How fortuitous that Google reminded me that today, July 21st, is Marshall McLuhan's 106th birthday. I had forgotten about him. And then seeing this week's prompt on Sepia Saturday I was convinced it was a sure sign I was supposed to remember studying The Medium is the Massage my senior year in high school. I imagine somewhere in this house is an essay I wrote about the book or the "massage." I'd like to think that I "got it" back then and that I wrote some youthful words of wisdom. 

The message of McLuhan was not simple to grasp back then, but it sure is now. We are being inundated, massaged, by various mediums. As I watched a stupid woman staring at her cell phone walk out in front of me in the Target parking lot today I thought that maybe in honor of McLuhan I should just tap her with the bumper. I don't think she ever did notice me in my 3000 lbs of metal and glass.

We are consumers who are consumed by and with technology. The technology is almost impossible to keep up with, especially financially. Out with the old, in with the new. I'm actually not one of those types of consumer. I'm not interested in the latest and the greatest and what it purports to do for me. My toaster is from 1945 and it works just fine thank you very much. My computer is from 2010. But ay, there's the rub. I'm writing this on a computer to people I don't know and will probably never meet. I am part of the global village McLuhan spoke about. Doesn't make any difference if my toaster is from the time of World War II, my current reality is clearly part of today's medium.

All of this is to bring me around to this week's prompt which is of a family watching tv...on a yacht. Okay, I don't have anything that matches that and I'm betting few people do. But I do have people with the ubiquitous television. It was the television that for me McLuhan was talking about in the late '60s. TV was important. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot one Sunday morning on television. I watched an American officer shoot a Viet Cong in the head on television. I watched Mick Jagger smirk on Ed Sullivan when he knew he'd run afoul of the sensors. And what had been on tv was always the topic of discussion the next day at school. But who would have really imagined how totally consumed our lives would be all of this. Doesn't make any difference if you watch NBC or HBO. You could avoid tv completely and still you're going to be aware of what is going on. The net will make sure of that and now to a lesser extent newspapers/magazines. It's hard to get away from it. The massaging of the message is always there.

So this little girl is staring at us while her younger sister is drawn to what is going on behind her on the tv. One is interacting with another human while the other is more interested in the message from behind.

And here we have the information furniture. Turn it on and a world comes to you.

You have to remember to edit what you hear and see, but I'm afraid that these days people have become too lazy to do much more than simply turn on their 75", 4k, 3x HDMI, Smart TV and absorb. Analytical thought has become suspicious and we're all the less wise because of that.

All of this is brought to you by the whack on the head I took in the shower yesterday.



I'll let the photos and the Iowa newspaper clippings tell the story. All I know is this man's name was Jim Saunders and he was a salesman for Dr. Bakers products. If you do a google search you'll find a lot of Dr. Bakers so it's hard to discern if the ones in the news clippings below are all about salesmen for the same company.

This is my selection for Sepia Saturday. Though not in sync with this week's prompt, I'm willing to bet there were plenty of sales reps nearby hoping to entice some of the fair attendees to sample their wares.

Either way, enjoy medicine the way it used to be. No insurance required. No cures guaranteed.

Click on images to see them larger.

Algona Courier, Sep. 27,1895

Quad City Times, Oct.11, 1879

Des Moines Register, May 22, 1887

Opinion Tribune, Dec. 10, 1896

Sioux Valley News, Feb. 6. 1902

Sioux Valley News, Sep. 7, 1905

Greene Recorder, April 1, 1908

Greene Recorder, Mar. 22, 1922



it's hot outside! I'm not kidding. It was 111.4 today. Time to find a puddle or a pond to sit in. Just sit. Do nothing. Just sit. Wait for the evening when it drops down to...85. Yup, it's going to be good sleeping tonight.

But it's a dry heat.

Click on images to see them larger.

Just getting into the swim with this week's Sepia Saturday. Someone hand me a cold one. A block of ice would do.


The SERIOUS FAMILIES little dancer

If you've been visiting this place the past few years you will be aware of the Serious Family consisting of a mother and three children. To see the other posts click on the word "serious" in the labels below.

Here I give you the lovely little daughter in some sort of costume. I'm guessing it was for a dance recital, but I'm open to other suggestions.

It was nice finding one of the children again.

Click on image to see it larger.


The FIREMEN and the DOG

Looking at this week's Sepia Saturday prompt had me scratching my head until I went to an estate sale today. The sale had started yesterday so I didn't have much hope that anything interesting—in my mind—would be there on the second day. I smiled when I found a frame in the garage in a box of junk that contained four interesting photos. This was the one that most caught my eye and I knew immediately I had my contribution for this week.

When I looked at this week's prompt my first thought was a lantern and smoke. Seriously, the dog was the second thing I noticed. I'm easily distracted by my own thoughts. Where there's smoke there's fire. So I give you firemen from long ago with their fire house dog. Think of him as a dalmatian with really big dark spots.

Click on images to see them larger.

I have no idea where this shot was taken. There are a lot of towns named Hastings so I'm clueless as to where this might have been taken. 

As to the wild beast in the darkness behind them. Looks like some sort of weird insect monster. Nah, just the fire wagon waiting for the horses to be attached and the race to the next fire.

Now, I want to apologize to my fellow Sepians for something that happened several weeks ago. I visited all the sites for those who had posted for Sepia Saturday 371. I left messages and went on my way. Later that night I discovered only two of my messages actually posted. I've had this happen many times and it's frustrating. Often I have gone back and tried to remember what I'd said so I could comment again. This time I didn't. I have no idea why this happens and I hate that I end up looking like a deadbeat who doesn't participate. I'm sorry. Hopefully this time I'll get through without incident. I'm wondering if anyone else has this happen. 


Once upon a time there was A BOXER NAMED MARCUS VASQUEZ

This is a repost from several years ago that most won't have seen. In keeping with the man with the box for Sepia Saturday I give you boxer Marcus Vasquez. All I ever found about him is below.

You'd think that starting with "Once upon a time..." I'd have a fairytale to tell. No, just an old picture of a lightweight boxer named Marcus Vasquez wearing an apron. Seriously, I have no idea what is going on or how this photo eventually ended up in my hands.

"To a Swell Kid Marcus Vasquez.
From your manager Ben Marcus"

Marcus Vasquez appears to have fought his first professional bout on Dec. 21, 1948 against Cadilla Clemmons at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. He won the fight. From then on he fought around Southern California, up to San Jose on March 22, 1949, over to Arizona for several fights, even down to Chihuahua, Mexico on Feb. 8, 1950; he lost that fight to Al Lopez.

According to the online information I've found, Marcus had 17 wins, 19 losses, and 7 draws with a total of 197 rounds fought. The last fight listed was on July 7, 1952 to Maxie Docusen in San Antonio, Texas. Marcus lost and is listed as TKO.

So, was this the end of Marcus Vasquez as a fighter? I cannot find any other information about him.

As to the fellow on the left, his manager, Ben Marcus, I cannot find anything about him other than he worked in the Los Angeles area.

I don't know, but my mind spins when I look at this shot with the inscription and I'm sucked into the world of Raymond Chandler and this little scrap of paper is evidence in a murder. I can't say truthfully anything one way or the other. It is what it is and it will forever be a mystery unless some person with knowledge of the world of boxing in Los Angeles in the late '40s to early '50s steps forward to fill in the missing pieces to the story.

For now, I'm riding in my old Buick on a warm summer night along Sunset, hoping I can run a few red lights without getting caught as I try to make my way to a mysterious meeting in Los Feliz. It began with this photo stuffed inside my morning paper with a note that read, "9:40, Jerry's, Los Feliz. Come alone."

UPDATE: I found this image for sale online at a boxing memorabilia site. This shows that Marcus was in an undercard fight on September 9, 1949 at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.


I looked up "undercard" and found the following:
The undercard, or preliminary matches (sometimes preliminary card), consists of preliminary bouts that occur before the headline or "main event" of a particular boxing, professional wrestling, horse racing, auto racing, or other sports event. (In auto racing, however, the term "support race" occurs more commonly.) Typically, promoters intend the undercard to provide fans with an opportunity to see up-and-coming fighters or fighters not so well known and popular as their counterparts in the main event. The undercard also ensures that if the main event ends quickly fans will still feel that they received sufficient value for the price of their admission. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Marcus, I fear, is lost to history other than this post.


The UNKNOWN Couple

Found this a few weeks ago in a dollar bin. It's very damaged so I ran a filter to "fix" it enough to view because I want you all to decide if it's a man or a woman on the right. Both have rouge on their cheeks thanks to someone thinking that was necessary. And actually, without the fix of the shot the details aren't as easy to see.

So two guys hanging around or a guy and a gal? I'm thinking they headed west to seek their fortune and found Northern California to their liking. How they ended up in a dollar bin is a whole other story.

Click on image to see it larger.