Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering Little Rock and Elizabeth Eckford

It's now been 50 years. Frankly, this historic picture has always bothered me, so I thought a little Photoshop defacing was in order:

Sweet Seats

You can always count on Urban Outfitters to come out with retro furnishings and clothing every season, and they're not necessarily for college students, either. These 60s/70s Braeburn Bentwood chairs sell online for $139 pair, and they beat the monotone colors of IKEA's same style, if you're into that sort of thing. More retro patterns and furnishings can be found on Urban Outfitters' site.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Let Bob Dylan Send a Message for You

Everybody's gotta serve somebody, and now it's Bob Dylan's turn. This may be just about the coolest way to plug a new album over the Internet yet: visit DylanMessaging.com, and you can send a clip of Dylan's famous Subterranean Homesick Blues in all of its black-and-white, cue card glory, only YOUR message appears in the cue cards. Of course, Dylan's latest CD (Dylan: His Greatest Songs, due to be released on October 1) gets a plug at the end.

And while you're on the site, check out the video of the remix of Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) by Mark Ronson. This is the first time Dylan has allowed anyone to lay their remixing paws on one of his compostions. Keep your eyes open for the many references to Dylan's lyrical characters and periods of his music career (Hey! I see Lay Lady Lay on Dylan's big brass bed.) I love the remix, although I could've sworn Dylan was always singing "But right now I just wanna lick your a$$" instead of "I'm gonna let you pass." The video reminds me very much of the Beatles' 1995 "Free As a Bird" video, which referenced numerous Beatles songs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Simple Solution for Parents Scared of Poisonous Toys Made in China

Buy vintage toys! I recently took a trip down childhood memory lane on ebay and found these beauties. My apologies for swiping these pictures from the original sellers.

First of all, I have fond memories of my Hasbro inch worm ride. If your parents wouldn't buy you a pony, this was the next best thing, and no batteries were necessary. With so many obese kids around today, though, this ride probably wouldn't sustain more than three bounces:

Next, I found a Sit and Spin. Does anyone else remember getting totally sick to your stomach after just a few rotations on this thing? I think today it would make the annual dangerous toy blacklist for causing extreme nausea:

Colorforms rocked! If they got dirty and wouldn't stick after a while, all you had to do was run them under water (or lick them) and they'd be good as new! I had several Peanuts sets including, I'm pretty sure, this one.

Lastly, I found my long lost wooden monkey purely by accident. I was doing a search on eBay for Danish teak furnishes when lo and behold, his old, familiar, geometric face came up. I had no clue that the same spring-jointed chimp that I had as a kid was an Eames era toy. I want my monkey back!

I found all of the items on eBay, but there are numerous resources online for vintage toys; no need to mention where to go to search.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fab Fridge!

This may just about be the coolest (haw haw!) fridge that I've ever seen. In fact, most of the appliances that SMEG makes are pretty cool and many have a retro edge to them; unfortunately, they appear to currently only be available in Europe. Still, it's fun to poke around on the SMEG site and think about what you could do with your kitchen if only you had a bit of money and Austin Powers was your interior decorator.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Heeeey Youuuu Guyssss! Morgan Freeman Taught Me How to Read!

I once read on a Hollywood gossip site that Morgan Freeman likes to smoke ganja pipes. And when you watch old Electric Company skits like this one, it’s easy to see why: is that Freeman, or a pimped up member of Sly and the Family Stone? Nonetheless, Freeman is one of my favorites actors and he – as well as his "Easy Reader" character from one of my beloved PBS childhood shows – will always have a special place in my heart. One of these days, I’m going to send him a thank you letter for teaching me how to read. "Top to bottom and left to right, reading is easy...and out of sight!"

Hats Off to Mary

On this day in 1970, one of TV's most popular breakthrough shows for a leading female character made its debut: The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It would enjoy success for the next seven years. This picture is of the bronze statue that was unveiled in Mary's honor in downtown Minneapolis in 2002. Love is all around, so if you can't see old episodes on cable, several seasons of the show are available on DVD.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Don't Make it Bad...Oops, Too Late

Within the lyrics of the world's most famous songs...lives a story that has never been told.

That's the cryptic opening message that I get when I enter the site of Across the Universe, a movie opening in limited engagement this week and nationwide the next that is set during the 60s to the Beatles' music. According to the Internet Movie Database, Across the Universe is "is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and painted and three-dimensional animation, the film is paired with many Beatles songs that defined the time."

Cool!!! A movie set to Beatles music!!! It sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? The problem is Across the Universe looks bad, from the clips I've seen so far on the director's MySpace page. Plus this idea was done before, with equally disastous results. Actually, I think even this 70s monstronsity looks better than Across the Universe. Bummer that someone took down Steve Martin's big musical number of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Connie's in Concert

I saw an ad similar to this one in my local paper over the weekend, announcing that Connie Francis was coming to town:

Connie Francis? Who knew? The other venues that were listed on the ad that I saw said, "Sold Out." It's nice to know that Francis is still kicking around, even though she looked overweight and a victim of Hollywood plastic surgery in recent photos. Who's sorry now that she went on an Oreo cookie binge? Seriously, for all of the hits early in her career ("Who's Sorry Now?", "Where the Boys Are", "My Happiness") she's had a remarkably sad life, including the following:

* Her first husband was physically abusive to her

* She was madly in love with Bobby Darin, but her father, for reasons unknown, hated him and broke up the relationship by chasing after him with a gun

* She was raped while on tour in 1974 and won a subsequent lawsuit against Howard Johnson for failing to repair a broken lock on her motel room door

* Her brother was murdered in 1981

* Sinus problems and nasal operations affected her voice and sidelined her career for several years

* She suffers from bi-polar disorder

* She's been married four times

Francis' life is also supposed to become a movie written by singer Gloria Estefan, who plans to star in the movie as well (she's 50, even older than Kevin Spacey was when he played Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea. If they plan on making this movie soon, they better get cracking. I suppose if they want to be really creepy about it they could star in it together.)

For more information on Francis' tour, check out her official fan website.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On the Road Again

Jack Kerouac's most famous novel is on my list of must-read books. Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the book's debut, and what I find most interesting about it is how it was written: on what Kerouac called "the roll" - typed single-spaced without margins or paragraph breaks on one long scroll made of large sheets of tracing paper that were cut and taped together. The scroll still exists and was purchased in 2001 by Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, for $2.4 million. He has made it available for public viewing and its current resting spot, if you're in the Boston area, is Lowell, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Kerouac. The city has been celebrating Kerouac's legacy with a series of events that kicked off in June and continue into October. Check out the official site for a list of the festivities, which include public readings of On the Road and jazzy musical tributes to the beat generation's style.

I just love this picture of Kerouac and his kitty cat:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From the Bottom of my Bosum to Yours

The last time I saw a Bosum Buddies episode it was early in the morning in my hotel room on a business trip as I was getting ready for the day's events. And it was funny. I don't know why a man + women's clothing is always so freaking funny, but it's worked well for everyone from Jack Lemmon to Flip Wilson to Dustin Hoffman.

The second season just got released on DVD today and retails for $22.39 on Amazon.com for 451 minutes of fun starring a young Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. Get ready to stuff yer Wonderbras!

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