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Friday, October 30, 2009

This Bird has flown

When the good sales weren't happening, an infrequent ritual I enjoyed over the summer was a late afternoon visit to the Elephant’s trunk, with my daughter. She joined me only because she knows there is something in it for her. Italian ice sold in cups so flimsy they would be better to serve them from detergent caps instead. You can literally order them by the color and size of stain you prefer, “I’ll have a small lemon stain, and she will have the large raspberry swath, please.”

Late afternoon at the “Trunk” is actually 12:30-1pm. Most dealers have been in there since 4am and to them it is late afternoon. The hearty stick around ‘til the owner of the place begins announcing what time they need to be off the field. Cattle rustlers treat their charges better.

We stroll between the dealer-less gaps in the field looking at the  odd pieces of paper that fly around when the wind has kicked up unexpectedly (see flyer). There are other interesting items that have been squished into the ground from the press of shoppers  earlier in the day, or from Sunday’s past. My companion is better at finding those items. Rarely, anything of value, but occasionally something recognizable reveals itself and to her it's gold. This another pastime which is similar to beach combing, except the broken glass found here is not to be admired unless you are due for a blood donation.

One strange twist to the Trunk that has grown into a regular practice, is the junking of un-saleable items after the day has ended. Many booths, as they pack up, will unceremoniously walk an item, or a pile of stuff to one of the many oil drums around the field. In a late trip to the trunk last year I walked by one of these piles and saw “gold”.  This is how a diggers are born. One casual glance in to a junk pile followed by the sole criticism, “Hey, that’s not junk.” is typically how the trouble starts. While we make our rounds to the booths that are left, so do we also keep an eye out for the dealer that doesn’t want to be troubled with items of no value...to them.

I am not alone in this stealthy pursuit. I see others who have noticed a dealer discarding something, that 5 minutes ago, had a price. We all have a similar approach, to look and peek, but not seem too obvious. It is garbage after all, but what the hell? Why not?  This summer I ran in to a friend and his son, who  are also diggers. We chat and reflect on the latest discoveries.  But we came to to dig, not talk, so our attention is diverted to a particular pile that is growing in size.  Alternately, we pick from the pile.  They find a glass display case and a sturdy folding card table. and I spot a large pile of paper that has just been dropped off;  A 3' x 4' cardboard sandwich of papers wrapped in string.

I am frozen by the discard.  Is this what I think it is? There are an awful lot of papers here and I instinctively grab the pile.  I can't believe there is anything priceless in it, but I am enthralled by the copyright at the bottom of this over-sized page.
I own some old papers, but this is 10 years before the American Revolution. I have, if nothing, found something I can research and study.  There is almost 70 over-sized sheets to go through on topics mainly around Ornithology and Zoology and then there are gilt-edge pages of English biographys.  The next cover seemed just as promising.

There are 3 like this.  However, that's all there is.  No illustrations, just pages and pages of the descriptions of the plates once contained within. As I look more closely, there are a couple of clues. Some of the pages similar to the one above have researchers marks on them, and minor catalog descriptions.  They seem to have been posted in a museum, or gallery at one point.  The cardboard that held this mess have auctioneers lot # stickers on them. I found something interesting but what had value was sold probably long age.

There were also 4 like this (see right), dated 1875 with a nice note from the publisher, but also ravaged of the prints with only a few descriptions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Scan-tastic

Well, I finally satisfied my need for a scanner. Even though an hour after the purchase I was trying to answer the age-old question: What did I buy this at Goodwill...with no power cord...and no software? Because it was there. Anyway, it won't be this post, but the following, as to another of my secrets for finding this stuff. In preparation for that here is a taste of what can be found and what must be scanned:

 A radio in every room!? Well, I can tell you that that's the kind of thing that's going to ruin America! A candle in every room wasn't enough for ya, huh?  Look at the possibilities! (click for a monster image)  There's even one in the bathroom!  See all the models RCA has to offer after the jump.

Friday, October 23, 2009

For a good time call....

Hey, there is a great little show that is produced by a small group in Newtown.  They have pulled together some talented performers to bring music and comedy together on the stage in the Edmond Town Hall theatre.  They call their shows:

They have been doing these shows for over a year and their season run is never more than six or seven shows long.  I discovered them through a friend and have become familiar with the producers and performers. Their shows are similar in style to "The Prairie Home Companion" on NPR, a host, or MC opens up the program and introduces performances by an exceptionally talented house band, scripted comedy read as radio plays, and a special musical guest.  Their last show in September featured an amazing performance by artist Vaneese Thomas, daughter of R&B legend Rufus Thomas. It was then that  I realized this little radio show didn't feel little anymore.

If you are in the area Saturday night, stop by and see what you've been missing.  Click on the poster for the link to their website.

The other reason to go is my debut as part of the writing team for the comedy segment of the performance.  I have been politely hounding the producer to include me in the writers meetings so I could see how it comes together.  I wanted to see if I could fit in and contribute in some way.  Well, putting the pest in persistence (not funny, I know) enabled me to interest them in a concept or 2.  I will be a credited writer for this show, though if you blink during the performance you may miss my contribution.  No matter, I am just happy to have wedged my foot in the door, and wedged my tongue in my cheek as well. 

Have I piqued your curiosity? The first person to send me a note will get a pair of tickets to Saturday's show.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Every Picture Tells a Story...Don't it?

I love a mystery.  Some of the best ones come from finding an image without a caption. Your only clues to tell the story are: the people, era, and the setting, . The rest is up to your photographic imagination or your penchant for famous people of the 50's and 60's.(Click on it for a larger image, my apologies for not owning a scanner)

I have poured over this image numerous times looking for a clue as to who these people are, what they were meeting about, and when they were meeting.  It was important.  Well dressed, mature leaders, one making a point about what the man in the center possibly presented in the speech or sermon he just gave.  It is also on 6x8 paper, not your typical insta-matic snap shot. My guess is, the picture was taken between 1955 and 1960.  I won't be satisfied until I know the answers.  Any ideas? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Winky Dink and You

No, it's not an ad for Viagra.  If you could look at all the ideas and inventions that were thought up in the early years of television, you would probably find that although the technology has changed the concepts remain the same. So, take a look at this example that displays the promise that TV could be "Interactive".

I am not old enough to have seen "Winky Dink and You" circa 1954, but the premise was the result of forward thinking.  TV was already used for talking to the viewer, so go one step further - if you talk to the kids at home why not find a way to have them participate in the story. Enter Winky Dink, but first enjoy the  opening theme.

Kids tuned in to watch the exploits of Winky as he battled evil, some foe, or just needed help in what ever he was doing. The host (Jack Barry of early game show fame) would  guide you and Winky through the story in which you were asked to help draw in the item needed to solve the problem and complete the story.

Whoa, DRAW ON THE TV!? I know where this is going. With the magic screen and the special crayons, you were supposed to order by mail, you would have everything you needed to help Winky.  However, many of the historical accounts of Winky Dink end up with "I drew on the TV and was never allowed to watch Winky again" or "I wasn't allowed to get the crayons until I drew on the TV and there they were a week later.  Many a early TV set was permanently defaced when unwitting children took their own crayons, paints, or markers to the family TV.

Great warning on the box, but, unfortunately it didn't protect the family TV.

This must have been a clip from a later episode.  Notice how host, Jack Barry zips through the preparation for the magic screen. Wow! If this was your first time watching, your head would still be spinning half way through the show.  He has a nice robotic delivery, though. A screen you can write on! Another predecessor to a famous invention. The telestrator was made popular as a diagramming tool during network football games in the 90's and is now used in many sports as well as weather reporting. 

Always fascinated with anything to do with early television, I picked this out of a pile of stuff and paid a quarter. Almost 55 years later and the crayons are holding up, heck, they are magic!