Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I love family portraits, especially those of evil, deceased matriarchs or patriarchs who continue to inspire fear in the family they left behind. 

Maybe they left a will that constrains the family to live joyless in a gloomy, creaking old house for the rest of their lives. 

Maybe their portrait contains the clues needed to discover a hidden treasure, buried somewhere in the house. 

Poor Aunt Matilda: she greedily stared at her father's portrait for years, hoping to discover its secret. Some say she acquired her father's deviant personality. Others say she went mad. 

 Maybe a death mask (above) was left behind. The terms of the will require it to hang on the wall overlooking the dinner table.

A greedy relative (above) and her worthless husband once stayed in the house for a summer while they tore apart walls looking for the money. Matilda won't say what happened to them.

Yikes! I'm scaring myself! I think I'll change the subject. Let me lighten things up with this cheery picture (above) of Sadie Hawkins, drawn by Al Capp.

Hmmmm. I wonder what Matilda would have thought of Sadie wait, I said I'd change the subject.

Okay, I'm leaving now. Bye!

Monday, October 24, 2016


More Halloween porch pictures! Geez, I wish I had the original poster this cabbage monster came from. 

Veeery nice! The original of this would have been a great portrait to frame and put up on the wall of a guest room.  

This guy's great! There's half a chance the girl you marry will have a brother like this. 

Why don't cereal boxes have cutout masks like this one (above)?

Every year the Halloween stores offer some new category of things. Last year it was realistic plastic animal skeletons and dog costumes. This year it's blow-up balloon gear and cat costumes. 

I love creepy old woodcuts and etchings (above). 

Hand-painted, charming, funny drawings like the one above make great porch pictures. 

Believe it or not, this (above) was a newspaper illustration. 

Big, home-made, framed cartoon characters make great porch decorations. I like mixing funny cartoons with pictures of monsters and ghosts.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Here's a bunch of random Halloween photos I've been saving all year. I can't remember where I got most of them.

What the heck is this (above)? Is it a mask? Is it a sculpture? The big face in the middle is too grotesque for my taste, but the toes look great.
Vermilion (above) is one of the world's great artificial colors. It's stark and in-your-face like day-glow colors are, but it also has a mystical appeal, which may be why shades of it appear on Chinese temples and magic store items.

Drat! I've had a pair of glasses like this (above) for years and just broke them.
Is this (above) plastic or plaster?  I can't tell. 

Maybe I can pick up some plastic masks this season. They get harder to find every year.

I like the crudely-drawn look on this holiday decoration (above) from the 1920s. You can wish the draughtsmanship had been better, but then it wouldn't have been as funny. 

I'll be moving to a more rural place soon and there's half a chance that I'll be regarded as the town weirdo. Maybe I should decorate accordingly. 

Have you ever seen the newspaper comic strip, "Happy Hooligan?" That's (above) how he would look as a pumpkin.

Monday, October 17, 2016


Above, you'll find a room full of Memphis furniture (above) from the 1980s. That was the trendy furniture style of its day, the thing we 80s people all longed to have. Gee, 30 years later some of the pieces look like shag cat toys, and a whole room full of it seems like clutter. Even so, I retain an affection for it. Maybe it's worth examining to see where the movement went wrong.

First, lets talk about what they did right. How do you like these Cliff Sterrett / Picasso-style vaces (above)?  Probably flowers didn't look good in them, but who cares? They look great!

And the iconic bookshelf (above) by Milan designer/Memphis co-founder Ettore Sottsass (yes, that was his real name) was marvelous.  Everybody in the 80s wanted one.

The problem was that, although it looked good as a stand-alone, it didn't integrate into a whole furnished room very well. The fact is that nobody had an idea of what a Memphis-style room should look like.

That's a photo of Sottsass above. Yikes! He doesn't look very happy.

I suspect that the man had enormous problems with production and quality control.  I'm guessing that people who did knock-offs of his ideas made a lot more money than he did.

Some of his studio's designs were misfires (above)...

...and some (above) looked downright uncomfortable. That's okay...nobody bats a thousand. If he'd had more time to iron out the kinks I think Sottsass would would have dominated furniture design well into the late 90s, but time was running out.

Memphis was grounded in 80s rock culture but rock was quickly giving way to hip-hop and that movement had no use for Memphis influences like Matisse and Picasso, Miro and Leger, Klee, Stella, Gris and Mondrian.

Boy, poor Sottsass!


BTW: A couple of the pictures I posted may not have been of Memphis products per se, but I included them because they were close enough to be relevant.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


SYDNEY: "Gertrude, I have to talk to you about something."

GERTRUDE: "Do we have to talk now, Sydney? I'm very tired."

SYDNEY: "Yes, it won't wait, I'm afraid. It's about...Stanley."

GERTRUDE: "Er...Stanley?"

SYDNEY (VO): "Yes. You said he was just a friend, but he was always around."

SYDNEY (VO): "Even so, you said he was a friend, and I believed you."

SYDNEY (VO): "He used my shaver, he wore my pajamas, he ate my breakfast cereal..."

SYDNEY (VO): "...but it was okay, because he was your...friend."

SYDNEY (VO): "Finally he left you for another...'friend.' You couldn't take that so you...well, you know what you did. I got you the best lawyer money could buy, and he got you off. But you weren't finished, were you?" 

SYDNEY (VO): "After Stanley there was Fred."

SYDNEY (VO): "After Fred there was Bill, the muscle guy. You caught both of them cheating. 

SYDNEY (VO): "What you did called an 'adjustment'."

GERTRUDE: "The dirty two-timers. They got what they deserved."

SYDNEY: "Maybe, but keeping you out of jail has almost driven me to the poor house. I'm nearly broke." 

GERTRUDE: "I'm expensive. You know that."

SYDNEY: "There's another word to describe what you are, Gertrude."

SYDNEY: "I think you know what that word is."

GERTRUDE: "You mean, I'm....I'm....."

SYDNEY: "Yes, that's right. You are....."


SYDNEY (VO): "Now, with my last few dollars, I'm going to take advantage of this coupon in the newspaper. It's over between us."

GERTRUDE: "Ov...over?"

GERTRUDE: "Did you say, 'over?'"

GERTRUDE: "No man leaves me, Sydney. You of all people should know that."

SYDNEY: "Haw! Put that thing away. We couldn't afford another...adjustment."

GERTRUDE: "Afford? I'll show you, 'afford'."

ON THE FRONT DOOR: A man bursts into the room.

MARVIN: "Sorry to barge in! I'm from the apartment down the hall. I heard a noise and thought you might need help! Say, you're rather easy on the eye. Did anyone ever tell you that?"

 GERTRUDE: "Help? could use some 'help'."