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Monthly Archives: March 2006

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Small Spaces with Panache

This Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest 2006 site is a neat resource for those living in smaller spaces. Paging through the Western entries and reading the comments, I’m impressed with the style and ingenuity on display (and it’s fun to read the nasty reactions to the few apartments which don’t measure up). Who’da thunk one can get so much mileage off IKEA and repurposed thrift store furniture?

Neat as that site is, now it makes me want to replace certain outdated pieces here at chez scrubbles. I mean, chunky unfinished pine shelving doesn’t go with anyone’s decor — unless you’re a lumberjack. I also desperately want to replace the clumsy old faux-oak computer desk inherited from my parents (I can even remember using it to play on the Commodore 64!).

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

Don’t know if many have noticed this, but leaving a comment on this weblog is not an easy thing to do. Previewing a comment leads to an error page. Posting one results in a hanging page. Whenever that happens, you just need to hit “reload” in your browser and it will take. Sorry about that.

This is part of a greater problem with my server being very slow — why, I have no idea. The slowness been getting much worse in the last couple of weeks; so bad that I sometimes can’t log into Movable Type to post new entries and do other weblog maintenance. My web host is working on solving it. Did we mention how much I hate computer/web problems?

An Overdose of Cute

Awww, how cuuute. I’m in love with these Mary Blair illustrations from Baby’s House by Geolo McHugh, a vintage Little Golden Book (via Drawn!). The page takes an extremely long time to load, but bear with it and be rewarded with drawings so insanely cute they’ll make yer teeth hurt. Dan Goodsell’s Mary Blair flickr set is another must-see. Can’t get enough of the fabulous Ms. Blair!

My Favorite Blonde

Hey all! You might know that, in addition to, I run The Joyce Compton Shrine — the only website entirely dedicated to “dumb blonde” character actress Joyce Compton. Lately I’ve been pretty happy that Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting several vintage films with our Miss Compton in the next couple of weeks.

First up, set for Tuesday March 21st at 1:30 a.m. (all times are Eastern Standard): the 1939 musical Balalaika will be aired as part of TCM’s month-long Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy tribute. This one’s a Nelson Eddy solo vehicle with the lovely Illona Massey as his leading lady, which is fine by me since I’m one of the few who actually prefer Nelson and Jeanette individually over the vomitty operettas they did together. Miss Compton has a decent part as Massey’s maid, standing out amongst a motley ensemble playing turn-of-the-century Russians. Not one cast member bothers to attempt speaking in a Russian style — so as a result you end up with Eddy’s sturdy American baritone, Massey’s Viennese accent, supporting player Charlie Ruggles with his proper English tones, and Miss Compton’s sweet Southern voice! It’s very odd experience, but I love the musical numbers and Compton does well with an unusually dramatic role. Plus she wears Adrian’s “Russian peasant meets Hollywood glamour queen” costume designs well.

Broadcasting on Wednesday March 22nd at 7:15 a.m. is Sky Murder, a 1940 MGM B-mystery starring Walter Pidgeon as detective Nick Park. This was another attempt at a Thin Man-style franchise that never got off the ground, though Mr. Pidgeon is very appealing in the lead. Miss Compton plays his assistant, a featherbrained private eye. Not the least stereotypical part ever written, but she contributes lots of delightful energy to what ultimately amounts to a silly, forgettable film. Still, it’s interesting to see her in a rare opportunity at (sort of) leading lady-dom.

Next is something I’ve been waiting for years to see: the 1941 comedy Bedtime Story, set to air on Tuesday March 28 at 8:00 p.m. I never dreamed this particular one would show up on the TCM schedule, since it’s a relatively obscure 20th Century Fox Columbia title and TCM has to make special arrangements to air films not in its library (which includes much of pre-1950 Warner Brothers, MGM and RKO). I don’t know how good a film this is, but does boast a dynamite cast including Loretta Young, Fredric March, Eve Arden, Robert Benchley (Compton previously appeared with Benchley in his 1938 short How To Watch Football), and of course Miss Compton. Here’s hoping it’s a real treat.

And it doesn’t end there — TCM’s showing a bunch of Joyce’s movies in April. City for Conquest (tiny part as dance partner to a young Anthony Quinn) on the 11th; They Drive By Night (uncredited but meaty role as a dumbell) and Westward Passage (bit part as an artist’s model) on the 17th; A Southern Yankee (brunette Southern Belle opposite Red Skelton) on the 21st. Sorry if I ended up sounding like a total shill for TCM here, but this is nice!

The Incurable Collector

Tim Lucas Video WatchBlog on the collecting instinct. Lucas writes candidly about his own completist desires in collecting DVDs, but his post really could refer to any kind of collection. The reader responses also contain many insights. What makes people collect — a hoarding instinct? In my experience, the people who get extremely obsessive in this regard tend to be men. Why is that so?

Although I’m not obsessive with collecting DVDs per se, I can relate. Compare it to a drug user who is dependent one week, then cold turkey the next. I actually go through periods of acquiring things, followed by periods of selling things off. Usually at the same time. Maybe it comes from living in a small house, but I can’t stand having lots of unnecessary things cluttering up my life. But then again, having different exquisite vintage items around the house (often artfully arranged on a shelf) makes me feel comfortable. On the other hand, I have a bad habit of accumulating things that pile up for unknown reasons here and there. In my bedroom, I have a particular small pile of various papers (that I don’t really need) which I store on my computer chair. Every time I use my computer, I have to remove the pile and stick it on the bed. That’s fucked up. Why don’t I just chuck that pile into the garbage?

I’m rambling here, but I just want to close by extolling the virtues of getting rid of things. On eBay, I’m currently selling off bunches of Russel Wright dinnerware which I collected throughout the ’90s. While I originally thought it might be hard to let go of these items (and I’m certainly not selling this stuff for more than the prices I originally paid for them), it actually feels wonderful to set things free. Liberating, even.

Larry Tate Would Approve

Another marvy flickr set: ads with cartoon elements (thanks, Julie!). You could probably lose a day or three of productivity just glancing through all of Leif Peng’s flickr photo sets containing all sorts of cool vintage illustration art.