Monday, March 31, 2008

Asshole/Porn Stache

Here are a couple survey questions regarding my favorite media guys: Michael Medved, Geraldo Rivera and John Stossel.  

Who is a bigger asshole?
Michael Medved
Geraldo Rivera
John Stossel
Free polls from

Who has the best porn stache?
Michael Medved
Geraldo Rivera
John Stossel
Free polls from

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalog

Every year Dallas-based department store Neiman-Marcus publishes a Christmas catalog which pushes the boundaries of decadence and crass consumerism.  I stumbled across a couple of vintage copies recently, but before I get to my finds, I want to share one of my friend's stories I was reminded of when I saw the catalogs at a garage sale. 

My buddy attended SMU law school in the early 1990's.  He grew up in New Jersey and wasn't familiar with Dallas' shallow nouveau riche culture. Shortly after he started going to school there, he saw his first Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog and was shocked to see you could buy a live miniature donkey for your spouse or child for a mere $3,000 - $7,000.  He tore out the page and kept it.  

After the holiday break, he began the process of on-campus interviews for summer clerkships with the big law firms.   This takes place every January and February at almost all of the law schools in the country.  Practically speaking, the entire process is a soul-crushing sham. The big firms each send two junior attorneys out to interview students in 20-minute time blocks. Everyone - including all the students and the law firms - knows that only the top 10% of the class will get job offers for the lucrative summer clerkships.  However, both the schools' job placement offices and legal community conspire in a charade which encourages all students to interview with several firms.  The students are practically forced to participate.  The law firms must interview any student who signs up for an open time slot.  Wearing a suit to school and sitting in a room while listening to self-important attorneys preen about their firm and asking personal questions - the whole time knowing you will never get the job - is pretty damn depressing. 

My friend is quick-witted, has a lot of chutzpah, and was not in the top 10% of his class.  His second interview was with Haynes & Boone.   My buddy became increasingly frustrated as one interviewing attorney blathered about the magnificence of Haynes & Boone.  During the 19th minute  they asked my friend his first interview question, "Why do you want to work at Haynes & Boone?"  My buddy reached into his pocket, pulled out a piece of paper, unfolded it and said, "Because after working for only four weeks, I will be able to buy this miniature donkey." He then got up and left. 

I'd only heard about the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog from the annual CNN news features and my friend's story.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn from the Neiman-Marcus Christmas Book 1979 that you could buy your own compact satellite dish to watch up to 100 channels of television for only $36,500.  (click on images to enlarge).

That year you could also get his and hers Russain lynx belly furs to enhance your vampire fantasies (his - $100,000, hers - $105,000). 

But my favorite item illustrated the fun you could have at your Highland Park holiday party when you invited your guests to the patio, drinks in hand, to watch the peasants perform an actual chimney sweeping and musical review on your roof ($3,000).  Chim-Chim-Cheree!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Magna Carta

Although I've known for a long time the Magna Carta was one of the foundations of our democracy and legal system, I've never actually read it.    Written in 1215, the English charter guaranteed the rights to a jury, to habeas corpus, and included inspirational language that made its way into the U.S Constitution and The Bill of Rights.  It was written almost entirely in Latin (which may explain why I'd never read it).  

Recently I was given a 24 page paperback translation of the document.  It was an interesting read, but I was surprised by a couple of paragraphs (highlighted below) which show just how longstanding some of our troubling prejudices are. 

(click to enlarge image)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lin Kong Jing - A Powerful Empty Force

One of the rules of selling used books is that if you chance upon an obscure martial arts book - buy it. Someone will pay good money for it. I'd never heard of Ling Kong Jing - Powerful Empty Force, but when I saw this book at a thrift store I bought it.

Here is the cover and title page. It appears to have been self published by Si-Fu Richard M. Mooney, Powerful Empty Force Instructor, using only a dot matrix printer, a disposable camera, and his local Kinko's. I was lucky enough to obtain a limited edition (No. 71 of ??) signed by the master himself.

(click to enlarge images)

Given its immense power, I probably shouldn't share the secrets of this martial art with the general public. But here is a glimpse. You will need the following equipment: long white tube socks, a wife-beater shirt and a pair of old gym shorts. Tattoos are optional.

After mastering a series of breathing exercises and postures, you will be able to harness the energy of the Powerful Empty Force. The Powerful Empty Force allows you to project through people, and even Yugos.

The massive power of Lin Kong Jing can be used to diffuse any number of violent encounters. Here you can see it used to divert a pistol weilding thug and to cause an unsuspecting attacker to drop his knife.

Teachers can even use The Powerful Empty Force to bowl over classrooms full of children such as these Sarasota, Florida students in 1994 and 1995.

For those of you readers that are fortunate enough to harness this power, please use it for good and not evil.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


My father-in-law is a retired commercial artist who toiled away for years as the art director of a large Houston advertising agency.  Every time I see him lately he will not stop talking about the television show, Madmen, which airs on AMC.  He tells me that Madmen accurately portrays the office happenings in ad agencies of the early 1960s.  Of course, I saw a couple of episodes of the show and thought it was too exaggerated.  Surely men didn’t treat women like that. 

Then I found this in a book from the early 1970s.  It is the front page of a bi-fold pamphlet for a Houston, Texas advertising agency (not where my father-in-law worked).  The remaining text in the pamphlet is equally as charming as what you see here.  I’ll post it if anyone wants. 

My apologies to Mary Heinzen if she is still out there.  But maybe she wanted to be remembered as a "decorative asset. "

(click to enlarge image)

Looking Sharp

I found this inserted as a bookmark in a 1950s book at my local thrift store. I didn't buy the book, but I did surreptitiously pocket the photo strip.

Detention Card

Found in 1950s science fiction magazine:

Times Have Changed

Welcome to my first blog entry.

The primary purpose of this blog is to share with others the odd ephemera and etc. I find - mostly in used books.

Below is the inside, front cover of an Italian cookbook from 1967 - Leone's Italian Cookbook by Gene Leone.  The book intro is by none other than Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The book shares the recipes of Leone's Restaurant in New York City.  Apparently it was the Italian restaurant at which to be seen back in the day.  Enrico Caruso was the first customer.

PETA does not approve of this illustration: