Monday, October 29, 2007

Sex and the Cereal

How the world has changed in the last 65 years. Today single women are portrayed as hip, sophisticated , urban; Not the sex starved old maids of this ad. However, the sentiment of Sex and the City is still here (sans the after-date foot rubbing); women sitting around discussing the ways they are going get a man...

Poor Auntie hasn't had any for a while, and she wants more.

The thing that is fascinating about this ad is how wild-eyed ravenous the women are for vitamins (sex). They are going have it every morning!

Source: Oct 21, 1940 Life Magazine

Live on the Wicked, Wicked Stage
This Saturday

For anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area or anyone who was contemplating stalking me I've good news. This Saturday, November 3rd Bric-a-Brac will be playing at the 50th Anniversary of the Olde Towne School of Folk Music. It's an all-day open house from 11-7 with classes, small concerts, etc... then at 8:30 they will be turning their main stage area into a olde fashioned prom where we will be playing for about 2 1/2 hours.

This marks the 10th year that Bric-a-Brac has been together, so we'll be celebrating that as well.

On Wednesday, October 31st, Mike and I will be on WLUW Radio at noon promoting the show, singing a couple songs live. Click HERE for the live stream.

Click HERE for the Bric-a-Brac website

and HERE for information on the Olde Towne School of Folk Music Prom

Hopefully, the olde pipes will be in shape for this... eeek...

Below is a sampler of some shows from way back when... I know it was a long time ago because I look like Salvadore Dali.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Some Halloween witchy fun

h/t WorldofWonder

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Does this horrendous scene remind you of hot cereal? If so, than the Wheatena soldier says "Come off of your perch..."

Is there a follow-up to this with a small child being run down in the street by a bus...? WTF... ???

Monday, October 22, 2007

His Master's Voice...
As far back as I can remember I've loved records. Especially records that went really fast. When I was a toddler I used to take 45s and put them on the knobs of the cabinets in the kitchen and spin them around pretending that they were playing music.

My love of 78's began just as early. I had a small number of them that my mother had sitting around the house. Andrew Sisters, Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, etc. I used to listen to them for hours. By the I was about twelve, it well known what a record nut I was in my family. I remember really clearly, as if it were yesterday going to my Uncle Bruno's house, and him telling me he had a present for me. A nieghbor had died and the family threw out boxes of 78's, mostly of 1920's dance music. Really old and heavy with fabulous labels and the feel that any second they were going to crumble in to dust. For the first time I had something that was completely mine.

There was a radio show on FM in the afternoons hosted by Dick Lawrence a local DJ. He used to play 78's, and I started to call (bug/annoy) him. Soon I was taking the bus downtown with bags filled with old records that he would look over and then play the best ones on the air. I would get a credit at the end of the show; Ironically, years later when I worked for This American Life I got the same credit at the end of that show, "Music Supplied by..."

Going to the Mammoth Music Mart, estate and garage sales, I accumulated quite a number of 78's (1000+); And I learned three things: they are heavy to move, break easily and are impossible to store. So I started to transfer them to MP3's. It took almost three years to finish the transferring. Recently I had a disaster; The folder I had them stored in was deleted. I have no idea how this happened, but they are gone. I had made a back-up but I gave it to someone who is out of state and I can't get it back right now. Years of work may be gone, unless somehow I get it back. Which seems doubtful. Egads...

The reason this all came to mind is I came across this guy on youtube who not only transferring his 78's but videotaping them and posting them on YouTube. This was a long rant just to say: Check these out... there is nothing like the sound of a heavy needle digging it's way through shellac to produce catch tunes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In the tradition of Women's Household's What's Your Opinion feature I ask:
Why Does Everything Have to be So Damn Loud?!!!"

After a band rehearsal, a couple of us decided to go out for a drink. There is this Irish bar that just opened on Lincoln Avenue. And when I say Irish I mean IRISH. We were probably the only three people in there who weren’t from the Land O’ Erin. We’d been there before and found it to be a quiet tavern with soccer on the many television sets and good beers on tap.

Upon walking in I realized we’d stumbled in on the wrong night. There was a bachelorette party going on and there was deejay. Granted it was like we walked into a party and we probably had no business being there, but that wasn’t what made it so unbearable. The deejay was playing traditional Irish music, i.e. the Clancy Brothers or the Chieftains with male chorus, fiddle, and concertina. And it was extremely loud. Loud in a way that was bone shattering; the treble was turned up all the way so that it was a sharp piercing sound. With every note, every lyric it was like someone was sticking a pencil in my ear. We struggled to talk over the din, but it was impossible. I looked around and the place was filled with a mix of people, young cute blond girls, strapping drunk guys, but mostly people in their mid-50s all dressed up for an evening at the local pub. They just sat at their tables unable to do anything but stare blankly at each other. It completely stopped any sort of possible socializing. We left after one beer and my ears are still ringing.

It brought to mind a question. Why does everything have to be so loud? What happened to background music played at a reasonable volume so that you could actually talk to the people you were with? When did it become expected that an evening out with friends meant screaming your head off? I’m not talking about Circuit clubs where it’s expected or even when going to see live music, but I’m talking about stores, restaurants, the local tavern. Even the announcements on the El train are turned so high up that you’d have to be completely deaf not to hear them. Is it just me or did the population take that Pump Up the Volume song too literally ? Am I just getting to be to an old fuddy-duddy slipping into old age shaking my fist at “these kids today”? As a popular tee-shirt says: If it's too loud you're too old.The loud music issue comes up at least once a week. During lunch there is a restaurant/bar that I go to with co-workers. It’s noon, during a weekday, and there may be at the most eight people having lunch. Nine times out of ten the sound system is blaring some 80’s rock song so we have yell over each other. When we tell the waitress to turn down the music a bit, we are given the stare of death like, ‘How can anything you have to say to each other be any more important than listening this wonderful John Fogerty song ?’ I’ve had this happen in other restaurants where it was impossible to hold a decent conversation because the din was so impenetrable. To paraphrase something Gary once told me about when he was a waiter, “No one every complained to him that the music was too soft”. So why do businesses feel that the only way that their customers can have a good evening is to burst their ear drums.

One of the most insane examples of this I encountered was when I went to a dermatologist a couple years ago for a wart on my finger. I walked into this tiny crowded waiting room. Pouring from the ceiling was the soundtrack to “Star Wars”. I walked up the receptionist and had to yell at her my name while the “Imperial March” blared. “What…” she yelled back…” I yelled again. “Sit down, we’ll call you…” The room was filled with a mixture of Latino mothers with their children and senior citizens all struggling to hear their names called, waiting their turn while the bombastic John William’s score drowned out all thoughts of their impending skin procedures. It was crazy! Needless to say I didn’t go back to him.

As our population ages will we all become a country of hearing aid wearing seniors whose eardrums were blown out by too many nights at the clubs and bars? Or is that already the case. When you go into Dollar Deals and the music is turned up full blast is it because the 40 year old manager doesn’t realize that it’s too loud; is he already on the way to hearing loss. Does he think that your enjoyment of buying cheap cleaning supplies will be improved by hearing Green Day at the same level as you would listen to it on your home stereo system.

A few months ago I had a particularly stressful dinner at a restaurant where the music was unnecessarily loud. When we asked the management to do something about it, they turned it down for about two minutes only to boost it back up again a little louder. I think I have decided to take a different tactic. When that happens again I’m going to ask for them to keep turning it up. And maybe after the fifth time of saying, “No, it’s still not loud enough; I can still hear what people are saying to me.” Maybe they’ll get the idea…

Everything does not have to be turned up to 13.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


My pal Dave has been posting his mother's 1945 diary since January. I did a post about it when he started and I have it in my list of favorite blogs. This morning I got an e-mail from him that said that Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune did a Metro feature on the blog with an extensive interview with Dave.

It's a snapshot of a truly simpler time seen through the eyes of a teenager. The amount of work he puts into every post is very evident, with news stories, photos, videos of the movies that Dorothy watched. Many kudos to Dave for the great job!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Executive Coloring Book
(Day 2)
This last half of the Executive Coloring Book concludes with more tales of corporate stress, greed and drug addition. They are one of us, but just don't ask them to sit down for lunch.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Color Me Excited
day 1
This weekend I had a party at my house with some of my favorite people. Among my friends were Dan W from L.A with a collection of fabulous video variety show clips that wowed the crowd; David and Doug from Hell in a Handbag rushed from a performance of their production of 'The Birds' . (If you live within a 200 mile radius of Chicago do not miss this production; it's fantastic. Outside of 200 you are excused, but not forgiven); Cynthia Plaster Caster and Darren were delightfully charming bringing me much needed cheese and smiles. My small apartment was packed with best of friends, Dan D, Gary Airedale, Forrest, Erica, Gloria, Dave. And a welcome return to Chicago were the fabulous couple Chris Ligon and Heather McAdams.

Heather brought Dan D. this coloring book as a thank you for help he did on their house. Once I saw it I knew it was meant for my blog and asked if I could post it.

Copyrighted 1961, this book is extraordinarily smart and witty. The early 60's showed the strain on an America post-war populations that were struggling with the idea that they fought for freedom only to be forced to live in glass buildings and conform to the 'status quo'. It was the age of The Apartment and The Sweet Smell of Success; and it was Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman, and Martin A. Cohen's brilliant idea to put these ideas into the most universal of all mediums, the coloring book. I don't know how many of these copies survived so I'm glad I can preserve this in cyberspace. I give you part one of "The Executive Coloring Book"

Monday, October 15, 2007

While your waiting... Sorry for the long pauses between posts. I've been having a couple of major life issues going on right now, so my mind hasn't been on keeping the blog up to date... more on that later...

But while you wait, please check out Mike Lynch's new post on a 1953 issue of Women's Day. Click HERE. Especially take note of the Fleischmann's Dry Yeast ad, the faces of the women are priceless.

More news soon...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One in Nine
While on vacation in Los Angeles I visited the Forever Hollywood cemetery. It's a great place. Everyone from Valentino to Jane Mansfield is buried there. While walking through the grounds I passed grave after grave and I wondered how many of these people came out to Hollywood searching after their dream to be a movie star. The road to stardom is littered with broken hearts.

In September of 1937 Life Magazine posed the same question. They featured nine starlets and said the chances of becoming a star are 100,000 to 1. Who will be the star and make $200,000 a year?

Olympe Bradna. A former Folies-Bergere dancer, there not a whole lot of information on Olympe except that it seems she's still alive. She burst on the screen made 14 movies and then disappeared into that land where hopeful starlets go when they reach a certain age. Her last movie was in 1941 at the age of 21.

This photo of her rubbing her eye is an odd choice to show off her "whole lotta umph" .

Barbara Read, started in 3 Smart Girls with Deanna Durbin. I love that film, but I don't really remember her in it; Deanna steals the show. Her last movie, a Randolph Scott horse drama, Coroner Creek, was in 1949. She died in 1963 at the age of 43.

Lynne Carver (left) began in ingenue roles and then like all actresses who hadn't gotten that big break started doing a string of westerns; Her last movie was in 1953. She died at age 46.

Fox's Darryl Zanuck was promoting June Lang (right) to be a star. However she had to give up her career when she married mobster John "Handsome Johnny" Roselli . The studio fired her over bad publicity. The last role she did was in 1961 in a episode of The Detectives. She died in 2005 at the age of 88. Imagine the stories she could tell.

Phyllis Brooks fared very well in life, if not in the movies. Her last role being an episode of Suspense in 1952. She married Congressman, Torbert H. Macdonald of Massachusetts and was well known as a political socialite. Her eldest son's godfather was John F. Kennedy. She died in 1995 at the age of 80.

Judy Garland. This photo is unglamourous compared to the other girls. Dear Judy. We all know her tragic story too well. She did make over the $200,000 that was predicted; In 1948, with The Pirate, Easter Parade and Words and Music she made a total of $400,000. She died in 1969 at the age of 47. In a way she wins this competition. She just didn't make it too far past the finish line.

Virginia Grey. The most prolific of all these actresses, with 143 film appearances. She worked steadily in every sort of genre from comedy (The Women) to westerns (Wyoming), continuing on television until her retirement in 1976. She had a noted and long affair with Clark Gable. According to gossip she never married because she continued to pine for Clark. She died in 2004 at the age of 87.

Gloria Dickson. A sad story. She died at the age of 27 in a house fire. The only movie that she played in I've ever seen was 'Lady of the Burlesque' starring Barbara Stanwyck. On occasion it pops up in the dollar bins at Walgreen's. Ironically one of the last roles she played was a pyromaniac.

Ann Miller, never a huge star on the screen, but of all the girls the one with the longest and most successful of careers. Starring in many of the MGM Musicals, and then have a success on the stage during the 70s and 80s. So many great moments come to mind when I think of Ann Miller. She lights up the screen in On the Town and Kiss Me Kate. She was also known for her Merv and Love Boat appearances. Her large, black cement helmet of hair being a trademark. Here is Ann in On the Town. Just look at those gams. She died at age 81 in 2004.

To quote the Kinks: "...Some that you recognize,
some that you hardly even heard of;
People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame,
Some who succeeded, and some who suffered in vain..." *