MERRY CHRISTMAS to all,
and to all a good night.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all,
and to all a good night.
I’m not sure where my obsessive collecting habits span from.
I’ve never been satisfied with just a few of anything. If I collect something…hold on to your butts, because I am going for the gold. Why stop at ten or twelve, when I can have several dozen? As a child, I couldn’t have just the main characters in action figure form, I wanted every single one…. plus extras for “back-ups”.
Tin globes, large letter postcards, Polish glass ornaments, western belt buckles, conversational ties, Zuni fetish…..the list goes on and on.
A few short years ago, about the same time I joined the Golden Glow of Christmas Past, I was introduced to these little gems,
Milk glass figural bulbs.
I was immediately smitten and because they are priced pretty inexpensively, (I can usually buy a lot of 5 to 10 for about $20), it really didn’t take long to amass about a hundred.
I can’t believe that I’d never even heard of them before.
In case you hadn’t either, here’s a quick history lesson;
At the turn of the last century glass figural bulbs were first produced in Germany, Austria and Hungary by many of the same artisans that made glass Christmas ornaments, often from the same molds. They were beautifully mouth-blown and hand painted. But the heat of the electric bulb gave these decorations a short life span, and the painted details flaked off pretty quickly.
When World War I interrupted imports from Europe, it was the Japanese that stepped in to meet the demand for figural lights, this time using milk-glass.
Milk glass is thicker and more heat-resistant. Plus, it’s already white. Which meant that decorating them was faster. Like their European counterparts, they were also hand-painted, although slightly cruder and usually by children. A lower price kept Japanese figural lights very popular with American buyers for several decades. Until sadly, tastes shifted and plastic and aluminum decorations dominated the market.
Thought I’d share a few from my collection;
There are Santas….so many Santas. I’ve shifted my focus to more of the unusual designs.
and houses with snow-covered roofs,
Fruits and vegetables were popular. I don’t see many corn cobs though.
As were flowers, like these budding roses.
Animals were designed in all sorts of whimsical designs. Here are dogs, cats, teddy bears and an elephant.
This big ol’ lion in a vest was one of my first finds.
Religious themes still prevailed in the middle of the last century during Christmas time.
Themed sets of lights were pretty popular too; Disney, the Sunday funnies, and nursery rhymes were sold in sets of eight characters. I’m pretty close to finding complete sets of all of these familiar faces. (In fact, Jiminy Cricket arrived just after I took these pictures)
I can never have enough Humpty Dumptys.
Or cupie dolls
I haven’t seen them yet, but I’m hoping there are seven more band members to go along with this drummer.
Do they still light? You may ask.
I’ve noticed that about a quarter of them still do.
I think this is because C-6 bulbs require all the bulbs to be working for the entire strand to light. Once one bulb went out, the strand was either tossed, stored in the attic or the bulbs hung with hooks like ornaments.
Because most of them only fit C-6 light sockets, something that hasn’t been made in over 50 years, you can actually test them with a 9-volt battery. Like so…
So what do I do with all these beauties?
Glad you asked.
There are a few bowls-full scattered around the house.
And I added a small feather tree with several of my favorites wired to the branches.
I think they look amazing on that white tree. It really showcases the still vibrant colors.
Next year I planing on adding strings of them to the vintage themed tree.
So watch out,
At the rate that these things multiply.
Lord only knows how many I’ll have by then.
Over the past couple decades I’ve been able to acquire all the things I either couldn’t find, or couldn’t afford, in my teens and 20’s.
I don’t need anything. Seriously.
But there are a few “Holy Grail” like items that I’d love to find one day. Preferably at a Goodwill thrift store, or better yet, in a heap of trash on the side of the road. (fingers crossed)
Like a Coca Cola metal “button” sign.
These 24″ babies were standard issue advertising for Coca-Cola in diners and soda fountains. So much so that they are far from rare… I’ll bet there are about 50 listed on eBay right now. What they are is a tad bit above my spending comfort level.
Speaking of “spending comfort level”…
I’ve been pining for one of these guys ever since I first saw him on Instagram.
It’s a freaking sprinkler from the 1940’s. The lasso twirls around as the water sprays out of it. Sometimes he has a yellow shirt, or red, or even cornflower blue.
I’ve seen him in a couple different styles. I’ve just never seen him for less than a grand.
Maybe a little more attainable is a vintage metal military globe.
About two feet tall and made by the Denoyer Geppert company in the 1950’s, they aren’t too expensive. I’ve actually been close to owning one more than a couple times, it just hasn’t happened yet……but it will.
This creepy Michelin Man statue has also eluded me for decades.
They used to stand outside gas stations as advertisements for Michelin Tyres.
Honestly, I’d settle for a reproduction, and there are plenty available online. But being just under two feet tall, and made of cast iron, it’s not a “cheap ship” kinda item.
How groovy are these black owl andirons?
Cast iron with yellow glass marbles for eyes, so they glow in a fire. Spooky, I know.
There are very old ones…and pretty new ones, I’d be happy with either.
I’ve been collecting glass ornaments since the Reagan administration, so I have quite a few, and there aren’t many new designs that really make my toes curl, until I discovered Eric Cortina.
His glass ornaments are just so whimsical, like this tattooed man,
and this fire hoop jumping tiger,
and this dog playing with a stripped ball.
I know that these seem like an easy purchase. Certainly in my price range, and I’ve already found a couple of his ornaments at Nicholson Hardie here in Dallas, Ebay, and even Amazon……..but nothing like these three.
His website isn’t much help. There are several links to retailers…. but none who sell any of Eric’s creations online. At the risk of being a little bit of a stalker, I’ve emailed the company a couple of times, with no response.
At the risk of being labeled a full-fledged stalker, I’ve tried contacting Eric on Facebook,
Not even a “Cease and Desist”.
Just makes me want them more.
So if anyone knows of an online store that carries these ornaments please reach out to me.
And if any of you gentle readers have any of those other items you’d like removed from your attic, or garage, or backyard shed……..also let me know.
I’ll be there the next day….
When I was just a tot, one of my favorite TV shows was I Love Lucy.
Still is, by the way.
Just to be clear, I had no idea how old the show was at the time. I just assumed that every woman who lived in New York City wore petticoats, the Tropicana was the hottest night club, and married couples slept in twin beds pushed together.
Did y’all know there was an I Love Lucy Christmas Special?
The I Love Lucy Christmas Show originally aired on Christmas Eve 1956 and was somehow lost soon after that. It was rumored that Dezi was embarrassed by the episode, thinking it was just terrible because it was mostly a re-hash of older episodes. (Something that was unheard of in the early age of TV, but became all too commonplace in sitcoms of the 70’s and 80’s.) Also just a rumor was that the film reel for this episode, I Love Lucy was filmed on film stock btw, was discovered stashed under Dezi’s bed after his death. Anyhoo, CBS somehow got a hold of it and aired the *restored (read that as colorized, which was a dreadful trend at the time) episode just once in December of 1989 as the “Lost Lucy Episode”.
Regardless of what Dezi might have though, there is more charm in this episode…than any of the Connecticut episodes. Especially the one with the watered down Carolyn Appleby.
The flashbacks are some of the best moments from the series. Including; the time Lucy told Ricky that she was “expecting” (“Pregnant” was not a word network censors would allow on TV at the time), the time Lucy snuck her way into Ricky’s barbershop quartet, and the time Lucy announces that Little Ricky is “on his way” – only to send the gang into a tizzy and leave for the hospital without her.
In fact, the flashbacks are so mesmerizing that Fred gets lost listening to the stories and accidentally trims all the branches off the Ricardo’s Christmas tree. No worries though, Fred is delighted to learn that a replacement tree is half a buck on Christmas Eve. The quartet proceeds to decorate the new tree in 1950s fashion with white C9 ceramic lights and aluminum reflectors, a few American glass ornaments and clumps of long tinsel icicles.
Christmas morning finds the gang, unbeknownst to each other, each dressed as Santa to surprise Little Ricky. But instead of four Santas, there are five. The fifth, of course, being the real Santa Claus, who disappears in a poof after Ricky tries to yank his real beard off.
It’s during the tree trimming that Lucy shows Ethel her very favorite ornament; a huge teardrop shape with a hand-painted figure carrying a pine tree. The best that I can tell; it’s Polish, and most likely made by the Fantasia Glass company.
Seems that I’m not the only fan of this episode. In the early stages of his blooming ornament making career, Christopher Radko produced a reproduction of the very ornament that Lucy shows Ethel.
He named it, so appropriately, “Lucy’s Favorite”.
I’ve been on a hunt for a Lucy’s Favorite of my own for decades now – one that I could afford, anyway.
Until this week.
I finally scored one.
It’s even signed by Mr. Radko himself..
Which makes it even that much more special.
Is it MY very favorite? That’s a tough call.
It is in my top 10.
If you ‘re so inclined, the I Love Lucy Christmas Special is available on DVD from Amazon. And CBS still shows it occasionally.
Be sure to catch it if you can,
Today is my birthday.
I’m not geriatric yet, but I’m older than I ever thought I’d be. I used to be aprehensive about turning a “certain age”… but not so much anymore. Even though most of my hair has a silver tinge, I have to get out of bed slowly so nothing “snaps”, I can’t read anything without glasses, and I have to pee at 4 am every morning. Overall, I feel the same as I did when I was 25.
Advice to my younger self.
I was 16, spending the night at my friend Mike’s house, when we snuck out and saw my first midnight movie. Which also happened to be the GREATEST of all midnight movies; The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I had heard a little about this movie. I knew it was a rock-n-roll Frankenstein musical with transvestites. (transvestite used to be an actual word, look it up). My friend Mike, and his friend Steve, who drove us – he was the only one of us with a car – had no clue what it was about. They just knew there was something forbidden about it.
The crowd in line for tickets outside the Camp Bowie theater was a complete mess. Were they drunk? Stoned? Maybe both, I couldn’t tell. But they were loud… laughing and singing and smoking ……. they scared the living shit out of me. Most of them were totally overly-costumed – ripped fishnets, pearls, blue eye shadow… and that was just the boys.
“Those are some ugly-ass chicks”, was all Steve could say.
We waited in Steve’s car for the crowd to go inside, downed a couple wine coolers, then sauntered up to the window to get our tickets.
“Are you boys virgins?” from the man behind the glass.
“Hell No!” Steve, of course.
“Ooooookay then. You have fun”
Luckily for us, the theater wasn’t too full and we were able to get a row to ourselves close to the back.
But before the movie started, there were a few announcements from a rotund chick in sequined gold shorty-shorts and matching top hat; “No smoking”, “No throwing prunes” – followed by laughs, “No spitting.” the theater erupted with the response,
And finally, “Are there any virgins here tonight?”
“HELL NO!” from Steve again.
The entire theater turned and looked at us. Pretty sure they could tell that we were.
“Looks like we have some cherries to pop tonight.”
The three of us had no idea what we were in for.
The room went dark, big red lips appeared on the screen, the entire crowd started singing Science Fiction Double Feature…… and I was enthralled. Steve kept yelling, “Shut the hell up!” and I wondered why had we brought him? Oh yeah, he had the car. I was then pelted with rice – “Stop throwing shit!” from Steve, of course – as a group of costumed actors shadowed all the big screen action on the little three foot stage/ledge in front. When the audience started shooting water guns straight into the air, everyone – sans the three of us – held newspapers over their heads to stay dry. By the time they started dancing The Time Warp in the isles, I knew I was hooked…..I had found my people.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t just a movie.
It’s an experience.
Most movies are the sit quietly and watch kind, but not this one. Audience partici…..pation is what it’s all about. Sing along, yell at the screen, even dance in the isles – anything goes.
It isn’t too difficult to see why the small-town, sixteen-year-old me, who still didn’t know just how he fit into the world, would relate to a glam-rock movie with a clear message of;
“Just be who you are”
I’ve seen this movie dozens of times since that night, and it never fails to enchant me. Occasionally, I’d stumble upon it on late night TV, and watch it by myself… singing every song out loud. But the absolute best way to watch it is on the big screen, with a seasoned crowd… and a few virgins who don’t know what they’re in for.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest running theatrical release in the United States. It has never been pulled by 20th Century Fox from its original 1975 release, and it continues to play in movie theaters today. Based on the British stage play The Rocky Horror Show written by Richard O’Brian. Released in 1975 to some pretty terrible reviews, the film began to develop a cult following when it was limited to midnight showings in New York and California near college campuses. Audience members naturally began talking back to the screen and singing along with the soundtrack. Some theaters encouraged movie-goers to wear costumes by granting free admission and it didn’t take long for props to be included; noise-makers, toast, squirt guns, prunes, etc….
I found the original trailer on the Youtubes.
Why the sudden revived interest in R.H.P.S.?
So glad you asked.
This weekend is my birthday – a pretty significant one. And what better way to celebrate a half century of life than to revisit one of my favorite teenage memories?
The Texas Theater (where they captured Lee Harvey Oswald) and Cinewilde (Oak Cliff’s only LGBTQ film series) have graciously agreed to show The Rocky Horror Picture Show (this fFriday, November 16th @ 9:30pm) ……. just for my birthday.
Please, join me if you dare, I’d love to share this gem with y’all….
Especially if you’re a virgin.
We’re still striving to eat healthy in this household.
In the past couple of years we’ve decreased our sugars, starches, salts, carbs, fats….yadda, yadda, yadda….I know. What’s left?
Fresh veggies. that’s what.
You may have been led to believe that “slaw” has to contain cabbage. Technically you’re right. But this crisp, autumn harvest version is about to change your opinion. Beets have been know to lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and even prevent cancer. Maybe raw beets aren’t your thing. But cooked vegetables loose their nutrients. Try this once, and I promise that the sweetness of the carrots and apples are the perfect balance to the raw slightly-tangy beets.
The ingredients for this salad/slaw are so simple.
You could spend a few hours julienne-ing all your fresh produce into perfect matchstick sized pieces….or you could use a mandolin.
(I actually found my mandolin, still in the box, in the William’s Sonoma dumpster. No lie. I used to park next to one, almost weekly, and the bounty I would dig out; like an almost complete set of Caphalon cookware and two Le Cruset dutch ovens with slightly chipped handles. It never hurts to look.)
Watch me now as I prepare food with my dumpster diving implements.
I prefer matchstick-sized bites so I use the smallest blades in the set and start with the carrots and apples, sliding them back and forth across the mandolin. Watch your fingers, this thing is sharp.
Since the beets will stain the apples red, I julienne them directly into a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes.
Now the apples will be pink.
For the dressing you’ll need:
Whisk the first five ingredients together in a salad bowl.
I like to do a chunky chop rather than a perfect chiffonade to the mint. (so many French words to look up in this post)
Honestly, it’s easier to keep the big chunks of mint from sticking between my teeth.
Use as much mint as you like. I’m a huge fan, so I use about a 1/4 cup.
Toss everything together in a bowl and serve immediately.
This autumn slaw honestly takes about five minutes to make.
(It takes longer to clean the mandolin)
Aside from the beets and mint I usually have everything else.
For an added taste treat, try chilling the produce before you make it.