Thursday, December 25, 2014

For Unto Us...

...A Child Is Born...

Merry Christmas, 2014.  As Linus quoted from Luke chapter 2 in A Charlie Brown Christmas:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And that's what Christmas is all about...

Quiet morning here so far...I'm up before everyone else as usual, enjoying the solitude of the early morning darkness...
...also enjoyed a Christmas cigar...remarkably similar to the Christmas Eve cigar I enjoyed yesterday, and the Two Days Before Christmas cigar I enjoyed the day before that...gotta love Arturo Fuente Short Stories.

In a few hours we'll exchange gifts, make Christmas brunch, and in general relax on this holy day.

It is in fact a wet rain changing to snow flurries, just cloudy and starting to get a little breezy...still very mild.  Strange weather this year...snowiest November on record, followed by a mild December without any measurable snowfall at all so far, and only a week left in the year.

Big changes ahead in 2015, and for the first time in quite a few years, I'm actually getting excited about what's ahead at work.

But for now, my thoughts are centered on the birth of our Savior from whom comes the gift of eternal life.

Merry Christmas, mcm fans...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Dreaming...

...of a Wet Christmas...
...which is apparently what we're having this year.  Oh well, statistically here in the lower peninsula we only have white Christmases 6 out of every 10 years...not sure how many of the 4 out of 10 "non-white" Christmases are actually wet, but this is one sure least right now on Christmas Eve.  It is possible some of this rain will turn into flurries later on, so we'll see.  From a meteorological standpoint, it doesn't count as officially "white" until there's an inch of snowfall...not likely this year.

So I think we're as ready as we're going to be for the big day.  Seems like Christmas is a distant pinpoint on the horizon for 11 months out of the year, then it's a speeding stealth bomber that races upon us before we know it.  This year was worse than most due to the insanity at work from Thanksgiving until early this week, and now, suddenly, here we are.

Tonight we will at least play, if not actually watch, Scrooge... well as "It's A Wonderful Life"...
...and finally, "The Bishop's Wife" of the best movies I've ever seen:
...a fabulous movie from the 1940's.

Merry Christmas Eve, mcm fans...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From Happy Thanksgiving...

Love those Ronson candles... Merry Christmas...
...and that Slimline Aluminum Christmas tree.
...all in the same week.

And what a week at work it was...the craziness of the Christmas rush has begun...7 days a week from now until the big day...o boy.

I do enjoy putting up my aluminum its rotating tree stand...and putting the color wheel in place...with the two battery operated stacks of Christmas presents...all in front of our Malm fireplace...a little bit of mid century modern heaven.

Here's a video of the American Flyer electric train I put around the base of the tree:

So that's about it for my Christmas decorating responsibilities...oh, I also had to put up the nativity scene outside...a stable, and plastic figures of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus.

I might add a couple of critters this year, or maybe the wisemen.

Karen on the other hand will transform the rest of our home into a Christmas wonder land...and I'll probably get sucked into the decorating vortex again when that activity begins...mostly just hauling boxes out of the garage and putting them back once the contents have been distributed appropriately.  We do have a 9 ft tree that K puts up each year...

She asked me if I would be ok if we didn't this year, and I told her of mcm aluminum tree is the only one I need...but I also told her she'll never get away with that b/c her daughters will insist on tradition.  Guess who was right when she asked them?  So the 9 ft tree will make another appearance this is spectacular once she has it up, but it's a lot of work.

Later, mcm fans...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Much Ado...

...about not so much (with apologies to the Bard).

As it turns out, there was much preparation for very little...Mother Nature got pissed about something and blew up a storm on All Hallows' E'en, complete with gale force winds, the season's first snowflakes, and wind chills in the 20's.  Consequently our usual 100+ trick or treaters dwindled to some paltry sum less than 50.   Hardy souls they were, each and every one that braved the storm.

As Charlie Brown might say, rats!  Today I feel like Linus bemoaning the absence of the Great Pumpkin...all that time and effort preparing for the big night and in the end it was only Snoopy.

Lots of clean up today...besides putting all the decorations away for another year, we also have a major mess in the backyard from all the falling branches, courtesy of the wind storm.

Oh well...some pics from the not so big event:

My official work portrait...I stopped in at 9:30 for the costume contest...not sure if I won anything other than the undying respect of my terrified co-workers.

Our front entrance, scarified for the festivities...forgot to put out The Creature From The Black Lagoon, but he's light and probably would have blown away:
He was going to sit on top of the bushes, next to the Scare-wolf.

Should have taken a picture of the tree creature and his buddies...I set up the swinging bat and the raven in a cage on either side of him, hanging from the tree limbs

Yeah, it's a repeat of an earlier tree creature pic.

I think maybe the photographer had a little too much to drink, or else the house was tipping over when this pic was taken.

...or maybe it's just the miracle of perspective?  Still looks a little tipsy, but this time I was the photographer.  Was that one whiskey I had or two??

Mr. Bolts and his lovely bride...kinda looks like Cher, doesn't she?

...and their beautiful daughter, Sarah the Huntress.

Ah well...there's always next Halloween.

A couple of my phones arrived last week, so I rearranged some of my collection to set up my Talk Through The Decades display:

That's a panoramic shot of them...looking from right to left is the 19-teens candlestick phone; next to that is the 1920's Western Electric 102B1 phone; the blank spot is where the Danish KTAS D30 phone from the 1930's will go...a brief interlude to enjoy a fine, Wild_Hare 5 cent cigar from the humidor, then we rejoin the tour with a Western Electric model 302 "I Love Lucy" phone from the 1940's; then a Western Electric Spacesaver phone from the 1950's - that one is actually hooked up to our land line; and finally a 1960's Swedish Ericofon in lovely Barbie pink...keep your comments to yourself.

I went right to left instead of the more traditional left to right b/c I wanted the spacesaver to be hooked up and working and the phone jack is on the left...could run a longer line, and if I get one I may move things around, but for now that's the setup.  The 1930's Danish phone should be here next week.

Today will disappear in a flurry of exciting tasks, either work or nature related, so it's into the fray we go.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1958 GE...

...model 21C2465 black and white TV...a mid century / Danish Modern classic.  Picked it up from a seller in Indiana this's another view:

Amazing how narrow this model was for tube electronics in the 1950's.  Most tube TV's were boxy affairs, but this really captures the sleek, modernistic, design elements of the atomic era.

Bought it as non-working, but got a surprise when I got it home, cleaned it up a little, and decided to plug it in:
Not much to write home about, but the tv audio works, and the tube may be a candidate for restoration.

My problem with that is I already have a half dozen black and white tv's from the 40's and 50's, and as much as I love the old black and white sets, I can't fix them, and I haven't found anyone local who can fix them, either...and one constant with these old, tube sets is they do need attention from time to time.  There was a small army of TV repairmen back in the day that came into your home and worked their magic on your set once or twice per year.

That's not happening around here anymore, so I do believe I'm going to remove the vintage electronics from this set.

I know there are purists who would scream in protest if they read this, and I do understand that sentiment..  However, most of the "purists" I've talked to only repair their own stuff and have little to no interest in actually preserving this dying discipline.  I totally get that; they do it for fun because they love working on old sets or for whatever reasons blow their hair back.  This is God Bless America and I'm completely fine with that concept.

But since I have joined forums and and advertised on Mlive, offering to pay anyone who might be interested in working on my sets with never a positive response, the purists can kiss my ass on this one.

I'm going to appreciate the beauty of this set's mid century modern design elements and that may involve modern day electronics and a color picture.  Can't wait to decorate a room around this classic.

Other than the constant panic that is work, not much else happening at the moment...went bowling today, but unlike last weekend, today's foray into the black art of ten pinnery was a dismal failure.

I dug deep into my vocabulary to find the appropriate four letter words to properly describe my efforts, then admitted bitter defeat and skulked on home.  A good time was decidedly NOT had by all.

Later, mcm fans...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Anniversary..., got you on my mind...

Karen and I celebrated #9 with the above...note the bubbly...she likes pink champagne, I prefer the extra dry...

Amy gave us a couple of Christmas ornaments early for our anniversary:
Does she know us or what?  Pretty well sums up the two of us...we're either Franky and Marilyn or maybe Franky and Barbie...typical Beauty and the Beast's to many more happy years together!

Speaking of Marilyn, caught her on video quite unexpectedly the other day:
Probably just a wrong number...

On the All Hallows Eve front:
A couple of items I picked up at Target...well, I didn't just pick them up...I paid for them and brought them home, too...the annoying crow in the cage will hang in the same tree as the Tree Creature and the swinging will be a cool "walk by" feature for the li'l trick or treaters.

The creepy phone is probably just for fun...Karen said we should leave it out all year...she thinks the voice sounds like Jack Nicholson playing the Joker in the original Batman.

It's kind of strange, b/c I really don't like talking on the phone - I have some hearing loss that makes it a challenge at times...if I can't see your lips while you talk, I can't always tell what you're saying...but I have always liked phones...the way they look the way they sound, how solid and heavy they were back in the day...even when I hate to answer them in the middle of the night b/c the only thing on the other end is bad news about my father dying or my brother dying or my son being in the hospital, I still like phones.

Odd, I know.

Later, mcm fans...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day...

If you look closely at the end of the log on the left you can see the remains of my early morning cigar...
...weekend.  Started this Friday morning at 5:30 with a problem from work...appropriate I suppose since we are after all celebrating I got my butt out of bed and fixed yet another problem caused by a recent operations upgrade from hell.

Since I was up anyway, I showered, padded downstairs, and spent some time outside in the pre-dawn darkness...eventually decided to enjoy an early morning fire, and shortly after sunrise, a good morning cigar.  No whiskey...yet...

So this week we and a couple of neighbors paid to have several trees removed from the property behind us that were blocking the horizon and crowding out the's the new view:

kinda reminds me of Sinatra's Twin Palms...ok, I'm reaching...
That view used to be dominated by a wall of walnut we can see blue sky and sunshine...unfortunately we can also see the outline of an ugly apartment building, but that's life in the big city I guess.

While we're on the subject of trees, here's another addition to my upcoming Halloween display:

The Tree Creature during the day...
...and at night.
If you're not a fan of Halloween, we should talk...but either way, you have to admit this is cool...I'll put a spot light on him to add to the creep factor that night.  As always our goal will be to give the little trick or treaters an old timey spooky thrill, some great candy, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A good time will be had by all...

Earlier this week I got a surprise in the mail from Bob Adams of and this time he was in cahoots with Karen...sent a package to her attention, and this was the surprise:

I think Bob knows this may be the closest I'll ever get to having my own bowling lane...what a great lighter...thank you Bob!  Oh, the ashtray it's sitting on was also a gift from Bob.  Truly, he is all about his passion for collecting, fixing, and promoting Ronson lighters and related items.  Very cool!

So the rest of today will be about getting down to the Douglas / Saugatuck area, browsing the antique mall there, then bowling a couple of games at the LakeView Lanes.

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about...(please ignore the fact that was a brooklyn strike...even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while...)

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, August 10, 2014


1963 Airstream Bambi

Wasn't necessarily supposed to be, but that's how it worked out.  Friday I was whipped, and after supper I ended up sleeping for awhile...when I got up we put a fire in the chiminea and sat by the pool for a couple of hours...low key, relaxing, fun.

Saturday we needed to run some errands, and on our way we passed by the first annual vintage trailers show, so on our way back we stopped in to see what the big yank was.

Turns out they had some very cool, vintage camping trailers, dating all the way back to the mid 1930's...but the ones that caught my eye are the ones I remember from being a kid in the 60's when families piled into station wagons and drove across this great country for two week vacations.  No one does that anymore, including yours truly...the world moves much too quickly now.

So we stepped inside a couple of the 16 and 17 foot airstreams, and guess what bug I now have to fight??

My head tells me I don't do the camping thing because it's "almost, but not quite" know, it's almost comfortable, but not quite...almost convenient, but not quite...almost enjoyable, but not every time I drive by a campground with 30,000 plastic boxes on wheels stacked up together like sardines, close enough to each other that you can reach out your window, into your neighbor's window, and borrow their salt shaker, I shake my head and say a prayer of gratitude that I'm not doing that this weekend...

...but my heart is calling me back to a simpler time, when your little silver bullet provided everything you needed for a romantic, if rustic, getaway, and you towed it right behind the family car.

Is it possible to find places now like they would have found then?  A campground that does not have the population density of a city block in New York?  And even if it is, do I want to spend $40k on a vintage airstream trailer?  Wouldn't I rather have that 1956 Corvette first?  Oh, I see where this is going...get them both, and use the 'vette to tow little Bambi...

That ain't no 'vette, but you get the idea...

A couple of other pics from the Vintage Trailer show:

The inside of a non-airstream trailer

Not sure how the fire truck got in...I guess in case there was a vintage fire in one of  the vintage trailers...?
Sunday we visited the downtown market because they had a bunch of antique / vintage displays set up as well...didn't see anything compelling, but it was a pleasant hour of browsing.

The rest of today was spent in the pool and relaxing in preparation for another week in the salt mines.

I'm usually a whiskey and cigar man, but changed it up today just because...don't want to get in a rut.

Now I'm off to write a letter to my aunt Alta...

Later, MCM fans...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bowling For Nachos... least, that's what I had between games 1 and 2 on Friday.  Hadn't bowled in over a year and re-beginner's luck allowed me to roll a 180 to start...only 2 open frames and those were just barely...skinned a 10 pin leave for one open, and chopped a 5-9 for another...would have been in the 200's if not for that display of back to back incompetence.

We were at the Lakeview Lanes in Douglas, MI...

(269) 857-1107

...a delightful, 8 lane bar and grill, and they'll serve you right at your table where you're bowling... it was a Corona and nachos for me, an Oval Beach Blonde Ale and chicken salad for Karen...then it was game two.  No score given on that disaster as whatever muscle memory I may have retained from a year ago apparently was washed away by the Corona.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it for this blog entry.

So that was Friday's day off...a pleasant visit to Saugatuck and Douglas, a stop at the Lakeview Lanes, then back to our backyard for some fun in the sun:

That night we had a fire in the chiminea and enjoyed a drink and good conversation by the pool:

Saturday I was up early to have my cup of coffee and relax in Serenity Cove:

Here's a panoramic shot of Serenity Cove:
...obviously a panoramic view messes with the perspective, but gives you an idea of what the 180 degree view would be if stretched out in a straight line.

Of course we enjoyed our time in the pool, and later in the evening we stopped by Gordman's and bought a display shelf I used to organize my (mostly) Ronson lighter collection:

Saturday night we watched one of my favorite movies of all time:
It's a great adventure / romance set in the late 1930's and the art deco motif is fabulous.  Well worth your time.

Today has been pretty low key...beautiful, sunny weather but work looms once again and so I can't fully enjoy it as I deal with my automatic transition from time off to work mode as I do every Sunday.

Oh well; I'm thankful to be employed and able to live indoors and eat.

Tonight we enjoyed a fire in the chiminea:

...but I was interrupted with a problem at work...while I was on the phone with one of our third shift supervisors, Karen heard a noise near the fence and went to investigate...when she did she spotted Mr. Raccoon trying to scale the fence and gain entrance in our little backyard paradise.  Her appearance convinced him to retreat to the safety of the nearest tree:
Yes, we do live in the city, but sometimes it's hard to tell.

Later, mcm fans...