Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Words of Wisdom from Orson Welles.

This would be in the regular playlist on WLAK, the Sixth Great Lake Muzak station in the mid-80s. I'm having a tiring day, and I wanted to hear it again. I thought I'd share...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Abbey Is Sile
I ran across this the other day. I can't get this song out of my head. It's from a group called the Story Pirates. They are a theatre troop that promotes creative writing with young children. From what I've seen, I'm impressed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Podcast!

I just finished a new podcast. I've been wanting to do another one for a while; So I tried an experiment. I tried to do a podcast in one evening instead of spending a week on it, like the Peggy podcast.

For my subject I take a look at the song "Hey, Jude" and it's many incarnations. My initial plan was just to post one of the songs, but there were so many it called for a full show.

You can download the podcast by going to my Podcast Page: HERE

or if you want click on the player below

Let me know what you think... be kind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

....and I wondered why I never liked peas...Step right up, folks, and meet the gayest, most sinister character in frozen vegetable advertising! When he's not shocking the ladies during their shopping trips by throwing peas around the store he's demonically hypnotizing them into joining his evil legion of pea people. "Lead the life of Riley..." come join us!
Mother comes home to indoctrinate her children in the joys of frozen peas. Dear Daughter coyly plans her next move: "What will you give me for a basketful of kisses?" Darling Son holds on to the boiling pot of water. "I hurt myself today, mother, to see if I still feel...I focus on the pain..."
Father is shocked with horror to see that it is too late as daughter brings the cycle of pea propaganda full circle. She chortles: "I always eat my peas with honey; I've done it all my life. They do taste kind of funny but It keeps them on my knife."
Time for dinner...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Carson's Comedy Classics - day two
The themes of infidelity, voyeurism and alcohol abuse continue. I don't know how to categorize the man walking down the street without pants or the 200lb bully about to beat up the small nerdy guy. I am seeing more into Mr. Carson' psyche than I'd cared to know. The 7 years itch comic seems rather sad when brought to life with the drawing of the rejected wife.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happiness is a Dry Martini, by Johnny Carson
Illustrated by Whitney Darrow Jr.
I have had this book since high school picking it up at a used book store. "This is going to be worth something someday" I thought. "I will save this book and years from now I'll sell it and make a fortune." (That was a reoccurring theme with my teenage friends 'This is going to be worth a fortune one day'. I'll always remember Paul's brother's Kiss Revolver album that we were forbidden to even look at or John Tready seriously saying that his sealed copy of John Lennon's Double Fantasy would be 'worth a fortune' in ten years. There were millions printed! Although I've seen the Kiss album on e-bay for up to $25, the Lennon album is going at a high cost of $10. A cool profit of about $2.)

This evening looking through the book shelf, the Carson book caught my eye. I don't think I've ever opened it because nothing in here looked familiar. The cartoons are of the cocktail napkin variety, and honestly the cocktail napkins I published earlier are funnier. They follow the same formula: fantasies about killing your wife or mother-in-law, naked ladies, and the joy of drinking to excess. They are sort of fun in their complete political incorrectness. I don't think even our most radical comics today would recommend drinking while taking care of your baby.

And in posting these another question I've pondered: The story about the naked girl jumping out of a cake. I've seen it in cartoons and movies. But did it ever happen? Has anyone ever had any experience with a cake jumper. How would you make a cake for a full adult woman to jump out? Is the cake built around her? How long would she have to stay in the cake? Is it a real cake? The questions are endless. I throw this out to the land of blogdom for your answers.

I'm only posting a few comics... let me know if you want more of this classic Carson Comedy... that is until the attorneys call me to take it down. Oh, and by the way, this book is going for $1.99 on ebay... I think I actually lost money on it...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Merv Griffin RIP 1925-2007

It's as if every weekend I'm writing a memorial post to someone who was a big part of my formative years . And once again this weekend we lost one of the best, Merv Griffin. I don't know where to begin with how influential he was on everything I love today; He was such a lover of classic Hollywood: I would most likely never have heard of all the classic stars and films I love today if not for him; He became a self-parody of of gushing over people like Ann Miller, Peggy Lee, Lucille Ball or Fred Astaire. Like Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, and Johnny Carson he was another friendly face and bright personality that my family welcomed into our livingroom almost every night. For a while he was one of the big three, every night my parents would first see who Carson had on, then Merv, and then as a last straw they would put on Cavett. Merv seemed to be excited about everything. "Oooh, here's Liza, she's wearing a new Bob Mackie dress" or "Your movie is going to be a big hit". It was all Hollywood bullshit, but done with all the old fashioned glitz and glamour that made me want to see "The Swarm" or "Mame" just because Merv was so excited about them. I know I've said this before about Mike Douglas, Tom Snyder and other memorials... but there will only be one Merv. I'm only hoping that if there is an after life that Merv and Eva Gabor are planning a fabulous celestial dinner party right now with 'ooh, some exciting guests'.

I've included some music for you to remember Merv by... he wasn't just a personality, but a really fun singer. My favorite song of his is "Prunes". It always makes me happy!

One of my favorite albums that has gotten many a spin a some of my best parties "Merv Griffin's Dance Party". Merv was supposed to have sung next month with Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl. What a great show that would have been... Well, have a mini Merv Concert of your own with some cuts from "Merv Griffin's Dance Party...

RIP Merv...

Merv's only big hit "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"

Banned in Boston

The Charanga

Thursday, August 09, 2007

...And Now Something for the GrownupsIn the 30s and 40s when men had stag parties they must have been desperate for any form of titillation. Hence, the party record was invented. I've quite a few in my collection, and each one is stranger than the last. I offer a couple of the more whimsical ones as an example. Both of these cuts go to prove that everyone has a dirty mind.

The first song The Dental Song has a strange memory for me. Some where around the 3rd or 4th grade a sheet of paper was going around the school with the same story as this song, except I think a bit raunchier, "Doctor, that's too big to fit in my mouth!" "I'll put it in slow..." etc. To my horror my mother found it and completely freaked out. My pure mind was sullen with thoughts of dental debauchery, even though I'm sure I had no idea what any of it meant. There was a lot of yelling, and demands to know where I got it from, childhood playmates were now all suspect. After the blow out, it was the last I saw of it; That was until years later when I was in high school and I was looking through my parent's drawers for something. There among my birth certificate, baptismal papers, and baby's first teeth box was this paper with the Dental Song lyrics. She had taken it and put it with my other childhood remembrances. It still creeps me out...

Try to enjoy
THE DENTAL SONG (Pearl Trio - Pearl Records) Ironically, my mother's name is Pearl.

A HOLE IN ONE (Kicks Record Label)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let Us Join In the Game
and other tales from the Really Dead Letter Office.
Day Three

I continue with one more day of picture postcards and I start with this very shocking display of a couple doing lustful things. The back of this card addressed to Miss. Sadie Jenssen of Forest Lake, Minnesota just simply says: Your Sincerely, Leo.
It just made my heart flutter.

February 1910.
I love that someone would send a card with a tableau of a scene of a wife catching her husband with a corset in his suitcase; just a sordid little scene to say hello.

Dear Sis, I am well and having a good time here in Frisco. I am going swimming tonight. Come and go along, Your loving bro, Sam

July 2, 1909.

The next two are addressed to Chas Kleberger of Monroe Wisconsin. Chas' friends have very good taste in picking out tasteful, cards. I hope that his friend found the paper he was looking for.
Dear Chas, Charley can you or, guess I better say you are coming home before I come to the city in September? I wish you would ask Mrs. M if she found a paper I left there, with music on one side and words on the other. I want it. Are you homesick. Do you ever go to see Mrs. Krippener? A.K.

San Francisco, Feb 8, 1912

Dear Friend, Your card received, many thanks. I just came home from the country today. Now bet I think I'm going out for another time with her Saturday night. Sorry you haven't found that girl's address. Maybe you will find one of her other dresses. Ha. Ha. Has been very nice here today. Dave. Excuse pencil.

October 2nd, 1913

A couple years ago, my friend Seamus and I wrote a song based on this card. And based on the content. I'll have to see if I can find a copy.

Dear cousin, I came very near coming to see you the week of the fair, but my! That rain. I was glad to stay at home. Who was asking about me? You certainly didn't tell them that we are related, did you? Ha Ha. Well I'm glad you like it. I think Albion is a mighty nice place. Would like to live there. When are you coming home and can't you come up? Bertha.

Finally, this lovely card about a man obviously on the verge of alcohol poisoning, in Denver Colorado. With this romantic proposition scrawled across the front.

Martha send me one of your pictures. How would you like to be along side of me same as in Chicago?

So romantic... until next time. I am as always... etc...

Monday, August 06, 2007

This is one of the strangest 78s I have in my collection. It's gotten me through many a performance art piece. Try it yourself. Before your husband/wife/roommate comes home, turn off all the light, light a candle, and sit in a room cutting out hearts construction paper while this gem plays. Just wait for the art grants to pour in.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Postcards of Della Basil of Delta, Iowa
Day Two
March 1909

This is a mysterious scene to have with this caption, "I'll leave my happy home for you". Mainly why would Cora pick this card to send to here Aunt Della. And what is the man pointing at?
Dear Aunt, Received your card and was glad to hear from you. What are you doing for your health now days. I am working on a farm for my health, just now. Are all well at present except colds? It isn't very nice weather here at present. How are all the folks? Is Grandma still at your house? Answer soon. With love to all, Cora

No date, no stamp.
There are several post cards without a stamp. Did they come C.O.D? How the world has changed with having to only put the name of the person and the town they lived in and expect it to get to them.
Dear Aunt Della, I read your letter and was very glad to hear from you. Would like to see you folks. When are you going to clean house or have you got it done? Would come and help you if I would be any help to you. We are all well and hope you folks are the same. As ever Cora and the girls. (at the top of the card) Wish you a Happy and Bright Birthday. Call the baby, Rogale. Salora is as fat as pig. Answer soon. (Cora)

Looks like 1913 Click here to learn more about McCook. Hello every body. Why don't you write? We are all well. We have been to the river and waded; had a dandy time. Mrs. Paulson and I are going to the ballgame this evening. Can't you folks come out the nats (sic) are gone and you could have a dandy time. Write Soon. Alice.

1911 9AM

Della's mother must have been ill for some time from 1909-1920 there are a series of cards saying sorry to hear you mother is sick.
Dear friend, As I hear your mother is sick and we are all sorry to hear of it. We have been awfully busy. The folks picked twenty-two gallons of blackberries yesterday and then did not get them all picked. They are selling them for .35 (?) a gallon. How soon do you think you will start home? Hope Ellen soon gets better. How are the rest of the folk? Clara.

November 7, 1913

I don't know anything about Rock Falls, IL but this wins my vote for most dismal looking postcard. Was this the most scenic view in town...? I think that Jesse Paul must have gotten a job at the International Works. And I want to start ending my e-mails with "I am as ever..."

Hello how are you? I am O.K. Went to work this A.M. Isn't so bad either. Will write you a letter soon. I am as ever, Jesse Paul.

This is the last of the Della post cards, I'll continue one more day of other postcard finds... until then, I am as ever, Johnny C.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


It's been one full year writing this blog! How time does fly... Thanks to Gary Airedale, who after I called him up one night with a story how I got into a shouting match with a Republican NeoCon on the El train (during which I got the train to join me a chorus of "People") told me I should be writing this stuff down in a blog.

Thanks to everyone who has linked me in their favorite sites. I'm always shocked and surprised to see people from all over the world reading something that was just a way to break up the boredom at my job. I really never expected more than my friends reading this... However, I knew that there was some reason I was collecting all this ephemera and I'm glad to spread the love around. I keep thinking I'm out of things to post, then a pile of stuff falls out of a closet...etc, etc....

Special thanks to Hell in a Handbag, one of the first sites to link to me; Go Away I'm Reading's Aaron for your constant comments (isn't that a tea?) and Mike Lynch for linking me and making me a cyber- star, and to everyone whose been so nice about reading these silly posts.
Sally Field said it best:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Really Dead Letter Office
Day 1.
I don't remember where these post cards came from, but I've had them for years. Although the postcard fronts are pretty plain, I've loved looking at them from time to time to re-read the little notes that were sent to a Miss Della Basil of Delta, Iowa. I've mentioned before about how the more things change the more they stay the same. In keeping with that thesis statement; these are fascinating little glimpses into a life I'm sure long forgotten.

The post card notes are interesting because they are so ordinary. Today, with e-mail, I'm sure that I've sent hundreds of these notes with little bits of 'talky talk' information: How are you, say hello to so-and-so, we had fun last night. In fact, most of the post cards in the collection are just notes thanking Della for writing a note. I was also struck by the how the structure of the post card writing hasn't changed for a hundred years; Start in the body, if you run out of space, go back to the top, if you still have more to write, start on the border of the card. I'll try to transcribe what I can of the post card notes, but people had some damn fancy writing back then.

There are several postcards, so rather than sweat to death in my kitchen (no air in here) I'll break up this scanning project over the next few days

This photos was in with the collection. I wish I knew which women is Della. It's one of my favorite photos.
Note: I remember every one of these girls by name. Deceased: Mabel, Lulu, Helen (I can't make out the last names)
Postmark August 25, 1908. Dear Della. I just found out that you were home, so will answer your postal I received so long ago. I thought you were still out west and I didn't know your address. Write when you get here. Della. (I'm not sure if there is another Della writing her or if that was a comma, Della.)

Post Mark: Aug 3, 1909
August 3, 1909 - Dear Aunt received your card a few days ago was glad to hear from you. How is Grace and Helorice? Was up to Delta yesterday. How do you like the country out there? I've been having some fine times. Now write soon and tell me how you are.
From Myrtle.

August 13, 1909
Dear Della, Received your card the other day, was glad to hear from you. Went to a social last night. Our S.S. class had a real nice time. Am sorry you are not satisfied. You ought to stay, have a good time and get your moneys worth. Grandma said to tell you if you did come soon be sure and bring Deloris home with you. Aunt Rosa said Cora would be too busy to care for her when they were (?) and don't want to leave her with strangers. Will write when I hear from you again. Answer soon. E.D.
August 2, 1909. Today the swastika is so shocking to see outside of being carved on a white supremacist's forehead. But around this time it was considered a good luck symbol. In the old Medina Temple the floor had them placed in the tile. I believe it was built around this time.

As the card says: "The Swastika" is the oldest cross and emblem in the world. It forms a combination of four "L"s, standing for Luck, Light, Love, and Life. It has been found in ancient Rome, excavations of Grecian Cities, on Buddhist idols, on Chinese coins dated 315 B.C. and our own Southwestern Indians use it as an amulet. It is claimed that the Mound Builders and Cliff Dwellers of Mexico, Central America consider the "Swastika" a charm to drive away evil and bring good luck, long life and prosperity to the possessor.

I'm not sure how well that worked out for Hitler... but I never thought there could be a pretty Swastika card.

Hello. How are you this morning. We are all well. Fine weather and good crops. Tell me more how Rose and Bet is getting along. ~ Leo Basil's address. Love to all. W.J.B.
June 19, 1911
Dear Della, Glad to hear you are having such a nice trip and hope you will have a good time all summer. I have not been well for some time. Hardly able to work, but I'm feeling better now. We had company today. Some relatives from Oklahoma. They want me to go home with them. We have been having real fleas and (?) for some time, but did have it very hot. You must be a in a pretty place from looking at the card. Write soon. From Ada.
If anyone else can make out that last line let me know.

Will continue this exciting story soon...