Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope that all of you are having as much fun
as my family did in this 1949 Home Movie.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve is always been sort of melancholy for me. Growing up my parents were usually in bed by ten leaving me to watch as each of the television stations went off the air after their showing of A Christmas Carol or watching Midnight Mass from Holy Name Cathedral. On the rare occasions we did go to church it was at Our Lady of the Snows where the mass was done in Polish.

I always had jobs where I worked on Christmas Eve or when I moved away from home I usually spent them by myself with some rare and fun exceptions. One year Thax and I watched Zombie movies all night, that was fun. And when I was dating Robert we went to a sleazy bar and drank Long Island Ice Teas until we were both sick. I think that was the year my mother asked me on Christmas if I was mad at her... when I was just barely hold it together with a massive hangover.

Don't worry about me this year, I've got plans for a dinner with other Christmas orphans. But getting back to the album. This is one of my few and favorite Christmas albums. Jackie Gleason along with being a comic was a great conductor of "mood music". As the liner notes says it's meant to be played after the day is over and you have time to reflect on this and past Christmases.

It's also a chance to hear the slowest renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland".

Have a Happy Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

30 Ways to Die of Electrocution
A lovely Flicker set from blogger Bre Pettis of scans from a German illustrated book Elektroschultz in 132 Bildern.   Some extremely disturbing images.  And if you were paranoid about taking a bath before...   30 more drawings HERE

Check out Bre Pettis's Blog.  He's cute and clever...  Here is one of his videos. 
Things - Zoetrope from Bre Pettis on Vimeo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lana! On the Tube...

It's been two years since I wrote a post about the singer Lana Cantrell. Click Here if you haven't read it.

It's been one of my most read posts. There is still so little written about Miss Cantrell, when you type in her name my blog is right at the top of the searches. I've had many wonderful e-mails from cyber-friends concerning their love for this forgotten diva. Recently, a reader William S. wrote me and informed me that there was a youtube video of her on-line. It's very exciting for me. I've never "seen" her sing. She does have a touch of Streisand about her, but Barbra never performed among such amazing 60's golden flotsam.

Love to hear from more Lana fans. Feel free to write your Lana memories in comments here...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Morning Update:
Since six this morning helicopters have been hovering over my house!  
This usually only happens when someone throws themselves in front of a train.   Which I guess politically, he did... 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Circus Has Come to My Neighborhood

You'd have to be living under a rock not have heard about this whole Blagojevich scandal. If not, then just look it up in Google News or something... It's quite the story of the year. What's interesting to me is that this is all happening just about two blocks from my house; He's lived in my neighborhood for the past eleven years. In fact, not a day goes by when I don't drive by his home; I've seen him mowing his lawn (rarely), watched while his family had Thanksgiving dinner, and often seen him in the morning leaving for the office with his strapping, State Police undercover agents with the big black SUV waiting for him. (His officers are always there in their black cars with their little TV's. During the day the Desperate Housewifes of the neighborhood would walk their dogs past them to stop and chat.)

My closest encounter with him was once after a night of much tom catting and drinking I was walking home crossing over the over the river just as the sun was rising. As I dragged myself over the bridge, Blagojevich came around the cover and ran right into me in his little red satin jogging shorts, his guards close behind. After a big "Aaah" from both of us and he grab me so I wouldn't fall down. We both laughed and said, "That was a close one... a couple more feet and I'd be in the river..." Now that would have been a scandal. Governor pushes boozed up barfly into Chicago River.

A few years later I organized a poster campaign in my neighborhood when the non-profit I work for almost got their state funding taken away. My idea was to knock on all the doors in the neighborhood and give big posters for people to put in their windows demanding that he restore our funding. It worked. He couldn't drive in or out of the neighborhood without seeing his name and our organization together. I'm sure he hated me, if he knew who I was...

Such memories. Now tonight when I drove past his house it was completely dark. News crews stood around on his neighbor's lawns waiting for a moment when he'd throw his garbage out or maybe shovel that ice off the walk. I thought if I really want a viral youtube video I should just go out there with a boom box and lip Lip-sync to a Judy number, maybe Get Happy. Or just hold up a sign that says: Visit It seems like a waste to have those cameramen out there doing nothing but waiting for something to happen.

But it's too icy for either of those ideas. I had however, to tell you about my current brush with national news. I'll update you if he knocks me over as he runs from the law.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Boy With a Heart to Lose
A Date With Tony

During all the news coverage of Prop 8 Tony Perkins from the Focus on the Family (or whatever evil group he belongs) was on all the talking heads shows spouting about why gays shouldn't get married. All I can think of when I see him is another closeted Tony Perkins.

Tony, probably better known as Anthony Perkins from Psycho. He lived an odd life of being a gay man in the conservative 50's and 60's, having affairs with Tab Hunter, Rudolf Nureyev, and Rock Hudson. In the "me generation" of the 70's he decided that he was not gay after having sex with Victoria Principal and then through therapy became 'straight' and married fashion photographer Barry Barenson and had two children Oz and Elvis. He died in 1992 from complications from AIDS.

I've always thought Anthony Perkins was one of the most handsome men that ever was. Anyway, thinking about Tony reminded me of this photo essay from a Movie Stars magazine circa November 1957. It includes articles like, "How Far Should a Good Girl Go? (Marriage? Not for Natalie Wood), Sal Mineo's Mystery Girl, Intimate Moments in John Saxon's Arms and Elvis' Rules for Love. The studios must have paid to have Tony go on a date with blond bombshell, Venetia Stevenson. Probably to squash those ugly rumors about Tony and Tab. Yes... "There's a new glow in Tony Perkins' heart these days. Is love, in the luscious guise of Venetia Stevenson, the answer? Tony's not talking, but our intimate peek into an evening they shared just might be a peak at the future, too!"
At Venetia Stevenson's apartment it's often Benson, her pet Siamese who greets her date first, and hew as on hand the night Tony Perkins arrived to squire Venetia to the Pride and the Passion preem. On the dot as usual Tony was glad to see Venetia was almost ready.

That poor kitty.

Tony'd had a long day's work at Paramount on Desire Under the Elms, changed his clothes and shaved in his dressing room. With no time to eat earlier, he wheedled Venetia to giving him some soup and milk, then fell victim to a little begging himself!

I guess I could make a joke about that's the closest that Tony got to any pussy that night... but I won't... that would be cruel.

Pesky last-minute crisis always happen when time matters! With Tony and Venetia, it was zipper trouble for her, a loose shirt button for him, but they saved their tempers and nerves by playing maid and valet for each other!

Even then, a girl's best friend is her gay.

A girl may be entitled to that important last minute primp session, but to Tony, being punctual counts, too! He often skips meals or extra grooming to be on time.

Yes, Tony is worried he's going to miss the credits, or is he anxious because he's expecting to run into someone at the event? But who could it be?!!!
Slight delay came while Tony made sure he had the premiere tickets and gave them to Venetia for safe keeping. That's Tony's Thunderbird in the background - no more hitchhiking for this boy! He used to hate big occasions because he's near-sighted, now has enough self-confidence to wear his glasses, expect in tete-a-tete conversations.
At start-studded post-preem party in Bali Room of Beverly Hitlon, Tony and Venetia exchange a champagne toast. He doesn't drink, except on very special occasions, but attacks any food served him as though he hasn't eaten in days, "tho I never gain weight!"

Sophia Loren, who co-stars with Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra in Pride and the Passon, was congratulated by Venetia and Tony during a rare minute when photogs weren't pursuing her. In Desire Under the Elms, Tony's her stepson who falls under her spell.

Sophie looks confused but her Tony sets her straight telling her Venetia is just his beard for the evening.

Tab Hunter, who also manages to date popular Venetia, stopped for a brief chat too. Since her divorce from Russ Tamblyn, Venetia's been on a dating whirl, but Tony's rare seen with anyone else. Insiders report he's really smitten. (Tony's in Columbia's This Bitter Earth; Venetia's in Warner's Darby's Rangers.)

Finally, this is the happiest we've seen Tony. His real date for the evening has shown up. Creepy that they say that Tab is also dating Venetia, the hot divorcee. I think this photo shows who he's really smitten with.

One of the benefits of Tony's 'goin' straight' turnaround and marriage to Berry Berenson are their sons Oz and Elvis. Oz is an actor and Elvis is an accomplished and really great singer songwriter. His album "Ash Wednesday" was dedicated to his mother Barry who died on American Airlines Flight 92 on 9/11. This song is wonderful.

And as an added bonus: I've always loved Anthony Perkins, the singer. I've all of his albums. Below is the Anthony Perkins Jukebox... Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Big h/t to Graeme

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nat Goldstein Follow-up
I received this annoucement concerning the book version of the story of the tragic story of the murder of the daughter of Nat Goldstein as I posted HERE. The story is going to run on CBS's 48 Hour Investigates in a couple of weeks, and the book is available on HERE.
e-mail from Ira, Donnah's father:
This is to advise you that relative to our daughter’s tragic story which has been shown on CBS’s 48 Hour Investigates program three times the TV producer Gail Zimmerman, has written a book entitled “Invitation to a Murder” which has been published by Pocketbook which is Simon & Schuster and is available for public sale at Borders or Barnes & Noble or Amazon and most anywhere.

CBS TV and the 48 Hour program brought Sara Jane and I up to New York to interview us and to re-edit and update the previous program on Thursday the 30th of October.

We do not earn any money from this book or the TV program and the only reason we did this, is to raise more money through your donations for Donnah’s Fund, which is part of Women in Distress of Broward County, Box 676, Fort Lauderdale, 33302, as CBS will list Donnah’s Fund on their website during the show and made a substantial donation.

To date, I have been advised that through the monetary disbursements to women who have qualified, the money from Donnah’s Fund has assisted 66 women and their families start a new life away from their abusers.

I have just been advised that the date for the 48 HOUR MYSTERY CBS PROGRAM is on SATURDAY NIGHT DECEMBER 13, 2008 AT 10 PM EST…….

This story has also been shown on Court TV’s “Forensic Files” and Tru TV’s “Murder By The Book” and on the Montell Williams show and written in Reader’s Digest.

Thanks for your kindness and please buy the book which is a soft cover pocket book and it sells for $7.99.

My best,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

To Die For...

This weekend's tragic crushing of a Walmart employee by Xmas shoppers trying to get the early Black Friday bargains reminded me of an incident that happened to me in the early 80's when I was working at a Walmart-ish store called Zayre. It was similar because they sold cheaply made clothes and low cost foreign made crap. It was the first place to go to buy a Michael Jackson sparkly glove or to get vinyl blinds cut to order. For over three years it was my world. I started as a part-time associate and then moved up to the manager of the Toy department. Quite the accomplishment on the Southwest Side of Chicago. (When I quit to go back to college my mother cried crocodile tears and proclaimed it was the 'worst mistake I'd ever make in my life'. I think she was really crying about her 20% discount going out the window.)
I've many stories about my years there, most of them I think of fondly. There was, as in all work environments, a myriad of characters: Ed Crowley, the burly guy who worked in the hardware department, the sweet Irish lady who worked in Bed and Bath, funny Mary Sims who worked in Housewares. Matt the sexy Polish guy who I had the biggest crush on, nerdy Jeff in electronics, etc. Not a week would go by when someone wouldn't say, "They should make a TV show out of this store..." I mostly remember laughing a lot. You had to, it was a shit job, working in that huge fluorescent tube lighted store with it's miles of low cost clothes, cleaning supplies, and various other junk.

It was Christmas 1983 and Zayre had decided to keep its stores open 24 hours a day. I gladly took the night shift from 11 to 8. It was quiet and all I had to do was restock and take inventory. Every so often a stray factory worker or Midway Airport crew man would wander through like a zombie and maybe get a Barbie Works at McDonald's play set or Masters of the Universe talking Skelator mask. My job was mainly picking up the mess from a days worth of kids running through the department tearing apart every package that was in reach. I found that some parents felt like their children could do whatever the fuck they wanted as long as they didn't have to deal with it. Parents would go do their shopping after telling their children to go play in the toy department. I never understood how a mother who carried a child for 9 months would feel o.k. with leaving them alone in a store. Bob and I once ran across a cute little girl, about four years old, in the housewares department sitting on the floor with blue Tydee Bowl running out of her mouth and down her front. It took ten minutes of paging the mother who showed up screaming as the ambulance pulled up to the store. Whenever Bob talked about the incident he'd just say, "Ba-Ha... She'd been Smurfed..."

But Christmas just turned up the stress with out of control kids and maniac parents. I would have a calendar in my room that I would hang up after Thanksgiving. It would count down the days until Christmas was over. Ten days. Nine days. Eight days. If you want the joy of the holiday season knocked out of you work in one of these stores. That year, 1983 was the year that at the International Toy Fair in New York City the Cabbage Patch Doll was introduced. That fall Zayre got its first shipment in. I thought they were nothing dolls and in fact, the ten or so we got sat on the shelves for weeks without even being pulled out of their boxes by the mobs of roving children; Even they weren't interested in them.

By Thanksgiving however it was a different story. The news was all over the 'hottest' item to get your children this Xmas. It was from Kim Davis, a cashier, that I recall hearing about how popular the Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls were becoming. Kim never said two words to me before, but since she heard that these new type of dolls were coming in she acted as if we were the best of friends. "Please, you'll do that for me, huh?. You'll put one aside. My little girl saw a commercial and has been after me for weeks for one." "Sure..." I couldn't imagine that they would sell out, we were getting over a hundred units of the doll. There was no mad rush for them on that first sale day, although they did sell quickly. People were curious and slowly picked through the dolls looking for the one they wanted. My only job was to tell people that there were no more dolls in the back, that we didn't have one by a particular name or trying to find the missing birth certificate that was pulled out of the box and thrown on the floor. As the big holiday came nearer, the frenzy began to build, everyone wanted one. Even the few left over dolls that were pulled out of the boxes and were damaged disappeared from the shelves.

Every day more and more people started to come up to me asking for the dolls. Once while working the night shift, at 3 AM in the morning, I noticed two couples wandering around my aisles. They had obviously been drinking. One of the women came up to me and slurring told me she wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll. I told her we didn't have any in stock and she snapped at me, "My girlfriend works at the Zayre on Southwest Highway she told me that this store has them hidden in the back." I said I didn't know what she was talking about and she yelled at me and accused me of lying, then pushed her way into the storeroom at the back of the department and began looking for the dolls. Her boyfriend looked pitifully at me and shrugged and then went and got his girlfriend. She yelled, 'Fuck, fuck, I know they have them!" It was downright spooky.

Two weeks before Christmas the dolls were completely sold out everywhere. No one could get them and there was the beginnings of a panic among parents that their children would be left out of the experience of having one on Christmas morning. Around that time Zayre had the doll featured on the cover of its sale flier for $30. These dolls were now selling for hundreds of dollars if you could get them. When the shipment of two hundred units came in they were put in the the locked manager's offices and it was announced that the day before the sale the store would be closed at 11 and not reopen until the big sale started the next day at 7. Bob, Jeff and I worked through the night moving merchandise to make a large space in front of the cashiers where we piled the dolls. All the other employees were forbidden to touch the dolls. A lottery held for employees and that would decided who would be able to buy one.

It was a bitterly cold December night. By two in the morning we could see that people were pulling up in the parking lot; By 3 AM, they were lining up at the door. Jeff nasally said, "This is out of control.." By 7 AM there were hundreds of people pressed up against the glass doors. I don't remember what we as 'associates' were expected to do when the doors opened, but Jeff, Bob and I just stood back and watched. The doors opened and people pushed in with a big roar and descended on the pile of dolls. One big guy ran and did a belly flop into the pile, his arms outstretched trying to grab as many as he could although there was a 'Limit One Doll Per Person". People yanked and pulled each other out of the way, grabbed dolls out of each others hands, pulling some of the dolls apart. Most shocking I saw a man punch an elderly woman in the face breaking her glasses and her nose to get the doll out of her hands. The cashiers with panic on their faces tried to check people out as people pushed to get into line. The guards, whose job mainly was to sit in a booth and look for people shoplifting had suddenly become crowd control. It was fucking the most frightening thing I'd ever seen. Police were called, people were arrested, and the dolls sold out in under fifteen minutes. The store was closed down until noon and a big sign on the outside was put up that said "Out of Cabbage Patch Kids".

Reading about this poor, underpaid Walmart worker who was crushed by that crowd trying to get some X-Box or Elmo Doll or whatever the fuck the media is telling us is what we need to have made me sad and angry. Is it because the economy is in the crapper again as it was in the 80's that this behavior is surfacing again? What if there were a real disaster and shortages of food? The image of those zombie-like people attacking that pile of dolls comes back to me every time I see one dirty and worn out in a bin at at thrift store. What was all that energy for? Is getting something on sale so important that someone had to die?

At the time, I thought of a good idea for Christmas giving. Alternate gift buying for odd years. So every other year is a gift giving year, the even years are just a time for reflection and get togethers. Sort of Big Xmas, Small Xmas. I'm sure that the retailers wouldn't back me up on this one. There is this group who is trying to promote: Buy Nothing Day. Coming from a family of shopaholics this really hits home.

I'll get off my soap box now... But be safe, shop responsible, don't push and think, "Is it really a bargain if you don't need it?"


Are you a Good Consumer? Click Here

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This year is going by so fast. I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already. I'm working my way through my families home movies and luckily there is a treasure trove of goodies for this time of year.

Watch as my my family stuffs themselves on giant turkey legs, enjoys a smoke and then out comes the whiskey. Even Grandma takes a shot. Remember to save some room for pie! It's a feast.

Seen in this film is my Aunt Mildred. She was a man-ish sort of woman. During this period when women were forced to wear dresses, I swear she looked like a transvestite. It's sweet to see how much my parents are in love with each other. But question... what the hell is my mother smelling?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


While trying to distract myself while excercising I've been putting random comedy albums on my Ipod thingy. It amuses me that I'm listening to Belle Barth or Rusty Warren singing about Knockers and Peckers while I'm trying to lift dumbells over my head.

Recently, I plopped on these Milton Berle Roasts that I downloaded from somewhere. I swear I don't remember where so I can't give credit. I felt like I had to share because "Damn, this shit is dirty..." Fag jokes, Milton Berle's big penis jokes, pussy jokes, Paul Lynde is Dead jokes..." These Friar's Club evenings must have been a blast. Nothing was sacred.

I found myself gasping with 'crap did they just say that..." to letting out a big "Ba-Ha" while on the StairMaster. These were the sort of tapes my father would hide on the top shelf in the lights over the bar. We all knew they were there; and sometimes I'd sneak down stairs at night and play them quietly; I knew they were forbidden; I just didn't know why.

That said, they probably aren't safe for work; Unless you work in an all-men real estate office. In which case, turn it up as loud as you want.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Time to Look Towards the Future
Future Fashions That Is...

"Oooh Swish".

They did correctly predict that men will have a suit with a phone and Ipod. But the style is about 20 years off. That suit is very 1985.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Girl with a Cock
1940's Joe Average Thought Picasso was Nuts

Painting found at the

In the May 25, 1940 issue of Life Magazine readers found pen in hand to comment on a feature the week before profiling Picasso and his painting Girl with a Cock. Guess what? They hate him! Ghoulish! Detestable! La Trash! 68 years later these Letters to the Editor are hysterical.

Note: I'm wondering if my hits will go up now because I have Girl With a Cock in my post.

The painting above is really called Farmer and Nude, Surrounded by Hens. 1938. Charcoal on canvas. I'm assuming this is the painting that is being referenced. I searched all over, this was the closest I could come. Girl with a Cock is referenced in many books but no on-line scans. (If anyone finds it, please pass it along.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yma Sumac

The embodiment of 50's Lounge. Exotic and truly one of the most unique and amazing voices that ever was...

Limited Time Yma Sumac Jukebox:
This is her super rare last album. A psychodelic, hard rockin' romp with Les Baxter no less. Enjoy.

What's in a Name

As a child I always thought it was odd when my father would tell the gas station attendent to put Ethyl in the tank. Ethel was always the blonde lady with Lucy.

And don't you love the pre-rock era hair banger maestro, Ceasar.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Big Secret

Another feminine odor ad, with some beautiful Vargas Girl-ish drawings. (click on photos to enlarge) The story:

The Bride: (tearfully) We've been married eight whole hours, and he hasn't so much as kissed me, and...

The Bride is then told by the mysterious US about The Big Secret! The secret of personal daintiness. And that soap doesn't have have that mannish smell to be effective.

After a bath where the mysterious US gives her some crap about it smelling like $20 an ounce perfume, her husband comes back after ignoring his new bride for eight hours to give her the old what for, but not before The Bride asks: But tell me... does Cashmere Bouquet always make a groom so attentive?
US: It's you who rates the attention, my pet... Cashmere Bouquet just insures the perfection of tender moments by guarding your daintiness!

I think Cashmere Bouquet would make a great drag name.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Tragic Truth
The Smell that Must Not Speak Its Name

This is not a story for smug complacent wives! It's for you who cherish happiness... and seek to keep it!

People were talking...about how young Mrs. Smith had changed! In fact, how the Smith marriage had changed!

Those two had been the town's gayest, most devoted young couple. But now you seldom saw them together -- and she went about with smiling lips but tragic eyes.

The truth was that lovely young Mrs. Smith was losing her husband's love... the tragic part was she didn't know why! Click on ad below for the answer.

If this was so tragic, why didn't Douglas Sirk make a movie about it with Lana Turner or Lauren Bacall?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love Despair Inc. Their posters mock those sappy inspirational posters that you see while waiting for a job interview or going to see your doctor. I thought this one was appropriate. "Never Before Have So Many People With So Little To Say Said So Much To So Few."

Their calendars make great gifts... Christmas is coming...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

House Party -
Home Movies

I suppose that there is nothing more horrifying than to be asked , "Do you want to watch some home movies?" Badly shot scenes of people smiling blankly into the camera, wandering around, wide slow pans of scenery. It's like watching French cinema!

I'm going ask you to indulge me in joining me as I post some of my family's 8mm home movies. Unlike most things home movies just get better with age. My parents filmed everything during this period of their life; fishing trips, birthdays, Thanksgiving dinners, vacation trips. My only regret is that I'm not in many of our home movies. Out of the five hours of home movies I'm only about a half hour.

My mother was a very good photographer. I remember we had all those "How to Make Home Movie" books around the house. And she followed them to the letter. Smooth pans. Good cuts. I can always tell when someone else has the camera in their hands. What she captured on film is an amazing document of the times and the history of my family. I'm so glad that I have it. And glad that I transferred it to tape several years ago. I asked my father recently where the films were, because I could do a better job these days with a digital camera. He said, "I've no idea. I might have thrown them out!" So much for family history.

I'm not sure what the circumstances were for this particular party; I watched this with my father recently and he laughed to see the amount of liqour bottles piled by the couch. My father is the dark haired man pretending to drink the two bottles of whiskey. My mother is the woman who almost gets knocked in the jaw by the pool cue. The other guys are my uncles Harold and Art. The man in the t-shirt is Bill, my parent's best friend. The woman he's kissing at the beginning isn't his wife, she's the blond drinking shots down the way...

I asked my father, "Who is Bill kissing..." "That's his wife's cousin..." Man! Scandalous.

I've hours of this stuff. So expect more to come... Sorry, I'll supply the chips and beer while you watch...