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Preserving the people, places, and things from the pop culture past...because some of us still believe in yesterday.

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    I hemmed and hawed a bit about whether I should write this post; it's personal, and I usually don't vent about personal things on Go Retro. People come here to be entertained by nostalgia, whether it's humorous vintage ads, songs lists, or hearing me gloat about Martin Milner (he HAS been a main topic here as of late.) But you know what? Screw it. I think it's going to feel good to get this off my chest. And I actually have been thinking of making the blog a bit more personal (as long as it still relates to something retro.) This post isn't quite so retro, though. And we may end up filing it under "too much information." But here goes.

    One thing I have learned from having a blog, which is a public website and putting yourself "out there" so to speak, is you have to be careful. Knock on wood, I haven't had any real horror stories to speak stalkers, etc. And I hope it stays that way.

    Last year at this very time, though, something happened to me, via this blog. A reader (who also followed the Go Retro Facebook page) reached out to me, and I found him attractive. I knew the name - he had been liking just about everything I'd been posting to the Facebook page for the past year, and commenting nearly as much. He had actually originally sent me an email three and half years earlier, when he first discovered this blog, and had ended his message by saying that if I was ever out his way he wanted to buy me a drink. I wrote him a friendly message back, but took the invite with a grain of salt since I didn't know what the guy looked like or anything about him at the time (and this was also before I launched the Facebook page.) Fast forward to summer of last year, and he reaches out to me again to talk more about the Paul McCartney concert he had attended that we were commenting about on the GR Facebook page.

    Well...he turned out to be married. He didn't tell me he was married; he decided to keep that teeny, insignificant detail a secret, all the while giving impressions that he could be living a divorced or bachelor lifestyle. He flirted here and there in the messages. It was only after Googling him that I learned the truth. An article featuring a photo of him, his wife, and two kids came up. I continued to write, to see if he would fess up. He didn't, and after a week I told him that I knew and how I had found out.

    Before figuring this out, I had sent him a Facebook friend request, which he had ignored -- that was the red flag. (Believe it or not, I am connected on Facebook to a few readers -- that I've vetted to make sure they're good people. They are.) His Facebook profile and cover photo at that time gave no hint that he was partnered and a father.

    I'm not letting myself off the hook here -- I told him seeing as how we had everything in common we could write as friends. Well, you know the line from When Harry Met Sally: "Men and women can never be friends because the sex always gets in the way."

    (We never had sex, by the way. We never met in person -- I made it clear I could not meet him if he were married. Plus he lived out of state -- not so far it wasn't driveable, but far enough away I suppose.)

    But it was obvious the mutual attraction was there and the connection was one I haven't felt with a man in an awfully long time. I was eventually told the usual story married people give -- my spouse no longer has sex with nor spends time with me, the spark died after the kids were born, etc. He NEVER talked about his kids, by the way, even when I asked about them, which to me was another big red flag. His only mentioned his son's autism, which I already knew about, and how that had put a strain on the relationship. But after six weeks of correspondence that included some phone calls, he called me from work one night. He had to end it. His wife got access to his laptop and saw all of our emails. At first she was furious but later called him up again sobbing, admitting that she was at fault, and that she was willing to work on the marriage. She also had access to his Facebook account, so she (as him) unliked the Go Retro page and deleted any comment he had ever left on it...stretching back three years.

    He did apologize to me, by the way, late in the year, for the pain he had caused me.

    Just as I was getting over it, this same reader reached out to me again in January to wish me a happy birthday. And he expected that I was "OK" with "corresponding via these messages."

    I told him no.

    I told him there was nothing I wanted more the past few months, but that it would be dangerous. That he should be focusing on his marriage and I had to focus on finding someone available that can give me what I want and need. And I didn't really get how -- after knowing how hurt I was and I'm sure his wife as well -- he thought this was a good idea. I refused to be used. And I certainly wasn't about to put myself in a position where I'd be the cause of a nasty divorce, end up hurting someone's children, and have people despising me for the rest of my life.

    I thought maybe it meant his marriage still wasn't doing so great. Then I did some Internet sleuthing and saw that a few months prior to that, he and his family had had a photography session done and the Facebook page for the photography studio had shared them online -- some of him and his wife kissing.

    Yeah. I was kind of upset. Hence, many of you saw the blog post I did a few months ago where I listed songs about infidelity and how it hurts all involved.

    I'm going to quote what one of my readers (and a friend to me) said of this story: "I can't stand it when married people try to pull stunts like this." LOL. So true.

    Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. And looking back, I think he was a little obsessed with me. The constant comments on Facebook and the flirting. It seemed he was looking for attention. I also looked up his visits on Google Analytics going back to 2014 and 2015...and there were a LOT. An awful lot, and even during some times when this blog went dry for a month or two. Don't get me wrong -- I don't mind the page views -- but I think I became a fantasy. I think he got carried away. The problem is he couldn't give me what I want and deserve. I don't do one-night stands and relationships that revolve around just sex. This is a woman that wants a serious, committed relationship with the right man. I want to buy a home with somebody and decorate it with vintage finds. I want to go on road trips with him. I want to meet his family and be part of it, and want to introduce someone to mine.

    Some of you know I follow the law of attraction and that's the one thing I still struggle with. They say if you're attracting unavailable potential partners that it's because you're making yourself unavailable or vibrating some blockage or negative belief to the Universe. I have an inkling what some of those may be, and I've been working on them and myself for nearly the past year.

    But I cannot figure out why I attracted someone that was dishonest with me. (In my opinion, hiding important info to give yourself an advantage is lying.) In the nine years that I've written this blog, I've always been 100% honest and authentic with all of you guys. If I have an opinion about something, it's my genuine opinion...if I like or dislike something, I'm not pulling your leg; I'm for real! That's what has made this experience so confusing for me at times. I like to think that I only attract genuine people into my life.

    And by the way, I'm not looking for sympathy (as I accepted and forgave my role in this) nor am I am trying to vilify "Mr. S" (as he shall be known) here. I learned a huge lesson and I should have nipped it in the bud the minute I learned the truth..."I can't correspond with you as you're married, but I'll see you on the blog and the Facebook page." Then again, who's to say that would have stopped what happened from happening? To this day I might be continuing to get the playful comments on Facebook and there wouldn't have been any improvement in his marriage.

    Also, I admit I do feel a little sorry for Mr. S. Back then, and now. I think maybe he needed some kind of reassurance that he was attractive to women other than his wife. That's no excuse for giving a single woman the impression that you're not married, but still...I do understand because everyone is human. I think his son is a handful, and not easy at times to care for. I also believe he's on the autism spectrum himself -- something he admitted to me -- and it seemed a little obvious when he got tongue tied and nervous speaking on the phone with me. He works in law enforcement...and we all know how much more stressful that profession has become in the past couple of weeks, as if it wasn't stressful enough to begin with. I also wonder if he had some self esteem issues. Realizing all this was important to help me forgive, and move on.

    I did learn some things about myself in addition to the harsh lessons. That is the positive part. I learned that I would be willing to date someone that lived in another state that was still within driving distance, and I'd be willing to date someone with a disabled child, if the chemistry and connection was there.

    I doubt he plans on reading this blog anymore. I've stopped looking at Google Analytics to see if he's been by, and the last time he logged on he skimmed several pages in a minute and a half and clearly wasn't reading anything that I've written. I'm guessing there's certain things I'm writing about that are painful reminders to him of what he cannot have. I guess it doesn't matter. Besides, I have so many fabulous and faithful readers to be grateful for.

    I know posting about this probably makes me sound like it still bothers me, and it doesn't. I've moved on...although I will admit it was tempting to take this experience and sink into negativity with beliefs in general about men. But I didn't. I still believe that there ARE a lot of great guys out there -- both married ones and available ones -- and I still believe that there's one that's perfect for me.

    I just ask -- of all of my readers -- to please be honest with other people...and if you're married or partnered up, please don't go looking for validation outside of your relationship. Not cool. I appreciate the men that are fans of this blog that have reached out through the years to comment on something I wrote -- and are upfront about mentioning their spouse or significant other in email conversation.

    Also, I can't answer everyone's email, comments, tweets, etc. I try my best but life gets in the way. I'm 44, I'm working full-time, and slowly making a social life for myself again after being out of work for so long. I think a lot of people assume that Go Retro is my way of living and my be-all, end-all. It's not. It doesn't pay many of the bills, believe me. It's just a hobby and my passion.

    And at the end of the day, I'm just a real person behind it with feelings.

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    We're half way through the summer now, and I swear I can count on only one hand the number of times this season I've seen a neighbor enjoying their yard. The guy in back of us is building a chicken coop but that doesn't count -- I'm talking about someone throwing a barbecue, kids playing, or simply lounging. Sadly, it just doesn't seem to happen anymore and according to a Boston Globe article that was published a few weeks ago, my fear has been confirmed: the great American backyard is disappearing.

    Indeed, a good friend of my mother that I've also become friends with was told by a real estate agent that even in our tony town where property is prized (and on the pricey side) that "no one cares about having a yard and the land anymore." In recent years it's become the norm for a developer to purchase and knock down a home that was built in the '50s or '60s, and replace it with a big, ugly, soulless McMansion that takes up way more floor space than the previous house. The less lawn to mow and maintain, the better.

    Speaking of mowing, I almost never see anyone trimming their own lawn or doing gardening nowadays. They hire landscapers to do the dirty work -- leaving them with an immaculate yard that they never venture onto to enjoy (maybe they're also too afraid to walk barefoot on grass which has been dowsed with poison by TruGreen.)

    For the baby boomers and people of my generation that grew up in the suburbs in the '70s and '80s, it was a different story. Backyards were a haven used for barbecues, parties, games (I still miss the badminton net my parents set up one summer), Nerf toys, Slip 'N Slide, you name it. When I was about five years old my father bought me a swing set from Sears (I remember him partially assembling it in the living room before moving it outdoors.) It was made of metal, so the slide would burn your legs in the summer unless you cooled it by running the hose over it first. The swings hung on chains that could easily pinch little fingers. It also had a monkey bar. All hazardous dangers by today's standards, but I loved that thing! I spent many hours playing on it by myself. And visiting friends' houses as a kid was a treat because it gave us a different landscape to explore. I remember sunning myself at a friend's house as a teen, sipping on lemonade while a radio we brought outside played Tears For Fears on the local pop station. And how many of us had an old man that mowed the lawn shirtless, and rewarded his efforts on a sweaty summer day with an ice cold beer?

    So why are so few people taking advantage of their yards? Well, I certainly think technology has a lot to do with it. Kids would rather play inside with their mobile phones; it's sad that one of the only ways we can get some young people to go outside and move their bodies is because of a stupid mobile app called Pokemon Go. People would rather catch up on Facebook and check email -- something they can do outdoors with their mobile devices. The Globe article cited the fact that most households are comprised of couples where both people work full-time and just don't have the time to enjoy or maintain a yard, so the simplest solution is to build up their property so they no longer have to worry about it.

    Here's what I'd like to propose to anyone who's lucky enough to have a yard: take at least an hour each weekend to enjoy it. Make yourself a glass of iced tea, bring a book outside, and inhale the warm summer air for 60 minutes. Spread a blanket on the grass and have a picnic, even if you're the only one attending. Buy some horseshoes, a croquet set, or another game that's meant to play outdoors (how about a ping pong table?) Throw a party or barbecue.

    We can't make these warm summer days stick around forever, but we can least make a case for preserving lawn space -- before it's too late.

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    There's a '70s or '80s Coachmen for sale that I drive past every weekday twice on my way to and from work. One of my recurring fantasies is that I win the lottery, buy it, and my single gal pals and I pack up and hit the road in it for some ol' American sightseeing.

    I don't know too much about RVs and caravans or how they differ by manufacturer but I do know this: if it's in great shape, I'd prefer to take the wheel of a vintage model. I recently looked up what modern RVs look like and in my opinion, they seem rather overdone both inside and out (not to mention pricey: a new Winnebago Adventurer will set you back about $200,000.) A lot of them look indistinguishable from coach buses, and the interiors have become a little too luxurious looking for my taste. Nope, give me a RV with an orange and brown and faux wood paneling inside any day like the one below...

    I would, however, make an exception for a 2017 Airstream trailer. That company has done a nice job keeping their trademark silver trailer designs classic, while keeping the decor contemporary but still kind of retro (lots of wood available, but in a darker tone which looks nice.)

    From what I understand, the very first RV was made by the Pierce Arrow Motor Company and introduced to the pubic in 1910. The Touring Landau as it was called had many "modern" luxuries such as a kitchen basket, privy, storage boxes, and a phone that allowed passengers to communicate with their driver (it was considered a chauffeur operated vehicle for the wealthy during that time.)

    If you're lucky enough to own a vintage land yacht or RV more power to you. The rest of us will just have to fantasize about the glamour of RV traveling with this collection of brochure photos and advertisements I've dug up.

    I think the GMC motorhome is my favorite design of all of the vintage RVs I've seen -- nice proportion of windows and love the sunny yellow color...although the Dodge one below is pretty cool looking, too.

    I think Kermit got it wrong: it's easy being green.

    OK, I cheated: this is a van. But it's a conversation pit. In. A. Van!

    And...that's one way to sell a Winnebago. Look at the suggested retail price! Today they want ten times as much.

    A cozy, romantic dinner for two. I told you RVs had sex appeal!

    Are they admiring the shag carpeting?

    A fondue pot in a motorhome -- now we're talking!
    I always liked the VW Bus and Camper. I think the company should consider bringing it back.

    Here's a neat promotional video for the GMC Motorhome -- the suspension rocks! It definitely looks like it had some desirable features for its time. No mobile phone problem.

    There's a lot more ads and photos where these came from, but this should satisfy for now -- perhaps I'll do a part two post at some point.

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    I got a fever...and the only prescription for it is Christopher Walken.

    Confession...when I was a kid (or maybe I was a pre-teen) I remember watching The Deer Hunter on TV with my parents and thinking that Christopher Walken was really cute. But, I kept it my secret because a lot of people thought he was not only an odd actor but kind of odd looking. (I think the fact that someone under 16 was allowed to watch a movie as heavy as The Deer Hunter, unedited, is the only thing about the story that's odd here, but that kind of freedom is responsible for fostering my life long love of movies.) A few years after that, I watched The Dead Zone and again, found myself fascinated by him but didn't tell a soul.

    Now that I'm in my 40s and no longer being judged by my peers, it's time to let my Christopher Walken freak flag fly a little. I think the man is really sexy and extremely talented. It kind of frightens me to think that the young guy I crushed on in the '80s is now 73 years old (where does the time go?) but he's still going strong -- his latest movie, Nine Lives (costarring another fave of mine, Kevin Spacey) opens in theaters this Friday. It doesn't look like the greatest movie and the plot sounds terrible, but it's clearly geared at children and I'm sure Walken -- who plays an eccentric pet shop owner -- will make it more watchable for adults.

    So, in honor of his latest release I think it's time to celebrate the wonderfulness of Walken...with a list of ten reasons why he's so cool (and hot.) And no offense to my readers with the title of this blog're all pretty cool in your own way!

    1. He Was A Pretty Smoking Babe Back in the Day

    A lot of younger fans identify Walken with the "more cowbell" sketch from Saturday Night Live...but what many of them may not know is that earlier in his career, he was a hottie.

    In my opinion, Walken -- particularly during the '70s and '80s -- is really unique looking. Beautiful, even. One of my friends, that is not a fan of him, thinks he looks like an extraterrestrial. I think it's just the right combination of genes from a German father and a Scottish mother that created someone so striking.

    I thought I was the only person that felt this way, until I started looking up clips from these eras from movies I'd seen and those that I'd missed. Comments from several women...and the occasional man...confirm that I wasn't such a weird little kid after all.

    Here he is playing a gigolo in a television movie called Roseland where he asks Geraldine Chaplin if she approves of his overall look. "And the rest of me - eyes, hair, profile? Legs long enough?"

    Gulp. Yes.

    Personally, I'm a fan of his look in The Deer Hunter in the pool playing scene below. The irony of the song the guys are singing is not lost on me.

    2. He's an Unbelievable Dancer
    I knew that Walken was a dancer way before he wowed everyone in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" -- he took lessons while young and got early acting jobs in musical theater -- but the performance that blows me away is his tap-dancing striptease from the obscure 1981 movie Pennies From Heaven. The look on Bernadette Peters' face during this scene is pretty much what I looked like the first time I watched it. Be sure to watch the whole thing -- it really gets cooking around the halfway mark. Seriously, he could give Gene Kelly a run for his money here. And what's that old saying about men that can dance and the bedroom?

    3. He's a Huge Cat Lover

    Real men love cats, which makes Walken all that more appealing in my eyes.

    "A (cat) tail is so expressive," Walken has said. "On a cat you can tell if they're annoyed. You can tell whether they're scared. They bush their tail. If I was an actor and I had to played scared in a movie all I'd have to do is bush my tail. I think if actors had tails it could change everything."

    4. His Elvis Hairstyle May Be Terrible, But He Owns It
    Walken's idol is Elvis Presley. The story behind his hair is that early in his career, he decided to adopt Elvis' swept back pompadour as his own hairstyle and hasn't really deviated from it in decades. Personally, I think Walken would have looked better in several movies had he agreed to let someone in Hollywood give him a more flattering and updated cut. one today can't say he doesn't own it. It's become his trademark. (I know the photo below is from the early '70s, but I think he looks SO much better with a little hair covering part of his forehead.)

    5. He Once Worked As a Lion Tamer
    Walken recently told Parade about his teen job as a lion tamer. When he was 16 he answered an ad to train as a lion tamer that summer for a one ring circus in upstate New York. The old lioness was "very sweet", rubbing up against Walken and performing tricks such as rolling over and sitting up on her back legs. Backstage, Walken would hang out with her and pet her.

    Today, Walken is involved in animal charities and believes animals shouldn't be held in captivity. "I wish there wasn't any such thing as zoos," he says.

    6. He Never Takes Himself Seriously
    I love that later in his career Walken has taken roles in several silly but entertaining movies, and that he's hosted SNL seven times. In fact he has a long-standing invitation with the show to come by any time and host it. Plus for all of the unsettling roles he's taken, he really comes across in interviews as one of the most down to earth actors. Dare I say it, he may be one of Hollywood's most normal people.

    7. He Had the Creepy Clown Look Down Pat As a Kid
    Way scarier than any creepy role he took as an adult:

    8. He Has A Very Sexy Voice
    Yes, his deadpan diction is the stuff that impersonations are made of (and Kevin Spacey probably does the best impression of him) but damn, his voice is another aspect of him that I've always found sexy.

    Just listen to him reciting the lyrics to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" on Jonathan Ross.

    9. He Has One of Hollywood's Longest Lasting Marriages
    Walken could have easily become a player and a jerk and dated his way through Hollywood, particularly after winning the Oscar for The Deer Hunter. But instead, he settled down while in his 20s by marrying casting director Georgianne Thon in 1969 and they've been together ever since. In fact, except for Natalie Wood's death (where Robert Wagner confronted Walken and asked if he wanted to f*** his wife) he hasn't been connected to any other scandals or stories of cheating.

    For some reason, a lot of people think that Walken has a daughter. He and his wife have no children, something that Walken says has helped him have such a prolific career. They think of their cats as their kids (don't we all.)

    10. He Appeared On PBS With Lidia Bastianich
    I was watching Lidia Bastianich's Christmas special on PBS last year when Walken showed up for her holiday meal. I wondered what the connection was between the two. It turns out that Bastianich worked in Walken's father's Astoria bakery when she was just 14 years old and new to America. (One time Walken slammed on his car's brakes while delivering wedding cakes, which caused six of them to go flying into the front seat!)

    By the way, he can cook, too...yes, this is obviously a parody but there's a video uploaded to YouTube where he's making the same chicken recipe, for real, in his kitchen.

    The guy is just too cool.

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    You knew this blog post was coming, didn't ya? I'm sure I'll catch some heat for saying this, but Pokemon Go is a stupid game. Go ahead: call me old, outdated, antiquated, ignorant, whatever. The fact remains that when you need a mobile video game to entice people to actually go outside and get some exercise, something is kind of off with the world.

    In case you're wondering what Pokemon Go is, it's a "location-based augmented reality game" (thanks, Wikipedia) designed by Niantic for mobile devices. As of July 11, the game had been downloaded 7.5 million times. A user's phone coordinates its GPS system with the game to place Pokemon characters in indoor and outdoor settings for players to "catch." They look for Pokemon characters to collect by viewing the world through their mobile phone or tablet, and in the process end up falling off of cliffs, walking onto highways, crashing into police cruisers, or violating historical settings.

    If you thought I was kidding about that last sentence, all of those incidents actually occurred within a week or two of the game's release last month. You can look them up.

    Yes, Pokemon Go is one way to get the blood flowing, Unfortunately, it was also a can of worms waiting to open and seems to be making the news nearly every day -- not for something good, mind you, unless you count the dead body that a teenage girl found in a Wyoming lake.

    Look, I was a video game addict when the Atari 2600 (yes, I'm showing my age here) was released. Suddenly I left the world of Barbies and Easy Bake ovens behind and entered the cubism world of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Q-Bert, among others. I also played with my friend's Intellivision at her house and we made trips to the local arcade. I still remember getting callouses on my left palm where the corner of the joystick box rested. My nieces and nephews grew up with Nintendo and Super Mario Bros.

    But thankfully, time away from video games was still time interacting with the real world back then. My parents made sure I turned off the console and went outside. I can see where defenders of Pokemon Go would argue that the game's structure gets people to go outside and physically move their bodies. The problem is, they're not truly paying attention to the world through their tiny screens. They're walking around practically blind and not paying attention to the street, oncoming traffic, or anyone else. In mid July, two young men tumbled 50 feet down a San Diego area cliff while playing the game. Geez. I could see if one guy came close to the edge and his friend stopped him in time, but two people were so consumed with chasing after fictional characters that they both fell off? Just let that sink in for a minute.

    In the Boston area, there's a new Meetup group devoted to getting together to play the game. So now socializing and human bonding can't happen for some of these folks unless they're tethered to their smartphones. There are 256 members so far, and many of them look like rejected extras from The Big Bang Theory.

    Another problem with Pokemon Go is that it's enticing many users to play the game in areas where frankly, it's disrespectful and inappropriate. The Holocaust Museum, Auschwitz, and Arlington National Cemetery asked Niantic to remove their locations from the game's software. Said Andrew Hollinger, The Holocaust Museum's communications director, "Technology can be an important learning tool, but this game falls far outside our educational and memorial mission."

    How sad is it that these kids didn't already know that it might not be a good idea to go Picachu hunting in the gas chambers? Nintendo and Niantic are also being sued by a New Jersey man that claims a number of Pokemon Go players have trespassed his property in an effort to "catch them all." (He gives new meaning to the phrase, "Get off my lawn!")

    Even sadder, I feel that Pokemon Go is just the beginning of mobile apps and games that are designed to take humans farther and father away from reality and interacting with others. How far down the rabbit hole -- or a cliff -- will people allow themselves to be led?

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    So here's the scoop, kids. On Friday I was informed that my position at work was being eliminated. Yep, this is the same job that I thought I had successfully manifested using the law of attraction and that I posted about on here earlier this year because I was so happy and excited about it. But the universe had other ideas. And to be honest, with each passing week it was becoming more apparent that the place was not the right vibrational match for me, after all. I was only there for just over five months.

    This is the fifth time I've been laid off. While I was blindsided and of course, a little angry at first, it didn't take me long to realize as the weekend went on that this is a blessing in numerous ways. And here is the epiphany I've come to realize that only took getting hit over the head five times over 44 years...

    I'm going to pursue some kind of writing career. I want to be a writer.

    It is time to stop denying this dream to myself for fear of not succeeding or thinking I'll never have enough money doing it. I am not a brand strategist, or a web designer, or a SEO specialist, or a paid search specialist. I don't like researching and ordering branded swag items. I don't like organizing trade shows and then standing behind a booth all day. I am also not a "yes"woman and wasn't meant to wipe someone's butt for them. (I do, however, believe I have decent graphic design and social media skills.) I can keep going down the same path of trying to make my round peg fit into a square hole which just ultimately leads to the same results. Or I can finally listen to where my inner being is calling me.

    I love to write, and I love the more journalistic style of writing and easy marketing copywriting.

    I am going to see if I can attract a fun, easy, paid, work from home writing job as a start. I had one last year and earlier this year before starting the full time job, and the articles with my name attached to them are all over real estate websites across the country. It was a fun gig and a great start. I'm also going to look into taking an online course or two through MediaBistro, which offers classes for all kinds of writers.

    Maybe I'll end up working for a local magazine, or taking some kind of part-time related job. No, it probably won't be anywhere near what I was making at previous jobs. This is starting all over, at the bottom. But I know I'll be a lot more fulfilled and happy. of my dreams has always been to launch my own magazine; a nostalgia-related one, of course. Wouldn't it be cool to see Go Retro in print?

    I also want to take a pottery class and learn how to make ceramics!

    This morning, I am happy. Really blessed and happy. I still have my long-standing freelance social media/writing/marketing gig with another company (whose president has told me multiple times what an awesome job I do and that he would never lay me off) so I have that income. I have my health. I have my mother's house and rent-free living.

    It's time to follow where my heart has always been taking me.

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    Going through the scanned images of It's Great To Be Alive!, two things quickly become obvious: a. kids from the 1950s were terrible bicycle riders and b. kids also did a lot of stupid, dangerous things.

    I could find out little information about the history of It's Great To Be Alive! other than the fact that it was distributed by local police, but clearly someone at the time thought it would be a great idea to shock children into being safe by painting morbid scenarios of what could happen if you didn't exercise caution and common sense. This little booklet didn't mince words: there's maiming, crippling, and death sprinkled throughout its sometimes disturbing and unintentionally funny illustrations. So let's have a look...

    They're right, you know. It really sucks to be dead...on the other hand, you can probably have lunch with John Lennon on the other side, and that's pretty cool.

    Poor Mary. But she's lucky to get off with just a cast. Here are some kids that were not so fortunate...

    Another. That means this happened on a regular basis in the 1950s.

    Always respect your elders.

    Forget Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun...who knew that falling off a bike is a sure-fire way to lose an eye? I just want to know which one is Bill and which is Joe in the illustration? I HAVE to know!

    Tommy? More like Don Draper's silhouette once he hit the ground at the end of the opening credits for Mad Men.

    See? I told you guys some crazy kid was going to lose his life playing Pokemon Go.

    It's funny to see a depiction of kids (I think those are supposed to be kids) waving fake guns around on the street. Today, that would be deadlier to them than running out in front of oncoming traffic.

    OK...why would you be hiding in a pile of leaves...on the street???

    Of course, it depends on what the treat is. This is made even creepier by the fact that one of the pervert's hands is much larger than the other.

    Oh, well. It could be worse -- at least he didn't drink the stuff.

    This kid is stoned, right? That would explain the dazed look and why he's not screaming as his back is engulfed by flames.

    The yuks stop here -- my sister's friend was actually pushed into an ice box by some of the neighborhood girls that were bullies back in the day. She had nightmares from the experience.

    Stay safe, kids!

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    Have you ever listened to a song for a while or even years and because you've never seen the music video or a recorded performance of it, falsely assumed the singer was a particular gender or race because of how they sound? I've been surprised more than once to learn a singer's race or gender and I'm sure it's happened to lots of other listeners that just weren't privy yet to the performer's background. Wayne Newton's performance of "Danke Schoen" quickly comes to mind; a lot of people when hearing it for the first time thinks it was recorded by a woman. Here are five songs I heard countless times that fooled me until YouTube or Sirius set me straight...

    Nick Gilder, "Hot Child In the City" (1978)

    Who I Thought Sang It: Some woman with a Farrah Fawcett hairstyle
    Who Really Sang It: A guy

    For years I assumed that "Hot Child In the City" was a one-hit wonder for some little known female singer during the '70s, until I noticed the artist's name on Sirius just a few months ago. Nick Gilder...Nick as in Nicholas. Yep, fooled. He sure sings like a girl to me. And although the song is a catchy one, it would easily be included on a "Music for Pedophiles" compilation album, as it's about child prostitution that Gilder saw first-hand on the Hollywood streets. I hear that some of Gilder's follow-up recordings kind of mirror the same theme; needless to say I haven't bothered looking them up. Gilder started his career in a glam rock band called Sweeney Todd. Fun fact: after Gilder left the group to pursue a solo career, he was replaced by another Canadian-born singer, Bryan Adams.

    The O'Kaysions, "Girl Watcher" (1968)

    Who I Thought Sang It: A black man
    Who Really Sang It: White boy

    Not much to say here, really -- this is blue eyed soul at its best. Close your eyes and you'd never guess lead singer Donnie Weaver wasn't African American. The band is still performing today, with a different line-up.

    The Pointer Sisters, "Automatic" (1984)

    Who I Thought Sang It: A dude from the group's back-up band
    Who Really Sang It: Ruth Pointer

    Of course, I knew who The Pointer Sisters were when this song was released in 1984 but with apologies to Ruth Pointer who sings lead on it, for many years I thought it was a man from their back-up band doing the honors. Her voice is just so deep here that even when watching performances of it today, it's still a little hard for me to believe it's really her singing...but it is. Ruth told the song's producers that she would happily sing "the low part" and well, it worked.

    Jane Child, "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" (1990)

    Who I Thought Sang It: A black woman
    Who Really Sang It: A white Canadian singer/songwriter with a crazy eccentric hairstyle and piercings

    It wasn't long ago when this song popped into my head for some reason -- maybe because it's been a couple of decades now since I last heard it -- and when I saw the music video for the first time after all of these years, I was floored.

    Was Jane Child an inspiration for Lady Gaga? I don't ever remember seeing her on TV when her one and only huge hit, "Don't Wanna Fall in Love", was released in 1990. I surely would have recalled that dreadlocked, punk version of a Crystal Gayle hairstyle and nose ring. Perhaps she didn't really achieve a higher level of fame because she refused to sing her hit on Top of the Pops, claiming the program was a "sellout."

    Child has a website that says it was being 2007 (it looks like it was created in 1999.) A mysterious musical figure, for sure.

    The Newbeats, "Bread and Butter" (1964)

    Who I Thought Sang It: Initially a black woman; later a young black guy with an over-the-top falsetto
    Who Really Sang It: A white blonde guy that kind of resembled Bill Clinton

    I saved this one for last because a. it was my most recent discovery and b. it surprised me the most. The thing about this song is I consider it to be one of the most obnoxious musical works ever released; I mean, even the lyrics are silly and dumb. What self-respecting woman would only feed her loving man bread, butter, toast, and jam? She's a really lousy cook; the song informs us that she doesn't make mashed potatoes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! It's hard to believe that this song was a monster hit both in the U.S. and the UK in August 1964 -- keep in mind the Beatles had already conquered both continents months earlier, so WTF? Add in the fact that this band goes into dork mode overload during their live performance by pointing fingers at their lead singer while singing the verses. And why are there two saxophone players on the stage when the song doesn't even feature a sax? It's almost painful to watch.

    The Newbeats were comprised of two brothers, Dean and Mark Mathis, and its lead singer, Larry Henley. Henley eventually left the brothers to pursue a solo career (um...I know without a doubt that I could not stomach an entire album filled with this guy's voice, but different strokes for different folks, I guess) and later co-wrote the Bette Midler ballad, "Wind Beneath My Wings."

    "Bread and Butter" was later used in an advertising jingle for Schmidt's Blue Ribbon Bread..."I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam, I like Schmidt's Blue Ribbon Bread, it's my favorite brand." Also, Devo covered the song for the soundtrack to the steamy Mickey Rourke flick "9 1/2 Weeks." Wikipedia is trying to tell us that the song wasn't used in the film but they're wrong -- I distinctly remember watching it on television of all places and it was used during a scene where Rourke's character is feeding various foods to Kim Bassinger while she's blindfolded.

    A strange, kinky legacy for a strange (but not so kinky) song.

    OK, Go Retro readers, am I the only one that has made similar errors upon first hearing songs? Please tell me I'm not alone.

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    If you're a long-time reader of this blog you may have wondered why I never seem to share anything vintage that I actually buy. The answer is I really haven't bought all that much, to tell you the truth. I'm really picky, and don't spend my money on just any old artifact. But earlier this summer, on a whim, I went on eBay and for some reason did a search for mid-century modern furniture.

    And that's when I had an out-of-body experience, after spotting these stacking tables on the first page of search results. Have you ever seen something and knew immediately that you just had to buy it? Have you literally heard an inanimate object calling your name? "Paaaaamela. Paaaaamela....I belong to yooooooooou. Buy me, baby!"

    Well, that's exactly what happened. I hadn't even planned on purchasing anything -- just wanted to browse the site after having a regular paycheck again -- but when I saw them online nothing was going to stop me from having them. When they arrived and I carefully unwrapped the packaging from around each leg, I knew that had I made the right decision. Had I seen these in person in a shop, I absolutely would have snatched them up.

    Yes, they're definitely a half century old and show their age as well as signs of usage -- the pale yellow paint around the edges is chipped and there's some water stains and scratches on the larger table (by the way, if anyone reading this knows how to remove either from a Formica surface, please let me know.) However, that just tells me that the previous owner(s) loved them as much as I do.

    I don't know who the manufacturer was; there's no info anywhere on these vintage beauties, but they're very well made and I'm guessing it was a Danish furniture maker. I got them from an antiques store in Hudson-on-Croton, NY for a few dollars less than what the seller had listed them for (thanks to the "make an offer" option on eBay. I think I got a great deal on them.) I fell in love with their modern triangular shape and that they can be configured in a number of ways.

    Shortly after receiving them and putting them in my bedroom I realized they needed some sort of mid-century modern sculpture to keep them company. I wasn't too crazy about what was currently on eBay, so I turned to Etsy and that's when I came across an online shop called Making Clay Memories, operated by a ceramics designer named Dana Flemming. If you dig mid-century modern ceramic sculptures, then you'll go crazy over her merchandise just like I did. Dana owns several vintage clay molds from the 1950s and '60s including ones of cats, owls, songbirds, horses, and even quails (so if you want a set that looks like The Partridge Family birds from the opening credits, even in the same colors, she's got you covered!) Did I mention the color selection? Everything she makes can be customized from dozens of available colors, including golden yellow, chartreuse, retro pink, jade, and more.

    Being a cat lover as well as a fan of the abstract shapes of these particular molds, I went with a pair of her Atomic Modern Minimalist cats in tangerine orange and aqua blue. Keep in mind that if you do order an item from Making Clay Memories that these sculptures take a couple of months to create. They have to be molded, dried, glazed, etc. and Dana also does a strict quality control on every item she produces, and if there's a flaw she's been known to start the process all over again to get it right. A lot of people use her sculptures as wedding cake toppers, so I would suggest if you need a pair for that purpose to get your order in super early and months in advance from the date you plan to tie the knot.

    I've reached out to Dana about the possibility of her doing a giveaway with Go Retro, so stay tuned!

    I love my "new" tables and new (for real) cat sculptures. I plan on collecting more mid-century modern pieces and touches for my own home someday.

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    I could have called this post, "The Ten Worst Songs of the Seventies" but I can hear the comments starting already..."Hey Pam, how could you have missed (insert song title here)?"..."I don't agree that (insert song title) should be on this list."..."What the hell makes you such an authoritative expert?" Etc. etc. etc.

    OK, I truly don't believe that any of you lovely readers would give me a hard time. The point is, these lists are subjective -- you all know that. Hence, these are just my least favorite songs from the era. You'll probably notice that some typical easy targets such as "Kung Foo Fighting", "The Streak", and "The Night Chicago Died" are notably absent from this list. That's because I actually like those songs well enough to not change the radio dial when they come on Sirius (yes, I wholeheartedly admit that I think "The Night Chicago Died" is a catchy tune.) The ones below are a whole different ballgame. And trust me -- I still think I've compiled a ghastly list, considering these are mostly pap that involve clowns, babies, ducks, and muskrats. Can't say I didn't warn you. Here they are, in no particular order, except for the last song, as it's my least favorite among these least favorites...

    1. "Muskrat Love" by Captain & Tennille, 1976

    Even though it was recently revealed in Toni Tennille's autobiography that her marriage of over 40 years to Daryl Dragon was a sham and nothing more than a business arrangement, the duo's hits like "Love Will Keep Us Together", "Do That To Me One More Time", and "The Way I Want To Touch You" are among my favorites of the era. However -- no matter how hard I try -- I simply can't stomach a song about muskrats breeding, even though "Muskrat Love" reached number four on the music charts in 1976.

    Even more baffling, "Muskrat Love" was a cover version of the song for Captain & Tennille. It was written by Willis Alan Ramsey in 1973 for the band America. Their label Warner Bros. "hated" the song and begged them not to release it as a single. (I tried listening to America's version. Those Warner Bros. guys were right.)

    Toni Tennille liked the song, however, and needed one more track for their Song of Joy album so for better or worse, "Muskrat Love" filled the gap.

    The couple performed it at a White House dinner in 1976, which was attended by Queen Elizabeth II. The following day the media reported that a guest at the dinner was offended that someone should sing about mating muskrats in front of the queen, citing it as "very poor taste." Tennille defended the choice, saying the song was Disneyesque and innocent, and that "only a person with a dirty mind would see something wrong."

    I guess I have a dirty mind, then.

    I just have one question for Mr. Ramsey: of all of the animals to choose for a song subject, why muskrats? They're water-based beaver-like creatures and not sexy at all. I'm also pretty sure they don't "chew on cheese" -- this guy was getting his rodents mixed up! People were sure smoking a lot of stuff back then.

    2. "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen, 1975

    I have one word for Eric Carmen: STFU! I hate this song because it has been used so many times in movies and TV shows to accompany a character that is single and depressed about it. It truly gives single people an unfair stigma and sends the message that if you're not partnered, you must be terribly lonely and suicidal. You know what's worse than being single? Being stuck in an unhappy marriage/relationship (see the entry on Captain & Tennille above.) I seriously want to kick Carmen in the ass for this song and tell him to stop being such a crybaby. As if this track weren't bad enough, he also blessed us with "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" (but then followed up with a "redemption" tune, "She Did It.")

    But...the guy later gave us "Hungry Eyes" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, so I guess I shouldn't be so hard on him.

    Fun fact: the song ripped off classical musician Rachmaninoff and because his compositions were not public domain yet (unlike Frederick Chopin, whom Barry Manilow borrowed from for his hit "Could It Be Magic") a huge portion of royalties from "All By Myself" had to be paid to the Rachmaninoff estate.

    3. "Send In the Clowns" by Judy Collins, 1975

    I have a minor personal reason for disliking Judy Collins. Years ago, when I worked at a hotel, she went down in history as one of the rudest famous people that ever stayed at our property. She was very blunt and curt on the phone with me and I heard from the front desk employees that she was a bitch. (You may be interested to know, however, that Bob Newhart was a wonderful guest and Louis Gossett Jr. was the NICEST celebrity I ever met in the hotel during those years.)

    I know that "Send In the Clowns" is a famous Broadway tune from A Little Night Music and there's all kinds of metaphorical explanations about exactly who the "clowns" are, but that doesn't make me dislike the song any less. I hate it, don't get it, and don't wish to understand it.

    Besides, clowns are creepy.

    4. "Run Joey Run" by David Geddes, 1975

    Horrible. Makes "Billy Don't Be A Hero" sound like a Beatles masterpiece.

    The overly melodramatic "Run Joey Run" represents the worst of the "teen tragedy" and "splatter platter" records that gained popularity in the 1950s and petered out by the 1980s.

    Call me dense, but when I first heard this song I couldn't figure out why Julie's dad wanted to kill Joey. Then I got it -- he got her knocked up, and daddy is pissed ("Daddy, please don't. It wasn't his fault. He means so much to me. Daddy, please don't. We're gonna get married -- just you wait and see.")

    Nice going, dad -- you killed your daughter and your unborn grandchild. Could you imagine playing this at a party?

    By the way, David Geddes dropped out of law school one semester short of graduating to re-enter the music business (he had left the music industry when he failed to make a name for himself, but the success of "Run Joey Run" made him switch his career back.) Huh. Do you think he made the right decision?

    5. "Chick-A-Boom (Don't Ya Jes' Love It)" by Daddy Dewdrop, 1971

    Just an annoying song that grates on my nerves. Daddy Dewdrop speaks most of the lyrics, and it's clear the chick in the black bikini wants nothing to do with him, or she wouldn't be running away throughout the whole song. The plot sounds like a Benny Hill sketch set to music, but completely devoid of any humor. Give it up, Dewdrop.

    6. "Don't Cry Out Loud" by Melissa Manchester, 1978

    I wonder why there were so many schlock songs with depressing themes climbing the charts during the '70s? What does this say about society at the time? "Don't Cry Out Loud" was written by Peter Allen, and the cryptic lyrics refer to Allen himself and his family ("baby" in the lyrics was his younger sister, and Allen's father killed himself which prompted his mother to instruct him "always put your best face on.")

    But before Wikipedia, how many people knew that? I'm also not a fan of keeping emotions bottled up -- crying can be therapeutic.

    And uh, oh -- the song references a clown and this performance is from The Muppet Show. Here we go again. Who came up with the bright idea to feature this downer of a track on a children's program?

    7. "Convoy" by C.W. McCall, 1976

    For some reason CB radios and trucker culture was all the rage in the '70s. I even remember toy CB radios for sale in the Sears Wish Book catalog. The question is, why? Why did we need a song about a convoy of truckers rattling off their slang and nicknames back and forth to one another? It was the mid-70s. Don't ask why.

    But C.W. McCall (born Bill Fries) wrote a song where most of it consisted of him speaking trucker jargon into a CB radio, and it went to number one on both the country and pop charts in 1976. It even inspired the Sam Peckinpath film called...what else? Convoy. If the song sounds like a painfully too long commercial jingle, that's because Fries was an advertising executive that decided to launch a country music career. I have no explanation for it all, so best to just move on to the next track on my list.

    8. "Feelings" by Morris Albert, 1974

    I wonder why there were so many schlock songs with depressing themes during the '70s? Wait, didn't I just say that? I honestly cannot tell you why I dislike this song so much, other then it's a downer and makes me want to fall asleep. And just like Eric Carmen, Morris Albert was accused of ripping off another song by writing and recording this over-covered, much lampooned ballad. Louis Gaste wrote a French song called "Pour Toi" in 1957. In 1981, he successfully sued Albert for copyright infringement and they now share credit on the song.

    Oddly enough, whenever I hear the excellent 1950s Santo & Johnny guitar instrumental "Sleep Walker" the melody reminds me of "Feelings", but in a much hipper, sped-up tempo. I'm a little surprised those guys didn't push for a plagiarism review.

    9. "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots, 1976

    More like Disco F***ED.

    I found Rick Dees quite annoying when he hosted the Top 40 Countdown in the '80s, and I disliked him even more once I learned of this song. (By the way, his real name is Rigdon Osmond Dees III. RIGDON. WTF? I hate him even more now.)

    What self respecting man writes such a God-awful, annoying song that rips off Donald Duck's voice and is about a man dancing like a duck at a disco party? Furthermore, what kind of a man has zero shame performing it on stage, flanked by a duck puppet that looks like it's having an orgasm and someone in an ugly duck costume? If you couldn't appreciate "The Streak", then "Disco Duck" may just help.

    And now we're ready for my absolute least favorite song of the 1970s. Drumroll, please...

    10. "(You're) Having My Baby" by Paul Anka, 1974

    I've never been an Anka fan, and I've been even less enamored of him ever since I saw his megalomaniacal meltdown that was exposed on video a few years ago, when he screamed at an employee backstage because one of the band members was wearing a t-shirt.

    As if it weren't already too easy to hate on Anka, he also gave us the most ridiculous soft rock song ever recorded in the history of music: "You're Having My Baby." Let's forget the controversy this song stirred up at the time; it was accused of being chauvinistic, anti-feminist, and anti-abortion. Putting all of that aside, it's just a really, really, REALLY crappy song. Just those opening lyrics alone...You're havin' my baby / What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me...

    Hearing this song, I can only think of one thing: the chick "forgot" to take her pill and got knocked up on purpose to trick the narrator into marrying her. And there's nothing loving or romantic about that!

    As if it all weren't bad enough, the TV show Glee resurrected the song during a 2009 episode.

    Well, that's my list. What songs would be on yours?

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    Seals and Crofts. Hall and Oates. Captain and Tennille. The seventies gave us lots of musical duos that scored many chart toppers during the decade. One lesser known act -- mostly due to the fact that they were from the Netherlands -- was Mouth & MacNeal, best known here in the States for their international early '70s hit "How Do You Do".

    Now, my last blog post was about my least favorite seventies songs, and I know at least one Go Retro reader that absolutely loathes "How Do You Do". I understand why -- it's pretty repetitive and seems to go on way longer then it should. But something a little surprising that I recently discovered about Mouth & MacNeal is that they actually made a lot of good music. We just didn't know about it in the U.S. because these songs were only hits in Europe. So if "How Do You Do" has the irritation-level equivalent of Kelly Ripa's voice in your ears, you may want to check out some of their other songs I'm including in this post.

    (By the way, I absolutely love "How Do You Do". Not only is it catchy to me, but I love that it's such an upbeat, positive song -- about a couple that is reconciling after some time of being broken up, "starting anew", forgetting the past and that they made each other cry. It's a nice aural antithesis to the multitude of sappy, depressing songs that the decade is known for.)

    At first glance, the burly man and cute blonde woman known as Mouth & MacNeal looked like Jerry Garcia teamed up with Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA. Their real names were Willem Duyn, who went by the stage name Big Mouth, and Sjoukje van't Spijker, who adopted the moniker Maggie MacNeal. Big Mouth had some musical experience under his belt; he had sung for many bands in the '60s including one called Speedway. Spijker aka MacNeal had released just one solo single prior to meeting Mouth, a cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

    In 1971, Dutch record producer Hans van Hemert brought together Mouth and Spijker to form the pop duo Mouth & MacNeal. I couldn't find any background info as to what inspired Hemert to introduce them, but he must have had a hunch that they would harmonize and work well together.

    "Hey You Love" was the act's first single. It did fairly well on the Dutch music charts, reaching number five. As you can see from the music video, Mouth loves to eat.

    Along with a Dutch composer named Harry von Hoof, Hemert wrote the single "How Do You Do" and had Mouth & MacNeal record it. It was a huge worldwide hit, reaching the number one spot in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, and New Zealand, as well as the top ten in Germany, the UK and the U.S. A disc jockey named Jim Connors was responsible for giving the song airplay to American stations and helping it chart here. They sold over a million copies of the record in the U.S. alone.

    Here's the duo performing their huge hit on what I believe is a European music TV show...they and the audience sure look like they having a great time, don't they? Stoned? Perhaps...or maybe they were just really enjoying themselves!

    One thing I wondered about while watching Mouth & MacNeal's performances is if they were a couple off-stage. They're very affectionate and playful in just about every video I've seen. But the conclusion I've come to is that it was just an act; MacNeal had a husband at some point during Mouth & MacNeal's career, and Mouth got married after the couple broke up. More than likely they just became really good friends and worked well as a musical team.

    As far as I know, there was no drama, ego, or fights that affected the couple -- something virtually unheard of in the entertainment industry.

    "Hello-A" was another hit for them and rather ABBA-esque.

    I also found this track called "Sing Along":

    In 1974 Mouth & MacNeal entered the Eurovision Song Contest with the entry "I See A Star". Previous Dutch entries in the famed European contest had always been sung in Dutch; this was the first time the country's entry was sung entirely in English. If you know your European pop music history then you probably know that Mouth & MacNeal had tough competition that year: ABBA took the top prize with "Waterloo." "I See A Star" came in at a respectable third place.

    After the success of "I See A Star", Mouth & MacNeal went separate ways. Mouth was pursuing a solo career and eventually recorded duets with his wife as Mouth and Little Eve. The songs are listenable -- and again, very reminiscent of ABBA -- but they didn't gain the same notoriety as Mouth & MacNeal. Mouth passed away of a heart attack at age 67 in 2004. MacNeal is still going strong, and has remained in the music industry as well as acting. She even participated in the 1980 Eurovision contest with the song "Amsterdam."

    MacNeal tried to revive Mouth & MacNeal in 2008 with another male singer replacing Mouth but of course, it didn't work. Only the seventies decade could have created a duo like Mouth & MacNeal. But fortunately, we don't have to be living in the '70s to appreciate their complimentary vocals and music.

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  • 09/10/16--17:59: Why I Don't Like Texting

  • A few months back I blogged about why I still feel men should pay for the meal on a first date, and how women shouldn't chew out men that hold doors open for them. Today I feel compelled to talk about why I don't really dig texting, particularly as it pertains to dating (although truth be told I'm not a fan of using it as a form of communication in general.)

    First of all, there's no doubt that the mobile phone is one of the most important inventions so far known to mankind; I've had one ever since the early '90s when they were still on the clunky side so I'd be a hypocrite if I said I didn't appreciate the device. However, in the 20+ years that I've owned a mobile phone, I've used them mostly when absolutely necessary; calling AAA or so that a friend could reach me on route to meeting up, or vice versa.

    And in my opinion, when a mobile phone was just a mobile phone, we were all a lot more better off. It was when the Internet and texting capabilities were added to them that things really went south. Now you've got a bunch of walking zombies that are transfixed by something on their screens, so much so that some people have fallen off subway platforms and tripped into public fountains because they were so distracted. Or they walk into oncoming traffic because they're hunting a Pokemon.

    People sit in restaurants and instead of talking to the company they're with, their eyes are glued to their phone. Maybe they're checking work email -- or maybe they're surfing for porn across the table from their spouse; who knows. Either way there's no doubt what a number this little piece of technology is doing to our ability to communicate and form human connections.

    Which brings me to texting. A common complaint that seems to be floating out there in the dating world is that people will text each back and forth but never actually set up a date. Or that people use it to break up with someone. Or they use it to summon a booty call.

    I hate texting. I don't have a Blackberry or a phone that uses a slide-out keyboard. I have a Samsung (and you can all breathe easy; mine is old -- I don't have the new Galaxy that is spontaneously combusting on people. Sadly, my interest in it was piqued because Christoph Waltz was schilling it in commercials.) The screen size is literally two and a half inches wide by one and a half inches high. I don't have one of those little toothpick things; I have to use my index finger or thumb. Whenever I text I feel like an elephant trying to play the piano. About 50% of the time I hit the wrong key. Being the anal speller that I am, I always feel compelled to delete and correct the mistake. What a painfully long and tiring experience it is to tap out a message on that stupid thing; I might as well use Morse code.

    I've even seen online profiles so poorly written by men and riddled with errors that I could just tell they composed them using their phone. I even got a message one time that sounded like a mentally challenged person wrote it. When I told the guy I couldn't understand at least half of what he had written, he responded that he had typed it on his phone. (Face palm.)

    Why anyone would want to try to text a stranger to get to know them while dating is beyond me. Just pop open your laptop, and bang out a proper email. Better yet, man (or woman) up and pick up that phone dammit, and call them!

    And when I'm dating, if I met them online, I want to hear their voice. I made the mistake one time of not asking to speak on the phone first with a date from years ago. He turned out to have a stutter that got worse as the date went on (he also checked out literally every female that crossed his path, so please don't go PC on me and say I'm cruel or picky because I failed to find a guy with a bad stutter attractive! Besides, he also should been truthful and revealed it in his profile.)

    Speaking on the phone is intimate. Trying to bang out messages like, "Hy bae, do u wanna met up?" is not.

    Now don't get me wrong: texting can be fun once you're in relationship mode. That's when it serves as a more appropriate mode of communication; when you use it to send cutesy messages (or sexting) to one another. But not when you're trying to get to know somebody. It's cumbersome and seems like the lazy ass's easy way out of forming a stronger human connection by speaking on the phone.

    If I ever venture into online dating again, I'll be upfront about no texting until we get to know each other better first. It's the best way to weed out the guys that may be too addicted to their mobile devices, anyways. Go retro...and bring back the more traditional methods of communication.

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    "Welcome to middle age!" declares an advertising campaign for Philosophy starring Ellen Pompeo that I keep seeing online. "From here on it's a steady decline into old age and cultural insignificance!"

    The ad got my attention because I'll be turning 45 early next year. I guess it's time to face the stone cold truth: I'm middle aged. (According to a survey the Huffington Post reported on, some people believe you can be middle aged as young as 35 years old. Zoinks.)

    This is certainly not a day that I was thinking about when I was playing with Fisher-Price toys and watching New Zoo Revue. I'm sure there's never been a time when any of us '70s kids were pondering what life would be like by middle age. I always felt that middle age was something that only affected men, and was a sickness that made them want to ditch their first wife for a younger woman and a Corvette convertible. Didn't we all think we'd be young forever?

    But the good news is, it's not all Geritol and 4 PM dinners once you hit your mid-40s today. Not even close. A few years back, when I was turning 40, I wrote about the differences between women in their 40s in past decades and how they were perceived vs. today. Now that I'm 44 I honestly see no difference, but I will admit this seemed to be the year that I noticed ever-so-slight changes in my body and my way of approaching things in life. So here's a list of my personal observations on what middle age is REALLY like. Maybe my fellow Generation Xers will think this sounds familiar?

    This Mid-Life Crisis Thing Is a Real Thing

    At least, I think it is...and not just for men. I've had a few fleeting moments of panic recently like omigod, am I EVER going to create the life that I want?

    To quote a moment from a presidential debate several years ago, who am I? Why am I here?

    Trust me, once you've been laid off five times over the course of your 9 to 5 career you start to wonder if the universe is trying to deliver the same message yet again. Maybe the corporate life is not for me, or maybe I just haven't found the right fit and the right company yet. And once you hit a certain age you realize you don't want to waste any more time feeling unhappy and unfulfilled at the way you earn your pay. That is why I feel in my heart I should pursue some kind of writing career. I purchased an online freelance magazine writing course through MediaBistro recently, and I'm seeing all kinds of opportunities after watching the first few lessons. Keep buggering on, as Winston Churchill said. He also said, "When you're going through hell, keep going." I believe this marks a turning point in my life and that the best is yet to come.

    Grey Hairs...Just Not Necessarily On My Head

    Too much information? But this is the ugly truth that I NEVER hear anyone of a certain age talk about. I apologize if it sounds nasty, but this has bothered me in recent years more than anything else about getting older -- to the point that I even lamented to my hair stylist about it, and she bust out laughing because she could relate to it and she's a good ten years younger than me. My regular ladyscaping keeps any color changes fairly unnoticeable, but I know the day will come when I'm faced with one or two options: go completely bare down there with a Brazilian bikini wax (I'd rather have a pelvic and a dental the same time) or invest in a box of Betty hair color, "for the hair down there." Then the carpet will finally match my synthetically blonde-colored drapes.

    Speaking of hair, I've occasionally had to pluck stray ones that have Brillo-pad consistency out of my chin for the past ten years. Let's hope those don't proliferate.

    Do These Reading Glasses Make Me Look Sexy?

    A couple of months ago, I started wondering why ordinary print in books and magazines started to look a little fuzzy to me, even while wearing my contact lenses. Uh, oh. My mother gave me a pair of her reading glasses and it cleared up instantly. Say it isn't so. I'm overdue for my regular eye exam and I'm afraid I'm going to need bi-focal contacts or something (I can read just fine using my regular prescription glasses.)

    I Think Younger People and Their Music Are Messed Up

    I guess that's been fairly obvious from some of the shots I've taken at Millennials lately; namely, their Pokemon obsession and the banality of today's pop music. It's been said that once you can't stomach modern music you've officially become the old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

    (And by the way, I don't think all Millennials can be generalized and put into the same negative categories. Maybe about 69.9% of them...ha ha.)

    And be prepared...I started writing an upcoming blog post about how f*&^ed up college students are today. You're all gonna love it!

    Changing Hormones

    Not to gross everyone out again but my period is late, and trust me, it's not because I'm pregnant. It seems the ovarian engine is starting to sputter a bit. I'm not happy about that. And yet I'm lucky and grateful; I've heard of women much younger than I am going into perimenopause. Farewell, child-bearing years, even though I always knew I never wanted to use you for that purpose. It was a good, long run while it lasted. Next stop: Hot Flash City.

    OK, so enough with the downers about mid-life. There are some pros to getting older, too...

    I No Longer Give a ^%$# What Anyone Thinks Of Me

    I hate the low self-esteem that plaques so many of us, particularly women, in our 20s and 30s. Does my hair look OK? Am I wearing the right outfit? Will everyone I meet at the party like me? Do I look sexy enough? Omigod, she said WHAT about me? What if she's right?

    I used to worry about what other family members had to say about me and if they were judging the fact that I live with our mother and if they wonder why I'm not married.

    Today, I just don't give a rip. As you get older, this way of thinking becomes more plentiful and there's such a freedom in not caring what others think. It's their problem, anyway -- not yours. Besides, they all know that I financially support mom; she gets money from me, not the other way around. And speaking of which...

    I Believe In Honesty and Authenticity

    A friend of mine was horrified the other day when I said that if I decide to do online dating again, I'm going to be honest about my living and job situation. She said I shouldn't reveal that information right away; that a man should slowly find that out.

    I disagree. By putting it out there right away, I'm weeding out anyone that has a problem with it. And besides, I like being honest. Online dating profiles usually contain anything BUT honesty. So why not buck the trend? And if they don't like it? See my previous point, above.

    Years ago, during another lay-off period, I did list exactly all that in my profile. And if it turned anyone off, no one told me. In fact I got more compliments from men on that profile that any other I previously posted..."This is the most honest profile I think I've read on here," said one. It was the highest compliment I could have received.

    Besides, if you want to attract an honest partner, you have to be vibrating and putting that out there to the universe.

    I More Easily Leave The Past Behind

    Well, not the pop culture past, fortunately. My personal past. As you get older you realize (hopefully) that all you have is the present moment, so you might as well make the most of it. You can't change anything that happened in the past, so you gotta let it go and move on.

    I Don't Feel 44

    The above photo was taken last weekend in Newport, RI. (By the way, that is the Audrain Auto Museum in Newport. We didn't have time on this day trip to visit, but it's definitely a must for next time! And hell, yeah: Route 66 Corvette, baby!) I may be 44, but I think I'm doing a good job taking care of myself so not only do I not feel 44 most of the time, I don't think I look the age, either. I've always been thin and enjoy working out...let's hope the hormones don't wreck havoc with that, but I plan to remain active and enjoy regular workouts for as long as possible.

    Here's a beauty secret for you: I recently started taking Collagen + vitamin C supplements on a daily basis. Too soon to tell if they've had an effect, but they're supposed to plump up any wrinkles and counteract sagging as well as promote hair and nail growth. I also use sunscreen and sun protection, drink a ton of water daily, and get plenty of sleep in addition to eating healthy most of the time.

    (I said most. I do indulge...dark chocolate, dessert, cheese, etc. I just don't binge or go overboard.)

    By the way, I definitely cannot drink more than one mixed cocktail anymore; that's another message my body has been sending me. Two will easily hang me over the next day. I've never been much of a drinker, anyway, so it's no loss.

    So for my fellow 40-somethings and those of you that are older, there's still hope. We're officially like wine: we get better with age.

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    Arno is a Brazilian home appliance manufacturer; I believe they're still in business today. I found the following catalog scans on Flickr (credited to a user named Gugue) and thought it would be fun to simply share them here. Actually, I think the last four images are from another catalog of a series of the company's ads. I just loved the colors and the designs of these household gadgets whereas everything in our modern home is usually black, white, or stainless steel unless you own a Kitchenaid mixer.

    There's really not much else to say, so enjoy!

    OK, I love the fans. The colored blades make them look like flowers.

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    If you grew up in the '70s like me, you probably remember the margarine craze of that era: we were told that butter was bad for us and would clog our arteries, and somehow substituting the natural dairy food with an imitation spread made of refined vegetable oil, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors was a healthier option. As a result, we also got inundated with terrible commercials featuring an obnoxious talking tub of Parkay or the horny Country Crock couple that couldn't keep their hands to themselves, even at the dinner table.

    Then you probably recall the "war on fat" that was so prevalent in the '80s and '90s which saw the introduction of low fat and fat-free (gag!) food items on store shelves including those horrible Snackwell cookies which promised lower calories and saturated fat, but which were way too sweet.

    Well, I'm hear to tell you after a brief five month stint working in the food industry and from what I've seen reported online in recent months that it's perfectly OK to eat fat including red meat and real dairy products including cream, butter, eggs, and cheese. Welcome to retro eating habits, folks! Yes, it's time for you to embrace your inner Ron Swanson and have turf and turf, if that's what your heart so desires. In case you didn't know, the food industry has been duping us all of these years.

    Just last week, NPR and other sources reported that fifty years ago, the sugar industry paid off Harvard researchers to hush up the role that sugar plays in heart disease and instead, put the blame on foods that contain fat. Disgusting.

    You may remember the blog post I did several years ago showing ads from the 1960s promoting the benefits of eating sugar. At the time I thought they may have been done in response to the growing popularity of artificial sweeteners. Maybe that was one motivation, but I also believe now it was to deflect the possibility that sugar was bad for us. These ads even highly recommend giving sugar to children, because it keeps their energy going all day!

    Now, there's still a lot of articles and scientific research that claims foods like bacon and butter can still contribute to cardiovascular disease. However, I am of the camp that believes in everything in moderation. I don't think it's a great idea to eat fried foods every day. But I also don't think foods that contain fat, especially those from animals, are going to kill you if you go easy on them. I look back and think of my grandparents, who lived during several decades when processed food hadn't been invented yet. They all lived into their early 90s, and enjoyed eating everything.

    The truth is, our body needs some fat in our diets in order to function properly. In fact, there's a relatively new eating plan out there called the "wild diet" which advocates cutting out as much sugar and processed food from meals and snacks and focusing on lean meats and fish and enjoying a little bit of butter and dark chocolate. Given the choice between a sugar-laden muffin or bacon and eggs, none of us should be choosing the muffin. Bacon and eggs provide protein, which is going to fill you up and keep you satisfied longer. That's also going to keep your blood sugar in control and your energy sustained. Did you know that diets higher in fat are more effective at helping people losing weight?

    If you need further proof, I invite you to check out this cool site I discovered earlier this year, called Eat the Butter. Eat the Butter advocates "Vintage Eating for Vibrant Health" and I agree with their messaging and findings 100%. They're also on a mission to get kids to eat healthier by eating real food and reducing sugar in their diet.

    One final thought: it kills me when I hear of people that only eat egg whites for breakfast or worse, that horrible crap that passes for eggs called Egg Beaters. I know they're "made with real eggs" but they're comprised of the white part. All of the flavor and nutrients are in the yolk. I'm not buying into the fear that the cholesterol in eggs will kill you. Again, everything in moderation.

    So go ahead, order that steak, pat a little butter on your bread, and pour a bit of light cream in your coffee. Hopefully by reclaiming some retro eating habits, Americans will also reclaim their waistlines.

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    From straight out of the '90s comes this unintentionally funny and contrived PSA about road crossing safety (all of things) from the National Safety Council. It features an animated floating whistle with a lisp. There's really not too much to say about it except they should have chosen a hotter guy to play the cop, I really don't get why the African American boy is named Woody, and what's with the purple and yellow gloves to understand the difference between left and right? Oh, and there's some really rad special effects!

    If the modus operandi in the States is to look left, right, left, then do British children look right, left, right?

    Enjoy the bad acting. By the way, I accidentally stumbled upon this video while doing a search for Willy Whistle. I do NOT recommend doing a Google images search for this name! I wasn't looking for what you think; it was the name of a clown on TV years ago and I was doing research for another upcoming blog post.

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    As much as I wouldn't give up my ionic hair dryer and flat iron for the small-barreled curling iron I owned in the '80s, I must admit I have some longing for nostalgia when looking at advertisements and images of hair drying and styling products from before I was born. The other day I was honestly longing for my mother's old bonnet hair dryer that I remember using as a'd roll your damp hair up in curlers, put the bonnet on, and after 20 minutes or so of blowing warm air later, voila! Your hair is ready.

    (Believe it or not, Conair still makes a bonnet hairdryer, as does another brand I never heard of that one reviewer on Amazon called "a piece of junk.")

    I really admire the selection of colors and styles that were available for drying one's crowning glory. Let's take a look back at some vintage hair dryer and accessories ads from days of old. Back in the day, it wasn't just the ladies that put all of that effort into making their hair look good.

    "If I only had a heart..."

    Words will never convey how much I want THIS Beautybug dryer. I believe it came out in '67 or '68 and if you're lucky, you can score one on eBay.

    Maintaining that Anchorman look is a lot of work.

    This German dryer looks pretty cool.

    And this ad's just plain bizarre; have seen it crop up from time to time and it's just creepy.

    I had one of the hot pink, I think...and I remember I hated it because it blasted the air out of such a tiny, concentrated nozzle which made styling your hair difficult. But it was the '80s, and it looked cool.

    Rad! I still have my '80s Benders and last time I checked, they still worked. Maybe I should do a video blog post tutorial trying them out again just for kicks?

    What I admire most about this ad is the beautiful illustration. You just don't see artwork like this much today ion advertising and done without a computer, no less.

    And this is just plain scary.

    She looks like she's having a truly orgasmic experience drying her hair.

    Now we know how she got that famous Farrah flip -- and it looks like an awful lot of work.

    I'm intrigued by the paddle shaped dryer.

    You gotta love this commercial. Just imagine how convenient it was for housewives to multi-task...cook and clean your home while your hair dries!
    OK, that last one wasn't an ad, obviously, but a scary collection of really bad men's hairstyles from the '70s. And nearly all of these dudes look like serial killers. Maybe it's a good thing we're living in 2016.

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    Halloween is right around the corner, and the other day while watching clips of my favorite horror movie, The Shining (because it's the feel-good movie of the season, as you know), I started to wonder what became of the kid that played Danny, Danny Lloyd. That little bugger sure could act. It seemed to come so naturally for him, speaking to his imaginary friend Tony in a creaky, creepy voice. Surely he must have gone on to have a successful career in Hollywood, right? If not as an actor, then perhaps he is working behind the scenes as a writer, producer, or director.

    The first logical step was to go on the Internet Movie Database, or To my surprise, Lloyd only worked in one more acting role after The Shining -- a 1982 TV movie based on the life of G. Gordon Liddy (he played Liddy as a child.) From there I looked at the message boards. That's when I discovered that Liddy left the business altogether and became a pig farmer and biology teacher in Louisville, Illinois, his home state. Lloyd -- who goes by Dan now -- is also a married father of six.

    According to a 2013 interview that Lloyd gave to the NY Daily News, he pursued acting into his teens but just didn't have any luck obtaining roles. Hard to fantom, given the performance he turned in alongside Jack Nicholson. Lloyd was six years old during the filming of The Shining and was chosen because director Stanley Kubrick was impressed with his ability to concentrate for long periods of time, something practically unheard of with kids around that age. He didn't even see the movie until he was a teenager, and has never considered it a scary film because he was working on it from behind the scenes.

    He told the NY Daily News that what he remembers most about making the movie was playing with the two British girls that played Delbert Grady's dead twin daughters, eating peanut butter sandwiches, and getting to ride his tricycle on the set. On the day that the infamous "Heeeeere's Johnny" scene was filmed, Lloyd remembers Jack Nicholson joking with him and pretending to be a Native American while brandishing the axe like a tomahawk in between takes.

    As for his dried-up acting career, Lloyd has no regrets, telling the paper, "A Hollywood life probably wouldn’t have been for me, anyway. I’m proud to come from the Midwest and that’s where I’m comfortable at.”

    It's nice to hear he's doing well and is quite centered and happy.

    By the way, Stephen King resurrected the Danny Lloyd character as an adult with psychic powers in his 2013 novel, Doctor Sleep.

    Even today, I'm still blown away by Lloyd's role in The Shining. Just in case you need a reminder:

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    Facebook drives me crazy, and not just because this time of year my newsfeed is clogged with content pertaining to politics and the election. I've also noticed that in recent months, engagement has truly tanked on the Go Retro Facebook page -- despite the fact that the number of followers has nearly doubled compared to a year ago.

    I know it's because Facebook changes its algorithms and newsfeed preferences constantly, and this has affected the page of a company I freelance for as well. They want you to throw money at their advertising program and "boost" your individual posts so that they'll be seen by more of your fans. Well, I don't think that's right. As one of the characters on Poldark says, "T'int right, t'int fair, t'int fit, t'int proper!" But what can you do.

    To give you some perspective, the other day someone liked a photo of John Travolta I posted over two years ago. The photo attracted 24 likes, four comments, and two shares. By contrast in the past few weeks I've been lucky if I get four or fives likes and one comment. And believe me, I'm not looking for accolades, but I think something smells rotten in Facebookland.

    So for those of you that follow the Go Retro Facebook page, may I ask a favor? Could you please like or comment on something on it to let me (and Facebook) know that you're still following it? I swear I don't post that often on the page for it to become a nuisance in people's feeds -- two or three times a day at the most. I post a lot of photos, trivia, videos, and other fun stuff that isn't on this page. You'll forever be known as a good doobie in my book if you do!

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    It's time for a long overdue giveaway, Go Retro readers! Several weeks ago I showed you the pair of mid-century modern style ceramic cats that I ordered from an Etsy shop called Making Clay Memories. The proprietor, Dana, has a collection of ceramics molds from the '50s and '60s that she uses to make charming animal figurines. Well, I loved my cats so much and Dana was so accommodating when the order took a little longer than expected that I offered to host a giveaway of one of her items on Go Retro and hopefully drive some new customers to her in the process.

    Long story short, we're giving away one of Dana's Bitossi-style ceramic horses, in aqua blue, to one lucky Go Retro reader! This cute little fellow measures 6 1/4" tall by 6 1/4" long by 2 1/2" wide -- just the right size to keep a coffee table or nightstand company (there's also something about him that reminds me of the horse statue on The Brady Bunch...he definitely gives off a '60s/'70s vibe.) He's been lovingly set and glazed by Dana and retails for $48 on her site.

    I'm running the giveaway until this Friday, October 28 and will choose and announce the winner by noon EST on that day. How to enter for a chance to win him? Use the Rafflecopter app can also earn bonus entries by following Go Retro on Twitter and/or Facebook, and following Making Clay Memories' Twitter handle! Please note this giveaway is only open to those with a U.S. address to ship it to (sorry to my Canadian and overseas readers, but the shipping costs and taxes can be punishing when sending items outside of the U.S.)

    Good luck! And be sure to check out Dana's stunning shop on Etsy for more wonderful MCM items such as this horse.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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