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Monday, December 28, 2009

Surly Old Year!!!

Coming Soon! "A cure for hangovers", or "Taking the pain out champagne"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I found some old cards in a scrap book at an estate sale years back that held my interest long enough to make it to this post.  Beyond today they will probably go with the gifts I am giving tomorrow. Not this Disney card. This one I'll hang on to because everything Disney seems to just appreciate in value. This one is from a while back:

I'll save you a trip to the cabinet for your microscope - 1935.  I thought this card would be appropriate as the nephew of Walt Disney - Roy Disney, died 9 days ago. There is plenty to read about him on Wikipedia so go here.   I had thought that this was Walt's brother, nope. However, the family resemblance is definitely there. They have an elfish or impish look about them that seems to fit well with the legacy of the name.  This 75 year old card was only about 5 years into the Disney studio machine and the early determination to brand the icon and protect it, even back then, seems prophetic.

 If you want to revive a saggy or non-existent economy, invent something that uses creative energy is relatively inexpensive to mass produce yet gives pleasure to the giver and receiver.  Greeting cards must have done a lot for many different industries paper, retail, artists, etc. and that it has endured says something as well. This next example was just sitting in a basement and though I never intend to collect random things the completeness and quality got me. It's a composite creation so bear with me if you don't immediately get the effect (click on it to see).

These are only some of the samples in the box, but they look untouched, and again, as I often lament in post after post - I can only guess at the age of these - 30s? 40s? maybe?
In closing, and before I sleep through the big day, I will leave you with this:

Your visits to this blog have been a gift that I can't repay. Your comments and feedback are the reason I keep on keepin' on. Merry Christmas and hope to "see" you next post.  Greg

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Orna-mints...they keep your tree smelling fresh!

One year a local AM radio show discussing holiday decorations shared callers suggestions on unique decorating tips. Someone thought it would be a neat idea to put hooks on lifesavers and hang them from the tree. Later that same month the local emergency room was over-run with hook extractions.

Some people just couldn't put a good idea down.

More Christmas memories for you to review.  For those of you that follow in your family's tradition of putting up a tree and hanging ornaments and other decorations - how many have that one (or more) box of ornaments that should have been retired long ago? We do. While downsizing my mother-in-laws home this summer my wife collected some of the ornaments she remembered as a child. Not just the ornaments though.

There's a thousand other ways to store ornaments that would preserve them into the next millennium, but no one could bear to take the first step and toss this sad box.  I'm glad.  I just wish I knew what year it was.  My guess would be mid to late 40's.  If you really want to know more about Max Eckard and Sons, and the "Shiny-Brite" line of decorations go here.  I was hooked by the graphic on the box:

Apparently, up to this point Christmas ornaments were made in Germany or Japan. Well, with a war on, Santa's got to be directed to side with the good guys, right?  Must have been that North Pole Treaty FDR signed, or maybe it was the Arctic-Accord?  Ah, memories.  It is sad to think who's shaking hands with Santa now (pardon the brand-bashing).  


Coming Soon!  Is Mickey Mouse gay? (well, he is in a good mood.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Stalkings

When you're looking for old paper, there is no limit to the odd items waiting to be found. Xmas cards are no exception.  Kept for years maybe due to sentimental reasons, the illustrations are eye-catching. I've kept a few because the art work and colors were so vibrant, I felt as though I was tossing a masterpiece. With today's cards the cost makes you feel as though you have invested in art. I'd prefer to illustrate my own cards; the store bought ones always seemed sappy, over-priced, and forced to me. My apologies to anyone who has ever sent me a card, but I really am only interested in the personal note written inside and rarely look at the card. Here's one from the 1940's.

My first impression of this card was, "It's so cold out here and it looks so warm in there. Why won't they invite me in?" and then I realized that somebody must have come out with a line of cards for stalkers and their restraining order-toting victims.

"But since I can't (because of those little incidents where you found me outside your window at Thanksgiving, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, most any day) and now I'm locked away!" 

Coming soon: Santa teams up with Uncle Sam!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Topic: Practical Jokes are neither Practical nor Jokes.....Discuss!

Have you ever fallen for the old whoopee cushion on the chair?  Or, how about the hand buzzer? Maybe the flower that squirts water? Maybe you were the one playing the pranks?  I thought I would always be the one watching from the sidelines, until one day I was the kid staring in awe at the display of gags & novelties in a hobby shop in Wakefield R.I.

Convincingly designed and cleverly packaged, these objects dangled empowerment over women, seniors, and other kids. Watch as you cause them to shriek or gasp at the fake vomit on the bathroom sink, or moan at the generous load of dog crap on the carpet.  The awe I held for these pranks transcended time, and maturity to the point where I can't help but grab one of these oddities when I see them at a sale

The itching powder and "Soot soap" with their eye-catching multi-lingual package designs are great and the reason why I couldn't pass them up (both unused). As for the ice cubes...I don't know where I got the ices cubes, they may have come in a box lot of items.  They look deadly for their choking hazard design.  I don't know why it would be funny to prank someone with a nail in an ice cube, these come across more as some "gateway" prank to homicide.

I remember thinking when I was a kid back then, Does any of this stuff really work?

It did for the manufacturers, because they produced a ton of it, and they still do.  The one item I will never forget were  cigarette  "LOADS".  That little red can with the tiny wood slivers that promised to turn a cigar or cigarette into shreds. I've got one around here somewhere....Ready the image and cue the flashback music. (please click to read more)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where were you 68 years ago...Today?

(Well, actually, I mean tomorrow, but who knows when this will be read?) It's a sad thing that's  happening to newspapers these days.  They are not only becoming fewer in number, they are getting smaller.  The headlines are getting larger, and if the Danbury News-Times prints the word "SUNDAY" any larger, I'll have to cover my ears.  I know that all my complaints are based on cost-cutting measures, but times haven't always been this bad, they've been worse, but the papers were much larger.  Case in point:

Click on it to get the full effect.  There are 7 (count'em) 7 columns of news. I know that in the 40's newspapers' only competition is radio, or the town crier, and TV is just a world's fair exhibition attraction-contraption. What struck me about this paper was the lack of urgency I thought existed right after December 7th.  This is clearly the first edition out since the attack.

The middle column down the front center is essentially an editorial report but it lacks the banner explosion that is meant to lift the paper out of the newsstand and into the hands of hungry readers,  Even if there was an "Extra!" edition printed on the 7th or 8th, I still get the feeling that the news hasn't sunk in yet. Christmas sales are in full swing:

I like newspapers from the past, no matter how yellowed or fragile they are, the ridiculous difference in prices for everyday items and their value makes them an interesting read. Was a dime really harder to come by? Is it true that electricity was so inexpensive?

This paper was found at an estate sale several years ago near the Boardman bridge in New Milford. I am afraid that the person living there must have been a "hoarder" of sorts as there were many papers of this type strewn around one room.  I bought a couple that either had significant headlines or just gave an interesting snapshot of what it was like to live back then.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All the trappings of an interesting find...

I found this sale purely by accident, but I should have found it sooner.  3 weeks ago, while my daughter and I were out on the tag sale trail, there was a "sign" from above...the lamp post, which led us to a garage full of stuff. Unfortunately, it was the home of a "regular", a familiar face I remembered from previous sales.  There are all kinds of regulars on the tag sale trail, hunters out there looking for whatever interests them.  I don't know what they're looking for, but often it is the priceless stuff that will be resold via consignment or Ebay.  Nothing wrong with that, but that's not for me.  So, I am not motivated to arrive early and take a number, well, maybe sometimes.  Anyway, this guy was one of those "regulars" I have seen 2-3 times in the past year. I made small talk because this makes it is easier sometimes to slip away without a purchase, and I knew that a fellow digger would not have either a "dig" or a deal for sale.

We looked around his garage, and I was right...nothing.  We did talk about the lack of good sales this year and I shared my opinion of some of the estate sale services.  I respect most of them, but he let loose with several scathing opinions of a few he didn't think too much of.  Then, as if someone might be listening in on our conversation, his eyes shifted left, right, then left again, he leaned toward me, and in a somewhat hushed tone said, "Bethel, in a week or 2, lotta stuff, old house, they may not even advertise, gonna be good, keepa look out..."  and that was it. We left and I stored his tip somewhere in my brain.  Then, a week later, there we were on the "the trail" again, trying to kill time before a birthday party in New Milford.  I read about a sale in Easton that looked promising, and we headed in that direction.  As we turned on to Rt 58, I remembered a sale or two that had been memorable on this road, and at the first side road to the left there was a familiar "Estate Sale" service sign on the corner.  Suddenly we were off in a new direction.

Although it was the last day, and the last hour of the sale, there was still a mother-load of stuff . I discovered that the sale had been going on since Thursday, and it dawned on me as I realized we were in Bethel. This was the sale that guy had given me the tip on. I briefly lamented on not having had come sooner, but, no matter, in the basement I managed to find the "dig" I was looking for.  In the workshop, among all kinds of shelves and cabinets was an old desk, and I began to paw through the drawers. If untouched, these are often repositories, or micro time capsules (think of an old desk in your house, alright, your older neighbors house).  In this desk there was one drawer that wouldn't open and by removing the drawer above I was able to reach down and remove the contents. What I got was an assortment of papers and catalogs, and envelopes, including the one above.  There was an interesting letter inside: (click to enlarge)
Okay, so it was a little morose, but that's the chance you take when you read other people's mail.  It seems that the owner of the letter had written away for some "trappers" secrets he saw offered in a magazine.  What he got was a bit of a delay in his order (Note: ordered in October - shipped late February) with a personal note which includes a single sentence obituary (I'll summarize in case you can't read the handwriting):  "Sorry so late, but it's been real cold, my wife died, and thanks for the order."  Not only cold, seems it's been a little heartless in Gordo, sheesh! What "methods" were worth waiting 4 months and a funeral for?  (click to enlarge)

That's right! How do you catch a raccoon without a trap, snare, or poison?  The question I don't want answered is: "What do you do with them once they're caught?" Good Eats! or just good skins? But wait there's more:(click to enlarge)

Trapping foxes makes a little more sense, though for CT it could have been to keep them out of the hen house. I wonder what this area looked like in the 50's; I am sure there were fewer homes and more wildlife. This last tip is my favorite:(click to enlarge)

Now, getting raccoons drunk just so you can kill them seems just a little unsportsmanlike.  I would wait until they've raised their paws at the local Varmint AA meeting, "My name is Rocky and I have a drinking problem . It's been...." - Bang!  Nothing like being shot by your own enabler.  That's would be like a bartender stealing your shoes, just too easy.   As you may have noticed, these methods all came from Jessie Connor in Gordo, Alabama. The copyrights are pending, so I am taking a chance sharing them here, however, I can find no one involved in any trapping activity there that has been introduced to the internet. I will gladly remove these if asked.  Along with the methods was an advertisement, though it appears to be Jessie's father, read on: (click to enlarge)
Also "Hillbilly Farmer" $1.00"  The best 2 dollar prescription any man can give his children is this book. and on the back is another publication:(click to enlarge)

I thought this was a real unique discovery in one little package that hadn't seen the light of day in over 50 years. I will be sharing more "Tales form the sticky desk drawer" in future posts...stay tuned.  You can blame me if you feel I trapped you into this.