Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Portions for Taxidermied Foxes

 From an Antique Mall in Michigan, a fox kept on a high shelf that made him difficult to photograph:
 Even at this angle, though, you can tell he's a bit moth-eaten:
Here's a prettier one from the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt in Paris, circa 1986:
And look, he's got flowers in his mouth. Just like a real fox.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dinosaurs in Indianapolis!

Indianapolis, Indiana has a great Children's Museum that might be better described as a very child-friendly science museum. There's a life-sized Brachiosaurus standing outside the building trying to keep her baby from falling into the atrium!

Downstairs is a small but spectacular dinosaur hall, featuring a pair of Tyrannosauruses attacking a Triceratops.
And there's the museum's own Gorgosaurus, a smaller and earlier tyrannosaur, found on a museum-sponsored dig. It had a broken leg that healed improperly, and a scan of the skull revealed that it suffered from a brain tumor that would have affected its balance and ability to run.
And this is Dracorex hogwartsia, or "Dragon King of Hogwarts," so named because the thing looked like a dragon, I guess, and the paleontologists who found it were fantasy fans. Guess what? It was a herbivore.

And now you know a little bit more about what kind of nerd I am.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Saddest Lunchbox Ever

I've been on the road again, gathering material, so posts have been few of late. Here, as a stopgap, is a picture of the saddest lunchbox I have ever seen. Can you imagine the kid who had to haul this to school during the Carter administration, desperately wishing for a Six Million Dollar Man or A-Team lunchpail and instead getting the Exciting World of Metrics?

Coming soon! More taxidermy (because I know you love the taxidermy) and, as soon as I find a good place to get some vintage glass slides scanned, some really beautiful smutty photos from the 30s.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Car Wash Camel

Continuing this week's "Belgium" theme, here's a stuffed camel advertising a restaurant in Brussels in the mid-eighties. It's parked in the lot of a car wash right next to the Hôtel des Colonies, which used to be (might still be for all I know) a decent and inexpensive place to stay very close to the Gare du Nord. It's also on the outskirts of Brussels's picturesque red light district.
This is what you might call Bad Taxidermy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Popeye Impersonator in Brussels

This guy was a street performer in, I think, Brussels in the mid-to-late '80s. (I'm guessing Brussels based on other shots on the same roll.)
As you can see, he drew quite a crowd, but I can't remember any particular shtick he had apart from "Look at me, I look like Popeye the Sailor Man."

He made that shtick his own, though....except for that damned pony tail! Bluto would have yanked on that shit and sent poor old Popeye into orbit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Mexican Film Posters from the 50s

 The first one, "el Ciclòn del Caribe," seems to be a musical. Click on it and savor its full-size garish glory.

(I don't know why the lady is green!)
 The second, "Trotacalles," seems to be about streetwalkers (Spanish speakers, am I translating "Trotacalles" correctly?) Unfortunately it's in pretty bad shape and  it may be past salvaging. The artist's name is Vargas and I'm told he was a very prominent figure among the Mexican artists painting movie posters back in the day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Temporary Sex-Change Conundrum, starring Colonel Charlie "Doughnuts" Duncan!

Another excerpt from my gifted protegé Troy Cutcross's sci-fi/espionage/erotic masterpiece, "The Conundrum Enigma: a Colonel Charlie 'Doughnuts' Duncan Sexy Thriller by Troy Cutcross." This is the end of chapter nine and the entirety of chapter ten. At this juncture "Doughnuts" learns from his superior officer (and jealous girlfriend) Tammi, that he's going in undercover in Pendarvis Correctional Penitentiary––in a very special disguise!

         “This prison—it’s in Russia?”
         “No—here in the US. But that works in our favor. You see––you’re going in undercover.”
         “Doughnuts” nodded. “I like it,” he proferred, imagining himself hitting prisoners on the head with a nightstick, like when he was a rookie spy on the streets of Des Moines, what seemed like a lifetime ago. “As a guard?” he asked, just to make sure he hadn’t misunderstood.
         “No,” she smiled. “As an inmate!”
         “I get it,” Charlie snarled. “It’s jealousy. You’re mad because you think I have more of a crush on Svetlana than on you, so you’re sending me into the general population of a penitentiary. How long do you think I’ll last in there, with a face like this?”
         She laughed, a laugh with a cruel sound in it that Duncan hadn’t heard before. It made his butthole clench a little. “It’s true, you’ve been called one of the handsomest men in the world. And guess what? Your back story is you’re halfway through one of those Swedish-type of sex-change operations!”
         “Wha-a-a?” Charlie exclaimed, so shocked he couldn’t even finish the simplest of one-syllable words.
         “That’s right. We want you to get the attention of the Cosmonaut right away, so you’ll be going in there with a surgically altered face and cleavage, to make you look like a pretty lady.”
         “That’s where I draw the line, lady! I won’t be part of your sick revenge scheme! In fact, I may even have to break up with you and resign from the agency and go back to Major League Baseball. You need to see a brain specialist and get to the bottom of your sick need to get revenge on me for a perfectly innocent space ride with a sexy spy whose advances I heroically resisted!”
         “It’s not my plan, ‘Doughnuts,’ it was Mad Dog’s.”
         “Wha-a-a-a?” Charlie said, again frustrated by his tendency to leave words unfinished when he was stupefied, or really surprised.
         “That’s right. He was killed right before he was going to tell you ‘Phase Three’ of the plan, which is if the Cosmonaut escapes you go into the prison undercover dressed as a lady so you can get close to him and kill him after finding out all about his operation.”
         Charlie thought about it. He was an extremely handsome fellow, and many people had told him he would make a beautiful lady. If it was Mad Dog’s idea, and in the best interests of the Agency and of the United States of America, who was he to say no?
         “Would they….” His voice got a little higher because of the fright, but he continued his query. “Would they cut off my little man?”
         “Your little man?”
         “My dinky.” Tammi still didn’t understand, because she had grown up in a house full of ladies with no father or brothers using vulgar “slang” terms for their male members such as “wiener” or “dinky.” “My penis,” he finally uttered, using the latin or medical term for the organ.
         “Of course not. And the boobs will come right off as soon as you terminate the mission. And your old face will be grafted back onto your skull using the same technology as when that lady the chimp tore the face off of that one time got her face back surgically.”
         “All right, then,” Charlie opined. “Let’s get this ‘show on the road.’”
         “Prisoner Number X-209907-J,” the warden bellowed. “You are hereby imprisoned in Pendarvis Maximum Federal Penitentiary for the Crimes of Armed Robbery, Mass Murder and Trafficking in Illegal Weapons such as Bombs and Ninja Swords. You will be here for ninety-nine years to life. Do you understand your sentence?”
         Colonel Charlie “Doughnuts” Duncan shrugged, an entirely different experience, he found, when lifting the shoulder also involved lifting a bra strap and a good five pounds of voluptuous bosom, in an effort to seem thuggish. “Whatever, screw,” he yawned, using prisoner slang for guard, even though technically the Warden wasn’t one of the guards.
         “I know a perfect place for you,” the warden sneered sadistically, which, Charlie thought, was probably the only way he ever shrugged. “In with the maximum security goons!”
         That was perfect, he thought. The Warden had no idea Charlie was a federal spy on an undercover mission, just in case he was “in cahoots” with Toborsky, which was prison slang for working with him on the sly. “Coolio,” Charlie said, trying to sound bored.
         “But maybe we can come to some sort of accommodation, or agreement.” The Warden came around the desk and sat on the arm of “Doughnut”’s chair and put an arm around his shoulder. “You’re very pretty, and I like your swell chest. If you’d like to stay in the Warden’s quarters, that could be arranged, along with a soft job in the prison library….”
         Just then he reached for one of Charlie’s brand-new bosoms, and with lightning reflexes the intrepid spy had grabbed the warden’s index finger and snapped it back until it broke with an unmistakeable sound of breaking!
         The Warden lay writhing, or wiggling, on the floor, and “Doughnuts” stood up.
         “Sorry, Warden Frenger, these boobs aren’t for playing with. I’ll be heading for Maximum Security now to take my chances with the goons.”

         He felt bad using his considerable martial arts skills on a wimpy guy like the Warden, but he knew that any sign of weakness on his part would be perceived as an invitation to touch his breasts without permission, and he didn’t intend to let that happen under any circumstances. These bosoms were for display only, and for Charlie’s own and only his own personal enjoyment!
         So when he first appeared with his knapsack and bedroll at the door of the Maximum Security wing, he looked around at all the chess-playing oafs in the rec room and wondered which of them would make a crack about his rack first. It was a good thing that it was a three-hundred pound guy with a broken nose and cauliflower ears like an old boxer who made a vulgar suggestion and invited “Doughnuts” to share his cell for what he clearly intended as “romantic” purposes! He also had a tattoo on his forehead of the bully character from the movie “Edward Scissorhands,” which just went to show what a big bully he was in the “yard,” or prison grounds.
         “Come and get me,” Charlie cooed seductively, and when the big ape stood up from his chess game Charlie kicked him in the face, cutting his nose with his spike heel. Then, when the goon went down, Charlie lifted him up with one hand and hurled him across the room so that everyone would know that even if Charlie was a beautiful lady on the outside, he was still a lethal killing machine!
         Everybody else went back to their chess games and Charlie strutted his way to his cell, which was about as comfortable as his barracks had been back in the army––which means not at all! He tossed his duffle bag in a manly way onto the cot and started filling the drawers of the armoire, or dresser. Top drawer was for wigs (because there had been no time to grow enough hair for lady-hairstyles), second for lingerie, third for makeup and perfume and bottom for shoes, which he had five pairs of, all high heeled. The dresses he hung from a waterpipe that ran the length of the cell and he wondered if he had overpacked, but then who knew how long this most unusual mission would last?
         A skinny little fellow approached his cell, carrying a flower. “A-hem,” he said, clearing his throat because you could tell he was nervous. “I see you’re new here.”
         “Yeah?” “Doughnuts” growled, forgetting to make his voice high like a lady’s, because unlike a real sex-change person he hadn’t had the hormone chemical treatments that would have grown real bosoms and raised his voice up and made him stop having to shave.
         “Sorry. It’s just that—well, I noticed you walking in and I thought, that must be someone with a sex-change, because why else would a…” He swallowed a big gulp of saliva because he was nervous. “A beautiful lady be assigned to a men’s prison?”
         This time Charlie remembered to raise his voice up high. “That’s correct, sir. I don’t like it one bit but here I am, little old me in here with all these brutish men, thinking of nothing but ways to fondle my breasts. I assume that’s why you’re here.”
         “Gosh, no, ma’am, I have no desire to be the consort of such a lovely lady, because my life would be in constant danger and I’d always be looking over my shoulder, worried about some tough lug stabbing me with a ‘shiv,’ which is prison slang for a homemade knife, in hopes of winning your love away. No, I just had a question.”
         “All right. What’s your question?” Charlie asked.
         The little fellow was sweating something awful. “Did they cut your little man off?”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

For Amusement Only!

Here are a couple of one-armed bandits from the old days. With the top one you put in a penny and if you got three of a kind on the reels you got free smokes.

 With the second one, you put in a nickel, but if you didn't win free smokes you got a gumball as consolation.
Not quite related but I found it on the same day, so here's your beer-related memorabilia for the day:

It's an old National Beer crate from Baltimore, featuring an early version of Mister National Bohemian, better known as Mr. Natty Bo!

TOMORROW: The Triumphant Return of Troy Cutcross!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vintage General Store Madness!

In Western Illinois, in the small city of Mount Carroll sits a small building on the town square that still bears a sign reading GENERAL STORE. The day we were there it was officially closed but still accessible through the café next door.

Holy Mackerel! This place was a wonderland of dead-stock toys, clothing and other gimcrack doodads and assorted gewgaws. Click to enlarge and savor the outdated electronic connection devices!

 I think the General Store is where Charlie Arglist would buy his Christmas presents if he were still around. Enlarge to get a load of the cheap old plastic playthings: 

 Ladies, are you looking for vintage accessories and odd articles of clothing preserved in metaphorical amber? A "No-scuff" Heel Pad, perhaps? "Ped" brand sheer nylon stretch shoe liners? Would your fellow enjoy seeing you in a "Temptease" brand leotard, circa 1980? It's got "Terri Guard,"the Knitted -In Seamless Cotton Terry Crotch!

 Non-flammable hair extensions of the finest quality!
More toys! Does your child require a Dr. Beverly Crusher action figure? It can be had here.
Finally, a classic, old-timey scale. I wish I'd bought it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Bygone Pleasure Palace

 Near Rockford, Illinois (home of Jane, the world's most complete juvenile Tyrannosaurus skeleton!) stands this weatherbeaten sign, advertising what must once have been a splendid place to wine and dine and––I'm guessing––gamble.
Was gambling legal in Illinois back then, and was the name of the club a nod and a wink to the discriminating seeker of frolicsome entertainment? I don't know, but I wish it was still there. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Good Taxidermy

Mrs. Phillips and I, on the way home from dropping our little one off at camp, stopped in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to see my elementary school pal Barry "Manolo" Sanders and his significant other Chantelle, and while there we went to the "Blind Pig" Brew Pub, wherein hangs this magnificent Gnu head.


Also, the Blind Pig makes some lovely beers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm on the Road!

First I was sick. Then I was taking my daughter to camp and got busy, then last night the motel's wifi was broken. But I have a whole lot to blog now, having traveled all over the great states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana! I almost made it to Iowa, but that didn't work out and I will not be discussing it. Here, just as a teaser, are a couple of photos taken on Monday morning near Paw Paw, Michigan.

Do you love the musty, moldy ambience of a really cruddy, rundown flea market? The you need to make the trek to Paw Paw, because this place is huge, and every square meter of the place is imbued with a sense of hopelessness and loss.

Do you have dormant allergies that you yearn to awaken? Again, you must hasten to Paw Paw, because allergens unknown to medical science fill the air, swirling and dancing and awaiting the moment when they can once again overstimulate someone's immune system.

Are there LPs by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods or solo work by Donny Osmond that you're always closing in on but can't ever seem to get your hands on?

Paw Paw.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Denver Adult Movie House

I'm sick today, so I don't have much for you. But here's a picture of an adult movie house in Denver I took a couple years ago.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another French Book Poster


I picked this up already framed in Paris a few years back for about fifty Euros. It's a lithographed advertisement for "La Porteuse de Pain," a popular novel of the 1880s by Xavier Montépin. A huge bestseller in its day, it's still in print, and as Montépin's French Wikipedia entry points out, it's been adapted for stage, screen and television. The ad is for the first installment of the book's serialization.
(If you don't read French, one interesting fact in the article is that one secret of his phenomenally prolific output was the extensive use of ghostwriters.)

I don't know how many copies of this there are floating around, but here's one from the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée, and I know that the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris has one also:
This one is unique (as far as I know), though, in that it has had addenda pasted onto it stating that the first installment is free. (Shades of modern viral marketing campaigns.)

Get a load of this beautiful litho:

(Sorry about the glare. That's some cheap glass on there and I'm too thrifty to get it reframed.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Aural Hygiene

I don't have much tonight. But because I'm reluctant to break my streak of consecutive daily posts, here's a little something:
Keep 'em clean, ladies and gents!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! More "Conundrum Enigma!"

More literary genius from my protegé, Troy Cutcross. Troy has generously given me permission to publish Chapter Four in its entirety! Previously, "Doughnuts's" boss at the spy agency had been assassinated by a Russian known as "The Cosmonaut." At the end of Chapter Three, Charlie arrived at the International Space Station only to find its entire crew dead, including his old friend Major Jacques LaVie.
And now.....
THE CONUNDRUM ENIGMA: A Charlie "Doughnuts" Duncan Sexy Thriller

by Troy Cutcross

         Attached by a Laurel and Hardy-shaped magnet to the door of the crew refrigerator––reminding him of the nickname those jerks back at the agency had for Tammi––was a note.
         He was a fiend, And now he had a head start to Europa! Who even knew what his plan was when he got there? A lesser man would have given up. But Colonel Charlie “Doughnuts” Duncan was not that lesser man.
         The first order of business after fixing himself a nutritious snack of Tang and Space Food Sticks was to get rid of the astronauts’ corpses. This was because the heavier the ship was the more fuel it used, even though they were in zero gravity, and if they weren’t alive, they were just “dead weight.” “Doughnuts” suddenly realized that the phrase he had just used was full of terrible irony of the sort that made him known as a great wit. This time his wit was tragic and not funny, he reflected.
         Standard protocol, or operating procedure, for removing cadavers, or dead bodies, from the International Space Station called for Duncan to wait until the Station passed over the dead astronaut’s home country and then shoving the former space hero out the hatch so that he or she would burn up in the atmosphere over his or her homeland. It so happened that just as he finished the last of his Tang he was passing over France.
         “So long, Jacques,” he said as he dragged Major LaVie by his boots across the floor to the trash expulsion hatch. “You were anything but trash, in my opinion––from now on I’m going to call this the ‘trash and heroes expulsion hatch’!” He was sniffling a little as he shot his old friend into space and toward the earth, and he didn’t even have to pretend it was allergies since there was no one to see him. Or so he thought.
         Next was a Captain Swierczinski, who came from Poland, which as near as Charlie could tell they would be passing over pretty soon. Not for the first time he wondered why the Poles, about whom jokes used to be told called Polack jokes which were anything but funny if you were one, used so many consonants in their names. Since he didn’t know the Captain he didn’t say anything, just stuck him into the hatch and blew it. There were two crew members from China, so he shot them down together, hoping that in life they’d been friends and that he wasn’t just making an assumption to save himself some time. Then there was a Korean Colonel, but since “Doughnuts” didn’t know for sure whether he was from North or South Korea he did his best to aim him toward the Demilitarized Zone between the two divided halves of the nation as a gesture toward international peace. As he watched the colonel burst into flames in contact with the earth’s atmosphere Charlie couldn’t help smiling at memories of the TV show M*A*S*H, which was set in Korea and always made him chuckle, even when there was a serious element as there often was in its best episodes, like the last one, “Goodbye Forever Amen.”
         Next there was a Lieutenant Nummelin, and since he didn’t know what kind of name that was he dropped him over the Pacific. There was only one astronaut body left, that of a beautiful woman. When he looked at her nametag he was surprised by two things: One, she was Russian, and he’d already passed over Russia! He cursed the fact that he’d have to wait until the Station got all the way over to that side of the world before he could relax and do his zero gravity exercises, which he would perform by turning off the artificial gravity. The second thing that surprised him was the size of her bosoms, which were quite large by western standards. Almost without thinking he put his hand on the left one, which is when he got his third surprise: she let out a loud gasp and slapped him in the face!
         “You’re alive,” he deduced.
         She squinted as though she were trying to place his face. “And you’re Charlie ‘Doughnuts’ Duncan!” she exclaimed, surprising Charlie, because he had no idea how she knew that.
         “How did you…” he began, intending to ask how she knew his face.
         “I recognized you from the pictures Major Jacques LaVie kept showing us all the time,” she said. “You are as handsome in person as in your photos, but that doesn’t mean you get to ‘cop a feel’ without permission!”
         “I’m very sorry. I thought you were dead.”
         “No harm done,” she said, and extended her hand. “Svetlana Skikorskova,” she said. “Where are my crewmates?”
         “All dead, I’m afraid.”
         “Murdered by that villain Toborsky! He’s a disgrace to the Cosmonaut program,” she spat.
         “I just got finished shooting them through the trash hatch toward their various native lands. I was going to do the same thing to you before I realized that you were alive.”
         “It’s a good thing you decided to get ‘fresh’ with my corpse, or I might have burned up alive! You don’t suppose…” She hesitated.
         “Nothing. I was just wondering if any of the others were just unconscious when you jettisoned, or shot, them out of the station.”
         “Doughnuts” thought about it really hard. No, he was pretty sure they’d all been dead, and he said so.
         “So,” she deduced. “Two questions: One, do you want a passenger on your trip to Europa, which Major LaVie told us all about?”
         “I guess I could use some company. Especially a pretty girl who speaks the Cosmonaut’s native ‘lingo,’ or language! Just in case we have to use his ship to get back and the controls are all marked in Russian, like in that one Star Trek movie whose number I can’t remember. Now what’s the second question?”
         She grabbed hold of her right bosom, the one Duncan hadn’t touched yet, and gave him a catlike smile of seduction. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

As heartwarming a blog post as I'll ever write.

Here's a beautifully lithographed poster advertising the serialization in Le Petit Journal of la Mascotte des Poilus, a 1916 novel by French pulp master Arnould Galopin. The book isn't much remembered--it's a sentimental thing about French soldiers ("poilus," or "hairies") adopting a little girl during WWI.

But it was adapted for the screen in 1918, and you can see the film in its entirety here: http://www.tracktvlinks.com/watch-la-mascotte-des-poilus-1918

The soldier on the right isn't very poilu, and in fact seems to be wearing a lot of eye makeup and lipstick, and I have been wondering whether or not this is meant to be a camp follower....(click to enlarge)

And check out the blood coming out of the dead Hun!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dead Coyote

From the attic of an antique mall in Alton, Illinois, a rather sad-looking coyote.

He almost looks tame! I wish I'd taken a better close-up picture of him and his bedraggled lower jaw and broken ear.

 Now compare him with his fierce relation in some town I passed through in the Kansas Flint Hills sometime in the eighties:
Double Bonus! On the floor to the right is a coyote rug, and in the shadows of the upper right-hand corner, there's a bobcat. Bobcats are increasingly important to this blog.

I seem to recall I was passing through late on a Sunday afternoon and the whole town was shut down and spooky. I'd say this was the scariest sporting goods store in America.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Film Noir from Belgium!

All right, the film in question isn't Belgian, but the poster is:

Click on the image to see some real pretty mid-century lithography. The title translates as "White Slave Trade," more or less. I found this in, of all places, Mark Twain's boyhood hometown of Hannibal Missouri. The poster still has its original Belgian tax stamps affixed to it:

This is what I call villainy!