar,” to consider just what incongruous & unfounded things the person was saying prior to giving him or her that label. Yes, I’m speaking to you, Mr. Rodenberg, self-described “old newspaper man.”

I’m starting to wonder if anyone in this piece is interested in providing accurate information.

If Cohen’s reference to vast amounts of inaccurate information on the Internet was in regards to antique & collectibles sellers on the Internet, I again, ask for any data to that claim.  I haven’t even heard of any studies regarding fraud or inaccurate antique and collectible sales on the Internet vs. “brick ‘n’ mortar” shops.  “Bricks” don’t imply a more educated dealer than one found by “clicks.” (And, should you be at all alarmed about “bad sellers” on the Internet, please note that in the US, you’ve got fraud protection from the FBI — please see my article here — which is likely more coverage than you have with your local antique shop.)

On to the next point.

When it comes to the amount of information on antiques and collectibles available worldwide (the quantities of which, neither “real world” nor Internet, have been established) I would be very surprised if, at least in some areas, there wasn’t more of it available on the Internet. I don’t have any statistical data to back up such beliefs — but I am at least willing to provide a reasoning for them.

When it comes to media, books have been considered the least expensive when compared to film & television. Certainly, one can argue that other print publications are comparatively inexpensive as well. But in the age of the Internet, the Information Age, clearly digital pixels are even cheaper.

So while a more traditional (i.e. print) publisher may balk at publishing a work with such a small audience as say “magazines from the 1920s” — insisting that the work focus on a broader subject, such as magazines across several centuries — the author (dedicated researcher/obsessive collector) is literally free to publish on the Internet, where she will reach her audience, no matter what its percentage of total Internet readers.

In other words, works that wouldn’t be printed (or perhaps, with self-publishing books as a greater possibility than ever before, it’s more accurate to say such books wouldn’t be printed, marketed, and distributed), may be published on the Internet. Blogs immediately leap to mind, naturally, but there are many options. And with scanning and image uploading, these digital resources have no limits (save for the dedication of the person doing the work) on the quantity and quality of the illustrations, photos and digital image displays; something many publishers curtail for various (monetary, copyright permissions, etc.) reasons.

As a result, you can find blogs, pages, websites and entire communities dedicated to topics so tiny & obscure that you can’t find the information, let alone the visual representation, anywhere else.

Additionally, there’s the issue of access. Not all of us can get our hands on fragile old tomes & publications — not even the more modern copies on microfilm &/or microfiche. But here on the Internet we can see, share and communicate directly with one another — even correcting one another, as needed.

It’s not always about cheap “instant gratification,” buddy; it’s about access and collaboration. At least for those of us dedicated to our antiques and collectibles.

If Rodenberg was accurate in summarizing Cohen as saying that “opening the mysteries of the antique world is not an event, but a process,” then it was silly for either gentleman to ignore or diminish the value of both the hobbyist & the Internet in that process. The hobbyist, the amateur historian, the blogger, the passionate collector (however you identify yourself) and the Internet propel this process of opening the mysteries of the antique world.

If nothing else, we’re the ones who buy (subscribe) & read the very paper this damn article was published in.

Want more irony points? All this Internet-bashing was said in the guise of education — “an educated consumer is the best consumer” — yet they themselves are providing those consumers they reach with misleading information, if not complete mythinformation.

Consumer, beware indeed.

And now for the ultimate irony.

Years from now, when surviving (digital or print) copies of this issue of Antique Week article are discovered by future collectors, they will suffer from the false illusion that way back when, in 2009, the Internet was loaded with inaccurate information — that only a “pinpoint of chalk” of it was true.

They won’t (unless this post survives — and isn’t discounted by the researcher of the future!) know that neither Cohen nor Rodenberg had any basis in fact for saying such things. They won’t know that they were just two men stuck in their old thinking, promoting what they thought saved their own livelihoods: Cohen his classes and Rodenberg his “better than the Internet” paper reporting gig. So the researcher of the future may just go ahead and publish inaccurate information — in the most reliable & legitimate of publications of his time, yet.

(Huge sigh.)

If anyone here is just “telling stories” about antiques & collectibles, it’s these too men, Cohen and Rodenberg.

25 Ghosts At 35 Cents A Minute

I spotted 25 ghosts at the thrift store this weekend — the puzzle game was designated a “vintage collectible & therefore placed behind the glass, protected from kids and collectors alike.

vintage 25 ghosts puzzle game

I had no idea of the price until I made the clerk bring it out. So when I found out it was just $3.50, I felt I had to make it worth the clerk’s attention on a busy Saturday and buy it. That, and I’d never seen such a puzzle game before… The lack of any real directions intrigued me too, so I thought I’d better take it home and have a better look-see.

Lakeside’s 25 Ghosts Puzzle Game is a plastic figural jigsaw puzzle of “25 different ghostly shapes that fit together in a mysterious maze!” inside a black plastic frame. That’s what one gleans from the box and opening it. There are no instructions printed on the box, and if any such instruction sheet had been included, it was long gone. Or maybe the manufacturer figured the word “puzzle” was self-explanatory.

Anyway, it was dump the pieces out & put them together again inside the frame.

vintage 25 ghosts puzzle pieces

That took just under 10 minutes. If that sounds lame, A) I bet you’ve never done it, and B) old pieces with fading black painted eyes easily fool these old tired eyes so I had several pieces upside-down. (Next time I’ll know to look carefully that the ghost is facing the right way before I try to fit it in.)

I don’t know if they just didn’t put age suggestions/limits on puzzles back then, or if it was just “understood” that only kids would should be interested in killing some time doing puzzles, but as an adult who spent just under 10 minutes putting the puzzle together, I’d say it’s one of those “all ages” brain teasers — I know I’d like another go at it to see if I can get any faster. It certainly could be one of those timed family competitions too, where the person to assemble it the fastest wins.

At $3.50, that’s like 35 cents a minute; but if you divide the price by the number of pieces, I’m even further ahead. In any case, it’s OK as a puzzle game — but even cooler as a collectible because of the way it looks and the box’s graphics. Another thrift store super score!

25 Ghosts Puzzle Game, Copyright 1969, Lakeside Toys, Division of Lakeside Industries Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. Series No. 8309, Made in Hong Kong. Pieces marked “copyright 1967 LII Made In Hong Kong.”

New Vintage Reviews Carnival, First Edition

new-vintage-reviews-carnival_bigWelcome to the premier edition of the New Vintage Reviews Carnival.

Games:

jason presents 4 Reasons Why I Will Never Forget Alex the Kid posted at frieeend!. “Talking about the 1986 SEGA Master System game Alex Kidd in Miracle World.”

Collin presents Vintage Board Gaming : The Game of Life posted at Collectors’ Quest.

At Collectors’ Quest I review (with the help of my daughter) What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls, © 1976.

Also at CQ, my son and I review NFL All-Pro Football, an official National Football League game, made by Ideal, 1967.

And my family reviews the 1976 board game, Happy Days, “Fonzie’s Real Cool Game By Parker Brothers.”

Films:

Jaynie Van Roe presents Safe In Hell posted at Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

Raquelle presents Harper (1966) posted at Out of the Past ~ A Classic Film Blog.

Books:

Jennifer Wohletz reviews Vazkor, Son of Vazkor by Tanith Lee.

Also, my review of The Homicidal Virgin, a Mike Shayne Mystery, by Brett Halliday.

Collin presents Judging More Sci-Fi Books By Their Covers at Collectors’ Quest.

Classic Books:

switch2life presents Book Review: “Comedy of Errors” posted at Book Reviews.

Classic Travels:

AdmirableIndia.com presents Trip to Tawang: Part 2: Cherrapunji posted at AdmirableIndia.com.

Honorable Mentions:

This isn’t really a review — but it’s so clever, I had to include it! Wendy Piersall presents Recycled Crafts: Microwave Dinner Tray to Flower Pillbox Hat posted at Craft Jr.

And hubby’s review of Herbert’s Freaks, by Gregory Gibson, while not technically a review of a vintage book, is about Diane Arbus photos and ephemera from Hubert’s, a ‘freak show’ museum in New York during the ’50s and ’60s.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of new vintage reviews using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts (maybe you’ll be one?!) can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Solving My Own Nerdy Needs

I have two problems when I turn to Google or any internet search engine: one is what’s missing, and the other is that I don’t know about something in order to find it.

The first issue is a problem with my obsession with researching my collectibles. So many times I hold something in my hand, but according to Google (and all the search engines & online archives I try) it doesn’t exist. You’d think with the number of times it happens, I’d no longer be surprised; but I continually am. And I also get frustrated. But eventually my compulsive need to know makes me get off my butt and head to libraries and make calls to institutions with specific archives and collections — and then I write about it online.

Yeah, I’m doing my best to stuff the internet with knowledge I wish already existed on it.

I do hope the other obsessive compulsives appreciate that.

The second issue is that when I don’t know that things exist (and that happens — because no matter how much hubby and I cram into our house & heads, we neither have everything nor know everything), how can I search for them?

I’m always on the look out for out of print books and vintage magazines & other publications to read. I love watching old movies, playing old boardgames, taking road trips to kitschy roadside attractions, and the like. But if I don’t know these things exist, how can I find out about them? And with folksonomy being a combination of “the personal” and “randomness”, who knows what keywords, tags &/or labels others would use to classify them?

I try, don’t get me wrong; but I end up with more unwanted stuff than a litter box.

To help myself — and those nerds like me — I’ve started two blog carnivals:  The History Is Ephemeral Carnival and The New Vintage Reviews Carnival.

Please support the carnivals by submitting your posts/articles &/or those posts/articles by others, by informing you favorite bloggers who are equally nerdy, and by coming back to see the carnival goodies!

Has Fonzie’s Real Cool Happy Days Game Jumped The Shark?

For a decade, from 1974 through 1984, Happy Days was one of the most popular sitcoms on television. While the show was supposed to be centered on Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his family, quickly the star of the show became Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). So much so, that in 1980, the Smithsonian honored the Fonz and the series for it’s role in American pop culture history by putting one of the Fonz’s leather jackets on display — and there’s even a Bronz Fonz in Wisconsin memoralizing the TV series. But when I brought home the Happy Days game from the thrift store (a paltry $1.75), neither of our girls (age 19 and 12) even knew what or who the heck we were talking about.

I guess our rigid TV limits prevented them from mindless hours of channel surfing & the discovery of reruns.

But I never let stuff like that, be it the ignorance or the distaste of others, stop me from enjoying a new-to-me find.

I cleared the table and invited them all to play Happy Days, “Fonzie’s Real Cool Game By Parker Brothers”, © 1976 Paramount Pictures Corporation.

happy-days-boardgame-cover

The instructions sheet states the goal of this retro board game as follows: “Heeeeey… the Fonz is hangin’ out at your house. Show him how cool you really are by being the first player to collect 16 cool points and light up Arnold’s juke box.” Which doesn’t tell you much — other than you’ve somehow appropriated Arnold’s juke box and are keeping it at your house. Or maybe the Fonz did the liberating? I don’t know.

In reality the game is based on collecting cool points; but you don’t spend time at your house or anyone elses (with or without the Fonz). In fact, landing on your home space or another home space can cost you in cool points. But I guess I’m expecting too much story from a story-based board game.

Anywhoooo…

The game is pretty simple. In theory. I’m not saying the ages 7 – 13 thing is off; I’m just saying that it’s more complicated to explain without typing the entire instruction sheet.

But I’ll try.

OK, picture playing Monopoly. You start with some money (in this case, a $3 allowance) and your playing piece starts at your own color-coordinated home rather than “Go”. Unlike Monopoly, you also get a Somethin’ To To card, have a peg in the juke box “cool meter” (with one cool point granted to you), and you only have one die to roll.

game-set-up

You roll the die, move that number of spaces, and where ever you land on the board, take the action directed — should you be able to. Because you might not have enough allowance to go on the date or activity listed on your Somethin’ To Do card — or you might have used-up your Somethin’ To Do card supply.

Round & round the board you go, going on dates, hanging out with pals, earning allowance & money for odd jobs (so you can hang out and go on dates) — plus earning and losing cool points.

game-in-play

The game is not monotonous. Along the way, you or another player may draw a Crusin’ card, which will direct you all to “stuff a telephone booth” or “play the pinball machine” — the winner of which, selected by being the high roller, gets two cool points. Of course, you can loose cool points whimsically too. Like when another player draws a Crusin’ card which says “knocked over Fonzie’s bike” or “the Fonz catches you wearing colored socks”. The penalty point loss isn’t given to the player who drew the card; they get to play it against an opponent.

But by far, the most fun are the Drag spaces on the board.

When you land on one of these two spaces, you get to challenge any other player to a drag race. Should anyone chicken out, the chicken loses a cool point and the other gains a cool point. Ah, but if you race, the action moves to the center of the game board, where you roll the die to see who reaches the finish line first — be careful, because you could spin-out or have an engine stall! The winner of the race gets two cool points and the loser is moved to the “Hey, Nerd!” space of the winner’s choosing, where he or she loses a point. Plus the winner of the drag race gets to place themselves anywhere they’d like on the board.

So while the game play is pretty simple, the game action is rather varied — and we all had a blast.

I know what you’re thinking — I’m a silly board game geek and a lover of retro chic, so of course I liked it, and therefore I’m probably imagining that everyone else did too. Plus, I won the first game. But honestly, the kids insisted on playing three more games (Des, the 12 year old, won twice) — and both girls whined when hubby & I had to call it quits for dinner.

And the rest of the night, “Hey, Nerd!” was shouted and giggled at one another for any old thing. Not just by the kids either.

It almost became annoying. Almost.

So I totes recommend the retro Happy Days board game; it has not jumped the shark. It’s even fun if you don’t know the show.

destiny-ayyyyyy

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit, Part Two

More vintage sheet music owned by Sister Patricia; this time, Story Poems with Musical Settings by Phyllis Fergus.

The song, The Woodpecker (copyright 1925 by Clayton F. Summy Co.), takes its lyrics from an anonymous poem previously published in The Millgate Monthly, and is dedicated to Fergus’ niece, Elizabeth Clifford. Something which likely makes poor Elizabeth cringe — roll over in her grave? — why couldn’t her aunt just pat her on the head and exclaim, “My haven’t you grown!” and give her an ugly frock like the rest of the relatives? Because this is one racist little song:

The Woodpecker

A woodpecker picks out a great many specks
Of sawdust when building his house.
He works like a nigger
To make the hole bigger,
He cuts thru’ the wood like a mouse.
He doesn’t bother with plans of cheap artisans,
But there’s one thing can rightly be said;
The whole excavation has this explanation
He builds it
By working, Well! by using his head!

Can’t you just imagine a classroom full of students with bright shining faces who, at the urging of Sister M. Patricia, are happily singing the n-word as part of their religious dedication?

Singing their way into heaven? Hmmm, more like sinning their way to hell.

Ah, but it was the times… The roaring, racist 20’s.

But if the image of a nun leading a choir of earthly angels in singing the n-word doesn’t illustrate how entrenched and insidious racism is, then what will?

If the name Clayton F. Summy sounds vaguely familiar, it likely is due to the Happy Birthday hullabaloo. (See also: Google Answers.) Which means that the same folks who claim to own the rights to Happy Birthday likely also own this racist little ditty.

Friday the 13th Contest Is A Killer Heh Heh

Collectors’ Quest and Mezco have teamed-up for a thrilling Friday the 13th Contest.

Up for grabs:

The Jason 3.75 inch Toy Fair 2009 Limited Edition Produced exclusively for the 2009 New York Toy Fair, he comes with his trademark machete and removable Glow In The Dark mask.

Cinema Of Fear Friday the 13th 2009 Remake 7in Figure The legendary slasher of Camp Crystal Lake strikes again in the all new Friday the 13th film. The Jason Voorhees figure is crafted with incredible detail, full articulation, & comes with an array of weapons used in the film.

I can’t win because I’m a staff writer — but there’s no reason why you can’t win! Here’s how to enter the random drawing:

1. Sign up to collectorsquest.com to receive one entry in the drawing. (And be sure to make me your buddy — I’m Poptart.)

2. Upload a collection and you will receive 5 entries. Present CQ members must upload a new collection for entry.

3. Drawing will be held on March 14th and winner announced thereafter.

Good luck!

Memories Of Messy Marvin

Among the Messy Marvin ads, I found this cup:

Perhaps the Messy Marvin cup brings back memories for you. Heaven knows I was too mature to drink from a Messy Marvin cup (but wapatui from a dorm garbage can was fine). I do remember the print ads and commercials; they were everywhere.

Hi, my name’s Messy Marvin.

I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought home thick, rich, yummy Hershey’s Syrup in the no mess squeeze bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best chocolate milk I’d ever had. But I wasn’t making a mess. It’s fun, too. I just pull the cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills.

Now Mom’s happy and so am I.

My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there’s hope.

Look for a quick shot of a very young Tracey Gold in the second commercial in this video collection:

This ad campaign pretty much rendered any kid — even a ‘college kid’ — a Messy Marvin to anyone older; thanks, Hershey’s.

And yes, the child actor who played Messy Marvin was the same kid who played Ralphie in A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley. Which makes the Ovaltine decoder ring storyline ironic.

Apparently Billingsley too felt some disappointment with the ring; it’s not one of the film’s props that he saved. According to SFGate’s The Poop interview, Billingsley kept the BB gun, the bunny suit and the slate board.

I wonder if he kept any Messy Marvin mementos?

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit

Normally the most interesting thing to me about vintage sheet music is the cover art; this is because I’m musically illiterate and can’t use it for anything but decoration and/or parts for altered arts (honestly, the only way I am able to carry a tune is to buy sheet music *ba dum dum* ). But this weekend I bought hundreds of sheets of vintage sheet music & some of the most fascinating ones were those that had little to no artwork at all.

All of the pieces I’m showing you today were owned by one Sister M. Patricia, O.S.B. (Order of Saint Benedict), from Sacred Heart Convent, East Grand Forks, Minnesota. (Puzzling then, that at least The Naughty Little Clock Song sheet music would come all the way from Boston! Surely there was a cheaper option in the Twin Cities?)

But anyway, Sister M. Patricia was a racist nun — and I can say that based on her musical habits.

First up, her copy of Japanese Love Song, copyright 1900, words by “Anon”, music by Clayton Thomas aka Salome Thomas Cade aka Nellie Salome Thomas, and dedicated to Madame Alberto Randegger. Only Sister has crossed-out “Japanese” and replaced it with “Chinese” —

Because apparently one Asian is as good, or as heathen, as another. Hey, I’m not calling anyone a heathen! The original lyrics read:

She was a maid of Japan
He was the son of Choo Lee
She had a comb and a fan,
And he had two chests of tea.

She wore a gown picturesque,
While he had a wonderful queue,
Her features were not statuesque,
Which matter’d but little to Choo, to Choo,
Which matter’d but little to Choo.

He smiled at her over the way,
She coquetted at him with her fan;
“I mally you,–see?” we would say
To this queer little maid of Japan.

And day after day she would pose
To attract him, her little Choo Lee,
All daintily tipp’d on her toes,
This love of a heathen Chi-nee, Chi-nee
This love of a heathen Chi-nee.

But Fate was unkind to them, quite,
For he never could reach her, you see,
Though she always was there in his sight,
And she look’d all the day on Choo Lee;

For a man mayn’t do more than he can,
Tho’ a maiden may languishing be,
When she is a maid on a fan,
And he’s on a package of tea, of tea,
And he’s on a package of tea, ah!

Her revisions also include changing lyrics in the newly created Chinese Love Song:

For continuity purposes, of course, “Japan” was changed to “Chi-nee”. And Sister is nothing if not consistent in her racism, as we’ll see in part two. (Yup, that’s a tease to come back soon.)

PS This little song was performed at a The New York Times, August 31, 1902:

The Naughty Little Clock

The amazingly cute and gay lyrics to The Naughty Little Clock:

There once was a frivolous and giddy little clock,
A little French clock very gay;
Very trim and very neat but a creature of deceit,
When you wished to know the time of day.
It’s goings on would shock
The old hall clock, Till it held up its hand aghast;
I’m sure to tell the truth, It went wrong in early youth,
Had a natural inclination to be fast.

Chorus:
Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the silly little clock,
“Oh, life in the house is slow,
So cold and grim, very dull and prim,
I’m getting run-down I know”
So she sighed all day for a life more gay,
She longed for a shady past.
This naughty little, haughty little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

“I’m quite wound up,” declared the giddy little clock,
“I’m weary of the mantel shelf;
For years I’ve had to chime to give other folks the time,
Now I’d like to have a time myself.
I’d even run away
With a gay roué,
If he’s show me the town’s great sights;
So she took up with a lamp,
And incorrigible scamp,
Who smoked and always went out nights.

Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the foolish little clock,
“Oh, won’t you elope with me?
I’m yours from today if you’ll take me away
Where something of life I’ll see.
Well, they ne’er came back and the bric-a-brac
Had scandal enough to last
In gossiping about the little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

Copyright 1899; music by Reginald De Koven, lyrics by Harry B. Smith. (My copy of the sheet music states that the copyright was assigned 1930 to Theodore Presser Co.)

“My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly leaving me with an earworm.”

I spotted this retro doll, a promotional piece for Libby’s foods, at an antique store.

It reminded me of the following:

1) I am getting really old because more and more stuff from my time is now entering the “collectible” category and being sold in antique stores (if not, yet, actually as antiques).

2) I have a friend whose nickname is Libby; it’s a shortened form of her online user ID “Libertine”. I am forever singing, “When it’s got Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table,” to her. It’s especially a hoot if you wiggle your eyebrows during the “you will like it like it like it on your table table table” part of the lyric.

3) When you reference “online user ID” in conjunction with “retro 70’s” stuff, your brain hurts a little.

4) No matter what you put in your brain, if there’s a jingle in there, it will over power it all and come out victorious. My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly, leaving me with an earworm.

5) Funny thing about recalling jingles, no matter how many times the earworm loops, no matter how many times you find yourself singing it aloud, you suddenly wonder if the version you are singing is the accurate version…

I searched the Internet for a video of the old Libby’s commercial; but none had that jingle.

I wouldn’t call all this a waste of time, an hour later I have these two gems to share with you:

First, a 1960’s commercial in which Libby’s makes up a “Sloppy Joe” dance craze to peddle product:

I’m too young to remember that one; but I’m betting if there were any of those t-shirts etc. still around in an antique store I’d want one. Bad.

I vaguely recall this Libby’s canned vegetables ad with Tony Randal:

I don’t recall these 70’s ads for Libbyland dinners…

But then, we weren’t allowed to have TV dinners, so maybe I had no dietary connection to leave a lasting promotional imprint… Those folding tray/boxes are completely fascinating!

I Rant About eBay

Ambiguous Policies: Many of eBay policies are not very clear. In fact, if you keep hitting reply and asking the same question about a policy, each reply will have a different section pasted in the document for you to read. It seems that the interpretation is open… This is especially confusing when it comes to one area of selling on eBay: Nudity on eBay.

I personally collect, and therefore sell, vintage men’s magazines. All of these magazines are 1940s through mid 1960s. Some of these magazines have nudity, some are pin ups. When I buy these items as estates etc, I often wind up with vintage nudist magazines mixed in these lots or stacks. Some of these are airbrushed, some are not. Now the difference between the two magazines is the original intent of the publishers —

Men’s magazines were sold to men, for the primary purpose of titillation. The nudist magazines were published to promote & educate on the lifestyle choice of nudists. As such, the photos are not designed to be sexual. Of course, there are some pretty nude women in there, but there are also families sitting around the pool, and some less than beautiful people as well…

The men’s magazines are (usually) deemed OK to sell in the Collectibles areas of eBay, just at pre-1980s Playboys are – they are not graphic. But the nudist publications? Oh no, those must go into Mature Audiences. (Which I personally find offensive as there are photos of families & children in them, and they were not – nor are they now – designed to excite sexually. By putting them in Mature I feel that I am doing something wrong, — especially when that category prohibits the sale of child pornography. So much so, it bans the use of the words “children,” “child,” “Lolita,” etc.)

But to place nudist magazines on eBay in the Collectibles category (where true collectors are looking &/or bidding on them), you risk being booted. I know. I have been suspended for a 30 days for doing so.

The only place you can sell them on eBay, inappropriate as it seems, is the Mature Audience category.

Mature Audiences: This category on eBay is a complete mess. In order to keep out minors, who according to eBay policy are not allowed to bid or buy anyway (they cannot enter legal binding contracts which bidding & buying actions are), eBay has a lock on the Mature Audience category.

Sure, it seems benign enough, smart even. But how the process works is that you have to hunt to find the category, then when you click to enter it, you get a warning, and you must agree that you are legal, not offended by adult materials, and not going to hold eBay responsible if you pass out while viewing the items for sale. Once you agree, you have to find your way back to the Mature Audience category, and start again.

It is now, for the first time, that the subcategories will show up. And you must be in that category to do searches – a search for “all of eBay” does not include Mature Audiences even when you are signed in – at least not consistently.

Again, this may not seem like a royal pain, but it is for 2 reasons:

#1 Your agreement is temporary. It wears off, and you don’t know it until you see the restricted warnings again.

#2 This second login often locks you out as a seller. For some reason, their system of Adult Cookies is not compatible with the cookies used for members or sellers. Which means you cannot search for similar items when selling to get comparisons for items you are selling, while you are listing. (Oh, and you cannot do a search for past sales on Mature Audience Items.) All of which makes for a difficult time selling in the category.

Other restrictions on selling adult materials are no “Buy It Now” & no PayPal.

All this for a category which is policed enough for illegal items, such as child pornography, bestiality etc.

The bottom line is, all these restrictions hamper buyers from finding items, as well as deter actual sales.

You might say that eBay has a right to be “a family friendly business.” And yes, it is their right. But frankly, they are happy to take the listing fees & get no sales, aren’t they? That money is as “unclean” as a sales transaction – only more evil as they know what the odds are; it’s akin to stealing.

I personally think they ought to just end the “offensive” categories, and stop the confusion.

For more on eBay’s treatment of sellers of adult items, read here.

13 Kitschy Finds


(Thursday Thirteen header by Jenn.)

Just 13 things I found shopping online and had to share this Thursday…

1. Time out of whack? Whack it back with this ping pong paddle clock:

2. Ever wonder what your kitchenware does when you’re at work? They play croquet, of course:

3. I just love this vintage watercolor of Browning, Montana’s “Drugstore & Moving Picture House, in the Snow”:

4. Is it just me, or does it look like this retro poodle got drunk on kitty whiskey?

5. Vintage 1940’s porcelain, wood and fabric Carmen Miranda pin:

6. Two great things that go great together: flamingos and black velvet!

7. Because I often write as Pop tart, you know I’m loving this Cherry Pop-Tart Ring:

8. This is a reproduction, but if you love the style of those classic retro heads — authentically colored turquoise, yet — this head’s for you:

9. Cuddle & coo with this retro Dankin Dream Pet poodle:

10. Get a bit of vintage cheesecake for your cupcake:

11. Miss Piggy went to the UK in the 80’s; bring her back.

12. Go nutty with vintage style peanut bags:

13. And what can go better with circus-style peanuts than vintage hot pink clown shoes? Answer: Nothing. Then again, few things do ever trump vintage clown shoes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here

Jane West: The Movable Cowgirl

I have a mild interest in the Johnny West toys by Louis Marx & Co.. Like so many retro toys, it’s really rare to find them with their original boxes; so when I saw Jane West with her box in a display case at a local antique mall I had to take a closer look…

Is it just me, or does the wording on the box, “Jane West The Movable Cowgirl” and “She Will Pose For You 1001 Different Ways”, sound erotic?

Hubby says it’s just that Marx marketed their toys differently than most. They weren’t dolls and they weren’t action figures. What he said next rather removed them from the toys category too: “If Marx were making things today, they’d be seen as made for the collector market.” So, if they aren’t for kids to play with, they’re adult toys.

Which intriguingly brings me back to Jane “posing for me” in 1001 ways…

Johnny West may have been a fighter, but he was a lover too. At least my Johnny was (and I couldn’t have been the only one doing this) so I know from personal experience of playing with Jane and Johnny that many of the poses were most unnatural. So many joints on Jane provide a flexibility that Jenna Jameson would envy.

Maybe that’s why there were so few female figures made by Marx… If you’ve got one bendy cow girl willing to pose for you in so many ways, why bother with another? Sure her face wasn’t real pretty, but how many of the poses meant you actually had to look at it?

Besides, one bendy chick — with blonde hair yet! — was already luring too many of those Indians.