Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Funnies - May I Have This Dance? (1920)

He: I was afraid you didn't like my dancing.
She: Oh, I would much rather dance with you myself than have you bump into me all the evening

Life Magazine, January 1, 1920

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Steampunk Saturday - Airships over Trains

"Gee, Bill! What desperate chances a feller must have took to beat them railroad  trains they used to have."
Life Magazine, July 28, 1904

A new turn on hitching a ride in a boxcar, this time steampunk style! Makes me wonder what the life of a steampunk hobo would be like!

Have Love Will Travel - The Sharps (1958)

Usually I only do music for the Yuletide season, but I figured I'd break this one out for all the young lovers out there. Here are the Sharps with Have Love Will Travel from 1958, happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day

Being a sci-fi writer, I couldn't resist this one!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February Full Moon - Sweetheart's Holiday (1929)

Okay, so it's not specifically a full moon song, but Sweetheart's Holiday does make mention of the man in the moon and, being the Valentine's month, I figured it'd make a good piece of music for the occasion.

The lyricist Irving Kahal worked in vaudeville until his death in 1942 and his song You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me would eventually be featured by Frank Sinatra. On looking up Kahal's information I found he'd written two old songs that have become favorites of mine: Wedding Bells are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine and When I Take My Sugar to Tea.

J. Russel Robinson has a closer connection to me, though, being born here in Indianapolis, Indiana where he started composing ragtime with his brother. Robinson was known for his blues influences and in 1918 he joined W. C. Handy's publishing company (Pace and Handy) where he provided new arrangements of popular tunes and even played piano accompaniment for recording sessions. Among Robinson's innumerable compositions are a few real gems including Cab Calloway's 1932 Reefer Man, Meet me in No Special Place (and I'll be There at No Particular Time) which was recorded by Nat King Cole, St. Louis Gal recorded by Bessie Smith, Robinson would eventually die in 1963 of cancer in Palmdale, California.

The following is a fairly common version of Sweetheart's Holiday recorded by Lee Morse. Hopefully it puts you in the mood for love in the light of the full moon!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ouch-Bowl Sunday

A quick note, a year ago on this date, after watching Peyton Manning do what he does in most every Super Bowl (lose), I started a downward spiral that would land me in the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. Looking back, it's strange how you can rationalize anything (at least I can). I spent about twenty four hours crushing pain, trying to justify why I didn't need to go to a  doctor before getting weak enough for my common sense to take over. Mental note, if it hurts so bad you can't walk, there's probably something wrong.

The Funnies - Discouraging (1900)

"Don't you think you could learn to love me?"
"Oh dear, no. I'm so stupid I can't learn anything."
Life Magazine, November 29, 1900

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Longing for the Past - Avon Moon Flight Game

Do you remember the Avon Lady? I guess they're still around, every once in a while I find an Avon catalog in the break room at work, but I get the feeling there aren't any Avon Ladies anymore. I remember seeing the little old lady with her two-wheel shopping cart filled with beauty necessities trudging through our neighborhood regardless of the weather. She wore sensible shoes, a plastic rain bonnet, smelled of cheap perfume, and always was a nice as pie.

My mother was one of her regular stops. They'd gossip over nail polish and ode de cologne and occasionally my mom would hand the catalog, which actually had a children's section, over to me and tell me I could choose something for myself. Usually I went for bubble bath, and that's how I came to possess the Avon Moon Flight Game.

Avon's Moon Flight Game in all its glory!

The package shown above is exactly how I remember the game. The white command capsule and lander were a bottle of bubble bath that I used up as quickly as possible. When the nose of the lander was inserted into the command capsule, it could be slammed on the floor, compressing the accordion bellows, and launching the lander into the air. Each side of the lander had a number imprinted on it, indicating how many spaces to move. The bag contained a folded, plastic board depicting (if I remember correctly) a figure-eight track starting at the Earth, going around the moon, and then returning to the pacific for splashdown.

The game was another race track affair, like just about every other board game I played in my youth, with the objective being to move your poker chip-like game piece from home (the Earth) to the moon and then back again. Each space along the way was marked with instructions which helped or hindered you reaching your goal, all phrased in the lingo of the lunar program (it seems I remember "system failure, move back three spaces", but nowhere was there a "catastrophic fire which incinerates your astronauts, game over").

We played with Moon Flight until the novelty of shooting the capsule into the air wore off, then the game disappeared. I seem to remember the lander remaining around in a box of toys, the feet hopelessly chewed by a pet. Now I wish I had the thing again, though I can't imagine it being fun for more than a single evening. Then again, who knows, I could reawaken that part of me that thought he'd have walked on an alien planet by the time he got old enough to be nostalgic.

Quote for February

February days are a marketing gimmick; love happens every day.

- Randeep Hooda

Poem for February

White as an Indian Pipe

by Emily Dickinson

White as an Indian Pipe
Red as a Cardinal Flower
Fabulous as a Moon at Noon
February Hour --