Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold War Hobbies

Before 400 channels of nonstop television and the internet, people had actual hobbies. Stamp collecting was huge in Mid-Century America, from episodes of My Three Sons to Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn films.

I found these unopened stamp packets from the 1950s, when kids collected modern dictators and other autocrats,

as well as the stamps of nations ENSLAVED BY RUSSIA!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TV's Fabulous Faces

Here is a Scholastic Book Services edition from 1976. You know - the books you ordered in school and waited 14 weeks for. If your teachers were like mine, they displayed the box of Scholastic books on their desks in the morning and refused to distribute them until the end of the day, keeping you in suspense for hours while wondering what hilarity awaited you in the Dynamite! magazine you ordered.

I barely remember this show. Holmes and Yoyo seemed to be about a luddite cop and futuristic robot sidekick.

This one's for you, Tracy. Maybe it's where you truly learned to appreciate Hal Linden.

Read closely. The author, Peggy Herz, seemed to know more about the skeleton in the closet of Mackenzie Phillips 33 years before the rest of us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enter Libra

September 24th is the 1st day of the Libra cycle thingy. In honor of Mom and other Libras:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Taking a Look at Julia Child's Competition

The movie Julie & Julia is all the rage now. The good half of the movie chronicles the efforts of Julia Child to publish a book which ushered in an appreciation of fine foods and the culinary arts to America - Mastering the Art of French Cooking (the bad half of the movie chronicled the disgusting food eating noises of an insufferable modern American couple).

I just went down to our local thrift store to grab some cookbooks from the 1950s and early 1960s. As far as I can tell, these faithfully represent the gastronomic landscape of of the United States during this period, and were the principal competitors of Julia Child.

As they do now, the cookbooks then had a theme, and that theme was COMMERCE. They were principally published by specific foodstuff vendors, or were giveaways by corporations with tangential relationships to the food industry.

Here is a comb-bound offering from Southern Union Gas Company in which they provided the favorite recipes of local winners of the national Mrs. America Contest.

Walking Stew -- a gastrointestinal disorder, or a family favorite of the beautiful Mrs. Tucumcari? You be the judge:

Mrs. Monahans hangs her head in shame near her recipe for "French Style Chicken" made with margarine and on the facing page a pillbox-hatted sourpuss demonstrates a method of ruining a perfectly good cut of veal:

Carnation cottage cheese provided instructions for creating pastel colored party dips.

The Rice Council created Miss Fluffy to bring delicious rice-based recipes to America's homemakers, including this sampling of diseased lady parts.

You were wondering what the life insurance companies had to offer the 1950s cook? MetLife reminded its policyholders there's always a bad egg, and that they would shit on them when they were down.

Each of these cookbooks stretched the limits of its theme. Here 7up argues their product is not just for drinking, it's for eating,

whether it be the "he-man favorite",

or a wholesome dietary supplement for your children.

Here's a kitchen contraption which seemed to be modeled on the alien ships from 1953 War of the Worlds film (except I don't remember the Martian vessels vomiting slaw):

Can you guess which of the four facing recipes match this Saladmaster creation? My guess is the steamed chocolate pudding.

The makers of Southern Comfort reminded the Mid Century woman of her two main duties: (1) mixing drinks for her man when he got home from work, and

(2) sitting on the floor, waiting to toss her man's salad.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Go Back 35 Years With Me

Here's a 1974 Playboy Magazine I found. It reminds us of the days when...

denim boots arrived to stay,

an audiophile could get his Helen Reddy fix via 8-track or quadraphonic,

Andy Warhol didn't play second base for the Cubs ,

(note: many people confused Andy Warhol with Ernie Banks. This was probably because Mr. Warhol frequently yelled the phrase, "Let's paint two!" in The Factory.)

an 84 year old Groucho Marx talked about the Sexual Revolution,

men knew how to look like men,

America knew how to make great cars,

you could get a harvey wallbanger in a pop-top can,

cedar choppers and roustabouts could get side jobs as models in cigarette ads,

A guy invented a new saloon game called "Pong,"

Sean Connery was finally unshackled from his James Bond role to play Zed,the Priest of Death from the year 2293,

and women had pubic hair.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Just today I was wondering how to write "penumbra" in shorthand.  Now I know.  How did anyone ever understand these scribbles?

Monday, June 15, 2009

LazyMF Welcomes a New Reader

The recent tragi-gasmic death of David Carradine seems to have caused a disturbance in the collective chi of the martial arts community.  For proof, look no further than the comments I received today from Si-Fu Richard M. Mooney.  As he explains, I have misunderstood the nature of the Powerful Empty Force and violated his copyright interests.  He also provides some pointers in the art of Lin Kong Jing to another of my commenters.

This blog post has generated some interest in the past, including a mysterious offer from a person in England to purchase the rare book.  The sale fell through after many e-mails when the purchaser refused to meet my secret agent (code name "joshmas") in Trafalgar Square the following week and pay for the book in Polish Zlotys (cash only).

As a result of Mr. Mooney's litigious comments I've now had to "lawyer up" and retain counsel.  I know I'm in good hands though because a couple weeks ago I personally witnessed my attorney exhibiting a powerful empty force of his own the day after we consumed too much Booker's 126.8 proof bourbon out by the pool.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Suggestions for the Productive Punishment of Your Children

If you're like me, you've disciplined your children at one time or another by removing all forms of media: "That's it - no more Cartoon Network! No more GameBoy! No more YouTube!"  And if your kids are like mine, they come to you within a few hours of this "punishment," tell you they are bored, and ask what you did when you were a child - before TV video games, the intarwebs and childhood diabetes.  If you're like me, you don't want to tell them the truth - that you entertained yourself in a constant form of a 1970's version of Lord of the Flies which involved nerf footballs, whiffle ball bats, truth-or-dare, skateboards, vandalism and Playboy magazines.

I just discovered this two volume set published by the Boys Scouts of America in 1937 which has given me some ideas to suggest to my bored children.  They are ideas from a more innocent time, and you may want to use them with your kids.

There all all kinds of wholesome games scoutmasters taught their troops.  Boys learned how to slap the duck, skin the snake, seize the bacon and gaze at beavers:

Kids back then used their imaginations.  Think of the fun your kiddos will have when you adapt  this suggestion by telling them they will pretend they are playing Xbox:

There are other (NAMBLA approved) activities which will not only entertain boys, but will also teach them about Native American culture (a/k/a the tradition of the Redman).

Bored on Sunday?  How about some alternative forms of worship like this Wicca log worshipping ceremony:

All children should learn the proper care and storage of milk.

And remember - whichever of these activities you choose, the memories will linger for your children, just as the memories of a Boyscout's time with the Scoutmaster will linger in the scout's mind.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eine Himbeer Fräulein?

What is worse than than the cuisine in 1960s cookbooks?  

The cuisine in 1960s German cookbooks.

Behold the horrors of Kulinarische Kostelichkeiten:

Breakfast? How about a fried egg in motor oil drippings?  Or maybe a "Parisian Art" vomit omelet?

Get your vitamins with boiled leeks covered in a  silly putty demi glace:

Don't forget the kinder. They may enjoy their food fancied-up like vivisections of Kermit the Frog's head and a smattering of raw vegetables disguised as a transvestite piranha.

For dessert you can play it healthy and go for a Teutonic apple-bot...

...or you can splurge and opt for an infected pear or sauteed Nerf football slices.

And after dinner, what lovely fräulein doesn't want a serving of Himbeer?  Am I right, ladies?  ;-)