Perhaps these two are the designated drivers for the evening enjoying a few moments of quiet and friendship. Or is the fellow on the left thinking "If I'd just gotten out of the office a little faster my boss wouldn't have been able to invite me to his home for a New Years Eve game of chess." No matter. It's that ridiculous day each year when we take stock of the previous year and promise to do better next year. And then January 2nd comes and we look in the mirror and think, "Where am I?"

Happy New Year!


TIN LIZZY feels dizzy

I can't decide exactly what to say about this shot so I'll put down all three that came to mind:
  1. Don't eat yellow snow because you never know how old it is.
  2. Always buy from a reputable dealer that includes side windows as a standard option.
  3. Go west young man, go west, or at least own a snowblower that can do this to your neighbor's car.
To those feeling the brunt of the winter's wetness I pass along my sympathy. Notice I didn't say empathy.



For those who have settled down to watch A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time I give you a slightly doctored photo of a street that would be happy to have a fragile leg lamp lit in a window and two little boys smelling of wet wool with dreams of Santa in their heads. 

Merry Christmas Past and Christmas Never Was.



Most children are in their pajamas by the time Santa rolls through. Most sound asleep. But not the "Polite Family" which regularly greets Santa in their Sunday finest. Each year hors d'oeuvres are served along with milk and cookies. Santa takes a breather as he sits on the sofa, snapshot taken, small talk made, while the reindeer pace the roof. The following week the little boy shows his friends the photo and each year some smart aleck neighbor kid always says, "Nah, that's just your Uncle Ed." I think the little girl might be starting to get suspicious.


MERRY CHRISTMAS grandma and grandpa

Usually in old found photos with children there's at least one child that is blurred. Blurred forever through time. Everyone else is posed stiffly, either smiling or looking somber. And then there's that one child who just wouldn't stand still. Here on the other hand it appears the photographer was a little tipsy with Christmas cheer and moved just enough to make the whole scene become a bit ghostly, even a little like a seance. Sweet little girls posed with their fun toys, their message to grandma and grandpa neatly printed on their chalkboard, and then ol' dad just couldn't keep it together. Let's hope he took a second that was in focus. I hate to think of the disappointment they all felt when the photo came back from being processed. Perhaps this is why this one was thrown away. Somewhere, somebody has one in focus.


SERIOUS about tinsel

Now this is a woman who is SERIOUS about tinsel! Saddleshoes on the chair, tinsel hanging like delicate silver chains in her hand, caught in the act. Was she home alone, hanging each strand, humming White Christmas? In her own little world, the zen of the tinsel. And then somebody comes in with flash blazing and documents the moment like a tabloid photographer. It is an odd picture. Not too odd. Just odd enough.

And about that painting hanging in the frame...no nudging necessary, though it seems a bit high on the wall. I'll leave it alone


DECK THE BALLS with howls of Molly

Hmmmmmmm...the picture is crooked on the wall. This is going to bug me. I want to straighten it. I'm one of those people. Nudging picture frames until they're just right. I need to forget about it. Focus on something else. Nice tree, hits the ceiling...but that frame...excuse me for a minute. And I'll try to not trip on the dog.


LEADED, not unleaded

A few years ago I found a box in the attic that contained the old fashioned leaded tinsel. Tinsel used on Christmas trees when I was a child. Another box contained the type of tinsel that followed in the 60s. The leaded was heavy and when it fell through the branches of the tree it made a noise. You knew tinsel had fallen. The later tinsel would move when you walked by the tree creating a breeze, but would rarely fall from its branches. The leaded just hung there. The Christmas tree in this found photo has leaded tinsel. It's heavy and lovely, each piece hung separately. You couldn't throw a wad of leaded onto a tree because it would usually fall through the branches, plus if it stuck it looked like a shiny birds nest. 

Do people still put tinsel on a tree? I haven't seen any in years. I don't think we have the time for tinsel anymore and that's a shame. Strand by strand, it takes time. I don't have the time.

Thank you to whoever took this photo because it brings back memories.



Now this is how to handle a meet-and-greet with Santa in the 1940s. Keep it moving, keep it organized, everybody goes home happy. I'm not sure what the fellow might be doing with the microphone. Announcing the names of the wee tots as they pass by? Singing Christmas carols ala Sinatra? Perhaps doing a stand-up bit popular with the under 7 crowd. I do believe it's the first time I've ever seen the elves dressing quite so corporate.


OUT-OF-PRINT, but worth the hunt

Prairie Fires and Paper Moons: The American Photographic Postcard: 1900-1920
 is a book I've had in my collection for a long time. Though out-of-print it can still be found at Amazon. If you have an interest in old photos, real photo postcards, Americana, you'll enjoy this book.

Originally published in 1981 by David R. Godine, Publisher; 191 pages + frontmatter. Sepia color photos throughout.

The text includes a foreword and introduction about real photo postcards along with 7 chapters: In the Photographer's Studio, At Home and at Play, At Work, At War, Outside the Law, Local Scenes and Events, Gala Occasions. There is also a 4 page appendix entitled Methods of Dating Photographic Postcards with illustrations of the various postal stamps.

I have posted a link in the left margin under Vernacular Photography Books Worth Owning. Unfortunately Amazon does not include a cover image so I have posted one here.



Looking for that perfect gift for those hard to buy people? How about "Happiness is a warm lamp" or "All I want for Christmas is a three way bulb"? Obviously these two were overwhelmed with joy at receiving these stunning table lamps, though it looks more like they were anniversary gifts. Still, think outside the box this year, or just give the box and keep the lamp yourself. The reaction to the empty box certainly won't be any worse than the reaction of these two. And if anyone can figure out the doors in the corner drop me a line. I'm completely baffled.


CHECK please!

If T. E. Lawrence and Charlie McCarthy had lunch which one would be the bigger tipper? Or would one leave a wooden nickel? I know I risk losing a lot of people under 30, or maybe even 40, by asking this question. Do I need to explain who I'm referring to? I fear I do, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and figure there are enough people out there to get this. Now the question is, can you find Charlie in this picture? How about T. E.? (Hint: they're cross-dressing). You just never know who you'll find sharing a meal in found photos.