Thursday, July 31, 2014

New REBEAT Magazine Article Posted: Disco Demolition Night

Hey Go Retro fans! My second published piece for REBEAT Magazine has been posted. This one is about Disco Demolition Night, which took place in July of 1979 (so 35 years ago.) Do you remember Chicago area DJ Steve Dahl and his attempt to snuff out disco? Have a gander and let me know (either here or there) what you think!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whatever Happened To...the American Vacation?

July is almost over...have you taken a summer vacation yet this year? If not, do you plan to? 

I bring it up because in recent months there's been some news in the media about how Americans typically only use half of the annual vacation time that they're entitled to. Everyone knows by now that we're the most overworked nation compared to the rest of the world (and one of the unhappiest.) We receive less vacation time, on average, compared to our European and Asian counterparts. And for some reason, we're afraid to take advantage of what piddly amount of paid days off we're lucky to get. I have known people who never took a vacation. When I asked one of them why one day, they said something about how difficult it would be on their boss because he wouldn't have anyone to depend on or do their work while they was away (did he ever hear of temp agencies?) In other words, this person seemed scared to ask or to simply tell him in advance that they were taking one. They never booked a trip, despite telling me they always wanted to visit Europe. It's a little sad. Every full-time worker is entitled to vacation time. But judging by recent articles I've seen, this behavior doesn't seem to be all that unusual.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sleazy Car Dealership Commercials From Yesteryear

I just bought a new car, a bright red 2014 Jetta with some nice bells and whistles that was marked down by $4,000 to make room on the lot for the 2015s. And yet I can't help but feel that I still got hosed--just a bit. 

The car I'm trading tomorrow in is in decent shape; a 2003 Honda Accord with 126,000 miles and a V6 engine, sunroof, and leather seats. I always had it serviced according to the maintenance schedule. Everything still runs and operates it except for the digital radio display which was replaced twice under the extended warranty but burned out a third time when the warranty expired. According to Kelly Blue Book, I should have received about $4,000 for it, even with its scrapes and small rust spots. The dealer even asked me how much I was hoping to get for it. But the value they offered was almost half that KBB value. They reasoned it by saying that had the Jetta been selling for its original price, I would have received the full value for it. But because it is on sale, that's the best they could do. 

It sounded like a bunch of malarky to me, but I had already been to another dealer I wasn't crazy about, and had a hard time finding this specific trim with a sunroof, cream interior, and an outside color I liked. I wasn't about to visit every VW dealer within 50 miles to find the best deal, or someone else might have snatched up the car.  

Of course, it doesn't end there when you buy a vehicle. There's sales tax--which in my case, living in Massachusetts equated to over an additional $1,000--documentation fees, and then the fun additional coverage stuff the finance department tries to push onto you in the back room, not to mention insurance and my state's annual excise tax. (I opted for an extended bumper to bumper warranty, but passed on key replacement and paint protection.)

Long story short, I am wondering if car buying back in the day (as in the 1950s and 60s) was as stressful and hard on the wallet. My father would keep his cars for three or four years during this time, then trade them in for a newer and different model. I don't recall hearing him complain about being nickled and dimed. 

But that doesn't mean that sleazy car dealers didn't exist. The proof is in this roundup of vintage dealership commercials found online...

Holy &*$%! You won't believe the &^#$@!^ language in this old car commercial!

It turns out this was a blooper take of the commercial, done just for laughs. We can all breath a sign of relief that the kiddies were not subjected to his colorful language for real.

"Did we fool you, Daddy?" "Yep, honey...just like I fool the suckers who think they're getting a great deal!"

I wonder how much she got for the trade-in value on her horse. Side note...that fellow in the freeze frame above reminds me of Dennis Farina. 

Ernie Boch was a local celebrity in his own here in the Boston area and became known for his catchphrase, "Come on down!" His son, who now runs the franchise, is even more annoying, and his dealerships have the crappiest Yelp reviews.

Yep, I always assess the rearview mirror when researching cars. They have to be large enough for me to properly apply my makeup. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

REBEAT Magazine is Here!

I have some exciting news to share with my dear readers. Earlier this summer, a friend and fellow blogger/writer reached out to me and several other writer friends about a new digital blog/magazine that she was launching. The destination would cover the music spectrum from the 1950s through the 1970s (give or take a decade on either end of the spectrum) but also pop culture, movies, and lifestyle--you name it--from the mid 20th century. Best of all, my friend Allison wanted us writers to each have our own voice and viewpoints that would help make her online magazine unique. That new magazine, friends, is called REBEAT!

In case you're wondering if REBEAT is going to overtake Go Retro, no need to panic. Rest assured, Go Retro isn't going anywhere. There are always going to be pieces that will seem more appropriate for this blog and the wonderful wide world of retro pop culture has given me plenty of fodder to write about. I will, of course, be sure to let you know here when a new REBEAT article has been posted, and my bio on REBEAT mentions this blog, so it's a win-win situation. 

Eventually we hope that REBEAT will have its own little "rec room" of sorts (complete with shag carpeting to sink your toes into) that will be like a spinoff of Go Retro. Right now, our goal is to attract an audience and build readership. I'm excited because it's additional writing experience that I can add to my resume. 

Please have a look at my very first piece for the magazine, Paul is Alive...Kiss Him, Kiss which I dispel the Paul McCartney death hoax that sadly, is still believed today. Let me know either here or there what you think! REBEAT also has a Facebook page so give us a like while you're at it. 

More retro fun and insights coming soon, both here and at REBEAT!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Paper...or Paper? A Look Back at Vintage Grocery Store Excursions

I posted the above photo on Go Retro's Facebook page a couple of days ago, and it resulted in 47 shares, 56 likes, 39 new page likes, and was seen by approximately 4,000 people. Whoa. Clearly one of my page's most popular posts, and proof that people still hold a certain nostalgic fondness for interior aesthetics gone by. 

Maybe it's because everything about the scene is so different compared to today's typical grocery store. There isn't a single environmentally unfriendly plastic bag to be found. The customer is writing a check. There are hanging plants (ferns?) above each check-out station, and the cashier is wearing what appears to be platform shoes or sandals. Not to mention that styling interior decorating combo that was so prevalent in the 1960s and 70s: bright orange and fake wood paneling. Who knew that running out for milk and bread could be so groovy?

I decided to dig up more photos of what supermarkets looked like during my childhood, and before I was born...

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