October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I'm sure we all remember sitting in class, back in elementary school, working away on some arts 'n' crafts project that involved colored construction paper, glue (or rubber cement), tape and safety-scissors because of some forthcoming holiday, such as Halloween. That "Cat Boy" up there sure knew how to use the tape! And you can tell he's proud of his creation! I miss those simple times. Yes, I can still sit and work on an art project at home on a weekend afternoon, and I occasionally do, but it's not the same. As an adult you'll never again have that sense of total freedom to create, or the young mind that was virtually uninhibited by the types of thoughts we now have as adults, like paying for rent/mortgage, bills, groceries, etc. Being a kid certainly had its perks! It's too bad we didn't know how good we had it, back then. Seems like most of us just couldn't wait to grow up... and do grown-up things.

I know that's why I was sooo excited when I became old enough to start going Trick 'r Treating without my parents! Nothing personal against them, of course. It was just that new taste of freedom, if only for one night a year, that I found very exciting! And I think that it plays a big part in the development of children's independence. Yes, times are different now, and a lot of neighborhoods are not as safe as they once were. However, I do think that lots of modern day parents over-react by not allowing their kids to go out unchaperoned, even if they are technically old enough. And it's not like the kid is going to want to go out totally alone, anyway... He or she is more than likely going to want to join some of their other friends, and then see what sort of havoc they can wreak! Good-natured havoc, I'm sure.

Please enjoy my gallery of Halloween treats, below. They're just some of my favorites from a book of collected vintage holiday images put together by Editor/Art Director Jim Heimann, and published by Taschen.

"Sshh! I'm a very, very quiet little
mouse... Could I trouble you for, maybe,
one small piece of candied cheese?"

"Billy, you know that bitch Jane is
talking shit behind your back to that
new boy, right?! All the while, she's
sitting there "innocently" cutting out
her paper bats..."

"Well, Dick, I guess it just means
this pumpkin won't be the only
thing that I'll be carving today."

"Yes, that's right. I've been a baaad
skunk! Don't you want to spank
me? You do want to spank the baaad
little skunk, don't you? Sure you do!
Now, come lift my tail and I'll
give you a good reason to spank me..."

(Alright, they're in the kitchen, so we
know that the butcher knife
can't be too far away...)

"So long, everyone! Thanks for stopping
by! Have a safe and
spooky Halloween! And
remember to always inspect your kid's
candy before you eat it, parents!"

Gee, I think J.P. (Jaunty Punkin) pretty much wrapped everything up for me! So my job is done here. For now, anyway...
Bwa, ha, ha, ha, ha!

~All images taken from Jim Heimann's book, 'Halloween: Vintage Holiday Graphics', published by Taschen~

October 18, 2009

I Love Lucy!

I'm well aware that my love for the classic 'I Love Lucy' television show is not at all unique. I mean, isn't it like the absolute most popular t.v. sitcom of all time?! As far as I know, it's still always playing somewhere on some t.v. channel, in some country around the world. I'm not sure of the actual statistics, but I think that 'Lucy' has been loved by millions, if not billions of people since the show's debut back in the 1950s! Wait, am I overestimating a bit with the billions part? I've never been good at numbers. I just know that a whole LOT of folks have been big 'Lucy' fans over the years!

Of course, I've purchased all 6 seasons and all 13 Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours on DVD. I can watch them repeatedly, and never tire of them! In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do with Tommy. We just laugh, and laugh... And it doesn't seem to matter how many times we've seen an episode. I think that's quite a testament to the show's quality. The writing, the acting, the comedy, EVERYTHING was well-done!

It goes without saying that Lucille Ball was a comedic genius, and she was largely responsible for the show's success, but she also had a stellar ensemble cast to both back her up and play off of. I don't think they got enough of the credit they deserved, either. A lot of the show's funny bits happened between Lucy and Ethel, especially whenever they were being catty with each other, or even in a feud and not speaking. Plus, there was always some crazy scheme of Lucy's that Ethel would get reluctantly drug into. Vivian Vance was a great actress with excellent comedic timing and delivery. Sad thing was, privately she struggled with depression. And it certainly did not help matters any that Miss Ball insisted her female co-star be heavier, and look less attractive than her. Poor plump, not-as-appealing Viv... I've always thought you were pretty. Pretty darn funny, too!

"Zorch!" "Grebbitch!"
"Itza moo-moo."

Picking only ONE favorite 'Lucy' episode would be very hard
for me, but if my life depended on it, this might be the one
to receive that honor! It's Episode #89, titled 'Lucy is Envious'.
The above still is from its classic sequence where Lucy and
Ethel are doing their best lady-martian impersonations atop
the Empire State Building. Their hilarious attempt to "scare"
N.Y.C. tourists with this publicity stunt for an upcoming sci-fi
movie ('Women from Mars') is just SO bizarrely funny and
strange, that I couldn't even imagine another comedy team
doing it. Period.

"Lucy... You got some splainin' to do!"

Most anybody who's seen at least one episode is likely familiar
with this recurring confrontation. I like how you can obviously
see here that Lucy's brain is working overtime to come up
with something, ANYTHING, to tell Ricky that'll get her out of
the pickle she's gotten herself into.

Who could forget Ethel's stodgy old husband, Fred? I don't remember if they ever said what the age difference was supposed to be between those two, but it always seemed to me that Fred could almost be Ethel's father. He was such a grumpy character, too. The more I think about it, I realize Fred Mertz is probably the one character in the entire cast that I like the very least. Mostly, I think, because he was hardly ever nice to Ethel! In fact, Fred was always putting Ethel down, making fun of her weight and just humiliating her at every turn. I always wondered what would make a self-respecting woman stay married to an awful man like that? At least, Ethel did shoot back some real "zinger" lines of her own, once in a while! I do know that it was all just pretend, and that Fred was written to be that way, but it's also known that the actor, William Frawley, didn't talk to anyone (including his co-stars) if they weren't actually filming scenes for the show. He would just arrive shortly before an episode's filming, keep to himself, perform his scenes and then leave. Needless to say, Mr. Frawley was not one to suffer small talk gladly. Or much talk at all, for that matter. Just knowing this behind-the-scenes factoid tells me he must've been a real old, grumpy man! Wouldn't you agree?

I had no idea there were 'I Love Lucy' comic books!
I wonder if Little Ricky collected them?

I always liked the concept of Ricky Ricardo's character: A suave, handsome, charming and confident Cuban who also happens to be a talented bandleader that can both sing and beat a mean conga drum. Now, notice how I said I liked the concept. Actually, I do think that Desi Arnaz represented most of those qualities pretty well, but I never have thought his voice was very good. And I can't stand it when he sings in Spanish. Terrible of me, I know...

But I DID like the way Ricky dressed and styled his hair!

"I love Lucy
she loves me..."

I can see why the ladies were attracted
to Desi Arnaz. But it was awful and very

sad for Lucille Ball that he was such a
womanizing Casanova-type in real life,
and couldn't ever resist temptation.

"Babalu, Babalu,
Babaluuuu Aye..."

I like watching Ricky go totally nuts on his conga
(bongo?) drum. He gets so into it that he's usually
out of breath by the number's end, and his perfectly
coiffed hair becomes a total mess. That's what I
call passion!

"Yes, can I speak to a Mr. Jass?
I believe his first name is, Hugh."

Often times, Lucy used the good old telephone as a tool
for her plotting & scheming. Could you imagine the sort
of trouble she'd get into today, with a computer and
the internet?!

Here's a couple of funny Lucy-related toys that I found around the interwebs and thought would be fun to share... But don't fight over them, children.

My Little Lucy, My Little Lucy
What will today's adventure be?

I just had to include this one for the crazed adult
MLP collector in my life! You're welcome, Tommy.

Close your windows!
Lock your doors!
They're coming...
The Dolls from Mars!

These Kelly dolls totally cracked me up! What a
great idea. I'm thinking that I might actually need
to have these.

My second favorite episode would probably have to be Episode #147, titled 'Lucy Gets a Paris Gown'. That's the one where they're all in Paris as part of their European vacation, and Lucy decides to go on a hunger strike until Ricky agrees to buy her a Jacque Marcel dress. Ricky ends up feeling sorry for sad, starving Lucy and gives in. Then he comes to find out that Ethel had been smuggling food in to Lucy the whole time! Well, of course, he had to get even. So Ricky and Fred get a local tailor to make a couple of wacky outfits from burlap potato sacks, and a few hats out of a horse's feedbag and a restaurant ice bucket. Then they just sewed in the Jacque Marcel labels. The funniest part was watching Lucy and Ethel strut down the Paris street like they were a couple of haute couture models, or something! Classic.

"Do you like our
Jacque Marcel originals?
They are the latest
high-fashion in all of Paris."

It's too bad Lucy and Ethel decided to burn these.
But then, how could they have known that the
REAL Jacque Marcel would steal their husbands'
crazy designs and pass them off as his own?

For the longest time I felt quite strongly about wanting to meet Lucille Ball just so I could give her a BIG hug and thank her personally for all of the laughs and happiness she brought into my life. It never did happen, but I think Miss Ball knew how much she and Lucy Ricardo meant to the fans of 'I Love Lucy'. I just hope that, before her death, she fully understood how profound her impact was on both show business and pop culture.

~All photos via Google Images~

October 9, 2009

And the award goes to... ME!

Yesterday was a "beautiful day in the neighborhood", everyone! The uber-stylish Townhouselady, over at A Townhouselady's Life, was kind enough to bestow upon me my very first blog award! It's none other than the illustrious Honest Scrap Award! From what I've seen around the 'sphere, it's a pretty highly regarded one, too. My understanding is that the award is supposed to be given to a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver's opinion, brilliant and/or inspiring. In other words, it's a HUGE compliment! I always enjoy getting feedback via reader's comments, but it really means a lot when someone like Townhouselady goes out of her way like this to both support and help promote my dumb li'l dog 'n' pony show that I like to call, Pop Circus!

So I'm sending out a super-duper-deluxe "Thank you!" to Townhouselady, who happens to be preggers, and already knows she's having a little girl. Congrats, you haute momma-to-be!

Of course, as with most great things, there is a bit of a catch to this. I must adhere to a few simple rules if I am to graciously accept this award.

So here are the rules:

  • Say "Thank you!", and provide a link to the presenter of the award.

  • Share 10 Honest Things about yourself.

  • Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged/inspired you.

  • Inform those 7 people of these guidelines when presenting them with the Honest Scrap Award.

Now, on with the sharing...

10 Honest Things
(about Anthony)

    1. For the most part, I do not have any obsessive-compulsive disorders. At least, none that have been diagnosed. But when taking my clothes out of the washer or dryer, I can't help double-checking, even triple-checking for something I might've missed. You'll lose a sock or your Fruit o' the Looms, if you're not careful...

    2. My brain just doesn't register sports, or religion.

    3. I have a very inquisitive mind, so I tend to ask a lot of questions. I'm fairly sure that this is one personality trait that my friends, family and husband all endure only out of love.

    4. I am a good, loyal friend.

    5. I have quite a high tolerance for pain. A lifetime of chronic headaches/migraines has conditioned me to this degree of resilience, but a real "good one" can still derail me!

    6. I've literally stared down the barrels of 3 separate, drawn police guns which were all aimed directly at me in unison, and ready to shoot. They thought that they had caught some murder suspect because my appearance somehow matched the description of a person seen fleeing a nearby crime scene. But fortunately, I didn't make any sudden moves, and they didn't pull their triggers. What they did do, though, was pull me off of a city bus (which I was riding to work that day), hand-cuffed me, and stood me on the busy street corner so that a witness could "identify" me from across an entire intersection, diagonally! The whole thing was a joke, but I wasn't laughing. Obviously, they let me go because I wasn't the murderer! The real kicker, however, was that all of it made me really late for work, but they refused to give me a ride. Instead, I had to wait another half-hour for the next city bus to come along again! I lost a lot of respect for law enforcement that day.

    7. Peanut butter used to be my favorite Food Group. Then my doctor said I really had to start watching my weight. Sooo not one jar of it has entered our home since December, 2008. :(

    8. I secretly (not now), selfishly hope that both Tommy and I will die together. After growing super old, of course! I hate the thought of either one of us being left behind to live without the other.

    9. I personally feel that if you are a gay, mature adult, you have NO acceptable excuse in today's society for not coming out and being true to yourself. Choosing to live a lie in order to appease family expectations and/or to avoid conflict is just the chicken shit way out! If you're not honest about who you really are, how can you demand the trust and respect of others? Live a lie, die a lie.

    10. Tommy told me that sometimes I giggle in my sleep.

      Now, my selections for the next worthy magnificent 7 are:

      • Lisa (aka Tikimama), over at Atomic Tea Party - She brews up some great Mid-Century flavor, and she's also the one who turned me on to this whole blogging game! Oh, I should probably disclose that we've been good friends for almost 20 years. That wouldn't disqualify her, would it? ;)

      • Six, over at Sixpence and a Blue Moon - She's really neat! A true original. There was just something about her, and her blog, that I instantly liked.

      • Lenore, over at LENORENEVERMORE - Talk about original, unique, one-of-a-kind, etc. I don't even know if Webster has the right word to correctly define this sassy, fashionable lady!

      • Drollgirl, over at DROLLGIRL - Now, this girl can "rock out with her c*ck out" because she loves heavy metal. But she can also talk about art, or her love for animals. She actually features a fairly wide variety of things, such as different new artists/photographers, celebrities, cute animals, etc. And if you've got a dirty sense of humor, her blog is right up your alley! (Ahem.)

      • Heidi Ann, Tina Dawn, & Lorlore, over at Gold Country Girls - This charming blog is collectively hosted by three lovely sisters who grew up together in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, an area also known as Gold Country. If you like nostalgia, gardening, vintage fashion, recipes, thrifting, antiques, etc. you will certainly find some gold in them thar hills!

      • Kirk Demarais, over at Secret Fun Blog - He's one cool cat, and pretty much into everything that I dig, too! That's mainly because this blog is an extension of his colorful, eye-popping "Retro Culture" website, Secret Fun Spot. His blog posts are usually about toys he collects, classic pranks & gags, magic and just about anything to do with vintage ephemera. Groovy!

      • Life With Dogs, over at Life With Dogs - It ain't hard to figure this one out! The writing is smart and funny, sometimes even quite informative. Plus, they do this hilarious running series of cartoon-like gags where they paste in real photos of their dogs in all manner of situations, with conversation balloons overhead. Very witty! So if you're a dog lover, do yourself a favor and pounce on over for a visit.

      Well, I hope that my meager little shout-outs will help to bring these excellent bloggers some of the extra attention they deserve... And bloggers, consider yourselves awarded!

      October 6, 2009

      Saturday Night Gaga!

      The time has come, my friends. After watching Lady Gaga's two live performances on SNL this last Saturday night, I have to admit that she's much more than just a fashion freak or a flash-in-the-pan pop singer with a big bag o' tricks. This Lady can actually sing quite well! And without any Auto-Tune enhancement! I was expecting her to just lip-sync everything, so you can imagine what an impression Gaga made on me. She also plays the piano, nicely! All of this along with bizarre costumes and fascinatingly odd dance choreography makes for a real unique talent in my book.

      Lady's first performance on the show was of her hit song, 'Paparazzi'. I thought it was fantastic! She looked great, sounded great, and the way Gaga moves when she dances is just so... different. In a good way! When it was over I still wanted more, and anxiously awaited her second performance later on in the show.

      "Oh, yeah, Lady Caca? Where do you think you'd
      be if I, Madonna, hadn't paved the way before
      you? Just give me that sad wig of yours and stop
      pretending to be a female!"

      Another fun, pleasant surprise of the evening was Madonna's cameo appearance alongside Lady G in the Deep House Dish skit. It was a little on the goofy side, but it's always kinda neat to see a couple of divas in a cat fight, right? Even if it was all just pretend...

      And for the record, I thought that Madonna looked pretty damn good! I've been reading some not-so-nice comments in certain places, and I just wanted to throw in my two cents. For what it's worth.

      Gaga's gyroscope left me all agog!
      She actually wore this contraption through the entire second
      performance, a medley of about 3 or 4 different songs.

      When Lady appeared on stage for her second act, she was wearing the strangest, sci-fi movie prop-type-looking-thing! The closest reference point I can think of is a gyroscope. And as she moved around, so did the separate rings, moving this way and that. The thing had to take some major coordination, and lots of practice! Then, she sat down at the piano with the thing still on, and proceeded to play while she sang! Again, no lip-syncing or Auto Tuning.

      When the show was over, I had the feeling that Miss Gaga was only just getting started. For a Lady who once seemed like nothing more than a cheap thrill or a guilty pleasure had now shown her true abilities to a much wider audience, and I believe because of that she will soon become an even bigger star! Keep an eye on her, folks. There's no telling how far this Lady will go...

      ~All photos via Google Images~
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