Sunday, March 29, 2015

March...

...shadows...looks like I need to work on my upper body from this pic.  Late afternoon, late March day.

Another:
Old Glory in silhouette...I am so ready to say goodbye to March and hello to April...hoping for some warmer weather...I'm ready to punch winter in the schnozz.  I'm SICK of this crappy weather...

So this was another low key weekend...we have a lot of those during the neverending winter months...

Friday night we watched "That Thing You Do"...

...a fabulous movie from 1996 about a one hit wonder rock group back in the early 60's.  It's a Tom Hanks flick and it's very impressive...they wrote all new songs for the movie in the style of the early 60's and they absolutely nailed it.  Plus, the four actors who make up the group (the One-Ders who are mistaken for the O-neders enough that they morph into the Wonders) all learned to play their instruments and actually performed live for many of the scenes.  It's a great movie about the excitement of that era and innocence lost during a rocket ship ride to success.

Went into work on Saturday to finish up something...usually work from home, but had to collaborate with someone on a spreadsheet, so it was a joyful morning in the salt mines.

After that K and I did a little home decor shopping at Hobby Lobby...they do have some cool stuff and I'm probably going back for a couple of theater signs.

Saturday night we watched an Alfred Hitchcock / Jimmy Stewart / Grace Kelly classic from 1954, "Rear Window":
It's so much fun to visit that time period via these great movies.  They managed to convey suspense, mystery, sexuality, fear, all without cgi and gross excess.  It was more difficult to make a "great movie" back then, because it actually required quality acting and an intelligent, interesting script.  You couldn't pass off special fx and nudity as replacements for character development and plot.  Another highly recommended movie to round out your cinematic history.

Today is Palm Sunday...

...and as the lenten season draws to a close we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.  Without that fundamental truth of the Christian faith, "we are," quoth the Apostle Paul, "of all men most miserable."

With it, we have the hope of Salvation and eternal life with God in heaven.

Can't top that...later, mcm fans... 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Old Glory...

...at night...and forever in peace may she wave...she's the emblem of, the land I love, the home of the free and the brave...

At least she used to be...not so sure anymore.  Dwight Eisenhower correctly said, "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid", and we have become both.  We live in a world dominated by the aggressive use of force, and we seem to have lost sight of that historical truth.

When power is centered in the hands of those with good intentions, there is peace...but we appear to be willingly, even eagerly, relinquishing that power, and evil is on the march again.  We live in scary times.

Since there is no good transition from the morose to the mundane I won't attempt one...

Just finished washing my hands this morning when Smokey decided to check out the situation:
It's wet in there...thought cats didn't like getting wet...?

This has been a very low key weekend...a little under the weather...early spring cold, no doubt...so haven't done too much of interest.  Did sit outside in the sunshine yesterday...felt good when the wind wasn't blowing:
March and November are the two ugliest months in Michigan...in November everything has died and there's usually no snow to beautify the landscape yet...and in March the snow has finally gone but nothing is growing yet.  It's officially sping now, but in name only so far.

A painting that was in our room at the Desert Riviera:
Marilyn and James Dean in a pose that never happened...


Later, mcm fans...


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Early Morning...

...moon...standing outside on Saturday morning, enjoying the solitude of the pre-dawn moonlight.

Also enjoyed the first fire of the season, doing my best to will an early arrival for Spring:
Oh yeah...can't wait for spring and summer to get here...and already dreading their too soon exit.  I must be getting old when I'm anticipating the end of a season before it's even started.

So first week back in the saddle was rough as expected...and to make matters worse, Karen insisted I sit with her and watch a TV show about how the lottery changed the winners' lives.  Sometimes those shows are all about the misery and trouble all that money visited on the poor fools...but this one highlighted the ecstasy they were experiencing because of their new found wealth.  Great!  I'm so happy for them I could spit!

But speaking of TV, that 1958 GE "slimline" project I mentioned months ago is nearing completion.  Kevin (a friend from work) has retrofitted it with a flat screen TV and a PS3 dvd player, and it's almost finished.  (Don't worry, antique tv purists...the original tube and chassis are going to a collector who will make good use of them).  Here's a pic of the original TV...I'll have "finished product" pics soon:
Can't wait...

Saw this Ronson cigarette dispenser on ebay the other day:
I think that might be next on my list...love the cool, art deco lines of that lighter.

Beware the ides of March, mcm fans...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Back Home...

...I'm so happy I could spit...but spitting is a nasty habit, so I won't...

That's my view from my frozen garage - aka "The Frozen Dope Saloon" - as I attempt to enjoy a cigar and a drink and reacquaint myself with the joys of a Michigan winter.  Desert Riviera, we miss you!

Another art deco objet d'art I acquired while on vacation:
That's a Kit-Cat-Klock, originally produced in the 1930's...this is a modern day, battery powered replica, though you can buy electric ones from the 1950's and 60's on ebay for a few hundred bucks.  Here's a video of him doing his thing on my basement wall:



As we were driving to the airport we stopped very briefly at an antique shop, and found this treasure:
Love the looks of this bar, and seriously thought about buying it and having it shipped, but told the proprietor we'd think about it first...at the moment it looks like a no go...but eventually that's what we want next to our future bowling lane.

Our flights home were ok, but we did have some excitement in Chicago...the flight to Kalamazoo was overbooked, and we volunteered to be bumped in exchange for a free hotel stay and meals, plus $1000 in travel vouchers...but they changed gates 3 times in 2 hours, and a number of passengers didn't make it to the final, correct gate...so in the end we were able to fly out as originally scheduled...got home around midnight. 

It's tough climbing back in the saddle, but I've worked my way through tons of emails, had a couple of conference calls, and turned the clocks forward just to add to the accumulated misery of going back to work.

Oh well, I'm happy to be employed, just sad that I forgot to be a millionaire somewhere along the way.


Later, mcm fans...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Desert Riviera...

...we're gonna miss this...77 degrees and sunshine in early March...

Even though we lost a day due to inclement weather and travel snafus, it's been a fabulous vacation.

Our last full day here was spent much like the previous ones...early morning hot tub and pool, coffee and breakfast, some touristy stuff in the morning, then lounging around the pool and fire pit for the rest of the day.

Today's "touristy stuff" involved a trip to a fabulous vintage shop called "Wonderama":

Not sure if the bison is for sale, but it sits outside of the shop as a unique reminder you've arrived at someplace special:

Our big find today was an original 1950's "Galanos" coat for Karen:


James Galanos was Amercia's leading fashion designer, a true "haute couturier" who designed for stars like Rosalind Russell and Marilyn Monroe, as well as leading political figures like Nancy Reagan.  He's now retired, 90 years old, and living in Palm Springs...and we found one of his creations that fits Karen perfectly at a price that didn't break the bank.  Score!

We also wandered downtown in the evening and visited the Palm Springs Art Museum:
A very cool, mid century modern building, but we were in between exhibits, so not much to see...however, we did spot this Shag "mad men" type painting, number 1 of only 200:
Shag is a famous "mod" painter who has exhibited around the world, and has a shop in Palm Springs. His painting captures my mom and dad's world back in the late 50's, early 60's...they had a sense of style and class that's largely missing from much of today's world.

One place where it's not missing in action is Palm Springs...and no place encapsulates that mid century modern vibe better...

Hate to sound like a paid advertisement, but if you're a mid century modern fan looking for someplace warm to escape the winter doldrums, you can't do better than the Desert Riviera Hotel...Judy, Steve, and Traci are the best and will do everything possible to make your stay relaxing and hassle free...and owners Rick and Martha are regularly onsite making sure their guests are comfortable and happy.  As I've said before, there may not be heaven on earth, but Desert Riviera Hotel comes pretty darn close.

We fly back to the frozen northland tomorrow, but right now I hear Arturo Fuente and Jim Beam calling me...
the green ash tray is from Wonderama, too...

Last night in paradise...

Later, mcm fans...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Desert Riviera...

...a garden resort...welcome to Day 2 of our vacation.

As mentioned in the previous post, we were finally able to wing our way from the icy climes of Michigan...
the frozen coast of Lake Michigan

...to sunny Palm Springs, California.

The accommodations at the Desert Riviera are so lovely it's tempting to just hang out at the hotel and relax...
the beautiful pool all lit up at night...
fun at the fire pit every night...

turns out the Keebler elves hang out here, too...
It's amazing what some sunshine, warm temperatures, a new hat, and some Jim Beam can do to improve your attitude...

So on day two we decided to take a trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a short 20 minute drive from the Desert Riviera Hotel...

Trams head up the mountain about every 30 minutes, so we had a short wait in the stylish lobby...

...before we climbed on the stallion we rode up the mountain...

It's about a 10 minute ride up, and the floor of the car slowly rotates so you get a 360 degree view...

The view from the top is remarkably like home right now...

We received dire warnings from everyone at the hotel about how cold it is...but hey, we're from Michigan and this was like an early spring day.  The tram operator said, "It's currently 30 degrees at the top and wind chill makes it feel like 20, so good luck with that."  Really?  Come to Grand Rapids...shirt sleeve weather, buddy...

Overall a very enjoyable excursion...we enjoyed a drink at the bar...here's the view...

Impressive to think how much work it was to build the tram and the welcome center at the top of the mountain...well worth the time and money.

After that we spent the rest of the day and evening relaxing...
a Palm Springs full moon...
...and hanging out poolside...

There may not be heaven on earth, but the Desert Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs comes pretty close...

Later, mcm fans...


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Desert Riviera Hotel...

...at last...not our smoothest journey, but the destination makes it worthwhile.

We attempted to exit Grand Rapids, Michigan two days ago, but after 8 hours of standing around the GRR airport our flights were canceled...we rebooked for yesterday, out of Kalamazoo (AZO).

That's a much smaller, friendlier, and cooler airport...less than an hour away...we'll definitely consider flying out of there again.  Here are some pics from inside the airport:



...and these random, "far side" type characters scattered hither and yon:

We were flying on American Airlines...
...and it was no picnic with many winter weather issues...bottom line, we were supposed to arrive at the hotel Sunday night around 10 pm Michigan time...after canceled flights, rebooking, and late planes, actual arrival time?  Tuesday morning at 3 am, Michigan time...

But...we're here...it's worth it...and here's why:



More to come, mcm fans...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cool...

...stuff.  This is a Ronson double cigarette box touch tip lighter, courtesy of Bob Adams of www.RonsonRepair.com

As you can see, it has a beautiful, art deco design, and since Bob restored / repaired it, of course it works flawlessly.
It's made for filterless cigarettes, like Camels, but conveniently, it works very well for Punch mini-cigarillos, too:

Very cool stuff...thank you, Bob!

I mentioned an ebay purchase a little while ago:
That's a Fatima cigarette dispenser, made in the 1920's by Kindel and Graham in San Francisco...a little rough when I got it, but it works...fill her with filterless cigarettes - or Punch mini-cigarillos - press the button and a cigarette pops out her mouth.

Here's how she looks now that I've repaired her turban, given her a new jewel, touched up a few rubs and applied a coat or two of Old English for dark woods to her:
Looking a little healthier now...still needs a lid, and I'll probably ask one of my sons who's into woodworking to hand craft me something for that.

Overall I'm pleased with how she looks...still retains that classic patina of a bygone era, but no longer looks neglected and forgotten.

Later, mcm fans...