Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Friendly Reminder...

...this is, in fact, The Atomic Monster Cafe...and that is my Atomic Monster.  I love Mr. Bolts, not just for his dashing, good looks and clever witticisms, but also for his, um, lessee, well, let's come back to that one a little later in the program.

Wrapping up a pleasant weekend...not sure how old you have to be for "pleasant" to serve as an acceptable substitute for "exciting", but apparently I've reached that age.  It's also the same age when you look better from a distance than you do up close, because your face starts to resemble a map of wilderness places no one wants to visit...you know, "pleasant".

So besides the usual backyard fun involving splashing in the pool, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars (though to be strictly accurate, Karen does not drink whiskey nor smoke cigars), we also watched a couple of good movies this weekend:  Lemony Snicket's "A Series Of Unfortunate Events" - Jim Carrey is hilarious, and Emily Browning is adorable...


...and The Great Gatsby, starring Leo DiCaprio, the newly self-ordained global warming guru, and Tobey MaGuire, on loan from the Spiderman franchise.

 I think I reviewed this film in a previous entry, so won't belabor it here...only to say it's truer to the book than any of its predecessors...and the opening is brilliant, combining the real life struggles of its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, with the book's fictional narrator, Nick Caraway.  I also appreciated the film's tip of the hat to Trimalchio, character of ancient Roman literature referenced once in Fitzgerald's book.

What I liked best of all the glittering, art deco, objets d'art in the movie - and the movie is a visual feast - was the 1920's Classic Jumbo tabletop, lift arm cigarette lighter:



Adding another item to my list of collectibles...

...remembered what else I love about Mr. Bolts...his indefatigable ability to go for days without sleep...look into my eyes...you're getting sleepy...sleepy...nope, not Mr. B...same wide eyed stare as always.

Looking forward to a little time off this week as we approach our nation's 238th birthday...I'll have more to say about that on July 4th, but God bless America, land that I love.


Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Solstice...


...Stonehenge, anyone?  Welcome to Wiltshire, England and the site of an ancient a) religious site, b) astronomical calendar, c) concert venue, the original rock and roll stadium.  Truth is, there are many theories and few hard answers, but modern day pagans trek there to celebrate the solstice.

For a considerably shorter journey to someplace a lot closer to home, consider this:


This Stonehenge knock off is in Nunica, Michigan, in someone's back yard.  Karen and I drove by one day and stopped to take pictures, just as the owner - or perhaps a visitor - went racing down the driveway and out onto the road.

Whether you ever visit the mystical site, or the not so mystical one here in Michigan, our current reality is we've passed the summer solstice - the official start of summer - and are now racing toward winter as we steadily lose daylight from here until the winter solstice in December.  Depressed yet?  "great news!  Summer just started and the days are getting shorter now!"

Pop the champagne so I can drown my sorrows at the inevitable forward march of father time.


Number five son and his bride stopped by for an overnight stay this weekend...Benjamin and Brooke graced our loft and caught us up on what's happening in their lives.  They were in Michigan for a couple of days to see a friend on his birthday and it was nice to visit with them for a while.

While we were sitting poolside, Mr. Squirrel came begging peanuts again, and we obliged...when he'd had his fill he decided to flop down and listen in on the conversation for awhile:


We are sparkling conversationalists so I don't blame him for lingering.

Nothing new on the collecting front...the Stewart Warner R-192 radio I've got on my radar is a rare bird, and nothing else strikes my fancy at the moment.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dad's day...

Lester C. Hare, circa 1940

Proclamation 3730              FATHER'S DAY, 1966               June 15, 1966
President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The third Sunday in June has for many years been observed as Father's Day. It is most appropriate that the Congress, enactment Ante, p. 201. of Senate Joint Resolution 161, has now given official recognition to
this well-established tradition.

In the homes of our Nation, we look to the fathers to provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family.

If the father's responsibilities are many, his rewards are also great—the love, appreciation, and respect of children and spouse. It is the desire to acknowledge publicly these feelings we have for the fathers of our Nation that has inspired the Congress to call for the formal observance of Father's Day
.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with Senate Joint Resolution 161 of the Eighty-ninth Congress, request the appropriate Government officials to arrange for the display of the flag on all Government buildings on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19, 1966.

I invite State and local governments to cooperate in the observance of that day; and I urge all our people to give public and private expression to the love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

 DONE at the City of Washington this fifteenth day of June in theyear of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninetieth.

LYNDON B . JOHNSON

So there you have it...you can thank or blame LBJ for the official proclamation making dad's day part of our national culture.  Hallmark investors are forever grateful.

It might be worth noting he also proclaimed that week in June National Oil and Gas week, which lines up fairly well with what a pastor I once knew said from the pulpit about Father's Day...as holidays go, it ranks a little bit ahead of National Donut Day and just a tad behind Groundhog Day.

For my part I am conflicted about this day, much as I was about my relationships with my dad and with my sons.  Child rearing has given me some of my happiest memories and deepest sorrows.  After many years and much reflection I've concluded fatherhood was way above my pay grade, but I gave it my best efforts.

As with most things in life you learn as you go, but sadly that sometimes means those on whom you are learning do not receive the best possible upbringing.  I suppose it becomes incumbent on them to weed out the worst, retain the best, and add to their knowledge what they learn as they give the dear old dad gig a whirl.

Here's to all of us who have done our part to propagate the race...it's been our way of putting our mark or leaving our stain on the world.

Later, mcm fans...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Early Summer...

...and the backyard is approaching full bloom status...this is a view of "Serenity Cove", behind the grape arbor...used to have a goldfish pond back here, but I got tired of messing with pumps and filters, so we filled it in and planted flowers instead...now a couple of fountains provide all the running water we need.

Here's a couple of views of our backyard area that's next to the house:



Yes, I did eventually let the pathetic cat back inside...

So came home Friday and found a spectacular gift had arrived courtesy of Bob Adams:

That's a beautiful, wooden, Danish Modern lighter made by Ronson...he even included a note to Karen assuring her I hadn't spent more money on collecting lighters!  A happy Father's day gift, very much appreciated but undeserved...which I suppose is the definition of a true gift...if we deserved it, we would have earned it, and then it's not a gift, it's a payment...this is a gift for sure.  Thank you, Bob!

Another view, grouped together with more of Bob's handiwork:


...and now a spoiler alert to any health nazi's out there who may have stumbled onto this politically incorrect blog and through sheer prurient interest and nothing more have not been able to tear their eyes away:

Caution!  Warning!!  This next video shows an actual human being lighting up a real cigarette!  This is not for the faint of heart, so if you count yourself among their number, please navigate away from this blog now before it's too late!!!


To add insult to injury, I plan to eat red meat and drink alcohol later today...

We watched "An American In Paris" last night...


...good flick from the early '50s with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron...have to admire the talent performers had back then...wearing garish costumes, covering yourself with tattoos, piercing yourself with various forms of hardware,  sticking your tongue out and simulating sex acts on stage may get you a career today, but there was a time when actual skill and ability were required to command a paying audience.  As Mary Hopkins famously crooned, those were the days my friend...

A very cool Kickstarter project you should back is this:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/954250822/the-qwerkywriter-typewriter-inspired-mechanical-ke

As the video shows, it's a modern keyboard based on a mechanical typewriter...if you're an mcm fan, you owe it to yourself to sign up on Kickstarter and back this project like I did.  Let's push this project over the top and make it a viable product on the open market...it's the American way.

We spent most of today (Saturday) outside in the backyard, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and lounging in and around the pool...had our music playing on AM 1000 (our low power AM broadcast station), ice and beer in the cooler, whiskey and cigars for me, margaritas for her...a relaxing day.

It's movie time tonight, but not sure what just yet...more to come tomorrow...

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Peonies...

...have popped...and they're gorgeous...we've got some white ones, too...summer is definitely upon us.

This has been a pretty good weekend so far...it's early Sunday morning, so we've still got another day but Friday nights and Saturdays are the heart of the weekend...hate to say it, but Sunday has always gotten a bad rap in my life.

Perhaps if I was raised in a joyous Christian home where Sundays were considered an exciting day of worship and ministry...or perhaps if I was a better Christian now...I'd have a different view...

...but such was / is not the case.  Theologically I know it's resurrection day, a day to gather with God's people and celebrate Christ's victory over death and the gift of eternal life we can have through faith in God's Son...that's what's in my head...

...but in my shoe leather world Sunday has always been "the day before"...as a kid it was the day before I was condemned to the drudgery of the schoolhouse once again...and now that I'm an adult, Sunday is the day before I jump back into the fray of the work week.

Not that I ever actually leave it...my job has taken on a distinct 24/7 aspect, as I'm responsible for the company computer systems and their round the clock operation...but the weekends are when I monitor things from the comfort of my castle, and Monday is when I must return to the battle field.

So Sundays tend to be a bit melancholy, baby...and even though I try not to, I can't help but start the shift from "woo hoo!  it's the weekend!" to "oh, right, it's that work thing again..."  Dang it...forgot to be a millionaire...

Friday was the 70th anniversary of D-day...
...and when I stopped at Marge's for my usual Friday donuts, a Salvation Army bell ringer was there...women helping with the Salvation Army back then made donuts for the troops, so that's the connection with Marge's Donuts.

This bell ringer told me his dad was one of the glider pilots who flew in behind enemy lines that day...he also told me by that time in the morning when I was buying donuts - 6:30 am - 10,000 men had already lost their lives in the attempt to storm the beaches.  Basically it was a slaughterhouse and truly a miracle anyone survived, much less succeeded as they actually did.  A sobering and somber day of remembrance for true heroes who gave their lives so we could be free.  To hear Reagan's fantastic speech on the 40th anniversary of this important day in history, go here:

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/reagan-d-day.htm



If you're looking for anything noteworthy that our current president might have said about this historic day, you might check the funny pages...you won't find any quotes from the big Zero, but they'll be more enlightening.


After a long week in the trenches, Friday night and Saturday were just fine...today we mostly hung out by the pool...



Karen planted lots more flowers this past week so the backyard has taken on that beautiful resort look I cherish...by 8 am Saturday morning I had all the fountains going, uncovered the pool, fed peanuts to the squirrels...

Mr. Squirrel sacked out and waiting for more peanuts...
...took some pics of the fabulous flowers and enjoyed a triple espresso and half a donut in the cool of the day.

A little later I bought some ice for the cooler, so we had ice cold beer available all day...makes spending time in and around the pool that much better.

A little while ago I mentioned a 1949 Admiral phonograph / radio console we bought from the "Three Blind Mice" antique shop...had it repaired by Bob Chase in Lowell, and now both functions work great:



Bob did a great job...now we just have to refinish the cabinet...and by "we" I mean of course, Karen...

Not much happening on the mid century modern or art deco collecting front...we're saving our pennies for building a home next year...at least that's our tentative plan at the moment...still waiting to hear back from Troxel Custom Homes on a preliminary price for our initial plans so we'll know more where we stand.

We did pick up this cool, mcm "fedora silhouette" piece a while ago...it's not vintage as far as I know, but evokes a definite retro, mcm vibe:



An art deco radio I would love to find is the one below:



That's a 1937, Stewart Warner R192, also known as "The Good Companion"...it's Canadian made, and apparently quite rare.  O boy, something to obsess over.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Summer...

...or thereabouts.  We've made it to June, a scary thought...time has apparently accelerated since obviously it's not possible to have reached the halfway month of the year already...not complaining about the warmer temps and sunnier days, but it will be an eyeblink, maybe two, and we'll be staring at fall.  Please slow down now...

Went to see my grandson's concert at Wellspring high school this week...he plays trumpet in a jazz combo and in a big band ensemble and he's really good...it's a pleasure to see and hear him do his thing...only a sophomore in high school, it's going to be exciting to see where music takes him...love you, Marcellus (he's the one in the suit and fedora, doing a trumpet solo at the start of the video):

Here's an early transistor radio I use in the back yard...it's battery operated so convenient to move around...when we're playing songs from a computer playlist on my low power AM broadcast station I can tune any radio to AM 1000 and listen to our music...this one has decent sound:


Later, mcm fans...