Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ten Reasons Why Christopher Walken Is Cooler (And Hotter) Than You


I got a fever...and the only prescription for it is Christopher Walken.

Confession...when I was a kid (or maybe I was a pre-teen) I remember watching The Deer Hunter on TV with my parents and thinking that Christopher Walken was really cute. But, I kept it my secret because a lot of people thought he was not only an odd actor but kind of odd looking. (I think the fact that someone under 16 was allowed to watch a movie as heavy as The Deer Hunter, unedited, is the only thing about the story that's odd here, but that kind of freedom is responsible for fostering my life long love of movies.) A few years after that, I watched The Dead Zone and again, found myself fascinated by him but didn't tell a soul.

Now that I'm in my 40s and no longer being judged by my peers, it's time to let my Christopher Walken freak flag fly a little. I think the man is really sexy and extremely talented. It kind of frightens me to think that the young guy I crushed on in the '80s is now 73 years old (where does the time go?) but he's still going strong -- his latest movie, Nine Lives (costarring another fave of mine, Kevin Spacey) opens in theaters this Friday. It doesn't look like the greatest movie and the plot sounds terrible, but it's clearly geared at children and I'm sure Walken -- who plays an eccentric pet shop owner -- will make it more watchable for adults.

So, in honor of his latest release I think it's time to celebrate the wonderfulness of Walken...with a list of ten reasons why he's so cool (and hot.) And no offense to my readers with the title of this blog post...you're all pretty cool in your own way!

1. He Was A Pretty Smoking Babe Back in the Day




A lot of younger fans identify Walken with the "more cowbell" sketch from Saturday Night Live...but what many of them may not know is that earlier in his career, he was a hottie.

In my opinion, Walken -- particularly during the '70s and '80s -- is really unique looking. Beautiful, even. One of my friends, that is not a fan of him, thinks he looks like an extraterrestrial. I think it's just the right combination of genes from a German father and a Scottish mother that created someone so striking.

I thought I was the only person that felt this way, until I started looking up clips from these eras from movies I'd seen and those that I'd missed. Comments from several women...and the occasional man...confirm that I wasn't such a weird little kid after all.

Here he is playing a gigolo in a television movie called Roseland where he asks Geraldine Chaplin if she approves of his overall look. "And the rest of me - eyes, hair, profile? Legs long enough?"

Gulp. Yes.



Personally, I'm a fan of his look in The Deer Hunter in the pool playing scene below. The irony of the song the guys are singing is not lost on me.



2. He's an Unbelievable Dancer
I knew that Walken was a dancer way before he wowed everyone in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" -- he took lessons while young and got early acting jobs in musical theater -- but the performance that blows me away is his tap-dancing striptease from the obscure 1981 movie Pennies From Heaven. The look on Bernadette Peters' face during this scene is pretty much what I looked like the first time I watched it. Be sure to watch the whole thing -- it really gets cooking around the halfway mark. Seriously, he could give Gene Kelly a run for his money here. And what's that old saying about men that can dance and the bedroom?



3. He's a Huge Cat Lover


Real men love cats, which makes Walken all that more appealing in my eyes.

"A (cat) tail is so expressive," Walken has said. "On a cat you can tell if they're annoyed. You can tell whether they're scared. They bush their tail. If I was an actor and I had to played scared in a movie all I'd have to do is bush my tail. I think if actors had tails it could change everything."

4. His Elvis Hairstyle May Be Terrible, But He Owns It
Walken's idol is Elvis Presley. The story behind his hair is that early in his career, he decided to adopt Elvis' swept back pompadour as his own hairstyle and hasn't really deviated from it in decades. Personally, I think Walken would have looked better in several movies had he agreed to let someone in Hollywood give him a more flattering and updated cut. But...no one today can't say he doesn't own it. It's become his trademark. (I know the photo below is from the early '70s, but I think he looks SO much better with a little hair covering part of his forehead.)


5. He Once Worked As a Lion Tamer
Walken recently told Parade about his teen job as a lion tamer. When he was 16 he answered an ad to train as a lion tamer that summer for a one ring circus in upstate New York. The old lioness was "very sweet", rubbing up against Walken and performing tricks such as rolling over and sitting up on her back legs. Backstage, Walken would hang out with her and pet her.

Today, Walken is involved in animal charities and believes animals shouldn't be held in captivity. "I wish there wasn't any such thing as zoos," he says.

6. He Never Takes Himself Seriously
I love that later in his career Walken has taken roles in several silly but entertaining movies, and that he's hosted SNL seven times. In fact he has a long-standing invitation with the show to come by any time and host it. Plus for all of the unsettling roles he's taken, he really comes across in interviews as one of the most down to earth actors. Dare I say it, he may be one of Hollywood's most normal people.

7. He Had the Creepy Clown Look Down Pat As a Kid
Way scarier than any creepy role he took as an adult:


8. He Has A Very Sexy Voice
Yes, his deadpan diction is the stuff that impersonations are made of (and Kevin Spacey probably does the best impression of him) but damn, his voice is another aspect of him that I've always found sexy.

Just listen to him reciting the lyrics to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" on Jonathan Ross.



9. He Has One of Hollywood's Longest Lasting Marriages
Walken could have easily become a player and a jerk and dated his way through Hollywood, particularly after winning the Oscar for The Deer Hunter. But instead, he settled down while in his 20s by marrying casting director Georgianne Thon in 1969 and they've been together ever since. In fact, except for Natalie Wood's death (where Robert Wagner confronted Walken and asked if he wanted to f*** his wife) he hasn't been connected to any other scandals or stories of cheating.

For some reason, a lot of people think that Walken has a daughter. He and his wife have no children, something that Walken says has helped him have such a prolific career. They think of their cats as their kids (don't we all.)

10. He Appeared On PBS With Lidia Bastianich
I was watching Lidia Bastianich's Christmas special on PBS last year when Walken showed up for her holiday meal. I wondered what the connection was between the two. It turns out that Bastianich worked in Walken's father's Astoria bakery when she was just 14 years old and new to America. (One time Walken slammed on his car's brakes while delivering wedding cakes, which caused six of them to go flying into the front seat!)

By the way, he can cook, too...yes, this is obviously a parody but there's a video uploaded to YouTube where he's making the same chicken recipe, for real, in his kitchen.



The guy is just too cool.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Sexy Allure of Vintage RVs


There's a '70s or '80s Coachmen for sale that I drive past every weekday twice on my way to and from work. One of my recurring fantasies is that I win the lottery, buy it, and my single gal pals and I pack up and hit the road in it for some ol' American sightseeing.

I don't know too much about RVs and caravans or how they differ by manufacturer but I do know this: if it's in great shape, I'd prefer to take the wheel of a vintage model. I recently looked up what modern RVs look like and in my opinion, they seem rather overdone both inside and out (not to mention pricey: a new Winnebago Adventurer will set you back about $200,000.) A lot of them look indistinguishable from coach buses, and the interiors have become a little too luxurious looking for my taste. Nope, give me a RV with an orange and brown and faux wood paneling inside any day like the one below...


I would, however, make an exception for a 2017 Airstream trailer. That company has done a nice job keeping their trademark silver trailer designs classic, while keeping the decor contemporary but still kind of retro (lots of wood available, but in a darker tone which looks nice.)

From what I understand, the very first RV was made by the Pierce Arrow Motor Company and introduced to the pubic in 1910. The Touring Landau as it was called had many "modern" luxuries such as a kitchen basket, privy, storage boxes, and a phone that allowed passengers to communicate with their driver (it was considered a chauffeur operated vehicle for the wealthy during that time.)

If you're lucky enough to own a vintage land yacht or RV more power to you. The rest of us will just have to fantasize about the glamour of RV traveling with this collection of brochure photos and advertisements I've dug up.





I think the GMC motorhome is my favorite design of all of the vintage RVs I've seen -- nice proportion of windows and love the sunny yellow color...although the Dodge one below is pretty cool looking, too.




I think Kermit got it wrong: it's easy being green.


OK, I cheated: this is a van. But it's a conversation pit. In. A. Van!


And...that's one way to sell a Winnebago. Look at the suggested retail price! Today they want ten times as much.


A cozy, romantic dinner for two. I told you RVs had sex appeal!




Are they admiring the shag carpeting?


A fondue pot in a motorhome -- now we're talking!
I always liked the VW Bus and Camper. I think the company should consider bringing it back.

Here's a neat promotional video for the GMC Motorhome -- the suspension rocks! It definitely looks like it had some desirable features for its time. No bluetooth...no mobile phone charger...no problem.



There's a lot more ads and photos where these came from, but this should satisfy for now -- perhaps I'll do a part two post at some point.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Whatever Happened To Enjoying the Backyard?


We're half way through the summer now, and I swear I can count on only one hand the number of times this season I've seen a neighbor enjoying their yard. The guy in back of us is building a chicken coop but that doesn't count -- I'm talking about someone throwing a barbecue, kids playing, or simply lounging. Sadly, it just doesn't seem to happen anymore and according to a Boston Globe article that was published a few weeks ago, my fear has been confirmed: the great American backyard is disappearing.

Indeed, a good friend of my mother that I've also become friends with was told by a real estate agent that even in our tony town where property is prized (and on the pricey side) that "no one cares about having a yard and the land anymore." In recent years it's become the norm for a developer to purchase and knock down a home that was built in the '50s or '60s, and replace it with a big, ugly, soulless McMansion that takes up way more floor space than the previous house. The less lawn to mow and maintain, the better.


Speaking of mowing, I almost never see anyone trimming their own lawn or doing gardening nowadays. They hire landscapers to do the dirty work -- leaving them with an immaculate yard that they never venture onto to enjoy (maybe they're also too afraid to walk barefoot on grass which has been dowsed with poison by TruGreen.)

For the baby boomers and people of my generation that grew up in the suburbs in the '70s and '80s, it was a different story. Backyards were a haven used for barbecues, parties, games (I still miss the badminton net my parents set up one summer), Nerf toys, Slip 'N Slide, you name it. When I was about five years old my father bought me a swing set from Sears (I remember him partially assembling it in the living room before moving it outdoors.) It was made of metal, so the slide would burn your legs in the summer unless you cooled it by running the hose over it first. The swings hung on chains that could easily pinch little fingers. It also had a monkey bar. All hazardous dangers by today's standards, but I loved that thing! I spent many hours playing on it by myself. And visiting friends' houses as a kid was a treat because it gave us a different landscape to explore. I remember sunning myself at a friend's house as a teen, sipping on lemonade while a radio we brought outside played Tears For Fears on the local pop station. And how many of us had an old man that mowed the lawn shirtless, and rewarded his efforts on a sweaty summer day with an ice cold beer?


So why are so few people taking advantage of their yards? Well, I certainly think technology has a lot to do with it. Kids would rather play inside with their mobile phones; it's sad that one of the only ways we can get some young people to go outside and move their bodies is because of a stupid mobile app called Pokemon Go. People would rather catch up on Facebook and check email -- something they can do outdoors with their mobile devices. The Globe article cited the fact that most households are comprised of couples where both people work full-time and just don't have the time to enjoy or maintain a yard, so the simplest solution is to build up their property so they no longer have to worry about it.

Here's what I'd like to propose to anyone who's lucky enough to have a yard: take at least an hour each weekend to enjoy it. Make yourself a glass of iced tea, bring a book outside, and inhale the warm summer air for 60 minutes. Spread a blanket on the grass and have a picnic, even if you're the only one attending. Buy some horseshoes, a croquet set, or another game that's meant to play outdoors (how about a ping pong table?) Throw a party or barbecue.

We can't make these warm summer days stick around forever, but we can least make a case for preserving lawn space -- before it's too late.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There's A Real Person Behind This Blog


I hemmed and hawed a bit about whether I should write this post; it's personal, and I usually don't vent about personal things on Go Retro. People come here to be entertained by nostalgia, whether it's humorous vintage ads, songs lists, or hearing me gloat about Martin Milner (he HAS been a main topic here as of late.) But you know what? Screw it. I think it's going to feel good to get this off my chest. And I actually have been thinking of making the blog a bit more personal (as long as it still relates to something retro.) This post isn't quite so retro, though. And we may end up filing it under "too much information." But here goes.

One thing I have learned from having a blog, which is a public website and putting yourself "out there" so to speak, is you have to be careful. Knock on wood, I haven't had any real horror stories to speak of...no stalkers, etc. And I hope it stays that way.

Last year at this very time, though, something happened to me, via this blog. A reader (who also followed the Go Retro Facebook page) reached out to me, and I found him attractive. I knew the name - he had been liking just about everything I'd been posting to the Facebook page for the past year, and commenting nearly as much. He had actually originally sent me an email three and half years earlier, when he first discovered this blog, and had ended his message by saying that if I was ever out his way he wanted to buy me a drink. I wrote him a friendly message back, but took the invite with a grain of salt since I didn't know what the guy looked like or anything about him at the time (and this was also before I launched the Facebook page.) Fast forward to summer of last year, and he reaches out to me again to talk more about the Paul McCartney concert he had attended that we were commenting about on the GR Facebook page.

Well...he turned out to be married. He didn't tell me he was married; he decided to keep that teeny, insignificant detail a secret, all the while giving impressions that he could be living a divorced or bachelor lifestyle. He flirted here and there in the messages. It was only after Googling him that I learned the truth. An article featuring a photo of him, his wife, and two kids came up. I continued to write, to see if he would fess up. He didn't, and after a week I told him that I knew and how I had found out.

Before figuring this out, I had sent him a Facebook friend request, which he had ignored -- that was the red flag. (Believe it or not, I am connected on Facebook to a few readers -- that I've vetted to make sure they're good people. They are.) His Facebook profile and cover photo at that time gave no hint that he was partnered and a father.

I'm not letting myself off the hook here -- I told him seeing as how we had everything in common we could write as friends. Well, you know the line from When Harry Met Sally: "Men and women can never be friends because the sex always gets in the way."

(We never had sex, by the way. We never met in person -- I made it clear I could not meet him if he were married. Plus he lived out of state -- not so far it wasn't driveable, but far enough away I suppose.)

But it was obvious the mutual attraction was there and the connection was one I haven't felt with a man in an awfully long time. I was eventually told the usual story married people give -- my spouse no longer has sex with nor spends time with me, the spark died after the kids were born, etc. He NEVER talked about his kids, by the way, even when I asked about them, which to me was another big red flag. His only mentioned his son's autism, which I already knew about, and how that had put a strain on the relationship. But after six weeks of correspondence that included some phone calls, he called me from work one night. He had to end it. His wife got access to his laptop and saw all of our emails. At first she was furious but later called him up again sobbing, admitting that she was at fault, and that she was willing to work on the marriage. She also had access to his Facebook account, so she (as him) unliked the Go Retro page and deleted any comment he had ever left on it...stretching back three years.

He did apologize to me, by the way, late in the year, for the pain he had caused me.

Just as I was getting over it, this same reader reached out to me again in January to wish me a happy birthday. And he expected that I was "OK" with "corresponding via these messages."

I told him no.

I told him there was nothing I wanted more the past few months, but that it would be dangerous. That he should be focusing on his marriage and I had to focus on finding someone available that can give me what I want and need. And I didn't really get how -- after knowing how hurt I was and I'm sure his wife as well -- he thought this was a good idea. I refused to be used. And I certainly wasn't about to put myself in a position where I'd be the cause of a nasty divorce, end up hurting someone's children, and have people despising me for the rest of my life.

I thought maybe it meant his marriage still wasn't doing so great. Then I did some Internet sleuthing and saw that a few months prior to that, he and his family had had a photography session done and the Facebook page for the photography studio had shared them online -- some of him and his wife kissing.

Yeah. I was kind of upset. Hence, many of you saw the blog post I did a few months ago where I listed songs about infidelity and how it hurts all involved.

I'm going to quote what one of my readers (and a friend to me) said of this story: "I can't stand it when married people try to pull stunts like this." LOL. So true.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. And looking back, I think he was a little obsessed with me. The constant comments on Facebook and the flirting. It seemed he was looking for attention. I also looked up his visits on Google Analytics going back to 2014 and 2015...and there were a LOT. An awful lot, and even during some times when this blog went dry for a month or two. Don't get me wrong -- I don't mind the page views -- but I think I became a fantasy. I think he got carried away. The problem is he couldn't give me what I want and deserve. I don't do one-night stands and relationships that revolve around just sex. This is a woman that wants a serious, committed relationship with the right man. I want to buy a home with somebody and decorate it with vintage finds. I want to go on road trips with him. I want to meet his family and be part of it, and want to introduce someone to mine.

Some of you know I follow the law of attraction and that's the one thing I still struggle with. They say if you're attracting unavailable potential partners that it's because you're making yourself unavailable or vibrating some blockage or negative belief to the Universe. I have an inkling what some of those may be, and I've been working on them and myself for nearly the past year.

But I cannot figure out why I attracted someone that was dishonest with me. (In my opinion, hiding important info to give yourself an advantage is lying.) In the nine years that I've written this blog, I've always been 100% honest and authentic with all of you guys. If I have an opinion about something, it's my genuine opinion...if I like or dislike something, I'm not pulling your leg; I'm for real! That's what has made this experience so confusing for me at times. I like to think that I only attract genuine people into my life.

And by the way, I'm not looking for sympathy (as I accepted and forgave my role in this) nor am I am trying to vilify "Mr. S" (as he shall be known) here. I learned a huge lesson and I should have nipped it in the bud the minute I learned the truth..."I can't correspond with you as you're married, but I'll see you on the blog and the Facebook page." Then again, who's to say that would have stopped what happened from happening? To this day I might be continuing to get the playful comments on Facebook and there wouldn't have been any improvement in his marriage.

Also, I admit I do feel a little sorry for Mr. S. Back then, and now. I think maybe he needed some kind of reassurance that he was attractive to women other than his wife. That's no excuse for giving a single woman the impression that you're not married, but still...I do understand because everyone is human. I think his son is a handful, and not easy at times to care for. I also believe he's on the autism spectrum himself -- something he admitted to me -- and it seemed a little obvious when he got tongue tied and nervous speaking on the phone with me. He works in law enforcement...and we all know how much more stressful that profession has become in the past couple of weeks, as if it wasn't stressful enough to begin with. I also wonder if he had some self esteem issues. Realizing all this was important to help me forgive, and move on.

I did learn some things about myself in addition to the harsh lessons. That is the positive part. I learned that I would be willing to date someone that lived in another state that was still within driving distance, and I'd be willing to date someone with a disabled child, if the chemistry and connection was there.

I doubt he plans on reading this blog anymore. I've stopped looking at Google Analytics to see if he's been by, and the last time he logged on he skimmed several pages in a minute and a half and clearly wasn't reading anything that I've written. I'm guessing there's certain things I'm writing about that are painful reminders to him of what he cannot have. I guess it doesn't matter. Besides, I have so many fabulous and faithful readers to be grateful for.

I know posting about this probably makes me sound like it still bothers me, and it doesn't. I've moved on...although I will admit it was tempting to take this experience and sink into negativity with beliefs in general about men. But I didn't. I still believe that there ARE a lot of great guys out there -- both married ones and available ones -- and I still believe that there's one that's perfect for me.

I just ask -- of all of my readers -- to please be honest with other people...and if you're married or partnered up, please don't go looking for validation outside of your relationship. Not cool. I appreciate the men that are fans of this blog that have reached out through the years to comment on something I wrote -- and are upfront about mentioning their spouse or significant other in email conversation.

Also, I can't answer everyone's email, comments, tweets, etc. I try my best but life gets in the way. I'm 44, I'm working full-time, and slowly making a social life for myself again after being out of work for so long. I think a lot of people assume that Go Retro is my way of living and my be-all, end-all. It's not. It doesn't pay many of the bills, believe me. It's just a hobby and my passion.

And at the end of the day, I'm just a real person behind it with feelings.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

1,000 Posts of Go Retro! (Really?!?)


Happy Fourth of July weekend, Go Retro readers (and hey, the t-shirts on the couple above are a perfect red, white, and blue!) A few weeks ago I began noticing when logging into Blogger that I had surpassed 1,000 written posts. I'm still in mind-boggled disbelief -- it's daunting enough to think about the amount of time it takes to write 100 posts, or 250, or 500, but...1,000?

Well, I guess it's proof that work isn't work when it's something you enjoy doing. Go Retro is also turning nine years old this month -- and my desire to blog about my retro-related passions still hasn't slowed down.

As much as I'm patting myself on the back, a blog wouldn't be a blog without readers. I'd like to thank those of you that have stuck around through the years and continue to read and find enjoyment, amusement, and nostalgic memories from my humble site. I really hope to be able to offer another giveaway to you soon, too. Here's to the next 1,000 posts!

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