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Monthly Archives: December 2005

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Weblogs of Note

“Matt, when is the blogroll returning?” is a question I’m asked often around here (okay, nobody’s ever asked that question). I can only answer vaguely that it will be back someday, on its very own page. Whenever that day comes, I will have to add these other ones that have taken my fancy recently:

  • a sampler of things shares vintage ads, packaging, cartoons and other ephemera from the ’50s-’70s. I should mention that the proprietor of this one is the same person behind the indispensible Tick Tock Toys site. Thanks to Ward, otherwise I would’ve never heard of this one!
  • Cartoon Modern. Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew set up the weblog to publicize his forthcoming book on stylized ’50s animation, but it’s more than mere shill. The recent post on the appeal of that era’s animation design is a real gem.
  • Been reading Bubblegum Fink regularly since they linked to scrubbles awhile back. Kitsch aplenty, presented with a charm usually missing from weblogs of that ilk.
  • From what I can tell, Jart In My Head is one woman’s personal childhood history of defacing photos of various teeny bopper idols. And other stuff. More kitsch with a wonderful emphasis on obscure ’70s junk (Brady Bunch books!).
  • Fun All Around is illustrator Eric Sturdevant’s new weblog. I bookmarked it to keep track of the wonderful vintage illustrations he always uploads to flickr. Keep ’em coming, Eric!

Sketches: Tourists at Disneyland

Last October when we took a vacation in the L.A. area, I brought along the digital camera. It went unused much of the time, but the few pictures that were taken will appear online sometime soon. “Take a trip, make the website several months later” has, after all, become something of a tradition here in chez scrubbles and I don’t intend to break it.

Anyway, we took a couple of days to visit Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, and during the entire time I must have taken a total of six photos — half of them blurry shots of the Tiki Room interior. Whenever we’re busy doing something, taking a photo is an afterthought. Especially somewhere as hot and crowded as that place. Instead, I thought I’d share some sketches I made last night of the tourists at Disneyland/DCA. Going from left to right, the first figures are a couple of kids that were playing on the railings in the waiting area of the River Belle Terrace restaurant. The kids’ moms basically ignored them and looked flustered trying to figure out what to order. The second figure is a sloppy woman who left her empty drink cup on the fireplace mantel in the Disney Gallery (guess she couldn’t wait to use the 1,000 trash receptacles throughout the park). The third is a guy with a huge backpack who preceded us in line at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Don’t know why, but seemingly everybody there was carrying half of their possessions in huge bags and backpacks. Next is the Minnie Mouse character played by an extremely tiny woman. I spied her at the Plaza Inn, and she couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. The kids seemed to love her. Last is a little girl in a princess outfit, a common sight. No little boys dressed in prince costumes, however. The only tourist I missed was someone with a huge baby stroller (I can’t draw strollers), but this drawing completes my memories of those two days.

Gruesome Twosome: Bad Santa Edition

Lenny Dee: “Mister Santa”
LP: Happy Holi-Dee, c.1961

Gisele MacKenzie: “Too Fat for the Chimney”
LP: Christmas with Gisele, 1957

These two frisky odes to Santa Claus came from a compilation I received five years ago from Vern Stoltz, author of the late thrifting ‘zine Cannot Become Obsolete. Organist Lenny Dee’s “Mr. Sandman” rewrite is utterly charming with a sparkling, Countrypolitain-style production (with The Anita Kerr singers on backup!). Frequent Jack Benny Show guest Gisele MacKenzie digs at Santa’s weight issues with the hilarious, hand-clappy “Too Fat for the Chimney”. Tunes like these make me want to head for the nearest Goodwill record bin, hoping to unearth a seasonal treasure (instead of the umpteenth beat-up copy of Firestone Wishes You A Merry Christmas). Basic Hip Digital Oddio has the entire Lenny Dee album available as an audio stream.

It’s An Honor To Be Nominated

Aw, gee … has been named as a finalist in the 2005 Weblog Awards, in the Best Blog Design category. Thanks to whomever got it there. Actually, I can only claim half-credit on this weblog’s design. It’s basically an out-of-the-box Movable Type template that underwent a few tweaks to make it look less, eh, templateish. The polls are only open for the next ten days, so get on over there and vote (and check out the other noms).

Very Scarry Christmas

An interesting flickr set contrasts the 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry’s The Best Word Book Ever. In the publisher’s efforts at appearing more P.C., the book became just a little dumber and more condescending. And so it goes.

Studying the wonderful Scarry illustrations in The Animals’ Merry Christmas is one of my favorite childhood holiday memories. I seem to remember every picture vividly; so much so that Kathryn Jackson’s accompanying stories are a blur. There was a story about a polar bear who had to shave his coat and wear red long underwear, another one about a slowly deteriorating stuffed sheep. That’s about it. The copy in our family was a ’70s reprint, but I was surprised to find that the book actually dates from 1950! Maybe that explains why Scarry’s art touched me so much. I coudn’t find any examples from the book online, but Eric Sturdevant’s groovy Old Childrens Books flickr set contains art that conveys a similar look.