Friday, November 30, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 11/30/07

1. 'Things Happen When You Blog Eleganza!' ⬇ (click on image to ENLARGE)

Holy Milestones, Mackerel!!

It's been a great week for this blog, and speaking personally it makes me quite cheerful indeed.

I cracked the 300 total posts mark, and amazingly, the blog clicked over the 100,000 total hits mark.

It's, uhh - - helped considerably that over 40,000 hits have occurred SINCE YESTERDAY MORNING.

Bezortch, Daddio, that's just crazy with a 'K'...

What came as no surprise to me was that most of the new visits were due to that one ''70's Fashion Ads from Ebony Magazine' post that I blogged way back in June.

(Scroll down to the 'from the archives' section of the sidebar if you somehow missed it.)

I think it was BoingBoing that first picked it up a little while after it first ran, and since then the piece has bounced around to the darnedest places all over the net and has remained a constant source of new traffic around here.

It looks like Thursday's link at Drew Curtis'
("It's not news... It's FARK") was the culprit responsible for the Ebony-Eleganza thing going viral.

FARK's post was as a 'rebuttal' of sorts to the
'JC Penney catalog from 1977' fashion flashback that's been popping up everywhere recently, via 15 Minute Lunch.
I've had it come at me from half-a-dozen or more sources in the past few weeks, including 2 or 3 e-mails.

The intra-net is just a nutty, nutty place, no doubt about it.

So: A BIG THANKYOU to all the visitors to this blog, and likewise thanks to all the sites and blogs and forums that have linked here.
At just over 8 months old, the reception 'ILTS' has received has far exceeded any and all of my expectations and hopes.

- - And: A BIG WELCOME to any and all of the new visitors who may have just arrived recently.
Please have a good poke around, and visit again soon.

1.5 - - And and Update and: Speaking of a great week at the blog - - I just got through adding an addendum to the 'Stan Cornyn's Liner Notes' post that I originally put up in May.
This afternoon I received a nice note from Mr. Cornyn himself.
I find it very gratifying, and now you can see it tacked on to the end of the piece.

- Elsewheres this past week...

2. Hey, I went and saw 'The Mist' down at the multiplex the other day, and was very pleasantly surprised. A sturdy examination of mob as monster.
(see also 'The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street' - - a 1960 TV episode of 'The Twilight Zone', and Buñuel's film masterpiece, 'The Exterminating Angel'.)

I guess I'd sort of dismissed the movie as I do many contemporary horror thrillers, but it'd been recommended by a friend with good taste.

Briskly paced and well-cast with a few nice twists and turns along the way. Great little character turns from
Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Sternhagen and William Sadler - - and I must say I've really begun to sit up and take notice of Toby Jones!

Jones popped up on my radar after his amazing performance in 'Infamous' (a.k.a. 'The Other Truman Capote Movie'), and now my curiosity is officially piqued. Investigation awaits.

2.5 'The Mist' also pleased me from the aging comics nerd's perspective.
As I watched the movie and began to get a bit of a Lovecraftian vibe mixed with flashbacks of comic-book artist Berni Wrightson's work, I was rewarded with the discovery of his name in the credits for some of the creature design.

So nice to know he's still out there doing his thing.
Thanks Berni! You're still The Man!

3. Speaking of cheerful images - - stay with me here - - There's Green Burials.

Long, long, long ago, pondering mortality and such, I thought about what I'd like done with my carcass someday, when it's time for my long dirt nap.

What I decided was that I'd like to return my 'empty vessel' to the earth cleanly and simply, with as little extraneous material and foreign chemicals as possible. Stick me naked into a burlap sack, put me in the ground, and let me rot naturally (please make sure I'm dead first).

The thought of that method being difficult if not illegal has long rankled me. I don't necessarily need to go out as an outlaw.

So. It honestly made me extremely happy to read a small piece in the local freebie weekly just this morning that mentioned options...

- - Via NEWS of the WEIRD, their lead story for the week of 11/25/07:

"As an alternative to burial, cremation is no longer green enough, say environmentalists, because it releases smoke and mercury, and thus the industry is considering 'promession', in which the body is frozen in liquid nitrogen to minus-320 degrees (F) and then shaken until it disintegrates into powder.

"For green burials, the United States has at least six cemeteries that require biodegradable casings and for bodies to be free of embalming chemicals.

"The Forever Fernwood cemetery in Mill Valley, Calif. goes even further, according to an October Los Angeles Times story, banning grave markers, but, said the owner, 'We issue the family a Google map with the GPS coordinates' so they can find their loved one. [Los Angeles Times, 10-28-07; Evening Standard (London), 10-10-07]"

Being shaken into a powder has its merits I'm sure, but a green burial just makes so much sense to me. I'm serious, even 'dead serious', if you will.

Knowing my old home town as well as I do, I didn't bat an eye to read that Mill Valley is mentioned as the location where a new approach is taken one further radical step.

- - If you have any thoughts on the subject of green burial that you'd like to share, I encourage you to comment.

See also: Wikipedia entries for Eco-cemeteries and sky burial.

4. Speaking of radical steps, let's all give a big hurrah to daredevil Evel Knievel, who 'sailed right out there' and passed away today in Clearwater, Florida at age 69.

He made the world a more interesting place in the best way he knew how.

Ride the link to the
Official Evel Knievel Website.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Adspace for sponsors of 1923 U.C. Berkeley 'Blue & Gold' Yearbook

Oooh, vintage typeface and graphics!

Antiquated styles, Sunday dinner out for a dollar, "jaunty, gay-looking caps", and corny college humor!

Does it get any better than that??

Yes, I could easily linger over the student and faculty data and photos in the first 600 or so pages of this tattered yearbook, but I think it's towards the back of the book where the action is.

That's where the advertisements from the local businesses are, the ones that might tell a slightly different story of life in the twenties.

That I've spent lots of time in Berkeley certainly sweetens it for me, but I'm hoping this will give you a kick as well.

Dig in...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

78s fRom HeLL: Don Brassfield and His Swing Sextette - 'Body By Fisher' b/w 'Surprise Special' (195?)

I can't find any handy discographical info about this record, but my gut says late 1940's - early 1950's.

(Can you help me narrow it down?)

By the fifties the Fisher Body company had stepped up their
'Body by Fisher' print ad campaigns, stressing the ' - - do they mean the car body or the girl in the picture?' angle of their selling strategy even more than they had in previous decades.

Almost to a man, Don Brassfield and the rest of his Sextette had played with some of the major American Big Bands during the 1940's, and would be much in demand as session men in the fifties and sixties.

Session personnel:
Tommy Pederson, trombone
Gus Bivona, clarinet
Tommy Todd, piano
Bob Bain, guitar
Ralph Collier, drums
Artie Shapiro, bass
Don Brassfield, tenor sax

Listen to:
Don Brassfield and His Swing Sextette, vocal by Gordon Polk - Body By Fisher (Face by Frankenstein)
(Mastertone Records 78, 195?) (click for audio)

Listen to:
Don Brassfield and His Swing Sextette -
Surprise Special

(Mastertone Records 78, 195?) (Click for audio, and forgive the skip that opens the track. Cracked record!)
See also: (click for links)
- An online gallery of 'Body By Fisher' print advertisements.

- Still more 'Body By Fisher' advertisements.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pentron: The top reel-to-reel choice for Longhairs (1953 print ad)

An appeal to the readers of Downbeat Magazine, using their own vernacular.

Like, uh... let's see, a modern equivalent...?

"More DIY emo kids and shoegazers prefer ProTools."

- - Naw, I'm probably not hep enough to quite know the proper current buzzwords.

See also:
- YouTube video clip of a different model of old Pentron in action.

- One metric butt-load of vintage audio ads and photos at The Phantom Reel-To-Reel Tape Recorder Museum!!

My Dad had a big old portable reel-to-reel when I was a little kid. It weighed about forty pounds. A Sony. It fascinated me.

He used to chase my siblings and I around with it, trying to entice us to say cute or memorable things.

I don't think we often performed quite to his expectations...

Freshly-stirred links