Sunday, July 27, 2008

Estate Sale Secrets

Many unscrupulous people use the words "estate sale" for their moving or garage sales.  An authentic estate sale involves walking through the home of a recently deceased person in which everything you see is for sale.  Families usually do them in an attempt to clear out to detritus of their loved ones after they have gone through and taken away every meaningful antique, heirloom and keepsake.  Usually an estate agent is hired to price the items and conduct the sale.  I imagine the families go through the closets to get rid of the embarrassing items before the estate agents get there.  You know - Mom's old Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie and the like.   

But when there is a sale with a large amount of books neither the family nor the estate agents have the time or patience to go through every title before opening to the public.  At these sales I am always sure to find at least one book that nobody was supposed to see - ever.

Here are a couple I found at past estate sales that I have up for sale on the internets.  And no, neither one were owned by a doctor or dentist.

Believe me, I'm doing you a huge favor by NOT providing you samples of what is inside these two books. I mean, who doesn't love full-color photos of genital sores and advanced mouth ulcers?

Today while going through hundreds of books about science, literature and geography from a recent estate sale, I found my all-time favorite:

The back cover of this mass market paperback states that they are proud to present the latest volume in this distinguished series of books by F. E. Campbell.  It also says the cover illustrations by Robert Bishop are a special treat for the connoisseur of fine bondage art.  Who knew?

It's amusing enough this was among the decedent's  books, but when I opened it up, I was in for more fun.  Its interior is decorated with dozens of little color bondage photos cut out from magazines and pasted throughout.  Here's the least offensive one I could find, on page 30:

But even better, the entire book is neatly interlineated in ballpoint pen with many grammar corrections and suggested changes:

I suppose we all have our fantasies, but I'm guessing being an editor of bondage literature is a rare one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From Wikipedia:

Last Exit to Brooklyn is a 1964 novel by American author Hubert Selby, Jr. The novel has become a cult classic because of its harsh, uncompromising look at lower class Brooklyn in the 1950s and for its brusque, everyman style of prose.

Although critics and fellow writers praised the book on its release, Last Exit to Brooklyn caused much controversy due to its frank portrayals of taboo subjects, such as drug use, street violencegang rapehomosexualitytransvestism and domestic violence. It was the subject of an important obscenity trial in the United Kingdomand was banned in Italy.

Here is an old copy I found which originated at the University of Texas El Paso.  The novel had a profound effect on Mike Jones.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kids These Days

My cousin just started a blog. One of her first posts complained of her obstinate child and her difficulties parenting the little guy.

Sunday I scored a huge haul of over 2,000 books and related ephemera at a local estate sale. I've just started going through the stuff, but it's already given me some ideas to help out my cousin. I think part of the problem with her kids (and mine too) is that they have become soft from our unadventurous, protective parenting. We have for too long exposed them to activities from wimpy books like these, which recommend children's museums, frozen custard and a place called "Toy Joy":

I'm going to try a little Texas Hill Country trip with my kids this weekend. If it works out I'll share it with my cousin, who also lives in a desert area.

First, we will hit the road in the 100+ degree heat to go on a mining adventure:

Based on the tips from this 1949 government publication, I'll know how to find this precious stuff. If I can figure out a way to sell it, we're talking not only good parenting, but PROFIT!

We will not be bringing supplies or provisions of any type - not even water or shoes - and we'll leave with a full tank of gas and only the clothes on our backs. We will learn to adapt quickly with this 1969 government manual:

I can hardly wait to hear my children tell loving stories of family lore at future gatherings - making their own shoes from plywood, and the sweetest water they ever tasted after extracting it from cacti with their bare hands and makeshift tools.

If things go awry while we are mining, we'll be all right because I found a first aid manual for miners. Whether Dad suffers a bleeding crotch, or Lad gets burned from too much uranium radiation, we'll be ready.

So Good Buddies, look for me on the road this weekend if you're in Central Texas. I'll be on channel 38 and my handle is "Bogey."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

That je ne se quoi

It seems that in US, the closer you are in proximity to your neighbors, the less likely you are to know them.  In every apartment I've ever lived in you went out of your way to never even make eye contact with the people that lived on the other side of your walls. 

I don't remember it always being that way.  In about 1970 my mom and dad moved us into the Deauville Apartments in the then-suburban outskirts of Omaha.  It was a faux French apartment community nestled into the cornfields. I still have fond memories of its swimming pool, putting green, the 4th of July and snowstorms there.  More importantly, I remember the people.  My parents seemed to know just about everyone in the complex, which was probably about 40 units. We have super 8 movie footage of our dad smoking Lucky Strikes while playing lawn darts with the men, while the women prepped the watermelon and jello salads.  I think my parents exchanged Christmas cards with old Deauville neighbors for many years.

I learned recently that this sense of community had nothing to do with the times; it had everything to do with pseudo-French community living.  Take a look at this recently discovered publication from Houston in 1972:

This was a magazine published by Houston's notorious real estate developer, Harold Farb. Here is the narcissistic back cover (note to self: get floor-to-ceiling drapes for powerful office look):

This edition of the magazine was printed for his premier property, Napoleon Square.  The architecture of this complex looks very similar to my Deauville in Omaha.  The apartment project still stands in the heart of the Gulfton Ghetto of Houston, now featuring the largest number of units and the highest crime rate per capita in the Houston area.  It wasn't so back in 1972.  It was a place for swingers to have a groovy good time in Bonaparte's Retreat.

The ladies of Napoleon Square enjoyed the latest fashions...

...and ultra-modern, ultra-white kitchens.

There was fun to be had at the swimming pool...

... where you could listen to the best bands Houston had to offer, including the "event-full" roots raggae sounds of The Gentrys.

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet

Lately I've been lucky enough to re-live and get re-vivified by some meaningful youthful experiences.  Today I experienced another one when I went out for a bicycle ride.

About 22 years ago - in what seemed like a different life - I was a licensed USCF bike racer.  I was poor, but in great shape and happy.  This was before the advent of spin cycles and other training devices, so on cold weather days we used to ride training devices called "rollers," which were designed and manufactured from the best of 19th century technology.  Riding rollers was so boring we wouldn't let rain stop us, and unless there was actual flooding, a thunderstorm would not deter us from the daily ride.

I have been riding a bike again lately, but forgot what it was like to ride in the rain.  I live in a dry, hilly area that has not experienced a shower in more than 60  days, so I didn't even look at the sky when I set off on my ride this morning.  About 8 miles out of town the storm clouds broke. At first I felt apprehension, but I was quickly overcome with excitement as I re-captured youthful memories.  I forgot the adrenaline rush when you speed down a hill at 33 mph with barely-functioning brakes; I forgot what it was like to have a friendly Texan pull over in his pickup truck and offer you a ride back to town and tell tell him thanks, but you're having a great time; I forgot what it was like to stop at a slow moving river and listen to the silence of the muffled winds, punctuated only by the sounds of raindrops on leaves; and I forgot what it was like to take off your jersey at the end of the ride to reveal the Jackson Pollack mud splatter on the back.