Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Roadside America

Imagine if your father's old train set could have filled an airplane hanger. (I hear Neil Young's does, and everything Neil does is cool) Well, "Roadside America" is a train set not only as big as a football field, it also has a fantastic creepy vibe from 1935, when it still was amazing that you could push a button and make things move. (Note bell-ringer button above) FOUR THOUSAND tiny industrious people and FOUR HUNDRED little buildings. Not only that, STILL OPEN EVERY DAY. I've been, more than once, and here is the spoiler: after letting you roam free a while to get value for your dollar, they line you up against the rear wall, stand you on bleachers, turn off all the lights and play a scratchy patriotic soundtrack while illuminating various things which make America great...first the churches, then various elements of throbbing industry, and finishing big with huge waving flags. Everyone leaves stunned and head further down the road to Hershey, PA for fresher treats. They have a website which could also use a little dusting off.

Three Roadside America postcards c. 1960 Collection Jim Linderman

Lead In My Pencil Blues and Collecting Pencils

ANY advertising pencil is fun. These all happen to be farm and farm supply examples.

Pencil trivia, of course, abounds, but none equals the masterful lyrics in which INNUENDO abounds by Johnny "Geechie" Temple who in 1935 recorded "Lead Pencil Blues"

I laid down last night, couldn't eat a bite
The woman I love don't treat me right
Lead in my pencil, baby it's done gone bad
And it's the worst old feelin' baby, that I've ever had

I woke up this mornin', my baby mighty mad
Cause the lead in my pencil, it's done gone bad
Lead in my pencil, baby it's done gone bad
And that's the worst old feelin' that I've ever had

My baby told me this mornin', she's feelin' mighty blue
Lead in my pencil just wouldn't do
And she said "Been ready all night -- Lead in your pencil daddy, just wouldn't write"
Lead in my pencil, baby it just won't write
And it's the worst old feelin' baby, that I've ever had

My baby says she goin' to quit me I'll tell you for this reason why
Lead in my pencil gone bye-bye
Laid down last night, couldn't help but cry
Wanted to write so bad, I was about to die
Lead in my pencil, baby it's done gone bad
And it's the worst old feeling baby, that I've ever had

Group of Advertising Pencils c. 1950 Collection Jim Linderman

Where Warther Worked

Mr Warther worked at a steel mill 21 years but his splendid model took only 9 months. Note the big-ass trunk he used to lug it around! A "groganized" real photo, circa 1955. Grogan Photo was a Danville Illinois producer of real photos.

Steel Mill Carved of Walnut and Ivory by Ernest Warther
Real Photo Post Card circa 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Order of Service

Location Unknown, Southern United States Original 35mm photograph and detail c. 1995 Collection Jim Linderman


Last night as the radio and I faded, I heard a fellow who claimed to be growing a new heart. True or not, it is clearly possible, and highly probable we we be able to grow human heart valves internally very shortly. Who will PAY for folks living to 120 and beyond is dicey, since there are already rumblings in both congress and medical ethics circles indicating we are simply not going to be able to provide retirement funds to those who live as long retired as they did working. The inevitable result will be those who can afford to pay for a new heart will be able to have one. One of the components of any health care proposal being discussed is how to determine those who gets and those who don't. Though if you rely on the "news" you'd think the only stumbling block is being able to "choose your own doctor." The rest of us will meet the ice flow which drifts away, so to speak. Not a cheerful valentine, but then chocolate jazzes the endorphins, so partake.

Miniature hand-painted Sacred Heart of Jesus Anonymous
1" x 1" circa 1900
Collection Jim Linderman

Hang Fire Books

Just a quick note of thanks to Hang Fire Books, one of the best sources of vintage sleazy paperbacks, obscure books and the owner of one of the most interesting blogs around. The proprietor is an old time picker in the best sense of the word. He combs the cobblestones of Brooklyn and turns up wonderful things, all the while reporting his success rate (which seems pretty good) He also builds a damn fine bookcase, this being done with wood and nails rather than his usual dry wit. He blurbed me, which is appreciated. His blog (and others I follow religiously) shows under my ABOUT ME page here. ALL the blogs I have bookmarked there are way above average, and you can also see the other blogs I write.

Jack loves Thelma

Pure and Simple

Homemade Valentine c. 1950 Collection Jim Linderman


GALS GAMS GARTERS which is a digital record of an enormous scrapbook found in a dumpster by a Virginia student in the late 1960's. Our anonymous artist was a serious aficionado of the leg, ankle and above, but there is no nudity, no sex and nary a nipple. However, the man with the scissors and tape, like the magazine editors who provided him with product, managed to skirt good taste with plenty of inspired photos. His motivation? Who knows? For that matter, who is to judge? Feel free to forward to your fashionista friends.

We start here with one "Dacy Reid" who is in fact the recently departed Bettie Page. If you are a fan of vintage erotica, fashion, vintage clothing and retro culture...or (like the web itself) are saturated and sated with x-rated exploitation, GALS GAMS GARTERS is the place for you.

The Virginia Stocki...
By Victor Minx with ...

Newprint photo detail c. 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Reverend John Ruth Bible Garden

Camel and sign from the lost environment of Reverend John D. Ruth, Athens Georgia

Original 35mm photograph Athens Georgia c. 1994 collection Jim Linderman

Mother Dolly on Roller Skates

Roller skates were being mass produced in the 1880's, which is where I date this tintype. It is not clear if Dolly skated to the studio, or the studio came to Dolly. At the time, skating was done in large rinks and amusement parks, it is possible the photographer took this photo shortly after the announcer shouted "MEN SKATE." Other than the invention of in-line skates, the most notable skate related trivia I find is that Heather Graham's character "Rollergirl" in the film Boogie Nights is always seen wearing her trademark roller skates, even during sex scenes

Mother Dolly on Roller Skates Tintype photograph c. 1880 Collection Jim Linderman

Miniature Toy Cameras from Japan and Hong Kong

Since this blog is ostensibly about photography (among other things), this post fits easily. In fact, it would fit anywhere! Teeny, tiny, wee miniature plastic toy cameras from Hong Kong and Japan. Toy cameras come in a surprising variety of forms. "Squirters" to wet Fido, "surprisers" with a rubber snake, etc. One of these even came with 12 pieces of ACTUAL FILM, each no larger than a postage stamp, one of which is shown here. And yes....there is a fake "digital" camera available. It looks exactly like one of these, but more modern.

Toy Camera Graphics c. 1960 collection Jim Linderman

Prophet Blackmon Revival Center and Shoe Repair Shop

For forty years Rev. William Blackmon preached in the streets of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, often without a home. In 1974 the Lord brought him to Milwaukee where he settled in the combination house/studio/church/shoe repair/car wash and wild greens shop above.

Two original snapshots circa 1991 Collection Jim Linderman

Censored Antique Cheescake Calendar Censorship Erotica

Calendar Girl, Cheescake, Pin-up Girl, Centerfold, Glamour Girl. All names for more or less the same thing. Paper dolls in vibrant color good for a month. Now frowned upon...but frowned upon back then too, note the strategic banners. This is a group of four pages from a Salesman Sample for calendars, circa 1955, which were censored in bold manner, nothing subtle about it. It must have been frustrating for printers to keep getting hauled into court in every city the local mailman happened to peek into the bulk mail. As any man my age will attest, every single gas station had a similar calendar hanging in the grease shop. They always hung askew in the same place. It was an annual ritual for the boss to open one up in January and start a new year. It allowed a few minutes of supervisor/subordinate bonding before another year of oil changes began. It is odd that breasts are so often (even to this day) censored, especially as they are nearly always the first pleasant encounter of every mammal, including both sexes of the two-legged kind. The entire convoluted history of 20th century commercial titillation and censorship is a topic I hope to wrestle with in future posts, but for the time being I am content just to "hang these on the wall" so to speak.

Four Lithograph printed Salesman Sample Calendar Pages c. 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Good Wood: Burl

Burl. Some of the most beautiful and prized wood carvings produced for use have been made from burl wood. The jumbo redwood burl shown on this postcard is an extreme example and probably netted the 1970's hippies here a considerable sum. A profitable way to spend a summer. You've seen burl wood without knowing it...the funky, fungoid looking growths on elm and maple trunks, out west on redwood. When chopped and formed, those ugly growths make the hardest, tightest and most beautiful woodenware. Both Native American and colonial carvers made bowls, scoops and ladles of the dense and textured material. Folk art dealer and scholar Steven S. Powers, a bright young man with one of the best pair of eyes in the folk art world recently published a beautiful book "North American Burl Treen: Colonial & Native American" and available on his website. Make SURE to download his extraordinary catalog "Good Wood" on the same site, it has many exceptional examples of early American folk art.

The burl above is described as follows: " We believe this to be the world's largest burl, approximately 118 feet around, 30 feet high and weighing just less of 1 million pounds. It was uncovered in fall of 1977 at Big Lagoon in northern California on Louisiana Pacific property"
The card was distributed by Burlwood Industries Inc, a company still in business and making beautiful craft and sculptural objects.

Burlwood Industries "world's largest burl" Advertising Post card 6" x 9" c. 1980 collection Jim Linderman

Chuckie Williams

The late Chuckie Williams of Shreveport, Louisiana. Quite a painter, he stacked them for ten years in his mother's house until a fire forced dozens of his works out onto the front lawn. At the time I was studying Justin McCarthy, a self-taught painter from Pennsylvania. Mr. Williams work is quite similar, although both worked in relative isolation. Neither had any mysterious, innate, romantic "outsider" skill, they just worked very, very, hard and earned their style. Both painted the celebrities of their day, landscapes, religious scenes, animals, images from television and magazines...you name it. (Here Mr. Williams holds Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation style) Both worked text into their paintings. Both worked fast. Both sketched the image in pencil or pen and were so anxious to finish they seldom took the time to fill all the spaces. Both knew they were artists long before anyone else did, and it was persistence and hard work which produced the body of work, not a fevered mind, the hand of God, an affliction or a voice from anywhere.

Chuckie Williams, Shreveport LA, circa 1993 Original 35mm photo collection Jim Linderman

Lux Interior r.i.p.

I just learned Lux Interior of the Cramps passed away. I am not a blogger who links to clips and sound bites. I hardly even discuss music in public anymore. Enough sappy mix tapes sent to indifferent girlfriends over the years finally taught me music is personal...as personal as religion and just as important. The Cramps meant more to me than I can ever describe. I wrote the above brief history in a now sadly obscure and sadly rare book titled "International Discography of the New Wave Volume II" published in NYC by Omnibus Press and One Ten Records in 1982. It was a massive labor of love by B. George, Martha DeFoe, Henry Beck, Nancy Breslow and a cast of a thousand punks who participated by sending in their homemade 45 records, flyers, blurbs...and love. Every damn one of the 736 pages was typed by hand, and if I recall correctly, the whole lot of 1000 copies was gone immediately. I was so damn proud to see my name associated with the band in print, no matter how insignificant it might appear today. I purchased my first Cramps record and saw them for the first time in 1978. I saw them every time I could. Everyone is special and everyone is unique, but if the phrase "one of a kind" is applicable to anyone with all the glory that expression should imply, it goes to Lux.

I Heart my Kanji Tattoo Art and Facts

At risk of alienating, well...14% of the entire US population, I confess to being indifferent about tattoos. It is a beautiful art to be sure, a friend has the most spectacular collection of antique tattoo flash you could imagine, and I mean a world-class big time serious collection of ART in a big font art. My favorite body modification is the pair of perfect tooth-shaped dog bites I have on my right elbow, the dog who gave them to me is a four-legged miracle. I was thinking about ink because Valentine's day is approaching and I was wondering if the heart is the most popular image. I gave up trying to verify it, but I can tell you one website offers (for $19.95 that is) access to over 10,000 heart images from which you may pick your favorite. I once saw a woman with a thong string and pouch tattooed on her lower back and found it pretty striking. In January 2008, a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive estimated that 14% of all adults in the United States have a tattoo. The highest incidence of tattoos was found among the gay, lesbian and bisexual population (25%) and people living in the West (20%). Among age groups, 9% of those ages 18-24, 32% of those 25-29, 25% of those 30-39 and 12% of those 40-49 have tattoos, as do 8% of those 50-64. Men are just slightly more likely to have a tattoo than women (15% versus 13%

"Hello Priscilla" linen Post Card c. 1950 collection Jim Linderman

Shelby Heflin's Beef

I do not know what Mr. Heflin's complaint with the VA was, but it made him mad. He was also pretty steamed that a member of his race would be discriminated against.

Original 35mm photograph near Montgomery, Alabama 1993 Collection Jim Linderman

The House of David Band

The House of David continues to operate here in Michigan to everyone's surprise. Most communes which prohibited sex (not to mention haircuts) have pretty much gone away, but this Utopian dream persists with a wonderful park, restaurant, museum and a fascinating history. Founded in 1903, the religious commune became known primarily for their barnstorming baseball team, they also had a top-notch musical band which toured the vaudeville circuit (shown here "Miles Davis" style). It is a terrible historical flaw that no known recordings of the band exist, but one well-known tune "The House of David Blues" has been recorded by many groups. One source even indicates the tune caused the Harlem Globetrotters to begin using "Sweet Georgia Brown" as a response to the House of David Basketball team playing of this song before games (!) A fascinating story which this post can only BEGIN to tell. Many more tales and artifacts are available on the incredible House of David Museum website

House of David Real Photo Postcard c. 1930 collection Jim Linderman